The Remington 1911 R1 Enhanced has me perplexed. Seriously, this weird thing has me left wondering how to consider a weapon’s reliability? You see, this gun was one I horse-traded for in rather odd circumstances. A fella I know had it and had soured on it. It never ran right for him until Remington relented and told him to send it in.
He did, and it turns out that Remington had installed a .45 ACP extractor into a 9mm pistol. When he got it back, he still didn’t want it, even though it functioned fine and he offered me a helluva deal. I couldn’t say no.
In my experience, this gun functions just fine. It doesn’t jam and it doesn’t fail to feed, extract, or eject in my experience. So…how do you judge a gun’s reliability? By your experience or by the impressions of its first owner? Well, I better figure it out by the end of this review.
R1 Enhanced Inside and Out
The R1 Enhanced 1911 is a sweet-looking gun on the outside. It’s complete with plenty of upgrades you’d see on a modern 1911. That includes front and rear slide serrations, and aggressive front and backstrap texturing.
We get an Ed Brown-style extended beavertail for both comfort and control. The grips are laminate wood that look gorgeous and they’re textured aggressively as well.
Speaking of gorgeous, I very much like the matte black finish. It’s professional-looking, and in a world with so many gaudy 1911s, it’s nice to see something more subdued. The safety is an extended single-side design that has a massive shelf. The shelf makes it easy to manipulate the safety, and it gives you both tactile and audible feedback.
The skeletonized trigger is adjustable for over-travel and can be tightened down quite nicely. The trigger is stainless steel and is set off beautifully by the stainless steel barrel. That barrel is also listed as a match grade barrel.
Swerving over to the top of the R1 Enhanced, we find a Novak-style rear sight that is rounded and quite comfortable. The front sight is a high visibility red fiber optic design. It’s a robust front sight made of steel with a fiber optic tube supported by four steel rings. The rear sight is adjustable for elevation and that can be done with a flat head tool.
The R1 Enhanced ships with two nine-round magazines, but I have a few different models from Mec-Gar, and they all work wonderfully. The 10-round Mec-Gars are my favorites because one extra round gives the full-sized, 40 ounce 1911 the same capacity as my micro-compact P365. The flush fit magazines shipped with the gun are also by Mec-Gar, made of stainless steel and seem very high quality.
Boom, Bang, Pow
The adjustable trigger helps soak up pre-travel, and the trigger itself is fantastic. It’s very crisp, light and comfortable. The reset is all 1911 and also well done and provides excellent feedback. Remington did an excellent job there. If you screw up a 1911’s trigger, you should consider a career at Mom’s Demand Action.
The R1 Enhanced rattles like a pneumonia ridden lung, but it also isn’t ammo picky. Right now, ammo is hard to come by, so you take what you can get and what I could get is Winchester Forged.
It’s the dirtiest, dryest ammo I’ve ever handled. It gets your hands dirty, loading it into magazines. The R1 Enhanced had no issues eating it up and throwing it back out. Outside of that, I had a little brass-cased Winchester white box left over and some Monarch steel cased stuff. The R1 Enhanced ate it all.
Does it eat JHPs? Well, I’d like to tell you that, but all my JHPs are +P rounds, and according to the gun’s manual, you can’t use +P ammo in the gun. So that disregards a lot of self-defense ammo and is rather annoying.
The sights are very nice and easy to find quickly. The textured grip allows you to control the weapon as does the weight.
A 40 ounce 9mm 1911 just doesn’t have recoil issues. It’s delightful to shoot, and the recoil is soft and controllable. I love all-steel 9mms and how easy they are to control. I have a belief that the CZ 75 is the perfect 9mm pistol for new shooters, but the R1 Enhanced is very lovely to shoot and easy to control, too. If you like rapid-firing a handgun, you’ll love this one.
Accuracy is acceptable. I like to start at 20 yards and aim at a 10-inch steel gong. If I hit 3 out of 5 rounds, I step back five yards. I repeat until I can no longer consistently hit a target with the majority of my shots.
I went as far as 40 yards, and the pistol taps out here. I couldn’t consistently hit with the majority of my rounds at that range where the front sight completely covers the target.
Groups are decently tight given what I had to shoot. There are probably loads the R1 Enhanced shoots more accurately, but junk seems to be the only prevalent ammo available right now.
Within 25 yards, I felt extremely comfortable with the gun and its ability to hit targets, both large and small. I like the front sight quite a bit and find it easy to focus on. I’m also trying to learn how to track my sights, and this bright red fiber optic tube makes that easy.
The R1 Enhanced is a fun gun. It’s easy shooting, and — post-repair — seems to be quite reliable, even shooting filthy dirty trailer park ammo. I don’t hate it, but I don’t see myself tossing it in the range backpack often. However, I wouldn’t suggest it with a price around $750. While I like the R1 Enhanced a lot, you can find better guns for less money, hell probably better 1911s for less money. The Ruger SR1911 9mm model can handle +P ammunition and seems to be around the same price.
Specifications: Remington 1911 R1 Enhanced
Barrel Length: 5 inches
Overall Length: 8.5 inches
Overall Height: 5.5 inches
Weight: 40 ounces
Capacity: 9 rounds
MSRP: $903.00 (about $750 retail)
Ratings (out of 5 stars):
Reliability * or * * * * *
Pre-repair it’s a one. After the repair, the gun shoots perfectly. It eats bad ammo, and cycles it well.
Accuracy * * * *
It’s not good, but I’ve shot more accurately with other 1911s. The R1 Enhanced gets the job done, and inside of pistol ranges the excellent trigger and sights help a lot.
Ergonomics * * * *
The ergonomics are solid on the gun. I love the safety, the beavertail, and grip texturing. The slide also glides nicely. The only downside is that a 9mm 1911 grip can be thinner, and it feels identical to my 10mm 1911 width wise.
Customization * * * * *
The 1911 is like the GLOCK and AR platforms terms of customization options. They’re endless. Admittedly installing things isn’t quite as simple, but it can be easily done.
Overall * * *
The three-star rating takes into account the gun needing the repair, has to knock it down. If I were the first owner, I’d be pretty unhappy and soured on the gun, too. Now though, the gun runs like a champ. The inability to use +P rounds is a downside. However, this is a very good firearm when viewed in a vacuum.