Springfield Armory Marine (MC) Operator 1911 Review

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NOTE: This product review was made possible by GunsForSale.com.  To get up-to-date information on where to find Springfield Armory 1911s for sale, please visit GunsForSale.com.

Springfield Armory has been one of the very top manufacturers of 1911’s for many years. Springfield Armory was also the first company to forge a rail on the frame of a 1911. The initial intent of the Operator design was to compete as the sidearm of the Marine Special Operations Unit (MEUSOC).

The Operator is meant for duty use whether in the holster of a police officer on patrol or a SWAT unit. It would also serve well as a home defense pistol with a light/laser combination mounted on the rail. The primary restriction for any other use is the size and weight. The rail adds a good deal of bulk to the overall size of the pistol. The weight is 42 ounces empty so you add ammo and a rail mounted light and it’s just too much gun for regular CCW daily carry. Another restriction when it first hit the civilian market was a lack of holsters. There just weren’t any to be had for months. Since railed 1911’s are fairly popular there are plenty of holsters to choose from these days.

Since my primary daily carry gun is a 1911 I use my Operator as a night stand pistol with an Insight Technologies M6X light/laser combo. I still enjoy taking it to the range and using it in local competition. It’s just an enjoyable 1911 to shoot period.

The Operator is an all forged steel pistol. They come standard with Novak 3 dot night sights, Pachmayr grips, ambidextrous thumb safeties as well as a match barrel, match bushing and match grade aluminum trigger. Slide serrations are front and rear. The Armory Kote finish with olive drab frame and black slide looks really sharp.

There is one feature or rather lack of one I like. The Operator uses a GI recoil plug and spring guide rather than a full length guiderod. At least in my opinion the full length guiderod adds nothing useful to a 1911 but they have become popular. Kudos to Springfield for leaving it off. I believe this might have been a request from the military during the design phase.

They come packed in a hard shell blue case with two 7 round magazines included. The warranty is an industry standard one year.

Specifications
Caliber .45 ACP
Capacity 7 rounds
Finish Olive Drab/Black Armory Kote
Frame / Slide Forged Steel
Grip Pachmayr Wraparound
Barrel 5” Stainless Steel Match Grade and Bushing
Overall Length 8.5″
Weight 42 oz. (empty magazine)
Sights Fixed Low Profile Combat Rear, Dovetail
Trigger Long Aluminum Match Grade, 5 – 6 lbs.
Recoil System GI Style Guide Rod
MSRP $1,387

Handling the Operator is straightforward and differs little from any other 1911. I noticed when I fired my first magazine the recoil was lighter than a non-railed 1911. Since the rail system is mounted under the front of the frame most of that extra weight is where it will do the most good in reducing recoil.

While the trigger pull is listed at between 5 and 6 pounds I found it to be 5.5 pounds and crisp. The trigger can also be adjusted for takeup. This one needed no adjustment and was fine as it came from the factory. The thumb safeties operate easily with a firm engagement in both positions.

The very first thing I check on any 1911 is the adjustment of the grip safety. The grip safety is designed to block the trigger when the pistol is not in your hand. It should be tuned so that a perfect grip isn’t needed to depress it enough to fire the pistol. For some shooters this can be a big problem. Small hands or very incorrect grip with keep that trigger locked and it’s not going to fire. Those of us who ride our thumbs on top of the thumb safety are even more susceptible to this. You’ll be surprised how many 1911’s come from the factory lacking in this adjustment. Now this is not a reason to put the 1911 back in the case and move on. What it means is you take it to a gunsmith for a very simple and inexpensive adjustment to fit your unique grip style. This is a very important consideration though and with the Operator having more hand fitting there should be no problem. Mine works fine with no adjustment needed.

With aftermarket light added.

Normally I’m not too happy with any type of rubber grip since they tend to cause too much friction on your clothing when drawing. This slows or even stops your draw. Now with my Operator I left them on since this is a range and nightstand gun for the most part. Other wise I’d recommend the Mil-Tac G-10 grips in green and black. They compliment the colors of the gun very well Also if you happen to be a police officer or in the military you get a 10% discount.

