The Springfield Armory® 1911 DS Prodigy – It Lives Up to Its Name

Springfield Armory® 1911 DS Prodigy

Todd Fletcher

Prod·i·gy       /’prädejē/

                    1        a: highly talented child or youth

b: an extraordinary, marvelous or unusual accomplishment, deed or event

                    2        a: something extraordinary or inexplicable

                              b: a portentous event; omen

What happens when you combine the iconic M1911, update it with the best technology of today and put it into a duty ready package equipped to surpass all expectations of what a duty pistol should be? You get the Springfield Armory 1911 DS Prodigy. If you’re ready to take your training and skills to the next level, read on. This powerhouse has everything you want and need.

When I was asked to test and evaluate a new duty handgun from Springfield Armory, I was intrigued. I like seeing new products and product variants which meet the needs of law enforcement officers, but the Springfield Armory 1911 DS Prodigy is not what I expected. I was expecting to get a variation of the Springfield Armory XD® pistol complete with updated features, optics ready and with bold new graphics to distinguish it from the other XD pistols. Imagine my surprise when, after signing and submitting the requisite nondisclosure agreement, they sent me a link and password to their Web site where the Springfield Armory 1911 DS Prodigy was showcased. I was impressed.

Features and Benefits

The Prodigy takes the proven 1911 platform and enhances it with 9mm double-stack capacity (which is what the “DS” in the name represents). But, this isn’t your great-grandfather’s 1911 chambered for 9mm. It’s much more performance driven. The reconfigured frame starts with the double-stack 9mm magazine and gets high tech. The Prodigy uses a polymer grip module which mounts to a forged steel receiver. A forged slide is added to make an extraordinarily strong combination (not all steel is created equal). This is not a cheap cast steel frame or slide. This is forged steel known for its unrelenting strength with the ability to handle tens of thousands of rounds.

Mounted to the forged steel receiver is a high impact polymer grip module with 360º “Adaptive Grip Texture” for positive traction in any condition. The texture feels a bit like nonslip tape, but it’s subtle enough that it doesn’t tear up your hands during long range training sessions. More on this later. The polymer grip module combines strength, comfort and flexibility. It’s slim enough for a comfortable grip, but flexible enough for 17 rounds of 9mm to fit in a flush fitting magazine. But, wait! There’s more! The Prodigy comes with a 20 round extended magazine with an optional 26 rounder also available.

The first thing I notice when I pick up a new handgun is how it fits my hand. How does it feel? How easy is it to reach the controls? How does it balance? After that, I’m just like everyone else who walks into their neighborhood gun store. I want to experience the trigger to see if it lives up to my expectations or if I’m going to have to do some work to enable it meet my standards. The precision, single-action trigger of the 1911 has been the gold standard for over a century and the Springfield Armory Prodigy does not disappoint. This pistol has a very crisp break which is perfect for getting every bit of performance out of the operator. This trigger is perfect for shooting at combat speed and is ready for taking precision shots at distance when needed.

A modern duty pistol needs to meet the demands of the modern crime fighter and this means it needs to be optic ready. The Springfield Armory Prodigy AOS is ready for a wide range of optical sights. Springfield Armory worked with Agency Arms on the AOS (Agency Optic System) plate system designed exclusively for the Prodigy 1911DS. The plate is designed to deliver a proper cowitness with the iron sights for an intuitive sight picture and instant target acquisition.

A Thorough Investigation

The test sample Springfield Armory sent me was the 1911 DS Prodigy 4.25″ AOS. I specifically requested this model because this is the sweet spot for law enforcement duty handgun barrel length and optics are no longer optional. It is available in a five inch version for those who prefer the extra barrel length. Once I got it home, I took it apart to examine the quality of the workmanship. The fit between the forged slide and frame is exceptional, with no discernable side to side movement. The slide moved freely along the frame rails with no rough spots or burrs present at all. The quality was evident right from the beginning of my evaluation.

