December 9, 2013

Remington Model 1911 R1 Enhanced No. 96328 45 ACP, $940

We compared two 1911 handguns from companies not known for those pistols in the May 2012 issue. After a very long wait the staff acquired one of the Remington Model 1911 R1 Enhanced 45 ACPs ($940 MSRP). The GT team wanted a similar-priced gun to compare it to, so they went to another company not commonly known for producing 1911s, Taurus. The test Taurus PT 1911 ($900 MSRP) was stainless. Here is what we found.

In the gun world there’s no shortage of 1911-type 45 autos. However, when an old company which made a few 45s during drastic times of national need around 1918 — but has made none since — brought out a fresh, U.S.-made 1911, it got our attention. Remington-UMC made a few 1911s long ago for WWI use, as did Singer Sewing Machine Co., and a few other companies. Remington apparently made something over 21,500 copies of the 1911 for WWI, and then quit — until now.

Remington Model 1911 R1 Enhanced No. 96328 45 ACP, $940

Our first impression of the R1 Enhanced was that it had a great finish, seemed snugly assembled, and had a great trigger. But what was that abomination where the front sight is supposed to be? Careful, or you’ll cut your hand open, and by no means put this gun into a holster, because that hook-bill on the front end is razor-sharp, and we’re not kidding. We’ve never seen a more dangerous front sight on any handgun, nor have we ever seen a sharper metal edge on any gun anytime.

Going past the front sight for the moment, we liked the dull-black finish, and the pebbly-surfaced wood-laminate grip panels. By the way, there’s no stainless Enhanced version, only a blued one. The slide serrations, front and back, were appropriately sharp and easily used to lock back the slide, pick up a round, or (using the forward serrations) press-check to see if a round is in the chamber. There’s a slot at the back of the barrel that lets you check the chamber, but we are not used to those. There were two well-made eight-round magazines in the fitted hard case. The magazines both had slam pads and had numbered holes to show how many rounds are in there. There was also a decent instruction book.

By the way, the R1 standard version costs $730, but you don’t get the beavertail, the great rear sight, nor the lightened, pierced hammer spur. The standard model looks like a wartime 1911 such as Remington might have made during WWI, and may not have the tight fitting of the Enhanced version tested here. It also has seven-round magazines instead of our eight. We think most shooters will be happier with this Enhanced version in the long run. There are also stainless standard versions.

The left side of the slide had a bold “Remington” in script. The right side had “ENHANCED” in small letters below the ejection port, and “1911 R1” boldly on the forward part. The front strap had vertical serrations that helped keep the gun from twisting in the hand on recoil. The rear strap was straight, with a checkered-steel hammer-spring housing. The checkering extended to the protruding portion of the grip safety, a nice touch, we thought. The grip panels were checkered in 10 lines per inch, which gave an interesting and solid feel to the gun. The left panel was cut away slightly to permit access to the extended magazine release, which was vertically serrated.

Remington Model 1911 R1 Enhanced No. 96328 45 ACP

Remington has hit a home run with the new R1 Enhanced, an essentially modern 1911 set up as shooters like them today. Our one complaint was the front sight, the housing for which was sharp.

The Videki-style trigger had three holes for lightness and an adjustable stop. By the way, it does no harm to remove that stop screw entirely. Some gunsmiths do that to be absolutely certain the screw won’t vibrate back and prevent the gun from firing. There was only one safety, which some of us prefer. It had an extension which made it easy to use, and we found it comfortable if you choose to keep your thumb on it while shooting, as many do. The barrel was stainless steel, another nice touch. Remington says it’s match grade, and we believe it.

The rear sight, apparently made by Remington and bearing that name, was adjustable for elevation with a large, fine-slotted screw. Some shooters might like a wider rear notch for more light on the side of the front blade. Windage was by drifting, which means tapping with a hammer and brass rod. The forward surfaces of the rear sight permit easy and cut-free clearing of stovepipe jams, and at least some effort was made to smooth the edges of the ejection port to alleviate getting cut there, too. Someone at Remington was paying attention to these small details that can make or break a good design. The hammer was easy to thumb cock, and the beavertail was very comfortable for us.

Also, we found it easy to use the grip safety. Some 1911s have grip safeties that are very difficult to depress with some hands in some positions, such as with a high thumb. We found that to be the case on an early S&W 1911, and on the Taurus tested below.