Mil-Tac G-10 grips

Range Time

As I mentioned earlier this is one enjoyable 1911 to shoot. Sometimes I’ll take it to the range in the evening and practice with the light/laser attached. The M6X is a great piece of gear with the bright red laser and 125 lumen white light. These aren’t just fun sessions either. You need to practice even if it’s only making sure your laser is still sighted in.

I took a variety of ammunition this time out. I had ball ammo from Winchester, Sellier & Belliot. The hollowpoints were from Hornady and Speer.

Since I’ve shot this pistol so much there were no surprises. Firing from distances of ten and fifteen yards my average group with ball ammo at ten yards was under two inches making one big hole. At fifteen yards groups of just over two inches were common.

The hollowpoints always seem to give the best results in a 1911. The groups shrunk at ten yards to one and three quarter’s inches. At fifteen yards the average group was two and one eighth inches.

Conclusion

Springfield Armory has always made excellent 1911’s and they certainly have a large number of models to choose from. I mentioned the weight and bulk preventing a shooter from carrying one of these concealed. There’s another option which is the Operator with a four inch barrel with alloy frame. This one you can carry all day. This is a review for another day but it’s worth mentioning.

Springfield Armory Lightweight Champion Operator

As a retired police officer I can say with confidence that should I still be working the street this pistol would be right up there in my top five pistols to consider for duty carry. For a good number of years I was on our departments SRU team. With this in mind I would make this my number one choice if I was performing both jobs.

For the homeowner the Operator is an excellent choice for defending your family. Setup as mine is with the laser/light combination and reasonable amounts of practice this pistol will be very effective.

The bottom line is this is a very reliable 1911. In fact one of the most reliable I’ve ever owned. I can’t remember the last time I had a malfunction. It’s a very handsome 1911 as well. Now that may not seem important and I suppose it isn’t but you’ll enjoy it more :)

Happy Shooting!

Related

Phil White

Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m the senior writer and moderator at TFB as well as the review manager. I really enjoy answering readers questions and comments. We can all learn from each other about our favorite hobby!


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  • SpudGun

    Wow, what a positive review. In fact so positive, I’m now suspicious.

    To be fair, I know that a lot of people are very happy with their Springy 1911s, so as long as the workers in Brazil are doing a good job, you should go out and get one.

    On a totally different note, maybe I don’t play enough Modern Warfare, but every time I hear the word ‘Operator’, I picture someone at the end of a telephone going ‘Witchita 1515, how can I connect you?’.

  • Andrew (European Correspondent)

    Just to nitpick, it’s MEU(SOC), or Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable), not MUESOC.

    • Phil White

      Andrew,

      I apologize for that. As I said it was late at night and I just plain missed it.

  • cc19

    Buddy of mine has one of these. I too did not care for the fat, rubber grips it came with. Pretty solid pistol otherwise. I’ve not had a significant time behind it, although I found it comparable to my Kimber Warrior.

  • Adam Harvey

    I have one of these also and I love it, though I am not the 1911 fanboy I once was. this thing is the closest I’ve found off the shelf to what I had envisioned as my dream 1911 pistol and I LOVE the black on OD finish. I had some issues with mine early on but Springfield was very good about making everything right. I would save up for a LW champion operator but I’m not crazy about the bushing-less barrel.

    • Phil White

      Adam,

      The bull barrel isn’t my favorite either. The two tone finish is nice and wears very well :-)

  • http://www.predatorwild.com Heath

    That’s a sharp looking pistol. How many rounds do you have through yours now?

    • Phil White

      Heath,

      Thanks Heath! I would say the number of rounds is close to 5,000. It’s still tight and there has been nothing of consequence that needed to be changed out. I do change out recoil springs every 1500 rounds. I also check the condition of the extractor and replace as needed.

  • Bob Z Moose

    Springfield makes a good 1911?! What?! This is as amazing as Ruger releasing a version of their gun with an increased capacity! I’m just amazed.

    • Phil White

      Bob,

      The Ruger and Springfield will both use the 8 round magazines. Of course you can also use the ten rounders but they tend to be unreliable.

  • gaosmer

    it is MEUSUC, not MUESOC

    • Phil White

      gaosmer,

      Yep, sorry. I actually was writing this kinda late at night:-)

  • Nicks87

    Nice gun but it’s still a 1911 so I will pass.

    I’m sorry but 1911s are just out-dated.

