Review: Springfield Armory Range Officer Compact Model 1
Pat Cascio 08.17.16
The Springfield Armory Range Officer (RO) Compact 1911 followed their full-sized Range Officer model, to answer the demand for a more compact version. Here’s a quick rundown:
- Barrel: 4″ stainless steel match grade, fully supported ramp, Bull
- Caliber: 9mm or 45 ACP (I tested the 45)
- Recoil System: Dual Spring with Full Length Guide Rod
- Frame: Forged Aluminum Alloy, Black Hardcoat Anodized
- Magazines: Accepts short 6-round “officer’s model” magazines rather than full-sized 1911 mags (Two included)
- Grips: Compact RO Double Diamond Thin Line Rosewood
- Sights: Red fiber optic front, Low-profile combat two-dot rear
- Slide: Forged carbon steel, Parkerized
- Safety: Extended, only on left side
- Beavertail extended grip safety
- Hammer: Delta style “speed hammer”
- Trigger: Aluminum match grade, 5-pound pull
- Lowered & flared ejection port
- Weight (with empty magazine): 28.5 ounces
- Height: 5″
- Length: 7.6″
- Paddle holster included
I was pleased to learn that Springfield Armory now puts ramped barrels on all their 1911s with a barrel length of less than 5 inches. This may appear to be a needless upgrade, but it isn’t. When dealing with aluminum frames on 1911s, many times the frame’s feed ramp will get buggered-up–point being that the ramped barrels on SA 1911s contribute to more reliable feeding. My RO Compact sample had zero malfunctions during my testing.
The RO Compact also comes with a double magazine pouch, which makes me wish Springfield had included three mags (one for the gun and two for the mag pouch). You also get some spare fiber optic rod material should you break the one in the front sigh or wish to change it to a different color.
My sample was very tightly put together, which was nice. It was also soaked in oil, so a good cleaning was required before use.
From my ammo locker, I pulled a good assortment of 45 ACP ammo for testing:
- Black Hills 185-grain JHP
- Black Hills steel case 185-grain JHP
- Black Hills 230-grain JHP
- Black Hills steel case 230-grain JHP
- Black Hills 230-grain FMJ
- Buffalo Bore 160-grain TAC-XP HP
- Buffalo Bore 160-grain TAC-XP HP +P
- Buffalo Bore 185-grain TAC-XP +P
- Buffalo Bore 200-grain JHP +P
- Buffalo Bore 230-grain FMJ +P
I ran half a dozen mags through the RO Compact, mixing the above ammo. This is always a great test of reliability, mixing different bullet weights, FMJ, JHP, etc, and it never once hinted of a malfunction, even though I fired the pistol as fast as I could pull the trigger.
I couldn’t tell you the number of times I’ve mixed different types of bullet shapes and makes of ammo in the same magazine, only to have it stutter or jam the gun. Not so with the RO Compact. I fired close to 400 rounds through the RO Compact and the gun wasn’t cleaned over the course of several shooting sessions, with no problems at all.
I fired the gun at 25 yards, resting it on a sleeping bag over the hood of my SUV. No groups were larger than 4 inches, and this little pistol had a couple of really great groups. With the Black Hills 230-graiain JHP load I had a couple groups slightly under 3 inches. With the Buffalo Bore 185-grain TAC-XP +P consistently gave me groups smaller than 3 inches.
The recoil spring setup on the RO Compact is stout, and I was sure I was going to have to failures with the Buffalo Bore 160-grain low recoil loads, but I was wrong. And this load is a pussycat to shoot in the RO Compact.
Full retail on the RO Compact is $989, and Gallery of Guns has it for $899. Is this little gun worth that money? You’d better believe it is! I’ve owned many other 1911s that cost a lot more, and they didn’t shoot nearly as well as the RO Compact did, nor were they as well put-together.
About the only “change” I would make would be to feed the little gun with 7-round mags instead of the 6-rounders that come with the gun. And let’s not forget about Springfield’s limited lifetime warranty, which is one of the best in the business. If something goes wrong or breaks on one of their guns, they fix it. Simple as that.
It’s hard for me to find a 1911 that I’m not willing to customize to my own liking, but the RO Compact is good to go right out of the box, if you ask me. So if you’re in the market for a new compact 1911 pistol, take a close look at the Springfield Armory Range Officer Compact.