Concealed Carry

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, 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.

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.

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

R1 Features

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.

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.

Test Firing

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


Caliber: .45 ACP
Action Type: Recoil-Operated, Semi-Automatic, Centerfire Pistol
Frame: Steel
Barrel: Five Inches
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

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.

About the Author:

Bob Campbell

Bob Campbell’s primary qualification is a lifelong love of firearms, writing, and scholarship. He holds a degree in Criminal Justice but is an autodidact in matters important to his readers. Campbell considers unarmed skills the first line of defense and the handgun the last resort. (He gets it honest- his uncle Jerry Campbell is in the Boxer’s Hall of Fame.)

Campbell has authored well over 6,000 articles columns and reviews and fourteen books for major publishers including Gun Digest, Skyhorse and Paladin Press. Campbell served as a peace officer and security professional and has made hundreds of arrests and been injured on the job more than once.

He has written curriculum on the university level, served as a lead missionary, and is desperately in love with Joyce. He is training his grandchildren not to be snowflakes. At an age when many are thinking of retirement, Bob is working a 60-hour week and awaits being taken up in a whirlwind many years in the future.

Published in
Black Belt Magazine
Combat Handguns
Rifle Magazine
Gun Digest
Gun World
Tactical World
SWAT Magazine
American Gunsmith
Gun Tests Magazine
Women and Guns
The Journal Voice of American Law Enforcement
Police Magazine
Law Enforcement Technology
The Firearms Instructor
Tactical World
Concealed Carry Magazine
Concealed Carry Handguns

Books published

Holsters for Combat and Concealed Carry
The 1911 Automatic Pistol
The Handgun in Personal Defense
The Illustrated Guide to Handgun Skills
The Hunter and the Hunted
The Gun Digest Book of Personal Defense
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911
The Gun Digest Book of the 1911 second edition
Dealing with the Great Ammunition Shortage
Commando Gunsmithing
The Ultimate Book of Gunfighting
Preppers Guide to Rifles
Preppers Guide to Shotguns
The Accurate Handgun
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 decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (27)

  1. I recently got the R1 enhanced. Clean ed it loaded a few mags, ran 1 loaded 2nd dropped slide, hammer falls to quarter cocked. Is this something only the factory can fix? Or would I better off with a gun Smith . Rem says at least 6-8 week turnaround.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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…

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. Owned my R1 for 2 years now, love the feel in hand. Fits like a glove, it shot well right out of box, no problems with feed or ejects. Since purchase I’ve run over a thousand rounds through it. The only thing I changed is the trigger, recently added trigger with adjustable screw. Took care of all the trigger movement. Almost bought a high end 1911, glad I didn’t, more money for ammo. Highly recommended for any one in doubt.

  8. I have read that the Rrmingtons are ok for the upper level of entry priced 1911 pistols, but I have not handled one. I used to be a pretty good shot with a modern 1911, with the standard shootability upgrades; but not so with basic Government Model. The 2 styles shoot like totally different platforms, imo.

  9. I own a R1 for a couple of years and it is a great pistol, But about a year later I got the Stainless and that is my favorite. Some thing about that it fires great fits my hand perfect and can fore it all day. The Remington’s are my favorite.

  10. I’ve always preferred the good old fashion government model 1911 .45 automatic to the higher end types. I have had them both and I feel that old reliable usually works just as good as the new fancy ones plus they don’t cost an arm and a leg. I have friends that say I need to get with the times and get a polymer frame gun but my answer to that is if I had to carry it all day every day maybe I think about that but because I’m just your average shooter I prefer the pistol I shoot to be heavy enough to soak up some of the recoil

  11. I was in the market for a 1911, specifically a Springfield GI model. They didn’t have one in stock at my preferred gun dealer when I went there so I handled almost every 1911 brand they had and nothing felt good in my hand. I had completely forgot about an ad I saw in a gun magazine about Remington’s new R1. The guy that was with me reminded me about it so I asked if they had one in stock and they did. It felt like part of my hand it was so comfortable. I didn’t buy it because I still wanted to see the Springfield GI model. I went back a week later and they had the GI model. It felt almost as good in my hand as the R1 but it had military sights on it and my eyes just couldn’t see them good because they were so short. I bought the Remington R1 and I’m glad I did. It has never had a malfunction and I’ve fed it many different brands and types of ammo. I wouldn’t trade it for any other brand on the market because it is so reliable. When I bought the R1 it was the only one available. They came out with the Stainless Steel model after I bought mine. The next 1911 I buy will most likely be the SS R1. I highly recommend the Remington R1 if you’re in the market for a 1911 and the price is great on them.

  12. I own an enhanced model of the R1 with the extended beavertail, and the adjustable trigger as well as a crimson trace grip and the fiber optic front sight. For my first 1911, I couldn’t be happier. After installing a compensator and a Wilson combat trigger, I love the feel of the shot, and the comp helps with the muzzle flip. I’m not a very large guy, and at first I thought I was in over my head getting a full size 1911. But the ease of control this pistol offers even I’m able to drop reliable shots at the range and be happy! I’d 10 out of 10 reccomend this firearm!

