Gun Review: Remington Model 1911 R1 .45 ACP

Remington R1 1911

courtesy mfr

The gist of this Remington Model 1911 R1 review is that it’s well-made, accurate, made in the USA and you can basically get one for a song these days. If you want a basic Government frame 1911, it’s a great choice. My pictures turned out lousy (I know, I know; I’m buying a camera soon) so you’ll just have to deal with it.

In the broad strokes, this is an all-American GI pistol with a blued steel frame, parkerized slide and walnut grips. The barrel and barrel bushing are stainless steel, and the mainspring housing is the straight model from the original M1911.

This is intentional, as Remington made a small production run of M1911 pistols for the military towards the end of WWI, which the R1 is meant to pay tribute to.

It’s close to the gun that John Moses Browning bestowed upon us (and the army). By now, we all pretty much know what a basic GI pistol is like, so there’s no point in going over the parts of the gun that everyone’s already familiar with.

Remington R1 1911 review

Sam Hoober for TTAG

Big Green ships the R1 1911 in a big green box with two magazines, a bushing wrench, cable lock and an owner’s manual.

There are a couple of modern touches, however. First is the Series 80 firing system (love it or hate it) for safer carrying. Second is the sights, which is are simultaneously one of the best and worst things about the Remington R1.

remington model 1911 r1 review

Sam Hoober for TTAG

The sights are modern white dot sights with a dovetailed front sight in lieu of the standard pinned front blade sight. They’re more visible than standard GI sights, which makes for easier shooting.

Remington model 1911 r1 review

Sam Hoober for TTAG

Unfortunately, Remington opted to use a proprietary dovetail cut for the rear sight. (The front is a Novak dovetail cut.) Upgrading requires you buy XS sights – the only aftermarket producer who makes sights for the Remington dovetail cut – or having the slide milled to a different dovetail cut. Doing so will void the warranty (during the three-year warranty period) unless it’s done by a Remington-approved shop.

Build quality on the R1 is excellent for an entry level pistol. Barrel-to-bushing and bushing-to-slide fit are tight and slide-to-frame fit is very good as well. After a few years of use it may loosen up, but most will need a bushing wrench for takedown.

Shooting it is classic 1911. It fits the hand incredibly well, almost naturally guiding the hand into a high, tight grip and pointing as if an extension of the hand. With the white dot sights, sight acquisition is easy. Recoil is ample compared to the garden variety 9mm, but very manageable in this 38 oz. gun, even if shooting one-handed.

The trigger is your basic Series 80 trigger. There’s a hint of creep, but very short travel, with a firm break at the end and no real stacking to speak of. As good as a custom shop 1911 trigger pull? No. Better than most plastic pistols? You bet.

The moderate bore axis, intuitive aiming and long sight radius make it very accurate, which is part of the appeal of the 1911 platform. It doesn’t take much to start hitting the 10 ring inside 25 yards.

Testing consisted of a mix of Remington UMC 230 grain FMJ hardball, with a few rounds of Speer Gold Dot 230-grain JHP just to see how it it fed. Hollow points fed just fine, since this isn’t the 70’s anymore. However, to honor that decade which transpired before my birth, anyone that feels like making nasty comments on this post must do so by paraphrasing Pink Floyd lyrics, or else my feelings won’t be hurt by them. You better shine on, you crazy diamonds, if you expect me to feel saddened by your incisive broadsides.

There was a hiccup, one failure to feed during a 150-round shooting session. The polymer posse is probably already headed to the comment section, but this happened with a factory magazine. I switched to my own 1911 seven round magazines and had no more issues. The difference between them, of course, is that the factory magazines say “Remington” on them and the 1911 magazines I use with my 1911 pistol say “Wilson Combat” on them.

Credit: Brownells.com. Wilson Combat magazines are highly recommended if you plan to pick up any 1911 pistol.

