July 12, 2023
Springfield Armory has just announced its new Echelon pistol, a polymer-frame, striker-fired 9mm semiautomatic aimed at the duty and defensive handgun markets. What sets the new Echelon apart from legacy offerings like the XD and XD-M family is the gun’s modular design and chassis-style control group.
From Springfield Armory’s introduction:
“At the heart of the Echelon lies the all-new patent-pending Central Operating Group (COG). Employing cutting-edge manufacturing techniques, the modular COG is an entirely self-contained and serialized stainless steel chassis. The result is a system that is easily moved between available grip modules in seconds.
For maximum adaptability to the widest range of users, the COG can be installed in any Echelon grip module allowing shooters to create a firearm that fits perfectly in your hand. The pistol comes standard with the medium grip module and three interchangeable backstraps, while small and large grip modules can be purchased separately. The three backstraps are designed to fit all three grip module sizes. In addition, all controls of the pistol are fully ambidextrous.
The Echelon’s trigger harnesses the advantages of the COG to deliver superior performance. Entirely contained within the chassis, its critical components are machined from tool steel and highly polished for a clean take up, defined wall, crisp break and short, positive reset. The result is a trigger that redefines expectations. In addition, the Echelon is designed and tested to exceed SAAMI drop test parameters and features a unique secondary sear design in the COG for an additional layer of safety.”
Readers will note the COG is the primary serialized component, and is considered the actual “firearm” even if other components, such as the grip module, are changed around it. Further innovation is apparent in how Springfield opted to accommodate popular red-dot optics — more than 30 at launch.
“Further adding to the Echelon’s adaptability is its truly innovative Variable Interface System (VIS), which employs patent-pending self-locking pins to complete the most versatile optics mounting system on the market. As the mounting screws are torqued to spec, the pins exert lateral pressure on the optic’s interior mounting surface to eliminate left/right movement. This ensures you maintain consistent and reliable point of aim/point of impact. In addition, the pins can be positioned to fit the footprints of a wide range of popular optics, allowing for an unparalleled direct-mount fit between the pistol’s slide and optic.”
Options among release-day Echelon models include sights and barrels. Customers can select either a U-Dot configuration or a three-dot array. Both arrangements offer tritium illumination for low-light use. Cowitness with many optics is accomplished with the standard-height sights thanks to the low-mount VIS system. For barrels, the standard model offers a 4.5-inch hammer-forged barrel, but a 5.3-inch threaded barrel can be had to accommodate suppressors and compensators. All Echelons will include a 17-round flush-fit magazine, as well as a 20 rounder with an extended basepad. Keen observers will note the magazines’ black finish is a departure from the stainless XD and Hellcat magazines.
In a market awash with micro-compacts, it’s refreshing to see an exciting new duty-size handgun. Time will tell what the Echelon’s introduction means for Springfield’s XD line, but we are glad to see 2022’s Guns & Ammo Innovator of the Year off to a fast start in 2023. Be sure to watch the video above for my initial thoughts, and for more information, be sure to check out springfield-armory.com.
- Chambering: 9mm
- Type: Striker-fired, semiauto chassis
- Barrel: 4.5 in. (5.28 in. threaded)
- Weight: 23.9 oz.
- Overall Length: 8 in.
- Sights: U-Dot or tritium three-dot
- Grips: Modular grip frame
- Capacity: 17+1 flush, 20+1 ext.
- Contact: springfield-armory.com
Models & Pricing
- Echelon 4.5” 9mm w/ U-Dot | EC9459B-U | MSRP: $679
- Echelon 4.5” 9mm w/ U-Dot, 10-round | EC9459BLC-U | MSRP: $679
- Echelon 4.5” 9mm w/ Tritium Three-Dot | EC9459B-3D | MSRP: $719
- Echelon 4.5” 9mm Threaded w/ Tritium Three-Dot | ECT9459B-3D| MSRP: $739
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