Not Happy With Lightweight Springfield Armory Champion

Springfield Armory Champion
Springfield Armory Champion

A dialogue

JB: Much obliged for your website. Has some excellent links. You already have the few that I would have sent you. I noticed you consider Springfield the “best bang for the buck.” I’d be interested in contacting other Springfield owners, as I purchased a Champion, lightweight model, last year, and have been rather disappointed with both the gun and the company’s service to its customer (me). You run into anyone with similar sentiments? Your thoughts, if you have the time.

Syd: Well, I ran into one of their compacts fresh out of the custom shop that couldn’t seem to fire three rounds without jamming. What is your pistol doing?

JB: Reliability was not a problem, but fit & finish were sloppy, and all ammo shot two inches high from point of aim. Sloppy barrel-to-frame and barrel-to-slide link up, extractor not flush with rear face of slide, gap between firing pin stop plate & disconnector runway, all edges very sharp (new ones have “carry bevel” treatment). Groups were three inches at ten yards. When I called Springfield, they told me that was acceptable for a production gun. Dovetail cuts in slide were not horizontally even (one side higher than the other). Tool marks in barrel. Firing pin hits low. “As long as it doesn’t misfire, it’s acceptable.”

I did my own dehorning. Refinish work was promised 4 weeks, took 13 weeks. (Refinish job was decent.) Front sight replacement was promised in three days, took over two weeks. Custom shop was curt and didn’t want to be bothered talking with me.

When time to replace recoil spring, I called to ask poundage, and what I was told was not correct. Embarrassing at IPSC match, jamming up. It took three different calls to get correct info on the spring.

I wonder if they’d have treated me differently if I said I was Rob Leatham.

I’ve replaced the slide stop, firing pin stop, link, extractor, sights, trigger, magazines, grips, mainspring housing (including strut, spring & cap), installed full length guide rod, dehorned and had hard chromed, and am looking at fitting an oversized Barsto barrel.

For the money put into it, I’d have bought Kimber, Wilson, or Les Bauer.

I won’t buy Springfield again.

Syd: If it’s any consolation, I forwarded your comments to a St. Louis police officer who was contemplating an SA compact lightweight and it changed his mind.

My bang-for-the-buck appraisal was based on my own SA, a Mil-Spec Government Model that I bought in 97 for $400 NIB. Of course, they’re considerably more than that now. The gun has been terrific and remains one of my all-time favorites. I think SA is having more quality control problems with the “Loaded” line.

With your permission, I will be happy to publish your critique on The Sight. I think these folks need to be held accountable for their customer support.

As I said in my first response to you, I was at a match recently at which I witnessed one SA fresh from the custom shop that was a total jam-o-matic. The user was not a newbie. He’s a decorated Nam vet, a colonel in the Army Reserve, and actually held a position all night against the NVA with only a 1911 because they had used up all of their rifle ammo. If he couldn’t get the gun to run, I would tend to blame the gun.

JB: Feel free to publish my critique on your site. Incidentally, it now shoots to point of aim, and groups are 2 inches at 15 yds. It looks and feels great. But Springfield didn’t make that happen — I did.

Comments, suggestions, contributions? Let me know