Savage Arms has offered a wide variety of firearms over the years since its founding in Utica, New York, by Arthur Savage in 1894. Best known today for affordably priced rifles and shotguns, Savage once offered a series of semi-automatic pistols that began with the Model 1907, which was named after the year of its release. This pistol's production history would continue for 21 years with the last models leaving the assembly line in 1928.
Nearly a century has passed but Savage is officially back in the semi-automatic handgun business with this year's release of the new polymer-framed, striker-fired Stance 9 mm semi-automatic pistol. Designed for daily concealed carry, it looks a good deal like the many other micro-compacts currently garnering the attention of the self-defense marketplace. Savage wisely did its homework to ensure this gun would stand out in the polymer-framed crowd. Let's take a look at five unique qualities this pistol has to offer.
The Stance is a micro nine loaded with popular defensive pistol features including front and rear cocking serrations and an oversized extractor claw.
5. It Sports the Popular Micro Nine Profile
Over the last few years, the micro nine class of concealed-carry 9 mm pistols has been picking up steam in the self-defense community. Generally speaking, micro nines are polymer-framed pistols with an overall length of around 6" or less. They are about 4.5" tall and about an inch wide in the slide with an unloaded weight in the neighborhood of 20 oz.
Although the Stance is not a clone of the Smith & Wesson M&P Shield, it was clearly inspired by that design. It's 6.2" long, 4.6" tall and has a slide that's just 0.97" wide. It tips the scales at 22.2 oz. with an empty magazine in the grip. Lately there has been a push to maximize the ammunition capacity of small 9 mm pistols by using 10+ round modified double-stack magazines. Savage opted to ship the Stance with a pair of Shield-style, single-stack steel magazines instead. The base plate of the 7-round magazine fits flush to the grip while the 8-round magazine provides a finger rest extension.
4. Likable Defensive Pistol Features
Savage was careful to include several of the features many folks currently prefer in their concealed-carry pistols. The slide has front and rear cocking serrations along with a set of weight reduction vents near the muzzle. The barrel is nicely polished and has a recessed crown and a witness hole which acts as a loaded chamber indicator. The slide's external extractor is fitted with an oversize claw for improved function.
The enameled dot in the metallic front sight is a bright orange which provides a clear, easy to see contrast to the two white dots of the low-profile, metallic rear sight. The rear sight notch is squared off on the sides but rounded along the bottom to neatly frame the orange front sight dot. It's a likable configuration that aids in quick formation of the sight picture.
All of the controls are metallic, instead of polymer, including the ambidextrous slidestop lever, the grooved takedown lever, the smooth-faced aluminum trigger and the checkered, tear drop shaped ambidextrous magazine release button. The trigger broke cleanly with just 3 lbs. 1 oz. of trigger pull when tested.
3. An Effective Grip Configuration
The grip frame is treated with an aggressive molded-in texturing of the type favored for military and law enforcement applications. It provides a level of purchase on par with skateboard tape which makes it much easier to hold on to with wet or cold hands. However, it can feel abrasive to bare skin during extended practice sessions at the shooting range. A light shooting glove solves the problem nicely. This pistol ships with a pair of interchangeable back straps. The texturing is extended to the touch points on the frame where the trigger finger rests outside of the trigger guard.
The double-stack grip frames of the next generation micro nines are impressively narrow for their capacity. But no matter how you slice it, the single-stack grip frames are slimmer and a better fit for smaller hand shapes. The Stance ships with two interchangeable back straps to allow for some grip size adjustments. My only concern with the slimmer grip profile had to do with felt recoil. Micro nines have a well-deserved reputation for being snappy shooters and sometimes a slim grip can hit the web of the shooting hand thumb like a karate chop. But my concerns proved to be unfounded thanks to the Stance's thoughtful action design.
2. Built To Tame Felt Recoil
At the shooting range the Stance proved to be utterly reliable with all of the ammunition tested. Benchrested accuracy testing was conducted at 7 yards using standard pressure ammunition provided by Federal Premium, Hornady and Remington. The 5-shot groups ranged from 1.83" to 2.71" in size with an average extreme spread of 2.21".
While reliability is always important, what stood out for me with this pistol is how well it tames felt recoil. The Stance is a few ounces heavier than some pistols in the micro nine class but the weight has been put to good use in the action's design. The slide configuration, the barrel chamber to slide lock up and the sturdy, all-steel recoil assembly work together to cut down the kick to a surprising degree. The reduced recoil also cut down on muzzle flip, making follow-up shots easier and more precise.
1. Well Made & Reliable
Savage Arms is still in business after more than a century of operation because the folks running things know what their customers are looking for. But it's not unreasonable to be a bit wary when a gun maker launches a new-new product that's significantly different from the rest its well established line-up. It's not uncommon for the very first guns out the door to be a bit rough around the edges until the company works out all of the kinks.
But I'm happy to report that this is not the case with the new Stance 9 mm pistol. It has arrived as a well-polished, ready-for-market pistol that can easily go toe-to-toe with the top options currently available in this class of carry pistol. I found several things to like about the Stance. But if I had to pick one stand-out feature it would be its impressive recoil management. For those who want the performance of a small 9 mm pistol with felt recoil more like that of a .380 ACP, then the Stance deserves a top spot on your list of pistols for consideration.
Follow this link to see a video of this pistol in action.
Manufacturer: Savage Arms
Model: Stance FDE 3.2" Barrel 9 mm Pistol (67005)
Features: Ported Slide, Orange Dot Front Sight, Aluminum Trigger, Flat Dark Earth Frame, Two Backstraps, 7-Round Magazine, 8-Round Magazine, Storage Case, Lock, Manual
Overall Length: 6.2"
Slide Width: 0.97"
Weight: 22.2-oz. (Unloaded with 7-Round Magazine)
Trigger Pull: 3 lbs. 1 oz.