By Brandon Butler, Chief Instructor, TRS
At first glance the 1911 range officer looks like any other classically design 45. It has the classic look, feel, and function of the original 1911. Springfield Armory went one up and gave this 1911 features that make it well worth the price point. Right out of the box, er…case, I was impressed with its look, feel and performance. The additions of an extended beaver tail safety, adjustable sights, delta hammer, over sized safety, match grade barrel and the adjustable trigger made this a highly accurate, competition ready pistol right for under $850. As a budget minded shooter, it was a big decision to drop that kind of cash on a pistol. I have been shooting Glock, Smith and Wesson, Ruger and Taurus for a long time. I always felt the reliability and price point of these firearms made it easier for a “frugal” person like me. When reading reviews online and in magazines I always saw it as a pipe dream for me to actually own most of the firearms I see reviewed. Since most professional reviewers get “pro” or “press” deals, it isn’t like they are actually dropping the cash to get one and don’t have the commitment that comes with a bad purchase. With that said, once I handed over the retail price cash it was a decision I had to live with…it is one I do not regret.
Via the Springfield Armory website, the Range Officer’s concept was “to give the shooter exceptional quality at an affordable price. ” Something I tuned into quickly. Their stated goals “were to create a pistol that was acceptable in many different shooting style competitions, which would allow the owner to choose what competitive level works best for them.” They most definitely accomplished this with the 1911 Range Officer.
The pistol came in a nice hard case with foam cutouts. This package included the pistol, two magazines (7 round), a paddle holster, magazine holster and cleaning kit.
I was impressed with the classic and elegant look of the RO right out off the bat, what
I didn’t expect is the performance it gave with no dialing in. The feel of this .45 was well designed and fit my hands like a 1911 should. My thumb did have a hard time making it to the magazine release and the slide release was tough to activate with my shooting hand. The slide release may be something that is corrected with use or an extended release and the magazine release may be easily corrected with thinner grips or a thumb cutout. Smaller handed shooters may want to opt for lower profile grips with a thumb cutout to make this pistol really perform.
The biggest thing I noticed from the RO was the recoil…more specifically the lack of it. This pistol tamed the .45 cartridge and handed out surprising accuracy I have not seen in an out of the box pistol that was under $1000. Although my experience with .45 1911’s is limited, the recoil felt more like my Glock 17 9mm than the large caliber of the 1911. I was able to punch out a hole in the target from various distances with ease and accuracy. The target sights are made up of a wide rear sight and standard front post, the only drawback being that both are black with no color or dots. This did become an issue when I did speed drills, as finding the front sight in the large rear post became a little slower. This is easily corrected with a little white or yellow paint on the front sight. I am also looking into a change in grips, as the RO standard grips (while extremely nice looking) are a little bulky when attempting to work the slide and magazine release in speed drills. Overall this pistol performed perfectly out of the box.
We picked up our Springfield Armory 1911 Range Officer at an price of $800. This seems to be the average price point for this pistol in the package with the holster and accessories. Being a reviewer who pays full price for most of my firearms, I would say this investment is well worth the overtime worked to get this great pistol. I look forward to using this in my next competition and seeing if my accuracy improves from my G17. Until then…get yourself to the range and train often, one day it can save your life.