Then there’s the question of that front sight. The intent was good, which was to suspend a red, light-gathering plastic element up front to act as a glowing dot seen easily against a variety of backgrounds, and in that light it is excellent. In order to get light to it there has to be cuts made in the front blade, and those are okay too. But the rear-most supporting element leans to the rear, like an undercut Patridge front blade, and that’s all wrong. If that rear element slanted the other way, it’d be a much better sight. As it is, it’s death to any leather holster. It also makes a mighty nice gouge which you can use to open veins, rip your clothing in a stylish manner, cut boxes — heck, the options are many and varied, limited only by your imagination.

To put the final death knell to that sight, we found the plastic insert to be loose. It could be withdrawn to the rear with a slight pull. Although a glowing front sight is a great idea, we think replacement front sights are going to be installed on about 95 percent of these Enhanced Remingtons. The front sight is attached in a crosswise dovetail, so replacement should be easy. At the very least, owners will take a file to that razor-like top edge. Three white dots would have been better, we thought, with a normal forward-slanted front blade. And tritium ought to be an option, we thought, which it now is not.

Takedown was traditional and easy. The gun inside the slide had a trigger-release pin on the firing pin, which means the firing pin cannot move unless the trigger is pressed. Taurus also had that safety feature. Workmanship inside was excellent, some of the nicest 1911 work we’ve seen. There was evidence of hardness checking at several points along the slide, which is more nice attention to detail. (Could it be Remington knows how to build good guns?) The barrel was relieved around its chamber opening nicely, though the ramp in the frame leading to it was on the rough side.

Remington Model 1911 R1 Enhanced No. 96328 45 ACP

Takedown was normal. We found very fine work inside, really top-notch. The barrel was indeed match grade, in our opinion.

There were a few spots here and there on the R1 that were sharp, or had sharp corners that had not been broken. Some were at the bottom of the grip frame around the magazine well, and more were on the edge of the barrel bushing, These can be easily fixed by the owner, though Remington should do so. Some shooters are going to want more beveling inside the magazine well, but that’s a personal thing, and can be done by almost anyone at home. All in all we think Remington did a bang-up job making a really good 1911. The slide-to-frame fit was snug, but not sticky. We loved the trigger pull. We suspected the gun might shoot very well, but we must say we liked the Remington R1 a lot before we ever shot it. What would it do on the range?

We tested with MFS 230-grain hardball, Winchester BEB 185-grain ammo, Cor-Bon’s 185-grain JHP, and with a handload consisting of the H&G number 68, cast-lead 200-grain SWC in front of five grains of Bullseye, CCI 300 primers in mixed cases. We shot the cast bullets last to give the jacketed ammo a chance to slick up the barrels of both guns. We found the Remington worked perfectly with everything. There were no jams, no failures to eject, no problems whatsoever. It fed and fired everything we threw at it.

Even better, it put most of them into increasingly smaller groups as we went along. Our two best groups were 1.1 inches for five shots at 15 yards with Cor-Bon’s hot ammo, and 0.7 inch with our handload. There were touches of leading in the new barrel, indicating the need for a bit of polishing, or wearing-in. While not all our groups were stunning, the trend as we saw it was the accuracy seemed to be increasing as we went along. By the end of our testing there were commonly four shots of the five in a clump, and one out. Early on, there were two or three in clumps. We think the R1 will benefit from more shooting.

Our Team Said: As it was, we thought the Remington R1 Enhanced was an excellent 1911. It had very good accuracy as it was, plenty enough for anything short of a target gun, we thought. It worked perfectly, looked just great, had an exceptional trigger, tight fitting, superb workmanship, and a fine historic name on its side. We confess the front sight worked very well as it was, gave an excellent sight picture, and the red dot was easy to see in most any light outdoors short of darkness. The red element needs to be better retained, we thought. The sights were very close to being on the money as we found them. We gave the rear sight a slight tap to center the groups, which had been 1 inch to the left at 15 yards, but perfect for elevation. But that doesn’t mean we’d keep that front sight on there if this were our gun. Also, we wish someone besides Valtro would recess the takedown protrusion of the slide stop, but as yet no one has done so. We think the Remington is an A-minus grade gun, the minus for the front sight that is dangerously sharp.

Comments (17)

Disappointed the Taurus results weren't shown. I have had several of the Taurus pistols and found them to be excellent straight out of the box, great trigger action, tight grouping of shots, very small amount of adjustments required for target use.