    There are so many better .45 caliber platforms availible I just cant justify spending that much money on a 100 year old design.

    Yeah, they shoot good but I cant trust a weapon that needs two safties in order to be carried safely, only holds seven rounds, and may or may not have reliability issues with certain types of ammo.

    • Phil White

      Nicks87,

      Actually they don’t need two safeties. The grip safety was an Army stipulation. When John Browning designed his next pistol, the hi power, the grip safety was gone. Honestly you can carry any 1911 with a thumb safety only. While it is 100 years old it’s not outdated. As I said earlier some departments are still changing to them or at least allow them.

  • http://www.youtube.com/lordstickmax LordStickMax

    I’ve had this gun for a few years now. its still my best of the last six 1911s i own/owned. i sold the lightweight loaded i had cause i didn’t like the way it shot. still one of only three guys i ever sold in my collection.

  • uzim16

    just wondering why some military or law enforcement still prefer 1911 over new .45s like S&W M&P, XP, GLOCK

    • Phil White

      uzim16,

      I retired after 28 years as a LEO. I always preferred the 1911 over any other pistol. I was so familiar with it handling became second nature which is an important factor. One other consideration is the bad guys have a hard time figuring out a 1911:-) As far as others I would choose from the Springfield XDm comes in as a close second.
      Even after all these years some departments are switching to the 1911!

  • peterb

    Units using the 1911 tend to be specialized groups who train enough to take advantage of the 1911′s high accuracy potential, and have dedicated armorers who understand the tradeoffs inherent to the platform.

    • Phil White

      peterb,

      Your 100% right on that. They also load there own ammo on Dillon presses.

  • http://gunner777.wordpress.com Phil

    SpudGun,

    It’s all true :-) Hey if I find anything wrong you’ll know it! Imbel has been making these alloy frames for many a year. They also made FN-Fal’s and many other guns. They have a great rep in the gun industry.
    Two words that are overdone “Tactical and Operator”!

    Phil

  • Erik

    MEU(SOC)
    Marine Expeditionary Unit (Special Operations Capable)

    • Phil White

      Erik,

      It’s corrected——

  • cc19

    @Nick87

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/M1911_pistol#Current_users

    For an, “out-dated,” design it sure has quite the modern day user list. Just saying.

    • Phil White

      cc19,

      It’s more popular than any other time in history!

  • Nicks87

    If 1911s are your “thing” thats fine. I mean no offense.

    However, I do feel that people who carry 1911s and promote them are very much influenced by hollywood and the “stigma” surrounding the 1911.

    Unfortunately it does have a few flaws.

    1. Single action.
    2. Two safties. Is the grip safety really necessary?
    3. Finicky with ammo, especially HPs and +P ammo is not recommended for use by most 1911 manufacturers.
    4. All steel construction. Heavy+needs to be well maintained.
    5. Low ammo capacity and NO I dont need more rounds to hit my target but it’s nice to have just in case.
    6. Size. As big as a Glock 21 but not near the ammo capacity or reliability.

    And, before I get trolled for this comment, I have owned a Kimber, Colt and Taurus (9mm) 1911 so I do have experience with the design. If you like them, great, but if you are on the fence about buying one keep this^^^ in mind. 1911s are great fun at the range and in competitions but if your life depends on it…

    • Phil White

      Nicks87,

      Nope not going to go after you for your opinion. Everybody has one:-) I don’t get upset when somebody disagrees with me. We all have our choices and favorites.
      Just curious Nick but what’s your shooting background?

  • Nicks87

    @Phil White and cc19.

    According to who?

    Tom Clancy?

    Most of his stuff is “fact based” fiction.

    I would love to know how many real special operations soldiers carry 1911s in the field.

    IMO it’s a marketing ploy to get more “arm-chair cowboys” to buy expensive pistols.

    • Phil White

      Nicks87,

      Nope not Tom Clancy. Here are just a very few who use them. They left out a large number of PD’s who authorize officers to carry them or issue them. I have faith in it used it for a very long time and trust my life with it everyday. I spent 28 years as a police officer and carried the 1911 a good bit of that time.I also used it on our SRU team for 7 years. No arm chair cowboys here:-)
      As I said in an earlier reply the grip safety was an Army requirement and Browning didn’t like the idea much. Jeff Cooper probably influenced me but not Hollywood. I don’t watch much TV unless it’s Top Shot.

