Rob Leatham: Springfield Range Officer Not for Self-Defense

Quick aside: this is our second video of the day wherein the demonstrator feels perfectly comfortable putting his/her finger in front of the muzzle. For me, that’s a no-no. But what do I know-know?

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

70 Responses to Rob Leatham: Springfield Range Officer Not for Self-Defense

  1. avatarJOE MATAFOME says:

    This gun sounds like a KIMBER (or Wison or Glock or ?) wannabe. This may be a good entry level pistol but that’s it, you won’t be winning any championships with a beginner gun. I don’t believe any top shooter is going to change from any world class pistol to a beginner pistol.

    • avatarBurton Gotshall says:

      It wasn’t designed to be a “WORLD CLASS GUN”
      For the beginner it is all that is necessary. When he is shooting good scores and sure he wants to compete he should probably have one of the Competent gun smiths make one for him.
      IMO none of the production model guns are ready for major competition!
      I don’t compete any more (old age) but I do hold a LIFETIME MASTER”card from the NRA>

    • avatarJayhawkNavy02 says:

      It may not be “the” pistol for a national championship, but it will perform exceptionally well at the club level. I have one, IMO better with only about $150 in work than pistols that cost $500-$600 and some that cost as much as double. It takes someone who is an incredibly serious competitor to wring out the marginal accuracy difference this and a dedicated bullseye pistol. For many the RO will exceed their capability.

  2. avatarTodd says:

    At a gun shop, in a home or anywhere else someone hands you a gun, it’s one thing to be super atnetive to muzzle sweep. But at SHOT or the NRA show, all the guns have been deactivated and checked more than once. I’m less concerned about that, then when on the line or pulling one out of a safe or counter display.

    that being said, I still pull the slide back just to look for myself.

  3. avatarRichard Linares says:

    Who gun buy this gun special for reason Springfield Armory trying sell it. The people shooting in sporting events that Rob Leatham talk about go out spend there money on best high end guns that have all thing on them this pistol does have win those events. Are gone see Rob Leatham use this gun next event he shooting I very much doubt it gone use gun Springfield Ammory made for him name after him. Sent not made for self defense price rath high for gun that do not get what most shooters want in gun that Springfield Armory gun charge for who buy it. Other 1911 out there gun be at better price offer more than what this pistol bring to table.

    • avatarBrad Kozak says:

      Think of this model as a stripped-down, high performance, competition gun. If you look at gun prices, you have a couple of tiers in 1911s. There’s the basic models, the ones with options (beavertail grip safety, etc.) and then the custom shop models. Most of the competition guns have match barrels, custom shop-fitted slides and so forth. You can’t touch one of those for under a grand. And the really nice ones are usually twice that. What Springfield has done is to get rid of all the non-essential stuff, and beefed up what matters in a match gun. It’s kind of like a Jeep Wrangler – they make the “X” model as a no-frills thing, the “Sahara” which adds all the options and creature comforts, and the “Rubicon” which has all the off-road stuff. The X model is cheaper, and set up so you can add your own options. It’s a nice idea, actually. Anybody that wants to get into competition shooting and needs a more accurate gun would do well to consider something like this.

    • avatarFrank says:

      AAAAARGH! FIRE BAD!!!!!!

    • avatarJimBob says:

      My goodness, where did you learn proper English grammar… Out of a Cracker Jack box?? Stop posting, you’re embarrassing yourself.

      • avatarNick V says:

        Come on, he’s obviously not a natural English speaker and he’s making an effort. Be nice, now.

        • avatarJonSEAZ says:

          I know that this is an old thread, but people still read it and I could not help but reply in complete agreement with your comment. The poster is making an effort to communicate in a language not of his own and should be lauded rather than ridiculed. I have lived and worked in lands foreign to my birth and still in old age travel to many countries. I communicate via E-mail with people from other countries. They write me in English. However fractured is their English, it damned sure is better than any effort of mine in their language. I suspect the complainer speaks and writes (more or less) in only English.

      • avatarduke says:

        Like your lack of correct punctuation use douchebag?

  4. avatarRalph says:

    If I ever have to shoot a BG with this gun, I’ll make sure he’s wearing a steel plate.

    • avatarBurton Gotshall says:

      If you read the specks on the gun, you would see that it wasn’t designed for shooting the “BAD GUY”.
      I match conditioned a lot of 1911′s while in the service and looking at this gun, my initial opinion is that it is very well made and would work well for the person just getting into competition. It will undoubtedly shoot better than he is able to!
      The only thing I found if I bought one was that it will need a little trigger work as the one I looked at had about 2 steps an creep.
      I am planning to buy one as soon as I find one at the right price!!!