Those of us who have actual experience with the 1911 pistol know full well that most factory magazines should go straight in the trash (or at least the springs and followers should) and be replaced with a few Wilson, Chip McCormick or – if strapped for funds – MecGar magazines, especially if you plan to carry it.

Overall, this is a well-made basic Government 1911 pistol that’s made right here in the US of A.

Fortunately for frugal consumers, Remington is a relative Johnny-Come-Lately to handguns. Since the brand’s reputation has suffered in recent years due to some quality issues a few years back, the Remington name commands less of a premium than it once did. That works in your favor now as their quality has improved and you don’t need to pay anything close to MSRP.

I’ve occasionally found the Model 1911 R1 online for around $450. Not barely used, new.

Ergo, if you want an entry-level 1911 pistol that gives you the basic 1911 experience, is well-made, looks good and shoots accurately…more bang for the buck will be hard to come by.

Specifications: Remington Model 1911 R1

Caliber: .45 ACP
Capacity: 7+1
Barrel length: 5 inches
Overall Length: 8.5 inches
Overall Height: 5.5 inches
Width: 1.2 inches at the grips
Unloaded weight: 38.5 oz
MSRP: $749 (about $550 street)

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy * * * *
Tight lock-up for a factory gun and bigger sights than the standard GI units make for easy paper-punching.

Reliability * * * 
The factory magazines aren’t great, but that’s par for the 1911 course. Part of the price of admission to the 1911 pistol is lousy factory mags and buying some Wilson Combat, McCormick or other aftermarket magazines unless you’re getting a custom shop gun.

Ergonomics * * * *
The reason why this low-capacity, slab-sided lunk of a pistol stays so popular is because it fits so darn well in the hand and points so intuitively. Always has, always will.

Customize This * * * *
One star off because of the sights, though the rear sight cut can be changed if desired. Other than that, literally every single part on this gun can be upgraded or changed.

Aesthetics * * * *
There’s something about a blued pistol and walnut grips, and especially a 1911 pistol thusly appointed. While not shockingly gorgeous, the Model 1911 R1 is a classic beauty like Marilyn Monroe, first-generation Corvettes, Gibson Les Paul guitars and plenty of other things I could mention. Few guns of the same price point are as good-looking.

Overall * * * *
Fit and finish are better than almost any other gun that you’ll find for the same price point unless you pay close to MSRP, which – again – is easily avoided. If you can’t be accurate with a 1911 pistol, you’re probably doing something wrong. The only mechanical issue that you’re likely to suffer is due to a known quantity with this pistol system and easily corrected. Build quality is excellent, and it’s made in the USA. It can easily be found for less than $600. As entry level 1911 pistols go…it’s hard to find a better gun relative to the price point.

comments

  1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    if you’re not invested too heavily in another system, consider a fujifilm x series.

    1. avatar kahlil says:

      fuji makes 1911’s?

      1. avatar ozzallos says:

        No, but they may help with those pics.

        1. avatar kahlil says:

          it was a bad attempt at sarcasm 😉

  2. avatar AZgunner says:

    I’ve heard too many Remington horror stories. The price is pretty attractive though, especially in comparison to similarly priced 1911s like Rock Island. If the build quality and materials are superior to Rock Island, this could very well steal a lot of their market share.

    1. avatar Just Sayin says:

      Ruger SR1911 for the same price.
      Just sayin…

      1. avatar Destro says:

        Grabagun has this for $469 right now.

  3. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    ttag has consistently given the thumbs up to the remmy 1911’s for years. without that, i wouldn’t consider one as rem has delivered some turds since reforming.
    but this is the same price as any number of chicom or filipino versions. seems like a lot of really nice for reasonable.

    1. avatar kahlil says:

      I think I’d go for that new Colt 1911 that was recently reviewed before this one, but it is a looking no-frills piece.

