Springfield Armory 1911A1

I had been packing black tactical pistols for years and was getting a little tired of them. Sure Glocks and HKs are fantastic plastic... but I wanted a change. I also wanted a .45 so the choice was easy. That meant a 1911. I looked at several makes and models... I studied all the pretty useless articles in all the gun rags and came no closer to what I would call a choice. Picking a 1911 can be a chore - they are all good. I had to write down a list of things I wanted in my 1911 specifically. It was a short list. Reliability, stainless steel, "beavertail" grip safety, Novak sights, and an extended safety. There are a lot of other "options" but these were the only ones that I wanted.

The Springfield Armory "Loaded Model" 1911A1 fit the bill perfectly. Some people have expressed that this pistol is not reliable... this is not the case. It is very reliable and has not failed me when using quality "duty load" ammo. It has balked just a couple of times using some very poorly rolled handloads... but I will not fault the pistol for that. Using factory I have fired about 4,000 rounds with out a single stoppage of any kind.

Accuracy is good but not exceptional... but then again this pistol is 1/2 the price of the premium grade 1911s. A 25 yard 3 inch group is perfectly acceptable at this level. That shot group was done with 230 Federal Hydra Shoks. I get better groups now with Hornady Custom loads... but Hornady is another subject all together.

Ergonomics is great, as in any 1911. The problem that the Springfield has is that some people find that it has "Sharp Edges". The edges could be considered sharp at the serrations, but I find this more of an advantage than a problem. The sharp edges are not going to cut you or your holster but will allow you to get a good grip on the slide to cycle the action despite wet conditions, mud, grease, or gloves. If these edges are too sharp for you - you can "break" the edges with just a few minutes of your time and a small file. That is, if you have the gun in Stainless so that your finish isn't damaged.

One problem I have with this particular pistol is that these Novak's I have on it are Plain Jane - and the flat black color blends in with targets instead of contrasting. A simple swipe of red nail polish on the front of the front sight lets you find that front site post on any target field or range. I am planning on getting a set of Ashley Outdoors Express Sights installed by a good gunsmith. These are the finest handgun sights you can get. Period.

Grips are just fine as they come stock - Cocobolo wood with nice grain. You can't complain about them... However they are almost always the first to go. Why? Customization. That's the American way. I went through 4 different grips searching for a set that gave me the look and feel that I wanted. I settled on a set of cherry-wood grips that have a smooth finish and the raven logo of Gunsite.  To keep a good grip on the smooth wood, I have the Pearce Grips "Modular" rubber finger grooves that install under the wood ones and wrap around the front strap to give you a comfy and cushy recoil absorbing and finger locking grip.  This modular piece also makes the grips just a little fatter giving you a nice full grip that I like, but some people would find problematic.

Magazines. These are the weak link in this pistol. I am not a fan of the Colt pattern followers that Springfield uses. Metalform, Mec-Gar, or Wilson Combat all use better followers that let the pistol achieve the best reliability with all ammo types. If you want a gun for Defense or Duty - New magazines or followers are essential.


January 4th 2002 - I've talked before in the main news section of sending the pistol back to Springfield.  I've put about 600 rounds through it since getting the gun back and have some comments.  First off, the gun really is much more accurate.  The problem is that my eyesight has slipped somewhat and I am not able to easily get the front sight lined up consistently on target.  This is frustrating to me on a very high level.  I can't fault the gun - its me, baby... all me.  I have got to get in to an Optometrist and get my eyes checked and get a new scrip for my glasses.  Secondly, I have had 2 stoppages.  These piss me off.  One was when another fellow was shooting it, a failure to fire.  Another was when I was shooting it and it was failure to return fully to battery.  A whack to the rear of the slide made it return to battery just fine - but the fact that it did that is what was annoying.  My confidence in this gun has slipped.  I have 3 options:  1. Have a gunsmith polish the rails to smooth the action and put in some heavier springs.  2. Just sell the damn thing and get an HK USP.  3. Just deal with it and fire a bunch more rounds through it and hope it gets better.  I'll have to decide on this some other time.