  5. avatarDon Curton says:

    Would it actually kill the manufacturers to put an ambidextrous safety on a pistol? Any pistol? At least one pistol in their line-up? Ever?

    My Browning Hi-Power has one. And … That’s it. Everything else carried that extra little “southpaw” tax where I gots to spend even more money so that I can use it.

    • avatarBrad Kozak says:

      My Springfield Loaded 1911 came with an ambi-safety. And I found that if I wanted to add a Crimson Trace laser grip, the ambi-safety has to go.

      That orange tag on the gun says “I have no firing pin,” So I think Rob’s probably on safe ground here. But since I don’t do a lot of gun tradeshows, I just assume every gun is ‘hot,’ for safety sake. Can’t be too careful.

    • avatarMike Frinks says:

      You kind of picked the wrong manufacturer to say that about, as only 3 of their 1911 models don’t have ambi-safeties.

    • avatarDave says:

      FN pistols (FNX-9, FNX-40 and FNP-45) are all fully ambidextrous, including the safety.

      • avatarRay says:

        Agreed that the FNH’s offer an ambi safety, slide release and mag release, and it is a great idea…BUT do they really work well for the southpaws? No! I have an FNX45 and FNP45, neither of which really have a working slide release on the right side of the gun. I am a southpaw and have never been able to release the slide with my left thumb. The slide release works like a horseshoe that wraps around the mag well. The problem is that the actual release mechanism is still on the left side of the gun and when the slide is caught open by the mechansim (sorry for the lack of correct nomenclature), attempting to release the slide from the right using your left thumb (being a lefty), the horseshoe twists but deosn’t release the slide. The idea was great, but the execution was poor.

  6. avatarozzy says:

    To Joe Matafome…..while I agree the Kimber is of much higher quality you need to do your research. Springfield was the first 1911. It was made for our military. Kimber and all the rest are the wannabes.

    • avatarKup says:

      Actually… not to split hairs, but I think Colt is credited as the original 1911 and every other company followed suit by copying John Browning’s design.
      On a different not, I’d be interested to hear from some people who have actually used this gun at a match and get their real perspective on how it worked, rather than relying on what appears to be more opinion that actual first-hand knowledge and facts.

      • avatarjmpgfoto says:

        WOW! You are the only one who got this right! Maybe experience shows and many of the posters are youngsters. When in the Army (Vietnam) we had a huge quantity of 1911′s, fast and easy to take down, service and reassemble. Most of those originals are probably long gone and if not very loose by now. I have seen a lot about RIA Match 8 1911′s, many extras at well under $1K, in fact only about $650 now at Bud’s. I have tried it and hope to get one soon. Unfortunately in CA we have added costs due to CA laws, kicks it up atleast $100 over everywhere else. I have seen no negatives on the RIA, anyone have an opinion?

    • avatarduke says:

      SA now is NOT the same SA that built 1911s during WW1, WW2, or vietnam. Ger your head out of your ass.

    • avatarNam Marine says:

      Colt was first….not Springfield. Do some research or STHU !

  7. avatarRiley Bowman says:

    Except for the fact, Ozzy, that Springfield Armory, Inc. (the company) is not the same thing as the original Springfield Armory (the gov’t arsenal). They have nothing in common except for the name. So, in a sense, modern Springfield Armory firearms are “wannabe’s” as well.

    Just wanted to make that clear…

  8. avatarChristine Guinn says:

    I just love all of the people trying to say that the Springfield RO is a Kimber wanna-be. The Springfield is much higher quality that the average Kimber.

  9. avatarJohn Senuta says:

    This video was shot at the 2011 Shot Show. ALL guns allowed on the floor have the firing pins removed so putting his hand in front of the barrel is a non issue. I know. I was there.

    • avatarRobert Farago says:

      For some of us, putting our hand in front of the barrel of a gun is ALWAYS an issue. All guns are loaded. Period.

      • avatarJohn Senuta says:

        Then don’t go to the Shot Show because you will be WALKING in front of thousands of muzzles and barrels.

        • avatarRobert Farago says:

          I went. No one pointed a gun at me, and I didn’t point a gun at anyone. Including myself.

        • avatarJoe says:

          Every time you go to a gun store you walk past the muzzle, obviously no one is holding them but there is a line between safety and paralyzing miserliness.