      I am pretty investing in .40 S&W at the moment and don’t want to start a new caliber collection and 1911’s decently priced in that chambering aren’t that easy to find. I came across a Para Ordinance LDA in .40 used at my local gun shop for reasonable price but what they described as “very good” included a barrel that was pitted and show wear on the outside…no thanks. The trigger was nice though as it wasn’t a traditional 1911 format. I may have to bite the bullet and just get a 1911 in .45, but I have my eyes on a long gun or two before I get another pistol.

  4. avatar Jim from LI says:

    What’s the gray stuff on the lower front of the slide?

    1. avatar kahlil says:

      residue from being fired? My Rhino .357 does that after a heavy range session. I can’t see that being a result of poor photography.

    2. avatar Todd in the sticks says:

      My guess is gunpowder. I’ll see that on my 1991 Colt sometimes after shooting. I’d bet he took that picture after shooting and before cleaning. I could be wrong…it wouldn’t be the first time!

    3. avatar Busterdog says:

      That’s the result of shooting dirty cheap ammo. Not the fault of the gun. But I still wouldn’t buy it. Folks, it’s about half the price of a top tiered 1911, because it’s a cheap POS. Comparing it to equally cheap poorly made 1911’s such as Rock Island, Springfield Taurus or Bursa does a disservice to the consumer. Compare it to semi custom 1911’s like Sig Sauer, Kimber or Colt and you giver the consumers a better idea what they should try to buy for a quality 1911.

      1. avatar Dumbo says:

        That is the one of the dumbest thing I’ve heard. Compare an entry level 1911 to a custom one?!?! That makes zero sense, no one in their right mind would spend custom prices on entry level guns just to see if you like it or not. That’s just like saying, go spend 7k on a custom Rizinni BR460 because you’re about to shoot your first skeet tournament.

      2. avatar Big E says:

        What if I want a cheap stock 1911 and not a much more expensive “semi-custom”? Options are nice to have. I own a couple of 1911’s and have zero interest in customizing or upgrading them. I shoot them occasionally, clean them and put them away. Some people do that. I’m 124% more likely to buy this R1 than any of the others you listed.

  5. avatar Busterdog says:

    Right out of the box this POS rattled. Remington should stick to shotguns. They have no business in pistols.

    1. avatar troutbum5 says:

      In my experience, a rattling 1911 is a reliable 1911. My old Argentine 1911 rattles. But in the 45 years I’ve been shooting it, at least 10,000 rounds, it’s eaten everything and gone bang EVERY time, except for a couple of stovepipes with a batch of light target reloads. And it’s plenty accurate. I trust that pistol more than any gun I’ve ever fired.

    2. avatar Mark-in-Indy says:

      Until I left the service, I thought all 1911s rattled.

    3. avatar Aaron says:

      a rattling 1911 is like a vibrating Harley…it a feature, not a bug.

  6. avatar Michael in AK says:

    “one of these days….some gun-hater will cut it into little pieces”.

    The rear dovetail just makes me mad though….

  7. avatar Bloving says:

    Hmm.
    Well, if Remington is really feeling nostalgic, they could make a short run of their old double derringers in some modern loading that won’t sprain the wrist. Make them at a competitive price point and they might take a few sales away from Bond Arms (R couldn’t possibly make one as good, but they could try).
    🤠

  8. avatar cgray says:

    Rather buy a Taurus. No joke.

    1. avatar Busterdog says:

      Ahhh, Taurus… Another POS. Ranks right up in the Hi-point, Kel-Tec stratosphere. LMFAO.

      1. avatar cgray says:

        Not even close. Keep laughing, though. Nobody cares.

      2. avatar Michael in AK says:

        nope….I have a hi-point that was given to me….13K rounds, still works great! Have a Taurus 92 with over 32K rounds, also shoots great (its my second one, the first one had a cracked frame at just over 41K round, but in all fairness, I shot a LOT of +p ammo).

