Springfield TRP Light Rail Model PC9105LP 45 ACP
No pistol in current production has evolved into as many variations and price points as John Brownings 1911. Gun Tests Magazine has looked at some entry-level models costing around $500. Then they looked at a 1911 that occupies the upper tier of the factory-gun category. It represents the top-end production model of its company, offering significant upgrades to a standard 1911, but is normally available as off-the-shelf stock. The test gun was a 5-inch barrel model and featured niceties such as front- and back-strap checkering, adjustable sights, stainless-steel match-grade barrels, front and rear slide serrations, skeletonized triggers, and hammers with cocking serrations.
Here's what they found:
Testing was conducted in two locations. Our first stop was the indoor range at Bass Pro Shops in Grapevine, Texas. There we conducted our team inspections of the gun and our accuracy testing. A second and third round of reliability shooting, along with our chronograph work, was performed at the Arlington Sportsmans Club, www.ArlingtonSportsman.com, one of the largest members-only clubs in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area.
We started our evaluation at the time we opened the case, checking off what accessories were (or were not) included with our pistol. Next, we field-stripped the gun and lubed and prepped it for use, noting the ease or difficulty of this process. Once the gun was ready for use, we fired some initial rounds to get some break-in time for the weapon, and to get a feel for the gun. We used three types of ammunition for our testing: Winchester USA 230-grain FMJs, Monarch Brass Case 230-grain FMCs, and a Winchester USA Personal Protection 230-grain JHP load. Our choices were limited to what we could scrounge off the shelves after visiting a number of sporting-goods and gun stores in the area.
Springfield Armory TRP Light Rail Model PC9105LP 45 ACP, $1829
The Springfield TRP (Tactical Response Pistol) came bristling with features in an intimidating package. Clad in a black Teflon finish called Armory Kote, and sporting an accessory rail, the gun had a look that was all business. The gray G10 grips were heavily textured and had a relief area to help access the magazine-release button. The only contrast to the basic black look came from the lightened trigger, guide rod, and the silver stub of a stainless match-grade bull barrel that extended from the slide.
Standard equipment also included ambidextrous safety levers, and an extended beavertail safety was mounted high and tight to the frame. The gripping surface was further enhanced by 20-lpi checkering on both the frontstrap and mainspring housing. Front rear and rear cocking serrations were sharply formed into the slide. An adjustable sight in the Bo-Mar style with tritium inserts was accompanied with a matching low-profile tritium front. We found this combination gave us a sight picture that ranked second to the STI, primarily because the inserts were smaller.
The TRP uses a key-activated integral locking system instead of the usual padlock arrangement. A small key fits inside a tiny recess located on the rear mainspring housing. When rotated to a horizontal position, the action is locked, and the gun wont work. We were ambivalent about this feature; in fact, wed be worried that we might run off without a key and not notice the small locking system was engaged.
Besides the two locking keys, the plastic gun case also contained a right-handed belt holster, and a dual magazine carrier made from molded plastic. Both the holster and magazine had adjustable tension screws for optimizing their fit. A bore brush, along with some adjustment wrenches, a disassembly pin, and a spent casing from the gun were also included. Two stainless-steel magazines were included; oddly, they were only 7-round models rather than the 8-round versions we found in the other guns.
The guide rod on the TRP was a one-piece design utilizing a reverse plug, which is a sleeve that fit over the guide rod. Field stripping the gun required us to remove the slide stop and separate the slide from the frame. The next step required us to improvise a small tool to break the gun down. To remove the guide-rod assembly, you must compress the spring with your thumb to expose a small hole in the guide rod. A pin has to be inserted into the hole to capture the reverse plug and the recoil spring. This is where we encountered a problem. A pin was supplied to insert into the hole, but it was too large to fit through the slide loop. We used a paper clip bent in a 90-degree angle to compress the spring and allow us to remove the assembly from the slide. We feel this is serious shortcoming in the TRPs design.
We measured the trigger pull at a slightly-heavier-than-advertised 5.4 pounds. It proved to be crisp, but not as responsive as either the STI or Smith & Wesson models, our testers opined. This is probably in part to its design as a tactical service weapon.
It was all Abrams tanksolid, heavy duty, with a built-to-last feel. Racking the slide had a heavy feel. The grip serrations and aggressive diamond texture of the grip panels made the gun stay put in our hands no matter how much perspiration we worked up while shooting. It may be too much texture for some delicate hands, however.
In our tests, the TRP ate everything we fed it without a single hiccup. The gun was the quickest to come back to target and had the least felt recoil, primarily because of its heavier weight, particularly balanced forward with extra bulk of the accessory rail. The heavily beveled mag well gave us the quickest reloads of our contestants. Accuracy ranked just behind the STI, averaging 1.1 inches with both Winchester loads.
We also had the opportunity to adorn the accessory rail with a Surefire X300 and Insight Tech-Gear WX150 weapon light. The WX150 featured a strobing mode for flash-blinding an assailant. Both units fit tightly to the rail, and their controls were easily accessed with the light mounting close to the trigger guard.
Gun Tests Said: The TRP would be a good choice as a self-defense weapon. Its weight doesnt make it as an ideal a choice for everyday carry, however.