  10. avatarCraig Fountain says:

    Wow, talk about some worthless banter on this thread. Talk about the performance of the firearm. That’s what smart shooters want to know. Safety is always first, but I’m fairly sure that Rob Leatham need not to explain his safety record to a bunch armchair quarterbacks. When you are handling a firearm just do the right thing. As for the Ozzy guy, you talked about research, well you need to learn how to research because you are clueless on history and gun quality. Just ask a competent gunsmith that specializes in 1911 models about which simply has better quality components and manufacture. I did. I asked 3 of them. They all hands down said Springfield Armory. I was on the fence between a model from each, but went with the springfield based on the real expert advice. But, I do think Kimber is a fine gun or i would not have cosidered it to start with. Christine, thank you for your comment. Too much testosterone in this thread has obviously impacted several comment other equally inadequate head. Now does anyone have personal experience with the RO they would like to share or is it time to go to recess?

  11. avatarGary Burchner says:

    Gentlemen,
    will the new “RO” accept Colt .45 ACP magazines? I would like to retire my Colt, but I don’t want to give up my 10 & 15 Round magazines. Please advise at
    gary215ts2002@yahoo.com
    Thank you.

    PS: Anyone know if the Remington 1911 will accept Colt magaziens?

  12. avatarDon says:

    In response to Joe’s comments, unless you have shot a SA Range Officer, you should not make comments like yours. I am the proud owner of one and it is a very high quality 1911 which shoots very accurate. I will put it up against any Kimber. I own all kinds of pistols and several 1911′s. After shooting the Springer Range Officer, I doubt my other 1911′s will get much Range Time. Thumbs up to SA for the Range Officer.
    Don in VA

    • avatarjmpgfoto says:

      Having talked with a number of gun owners, firearms instructors, and other NRA (LIFE) members it seems to me that differences between perceptions of Kimber vs Springfield (and others) are pretty much personal/subjective preferences. Personally I think the Kimbers generally have a nicer finish but do not necessarily shoot better. I am happy with Springfield and both outperform the loose 45′s we had in the Army. Having said that, I also had two brand new Colts many years ago, a Commander and a Gold Cup which were very fine.

  13. avatarHans Aubuchon says:

    Sorry Don, I purchased a RO for $779 (new). It shoots well enough but needs some trigger work to take the creep out. My two Kimber 1911′s have a higher quality fit and finish…and are absolutely fine shooters…both have match barrels, triggers, etc. To compare a SA Range Officer to a Kimber CDP is not going to be good for the RO…it lags behind but we must remember that it also sells at a much lower price point. You get what you pay for…a loaded SA would probably match up well to the Kimber CDP but not the RO.

    • avatarTim says:

      I have two questions.

      1) I see you purchased your RO for $799 (new). Where did you purchase it from?

      2) Since the general consensus seems to be that the RO is not a good carry .45, can you suggest which models would be better suited for this purpose?

    • avatarJayhawkNavy02 says:

      The Springfield “Loaded” is not at the same quality as the RO. It is a product of Brazilian origin. Not that it is poor quality, but the RO is more accurate due to the better fitment and components. You do lose some features, but that was the intent. A stripped down 1911 with only the essentials to make it superbly accurate. The Loaded is a more tactical focused pistol, whereas the RO was intended for BE, Target, competition at the range, etc. I would not compare a CDP I/II to a RO. Apples and Oranges.

  14. avatarWalter says:

    Here’s my dilemma:
    I just won a RO in a raffle at my local shooting range. (good dilemma, right?) On the pistol it reads “1 of 500″ and in the box is a card that states the serial number and says it is “1 0f 500 engraved pistols from the first run produced.”
    So the dilemma is do I not shoot this gun and save it as a collectable? I am not the collector sort. I have many guns of good quality that are all shooters. I just don’t think I can have a pistol claiming to shoot well without using it.
    Thoughts?

    • avatarJayhawkNavy02 says:

      This isn’t really a collector piece.

      • avatarBoothill Preacher says:

        This might be apples and oranges again, but ever hear of the Winchester Model 1873, “1 of 1000?” The Winchester ’73 was called by some as “The Gun That Won the West.” According to Turnbull Manufacturing Company, the “Winchester 1 of 1000 is one of the most sought after Winchester Models ever made.” http://www.turnbullmfg.com/store.asp?pid=21597

        Regarding the SA RO “1 of 500,” maybe it’s not a collector piece now, but what about over the years?