      3. avatar lean4wardhereitcomesagain says:

        Taurus = POS? I did have a few that were, so I’ll give you that. But I also had a Taurus 1911 that performed as well as, if not better than, much-higher priced 1911’s (Kimber, Sig, etc.).

        As far as Hi Points and Kel Tecs, they may not be the most appealing. But so far in my (ever so humble) experience with Hi Points (3 pistols, 2 carbines) and Kel Tecs (3 pistols, one Sub 2k) I haven’t had to worry about reliability issues. It’s amazing how certain gun people remain convinced that aesthetics and high price tags make for a reliable gun. With the exception of the PMR30, Kel Tec and Hi Point triggers suck, no way around that. But to this point I’ve yet to break a sweat over mechanical issues. Can’t say the same for other pricier brands.

        I wanted an HK P30 one day, because John Wick. My local range let me try the used one they had for sale. 3 stovepipes in just 30 rounds (seriously) was all it took to put my money toward something else. Guess they had trouble selling it for a reason other than the price tag.

  9. avatar Darren says:

    I stopped reading at 80 series.

  10. avatar possum says:

    Did I mention I own a Chinese Norinco Model Of The 1911A1.. now how are these other 1911:s supposed to get me hard?

    1. avatar Aaron says:

      me too…I bought a Norinco 1911A1 Government model for cheap in the 90s thinking it was probably junk, but it’s been great. I was a 1LT in the Army then and on a budget.

      the only change I made was putting wrap-around colt grips on it, and now I wish I had kept the original.

      the stock trigger pull is better than my Colt Series 80 1991 (which is just a 1911)

      1. avatar possum says:

        Wolff springs,18lb recoil, polished throat, tinkered with extractor( fck me, it works leave it alone), and Houge Rubber wrap around, I like em( drunk fiend came over, said it was a Glock wanna be) so I put some wood grips on it for show n tell. Other then that, whooie, this pistols been beating out some hi dollar guns….dang it, China, or flip side on that, dang it America

  11. avatar Specialist38 says:

    These are pretty well made. I ran a couple hundred rounds through one.

    Not quite where a 1980s Colt was for overall finish but much nicer than other lower tier 1911s.

    Too bad on the sights, I prefer Stavenhagen-style sights. I guess I could turn the rear around and add a bar instead of dots.

    I prefer a,more modern rendition of a safety lever, but don’t need extended one.

    It seems like a good base for those who like to play add-on with a 1911. Except for the sights.

    Nice that government model mags are relatively inexpensive

  12. avatar Specialist38 says:

    And Sam…yes…you need a camera.

  13. avatar Joe Grine says:

    I recently purchased a black Remington R-1 Enhanced for $580 OTD (which included $10 for the background check). Overall, I am very pleased. The gun showed up very tight – no play between the frame and slide. Remarkably, it was 100% reliable over the first 250 rounds I have put through it. Machining is very nice as well. My only complaint is that the trigger has a bit of play / wobble to it. Its a pretty good trigger for a cheap factory gun – a bit of creep but not bad; definitely adequate for the job (no urgent need to upgrade it). The sights are Ok, but I can see replacing them at some point. For the price you really cant beat this deal from Remington.

  14. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    I bought a R1 back in, oh, what, 2012?

    They’re OK, but only just. I ended up doing a squish & peen job on it, along with a new barrel and bushing, beavertail, etc, etc. It was a good guinea pig project gun.

  15. avatar George Venable says:

    Bought one when they first came out. Voided the warranty(I guess) by shooting 1400+ rounds of hand cast and handloaded HG68s before having a stove pipe – at which point I broke down and cleaned it(yes, I did take down and and lube out of the box initially). Not that I would do this with an EDC , but I just get a kick out of shooting to failure with a new toy(mostly at the plate rack in the back yard). But I do hate the sights, and when I found out the dovetail was non-standard, I was not happy. But I have Colts, one Kimber, an old stainless AMT, new stainless Ruger/etc. and it is plenty reliable and available cheaper now than when I got it. Don’t know about current quality, as Remington has managed to ruin Marlin products(aka Remlins).

