Test: Springfield Armory Echelon in 9mm Luger. Modern look, good ergonomics and many features. A good buy?

As is already widely known, Springfield Armory has been working closely with the Croatian firearms manufacturer HS Produkt for many years. This co-operation resulted in the H11 subcompact pistol, which is known as the Hellcat in the USA (read here our article introducing the Hellcat). Springfield Armory is now expanding its range to include the Echelon, an aesthetically pleasing polymer-framed, striker-fired service pistol with many modern features. The name "Echelon" refers to a military attack formation that was first used successfully against the Spartans in 371 BC and is still used to some extent today. Interestingly, "Echelon" is also the name of a global espionage network. In the USA, Springfield has already been able to equip several police departments with the pistol despite its short history: the Echelon has already been adopted by the Missouri Lake Ozark Police Department, Geneseo Police Department and Henry County Sheriff's Office in Illinois. But what features does the pistol have?

Optics ready: Echelon's Variable Interface System (VIS)

With the help of various mounting holes and self-locking pins, the Springfield Echelon offers a direct mounting option for over 30 sights. Springfield Armroy calls the system VIS - Variable Interface System.

Springfield Armory has developed a patented, variable interface for the mounting of red dot sights, which is often indispensable nowadays. Thanks to a combination of differently spaced mounting holes and self-locking pins, over 30 different red dot sights can be inserted directly into the mounting surface without additional adapter plates. This offers two major advantages: firstly, the overall height is reduced to a minimum, which means that the standard mechanical sight can still be used as a back-up for many red dot sights. Secondly, potential sources of error due to screws on the adapter plates coming loose are avoided. Aimpoint ACRO/Steiner MPS red dot sights can still be mounted with conventional adapter plates.

For the test, we opted for the Primary Arms GLx RS-15-MRDS with ACSS Vulcan reticle.

For our test, we opted for the Primary Arms GLx RS-15, which is also available from Ferkinghoff International. its special feature is the ACSS Vulcan reticle with a 3-MOA illuminated dot in the centre and a 250 MOA outer ring. This outer ring is only visible when the gun is tilted and provides quick information on the point of impact. When used correctly, the ring remains invisible. In addition, the auxiliary ring switches off after around 15 seconds of inactivity to save battery power, although this function can also be deactivated. We already presented the GLx RS-15 in detail here at all4shooters.com.

Modern technology: what's inside the new pistol from Springfield Armory

The Central Operating Group (COG) is the centerpiece of the Springfield Echelon. The stainless steel "chassis" contains all the essential functional parts and guides the slide. This allows the grip frame to be changed at will.

The Echelon pistol uses a conventional Browning-Petter SIG locking system with the barrel chamber locking into the ejection port, and also features a loaded chamber indicator. The 114-mm long, cold hammer-forged barrel with a conventional rifling profile showed extremely low tolerances in the slide of our test gun. The most important component of the polymer pistol with fully preloaded single-action trigger is the Central Operating Group (COG). This stainless steel chassis contains all the trigger parts and guides the slide. The very tight-fitting component can be removed as a unit and integrated into other grip frames. As the COG bears the serial number of the firearm, the grip frames are no longer legally relevant. This system is already familiar from the SIG P250/P320. Our test pistol was equipped with the medium grip; the full-size or small-size versions differ only in the grip circumference.

The shooter can customise the grip of the Springfield Armory Echelon with the three modular backstraps included in the scope of delivery.

The surface texture offers excellent control when shooting and at the same time prevents clothing from snagging on it when the gun is worn concealed. A non-slip surface can also be found on the index points for the thumb of the support hand and on the disassembly lever. The polymer frame can be customised with interchangeable backstraps (included) in sizes L, M and S.

Springfield Armory Echelon: can be operated from both sides without conversion

Springfield Armory Echelon. From the shape and arrangement of the serrations, the name: Echelon, a military attack formation from ancient times.

The Springfield Armory Echelon is one of the few pistols that has been permanently designed for use with both the right and left hand. The magazine release and slide stop lever are located on both sides of the frame and are easily accessible without the need for awkward grip changes. The slide is generously provided with distinctive cocking serrations that allow safe manipulation of the firearm, such as the "press check" for checking the loading status. The back of the slide is flared to support safe handling even when wearing gloves or in adverse weather conditions. The trigger guard has been enlarged and undercut to allow the pistol to be positioned lower in the shooting hand. In terms of ergonomics, the latest generation from Springfield Armory shows no weaknesses. The straight trigger with integrated safety is positioned steeply downwards, making it easy to reach even for shooters with shorter index fingers. The trigger has a characteristic travel from take up to release, which is reminiscent of the standard triggers on GLOCK pistols. Trigger pull weight is around 2,100 grams. The rear sight with U-notch is complemented by a front sight with a permanently glowing green dot, which is clearly visible in all light conditions thanks to its tritium luminescent insert.

Springfield Echelon 9 mm pistol: results of our accuracy test

The Springfield Armory Echelon is designed from the ground up to be operated with the left or right hand.

Firstly, the shooting performance test was carried out with seven factory cartridges in a sitting position at 25 metres. We achieved the best result from two averaged 5-shot groups with the S&B 115-grain JHP, at 75 mm. 

For a service pistol, such results are perfectly adequate at this unusually long distance. The dynamic part included various dot drills such as the Dot Torture Shooting Drill, which places a variety of demands on the shooters, including shooting with the weak hand. The highly perceptible front sight proved to be more useful than the auxiliary ring. Nevertheless, it is always advantageous to practise dry aiming for quick, visual acquisition of the aiming point, even if this takes effort. There were no complaints in terms of functional reliability.

Springfield Armory Echelon technical specifications and price

Model:Springfield Armory Echelon


9mm Luger

Magazine Capacity:

17 rounds




Steel, black coated

Barrel Length/Rifling:

114 mm/6x grooves

Rear Sight:

U-notch, 3.9 mm

Front Sight:

Ramped, 3.6 mm with tritium insert

Sight Radius:

178 mm


Trigger safety, automatic firing pin safety

Trigger System, Pull Weight*:

SA, 2,125 g


751 g

Dimensions (LxWxH):

190x33x142 mm

Price (RRP in Germany):

875 euro for the standard version / 975 euro w/ muzzle thread

Accuracy test: Average of 10 measurements with the trigger scan system; ** incl. magazine

Pistol case, spare magazine holding 20 cartridges, loading aid are included.

The Echelon disassembled into its basic components: slide, barrel, recoil spring, COG and grip frame. Also seen here, Liqui Moly gun grease (not included) and magazine.

Test conclusion on the Springfield Armory Echelon pistol, distributed in EU by Ferkinghoff International

The Springfield Armory Echelon impressed in the test with its modern look, good ergonomics and many features. Only time will tell whether it can assert itself against well-known European manufacturers in the broad field of polymer pistols. With a price of €875 for the standard version and €975 for the version with a protruding 134 mm barrel and muzzle thread, it is in the typical price segment of the competition. Or in one phrase: Looks good, shoots good. That's it!

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