Polymer-framed pistols with nearly indestructible finishes seem to be the universal standard for defensive and sporting handguns at the moment. But Springfield Armory’s Ronin line 1911 pistols with two-tone finishes are a breath of fresh air. The Ronin is available in four sizes — 3-inch, 4-inch, 4.25-inch and 5-inch barrels — and three different calibers. This lineup is both striking and eminently practical.
I think nothing looks quite so nice on the classic 1911 as a blued-carbon steel slide resting atop a stainless steel frame. While the 9mm and .45 ACP versions are likely the most popular caliber choices, I chose the 10mm automatic for its intrigue. It is the most powerful handgun cartridge that can be chambered in a conventional-sized pistol and still be easily carried concealed.
About the Springfield Armory Ronin 10mm
Both the frame and slide of the Ronin 10mm are forged rather than cast. The carbon-steel slide is hot-salt blued, while the stainless steel frame is polished on the flat areas and left in dull gray on the rounded portions. Hot salt bluing does not impart rust resistance. You will need to wipe down the Ronin’s slide with an oily or silicon cloth to protect it after a day of holster wear. While the stainless-steel frame is more rust-resistant than the slide, it will rust if exposed to too much moisture and humidity for a long enough time.
The front strap of the Ronin’s frame is left smooth, while the backstrap/mainspring housing is checkered. An upswept beavertail grip safety with memory bump is teamed with an extended thumb safety. The slide release is standard length. The hammer is a skeletonized oval. The skeletonized trigger features four “triangle” shaped cutouts to lighten it. The trigger is not adjustable, but it is very crisp right out of the box, with approximately 1/8 inch of takeup and no perceptible overtravel. The average trigger pull weight was 4 pounds 7 ounces, according to my Wheeler Engineering gauge.
Ronin 10mm Specs
Weight: 40 ounces
Barrel length: 5 inches
Overall length: 8.6 inches
Height: 5.5 inches
Springfield describes the thin grips as hybrid smooth/checkered laminate, and they feature Springfield’s Crossed Cannon logo. They look like Rosewood or Cocobolo and have the checkering placed in front to ensure a non-slip gripping surface for the fingers.
The blued slide features angled serrations fore and aft. The easy-to-pick-up front sight has a red fiber optic insert. The prominent tactical rack fixed rear sight has a serrated rear face to reduce glare and two white dots to align with the fiber optic front dot.
Like all the 1911 pistols in the Ronin series, the 10mm Ronin’s 5-inch forged stainless-steel barrel is match grade and capable of excellent accuracy. The stainless steel eight-round magazine features plain memory holes stamped with “10mm” on the left side. There is a synthetic bumper pad affixed to the base. Only one is included though there should be at least two.
Shooting the 10mm
I tested the Springfield Armory Ronin 10mm at the Buckeye Shooting Center Indoor Range in Newark, Ohio, using SIG Sauer’s Elite Performance 180-grain FMJ flat-point ammo. Though this is a practice load, it illustrates the power of the 10mm automatic caliber. SIG’s load propels its 180-grain bullet from the muzzle at a healthy 1,250 feet per second, resulting in 624 foot-pounds of energy. By way of comparison, the SIG Sauer’s .45 ACP 230-grain FMJ practice load sends its bullet downrange at a much more sedate 850 feet per second, delivering a comparatively puny 369 foot-pounds of energy. Clearly, the 10mm chambering is not a beginner’s round.
I tested at 25 feet in the indoor range, firing two-handed standing. My best five-shot group measured 2 ¾ inches. This was entirely my fault because the Springfield Ronin is capable of far better performance than that. And the SIG Sauer ammo is excellent. If I were purchasing the 10mm Ronin, I’d replace the factory grips with Hogue’s OverMolded rubber finger groove 1911 grips for better control over recoil.
Should You Buy the Ronin 10mm Handgun?
The Ronin 10mm is a fine sporting and defensive shooting pistol. Were I a hunter of wild hogs or larger game, I would feel confident using it as a primary or backup gun with the right loads, a change of grips and more practice. Buffalo Bore features several powerful 10mm loads for hunting.
There is no doubt about the 10mm’s stopping capability for self-defense. Hornady’s 175-grain FlexLok Critical Duty load propels its high-tech projectile at 1,160 feet per second. That delivers a very significant 523 foot-pounds of energy, outclassing the .45 ACP by a significant amount. This is the round I would likely have loaded in my magazines if I were carrying a 10mm for self-defense.
The Springfield Armory 10mm Ronin pistol has an MSRP of only $899.