Gun Review: Remington 1911 R1 Ultralight Executive

Remington 1911 R1 Ultralight Executive

Remington’s R1 line of 1911s has steadily expanded since Big Green first introduced them back in 2010. In that time, they’ve earned a lot of respect for performance and value (see JWT’s review of their R1 Carry Commander). For those open-minded enough to evaluate a gun on its merits and not on mis-steps the maker may have made in the past, you can’t help but be impressed by Remington’s new R1 Ultralight Executive.

The Executive’s aluminum frame shaves weight, bringing the pistol in at a relatively svelte 28 ounces empty. That’s a good 10+ ounces less than a full-size government version. In addition to the weight, Remington got all of the details right on the Ultralight Executive.

The 3.5-inch match bull barrel and rounded grip and mainspring housing in an officer-sized package make the Ultralight Executive carry as comfortably as a 1911 can.

The 20 LPI front strap checkering is clean and makes for a solid grip under recoil without being a cheese grater. The black PVD Slide finish is well applied everywhere on the gun and you can look all day long and not find a tool mark.

The R1 Ultralight Executive comes with nicely figured, attractive beveled G10 grips, an extended beavertail and skeletonized hammer. All surfaces have been rounded for easy carry and a clean draw. The magazine well isn’t beveled at all, so you’ll have to have good aim on your reloads.

Remington flared the ejection port. The skeletonized trigger is adjustable from 3.5 to five pounds. Mine was set at 3.75 out of the box which is pretty much dead on for a 1911 carry pistol.

The pistol also comes with a dovetailed set of XS tritium night sights, fore and aft. They’re almost must-have in an EDC pistol. There’s some room on either side of the front sight when lining up your target, a plus in a personal defense pistol.

You don’t have to deal with a bushing to take the gun down for cleaning.

Just push the slide back to an inch to get the indent over the slide stop, push the stop out and Bob’s your uncle. It’s as easy or easier than taking down any plastic fantastic.

The R1 Ultralight Executive comes with a pair of 7-round magazines.

But all the finish and details in the world are meaningless if you can’t rely on the gun — an everyday carry gun — to go bang when you need it.

I’ve had the gun for over two month now and have been carrying it almost every day in an OWB leather holster. I’ve also managed to put over 1000 rounds of ammo of all types through it and couldn’t get the gun to hiccup. I fed it cheap steel cased stuff, decent range ammo, and top of the line personal defense rounds. No failures to feed, not stovepipes, no nothing. I shot it with the provided Remington magazines as well as a couple of Chip McCormick mags as well.

As for accuracy, everything patterned within a minute of bad guy, as you’d expect, but a couple of loads did particularly well. Hornady Critical Defense turned in the best performance at 2.1 inches at 25 yards from a rest. Plain vanilla Winchester white box 230gr range ammo wasn’t far behind at 2.25 inches. That’s excellent from an officer-sized 1911. Others produced patterns from 2.3 to as much a 3.2 inches for the cheap steel range ammo.

In short, the R1 Ultralight is a surprisingly good performer. Almost as welcome is the price. With its impressive finishing and night sights, it MSRPs for $1250. But five minutes of Googling yields street prices well below $900. For an good-looking, ultra-reliable, well-equipped carry 1911, that’s a great value.

Specifications: Remington 1911 R1 Ultralight Executive

Caliber: .45 ACP
Barrel Length: 3.5 inches
Overall Length: 7 inches
Overall Width: 1.4 inches
Overall Height: 5.5 inches
Weight: 28 oz.
Finish: Black PVD Slide
Capacity: 7+1
MSRP: $1250 (about $900 street)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Style: * * * * *
The Ultralight Executive is a looker. You won’t be ashamed to show it to your buddies at the range.

Ergonomics: * * * * *
If there’s a better handgun ergonomically for most shooters than the 1911, it’s hard to think what that would be. The R1 Ultralight Executive’s rounded frame an mainspring housing makes it a joy to shoot and for small-handed shooters like me, it’s ideal.

Reliability: * * * * *
Over 1000 rounds with zero — yes, zero — malfs. It cycled everything from the cheap stuff to top notch JHP loads. Can you carry this thing with confidence? Definitely.

Customize This: * * * * 
Please. It’s a 1911, though officer-size pistols have a few less options.

Concealed Carry: * * * *
Few guns carry as well as a 1911. And of the genus, the officer model carries easiest and most discreetly, especially in an IWB rig. But it’s still an all-metal pistol weighing over 30 oz. loaded.

Overall: * * * * *
The Remington R1 Ultralight Executive is a surprisingly good carry pistol. It does everything an EDC gun should do, and does it well at a reasonable price. Remington has gotten everything right with the Ultralight Executive and at under $900, it’s certainly worth your consideration.

comments

  1. avatar Larry Macneal says:

    That is a good looking pistol. Nice review too. I will look forward to checking one out.

