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New Life for the M1911

by Home Defense Gun Staffer BobM1911

New Life for the M1911

It might be that I’m just getting contrary as the years go by. For some reason the more popular something gets the less interest I seem to be able to muster up for it. It might just be that when something gets popular I get sick of looking at it or start to take it for granted. These days I’m just about worn out on 1911s. I know, it’s crazy. But it’s true.

In my youth, when the 1911 was considered a has-been, I was just nutty for them. I worked like a dog all summer fixing fence and bucking bails on a ranch to afford my first 1911 and then religiously had one strapped to my hip for the next ten years. For a long time a GI 1911A1 was my best friend and I was the only fellow you were liable to bump into still packing one, at least in my neck of the woods. Then a funny thing happened: the 1911 got a second wind.

After years of suffering along with half-blue antique magazines and hard-to-find holsters I woke up one day and the 1911 was a prom queen all over again. Companies like Kimber started turning out match-grade guns as well as carry models and then everyone got on the bandwagon. Pretty soon you couldn’t swing a tanker holster around without hitting a new 1911 from a new company. This was around the time the stubborn streak in me kicked in and I decided to try a few carry guns other than my beloved 1911A1.

As the years went by I found a few 1911s that could still turn my head. I considered a Kimber in 10mm but…eh. When Remington got into the 1911 game I gave their pistol more than a little consideration but…eh. Ruger’s offering sparked my interest for no other reason than I’ve had such great luck with Rugers but…eh. It was beginning to look like a 1911 and me weren’t going to be getting together again.

The Springfield Range Officer

Yes, it appeared that the 1911 and I weren’t going to be an item any longer. Then I ran across the new Springfield Range Officer in 9mm. Maybe it’s a mid-life crisis? I got the chance to shoot one of these fine pistols down at the SHOT Show this year and it’s got me feeling like a teenager again, at least with regards to the 1911.

Up to Competition Shooting

This gun is designed to be a competition-grade 1911 that won’t break the bank — kind of a starter rig if you’re interested in trying a new game — and the 9mm chambering is meant to save beginners the added cost of firing all those rounds of 45 Auto that competition people burn through. The Range Officer locks up tighter than a bank vault door, has a trigger tuned for target work and a very nice set of adjustable sights. While the gun is meant to be a beginner’s outfit, my guess would be that a lot of folks who buy one won’t ever feel the need to switch.

I’ve never had much interest in getting into competitive shooting, mostly because I dislike traveling. If they’d have the matches down the road from my house I’d probably check them out. That having been said, I can’t help but think the Range Officer might serve well in a few other capacities. A 1911 that will pile all its rounds into one ragged hole at 25 yards, with almost no recoil, is just too good to skip. Naturally, the Range Officer could serve as a carry pistol. It’s just as quick-handling as any 1911 and whatever muzzle energy you lose with the 9mm chambering is more than made up for with the gun’s freakish accuracy.

Good for New Shooters

Using the Range Officer as a lower recoil option for introducing shooters to the 1911 isn’t a bad idea, either. Personally, I’d be interested in testing out the Range Officer on some small game and varmints. It seems to me that some cheap 115gr rounds would shoot flat enough, and straight enough, to do some fine work in a gopher field or prairie dog town. Some slightly heavier juiced up handloads might be just the ticket for critters like coyotes or hogs. Yeah, a fellow could have a lot of fun with a 1911 that shoots as well as the Range Officer does.

It’s not every day you find something that can breathe new life into an old obsession. If you’ve been getting a little bored with 1911s, maybe it’s time to check out a rig like the Range Officer. With a pistol like this you can sign up for a shoot, chase cottontails, or just plink at considerably lower cost than you can with your 45. They say you’re never too old to try new things; it might be that in my case I’m not too old to try something twice.

Photo Credit – Springfield Armory

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