      Current users
      Many military and law enforcement organizations in the United States and other countries continue to use (often modified) M1911A1 pistols including Marine Corps Special Operations Command, Los Angeles Police Department S.W.A.T. and L.A.P.D. S.I.S., the FBI Hostage Rescue Team, F.B.I. regional S.W.A.T. teams, and 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment—Delta (Delta Force). The Tacoma, Washington Police Department selected the Kimber Pro Carry II or Pro Carry II HD as optional, department supplied weapons available to its officers.

  • Nicks87

    @Phil White

    I mean no insult to you personally but you are giving me lists of Depts. and units that are AUTHORIZED to carry the 1911. What I would like to know is how many individuals actually carry the 1911 on-duty or into hostile environments. I believe the number to be much lower than people such as yourself think. Just because I can sign out a .50 barrett from the armory doesnt mean I carry one in the back of my patrol vehicle.

    As far as my shooting back-ground goes, I served in the USAF for six years as a SP and have served as a Police Officer for 10 years. I am currently a firearms/defensive tactics instructor for a police dept (I wont say which one or where, I dont trust internet people, no offense).

    Sorry to vent my frustration on this website but I’ve heard so many ignorant comments from inexperienced officers about how they “wish they could carry a 1911 instead of the pu**y, little, issued 9mms” Its just plain nonsense and I’m sick of internet people who have very little real life shooting experience talking about how the 1911 is the greatest pistol ever made and how it is the best choice for any situation (I know/hope you are not one of these people).

    It’s 2011, trust me, there are far better choices out there than a 1911. Less expensive ones too.

    • Phil White

      Nicks87,

      Hey no need to apologize for venting. We’re coming from the same basic background. I’m retired now but when I was active I was a firearms instructor from 1988 until 2002. I still work with local agencies on firearms instruction and class development. I got my certification from Missouri POST.
      The agencies listed have these 1911′s issued to them. Tacoma PD issues the full size for duty and a compact 1911 for off duty. LAPD uses Kimbers while the FBI HRT use Springfields. Delta isn’t talking but they build most of their guns in house to suite the individuals request for features they prefer. By a vast majority police departments issue something other than 1911′s. Many do authorize them if the officer buys them. Bottom line most officers don’t practice enough to carry one.
      This past Friday another officer and myself ran three agencies through qualifications. There were two of us with 1911′s out of all those officers. Most carried those darn Glocks,don’t get me started on those:-) Anyway yes the majority carry Glocks, M&P’s and such.
      Something you might find interesting. I was tasked in 2001 to pick the departments new duty pistol. My only restriction from the powers that be was no Glocks. I after testing several guns I recommended the H&K USP in 40cal. That’s what they purchased and issued. Some carried them in condition one while others preferred double action single action. The 1911 was authorized also. I carried the 1911 Springfield Armory Operator.
      That pretty much covers it for the blog response. I’ll email you so we can continue if you like.

    • Kelter16

      Nicks87,

      I’d have to agree with you that, although many elite units (e.g. Tier1 Counterterrorism teams, MEUSOC) are issued 1911′s, most of the operators do not prefer use them on deployments. I prefer not to cite my sources, but they are reliable.

      The primary reason they do not prefer a 1911 is that the typical Operator will often carry 50+ pounds of gear in their kit, and having the extra weight of a 1911+.45 Ammo compared to a glock with .40SW ammo is considered, by many operators, to be unneccessary. The emphasis these days, particulary with counterterrorism teams, is lightness and speed. Now a pound or two of extra weight doesn’t seem like much to us, typing away in our air conditioned rooms and sipping our beers, but when you’re running around with gear on in 120 degree weather, the last thing you want to think about is that you are carrying any unneccessary weight. FOR THE MOST PART, the sidearm is a secondary “oh shit” weapon for them, until they can get their rifle back up and running. Many operators feel like they can accomplish this just as easy, if not better, with a high capacity glock or Sig. They’d rather use that extra pound or two to carry an extra M4 mag or grenade. It’s also less bulky for them to just carry a pistol and 1-2 high capacity pistol mags on their vest, vs. a 1911 and 4-6 1911 mags to equal the same capacity.

