Although it’s my job to be subjective, I’ll be the first to admit that I am a bona fide Savage Fanboy. My first and current precision rifle came from the Massachusetts-based manufacturer, as did my personal hunting rifle and a number of the guns that we loan in our courses at Renaissance Firearms Instruction. The reason? They work. I’m sure a lot of shooters out there feel the same way, and Savage’s sales are only limited by its selection. Therefore, it only made sense for it to expand into shotguns and now for 2022, defensive pistols. Meet the Stance, a 9mm semi-automatic modular masterpiece.
Interestingly enough, the Stance isn’t Savage’s first carry pistol. Previously, it made pocket pistols dubbed the 1907 and 1917, which was the last time they were in the semi-auto handgun business. After getting to test fire the Stance briefly when it was first introduced, I knew that I was going to need one to put through some more dynamic testing.
Savage offers the Stance in all-black, flat dark earth and a slick-looking grey. In addition to those good looks, Savage also gives you your choice of tritium night sights or simple 3-dot sights, with or without a Viridian E-Series Red Laser. The buyer also gets to decide if they want a manual safety or not on the gun, something that might be the final deciding factor for a concealed carry practitioner.
A few words on manual safeties: There are two schools of thought. One group likes to leave nothing to chance and prefers the security of a mechanism that stops the trigger from moving, even if it does add an extra step to their presentation. The other thinks that extra step might be just long enough to get you into trouble in a life or death situation and prefer to omit it. Both camps are right, you just need to decide how you feel. As a lefty, I tend to lean towards “no manual safety.” A safety on the “wrong” side might as well be a combination lock. However, the Stance’s optional safety is fully ambidextrous, just like its slide stop and magazine release.
As my previous experience was limited to shooting off of a table, I wanted to see how the Stance came up out of a holster, as well as how well it digested defensive ammunition. At Media Day we had light practice fodder to send downrange and although economical, it isn’t a fair representation of its intended use. Therefore, I set out with Winchester’s new hard-hitting USA Ready Defense load to give the Stance a more thorough test of balance and recovery. This new +P round features Winchester’s Hex-Vent technology that prevents clogging through the use of a rigid plastic insert. This provides a more reliable expansion, ensuring that the bullet stops in its intended target. After adding a simple, pancake-style universal holster to my belt, I was all set to belly up to the firing line.
My first order of business was to determine the gun's accuracy with this ammunition, as well as to confirm that the sights were straight. After running a box of ammo down the barrel I was able to indeed confirm that they hit their point of aim—if a tad high. Moving over to a rested position, I produced five five-shot groups that ranged from 1.29 inches to 2.86 inches, yielding an average 7-yard accuracy of 2.03 inches. I was more than happy with that from a defensive pistol shooting defensive ammo, as both are built for utility, not precision.
From there, it was time to get in some practical use on a full-sized IPSC silhouette by testing how the gun pointed and recovered during a speedy double-tap. With the holster configured for outside-the-waistband (OWB) use, I was able to get a single round on target in as little as 1.11 seconds, and a controlled pair on steel in as little as 1.42 seconds.
Overall, the gun felt just as balanced and easy to control as it did the day I fired standard ball ammo out of it, with not a finger losing place during recoil. Of course, the other half of this equation was the fine texturing pattern that Savage picked for the Stance, as well as the pronounced bump on the front strap that fills up the typical void in your shooting hand.
I finished the day off by setting up the holster for inside-the-waistband (IWB) and appendix carry, and found both to be comfortable and easily accessible. When drawing from these positions I appreciated the low-profile, recessed controls that didn’t snag on anything that I was wearing.
I also liked that the gun came with both an easily concealable seven-round magazine and a highly controllable eight-round magazine; there’s a 10-rounder available for purchase as well. This will undoubtedly prove to be invaluable when trying to perfect concealability to your style of dress for any given day. MSRP $479; SavageArms.com