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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 missteps the maker may have made in the past, you can’t help but be impressed by Remington’s new R1 Ultralight Executive.

 

Remington 1911 R1 Ultralight Executive
Dan Z. for TTAG

 

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.

 

Remington 1911 R1 Ultralight Executive
Dan Z. for TTAG

 

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

 

Remington 1911 R1 Ultralight Executive
Front strap 20 LPI checkering (Dan Z. for TTAG)

 

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 and not find a tool mark.

 

Remington R1 Ultralight Executive
Dan Z. for TTAG

 

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 R1 Ultralight Executive
Dan Z. for TTAG

 

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.

 

Remington R1 Ultralight Executive
The R1 Ultralight Executive’s standard tritium night sights (Dan Z. for TTAG)
Remington R1 Ultralight Executive
Dan Z. for TTAG

 

The pistol also comes with a dovetailed set of XS tritium night sights, fore and aft. They’re almost a 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.

 

Remington R1 Ultralight Executive
Dan Z. for TTAG

 

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

 

Remington R1 Ultralight Executive
Dan Z. for TTAG

 

Just push the slide back 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.

 

Remington R1 Ultralight Executive
Dan Z. for TTAG

 

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

 

Remington R1 Ultralight Executive
Dan Z. for TTAG

 

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.

 

Remington R1 Ultralight Executive
Dan Z. for TTAG

 

I’ve had the gun for more than two months now and have been carrying it almost every day in an OWB leather holster. I’ve also managed to put more than 1,000 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.

 

Remington R1 Ultralight Executive
Dan Z. for TTAG

 

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 230-grain 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 $1,250. But five minutes of Googling yields street prices of about $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 (Automatic Colt Pistol)

Action: Single-action; semi-automatic

Barrel Length: 3.5 inches

Overall Length: 7 inches

Overall Width: 1.4 inches

Overall Height: 5.5 inches

Weight: 28 oz.

Safety: Extended beavertail grip safety 

Trigger Pull: 3.5-5 inches

Finish: Black PVD Slide

Capacity: 7+1

Manufacturer: Remington.com

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 and 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 more than 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.

 

 

 

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35 COMMENTS

  1. 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!

    • The proper answer to using other people’s reloads is.. I don;t share my reloaded ammunition because I do not want the liability .. conversely I extend the courtesy and do not shoot others reloads for the same reason..

      I know this seems someone harsh.. but it only takes one double charge to injury yourself or someone else.. setting aside the cost of damaging destroying a gun..It is just not worth it.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

    • 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.

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

  4. 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.

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

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

  7. 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).

    • 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.

      • Personally, checkering on both straps is preferred. The hand in back slips too. Maintaining your high grip on the back is especially important. The no longer manufactured Kimber Super Carry Pro HD was always one of my favorite 1911’s; but this Ultralight Executive does feel incredible in the hand! It’s much nicer than an EMP.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. Sounds like a great pistol. My only misgivings, is that it obviously has a Commander length grip in the frame. The rounded butt helps, but with 3.5 inch barrel, an officer size grip frame would have been much better, for concealability. Actually a CCO type 1911, (aluminum officers frame) with a Commander slide and 4.25, inch barrel, is a better balance.

  13. Picked one of these up yesterday; after waiting 10 days for the LEO approval. Of course, I was looking to find one of these in LGS’s within 60 miles for over a year now; so 10 days wasn’t too long. Interesting how I’ve read 3 different websites about taking this down, and they all say: you just pull out the recoil spring and rod. One even went on to say you don’t need to put the takedown pin (not included) into the guide rod hole (which exists). Funny how no one has a video of them doing this, easy lift out. I used the take down pin from my Kimber Ultra, that has the same hole, and specifies in the owner’s manual that method of removal. Strangely, where Remington fails us once again; they have nothing about this model on their website anymore. They do have a picture of it though. The owner’s manual also is not written for this model specifically; it’s for models with a bushing! Anyway, if you have a video of takedown without the takedown pin, I’d love to see it. Now that I have it apart, I can finally clean it, and maybe get it out to the range in the next week or two; I think they reopened.

  14. Looks like a great pistol . Unfortunately I don’t live in a free state. In California , you cannot buy this , or any other new pistol .

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