      Additionally, parts interchangeability is a huge bonus for off the shelf pistols like the Glock or Sig. Certain custom 1911′s require an armorer to replace 1911 parts. For example, certain Springfield Professional parts will have a unique parts number because they were customized to fit that individual gun. If you’re deployed overseas and a pistol part breaks, it’s much easier to drop in a $2 glock part that doesn’t require any special modifications.

      Having said that, imo a high quality 1911 is an accurate, reliable shooter(yes, my particular 1911 has been more reliable than my glock.) and the single stack magazines are very concealable. Also, what is applicable to the Delta Operator may not be applicable to the average citizen or even law enforcement officer. For the majority of law enforcement and citizenry, the pistol is the primary weapon and they are not humping 60+ lbs of gear all day over rocky terrain.

      I PERSONALLY shoot a 1911 slightly faster and more accurately than a glock, both of which I have used on SWAT duty at one time or another…but that’s not to say that this holds true for everyone. However, if I had to shoot the bad guy 10 times, the glock would be faster:) (no mag change). The type of duty gun you prefer to use probably depends on how well you shoot the gun and your CONFIDENCE in the weapon. For many of us, until we are involved in THAT PARTICULAR gunfight, we’ll never really know how many rounds (+1 to Glock) or how much accuracy (+1 to 1911) we “need”. I’ve carried both a 1911 and a Glock and I have full confidence in either weapon. However, I do so recognizing the advantages and shortcomings of each.

      • John

        Ive never had issue packing a couple extra pounds for accuracy and reliability, though some do. Yes more weight will be annoying but its really not much more. On the flip side, for being an MC Operator owner, i will say that ive really considered a double stack 1911. Carrying 14 rounds of .45 in a 1911 is really appealing.

        Then again when I was serving i swapped out an M4 for M-14/M1A Scout model because the M4 is lacking in stopping power and reliability.

        I am not of fan of gas blow back systems, especially in desert areas. Gas piston is the best way and when it comes to service weapons, you will not find better than the M14 or AK-47.

        I am an absolute fan of Patriot Ordnance Factory AR style gas piston rifles.
        They are darn reliable and amazingly accurate, and gorgeous rifles. Now if only they would hurry up and finish their .300 WSM variant.

  • Nicks87

    @Phil White

    Thx for the many responses, hope I wasnt too negative sounding. You are very much correct about officers/individuals wanting to carry 1911s but not being familier or proficient enough to do so. Thats another reason I try to discourage people from choosing 1911s for off-duty/concealed carry.

    I believe that where we differ in opinion may not be the choice of firearms but the preference between single action vs. double action or striker fired weapons vs. hammer.

    I love Glocks, I feel that the Glock 17 is the finest handgun ever built.

    As far as the USP .40, I wasnt a big fan but my Capt. has a P2000Sk with the LEM Trigger and I think its great but a bit too spendy for me.

    So, to each his own, I guess and seeya around the blog-a-sphere.

    • Phil White

      Nicks87,

      That probably is the only way we differ. I’ll tell you though if I didn’t carry a 1911 my second choice would be a Springfield XDm:-) I know I never tell a new shooter to buy a 1911. I always suggest a S&W J frame until they have some experience.

      Take care!

  • Billy Oblivion

    Nick87:

    I’m not a 1911 fanboi, in fact the comment “I would say the number of rounds is close to 5,000. It’s still tight and there has been nothing of consequence that needed to be changed out. I do change out recoil springs every 1500 rounds. I also check the condition of the extractor and replace as needed.” was “Fook, I had 5000 rounds in my Glock before I CLEANED IT. Haven’t replaced ANYTHING but the lube on the gun.

    That said, here I have to shoot a borrowed gun for IPSC, and that gun happens to be an STI 1911 in 9mm. I’ll (probably) never carry one for social purposes but to harsh out your comments:

    1) Nothing wrong with a single action pistol if you’re a competent shooter.
    2) Dealt with by others.
    3) I suspect that you can tune it for one kind of ammo. Do that for your carry stuff and just deal with it the rest of the time.
    4) I was going to say “Butch up Princess, grab a kettle bell and start swinging”, but really the good thing about steel is that that weight changes the recoil of the gun making it more pleasant to shoot for beginners and folks playing games. Modern metals and modern coatings need less attention than the stuff of yore, so that’s not a big deal either, as long as you keep up on it.
    5) Some contemporary 1911 style pistols come with double stack mags. There has been SOME progress in that realm.
    6) Size is most important if you’re trying to conceal the pistol. There are ways to hide almost any reasonably sized firearm. I’ve been within 10 feet of a police officer in a state that didn’t allow CCW with a Beretta FS92 and he had no clue.

