Gun Review: Springfield Range Officer

Specifications

  • Caliber: .45 ACP
  • Frame material: forged steel
  • Slide material: forged steel
  • Barrel length: 5.0” Stainless Steel Match Grade
  • Hammer: Lightweight Delta
  • Sights: Fully Adjustable Target
  • Trigger: 5-6lb. Long, Lightweight Speed
  • Recoil System: Standard Guide Rod
  • Mag-Well: Beveled
  • Capacity: 7+1
  • Weight: 40oz.
  • Overall length: 8.5in.
  • Overall height: 5.5in.
  • Other Features: Beavertail Grip Safety & Lowered/Flared Ejection Port
  • MSRP: $977

Thoughts: As a full-sized 1911 goes, right out of the box the Range Officer (RO) doesn’t seem all that impressive. However, the RO was Springfield’s attempt to provide match-grade quality into a 1911, without all the frivolous add-ons that often incur significant cost. The end result is an impressive 1911 that has a high-level of accuracy and function that can provide those looking to make entry into three-gun or pistol matches. Springfield has a longstanding history of top quality products and the RO is a continuation of that promise.

Pros: The RO comes in a single-stack with a cocobolo wood grip in diamond pattern cut, and the Springfield Arms cross cannon logo. Overall, the grip width measures 1.25” that has both thickness for a comfortable grip and long enough for a variety of hand sizes between both men and women. The grip has a rear strap that is checkered, and a high beaver tailed grip that also helps mitigate the large recoil normally associated to full-sized 1911s. The trigger is skeletonized with a serrated face that adds to the shooters sense of touch, paticurly when sweaty or shooting with gloves. This is beneficial as the RO has a very crisp trigger pull with no notable slop. The safety of the RO is also reversible to accommodate both left and right-handed shooters. One easily observed difference is the sights on the RO which is a block notch/blade system that allows for full adjustments to the shooters profile in both windage and elevation. The other Pro I noted was the serrations in the rear of the slide are large enough to sufficiently assist in charging the slide to the rear while the tolerances of the upper slide to the body are of such tight measurements that dramatically improve the pistol’s accuracy over comparable 1911’s with more play between the two. 

Cons: The most notable drawback to the RO that I have noticed is the sight blade itself. When drawing a solid sight picture to the target, the flat unmarked plane of the rear sights makes it difficult to immedatly locate the front (again unmarked) sight for alignment. Most 1911’s have a three dot sighting mechanism that allows for rapid sight picture but the ROs lack that. This problem is only exacerbated when shooting at a black bullseye target. Also, the main drawback to the RO is a common one to 1911’s – the single stack ammunition capacity. The RO holds 7+1 rounds of .45 ACP and while it comes with two factory magazines, in competitions you will burn through those 14 rounds pretty darn quick. A number of folks see the $977 price tag of the RO as high for a 1911 when considering the variety of other models out there for a few hundred dollars less, but when you compare those to the RO you will find that they often lack many of the competition level adaptations the RO comes with. So the cost is offset with what is gained in the RO that offers improved function, reliability, and accuracy when considering a top-level competition gun can easily delve into the 2k range and beyond.

Overall I am very pleased with the RO, it functions consistently…following one adjustment. When I first got the RO it was having an issue effectively ejecting the last round in the magazine. The casing would jam in the upper slide to effectively render the entire pistol inoperable. When my gunsmith looked at it he discovered the ejector was so lose as to basically just be hanging there and not in fact engaging the casing after firing. A quick adjustment and the issue was resolved. So be aware there may need to be some minor adjustments after purchase. The other thing I was really pleased for was the sights were just dead on right out of the box. I didn’t have to adjust the sights although they allow for complete adjustments and they were very accurate.

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6 thoughts on “Gun Review: Springfield Range Officer

    • I believe it follows the old Series-70 platform, but Springfield has done enough to offer their own twist. They have defiantly modified key components more for competition-level quality like the trigger/safety components and sight. But otherwise the rest I think its the same.

      • More than likely it will be a competition oriented Series-70. On the streets, when the 9mm pilot program was first introduced in the 1990s (NYC), I carried for a brief period of time a 10mm Colt Delta Elite, as that was Series-80, and supposedly obtained in the same lot of pistols Colt made for FBI use. The concern was of accidental or unintentional discharge(s) of the Series-70, could not happen with the firing pin block of the Series-80. I knew a bit more than the Range Instructors because I questioned the 10mm after reading up on it, and was pleased. On the range, it was powerful and accurate with Norma ammunition. The range personnel said, “9mm, 10mm, it’s the same thing. What’s one millimeter different?”. It ballistically rivaled the .41 Magnum. They somehow caught on, when somebody fired one and made a big What-to-Do, then started soaking phonebooks that were duct taped together, and the guy asks me to go to the local shooting range with him. I just smiled, but he felt compelled to make Chief with revelation and the 10mm was divested and I then was testing the Ruger P-85 9mm, which was okay but accuracy was nothing near the Colt O-frame. Personally, in a real world carry situation, I prefer the Series-80 for personal reasons, which are, safety and liability. Never had a Series-70 go helter-skelter, but have handled some very poor overtuned competition Series-70s that people carried, and one guy, had two accidental discharges with the same gun but refused to service the trigger weight.

      • I think what Springfield wanted was something to keep consistent with the Colt look and feel, but basically everything else inside is totally match grade. I haven’t had any failure issues so far and the tolerances seem very, very tight. I like your “What’s the difference” story as it reminds me of one I recently had that would make for entertaining posting…

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