        • avatarJayhawkNavy02 says:

          Not being a Colt, I don’t see any significant value attached to it. The only Springfield 1911s that bring big money are the Custom Shop pistols like the “Professional” or rare long slide or early German imports. None of the current production pistols other than the full rail TRP get value above the purchase price. The TRPs and TM hold their value well, but they don’t appreciate at the rate of more elite offerings. It is what it is.

          Here’s what I would do. List it for your dream price. However, you’ll probably find that it won’t sell for any more than a typical Range Officer. Nobody cares when it was made or that its engraved, these are starter entry level competition work a day 1911s not collector items. If it does sell for a premium, buy a new Range Officer and have a barrel/bushing fit and a trigger job and you’ll have a stellar shooter.

          If it doesn’t sell for a premium over a normal RO, take the listing down, enjoy the pistol, and shoot the snot out of it. You’ll have a better RO than most because of the early production number. You’ll not need all the work since early ROs were made better and you’ll have a great conversation piece.

          Either way, You Win!

  15. avatarStephen says:

    Recently took my new SA RO to firing range and fired about 4 mags thru it. My initial perception is it is a quality product and fires as such. Recoil is not as severe as I first anticipated and shells load in mags more easily after initial cycling. You can always find more expensive and nicer finished 1911s but I wanted something that resembled the G.I. model and didn’t see a need to spend more for my intended use. Gun ownership and shooting at the range is a new sport for me and I am well satisfied with my SA RO. I purchased it at Cabela’s in Hazelwood, Missouri for around $800.

  16. avatarStephen says:

    Recently took my new SA RO to firing range and fired about 4 mags thru it. My initial
    perception is it is a quality product and fires as such. Recoil is not as severe as I first an-
    ticipated and shells load in mags more easily after initial cycling. You can always find
    more expensive and nicer finished 1911s but I wanted something that resembled the
    G.I. model and didn’t see a need to spend more for my intended use. Gun ownership and
    shooting at the range is a new sport for me and I am well satisfied with my SA RO. I
    purchased it at Cabela’s in Hazelwood, Missouri for around $800.

  17. avatarbootman says:

    This gun is as much a world class gun as any stock gun for IPSC in the Limited class, Limited 10, or even the stock class…these classes don’t compete with race guns anyway…all this gun needs is a reliability check with a little tuning and then some shooting skill. I competed for nearly 15 years with mostly stock Colts and Springfields that I did most of the work on myself and never needed a better gun. The only thing I didn’t use or like was adjustable sights. Robbie Leatham could take one of these out of the box and go to US Nationals and win with it when he was at his best…bootman

  18. avatarisachad says:

    I shoot a Colt series 80 done by Novak, a stock SA TRP Loaded, and a Kimber TLE II,
    The RO sounds like a TRP without the frills, I removed the ambi safety from the TRP as they are weak point known to fail. I love the match barrel on the TRP and would trade my TLE II for an RO without a second thought. I will look for one to try as i think it sounds like a great project gun.

  19. avatarmike says:

    This gun is on sale from July 8th through the 30th at Midwest Gun Exchange in Mishawaka, Indiana for $699. http://www.midwestgunexchange.com

  20. avatarWil says:

    So, Robert, do you ever go to gunshops? Tell me how many of the muzzles are not pointed out of display cases and at either customers or employees? Rifles are generally muzzle up but not often pistols. You watch that video and your only comments are on whether it is a self defense pistol and whether Rob Leatham knows about gun safety? Really?

  21. avatarJosh says:

    Just purchased the RO and put in some range time. Compared side by side with my Kimber, Colt, and Sig. The RO is a no frills gun and the Finish is slightly worse than all 3 of the others. The Accuracy however was better than the other 3, despite the fact that it is a relativily low priced gun, it is very capable of 1 inch groups at 25 yards. Out of 300 rounds I had zero malfunctions. It is definitely NOT a CCW weapon though as that rear sight is big bulky and will cut the hell out of you. However for a range gun I have no doubts that it outpreforms almost anything in the same price range and most in the next price range up. Its not going to touch the true custom shop guns but you can buy 3 RO’s for what one of them cost.

  22. avatarRick schronce says:

    Comment about the comment about the figer over the barrel on the picture showing a range officer you say what do you know and my response is not much that guy has handled more firearms than you have handled air passing across your hands while walking how many times do you think that muzzle passes across a gunsmiths hands and fingers get real if your for guns than don’t make the rest of us look like idiots by making those comments and if your against guns stay off our web sights we don’t go on your knitting web sight and talk about you playing with knitting needles!

