All-Black Emissary in 9mm & 45ACP

by Vern Evans

I can vividly remember a time not too long ago when the 1911 was pronounced dead. It had passed its prime, and it was time to put it out to pasture. Well, fast forward several years, and the 1911 is still going strong. In fact, I would submit that the 1911 has become even more popular. There are few guns that can match the performance of this classic pistol. A company that has never stopped believing in the 1911 is Springfield. The company has continued to evolve the 1911 in both design and manufacturing. It has continued that commitment and has now released the new Springfield Armory All-Black Emissary.

The Springfield Armory All-Black Emissary

Based on the original Emissary, the new All-Black model brings a new aesthetic to the plate. This good-looking gun comes in four versions. The company is offering it in both 4.25-inch and 5-inch versions. Correspondingly, both sizes are available in either 9mm or .45ACP models.

The gun is built on the solid Springfield DNA.

In Springfield’s words, “Tasked with a special mission, the All-Black Emissary bridges defensive and custom pistols delivering a bold and capable addition to the Springfield Armory family of 1911s.”

The gun is built on a durable foundation of forged steel in its barrel, slide, and frame. It offers a defensive pistol with an air of custom refinement and a beautiful all-black finish. A “Tri-Top” cut to the slide gives the pistol custom-grade styling, while a heavy-profile bull barrel delivers maximum accuracy and reduces felt recoil.

The gun comes with Springfield Armory’s U-Dot sights, including a tritium front sight for low-light conditions. While a little skeptical to begin with, I have come to like this sight design.

In addition, the hammer is skeletonized to improve lock times. When I say skeletonized, I mean it is one of the thinnest hammers I have seen. Likewise, it has a solid, flat trigger with good texturing on the face. On the bench, the trigger broke at a comfortable four-and-a-half pounds with very little creep.

As you would expect, the gun comes with a heavy-profile bull barrel designed for maximum accuracy and reduced muzzle flip. To help with strength and durability, the barrel features a fully supported feed ramp.

Regarding grip texture, the Emissary is wrapped in a grenade pattern texture for firm control in any condition. The slim line grips are machined from G10, while the mainspring housing and front strap are machined to match.

Handling the All-Black Emissary

As you have guessed, Springfield sent me the All-Black Emissary to test drive and get a better feel for the gun. In fact, they were kind enough to send both a 4.25-inch in 9mm as well as a 5-inch gun chambered in .45ACP. With guns in hand, it was time to hit the range.

A little pre-shooting lube up and test shots to see what my point of impact would be, and we were off to the races.

Trying to talk about muzzle rise on both guns is a moot point because it barely exists. This is an area where 1911s rule. They have heft to them without being a boat anchor. This, combined with a nice trigger and its short take-up, let me really put the pedal to the metal.

Mag after mag of focused speed shooting produced a grey fist-sized impact zone on my freshly painted targets. The trigger, mixed with a heavy barrel, made accuracy simple. Likewise, the sights were clear and easy to pick up.

The grooves cut into the top of the slide are much more than cosmetic. They help break up any reflection from the sun or lights when you are pointed in. It is ingenious and works very well.

As with any gun that shoots this tight, I felt obliged to shoot it at distances it was never intended for. For better or worse, the range I was on maxed out at 100 yards. Even at that distance, though, I was still able to punch center mass on a 2/3rd size IDPA steel silhouette with little effort.

This has absolutely no application in the real world. However, it is a good way to test trigger control and a gun’s overall accuracy. And yes, it is fun.

Running the 1911

When business turned to groups on paper, the gun continued to shine. For the 5-inch gun, I ran three flavors of ammo that day. Black Hills Ammo 230gr JHP, Hornady 185gr XTP, and American Eagle 230gr Syntech.

Out of the ammo for the day, the Black Hills Ammo 230gr JHP took the top prize with a group of 1.5 inches. In fact, all three flavors did well!

I had the same experience with the 4.25-inch 9mm and ran Black Hills 115gr FMJ, Federal 147gr American Eagle, and Hornady 115gr FTX Critical Defense. Like the .45ACP model, the Black Hills ammo gave me the best performance with a group of 1.65 inches.

Function-wise, the guns performed well. While I can’t say that a few days of shooting on the range are a true test of durability, they are a solid indicator.

With good ammunition, good magazines, and proper lubrication, this gun has the bones to be almost unstoppable. I mention lubrication because it is essential for a 1911 to run.

From watching it happen in countless classes and other training, the biggest cause for 1911 malfunctions is lack of lubrication. At this point, the shooters blame the gun, which they neglect to maintain. That rant is for another article.

Carrying the All-Black Emissary

In the operational category, the guns are nice to shoot. There are no sharp edges on them anywhere, and it was easy in and out of the holster. The guns range from 40 to 43 ounces, which lets you know they are there. Yet they are not so heavy as to cause a carry issue.

As a rule, I carry two extra magazines, especially when my EDC is a 1911. The All-Black Emissary has an 8+1 capacity in .45 ACP and 9+1 in 9mm. This is about average for a 1911.

To some, this is a sign that the gun has a relatively low capacity. However, many of these naysayers go on to carry microblasters with the same capacity or less. Regardless of the pistol you carry, it is important to have at least one extra mag.

Final Thoughts

When the day came that I had to pack the guns up and ship them back to Springfield, I reflected on everything I had experienced with the guns. First off, they were a pleasure to shoot. They ran without issue, were accurate, and were comfortable to carry.

The All-Black Emissary is more than a simple marketing gimmick by Springfield to create matching sets of 1911s. This gun stands on its own and would serve you well as an EDC pistol. If you are like me and appreciate the 1911 for all that it brings to the table, then you should take a look at the All-Black emissary.

For more information, please visit Springfield-Armory.com.

Specs

5-Inch .45ACP

Caliber .45ACP
Barrel Length 5 inches
Overall Length 8.4 inches
Weight 43 ounces
Sights U-Dot
Grips VZ Grips G10 Thinline
Finish All black Cerakote
Capacity 8+1
MSRP $1378.00

5-Inch .9mm

Caliber 9mm
Barrel Length 5 inches
Overall Length 8.4 inches
Weight 43 ounces
Sights U-Dot
Grips VZ Grips G10 Thinline
Finish All black Cerakote
Capacity 9+1
MSRP $1378.00

4.25-Inch .45ACP

Caliber .45ACP
Barrel Length 4.25 inches
Overall Length 7.75 inches
Weight 40 ounces
Sights U-Dot
Grips VZ Grips G10 Thinline
Finish All black Cerakote
Capacity 8+1
MSRP $1378.00

4.25-Inch 9mm

Caliber 9mm
Barrel Length 4.25 inches
Overall Length 7.75 inches
Weight 40 ounces
Sights U-Dot
Grips VZ Grips G10 Thinline
Finish All black Cerakote
Capacity 9+1
MSRP $1378.00

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