Gun Review – Remington Model 1911 R1 Review
The Colt M1911 A1 designed by John M. Browning is one of, if not THE most recognized stock designed firearm in the HISTORY of all modern firearms. Not only was the 1911 a fast, accurate and safe design adopted by the military and chambered in the ever powerful 45 ACP, but the M1911 A1 was destined to become the most customized, idolized and even scrutinized firearm even to this day.
Why the 1911 you ask? It’s smooth firing. It’s safe. It’s narrow frame gives it wonderful concealment opportunities. And maybe even to top it all off, it’s BEAUTIFUL! So beautiful in fact that now more than ever the 1911 design is produced on an even wider scale for the civilian market than it was even 100 years ago for military purposes. John Browning was a master of simple engineering and is in my mind one of the greatest simple engineering minds of ANY century. Engineering something that is a work of simplicity and complexity AND manages to last into a new century AND millenium is no small feat.
So 100 years later (actually 99 years later based on when it was actually released) in rides the Remington 1911 R1. The R1 is Remington’s modern spin on the original Colt M1911 A1 that serves as the template of today’s bolder, beefier 1911 handguns. Upon first inspection of the R1 it comes as many modern handguns do. It has its own hard plastic (somehow they got some nice soft plastic on the inside to eliminate worry of injury to your fine piece from rattling around inside) case with room for the R1 and the two stock magazines. The magazines themselves are no slouches. The fit and finish is outstanding and Remington even went the extra mile to have R1 neatly stamped in the floorplate of each. After a day at the range, each mag functioned flawlessly and were surprisingly easy to load with the feed lips apparently having been made with careful consideration both for ease of loading and consistent feeding and locking back of the slide upon the final shot being fired.
Fortunately the review of this gun doesn’t end at the magazines! The fit and finish of the gun itself is exceptional. There are no imperfections, no nook and cranny overlooked and the texture is very nice. It isn’t a traditionally full gloss type finish, but it isn’t a matte either. I’d classify it somewhere in between at a satin type finish. It’s very resistant to smudges, fingerprints, and scratches as well as tarnishing. The weight is typical of any steel framed 1911. It’s heavy, just shy of a “beast” ranking in overall weight and feel in the hand. The tolerances this pistol has apparently been manufactured with appear to be very demanding. A quick inspection of moving parts, the slide, the barrel bushing and main guide spring, the safety, takedown pin, and even the grip safety and mag release are ALL without exception very well tuned and tight fitting. Some have classified the barrel as a heavy or target/bull barrel and I’m not seeing it. It appears to be just as spindly as the standard 1911 A1 barrels of old. It’s walnut grips with diamond pattern around the grip screws are very comfortable and provide excellent traction and balance out the smooth front strap on the grip and the lined flat mainspring housing on the grip’s caboose.
Function in firing is extremely reliable, accurate and consistent. The trigger has a minimal amount of take up and breaks nicely after a shallow wall is reached at the end of pull. It isn’t a super clean break, but I’ve never known a stock 1911 A1 to ever have a perfect match grade or target trigger. After several rounds I managed to forget this slight imperfection altogether and simply chocked it up to a minimal reset style trigger which vaguely reminded me of my Springfield XDm 40. With that said, outstanding accuracy at 20 yards and in is easily as attainable as guns that cost 2x as much as this entry style 1911. I’ve seen posted groups of 2″ at 20-25 yards but I was unable to achieve better than 3″ at a distance of 20 yards. Part of this was a lack of concentration on the shooter’s part (ME) as well as a wobbly yolk on the end of my shooting table designed to be used with rifles. Given a ransom rest or something a little more efficient for a pistol I believe accuracy would have improved in leaps and bounds. I threw just under 200 rounds at this gun without a cleaning and it handled them all in surprisingly tame fashion with the heaviest recoiling round being the Cor Bon Pow’rBalls in 165 grain loads screaming at 1225 fps which isn’t surprising at all that it would be a hand full.
Remington is and openly claims the title of “America’s Oldest Gunmaker.” While this is definitely true, they’ve not been shy about noting that their venture into the 1911 foray is a new and risky trend considering all of the quality remakes out there. But even though the established name has primarily focused on rifles and shotguns, they have absolutely not disappointed with their M1911 A1 rendition in the R1. It was a pleasure to hold, shoot and hard to put down in every sense of the meaning. Remington’s commitment to continue putting out a quality 1911 pistol appears evident to continue as displayed by a quick visit to Remington’s site. It was humorous to click the product bar, scroll down and see the word “Handgun” as if to say, “We’ve only got one to offer, but wait till you see it!”
While at the time of its release the R1 was Remington’s ONLY handgun on the market, they now sport three different models of the R1 with the original being joined by both the R1 Enhanced and the R1 Centennial which is a 100 year commemorative version of John Browning’s masterpiece.
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