Springfield Armory Prodigy - 4.25" and 5" guns - first look - optic choices
The 2011 has been a staple of the competition market - and for a long time they were unreachable to many. Fast forward to now - with an MSRP of only $1,499 with examples of it going for a discount to that - it's starting to be within reach for many. Then the videos started coming out suggesting there are teething issues. My guns - and I have one of each - have been nearly 100% reliable.
I'll get to general "review" stuff and the optics first - but it seems like everyone is looking for "what's wrong with it for a good price?" - and honestly - not much. Pick up one of their TRP type guns and observe how the controls are. It's not a lot different from a TRP - except it's a double stack grip / frame and the little bits that change when you do that (trigger bow, mainspring housing, specifically). "Nearly" and not actually 100% for two reasons. One - I had taken the guns apart to look and see at the build quality. Upon reassembling the gun I didn't tighten the two piece guide rod appropriately. The recoil allowed the rod to walk loose over 50 rounds or so between zeroing and beginning to shoot groups. The slide failed to go into battery and the guide rod stuck out the front. I tightened it down with the provided wrench and the next 300 rounds or so went fine. The other single failure I had was it didn't want to chamber the SIG SAUER VCrown 124 standard pressure rounds I bought to test with it. I shot it with both Federal HST and another JHP that escapes me, and Hornady American Gunner target JHPs and it was 100%w with the other two. I may get a finish reamer and try it to clean up the chamber just in case on the 4.25" model. Meanwhile - the 5" model I only attempted with that same 124 VCrown ammo and it was fine - but the sample size was a little low.
Other than that - both guns are basically fine. I'm not doing an appeal to authority here, as I'm not a gunsmith - but I have competed with double stack 1911s for the past nearly two years now. Both guns are in the same ball park with respect to fit - the 4.25" is the "worse" (still acceptable for production 1911/2011) of the two - the thumb safety has some free float in the down position - meaning if you press on it - it will wiggle down a bit. Additionally there is a small amount of creep in the trigger. Both guns have similar trigger pull weights - with the 4.25" being about 4.5# on my Lyman Digital Trigger Pull gauge and the 5" gun being just under 5#. The only other oddity is the disconnector on my 4.25" has a bit of a hitch when the slide is all the way at the rear of the stroke. The 5" gun doesn't share this oddity.
So a lot of commenters have asked me about what I think about the issues people are having - there's a few things. First - YouTube rewards negativity and sensationalism. It's never fun to be negative on a video - but negative videos usually lead to strong engagement in the comments and the like/dislike buttons - this leads to the algorithm pushing it. Put simply - negative videos tend to do well on the YT platform. There's another phenomenon known as "Trend Jacking" - and in the gun space - the release of a significant new gun is a trend emerging - smaller creators that can jump in with a piece of content have a chance for discovery they don't normally have. Other guns that did this at launch are pretty rare over the past few years - notably the P365, P365X Macro, and the Prodigy sort of rounding out the list. Few other guns really moved the needle. So if you can get a new gun and make a negative video - the deck is stacked in your favor - as a creator.
Now - that's not everybody - some people just had bad experiences with the guns and straight up shared the issues they had - and in fairness - this is a new model - and the fact it has some teething issues at launch isn't particularly unique to this or even Springfield armory. Since the guns are US made I am willing to bet that the customer service will right any wrongs that may exist.
One final thing before swapping over to the optics. Qualify the skill of the reviewer demonstrating the gun. There are more than a few "this gun has issues" videos that flat cannot shoot a pistol particularly well. They're in a gray area of somewhere between taking their first pistol class and a high level of proficiency. Signs to look for that the reviewer can't shoot is regripping the gun. The first shot they have a nice tight grip - no issue - then the second shot there is more muzzle flip, then the third shot slightly more - then they regrip the gun with their support hand. This reviewer is limp writing. Whether the gun punishes it or not is dependent on the gun. Some 2011s are a little more sensitive to this phenomenon than others. As the Springers are pretty lightly sprung for a better shooting experience - this is going to punish it all the more. Also - if the reviewer doesn't use the pad of their thumb on the manual safety while shooting - they don't know how to shoot a 1911 / 2011 - despite what they may say. I realize how the above paragraph makes me sound - I'm a double master in USPSA (Carry Optics, Production) and IDPA (SSP, Carry Optics) - I have coached new shooters through bad grips into good ones. It's still good data points - because if the guns are going to punish suboptimal grips - and you've got a suboptimal grip too (hey - you can always practice your way out of it!) then that information is valuable to you. Both guns are well appointed. Despite the metal injection molding parts - the guns have been totally fine. The round count on the 4.25" - which I've had for just over a week - is about 500 rounds - and the round count on the 5" gun - which I've had for just under a week - is only about 250. I have been carrying the springer to see if it exhibits any weirdness. My opinion of the Springer pistols - despite the other video - is unchanged - I do believe they are awesome guns and good values. Now lets talk about optics. The Springer is going to come with an AOS plate that accommodates the Docter footprint - which is to say - the Vortex Venom. My 5" gun actually came with the Hex Dragonfly sight. So we will start the list off with that.
Hex Dragonfly - or also found on Optics Planet - The Dragonfly is inexpensive but appears usable - though it's features isn't my favorite for concealed carry. The battery is changed on the bottom of the sight - the emitter appears to have undergone an update - I have a very early Dragonfly currently on my 4.25" gun. The old Dragonfly irritates my astigmatism something fierce the new one doesn't. The old one almost appears to flicker - the new one is steady. There is only one button and it cycles down through brightness levels and has a 16 hour battery life before it shuts off. There are 8 brightness settings I usually carry it on 7. I wish it was a 6 MOA dot but here we are. While the feature set is by no means my favorite - 16 hours auto off is usable for carry - just remember to turn it on each day before putting it in the holster.
Burris Fastfire IV - or on Amazon or EuroOptic- I have no experience with this optic - yet - I intend to try it on the prodigy - but a trusted friend had a very high round count on his Fast Fire 3 - the IV is the next step forward with selectable reticles - a 3 MOA or 11 MOA. Seems like a pretty good choice. Not likely "duty rated" but one of the better "consumer grade" pieces of hardware available.
Vortex Venom - or on Amazon or EuroOptic - This is an old staple. It's pretty well documented that these will eventually recoil themselves apart (10k+ rounds) and don't stand up to drops particularly well - but - it's also documented they have excellent customer service and will have you a new one within a week. The 6 MOA dot emitter is lovely on the Venom - the price is about right. I wouldn't feel bad about using one of these either.
Mecanik M02 - I am currently in process testing one of these on my Canik Rival. It's similar to the Hex Dragonfly - but slightly better in the button department. It has two buttons to control brightness - and 10 brightness settings versus 8 on the Dragonfly - but the dot is only 3 MOA. It's not bad but not duty rated either. It also features an auto off but I can't find in the literature where it states what the time is.
So that's what I know about the Prodigy so far. I like it - I'd recommend it. The juice is worth the squeeze even if you do need to warranty it - it's a great shooting gun. Some of the links above are affiliate links generating a sales commission to me at no additional cost to you.