I Carry: Springfield Armory Echelon 9 mm Pistol in a Crossbreed Holster
Firearm: Springfield Armory Echelon (MSRP: $679)
Springfield Armory recently released its new Echelon handgun, a full-size, polymer-frame, striker-fired 9mm pistol built new from the ground-up. With a removable Central Operating Group that contains the trigger and striker, similar to the Beretta APX and SIG Sauer P320, the Echelon’s serialized chassis can be placed into small, medium or large-size grip frames. Additionally, three different backstraps can be interchanged to best fit the Echelon to the shooter’s hand.
The ergonomic features don’t end there, though. Deep serrations intended to aid in charging the pistol are present both fore and aft, with deep grooves both at the front and rear along with a recessed notch ahead of the ejection port and a flared area at the rear of the slide. The grip is textured for optimum purchase without being too aggressive, and this texturing continues throughout the Echelon on levers and indexing points. The magazine release button and slide stop lever are both ambidextrous.
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It’s the top of the slide, though, that’s most interesting in my opinion. The Variable Interface System on the Echelon allows dozens of slide-mounted optics to be installed directly to the slide itself, using Springfield’s self-locking pins. These are configured according to the footprint of the optic, with twin screw holes to match the vast majority of red-dot optics currently on the market. This may be the most comprehensive system for mounting pistol optics we’ve seen to date, and I really like it. It attaches the optic as low as possible, so that suppressor-height sights are not needed to co-witness, and it means no plates, spacers or shims.
Yes, the Echelon is a full-size pistol, but that doesn’t mean it’s impossible to conceal. At 8 inches long, 5.5 inches tall, 1.2-inches wide and weighing 23.9 ounces, the Echelon is comparable to the Glock G17 or full-size Smith & Wesson M&P. It takes a little more care in cover garments than a P365 or J-frame, of course, but that larger size gives 17+1 round capacity and supreme shootability. It’s easy to control, easy to add an optic and feels really good in the hand. I had a chance to run several hundred rounds through an Echelon at an industry event shortly after it launched, and found it fit my hand well and allowed me to make precise hits even as far out as 50 yards. That’s worth a little extra work on concealment in my opinion.
Holster: Crossbreed Rogue (MSRP: $99.95)
Since the Echelon is pretty new, holster fits are a little hard to come by at the moment, but more companies are offering fits pretty much every day. Crossbreed offers its all-Kydex Rogue holster for the Echelon, giving an inside-the-waistband option for those looking to carry the Echelon concealed. A matching magazine carrier is available for the Rogue system, and can be used either separate from the holster or together as a “sidecar” arrangement.
What’s especially nice about the Rogue are the customization possibilities. In addition to the tuckable, Crossbreed-branded steel clips, there are polymer clips, belt loops, J-hooks and even Ulti-clips for maximum concealment. A claw is available to help tuck the rig into the body when worn in the appendix position, and both cant and retention are adjustable. You can even order the hardware in different colors to add a custom touch.
Knife: CRKT Provoke EDC (MSRP: $175)
Rounding out our kit today is the Provoke EDC from Columbia River Knife & Tool company. This innovative folding knife borrows the proprietary Kinematic opening system from the Provoke karambit line and marries it to a 2.5-inch D2 steel, plain-edge blade for everyday use. The Provoke EDC locks open when in use and closes with the push of a lever that releases the Kinematic mechanism.
The lightweight aluminum handle is finished in an eye-catching blue and features a flush-mounted pocket clip for a more low-profile carry. Deploying the Provoke EDC with the Kinematic system is simple, but does take a bit of practice to master. Closing the Provoke EDC, though, is best done with two hands for the most efficient operation. It is definitely a unique and useful addition to your daily kit.
Article by JAY GRAZIO