March 4, 2015

Springfield Armory 1911A1 Loaded .45 ACP, $565 (1999)

When we tested this pistol in June 1999, it was because a friend of Gun Tests named Bruce decided to buy himself a .45 auto. Although he had been a revolver shooter for several decades, Bruce recently received some intense instruction in the un-gentle art of rapid-fire shooting and handling of a 1911 .45 auto. His eyes were opened to the many possibilities of the caliber, so he went shopping and examined eight different .45s. Now, picking a .45 for some of us is a simple task because we impose a few personal requirements on the gun that greatly limit our choices.

However, there are many different kinds of full-size .45 autos available, and our friend didn’t have our strict prejudices, so he had a harder time choosing. He considered the qualities of fit and finish of the different guns. His final choice also had to have a good trigger pull. Price didn’t make a lot of difference, but he couldn’t see spending extra money for features he wouldn’t need, like adjustable sights or checkered steel.

We thought it would be interesting to compare a few of the full-size .45s guns our friend looked at, to see if we’d come up with the same choice, or another. One was the full-size Springfield “Loaded” Model 1911-A1, $565.

Springfield Armory 1911A1

Courtesy, Gun Tests

With a list price of only $565, the Springfield had the most to offer, in our opinion. Its all-steel construction and good looks were matched by a perfect trigger pull and outstanding accuracy with all loads, plus complete reliability. It's our first choice.

Our recommendation: With a list price of only $565, the Springfield had the most to offer, in our opinion. Its all-steel construction and good looks were matched by a perfect trigger pull and outstanding accuracy with all loads, plus complete reliability. It’s our first choice.

The strikingly attractive Springfield had fully checkered wood stocks and a high polish to the sides of its blued receiver and action. The slide top and the rest of the gun was matte black. There were no plastic parts on this gun. It had a long aluminum Videki trigger, a beveled magazine well, extended safety, a skeletonized Commander-style hammer, a Novak rear sight and a highly visible front sight. The gun had a flat steel mainspring housing with vertical serrations. The beavertail grip safety had a big, hand-filling bump on the bottom, which we liked a lot. The Springfield came in a fitted plastic storage/carry case with a spare magazine, cleaning rod, and full instructions. Although it looked great, the Springfield front sight was not dovetailed into the slide. We feel dovetailing is the most foolproof, if not the best-looking, method of attaching a front sight. The Springfield had the now common front slide serrations. The top of the slide permitted easy stovepipe clearing. The Springfield’s feed ramp was highly polished and the chamber throat was widened to ease feeding.

Springfield Armory 1911A1

Among the Springfield’s exterior charms were its long aluminum Videki trigger, a skeletonized Commander-style hammer, a Novak rear sight, a beavertail grip safety with a big, hand-filling bump on the bottom, and front slide serrations. There was also a noticeable lack of plastic parts.

At the range, the Springfield handled all ammo with aplomb. There were no problems whatsoever. Our average five-shot group size was 2.5 inches at 15 yards, and the smallest was 1.4 inches with the Winchester hardball. This gun didn’t like the Speer Lawman 230-grain FMJ, getting a 3.5-inch group as the smallest. We were quite impressed with the Springfield. In spite of its having a half-pound heavier trigger pull than the Kimber, the Springfield’s pull felt lighter. There was absolutely no creep, and overtravel was minimal yet adequate. The gun felt precise.

Of the 1911-style guns, we’d have to go with the Springfield “Loaded” Mo-del 1911-A1, $565, backing our friend Bruce on his decision. We like all-steel guns, and we like perfect trigger pulls, and we like good-looking guns. The Springfield had all those qualities packed into a reliable and accurate handgun. We’d pick the Kim-ber Classic Model Custom, $657, a very close second, but would avoid the Colt M1991A1 Series 80, $556, because of all the items it ought to have, but doesn’t.

Comments (27)

Did you miss the part where the arice was from 1999? I recently picked up a Loaded for just under 800 nib and that was a great deal.

Posted by: Runandgun | July 23, 2015 4:08 PM    Report this comment

Ive owned a number of 45's over the years from a Gold Cup to a Kimber Custom. I was without one for several years and after buying 2 Kahr CW45's for my wife and I I decided to buy another one. I ended up with a Taurus PT1911. At less than $400 out the door it is a tremendous value. Novak sights, ambi safety, no milling marks, tight and it has digested everything ive put in it. 185gr +p, 230gr fmj, 200gr hp even reloaded cast. Always go's bang.
I dont carry it as its heavy but when I find another one ill snap it up.

Posted by: wally west | March 7, 2015 3:52 PM    Report this comment

Lowest price found was $850 and up. Where is this for $575? Apparently not in the USA.

