Springfield Armory Range Officer 9mm 1911 Review

It’s finally here, our final review of the Springfield Armory Range Officer 9mm 1911. Let’s first start off with the scoring system, which to refresh your memory starts all guns with a maximum score of 100 points, then deducts points as various things go wrong. The Range Officer had 7 failures that were counted against the gun, lowering the score to 93. It also failed the 10-8 Performance function test, dropping the score to 83. Finally, it had one armorer level repair issue, namely that the rear sight pin would walk out of the rear sight under sustained rapid fire. That gives us a final score of 78/100, making this a solid C+ gun.

What’s interesting about the tests is that while the Springfield did out-perform the Taurus, it didn’t do it by nearly the margin I thought it would. The RO costs as near as makes no difference 250 dollars more at retail than the Taurus, but I honestly didn’t see $250 worth of performance increase. Yes, the RO was more reliable, and yes it was more accurate to shoot groups with, but the RO brand new is a $750-$800 gun, and the Taurus is a $500 gun. If the RO had finished in the mid to high 80s, which is where I expected it to finish, we wouldn’t be having this conversation, because $750 is a perfectly reasonable price for a B+ gun.

I did change the stocks out on the Range Officer during the test; obviously if you follow this blog or my Instagram you saw the issues with had with the factory stocks and the foolishness of the previous owner. I actually really like the Magpul 1911 grips, they’re grippy without being too aggressive, and they have a huge thumb relief cut to make accessing the magazine release easier. Plus, they’re affordable. $15 is a pretty good price.

One thing I did love about the Range Officer was how accurate it is. This gun shoots.

Springfield RO 25 yard timed fire group

That’s a timed fire group (5 shots in 20 seconds) from the Range Officer, shot at 25 yards a B-8 target. The “black” of a B-8 is 5.5 inches, and with the exception of that one little flier in the 9, all of those are 10s in the much smaller circle. This gun shoots well. The only real criticism I have of it is the tendency towards light primer strikes with hard-primered ammo like Tula or Fiocchi, both of which I had issues with. The easiest way to solve that of course is not use that ammo with this gun, which is exactly what I’ll do moving forward. With some minor tweaks to the recoil system, and the addition of a magazine well, this would make a pretty solid choice for USPSA Single Stack, and might even be decent if I pressed into service as a Bianchi Cup gun.

As it stands now, the Springfield Armory RO sits at a distance second place behind Tim’s Wilson Combat 9mm 1911, which scored a perfect 100/100 on our test. Up next is either the Armscor 1911 or the Dan Wesson, and to be honest I’m having trouble picking which one.

Springfield Armory Range Officer 1911 9mm: Halfway there

Last night I ran the Springfield Armory RO through another 350 rounds of ammo, bringing the running total to an even 1,000. As usual, I shot Dot Torture at 5 yards to open up, and because I was feeling speedy I tried to shoot it fast; ended up dropping 3 shots for a 47/50. What I’ve established with Dot Torture is that when I take my time and shoot it for max accuracy with this gun I can clean it on command. When I speed up and try to shoot it quick…things start to fall apart. It’s always in the same place, on the strings with transitions.

In order to work on my transitions, I spent the end of my practice time working on the iHack. This drill is hard, you’re shooting at tiny-ass little targets with a relatively tight par time. Even when you delete the timer and just try to self-pace yourself for a balance of speed and accuracy, it’s easy to mess this drill up. As you can see in the video, on three consecutive runs from the Safariland 1911 ALS I’m using I went 6/9, 8/9, and ohmygodwhy/9 on the final run. The best way to work up through this drill is to start aimed in on the targets, and if you can hit the par time from there, go to whatever ready position you use, and if you can hit the par time from there, go to the holster. Right now my skill level is in between low-ready and holster; I can pass the drill routinely from the low ready, and I’m about 50-60% from the holster. My issue is I’m slow on the first shot, so I then tend to rush the transitions to make up for lost time, and things kind of fall apart when you do that.

The gun itself had another malfunction on round 800something. This was a failure to return to battery during a SHO string of fire I was doing. Ammo was PMC 115 grain 9mm, corrective action was to spank the magwell like it was naughty. One of the things I’ve noticed about the RO is that it’s very sensitive to running without adequate amounts of lubrication, and for whatever reason this gun likes to have a lot of lubrication on it. Everything about this gun is, for lack of a better phrase, tight. It seems like this gun is the kind of 1911 that I’ll need to establish a regular lubrication cycle for. No points off for that, but -1 one point for the failure to RTB. Currently the gun’s at 85/100 with 1000 rounds left to go.