    If you’re someone who is in a line of work where you need to rely on a handgun to protect your life or someone else’s YOU know what you need. YOU need to do the research, YOU need to understand what, why and how.

    If you’re just carrying because someday, maybe you might have an occasion to have to deal with a bad guy or six MAYBE, but probably not, then carry what makes you happy.

    Revolvers were, as a technology, some 60 or 80 years old when JMB first patented what would become the 1911. The soldier who learned on that first black powder pistol back then would be able to pick up a contemporary revolver and “get’er done” with very little additional training. But frankly I wouldn’t feel under-gunned with a Detective Special sitting on my hip with a speed loader in my front pocket. Sure it’s only 12 shots (or was it 10, I forget), but it’s EXCEEDINGLY unlikely that I’ll wind up in a situation were I would need 12 rounds and not be able to do a “battle field pickup” on the way.

    • Phil White

      Billy,

      Great comment! You made your points very well.

  • Scott

    1st SFOD-D (Delta) has chosed the .40 Smith and Wesson. I have it on good faith that the platform is NOT a 1911.

    I own this gun. It’s a great 1911 platform for it’s price point. Would I trust my life with a 1911 ? Probably not. The platform is a maintenance instensive platform and requires far more care than a standard Glock, XD, M&P etc. You’d better be a Master Gunsmith and know to tune extractors, pin ejectors, polish feed ramps, throat the barrel, replace and tune extractor and ejectors and every other damn part in the 1911 platform.

    I love them for range time, but I’d carry a Glock 21/21SF any day of the week over a 1911.

    YMMV

    • Phil White

      Scott,

      Hum, I’ll check with my buddy in that community and see what they changed to. I’d sure like to know. It had to happen sometime. You know I’ve never had to change a bunch of parts on any of mine. I know the Glock is very reliable these days. I’d have to go with the SF if I carried a Glock. The grip is kinda thick for me on the standard model.

    • Phil White

      Scott,

      I found out from my friend in the community that they have gone to a version of the Glock 22 40 cal in what they call rough frame. It’s not one you can buy commercially. The training has also changed because of adversaries using body armor.

  • Dedicatedkiller

    @Nicks87

    I think out of the 300 some individuals I met while part of ODA 3242 in Afghanistan… only one guy carried a pistol other then a 1911. Everyone that uses the issued pistols always say “I wish we still had the 1911…” The M9 is an utter piece of trash. haha I love the 1911 and the Browning M2. If it ain’t broken don’t fix it.

    • Phil White

      Dedicatedkiller,

      Agreed no M9′s for this boy. A 1911 and an M2 will solve most problems:-)

  • Sammully

    I used the M1911 when I was with the 3rd Recon Company in Okinawa back in 1997-2000. We were issued the M9 Berretta (9mm) and sometimes if you were lucky the M1911 MEUSOC .45. I fell in love with .45 and to this day I will swear by them. Yes, to an inexperienced shooter, it is quite a mystery on the single action operation. I do believe that it is definitly an experienced shooter weapon, but when you figure it out….man o man!!! Also, I thought that Springfield Armory had the “Loaded” pistols made in the good old U.S. of A? I thought that most of their 1911 models are made in Brazil except for the “Loaded” models? Am I wrong?

    • Phil White

      Sammully,

      I couldn’t agree more. I’m a dyed in the wool 1911 guy and always will be. I love old S&W’s but there’s nothing like a 1911 to make your day at the range. As far as the origin of the Springfield guns. They are made in the USA with the exception of the lightweight frames which are made by Imbel in Brazil. Imbel has a ton of experience with LW alloy frames. They still make FN-Fals etc. Quality stuff!

      Phil

  • Nam Marine

    A Colt is a 1911. Everything else is just a copy. I have a Stainless Government model 1991A1. Shoots one ragged hole at 25 feet! It
    ALWAYS goes bang! Colt…..the Original and still the Best!

