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Author Topic: Ogre Challenge Review: Springfield Armory 1911 Range Officer Compact  (Read 1362 times)


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I bought the Springfield Armory 1911 Range Officer Compact in .45 ACP (henceforth to be referred to as the RO Compact) for a number of reasons. First and foremost, I was back in the market for a carry piece. My SIG P232 had broken on me again and I wanted to replace it post-haste. Initially, I was looking at the Springfield XD-S 9mm, however I had an itch for a 1911 that needed scratching. However, thanks in large part to our own Mad Ogre, I had decided that the ideal 1911 for carry was a CCO model, 4" or 4.25" slide and barrel on an Officer-sized frame. Unfortunately, at the time nobody produced such a 1911. Well, nobody besides the likes of Wilson, Les Baer, or Nighthawk, and those were (and still are) orders of magnitude outside my price range.

Then Springfield went and announced the RO Compact.

I didn't really intend to purchase it, at least not that day. I was taking a basic handgun course at my local range, and decided to show up early and bring along my newly-repaired P232 along just in case I saw an RO Compact in the case. And lo and behold, there it was. I was 5 minutes late for the class owing to the PICS check taking longer than anticipated, but the instructor forgave me since I'd just bought a brand new gun. But I earned the eternal enmity of one of the counter guys that night: that RO Compact was the first one to come through the store that wasn't a special-order for a customer, and that counter guy had been waiting for payday to roll around so he could pick it up himself. Sorry, man. Sort of. Not really.


The Good:

It's a 1911. 'nuff said.

Okay, seriously, the gun balances in the hand very well. Even though it's an alloy frame vs. steel, the gun does not feel top heavy at all.

It's accurate. If I do my part, I can't quite shoot cloverleafs at 15 yards, but I can put all my shots into a palm-sized group.

It carries even easier than the P232. Part of that may be because I sprung for a decent holster this time around, but when carried IWB, the pistol disappears under an untucked shirt.

The Bad:

Felt recoil is rather harsh. It's a compact, alloy-framed 1911, so that's to be expected. It's not as bad as the Glock 30SF I shot a while back, but still, 100 rounds is about my limit. I suspect this is partly the result of the grips: they are slim-profile rather than standard-width 1911 grips. That said, the pistol's unique captive double recoil spring setup does noticeably reduce the felt recoil. I shot a PARA officer-size 1911 with a standard GI-style setup, and that thing kicked like a moose.

The grips. As I said, they are slim profile, and as such they are just a bit too skinny for my preferences. They make the gun just a smidge hard to hold onto. Also, the grip screws have a tendency to back out under recoil after 50-60 rounds or so. I plan on eventually replacing them with a set of standard-profie VZ EDC grips, probably their Frag pattern.

The gun does jam on me every once in a while. Usually a failure-to-feed or failure-to-eject stovepipe. I'm not sure if that's the gun wearing in, the result of insufficient or improper lubrication, or my accidentally pressing my thumb against the slide while shooting(I tend to ride the safety). It hasn't happened recently, but even so, it has hiccuped.

The bushingless bull-barrel and captive dual-recoil spring setup makes the gun a pain in the hindquarters to field strip and reassemble. It's gotten somewhat easier now that the springs have worn in, but the slide stop/safety lever detent spring is still fairly stiff, which makes putting the slide stop back into position a very frustrating proposition.

The front sight. It's a red fiber optic. I don't care for fiber optic sights. If any dirt or powder residue gets on the sight, it doesn't "light up" anymore. Also, the gun was resting on the shooting bench once when a freshly fired shell casing landed in the bench directly in front of the RO Compact. Turned out that said casing singed the front of the fiber optic piece. Now it doesn't really "light up" even when it's clean. I could replace the fiber optic element, but I ultimately plan to replace the whole setup with Trijicon HDs like I had on my P228.

When I use magazines without base plates, occasionally the palm of my support hand gets pinched between the bottom of the frame and the front of the magazine. Using mags with baseplates seems to have alleviated the issue.

It's a .45 ACP. Hold on, hold on, belay that pitchforks and torches, put the rope away. There's a logical reason for this. See, when I bought the RO Compact, I had maybe 2k-3k rounds of 9mm on hand, but no .45 ACP. So I stocked up on .45 ACP, which is bloody expensive, and then four months after I bought the gun, Springfield introduced the RO Compact in 9mm.


Accuracy: 9/10.

Reliability: 7.5-8/10. It has jammed on my occasionally, as I said, and the grip screws backing out are a PITA.

Satisfaction of Ownership: 7/10. I like it. It's not my favorite gun, and it needs some work to improve it, but it's still a good gun and I am glad I bought it.
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