Saturday, October 27, 2018

Springfield Armory Range Officer 5" .45 ACP 1911-A1 Review

The last time I fired a 1911-A1 was around 1990, one of the few still in the inventory of the Army National Guard. It rattled like spoons in a bag. When I asked about the rattle I was told "It's worn-out...”

(Of course that's not correct, but I doubt the sergeant issuing the weapons knew any better. I certainly didn't. Plus, tankers lump military sidearms with bayonets and gas masks -- annoying, unnecessary gear that only to adds weight and turn-in cleaning time. So handgun qualification was a required formality that simply got in the way of real training).

US Government Issue M1911A1 and Holster
After a dalliance with .40 caliber Glocks, my civilian carry choice shifted to 9mm due to the availability and price of practice ammo, the capacity of 9mm magazines and the quality and ergonomics of the small, concealable 9mm handguns becoming available (such as the 2006 Smith and Wesson M&P9c, and the 2007 Walther PPS).

While the newer guns are nice, if you're an American interested in handguns you really need a 1911 that fires .45 ACP. John Browning's 1911 is the sine qua non of American handheld firepower. In these times of American resurgence, doesn't it make sense to load and shoot .45 ACP? And shouldn't those .45 230 grain FMJ bullets travel through the barrel of a 1911-A1?

Of course.
John Moses Browning wants you to own a 1911. Listen to John Moses Browning.
It doesn't take long to be overwhelmed by the variety of current 1911 choices: Wilson Combat, Les Baer, Dan Wesson, Colt, Sig Sauer, Smith and Wesson, Kimber, Springfield Armory, and many others.

We are living in the golden age of 1911, with many, many excellent builders.

After many hours viewing various models and eventually adjusting to fiscal realities (superfine quality isn't cheap!), I settled on either a Kimber or Springfield Armory.

Eventually, Springfield Armory (SA) won me over to the Range Officer (RO) with its parkerized finish, standard features, and no-nonsense look.

It helped that each model was the bottom on the cost scale, but I would rather buy a quality foundation and add the custom items I want, rather than paying upfront for items the vendor thinks I might want. The consensus among the more knowledgeable is that a SA RO is a good base from which to build up. The fundamentals are there.

So I plunked down an order with on Friday. The following Wednesday the SA Range Officer arrived at my favorite FFL (Charlie Smithgall, former mayor of Lancaster, Pennsylvania, cannon enthusiast, and pharmacist).

I took it home, opened up the very nice case, and was pleased to see a very large, very utilitarian-looking pistol. The RO is no display piece -- the Parkerized finish means business.

According to Calvan, a company that sells parkerizing kits,"Parkerizing or Phosphating is a Metal Finish that really gained in popularity during WW2 when the US Government was looking to replace the typical blued finish on most small arms with a Rust Resistant and Anti Reflective Finish that would be both Durable and Abrasion Resistant and hold up in all weather extremes, for this they chose Parkerizing or Phosphating."

NOTE: It's important to note that Parkerizing is intended to be oiled, but this is not mentioned in the SA Owners Manual. I have been using CLP and it seems to be working fine.
The pistol feels right in the hand. The longer, higher beavertail is welcome over the MIL-SPEC original. The grips are very nice. The sights are -- fine. But I plan to to replace them.

After a few hours getting familiar with the firearm I re-learned how to tear it down (simple, once you get it). I cleaned everything, put it back together, function-checked, and got ready to head to the range.

I'll write up a range report in a follow-up post.

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Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment! I appreciate your comments and will review and post if appropriate.

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