    • Phil White

      Nam,

      My first 1911 was a Colt as was my second and third:-) I do understand what your saying.

  • ChipK

    This is the first pistol I have purchased. When I was gun shopping, a dealer told me to buy the gun I really wanted, and this is the one. I was still in college at the age of 24, finishing up my degree and working at the university for $10/hr. Since it was my last semester and my birthday, I had $950 left over from my student loan so I cashed it and headed to the gun show. That’s when I found it, my first handgun, the Springfield 1911 Operator. After tax the gun was, coincidentally, $950 and some cents! It’s approaching 10 years since I had the weapon and I had it sent back to Springfield for a slide refit and tuneup. The gun is as smooth as a Wilson Combat or Nighthawk for half the price and is very accurate. I can peg bullseyes on a silhouette at 50′ (best 3 bullseyes from a 7 round mag).

    Some people may say “this is an old, expensive gun, why did you choose this? Simple, both my grandfathers on my mother’s side and father’s side of the familiy learned from this very weapon, and it served them well in Germany (WWII), and against the Vietcong in the Vietnam War. I wanted to experince what it was like for myself to take a crack at my first target with a .45 1911 just as my forefathers and every cent was worth it. It may not be the original GI model, but after shooting the 1911 compared to other other handguns, I understand why the old vets stick with their 1911′s. I learned the basics of gun safety and gun maintenance on this platform. It’s been with me on many range outings with friends and significant others. Importantly I used it to defend my home on a frightening night when 2 murderers were loose in the neighborhood after killing 3 young boys (murders fled and were caught 2 years later, one was killed by police). I may not be an experienced shooter from a military/law enforcement perspective, but I am more than glad I purchased this weapon.

  • Scott

    After having fired my SA “MC” Operator since my last comment I can honestly say that for the price point I do not think you’ll find a better full size/Government 1911 on the market. Sure, there are a couple of things that could be added to the “MC” Operator pistol. Such as, front strap checkering, preferably 20 LPI and a S&A flared extended magwell. Screw on some black VZ G10 grips and it’s a perfect specimen of a 1911 platform.

    As for the slides and frames being forged in Brazil you have to remember that many of the “MC” Operator frames and slides are actually forged in the U.S.A. You’ll notice that the frame will NOT have a “Brazil” marking on the right side above the trigger well. IIRC the serial number only starts with and “N” Somebody may be able to confirm this.

    As for Special Forces soldiers strapping on a 1911 down range it is true that many of the ODA’s have made COTS purchases or MFP-11 purchases of 1911 pistols chambered in .45 ACP. One 19th Group ODA that I know of purchased TRP “Operator” pistols and had some minor changes to critical parts prior to deployment. This came from the mouth of the Senior 18D (Medical Sergeant) that I spoke too prior to his deployment.

    • Jeff

      Scott, I served on a ODA in 5th SFGA 1982-1985. I carried a 1911 and it served me well. it never failed me, and I shot thousands of rounds through it. Our armorer worked on them for each of us as to how we wanted it. We didn’t have the ability to buy custom/outside equipment. It wasn’t the norm then. Remember it was 27 years ago. I trusted her with my life and she took care of me a few times. I still miss her as we had to turn them in when we were discharged.

  • Scott

    ETA: Phil, my “MC” Operator also sports an Insight Tech M6X when it’s on the nightstand. :D

    • Phil White

      Scott,

      You have the same setup I do:-) Springfield told me they had some frames that were not marked with the usual serial number for the Imbel frames. The slides have always been made here though. Only the LW frames come from Imbel. I tended towards thinking the entire gun was made in the USA just like you.
      There are very few 1911′s out there now in the Spec Ops community. They switched over to Glock 23′s about 3 years ago. Some guys were not happy about that. The problem with the 1911′s was they shot them so much parts had to be changed pretty often–that and each operator had his own desire for how it should be setup. It’s more of a money issue than anything else.

  • http://firearms.fortreg.com remat457

    I just handled one of these at my LGS. Definitely more to basic features than say the TRP. It is a well made pistol and definitely on my list. For those wondering about the draw of 1911s it is in the grip and ergonomics. If you hold and shoot one (a good one that is) and don’t like it, then you probably never will. A Glock 21/30, Sig P220, or M&P are alternatives I like. But, a well-tuned, broken-in 1911 will easily run with any of them.