    • avatarReid says:

      I agree fully with the concept of your rebuttal. It would be a lot easier to understand, and therefore more effective, if you would use some punctuation in your replies.

  23. avatarRick Beckers says:

    Man I have never seen anyone handle a gun so poorly and the Springfield Rep in this video really set a bad gun handling example. Springfield you need a new Rep. I did get this gun and it shoots great and handles very well.

    • avatarJayhawkNavy02 says:

      Rep? That is Rob Leatham, “The Great One” who is one of the greatest competition shooters of our generation. Yes he is a spokesman for Springfield, but he’s a world class competitor as well. The firing pin is removed, as mentioned earlier, there is no risk, he is an expert and professional and would not be unsafe.

  24. avatarLegolas says:

    Why wouldnt you NOT want an ACURATE gun for self defense? I dont get that.

    • avatarJayhawkNavy02 says:

      The sights, especially the rear are very sharp and the pistol is intended for competition, therefore the tolerances are very close and that may not fair well with debris. I’ve shot 400 rounds on 4 range trips in the last month, with zero malfunctions. However, I’ve cut myself on the rear sights, they’ll easily snag and those features make it less than ideal. All of that can be fixed with sight replacements and a carry bevel if really desired, but at that point, you would be better off with another pistol for less.

      • avatarBart Solo says:

        I have been shooting a Range Officer for the last several months. I have to agree the rear sight needs to be dehorned. It has unduly sharp edges. That said it is the most accurate sub $1000 ($750 street) 1911 I have ever shot. The fit is solid and tight. It truly is a no frills competition gun. I am about to send mine in for a new front sight, a mag well and a little trigger work. With those additions it will be good to go in Limited 10. Oh, an ambi safety might be nice, but not at all necessary.

  25. avatarNam Marine says:

    You couldn’t give me a Kimber! High priced China junk in my opinion!
    I own a “Real” 1911. It’s made by Colt……..the ORIGINAL ! All others are copies.

  26. avatarmixon68 says:

    I trade in a Kimber CDP2 for the Springer RO. I have nealy 500 rds through it now, mostly 230 gr fmj and about 80rds of 230 gr hydrashoks. NO MALFUNCTIONS of any kind. The Kimber frame cracked after 125 rds. No kidding. I would not recommend a Kimber or any other pistol with aluminum components in it. SORRY SIG fans.Same for the tupperware glocks, xds, etc. Do yourselves a favor buy a Springer save 400 plus on the cost of the two and spend it on ammo if you can find it. It will and does work fine for home protection, however I had rather use my 870 12 ga. instead. Just my opinion and thats the one I have to live with

    • avatarJayhawkNavy02 says:

      The Sig Sauer P226/P228 have both passed durability tests that would shame most pistols, and the P226 is in use with SOCOM. Both are aluminum framed. Poor manufacturing by one company in a specific case does not generalize to all pistols. My P228 has over 20,000 rounds with only 3 malfunctions due to worn out recoil springs over the years and eventually worn magazine springs. When it has a Malfunction I change it and keep going. 20 years and the pistol is a champ.

  27. avatarVegan Taxidermist says:

    I bought one of these for a range toy and to get into 1911s. It’s a great gun: accurate, feels good, decent trigger, and cheap.

    I like it enough I carry it IWB when it’s cold enough to conceal. The rear sights definitely make this a tough gun to carry, but I like the confidence I have in it.

    The only downside is my girlfriend said I looked like a cowboy from the Wild West when OCing… presumably because of the rosewood grips!

  28. avatarCooper says:

    I have owned my RO for nearly a year. While I do not consider myself experienced enough to compare it to all other 1911′s, for the $775 I paid I could not be happier. I have put no less than 200 rounds through it every month since purchasing with ZERO malfunctions or FTF’s.

    While I would not carry this gun IWB, I DO carry the RO daily in a nice comfortable Galco F.L.E.T.C.H. holster that is easily concealed by a jacket or long shirt. I have no doubt Kimber makes a fine 1911, but of the 3 1911′s I compared in this price range (Kimber / Ruger / RO) the Kimber was my least favorite.

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  30. avatarNam Marine says:

    The English and spelling on this site is about 5th grade level! Proof read before you post !

    • avatarTurd Furgusson says:

      Sometimes I wax my nuggets but sometimes I hit my shins with a rake. I rest my case.

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