I own a number of nice 1911-type handguns. Several are high-end custom handguns with super fitting, 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.
Modern Remington R1
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 modern compressed-spring, eight-round magazines.
The controls consist of a magazine release, slide-lock safety and grip safety. All function properly. An improvement over GI guns is a smooth and clean trigger compression of 4.5 pounds.
Someone who knows what they are about has been involved in overseeing not only barrel fitting, but also the 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.
I fired 100 cartridges in fast combat drills, drawing from a Blackhawk! belt-side holster 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 seven 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-Grain XTP||2.4 inches|
|Oregon Trail 200-Grain SWC||2.5 inches|
|Wolf Performance Ammunition 230-Grain FMJ||3.4 inches|
|Federal Syntech 230-Grain||3.0 inches|
|Hornady 200-Grain||2.5 inches|
|Hornady 230-Grain XTP +P||3.0 inches|
|Hornady 220-Grain Critical Duty||2.7 inches|
|Speer 230-Grain Gold Dot||2.65 inches|
|Action Type:||Recoil-Operated, Semi-Automatic, Centerfire Pistol|
|Rifling:||1:16″ LH twist|
|Capacity:||Detachable Box, Seven Rounds|
|Sights:||Three Dot, Drift Adjustable|
|Trigger Pull:||5 lbs. Advertised, 4.5 lbs. Actual|
|Accessories:||Lockable Hard Case, Lock, Manual, Extra Magazine|
|Suggested Retail Price:||$699|
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.