Concealed Carry

Review: Springfield Armory 1911 Ronin

When you look over the 1911 handgun and its many good attributes, you realize someone had a good grasp of human and mechanical engineering beginning about 1900.

The Colt 1900 .38 ACP pistol led to the Colt 1905 .45 various transitional models, and finally the 1911.

While the pistol we deploy today is far different in metallurgy and some features are improved, any soldier handling the 1911 of the day could easily operate and use the modern pistol.

That is the genius of John Moses Browning’s design, it is still at the top of the heap.

By the same token, a modern person of good intelligence would have a difficult time starting, driving or braking a 1911 automobile — they had wildly different controls from each maker.

A kerosene-powered refrigerator would be beyond most of us. I don’t think we would like to wind up our record player every few minutes!

Most of the mechanical designs of 1911 have long been declared obsolete—not so with the 1911.

The pistol features a low bore axis. The centerline of the bore rides low over the hand. This limits leverage of the barrel as it recoils, resulting in a modest muzzle flip.

The cross-section of the grips fits most hands well. The manual thumb safety keeps the pistol instantly ready for action, but safe from inadvertent firing as well.

The grip safety will prevent the pistol from firing if it is dropped. The pistol has cut an impressive history in the hands of our tawny young warriors.

The 1911 is still fielded by select budget military teams. The wound potential of the .45 ACP is over and beyond that of lesser calibers, despite revisionist history and shady mathematics.

I don’t know about you, but so-called studies involving secret sources are not worth the time it took to dream them up in my opinion.

Among the many advantages of the .45 ACP is a relatively low operating pressure and excellent accuracy potential.

Springfield Armory Ronin
The Springfield Ronin is one attractive handgun.

Developing the Ronin

Springfield Armory is a proud name in the manufacture of implements for the U.S. Military. They began operation in the 1770s and continued into the late 1960s.

A private individual secured the rights to the Springfield Armory trademark and the Reese family of present Springfield Armory fame secured these rights at a later date.

They may rightly claim the right to the name of the oldest maker in American firearms.

I find it interesting that some of my generation regarded Springfield as an upstart, although they quickly earned our respect.

Today, young shooters regard Springfield as an old-line maker. That is quite an accomplishment.

Springfield began 1911 manufacture by obtaining affordable castings from Brazil and finishing them in-house. Today, the product is manufactured in the United States.

Among the many accomplishments of Springfield was to win the FBI contract for a SWAT pistol and supplying special models to U.S. Military teams.

Springfield offers basic Mil-Spec guns with improved sights that are a tad superior to GI sights, a Loaded Model with Novak sights and beavertail safety as well as a full-length guide rod, stainless steel variants, the impressive Tactical Response Pistol (TRP) and the even more impressive Professional.

Springfield offers a good product. The fit and finish of the handguns is high, even the inexpensive Springfield handguns are reliable.

I like a 1911 that feels tight as you rack the slide and you feel a smooth fit as the barrel unlocks and the locking lugs slide in an out of the locking wedges.

I also like a crisp safety and a smooth, if not necessarily light, trigger. A problem is, the 1911 design demands some hand fitting to achieve this type of performance.

A home, a new truck, braces for the kids and vacation may rate higher on the totem pole than a $1,500 1911. Enter the Springfield Armory Ronin.

The Ronin lists for considerably less than $900.

Springfield Armory Ronin
The Ronin retains the features of the 1911 in a modernized pistol.

Getting Your Money’s Worth

Fit, finish, final polish and fitting the trigger action properly are expensive. That is the primary reason some handguns cost more than others.

It simply isn’t economical to strive for the finest fit, accuracy and smoothness in every operation and attempt to sell the pistol.

Sure, there are $2,000 pistols, but remember that truck payment? We like to get our money’s worth. Hand fit is the primary indicator of price and the basic precision level.

Precision isn’t inexpensive, but it can be affordable. Tolerances are as important as final dimensions. The blueprint specifies one thing, tolerances another.

Limiting tolerance is a good thing, as long as the pistol is reliable. We are talking about mass manufacture and affordability.