  13. I bought one of these for $600, thought it was a nice looking 1911 for the price, took it out to the range the same day I bought it and was highly disappointed. The biggest issue was, it wouldn’t feed properly, every time it would fire and cycle another round, the round would pitch down in the magazine, causing it to jam. There were a few rounds where the bullet was actually mashed down inside the casing.

    Another issue that I found was, the trigger had a lot more play than I’d like, you can wiggle the trigger up, down and side to side.

    I sent it to the gun smith they recommended and when I got it back, you could see where they dremeled the feed ramp. They didn’t do anything with the trigger though. Instead of it jamming on every round, it would jam every few rounds.

    You mentioned the finish, I was carrying this and was caught in a rain storm, by the time I got home, which was 2 hours later, there was visible rust near the safety, inside the trigger guard, near the rear sight and on the slide near the ejection port.

    Once cleaned and oiled, I put it back in the box and put it in a drawer.

  14. Do you know if the receiver and frame are forged steel? Do you know what kind of steel they are made from? If these two components are NOT forged, are they milled from billet or investment castings?

    Thank you for your time.

  15. I love the military 45. It is a very good and safe pistol. Easy to use and clean. Would not trade it for anything. Oh and stopping power is impressive

  16. I purchased an R1 enhanced 1911 .45acp cycles great eats everything. The only issue I’m having is when I take the bullet out of chamber the rim & primer have black tar like substance on it. This after vigorous cleaning even ultrasonic cleaning it still happens & no one can tell me why this happens.

  17. Simply put, a 1911 pistol similar to the Remington R-1 is quite possibly a better product than a gun costing two to four times the price, in terms of reliability and value. My Colt Government Model in .45 ACP caliber was amazingly tight and accurate out of the box in 1969 and, thousands of rounds of 200 grain target cartridges fired in bullseye competition and 50 years on, is still as accurate today.

    Though a commercial, initially, not a target pistol, the only changes made to the gun were done in the first months of ownership, including the substitution of a National Match barrel and bushing, an adjustable rear sight and tuning to attain a smoother 3.5 lb. trigger pull. The cost of the gun in 1969 was $100, plus a few dollars for the adjustable sight, while the match barrel was supplied and fitted by a former U.S. Army armorer at no cost. There is no other gun that I enjoy owning as much as this gun, unless it is the first steel model Combat Commander which I purchased for $105 about two years later and shoots as well as its older Government Model cousin. Neither of these guns has ever had a misfire or other problem, though of few of my earliest target handloads had “stovepipe” ejection problems, probably the result of the low powder weight.

  18. I love my R1. I’ve added Altamont Target grips which just made a good pistol even better. The performance of this pistol is as good as my Colt, Springfield and Ruger 1911’s. You just can’t
    beat the R1 for its look and performance at its price point. I’d recommend it to anyone looking for a value priced 1911 without giving up anything that the high dollar models offer.

  19. .45ACP, has always been my go-to defense round. My EDC,is a Detonic Combat Master. As it is all stainless steel, it does carry some weight. Bottom line is, if you carry for defensive purposes, carry something that will handle the task. There are a number of reliable. 45 ACP’s out there that are good quality, affordable and reliable. The recoil is more controllable than they are given credit for. .45 ACP, when others simply won’t do!!

  20. I currently own a WWII Vintage Remington Rand .45 that was produced in 1945 by the Typewriter Co. It has outperformed every .45 I have put it up against and I wouldn’t trade it for any that are currently on the market.

  21. I purchased one of these a few years ago. I agree it is a nicely fit and finished pistol. However my assessment of the pistol from there on does not agree with yours. After owning a 1914 Colt Government model for many years, I feel this pistol feels “clunky” in my hand. It seems to lack some of the finer refinements of my old warhorse. The trigger is terrible in it. Seems like you have to squeeze it the entire length of a football field to make it fire, and it is a heavy pull and not smooth at all. Accuracy is nothing like my old 1911. I have fired all kinds of ammo through it from Prvi-Partizan to Remington to my own 185 grain lead wadcutters. It does seem to fire about everything. My opinion is that I’d rather have my Springfield XD or XDS in my hand for better enjoyment and accuracy. I apologize that this does not fit with your theme to promote the sales of these pistols, but it is honest and accurate with what I have found. Maybe with a few thousand more rounds through it it might loosen-up a bit and get better, but these are my observations.

  22. I have had jamming issues with my 1911R1. I have tried different ammo. But it still stove pipe, won’t put cartridge into the action. It jams the most when I have a full mag with 1 in the pipe.
    I am still trying to figure if I just send it into Remington or just try to run a few boxes through it and see if it works this bug out or take it to a Smith. It was bought new and I would like to carry it, but it is not as reliable as my Glock 40.

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