Posted by: foguie | December 8, 2014 1:25 AM    Report this comment

Yeah, what about the taurus?..I own 2 and they have performed as required...I also have a springfield military style, low sights, no fancy hammer, and a good crisp trigger, fact is i've never shot a "junk" 1911...some prefer blondes, some brunettes, but they're all good...

Posted by: coyotetrapper | December 5, 2014 1:31 PM    Report this comment

Ooops. I previously posted a comment that I was under the impression that Remington UMC never made a 1911 for the govt. I should have done some research first. The NRA's historical research at indicates that Remington UMC did, indeed, make 20,000 of these pistols for the govt. Sorry for the confusion.

Posted by: Aerosport | December 4, 2014 10:50 PM    Report this comment

One other comment hit on this... but I was under the impression that Remington (the gun manufacturer) NEVER made a 1911 until they began manufacturing the current model. Everything I have ever read claimed that the Remington 1911's owned by the government were always made by the Remington (Rand) typewriter company. If I am wrong, I certainly apologize for confusing the issue. By the way, I love Gun-Tests magazine. I just wish that every issue were 2-3 times bigger with even more reviews and head to head comparisons. That is not a complaint, that is just an affirmation of how much I enjoy your publication. I realize your time and resources are limited. Keep up the good work.

Posted by: Aerosport | December 4, 2014 10:36 PM    Report this comment

Where is the Taurus report and did the Remington compare favorably with the better made Colts and Wilson?

Posted by: captron2045 | December 4, 2014 7:08 PM    Report this comment

Never shot a clump. Do they taste like chicken?

Posted by: markjop | December 4, 2014 5:13 PM    Report this comment

The Dan Wesson Specialist 1911 has recessed the takedown protrusion of the slide stop.

Posted by: markjop | December 4, 2014 5:09 PM    Report this comment

how much were you paid to "forget" taurus??

Posted by: dirt | December 4, 2014 5:02 PM    Report this comment

wgchinn: You do not have a Remington UMC from WW-2 They were all made before 1919 in Bridgeport CT. BTW: Remington Rand has nothing to do with this company.. Any source that states the UMC gun were made in WW -2 is just wrong..

Posted by: vonmazur | December 4, 2014 11:48 AM    Report this comment

I was looking forward to this comparison but I never got to see it. I do own a Taurus 1911 and was looking forward what your folks had to say about it. Did it preform so bad you did not want to print the results or just forgot to add the results? Looking forward to the evaluation of the Taurus 1911.

Posted by: barrylbea | December 4, 2014 11:42 AM    Report this comment

Are you sure you aren't confusing WWI and WWII in some of your references. I have a Remington UMC 1911 from 1943 (based on ser#).

Posted by: wgchinn | December 4, 2014 10:59 AM    Report this comment

Yeah, what happened to the Taurus???

Posted by: Chuck Overstreet | July 11, 2014 1:07 PM    Report this comment

Yeah, what happened to the Taurus???

Posted by: Chuck Overstreet | July 11, 2014 1:07 PM    Report this comment

ok, nice review, what about the Taurus??????????????

Posted by: | July 10, 2014 10:18 AM    Report this comment

I'm a big fan of this gun. I have one and will never sell it.

Posted by: Preacher Bill | January 6, 2014 7:27 PM    Report this comment

I received a standard version R1 from my son as a gift. I cleaned and oiled it, took it to the range and shot the first 100 shells through it. Out of the box from Remington it was dead-on at 15 yards. No adjustments needed in any direction. No sharp edges anywhere on the gun that I could find. Trigger pull was perfect for me. I don't think the "lightened hammer spur" would help anyone shoot any better, so I am quite satisfied with this pistol and would recommend it to anyone looking for a well made 1911.

Posted by: Shooter2 | January 2, 2014 11:10 AM    Report this comment

We, generally, can expect some quality pieces from Remington, so a 1911 coming from them should be a pretty good purchase. I share some of the reviewers' concerns about the fiber optic front sight, and if I had one of these pistols that I planned to carry on a daily basis, I would likely replace the front sight. Now, having said that, I have other firearms, both handguns and rifles, whose front sights are red fiber optics, similar to those found on this Remington pistol, and they function quite well. I'd figure that if the holster to be used for carry of this piece has a good sight track, such a seemingly flimsy sight might be OK.

Posted by: canovack | December 13, 2013 12:43 PM    Report this comment

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