  16. avatar Red says:

    “Those of us who have actual experience with the 1911 pistol know full well that most factory magazines should go straight in the trash (or at least the springs and followers should) and be replaced with a few Wilson, Chip McCormick or – if strapped for funds – MecGar magazines, especially if you plan to carry it.”

    What you are telling me is that the gun manufacturer doesn’t care enough to include decent magazines. No thanks, that tells me all I need to know. If a company isn’t attentive in the little details, why am I to believe the gun is so great overall? Not to mention that Remington recently bankrupted.

    I could take better pictures with my cellphone. Looks like your 3-year-old took pictures with your camera.

    1. avatar ozzallos says:

      No, what we’re telling you is that most gun manufactures throw in a token mag to cut cost while already knowing youll probably go buy your own anyway.

    2. avatar Destro says:

      My Remington 1911 came with Mecgar magazines. Just with a R on the base plate instead of mecGar. Same exact body, follower, spring, base plates, etc.

      Throwing them out would be pretty stupid lol.

  17. avatar Curtis in IL says:

    Regarding your photography challenges – It’s not about the camera. It’s about the light. Photography is ALWAYS about the light. A new camera won’t help you if you don’t understand light. But today’s cell phones can deliver stunning images if you feed them enough light, the right way (and you clean the lens first).

    If weather permits, get outdoors. If it’s sunny, try both the sunny side and the shaded side of the building. If indoors, try shooting next to a window on the shaded side of the building. Experiment with light from different directions on your subject. Keep experimenting until you run out of film.
    🙂

    1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      Or, they should learn how to use a light box.

      Get a discarded appliance box. Line the inside of it with some white shelf paper. Now put a light overhead, and the gun in the light box. Take photo(s). Notice now that the gun doesn’t have a glare coming off of it when you crank up the light intensity.

  18. avatar ozzallos says:

    Wait for the end of year deals starting around abouts veterans day. Picked up my r1 threaded for about $570 after rebate. Damn fine 1911. Say what you want about remington quality, but those problems arent in their 1911 line.

  19. avatar John U says:

    Used the base R1911 as a platform to build a custom carry. New trigger, fire control, beaver tail, slide stop, safety and G10 grips. Left the OEM sights. Use Chip M. Mags. Less than 1k into it. I wouldn’t say it’s a Wilson. I haven’t thrown over my duty weapon or my primary off duty for it. I would encourage touching one before ruling it out.

  20. avatar Jeffrey Dees says:

    Snagged an R1 as a birthday gift to myself last year for 550. Factory magazines are okay, but I usually just use the half dozen Chip McCormicks I have instead.

    Only complaint I had was the first range trip gave me failures to feed on almost every magazine. 15 minutes with some 300 grit sandpaper to the feed ramps and it took every brand of FMJ and JHP I had. Other than that I had a gunsmith put an ambidextrous safety on it for my southpaw affliction and it’s been chugging along ever since.

    And while the green box kept the cost down, it would’ve been nice if Big Green offered a hard case for it as an aftermarket accessory.

  21. avatar Hannibal says:

    I can’t imagine buying a gun with the knowledge that the mags included are probably garbage

    1. avatar Destro says:

      The Magazines that came with my R1 Enhanced Lightweight Commander were Mecgar, so they are pretty decent. I did buy some Chips though.

  22. avatar The Grey Man says:

    I’ve had my R1 for about 5 or 6 years. Only mod was i had a long trigger put in with a trigger job by a former SF guy (cost me a 12 pack). Great, reliable pistol! Smooth as butter… Only problem I had was one time at the range with my son, who is a Marine infantry NCO, was about 4 FTF’s. I put the rounds on the side and compared them with the other ammo. All 4 rounds were seated incorrectly. The ammo? 230gr ball from Remington bulk pack! Never used it since then and never any further problems. I don’t know about the newer ones but my son and I LOVE that pistol!!!

