The new Savage Stance is designed to get the job for the concealed carry crowd. Mission accomplished.
by Rob Reaser
With so many striker-fired polymer handguns on the market, it’s becoming increasingly difficult for manufacturers to find new ways to integrate variations on the theme. This is especially true for emerging handguns that have no legacy to build on.
The Savage Stance 9mm, introduced in December of 2021, is one such “emerger.”
Sure, the company produced a nifty little semi-auto in .32 caliber around the turn of the last century called the Model 1907, but that pistol has been out of production for almost 100 years. As firearm platforms go, the Savage Stance is a start-from-scratch model from a company known exclusively by all those alive today for its long guns.
At this point, the mold and the expectations for personal defense handguns are fairly well established. Mostly nuances separate one from another. So it is with the Savage Stance. As a micro-compact 9mm, it comes to the range with all the requisite features and standard methods of operation. If you know your way around a modern pistol, you’ll find no surprises here.
That said, the Savage does stand out from the crowd in subtle ways, as you will soon see.
Billed as a micro-compact, the Stance certainly fits the parameters: 3.2-inch barrel length, 6.2-inch overall length, .96-inch width, and 4.6 inches in overall height. That sub-inch width, while advancing the Stance’s concealed carry mission, comes at a price that is not necessarily expected these days for a micro-compact pistol — a single-stack magazine boasting a 7+1 capacity with the flush magazine or 8+1 with the extended magazine (both magazines are included with the gun).
One of the unexpected differentiators of the Stance, as you’ve probably picked up on by now, is that all controls are ambidextrous. The slide release lever and magazine release button are mirrored on the left and right sides. Ditto for the manual safety in Stance models featuring this option. Left-hand shooters will certainly appreciate this design, and these aren’t unwelcome features for those who practice weak hand shooting.
The grip, while not exactly unique in its profile, is definitely in its own class when it comes to traction. All the critical surface areas are stippled and the texture is downright sticky. Not aggressive to the point of making your hand raw after hours on the range, but enough to provide a confident, no-slip grip whether your hands are wet or dry. The stippling not only fully covers the grip, it also extends across the top of the trigger guard, providing good traction for the support hand. I found this to be another advantage of the Stance when weak-hand shooting. That extra grip seems to mitigate some of the awkwardness because it adds an extra layer of control…at least for me.
Although Savage went with an angular theme for the Stance’s design cues, the gun is surprisingly devoid of harsh, catch-on-everything edging. The Stance presents a smooth glide into and out of the holster, even when pulling from deep concealment. A lot of the credit goes to the minimized operational controls. The slide takedown lever is practically flush with the “frame” (that is in quotes for a reason — more on that in a moment), as is the slide catch/release lever. The safety lever presents minimal protrusion, and is positioned just right to catch the thumb knuckle for easy manipulation.
The magazine release button is also sleekly profiled, but here is where I had a problem. The forward sloping angle of the textured button demands it be pushed below the surface of the grip before the catch releases the magazine. The leverage required to do this caused me to lose my grip position in order to gain the necessary leverage. For quick mag swaps under duress, the Stance falls short.
Slide serrations are positioned fore and aft and, like the grip stippling, offer plenty of grab for charging and clearing the gun. In keeping with the growing trend of porting or skeletonizing slides, the Stance features ports integrated with the forward slide serrations. It’s a nice visual touch that likely offers some measure of barrel cooling during a high-volume range session, but I find such cutouts to be potential entryways for lint and debris in a daily carry gun.
To each his own.
All Stance models come with U-notch rear and front post sights. The standard sight features two white dots on the rear and an orange dot up front. Each model is also available with tritium night sights from TRUGLO for a $69 upcharge. Definitely worth the price of admission for a defensive handgun.
Those of you who’ve handled several brands of striker-fired pistols know that some can be a bit aggravating to break down. Not so the Stance. Simply lock the slide open, rotate the takedown lever, release the slide, and pull it off the chassis. No tools are needed, and you don’t have to pull the trigger.
Here’s where things really get interesting. Unlike most pistols, the Stance is built with a removeable stainless-steel chassis that contains all the operational controls, minus the mag release assembly. The entire control group is secured in the grip (what would be considered the “frame” on most striker-fired polymer pistols) by the takedown lever. Push the lever out of the assembly and the chassis lifts right out, making future grip swaps a breeze. And since the chassis is the serial numbered part of the gun, no FFL paperwork will be required when/if new grips become available.
While the interchangeable grip concept is interesting, I found the real value to this design is that it is much easier to thoroughly clean and lubricate the Stance with the chassis removed from the grip. Savage doesn’t discuss removal of the chassis in the supplied owner’s manual (and probably for good reason) or recommend doing so for routine cleaning and lubricating, but I certainly took advantage of this feature.
The trigger system is single-action-only with no trigger safety. Get the manual safety if you need one or do without. The trigger shoe is a highwater mark for the Stance — rounded and smooth with a wide footprint that provides good leverage and control with no “bite.”
As for its performance, the initial take-up is short and light, and puts you quickly against a well-defined wall. The sear break quality is rather sharp with minimal travel. I say “sharp” because pretty much all the pull weight is stacked against the sear. The recorded pull weight for my test gun was 6-lb., 8.1 oz. over a 10-pull average. For a micro-compact, defensive pistol, there is nothing here to gripe about. You must mean to pull the trigger before the firing pin slams forward, and that’s a good thing. As for the reset, it is a bit too long for my preference, yet the typical shooter will likely lodge no complaints.
On the accuracy front, I tested the Stance for 5-shot groups at 10 yards using Fiocchi 124-gr. FMJ Training Dynamics, Blazer 115-gr. FMJ, Barnaul 115-gr. FMJ, and Black Hills 124-gr. JHP. Of the four, the Blazer FMJ stood out with a “best of” group measuring 2.618 inches. Given the Stance’s 3.2-inch barrel, 4.75-inch sight radius, and micro profile, we’ll call that in the ballpark for a personal defender and certainly good enough to get the job done.
For anyone considering a low-profile, highly concealable defensive pistol that equally serves left- or right-hand shooters, is well-suited for weak-hand operation, and offers features that make it stand out in a crowded field, the Savage Stance is a solid 9mm from a brand that has earned the trust.
Savage Stance Manual Safety FDE Night Sights Specifications
- Action: semi-auto
- Pistol Size: micro-compact
- Caliber: 9×19
- Barrel Length (in)/(cm): 3.2 / 8.128
- Barrel Material: stainless steel
- Magazine Style: single-stack
- Magazine Capacity: (1) 7-rnd., (1) 8-rnd.
- Magazine Release: ambidextrous
- Hand: ambidextrous
- Overall Length (in)/(cm): 6.2 / 15.748
- Overall Width (in)/(cm): 0.96 / 2.438
- Overall Height (in)/(cm): 4.6 / 11.684
- Rate of Twist (in): 1 in 1:10 RH
- Slide Material: steel
- Slide Finish / Color: black nitride
- External Safety: ambidextrous manual thumb safety
- Slide Stop: ambidextrous
- Frame Material: stainless steel chassis
- Grip Material: glass-filled nylon
- Grip Color: FDE
- Trigger Action: single
- Firing Mechanism: striker-fired
- Front Sights: TRUGLO Tritium
- Rear Sights: TRUGLO Tritium
- Sight Radius: 4.75
- Weight (lb)/(kg): 1.375 / 0.62
- MSRP: $548.00