The trigger guard is undercut in two different areas maximizing the user’s ability to get a high grip on the pistol. This is combined with a finger cutout on the top of the grip module just below the trigger guard to enhance controllability. The polymer grip module’s magazine well is flared and beveled to facilitate quick reloads. The overall ergonomics of the Prodigy are impressive. The details of this pistol are nearly identical to other 9mm double-stack 1911s offered by other manufacturers at double the price.

The Springfield Armory Prodigy has an extended beavertail to prevent “hammer bite,” as well as ensure fast follow-up shots and recoil recovery. This also helps the operator obtain a repeatable high grip on the gun. An ambidextrous frame mounted thumb safety moves with a discernable click and allows for easy use with either hand. It comes with the mandatory Picatinny accessory rail on the dustcover of the forged steel receiver, allowing users to equip the pistol with a weapon mounted light or laser.

After giving the Springfield Armory 1911 DS Prodigy a thorough examination, I cleaned and properly lubricated it to ensure proper function. This was the only time I was going to clean this pistol. If a pistol is going to cater to the law enforcement handgun market, it better stand up to use and abuse. I call this being sergeant-proof. This means it should stand up to dirt, debris and the other gunk which gets into a pistol while resting in a duty holster. Most cops aren’t good about keeping their pistols clean, so any manufacturer trying to gain a foothold in the duty handgun market better produce a pistol which can run reliably under those conditions.

Results from the Range

Once I got on the range, I checked to make sure the Trijicon RMR® mounted on it was zeroed and quickly got to accuracy testing. Let’s just say that the Springfield Armory Prodigy is an absolute tack driver. As you can see in the accompanying photographs, I almost shot a five round, one hole group at ten yards. The 15 yard line would have been nearly as impressive if it wasn’t for the jerk behind the trigger. At the 25 yard line, I shot two different groups while resting on a plastic barrel which were right around two inches. From a proper rest, this duty pistol is capable of one inch groups.

With the accuracy testing prerequisites out of the way, it was time to put the Springfield Armory Prodigy to work. This included a wide variety of standard drills like the Bill Drill, El Presidente, F.A.S.T., and the BFM. These are standard drills I can use to measure my performance from day-to-day and handgun-to-handgun. The Prodigy ran like a champion. On the Bill Drill, I had several sub two second runs where all my split times measured less than 0.19 seconds. For me, this is really fast. A good trigger helps, but this pistol has superb balance and a nearly perfect grip texture which keeps it anchored in your hands. The grip isn’t too aggressive for long-range sessions and it won’t tear up your shirts. It has a little bit of a tacky feel to it which hooks up well to your hands – even in the blistering heat of August in Texas.

In our instructor classes and while shooting IDPA and USPSA Carry Optics matches, I generally run a striker-fired handgun. As a result, I have a good idea about my split times, reload times and draw times. When I compare my usual times to those posted with the Springfield Armory 1911 DS Prodigy, I felt like I was cheating. Even my draw time was faster because the Prodigy points very naturally for me instead of pointing high like my normal striker-fired handgun. 

The Bottom Line

At this point, I’m completely sold on the Springfield Armory 1911 DS Prodigy. I’m going to keep running this little beauty for the next couple of months until Springfield Armory makes me return it. At that point, if it continues to make me look better than I really am, I’m going to have to negotiate with my significant other about who’s going to carry the Prodigy in their holster. The Prodigy is an extraordinary and marvelous new handgun which lives up to the definition of its name.

Sgt. Todd Fletcher (ret.) has over 25 years of law enforcement experience with assignments to patrol, criminal investigations and training. He has presented instructor development training nationwide and at multiple regional, national and international training conferences. He owns Combative Firearms Training, LLC which provides firearms training and instructor development classes to law enforcement, military and private security. Todd was awarded the 2022 ILEETA Trainer-of-the-Year award. He can be contacted at