  • George Liquor

    Real men carry M1911s. Plastic guns are for pussies.

    • Jeff

      The 1911 has served through both world wars Korea and Vietnam it’s a very reliable weapon. Not to say their haven’t been issues but come on any gun that’s been in service that long is going to. I have several 1911s and I would put my live on any one of them in any situation. It’s a combat tested world war proven system. No other American hand gun system can say that today.

      I work in law enforcement and we issue a lot of blocks they are fine weapons I don’t want to take away from their accomplishments. Just want the full scope to be realized.

      • Nam Marine

        You are exactly correct Jeff. The Basic 1911 platform has been in use for over 100 years! There must be a reason for that.
        A Colt 1911 served me well on the DMZ in Vietnam during the Tet Offensive in 1968, and I carry one (A Colt of course) to this day!
        SEMPER FI !
        Cpl. C. Morgan, 3rd Marine Div. Northern I Corps, Vietnam 1968-69
        (Still lost somewhere on the DMZ)

        • Phil White

          Nam,

          Good call for a carry pistol anytime anywhere! Thanks for your service Marine!

  • kerry hensley

    i have had problems w 1911′s in the past, for example in the army i had one go full auto on me after the first round wet the rest followed. we soon swapped over to the m9 which was a real piece of trash, but the unit i was in got to use the hk 23 which despite the weight was a nice weapon, i feel like the 1911 has run its course and is not a reliable weapon for an active operator,too many parts needs tools to break all the way down, and is fussy when dirty, remember under real conditions your weapon wont be as shiny clean as it is on the nightstand or the range,or in a holster in a squad car all day, real life requires real dependability for an operator.

    • Phil White

      kerry,

      A lot of the military 1911′s were pretty worn out. Apparently you got one with a worn sear causing that full auto malfunction. I’ve had that happen as well but it was a Glock.
      Maintaining a 1911 for the spec ops community is a challenge since they shoot so darn much. That’s why they went to Glocks a few years ago.

  • Scott

    I’ve been having to change out the Pach grips about once every six months due to them stretching on the front strap. They get real squishy like. Plus it seems their very hard to actually get clean and back to presentation color. I’ve also replaced the grip screws just due the fact that they have worn and the finish has come off of them with lots of handling and shooting.

    I’m seriously considering having the front strap checkered and going with some VZ Operator II grips and adding an Ed Brown flared magwell.

    Minor fixes, I know, but I like the MC Operator too look beautiful when it comes out of the case. :-)

    • Chip K

      Try Calling up Springfield about the issue. I had some minor break-in issue with My MC Operator and they were happy to tend to the issue free of charge. I Fedex the gun to them free of charge (I think, don’t remember), the weapon came back within 2 weeks and the action was smooth as a Nighthawk or Wilson Combat. Needless to say, I am one very satisfied customer.

      Try calling Springfield Armory before sinking any cash into mods and upgrades. I would imagine the least they could do is send new grip screws. If they go all the way to make it perfect, more power to you. Good luck.

  • Sandog

    Soooo much BS that I couldn’t have had this hardware when I went through on my time….

  • Iloveallguns

    FBI HRT are in fact issued the Springfield 1911 Operator…however they are also issued the standard issue Glock 22. Nearly every operator has benched the 1911 and choose to carry the Glock 22 for reliability purposes. I too have both, and prefer the Glock for reliability and knowing if, God forbid, I end up in a shootout, 16 rounds are better than 9, not to mention ease of use. Reloading and using one thumb to send the slide forward is better than using one thumb to send the slide forward and another thumb to take the weapon on safe. If one thinks he will not fumble that when you are experiencing adrenaline dump, I ask you to think again. It’s not about getting a mag change done, it’s about the speed and efficiency of that mag change. No lectures please on training, I have more training on both weapons than anyone I know except for 2 people and I speak from experience when it comes to adrenaline dump and the loss of fine motor skills during a gun battle. If I need the best score target (and the sexiest gun) give me a 1911 Operator! If I need the best chance to live through a gun fight, give me my Glock! I’m also an expert in terminal ballistics and the .40 is ballisticly “nearly” equal to the .45, which is a whole other conversation.