I recently reviewed the Springfield Armory Mil-Spec 1911 in .45 ACP caliber — the base model of Springfield’s .45 ACP pistol lineup. The Mil-Spec 1911 is an excellent pistol in terms of quality and price. I decided to follow up that test by examining an enhanced version.
The Springfield Range Officer .45 Target 1911
The Range Officer Series was introduced a number of years ago to provide range officers and firearms instructors with a sharp, full-featured pistol at a reasonable price.
Springfield’s Range Officer Target Model is the Mil-Spec 1911 with features that move it up the ladder. Like the Mil-Spec, the RO’s frame and slide are made of forged steel with a Parkerized finish. The stainless-steel barrel and bushing are match grade. Actually, the RO Target is set up like the Colt Gold Cup National Match other than not being finely blued.
Range Officer Specs
Caliber: .45 ACP
Weight: 40 ounces
Length: 8.6 inches
Height: 5.5 inches
Barrel: 5 inches
Capacity: 7 rounds
From there, the .45 RO Target Model adds a few enhancements to the Mil-Spec 1911.
- To prevent hammer bite, Springfield added an extended beavertail grip safety and skeletonized short hammer spur.
- The Range Officer Target does away with the arched housing of the Mil-Spec and substitutes a nicely checkered flat mainspring housing, which is de rigueur these days.
- R0s are shipped with two blued steel magazines instead of one.
- There is an extended thumb safety.
- Instead of the short trigger of the Mil-Spec, the RO has a three-hole skeletonized long trigger. It is adjustable for overtravel. I measured the trigger pull on the RO Target with the Wheeler Engineering Electronic Trigger Gauge. The trigger pull weighed in at a crisp 3 pounds and 11 ounces. That is, surprisingly, one ounce heavier than the weight I obtained on the Mil-Spec model.
- The RO Target features Springfield’s “Crossed-Cannon” Cocobolo checkered grips instead of the Mil-Spec brown composite grips. And they are sharp.
- An excellent set of plain black, fully adjustable Springfield Armory micrometer target sights are used instead of three-dot fixed sights. The fully serrated sights prevent glare.
Springfield Target at the Range
I tested the Range Officer Target using SIG Sauer’s Elite 230-grain load, which launches its V-Crown hollow-point bullet at 830 feet per second and delivers 352 foot-pounds of energy to the target. The sights are very sharp and glare free. They have just the right amount of width at the rear to clearly outline the front sight.
Since this RO is a Target pistol, the sights are factory set for a 6 o’clock hold on the target. So with the sights held in alignment, a circular target such as a bullseye is placed atop the front sight — like a pumpkin on a fence post. It is the traditional “target gun” sight setup not often seen these days.
Since I didn’t think about that until after I fired, my first seven shots ended up above the B27E’s orange X-ring in a 2.5-inch group. Once I realized the error of my ways, I took a six-o’clock hold on the upper left scoring square and was rewarded with a 2-inch group dead center in the mini-silhouette. Recoil was very controllable.
The Range Officer Target: A Solid 1911
I found the R.O. Target I tested online at Sportsman’s Outdoors Superstore for only $799. However, between the time I originally requested the R.O. Target for review and when I was finally able to test it, Springfield discontinued most of the Range Officer 1911 lineup. The website only had the 10mm version left. However, Range Officers are still available in the supply pipeline.
The Range Officer Target 1911 is not just for precision target shooting. Cops of my generation carried plain black sights on the street for years. And plain black sights are still viable for defensive use today. To help the sight stand out, apply a Birchwood Casey Super Bright Pen. If you want an RO Target and can’t find one, the all-stainless Springfield Loaded Target pistol is essentially the same gun, plus ambidextrous safeties. It is available in 9mm and .45 ACP for $1,045 MSRP.
The important thing is Springfield 1911s are solid American-made 1911s that won’t break the bank and will give a lifetime of service. There is something for every 1911 fan in the extensive lineup.