  23. avatar Larry says:

    I’ve had my R1 for about 5-6 years and I wouldn’t trade it for any other 1911 on the market. It feels like an extension of my arm. I’m really picky when it comes to a semi-auto pistol. If it don’t feel good in my hand I don’t want it. The Remington R1 is just what I wanted in a 1911. I bought a new Colt Government Model Series 70 back in the late 70’s or early 80’s and it would jam on the last shell every time if you were letting it rip. Shoot is slow and it would not jam. My R1 has had no problems of any kind and I’ve fed it a bunch of different brands of ammo from the cheap Russian stuff to the expensive stuff. I wouldn’t trade my R1 for any other brand on the market. I’ve changed the grips out to the Rosewood with the “R” medallion in them and it looks great. I highly recommend the Remington R1.

  24. avatar Bob Jones says:

    My first consideration before buying any firearm is whether or not it has the uglyass engraved warning label about reading the owner’s manual. If that’s present, I move on to some other product. Does this pistol have one ?

  25. avatar RFMan says:

    I bought one of these used a couple years ago for $400 OTD at my LGS. Tight, accurate, very nice trigger… I had read stories about the finish on some R1 models, but I have not torture tested it – I just keep it CLP’ed. Thinking about changing the safety to one with more surface area. It’s a keeper for me. And I have well-used Dan Wesson CBOB and ECO models to compare it to.

  26. when remington first came out with the 1911s they had some issues. since then they bought para ordinance.
    from what ive heard the newer guns are much more reliable than the first generation of 1911s. i figured this was due to the experience of the para employees and their better tooling and machining process. i could be wrong but see no other reason to buy the para ordinance company if not for their ability to produce quality 1911s and just rebadge them as remingtons.
    also i believe the chip mccormick mags was purchased by wilson though they are still sold under both brands. mecgar mags are the factory mags for most of the handguns made throughout the world. most pistol maker dont build their own mags anymore.

  27. avatar Aaron says:

    The R1 review indicates that it is a nice value 1911…..but it’s virtually identical to several other 1911s on the market. 1911s are fun old guns that still work great, but it’s as if Ford, Chevrolet, Chrysler, Hyundai, etc. are all making the Model T with different brand badges.

  28. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

    I won one in a contest and I could not sell it new in the box even at wholesale price for over 2 months proving how unpopular this gun is with the general public. What really teed me off was that Remington was so damn cheap they put only a tritium sight on the front sight and not on the rear. I could not believe they would do this. Either have both front and rear tritium or have regular white dot sights. Don’t piss a customer off with a half assed marketed set up.

    The frame and internal parts were modern castings not quality forgings like my Colt 1911’s.

    The finish was a Teflon type frying pan finish and while its more rust resistant than a blued finish it made the gun look like modern low budget crap.

    I could not dump this gun fast enough and I hope I never see another one.

    1. avatar John U says:

      This thread is degenerating, but felt compelled to drag it down a little further. Not sure what gun Vlad got, but was struck by three points.

      Front tritium with conventional rear. Not sure whether it was an oversight or not. I have my duty guns set up that way and have trained with them successfully over a number of years. Under stress, in the dark, at combat engagement ranges, I find it very simple and effective. Cast versus forging has been beat to death, IMHO. Similar to direct impingement versus a piston. Short of extraordinarily extreme conditions, the “lesser” carries the day just fine. Lastly, ugly finishes. I have a CZ 52 with a slide uglier than an aftermarket bed liner. However, it punches through an amazing range of barriers and has never malfunctioned.

      I fully admit, barring a few exceptions, to focusing on guns as tools. I appreciate that others see them differently, as precision machines or even works of art.

      Believe it’s impossible to effectively measure tools, precision machines, and art in any objective way.

      Regards to all.

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