Guns and Gear

Springfield Armory Echelon Upgrades

You’ve made the plunge and added the Springfield Echelon to your gun collection. You enjoy shooting the gun, and it has proved to be both accurate and reliable. But now, you want to make it unique with your own features and enhancements.

The Springfield Armory Echelon has a wide range of upgrade options including a wide base of third-party support. Shown is a Patriot CNC Performance Compensator. Image: Patriot CNC

So, what kind of modifications should you consider? Let’s take a look at some of the Springfield Armory Echelon upgrades that are available today.

[Don’t miss Massad Ayoob’s Springfield Echelon review.]

Echelon Three-Dot Tritium Night Sights

Standard Echelon pistols come standard with, in my opinion, the best handgun sights available on a factory handgun: the Springfield Armory U-Dot sights. However, I recognize that some shooters might want something different. If three-dot night sights are more your thing, this might be a great option.

Echelon night sights
Springfield Armory offers three-dot night sights for the Echelon. These sights are rugged and excellent for use in low-light situations.

Springfield offers a set of iron night sights that use a three-dot configuration. The set is available directly from Springfield Armory, so you know that it will fit your gun perfectly. You can also purchase the pistol configured with these as well.

The sights use sealed vials of tritium that glow in low- and no-light conditions. Tritium is a safe radioactive material that self-illuminates for more than 10 years, meaning there are no batteries to replace. Each vial is ringed by white paint that allows you to get a fast sight picture in bright conditions as well.

The forward edge of the rear sight has a 90˚ angle that allows you to manipulate the slide one-handed. Additionally, the sights are available in three heights including two that are tall enough to co-witness with a number of red dot optics including the Leupold DeltaPoint.

Springfield 4.5” Threaded Barrel

More than ever, shooters are adopting sound suppressors to protect their hearing and ensure polite practice in built-up areas. Suppressors are an important safety tool that have become more common in the shooting world. However, using one requires the use of a threaded barrel.

factory threaded barrel for Echelon pistol
Threaded barrels are needed for the easy addition of a muzzle device like a suppressor or compensator.

While Springfield offers a threaded barrel model Echelon, if you want to upgrade to a threaded barrel on your standard Echelon, Springfield Armory has you covered.

Currently, the company offers a 4.5” threaded barrel for the Echelon. It is a drop-in replacement, meaning that any gun owner can swap it out — where legally allowed — in the time it takes you to field strip the Echelon. No need to replace the recoil spring assembly or anything else.

Once installed, you can attach any muzzle device compatible with 9mm cartridges that uses 1/2” x 28 threads. For a lot of shooters, that muzzle device will be a suppressor. But, you can also add a compensator to mitigate muzzle flip during recoil. A comp can keep your gun flatter during rapid fire, making comps very appealing to competition shooters.

NDZ Performance Lo-Pro Magwell

Looking for a way to improve your reload speed? A flared magwell might be what you are seeking. While many magwells are large and oversized for maximum effectiveness, they are largely relegated to use in competition. NDZ Performance now offers one for the Echelon designed for concealed carry.

NDZ magwell for Echelon
Flared magwells are great, but are often too bulky for CCW. NDZ Performance has an option that is easy to install and works great for concealed carry. Image: NDZ Performance

NDZ Performance developed the Lo-Pro Magwell to offer a wide mouth that helps to funnel magazines home during a stressful encounter. Yet, the overall size remains compact to avoid creating any unusually large bumps or protrusions under a cover garment.

Made in the United States, the Lo-Pro Magwell is an anodized aluminum part crafted for regular use. The company backs it with a lifetime warranty against all manufacturing defects. It is compatible with all of the Echelon backstraps and is considered a drop-in part.

NDZ Performance offers four color options on the Lo-Pro Magwell. Black might be the most popular, but the company also offers anodized finishes in silver, red and gold. While I like the red’s distinctive color, I’d likely use black on any defensive pistol I carried.

Apex Tactical Specialties Extended Magazine Release

The Apex Tactical Extended Mag Release provides a shorter reach for dropping a mag. This can be a significant benefit to anyone with smaller hands, while also being appealing to a wide range of shooters.

Apex Tactical magazine release for the Echelon
If you would like a little extra height on your magazine release, take a look at this option from Apex Tactical. Image: Apex Tactical

The Apex magazine release is single-sided. While you do lose the ambidextrous nature of the stock magazine release, the Apex mag release is reversible. You can set it up on the left or right side depending on your needs.

The Apex Extended Mag Release is machined steel with three planes and a checkered face to ensure your thumb positively engages the button. For the right look and corrosion resistance, the company uses a Black Armorlube finish that is very tough.

Tyrant CNC Echelon Magazine Extension

It doesn’t matter if your Echelon is a competition gun, home defense tool or duty weapon carried while in uniform — more ammunition is “more better.” Standard capacity magazines with flush-fitting bases hold 17 rounds of 9mm. With the factory magazine extensions, you get a total of 20 rounds into each stick.

Tyrant CNC magazine extensions
Add up to five additional rounds to your stock Echelon magazines with these kits from Tyrant CNC. They come with a +5 extension and a +10% power spring. Image: Tyrant CNC

Tyrant CNC squeezes even more rounds into those factory tubes with its new “+5” Echelon Magazine Extension. These CNC machined magazine bases are direct replacements for any 17- or 20-round factory magazines. They increase magazine capacity by five rounds where legally allowed. One note — since the 20-round factory magazines are 17-round bodies with a +3 extension, you get an effective +2 upgrade if you swap over to these.

These extensions are made of T6061 aluminum with a hardcoat anodized finish, so they should hold up to regular training and use. Tyrant CNC includes a +10% power spring with the extensions to ensure reliable feeding and slide lock after the last round is fired.

Patriot CNC Performance Compensator

Looking for a flatter shooting gun when running and gunning? If you have the threaded barrel kit I mentioned earlier in the article, Patriot CNC has the Performance Compensator that might be the ideal match for your needs.

Patriot CNC Performance Compensator for Echelon
The Patriot CNC Performance Compensator offers an incredibly compact muzzle device for your Echelon. Image: Patriot CNC

Designed for the Echelon’s factory threaded barrel, this comp will run reliably with the stock recoil spring assembly and 115-gr. ammunition despite being described as the shortest comp on the market for this handgun. Installed, the Performance Compensator only adds 1.175” to the overall length of the pistol — roughly a quarter inch beyond the bezel of a mounted SureFire X300 pistol light.

The Performance Compensator closely matches the look of the Echelon to give it a factory option look. It is fairly easy to install using a bit of blue Loctite and a hex key (Allen wrench) for the set screws. If you would prefer porting to a comp, Patriot CNC provides this work as well in its Stillwater, Oklahoma shop.

Final Thoughts

While the gun is relatively new to the market, the support for the Echelon is impressive. Take a look at my Springfield Echelon holsters article for more examples of industry support.

The Echelon upgrades in this article are just the tip of the iceberg. There are more products coming all the time — everything from triggers to magazine extensions and more. I look forward to everything the industry is bringing to the market this year and beyond for the Echelon.

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