August 2007

Full-Sized Tactical .45s With Accessory Rails: Buy the TRP

Kimber’s Custom TLE RL II is practical hardware, and Sigarms’ SAO model could be the best yet. Springfield Armory’s TRP delivers a lot of shooting performance for the dollar.

Once again we are responding to a subscriber by filling out a test roster with pistols suggested by reader mail. The category requested was full-size single-action-only semi-automatic pistols chambered for .45 ACP and framed with a built-in accessory rail for attaching a light or laser.

We got 1911-style pistols from Kimber and Springfield Armory along with a single-action-only version of the Sigarms P220R. The Kimber was a an $1113 Custom TLE RL II, essentially the model sold to LAPD SWAT.

Springfield Armory’s $1740 TRP Light Rail Armory Kote is referred to on the manufacturer’s website as being "designed around the same specifications" as the company’s FBI contract pistol.

The Sigarms P220 series was, from the beginning, designed for military use. Our $1013 P220R TSS SAO was probably developed to compete for the United States military contract that ultimately failed to materialize last year. Kimber and Springfield Armory have built their reputations producing 1911-style pistols, but for Sigarms the combination of a single-action trigger teamed with ambidextrous thumb safeties was a fresh approach. We couldn’t wait to see how these single-stack pistols stacked up.

Each gun was tested from a sandbag rest backed by solid support from a distance of 25 yards. We measured five-shot groups printed with three different types of ammunition. They were Hornady Custom 185-grain XTP/JHP hollowpoints, Speer Gold Dot 200-grain GDHP +P hollowpoints, and Winchester’s 230-grain USA FMJ round-nosed jacketed ammunition. The Winchester USA rounds were also used throughout our "practical" tests, which consisted mainly of pounding "Evil Roy," steel plates from Action Target (, punctuated by reloading as quickly as we could. Each gun digested about 350 rounds throughout our tests. Here is what we learned.

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