It’s easy to get sucked into the trap of defining gun models as part of an era. There was the snubby era followed by the 1911 era. Then, ushered in by Glock, came the double-stack polymer era, only to be followed by the single-stack nine era, followed by the “Oops-we-went-too-far-let’s-back-up” micro-nines. So why would Savage, a respected firearms dealer with lots of talent on board, drop a single-stack nine on the market when we’re in the micro-nine double-stack era?
It’s because the whole era thing is nothing but marketing hoopla. In the real world, there’s a place for guns that fit in each of the categories we tend to define. As an example, I have several of those new micro double-stack nines, yet I couldn’t wait to get my hands on a Savage Stance which is a single-stack nine.
I remember when my dad’s six-shot .38 Special was all the handgun I ever thought about carrying. If I needed a handgun, that one would serve the purpose. Of course, my needing a handgun was not so critical back then as it is in these days. When I carried the .38 snubby, I used it as a defensive handgun twice — both times against a water moccasin and both times it was plenty of gun for the task.
I did carry a .38 Special revolver tactically in Vietnam, and when I looked back on it later, it occurred to me had I ever really needed a gun, it wouldn’t have been enough gun. However, that’s neither here nor there. Fortunately, the real need did not occur.
I’m saying all of that to say there will be times and occasions when shooters will look to a single-stack nine for their handgun needs. And when they do, the Savage Stance is one that should be included in the selection process. Now it becomes my mission give you seven reasons why I think it will often be the gun of choice.
Reason One: It’s Pretty
Don’t kid yourself, we all like to own guns that look good and this one has some interesting features that make it look good. There are five extended portholes on each side of the slide that are different and very attractive. The cocking serrations at the rear of the slide are subtle and out of the way except when you need them. Then they are easy to find and grasp.
The sights, oh my! They are huge! Such a treat for my aging eyes. Plus, the ones on my gun are night sights. The grip is ultra-thin with a semi-rough texture interrupted by a pattern that looks like a fish skeleton. It provides excellent purchase.
The trigger is a large, flat design, easy-to-pull with a clean break right at 7 pounds. The trigger guard is undercut just the right amount. The magazine release button and slide stop/release are ambidextrous. The guns featuring an external safety have ambi-safeties as well.
The top of the slide is completely flat with a wide opening for the ejection port. At the rear of that opening is a small port for checking to see if the chamber is loaded.
The gun comes with two magazines. One holds seven rounds. The other magazine holds nine and gives you a good pinkie grip, should you need or desire one. The gun feels better in my hands with the 9-round magazine. The pistol is flat enough that it is certainly no trouble to conceal with the 9-round on board.
Reason Two: Collectability
The Stance is the first handgun Savage has made in about 100 years. That makes it a welcome addition to any collection. The first in anything always has value. Savage has gone further and added quality in every area of manufacture. These guns are built so they will be around for a long, long time.
Reason Three: Shootability
Before leaving the plant, they must dowse each gun with “don’t kick” juice. I’m serious. For the size gun this is, and in a pretty hefty caliber, it’s a joy to shoot. I think it’s a combination of the grip texture and the grip angle, but you can shoot this gun all day and not feel beat up. That’s a particularly important quality in a small gun, many of which are painful to shoot.
Reason Four: Accuracy
This is very important for a small gun. We shot it mostly at self-defense ranges of 7–10 yards. The resulting targets were filled with the kind of tight groups that are necessary in a self-defense gun. The accuracy is aided by a smooth trigger and big, easy-to-see sights.
Reason Five: Concealability
The Stance makes a great pocket gun. Just slip it in any one of the many generic pocket holsters around. It will fit in your jeans pocket such that only you will know it’s there. You’re liable to forget you are carrying it if you don’t remind yourself periodically, “My gun is in my pocket; My gun is in my pocket.”
Reason Six: Dependability
It’s always going to work. It’s just made that way. While it’s true I didn’t shoot it over a long term, the time I did shoot it reflected the inner workings of a well-made gun. Savage’s reputation with its rifles and shotguns helps seal the deal in that respect.
Reason Seven: Reputation
Savage rifles and shotguns have won the hearts of hunters and competitive shooters the world over. If it’s a Savage, everyone knows it can be counted on to do what it was designed to do. With that type of reputation and experience in the long gun world, there’s no doubt it will carry over into the handguns built by one of the world’s foremost manufacturers.
After all the shooting was done, it was left to me to clean the gun. Like so many other pistols, you clear the gun by dropping the magazine, locking the slide back, and triple ensuring the chamber is clear Then, ensure all ammunition is removed from your work area, or better yet, the room. Then, you will rotate the take-down lever 90 degrees clockwise and release the slide. It slides right off.
When you compress the recoil spring to remove it, is when you notice it’s a dual spring job that’s constructed a bit different from the norm. The outer spring can be removed from the recoil rod, but the inner spring is captured in an interesting way. It surrounds a smaller rod that is inserted into the outer rod. That part of the recoil rod and spring assembly is something we mere mortals are not to disassemble according to the warnings in the manual, to which of course I will adhere. It’s interesting and may be one of the secrets to such manageable recoil when the gun is fired.
The barrel lifts out, and gun is now ready for cleaning. The owner’s manual designates seven lubrication points, two on the barrel and five on the lower assembly. Care should be taken to avoid over-lubrication which can collect unburned powder and carbon residue that can interfere with the proper operation of the pistol. This straight from the owner’s manual, but I noticed when the gun came to me it was well lubricated.
When putting the gun back together, the recoil spring presented a bit of a challenge due to my arthritis. It’s a strong spring and the cap on the smaller end has two flat — actually open — sides and two rounded sides. Ensure one of the flat sides is facing up when you insert it back into the gun.
Also, if you have a gun with no manual safety, a couple of the parts that are part of the safety system may provide some extra tension at the right rear of the slide when putting the slide back on. I had to put some extra pressure on them to get them to allow the slide by the first time. You may not encounter this, but if you do, just push and shove until the slide has freedom to move back and forth in that area. The gun is not broken, it’s just tight. Now let’s get to the shootability part of this discussion.
On the first day I shot the Savage Stance, I had two other shooters with me. One was my son, and the other was a friend of his I was taking through the Texas License to Carry Course. After the friend had completed the shooting proficiency portion of the course, we brought out several handguns for him to shoot to help him decide what to get as a carry gun.
While they were doing that little exercise, I ran the Savage Stance through its paces. The question came up, “What are you shooting?” and when I showed them, I didn’t get the gun back until the ammo had run dry and the Texas heat had drained all three shooters in a like manner. We went home without me getting to shoot the Stance as much, as I wanted to, but with the impressions of two additional shooters to add to this report. They liked it.
Okay, they liked it for the same reasons I did. For a small gun, it seems to offer more to hold on to than other guns its size. The sights are amazingly easy to see, and the gun makes any shooter look good when they do their stuff correctly.
A pint-sized powerhouse from a trusted manufacturer, the Savage Stance will certainly be something different from every other shooter on the line. What’s not to like? Share your review or first impression of the Stance in the comment section.