Remember the Remington Model R1 1911 Review we did a LOOONNNNG time ago? Well it’s back! Sort of…
Back in the fall my Dad (Thompson Center expert at http://HausofArms.com, yes he’ll be getting the new Dimensions in) got it in his mind he needed another 1911. He wanted a semi-custom arrangement, but it didn’t have to be “Custom Shop” specs (See Kimber Super Carry Custom) as he wanted a shooter, but not something he’d be afraid to shoot. He’s got a Kimber Ultra CDP II he carries regularly, has had a number of other 1911s come through his shop he’s been fond of, shot for a while and then passed on. Basically he wanted a straight up shooter, not in a 1911 A1 style platform with some of the bells and whistles and without the price tag.
My Dad did what most good dads do and he asked his son’s recommendation. Knowing the Remington R1 Enhanced has had some positive press since released, and that since it’s essentially a trimmed up R1 (A1) without a lot of wild internal changes I thought it’s one he might like still being sort of a traditionalist. He’s the type of dude that likes the “new spin on an old classic” type stuff. AND the fact that I hadn’t got one in to review didn’t have ANY play on the situation. What? I swear, it didn’t!
He was kind enough to wait to shoot it the first time ’till we got to visit the family over Christmas time so we could do a full fledged handgun review on it (Remember the Mosin Nagant firing line, Henry Lever Review, and the .416 Rigby from a month ago?). And shoot it we did. Between four shooters we ran several hundred rounds in a couple of different hand load specs (including the EXACT hand loads that failed miserably in the Nighthawk T3 Custom 1911). The Remington 1911 R1 Enhanced handled everything we through at it PERFECTLY, including 2 different bullet weights at 230 grains, which is typical for .45 ACP and even the lighter 185 grain loads for practice and cost effective shooting.
So what’s different about the Remington R1 Enhanced from the Remington Model R1 1911?
For starters, the Enhanced model feels like velcro in your hand. The enhanced wood laminate grip panels have thick and meaty (yes that’s a gun term) checkering as well as plenty of checkering on the front and back straps of the grip frame. Even the beavertail grip safety with the flared memory pad on the bottom has checkering on it for positive traction. I loved that even while firing full powered loads through this gun I was able to maintain my grip without readjusting after every shot. The sights and trigger are a dramatic step up from the original R1 as well. The skeletonized trigger broke clean at under 5 pounds and had a handy over travel adjustment screw in it to. Some light tension thread locker would do well in the over travel adjustment screw after you get it where you want it. I found after several hundred rounds it worked it s way out and started tearing a hole in my trigger finger. Not a major problem, but it was irritating. And painful.
The R1 Enhanced we reviewed has a lighter albeit more texturized feel to it than the original 1911 Model R1 had, and while the trigger on the Enhanced was more crisp with less creep and the sights were more friendly, I actually felt in the end that the original R1 was a bit more of a pleasure to shoot. I’m not sure if it’s because it felt heavier or maybe even a little bulkier in the hand or if my mind was playing tricks on me. The R1 Enhanced actually weighs in at an ounce heavier empty than the original R1 did (39.5 ounces as opposed to 38.5 oz), but it honestly felt lighter. Accuracy comparison is pretty even across the board as both guns essentially have the same internals and original style innards. Both have a standard 1911 A1 style barrel bushing, stainless barrel and full length recoil spring as is most common for government type stock 5″ barreled 1911 pistols.
In the end the Remington R1 Enhanced 1911 was very enjoyable to shoot. It’s reliability, function and ergonomics are outstanding. It’s sleek to look at and the satin black oxide matte finish gives it a bit more of a rugged appearance than the original which ironically has the same finish. The gun probably will never be called a “custom shop crafted” type pistol, but its added exterior features make this a gun you’ll want to run thousands of rounds through, clean it, and do it again. I haven’t shot or done gun reviews on many full size .45 Autos since I broke my wrist back in late July 2011, but of the few I have this one was the most kind to my tender wrist. You’ll want to be sure and check the full video review to see for yourself. Accuracy results can be found in the video too.
Finally, is it worth it? First let me say I loved this pistol. It looks fantastic, shoots fantastic and feels fantastic in the hand. However, at an $800+ retail price point I’m not 100% certain it’s worth over $200 more in stores than the original Remington Model R1 1911 is. It’s essentially the same gun with a few different trimmings. Plus with the new Remington R1 1911 Stainless out now at just a few bucks more than the original, I’m willing to venture it’s the best value of all. We got to shoot the stainless model at SHOT Show 2012, so we’ll have shooting evidence of it here on the site before long too.