Posted by: RailwayMan | March 5, 2015 1:30 PM    Report this comment

Bought my series 70 in 1978. Had SW revolver K sights milled into the slide, enlarged the ejection port and beveled the magazine well. It has taken many feral pigs and quite a few deer over the years. And even won a few matches. And got me out from a few sticky situations from two-legged scum.
What more could one ask for? It's a life-time gun.
Gun cost 175.00 new, gunsmith service another 50.00 from Cake-Davis.
It stands above all my Glocks and Berettas as my go to gun.
Certainly better than all these Philippine knockoffs, and 2000.00 clones.
My ex-Marine grandson will soon get it from me.

Posted by: bmwclay | March 5, 2015 10:36 AM    Report this comment

I love my Ruger SR1911, I understand there are the .45acp fan boi and then everyone else. Reading the article I couldn't for the life of me recreate the prices you are putting out there. Not even on Bud's Guns are you even close to the price of 758.00 putting actual retail in a brick and mortar store much higher.

Posted by: Spartan65USMC | March 5, 2015 10:22 AM    Report this comment

Wow! Very interesting. If only I could understand. German I believe. Yes? No? I do not mind using a translation program so if you would kindly state the tongue I would gladly translate and comment. Thanks!

Posted by: Meindert Z | November 27, 2011 5:56 PM    Report this comment

If you are looking for a high performance 1911 without the high end price; Taurus PT 1911 will deliver and stand up to any of the high price 1911s on the market. Mine never fails to impress me. I will purposely run 300 rounds through it and take to range and fire another 100 rounds without any failures; it eats whatever I load in the mags. Many of the parts that are used in these other 1911s are made by Taurus in Brazil; just do some checking.

Comment by: Artie Jones - an extremely satisfied Taurus 1911 owner

Posted by: AJ | June 26, 2010 5:32 PM    Report this comment

If you are looking for a high performance 1911 without the high end price; Taurus PT 1911 will deliver and stand up to any of the high price 1911s on the market. Mine never fails to impress me. I will purposely run 300 rounds through it and take to range and fire another 100 rounds without any failures; it eats whatever I load in the mags. Many of the parts that are used in these other 1911s are made by Taurus in Brazil; just do some checking.

Comment by: Artie Jones - an extremely satisfied Taurus 1911 owner

Posted by: AJ | June 26, 2010 5:12 PM    Report this comment

Dawn, thank you I had missed that. Still way to old to be relevant. FWIW no 1911 is useful to me without frontstrap checkering. Having had and fired many different variations, those are the only ones that feel 'locked in' and do not shift. I personally think that vertical lines on the front strap of a 1911 are pretty useless. Just my own opinion about how I shoot though and to anyone who loves them... more power to you!

Posted by: Markbo | June 20, 2010 5:50 PM    Report this comment

Why would you revive this 11 yr old review? The SA pistol is now 45% more, made 50% in another country and does NOT in any stretch of the imagination have a perfect trigger based on the dozen or so I have fired or handled in the last year or so. Please provide articles that are relevant to today and help us not make us long for 11 years ago.

Posted by: psico | June 19, 2010 7:55 PM    Report this comment

HA HA HA! A 10 year old article for guns that aren't even available new any more!? What a joke! Gun Reports seem to have run out of things to talk about and are falling back on 10 year old articles?????

HAAAAAAAAA haaaaaaa haaaaa hahaha *urp*... I think I hurt something

Posted by: Markbo | June 19, 2010 1:15 PM    Report this comment

I guess I won't be reading gun reports anymore if all your going to get is crap like this. Get with it guys!! There is plenty to write about or did you just get stupid lazy?

Posted by: Meindert Z | June 18, 2010 8:48 PM    Report this comment

I guess I won't be reading gun reports anymore if all your going to get is crap like this. Get with it guys!! There is plenty to write about or did you just get stupid lazy?

Posted by: Meindert Z | June 18, 2010 8:46 PM    Report this comment

1. THE 1911 IS PROBABLY THE BEST SEMI AUTO PISTOL EVER DEVISED. IT HAS BEEN AROUND SINCE, WELL, 1911. SLOPPY FIT? WHAT 1911 DO YOU HAVE THERE?

2. THE DESIGN IS GREAT FOR SMALL HANDS, BIG HANDS, WOMEN, MEN, ETC.

3. THE NEXT GROUNDBREAKING THING SINCE HAS BEEN THE GLOCK (EEAAWWW), AND SINCE THE GLOCK NOW THE XDm. ONLY TOOK 100 YEARS TO IMPROVE ON THE DESIGN!