  2. I jumped on the R1 back in 2011, for centenary reasons, and was pleasantly surprised by it’s accuracy and reliability. The only problems I’ve had were from questionable “friend of a friend” reloads.

    I have purchased other 1911’s since, but the original is still my go-to.

    It may be about time for a re-visit to the Remington brand for this fine looking model, which you nicely reviewed, good job!

  3. avatar Tile Floor says:

    I’m all for some redemption baby. I applied for a security director job at a bank chain and if I swing it this might be my present to myself.

  4. avatar tdiinva says:

    I am not a big fan of chopped down 1911s. Anything smaller than a Commander looks like it has a genetic defect. If you are going to make a 1911 in a short barrel scale it down and chamber it in 9mm.

    1. avatar JasonM says:

      Like a Springfield EMP? They shortened the action, grip, and magazine to fit 9mm & .40 S&W, and narrowed everything to fit the .40 S&W.

      I had an EMP and I currently have a Dan Wesson ECO 9mm (nearly identically sized to this R1). I find the ECO to be more ergonomic, even with small hands. And the EMP is not compatible with a lot of 1911 aftermarket parts, because the action and magazines are scaled down.

      1. avatar tdiinva says:

        I am not a big customizer do that doesn’t bother. However with exception the smaller pistols are my realm for plastic wunderguns.

  5. avatar Andrew Lias says:

    Proof that they can make good products, they just need to figure out how to do it across more lines. For the feature sets if it’s a quality gun $900 street is a smokin deal.

  6. avatar former water walker says:

    I doubt I’d ever buy this but I’m rooting for Remington( sorta’). I does look nice…

    1. avatar former water walker says:

      I see Taurus has a 3.5″ barrel Conmander. Weighs 34oz. And thinner. And half this price…fwiw.

      1. avatar JasonM says:

        And as a Taurus, it’s going to be able to sustain a much higher rate of fire…as it fires itself.

        1. avatar former water walker says:

          Prove to me Remington 2018 is better than Taurus…I’m waiting😧

        2. avatar Jack Crow says:

          Former Water Walker-

          Maybe “proof” is too strong a word, but see the above review…

          Remington has screwed up a lot, but this gun (and the rest of the R1 series) seems to be better. Seems like a reason to be optimistic.

        3. avatar Stevewonderful says:

          “And as a Taurus, it’s going to be able to sustain a much higher rate of fire…as it fires itself..”

          https://media.giphy.com/media/qL2kQFdyzApRS/giphy.gif

  7. avatar eremeya says:

    That looks almost exactly like my para-ord except for the beaver tail. My para-ord was quite a bit cheaper though…

  8. avatar FlamencoD says:

    This is intriguing but I think I would prefer the Springfield EMP concealed carry contour or a Kimber Super carry pro over the Remington product. Nice review though. I definitely love my Kimber Pro Carry II two tone in 9mm. I guess a rounded heel would make it all the better for carrying (I carry the 1911 on the wknds).

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      I also have a Pro Carry II; a rounded heel would be a great improvement! I finally filed down the edge of the heel (turns out the backstrap is plastic) to keep it from gouging me.

      That said, I have never understood why so many manufacturers will give you back strap checkering but a smooth front strap. For me, shooting these short barreled .45s, the back strap is not the issue in controlling muzzle flip, it is the smooth front strap.

  9. avatar raptor jesus says:

    28 ounces shooting .45 ACP?

    Sounds about as comfortable as my old Sig RCS of similar dimensions and weight – which I sold because it was very unpleasant to shoot.

    1. avatar Jerry says:

      It was actually quite comfortable.

    2. It wasn’t bad at all. Better than any .40 pistol I’ve shot. Snappier than a government size 1911, but very manageable.

    3. avatar Stevewonderful says:

      I guess you have trouble with a G21 at 29oz unloaded then??

  10. avatar Kevin Seal says:

    How can the weight of the trigger be adjusted? By bending the sear spring? I believe the screw in the trigger only adjusts the amount of over-travel after the sear is released.

  11. avatar Kevin Seal says:

    I apologize if my previous post was snarky. I’ve read the Remington manual and seen no instructions on adjusting the trigger pull weight. Perhaps the numbers list an acceptable trigger pull weight range. Thanks for the review, there seems to be a lack of info out there about the Remington 1911’s.

  12. avatar Greg says:

    Great review! I laughed at the “Plastic Fantastic” comment.

  13. avatar Southerner says:

    Is the feed ramp built into the barrel or does it have the traditional 1911 feed ramp?

  14. avatar Hammer says:

    Good review and it looks like Remington got this one right. However, you couldn’t pay me to buy a new Rem these days. They will have to do a lot, and do it consistently over a period of time, to earn my confidence back.

  15. avatar Brian McCombie says:

    Nice review! Very impressed with the 1,000 rounds worth of testing.

  16. avatar Edward says:

    So finally working Para Ordnance designs into the mix, although the executive carry was a 3″ 1911.

  17. avatar John Hope says:

    So when will this gun be recalled?

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