Springfield Range Officer 9mm 1911 Update

No video this week, as I was in Des Moines attending a defensive pistol class taught by Melody Lauer (more on that later this week). I did have one malfunction during the class, a classic stovepipe failure to eject during a weak-hand only string. It might be because I was limp-wristing the gun, but it also didn’t happen again during class, so I’m going to go ahead and count it against the pistol. The malf happened with PMC 115 grain FMJ, which I generally really like for practice ammo. It seems to be loaded light, which makes shooting it a lot of fun.

Here’s a quick breakdown on the gear I’ve been using with the Springfield. Unlike the Taurus, I’m carrying the Range Officer, so for EDC I’m using a Shaggy by Custom Carry Concepts. I do like to carry a reload when I run a single stack. When I do carry a reload, I sacrifice a little concealability to get the spare mag in quicker, so right now I’m carrying my spare mag in a simple Blackhawk single stack magazine pouch. While it doesn’t hold the magazine as tight to the body as some other pouches, it does make for a slightly faster reload. It works very well under an open front concealment garment.

One of my shooting goals this year is to take an Ernie Langdon class and take another run at getting a FAST coin. My last attempt for the record was almost four years ago now, and I finished with a 6 and change, which I know I can do better on. To that end, I’m doing most of my training with a retention holster, because if you game out the FAST, an open top retention holster is probably the way to go. Because I like to use the best possible gear, I’m rocking a Safariland ALS.

Right now the Springfield sits at 650 rounds, with a running score on our 1911 scale of 86/100. One thing I have noticed is that it’s much more sensitive to lubrication than the Taurus was. During the class I noticed that slide operation was getting really sluggish, despite having only digested 500ish rounds at that point. So, I lubed it up, and everything was hunky dory again. It’s an interesting data point. Without using actual tools, I can tell you that the SA subjectively feels like it’s tighter than the Taurus was. More shooting this week!

Springfield 1911 9mm Range Officer update

Dropped another 260 rounds through the Springfield Armory 9mm Range Officer, which brings the running total to 510 rounds. Current malfunctions are three failures to extract experienced during the 10-8 Performance Function Test. The gun has had no issues beyond that. If you follow me on instagram, you might have seen I did run into an issue with the pistol, but not one that’s going to cost it any points.

buggered 1911 grip screws

I’ve been carrying the Springfield, because it’s accurate, reliable, and hella fun to shoot, but in my desire to make it a better for carry I decided to put my Crimson Trace 1911 Lasergrip on it. Unfortunately, the previous owner of the pistol (yes it’s a used gun) decided it would be awesome to 1) loctite the grip screws in place, which isn’t always a bad idea, however for whatever reason said previous owner also decided to 2) totally strip the screws out. Why? I have no idea. I suspect that the loctite and the stripping were 100% related, but it still drives me nuts. So to remove the completely buggered allen head screws, I need to get some hex bits, so I can pound one in there and hopefully get enough traction to get these ****ing things out. Then I can put my sweet beams on.

The moral of the story? One, anything other than slotted screws on a 1911 is an abomination unto the Lord and John Moses Browning; two, if you’re going to loctite your grip screws use blue loctite, not red. And don’t strip the ****ing heads!

10-8 Performance Function Test: Springfield Armory Range Officer 9mm 1911

Last night at Badlands Gun Range I ran the Springfield Armory Range Officer through the 10-8 Performance Function Test. The gun had a total of 3 failures to complete its cycle of operations during the test, meaning that it did fail. I shot an additional 200 rounds through the gun with no issues of any type. What does this mean? Not much, the gun clearly wants to have a magazine in it to function, other than that? No issues. We’ll see over the next 1750 rounds!

1911 Torture Test: Springfield Armory Range Officer 9mm

You asked, and I listened. The next gun in the 1911 Torture Test/Review series will be the Springfield Armory Range Officer in 9mm. Right off the bat, there are a few features that I really like: the adjustable sights, the lack of a full length guide rod, and the fact that magazines actually drop free! It’s pretty much ready to go out of the box for use as a carry gun.

To get it ready for competition, I’d want to make two changes: first, I’d ditch the factory stocks and replace them with a set of Hogue 1911 Magrips, which would make the gun easier to grip and easier to reload. You can even get them in red, which is a nice touch. The next thing I’d do would be add a Wilson Combat ambi safety. The reason I want an ambi safety on a competition gun is simple: weak hand only starts. It’s a real pain in ass to do a WHO start with a gun that lacks an ambi safety.

Now, per our 1911 Rating System, these two things that I’d change are not dings against the gun. It’s not an objective system if I start jacking guns up for what amounts to end-user preference. The rating system is designed to focus primarily on mechanical function. I’ll be hitting the range this week with the RO to get it through it’s first evaluation, which will be an accuracy test, and the dreaded 10-8 Function Test.