4. HEY, ABOUT THE 10 YEAR OLD ARTICLE - AT LEAST GUN REPORTS HAD ENOUGH STYLE TO APOLOGIZE AND GET AN UPDATED PRICE

TENNIS BALLS AT 25 YARDS? SHOOT AT GOLF BALLS, BETTER TRAINING!

Posted by: TOP PREDATOR | June 18, 2010 3:46 PM    Report this comment

First, presenting a review of a 10 year old gun and misquoting the actual price indicates to me that your reviews are, at best, unreliable and worse, deceptive. Clean up your act, Gun Reports.

My experience with SA firearms is very positive. My prefernece with a 1911 is to purchase a low priced no frills model and upgrade virtually everything. Not necessarily cost effective but extremely entertaining and will create a gun fitting your specific needs / desires.

The 1911 is one of the very few semiautos where this is even possible and SA provides an excellent basis for a project gun.

Note: For anyone interested, the most important aspect of purchasing a 1911 project gun is the slide/frame fit. It's very difficult, if not impossible, to reliably tune the sloppy fit of a rattle trap 1911. It will never shoot accurately (no tennis balls at 25 yards).

Posted by: Doomguy | June 18, 2010 11:26 AM    Report this comment

Worthless review. These kinds of reviews should be Headlined as "A Review From The History Files" or similar.

A 10+ year old piece of nostalgia being listed as a "review" is inapplicable to any device being manufactured today. ALL manufacturing processes and quality control processes change over time to varying degrees...sometimes drastically.

Posted by: 40calICE | June 18, 2010 8:06 AM    Report this comment

11 year old review. look, one thing I really respect about gun tests is straight forward tell it like it is reviews. If it fails it fails. Find me another source that will say that. But this, as pointed out by several others, is hardly more than spam with an out of date review. Please, do not bother. keep it up to date.

Posted by: Dirk H | June 17, 2010 9:27 PM    Report this comment

I am impressed with the price of this 1911. I have many 1911's of different price ranges, none of them this low. I will be anxious to go to the gun store and try one for myself, and see if it feels as good as the report says it does.

Posted by: Bullseye71 | June 17, 2010 9:23 PM    Report this comment

I only which I could buy this gun for $565!!! Too bad this review is 10 years old. :-(

Posted by: MrAnderson | June 17, 2010 8:49 PM    Report this comment

Hate to say it, this isn't an american made weapon/too.l My Kimber on the other hand is as is a friends Para USA. There aren't many left. Springfield used to be US made but now is made by Imbel.

Posted by: Jaylocker | June 17, 2010 7:09 PM    Report this comment

Hate to say it, this isn't an american made weapon/too.l My Kimber on the other hand is as is a friends Para USA. There aren't many left. Springfield used to be US made but now is made by Imbel.

Posted by: Jaylocker | June 17, 2010 7:08 PM    Report this comment

I have a M1911A1 from Rock Island Armory. It cost less than $500 and is a gem. The quality is far above the rattletrap that was issued to me in the military. In the military, my maximum effective range with the .45 rattletrap was the length of the barrel. I'm 76-years-ols with arthritis in my shooting arm elbow. So, even with some pain,I hit what I aim at out to 25-yards and have never had a burp in several hundred rounds. The quality of the component parts is excellent.

Posted by: Omnistuff | June 17, 2010 6:31 PM    Report this comment

As far price goes guys, note the date of the original article; Dated June, 1999. That price has risen since this article was first published.

Posted by: tankjas556 | June 17, 2010 5:20 PM    Report this comment

It's wonderful to see an American manufacturer turn out a prodect at a decent price that can attract your testers approval.
A tip of the hat to Springfield Armory.

Posted by: James Z | June 17, 2010 4:35 PM    Report this comment

Could you include the spring rate for any semi-autos you review? Please! Some of us old-timers with arthritis are turning to revolvers as we can't "crank" the action on the semis.

Posted by: H F | June 17, 2010 2:55 PM    Report this comment

1911 the first reliable concept that started the trend toward semi-autos, is still by far in .45 cal the weapon of choice for home defense. thank god for john browning. proof that if it is right you con only improve it never hurt it.

Posted by: victor martin | June 17, 2010 1:43 PM    Report this comment

BLAH! BLAH! BLAH! Just another 45, BIG DEAL!! Perhaps it was the many years I worked at Ft. Lewis Logistics CTR at Depot Maint. small arms shop rebuilding thousands of M1911A1's that causes me to see this as the same toy with new farkles. When I see something with inovative design, durability, and really cheap then I'll buy it, but not another 45.

Posted by: lotoofla | June 17, 2010 12:54 PM    Report this comment

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