by Sgt. R.K. Campbell
|The Colt 1911 pistol is approaching the 100-year mark, but it appears there won't be any new 1911s coming from Hartford. It is a good bet the Colt's record for long service life won't be bested by any handgun. A few have enjoyed long production, but the Colt 1911 is in front line service.
At least 15 manufacturers of various size are making Colt clones or near clones-knockoffs if you will. But the reason the 1911 remains so popular is because of its fine characteristics. Reliability, excellent safety features, speed into action, accuracy, and a fight-stopping cartridge are the Colt's strong points. It is the standard by which all others are judged, a handgun designed in a day when the tactical took precedence over the technical.
|At the very top of the list of modern 1911 makers is Springfield Inc. (420 West Main St., Dept. GWK, Geneseo, IL 61254; phone: 800-680-6866; on-line: springfield-armory.com). This firm manufactures 1911 pistols from top quality materials, with attention to detail. Many of the features of the Springfield line are found only on custom handguns.
But Springfield has changed that. They still offer a basic model, but the improved models offer a good buy in today's marketplace. The Springfield covered in this report is a middle type of gun, with some features but not all offered by this firm.
Among the best features are the beavertail grip safety and high visibility sights. There is an extra set of cocking grooves near the muzzle as well, to aid in administrative and combat handling. The gun is offered in stainless steel at a slight tariff. Overall, they're nice guns at a reasonable price. The matte-finished model is a functional looking gun but the stainless version is an outstanding, attractive handgun in every way.
|Of course, the real test is how a gun shoots. Anyone who has had a bad experience with a 1911 clone and damned the breed right off should take a hard look at the Springfield. The Springfield pistol is proof that the 1911 is still among our top handguns when done right. I fired the blue steel model extensively, working it out not only in bullseye drills but also in fast combat shooting. The 1911 excels at fast work, more so than any other handgun. I was not disappointed.
But the main point is that in some 850 rounds fired, there was not a single failure to fire. Since all rounds fired were of Black Hills manufacture, ammunition failure was not expected nor experienced.
From 185-grain hollow point ammunition and 230-grain round-nose ball ammunition to the estimable 230-grain hollow point, no malfunctions of any type were experienced. Close-range, drill-double and triple taps and hostage rescue drills were aced to 15 yards. The high visibility sights simply stood on the target and stayed down. Sight picture was excellent. Proper sight alignment was up to the shooter.
Both Springfields had smooth triggers with little or no creep. Trigger compression broke the sear at about 5 pounds-just about perfect for a service pistol.
Slow fire groups with Black Hill's excellent 230-grain lead round-nose loading produced dispersion of 2 inches at 25 yards, more than adequate for what this gun will be called upon to do. The 890 fps, 230-grain hollow point gave one exemplary 2-inch group, but most clustered a little larger. This is a fine defense load for the .45 ACP that must be respected. The 230-grain JHP showed a full powder burn in the Springfield's 5-inch barrel, with little muzzle flash and almost no unburned powder.
Is the gun perfect, then? Almost, for a 1911. The trigger is excellent for a factory product but could be better, and will be with sufficient effort by a competent gunsmith. The matte finish gun will probably wear more quickly than a conventional blue-finished gun. The stainless .45 is definitely the first choice for arduous chores and outdoors work. But overall we find these handguns wonderful additions to the 1911 tribe.
|While testing this new handgun, I carried it in an inside-the-waistband holster from AKJ Concealco (PO Box 871596, Dept. GWK, Vancouver, WA 98687). This firm offers excellent holsters at a reasonable price.
Important for such a large gun, this holster's belt loops are offset away from the body. They are also reversible for left- or right-hand wear. The holster features a strong spine and excellent molding. I was very pleased with the speed and comfort offered by this finely crafted holster. Concealment under even a light T-shirt was good.
Check these 1911s out at your local Springfield dealer, or contact the company at the address/phone/website listed at the beginning of this report.
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