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Range Report: Remington R1

Remington R1 pistol left profile

I own a number of nice 1911-type handguns. Several are high-end custom handguns with super fitting; good, tight tolerances; a crisp trigger action; and high-visibility sights. Just the same, the handguns I grew up on were GI .45s, and I remember them fondly. Many have been cut up and new sights installed, and they were otherwise modified. Today, I believe that among the best choices for service and personal defense is a Government Model .45 with high-visibility sights and a good trigger action. Little else is needed to provide excellent self-protection. Among the best choices in modern Government Model-type handguns is the Remington R1.

Sight picture of the Remington R1 pistol
The R1’s sights are good examples of combat sights.

This is a new handgun, not a remake of the Remington UMC-type produced during World War I. And the Remington Rand produced during World War II wasn’t a Remington firearms product at all but made by a typewriter company.

The Remington R1 has been in production for a few years and earned a good reputation. This seemed a good time to revisit the pistol with a new-in-the-box 2019 production pistol.

The R1 is similar in concept and appearance to the Springfield Mil Spec or modern Colt Series 70. This is a pistol with a very nice, evenly applied blue finish and checkered wooden grips.

The pistol features high-visibility sights. Both the front and rear sights are dovetailed in place. The pistol is a standard locked-breech, tilting-barrel design exactly like the original 1911. The sights, however, are a great improvement.

The pistol features a stainless steel barrel bushing that is tight but not too tight for an easy fieldstrip. The pistol is supplied with two seven-round magazines. For my money, in the long run seven-round magazines are more reliable than the modern compressed-spring eight-round magazines.

Bullet holes in a silhouette target showing combat groups
Combat groups were good.

The controls consist of a magazine release, slide-lock safety and grip safety. All function properly. An improvement over GI guns is a smooth trigger compression of 4.5 pounds and clean. Someone who knows what they are about has been involved in overseeing not only barrel fitting but trigger work on this handgun.

This isn’t a copy of the GI gun but a modern 1911 built to offer a reliable firearm with good features. The finish is excellent and the scroll marking attractive. From the three-dot outline sights to the nicely finished grips, this isn’t a handgun that is likely to give any complaint. It comes with considerable pride of ownership considering its price.

Barrel fitting is also very good. The locking lugs slide into place nicely, and the overall impression is one of quality. For this test fire, I chose several loads I have enjoyed good results with. I think all of us want quality ammunition with good consistency. I began with cranking up the Lyman loading gear and putting together several hundred handloads. The majority used the Hornady 185-grain XTP and enough Titegroup powder for 950 fps. This combination has proven accurate in several 1911 handguns.

I supplemented the Remington-marked magazines with several from Mec-Gar. I also included the Wilson Combat eight-round magazine. Wilson Combat has proven that eight-round magazines may be reliable, but these ultra-reliable magazines are a radical redesign of the 1911 feed device.

Remington R1 pistol in cocked and locked configuration resting against a box of Federal Syntech ammunition
The Remington is well fitted and finished, and reliable as well.

I fired 100 cartridges in fast combat drills, drawing from a Blackhawk! belt slide and cutting out the X-ring of the Action Target silhouette. The pistol is controllable. In fact, after firing several Commander .45s lately, this steel-frame Government Model was a joy to fire.

Firing in combat-style shooting from 7 and 10 yards, results were excellent. The Remington R1 handles well and offers excellent hit probability. There were no failures to chamber, fire, or eject. I also took a few shots at objects on the berm at 20 and 25 yards and connected on small targets more often than not.

Absolute accuracy is always interesting. It is good to be certain the sights are properly regulated and the pistol is accurate enough for a long shot if needed. I collected several loads that have proven useful in previous testing. The results listed are for five-shot groups at a long 25 yards. The Remington will run, is accurate and reliable, and looks right.

25-yard accuracy, five-shot groups, Remington R1

Handload Group in Inches
Hornady 185-gr. XTP 2.4 inches
Oregon Trail 200-gr. SWC 2.5 inches
Wolf Performance Ammunition 230-gr. FMJ 3.4 inches
Federal Syntech 230-gr. 3.0 inches
Hornady 200 grain-gr. 2.5 inches
Hornady 230-gr. XTP +P 3.0 inches
Hornady 220-gr. Critical Duty 2.7 inches
Speer 230-gr. Gold Dot 2.65 inches


Caliber: .45 ACP
Action Type: Recoil-operated, semi-automatic, centerfire pistol
Frame: Steel
Barrel: 5″
Rifling: 1:16″ LH twist
Capacity: Detachable box, seven rounds
Sights: Three dot, drift adjustable
Trigger Pull: 5 lbs. advertised, 4.5 lbs. actual
Overall Length: 8.5″
Width: 1.32″
Height: 5.25″
Weight: 38.5 oz.
Accessories: Lockable hard case, lock, manual, extra magazine
Suggested Retail Price: $699
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We all love a good 1911 .45 ACP, but do you prefer a workhorse Government Model or a high-end custom 1911? Share your 1911 preferences in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog. "The Shooter's Log", is to provide information - not opinions - to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decicions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (26)

  1. I’ve carried a Colt and Springfield.45 acp for Decades both ‘On the Job’ and CCW.
    I have put three dot sights and and extended thumb safety on the Springfield. The accuracy,
    Ruggedness and Stopping power is all I need.

  2. I’ve had the R1 for a few years now, and I agree that it’s a reliable pistol. However, I find that it prefers ball ammo and can fail to feed hollow points from the factory magazines. Wilson Combat magazines solved that issue for me, and I would recommend them, as an upgrade, for anyone that wants to shoot hollow points reliably from the R1.

  3. I’ve had my R1 for 6 years and it’s great!!! Zero problems!!! I did have a long trigger installed (personal preference) with a trigger job done by a retired Green Beret. Cost me a 12 pack!!! Highly recommended…

  4. I have had mine for several years now and an very pleased with it. It is my favorite 1911 here at the house. it is the style I learned with and carried so I am comfortable with it. I only wish that the price I paid back then was as good as the prices nowadays.
    I would highly recommend this 1911A1.

  5. Ive had an R1 Enhanced for a few years. I told my smith i wanted an out of the box .45 that didn’t need anything to be a fine gun. I’ve got a couple of Glocks and a couple of M&Ps and a couple of 92fs handguns all in 9mm. Here in Massachusetts handguns have to be sold with a ten pound trigger. I don’t know how that translates to a 1911 but the actual trigger pull is sweet at what feels like a four pound trigger. I shoot that R1 far better than anything else in my safe and use it for IDPA with a ten round mag. I really love this handgun and have never had ANY sort of function problem. It always runs like a clock.

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