The new Springfield Armory Ronin offers a lot of value and more than a little bling. I have been at this a long time and I have to admit, they have accomplished a great deal with the Ronin.

The fit, finish and trigger action should be in the $1,000 range — no complaints about the price, just an observation. I didn’t want to pay more!

Springfield Ronin Rear Sight
Note the rear sight offers the option of snagging the rear sight to rack the slide or release the slide after a speed load.

Ronin Features and Specs

The pistol features an attractive blue finish slide over a stainless steel frame. The pistol also features forward cocking serrations.

The sights are especially attractive for those with a tactical mindset.

The Springfield Ledge rear sight offers a flat on the rear sight that allows racking the slide on the belt or releasing the slide from slide lock to load a magazine.

This is an aid in one-handed manipulation. The sights offer a sharp sight picture coupled with the fiber-optic front sight. An upswept thumb safety makes for rapid operation.

The beavertail grip safety is well designed and features a memory bump. The pistol features slim-line grips designed for concealed carry.

While they offer good purchase when firing, they are not abrasive on clothing. Among the most impressive features in this price range is the trigger action.

Trigger compression is a smooth 4.25 pounds with minimal take-up and no noticeable creep. The pistol uses the original recoil spring system, there is no full-length guide rod.

The pistol had the makings of a shooter. On the range, it lived up to that promise.

Springfield Ronin Rear Sight
Springfield’s rear sight offers an excellent sight picture.

Testing and Performance

During this test, I used several handloads and also factory loads. The Hornady 185-grain XTP over enough Titegroup for 900 fps is a fairly mild load, functional and accurate.

Loaded in Wilson Combat magazines, these loads proved reliable and provided excellent practical accuracy.

The Springfield Armory Ronin is controllable and stayed on target in rapid-fire. A combination of good sights and an excellent trigger action provided good combat accuracy.

I also used the 230-grain Hornady XTP and Titegroup for a full-power loading at 860 fps. The push was slightly greater, but never uncomfortable.

Settling down to fire for accuracy at 15 yards, these loads and the factory Hornady 200-grain XTP consistently cut five-shot groups of two inches or less.

The Springfield Armory Ronin is reliable and more accurate than most pistols in the price range.

A solid choice for accuracy, tested near the end of the test period, is the SIG Sauer Elite 230-grain FMJ. This is a fine all-around practice load and a hard hitter as well.

Springfield Armory Ronin
The Ronin exhibited excellent function and performance with every loading.

Holster Options

I used the Overland Gunleather BPC pancake holster during the evaluation with excellent results. A quality holster should have a reinforced holster mouth.

Professionals call this a doubled-leather piece or a welt. This welt wraps about the top of the holster mouth and serves as a funnel to prevent the holster from collapsing after the pistol is drawn.

You may re-holster the piece with one hand. The reinforced belt slot keeps the pistol cinched up tight to the body, making for better concealed carry.

The design of the holster limits canting, which keeps the holster in place for a positive draw. The offset is ideal for a rapid presentation.

The holster is tightly molded and may require some break-in. A molded-in sight rail helps to prevent any impediment to the draw.

This holster is an excellent example of the holster maker’s art.

Springfield Armory Ronin in Holster
Overland Gunleather’s holster is first-class all of the way.

The Springfield Armory Ronin is an outstanding 1911 and a worthy addition to the Springfield 1911 lineup.

Have you taken a look at the Springfield Armory 1911 Ronin? Tell us what you thought in the comments below!

About the Author:

Wilburn Roberts

When Wilburn Roberts was a young peace officer, he adopted his present pen name at the suggestion of his chief, as some of the brass was leery of what he might write. This was also adopted out of respect for families of both victims and criminals. The pen name is the same and the man remains an outspoken proponent of using enough gun for the job.

