The Echelon: Is Springfield Armory Getting It Right?
For those interested in an interchangeable fire control unit and more Glock-like ergonomics over the P320, the Echelon and its neat VIS optics system, could be a hit.
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Today’s Springfield Armory, Inc dates to 1974 and, when it comes to handguns, primarily makes assorted 1911s and 2011s (the terribly received Prodigy) domestically then imports pistols from Croatia’s HS Produkt— the XD series (HSP G2, SF, and S series) and the Hellcat (the HSP S7). Now, the company appears to be putting the XD to bed after a ~25 year run, potentially phased out in favor of the new Echelon.
What is the Springfield Armory Echelon?
In a nutshell, the newest handgun platform in SA’s catalog is another Croatian beauty rebranded for the American market; HS Produkt’s more forward-looking pistol platform the company developed for European military and police tenders.
As described by Ian McCollum of Forgotten Weapons, who visited the HSP factory a few months ago, it turns out that none of the upcoming European contracts want a simple XD-style pistol but instead are looking for something more modular and without a grip safety.
The solution: a chassis pistol system similar to the Steyr M9 and SIG P250/P320.
The Echelon’s fire control unit, or Central Operating Group. This is the serialized heart of the gun and can be put into a planned variety of grip frames.
The Echelon in its initial format is very Glock 17-ish with a standard 9mm 4.5-inch barrel and a 17-round magazine (20 extended).
In a win, though, it has a very low bore axis, borrows the texture from the Hellcat (which everyone seems to like) has a flared slide to help with racking, and a grip angle geometry that more approximates the CZ P10 or M&P M2.0 rather than the Glock or SIG.
The way it mounts optics is neat
One really interesting thing about the Echelon is what Springfield calls the Variable Interface System which uses a series of self-locking pins to accommodate a wide range of micro red dot footprints.
This means no hokey adapter plates which can fail, and a really low deck which means that you don’t have to get super high sights in order to co-witness.
There are like 20 cringy new videos on YouTube covering the Echelon, but probably the best (and most honest) is by The Humble Marksman, who covers removing the fire control unit and talks a good bit about the VIS system.
Who is the Echelon made for?
Springfield is really pushing these guns as a “service weapon” or “duty side arm” for law enforcement use and released a ton of lifestyle images showing them in the hands of officers and assorted operator types.
And, of course, regular people who drive pickup trucks.
The MSRP is $679-$739 depending on if you get night sights and an extended threaded barrel or not. Odds are, you can expect the Echelon to rapidly appear in smaller sizes, potentially different calibers, and the works, much like the P320.
Of note, this is basically the same price as the standard P320 models, and the Echelon uses proprietary mags (rather than just keeping the XD mags), so it will likely have an uphill climb. However, for those wanting an interchangeable fire control unit and more Glock-like ergonomics over the P320, the Echelon could be a hit.
Either way, that VIS system, if it works, could be the real news from this– other than the fact that XDs may soon become collectible.