He has been on the hit list of a well-known hate group, traveled in a dozen countries and written on many subjects, including investigating hate crimes and adopting the patrol carbine. He graduated second in his class with a degree in Police Science. It took him 20 years to work himself from Lieutenant to Sergeant and he calls it as he sees it.
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 (12)

  1. A few months ago I walked into a tiny hardware store in Alma Arkansas to kill time while the girls shopped at an adjacent store. There was no intent to purchase anything, I wasn’t even seriously shopping for an addition to my collection. However, three steps inside and I was looking at a glass case filled with a wild assortment of handguns. Down in the 1911 section there was a two tone .45 (the bore size is hard to miss). It was a SA Ronin. The 1911 has been on my wish list for over 30 years, but was never able to justify the purchase of one. *PING* The endorphins began to deploy.
    The strange man behind the counter handed her to me and she just fell into place like she was molded just for my hand. Even at 40 ounces the balance was superb, it pointed naturally along the index finger and the trigger was not quite a wet dream but light years beyond the polymer Shield I use as EDC. The strange man estimated ~3 lbs but it turned out to be over 4 lbs. No biggey. She came home with me that day. Being a complete 1911 noob everything was going to be a new experience and, as it turned out, a very pleasant experience. The 40 oz. pistol is a pleasure to shoot, trigger reset is short, recoil impulse and muzzle flip are soft and easy to manage. My 13 year old shoots her with no difficulty. The safety flicks on and off with little effort and the extended beavertail prevents any hammer bite. Double taps are getting easier all the time. After just shy of 1K rounds there has only been one issue with functioning and that was within the first 50 rds. She failed to feed from an Ed Brown mag one time. It was a bit scary at the time but it turns out that this is part of the break-in period. Now she will run on whatever ammo you feed her. She will print 1″ 5 shot groups at 7 yards if I do my part. Sadly she is too heavy for EDC but may try it on occasion just for giggles. I’m in love, the Ronin is a winner. Three thumbs up!

  2. I purchased the ( Springfield 1911 Ronin 9MM Pistol 5B 9RD ) Model PX9119L. Thats a full size with the 5 inch hammer forged barred, the hammer forged and blued slide and the hammer forged stainless steel frame. It’s a Joy to shoot its my everyday concealed carry. I bought it on line and had it shipped to my local FFL ( a pawn shop just up the road from my house ). I purchased another mag directly from Springfield Armory. I like the capacity of 9 Rounds per Mag with the 9MM. All said and done it was less than $800. Yes all my holsters are leather. One of my favorites!!

  3. I purchased the Ronin 10mm. It’s a beautiful gun and wonderful shooter.. I was surprised that Springfield decided to send only 1 magazine with the gun. The fit and finish is wonderful. Love the gun!

  4. QUOTE: Tolerances are as important as final dimensions. The blueprint specifies one thing, tolerances another. End Quote.

    Actually, the tolerances are on the blue print. I did mechanical design for a living.
    For example, the on a simple dowel pin and a hole. You would dimension the dowel pin (or shaft) to be .499 +.000 -.005 and the hole would be .500 +.005 -.000
    this would insure that the parts would fit ALWAYS. since the smallest the hole could be would be .500 and the shaft max diameter would be .499. Of course on the other side of this particular example if the hole was .505 and the shaft was .494 then you would have .009 clearance.
    There is a solution to that also in geometric dimensioning and tolerancing aka as ANSI Y 14.5

  5. Yet no one has any, I am waiting for the 10mm to maybe one day come to a distributor near me, however Springfield is concentrating on the toilet paper protectors, being the smaller hand guns. The grown ups have to sit patiently and wait for the scare to fade so things can hopefully get back to normal.

  6. I’ve been looking for one in my local…Logan, Utah….sporting goods stores ever since I read the favorable writeup in the June/July issue of the American Rifleman. So far I have not been able to come across one. Does anyone know if SA is up to full production on this model?

  7. Besides pictures I have not been able see or touch a Ronin .Gun stores by me in NY say to come back in six months and maybe I can order one then .

  8. I just spoke to Elmer Balance and let him know he was given credit again for keeping Springfield Arms going. He was in his extensive machine shop working away. Pretty good for a guy in his late 80’s. If you ever meet Elmer you will know he is a patriotic fellow that has strong opinions. Something we should all strive for.

  9. “A private individual secured the rights to the Springfield Armory trademark”. That person would be Elmer Balance, who is still active down in Texas.

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