Springfield Armory Loaded Operator PX9105LL 45 ACP

The Operator designation identifies a pistol as a handgun with a light rail. There are several Operators, some more expensive. This Springfield Operator provided a reliable platform with excellent practical accuracy. If you need a personal-defense handgun rather than a show piece, this is the trick. It will take years of training and practice to get all the performance it offers.




This was a recent price at TombstoneTactical.com. When ordering this handgun, a letter makes a difference. The ML pistol is supplied with Pachmayr grips, as an example. That’s fine if that is preferred, but our rater ordering the Loaded Operator with G10 grips, or LL. There are several Operators, some more expensive, including the TRP Operator with adjustable sights, the Marine Corps Operator, and the Long Beach (LB) Operator. The Operator designation identifies a pistol as a handgun with a light rail. The Springfield pistol features a nicely applied black Armory Kote finish.

Action TypeShort recoil-operated locked breech, single action
Overall Length8.5 in.
Overall Height5.5 in.
Max. Width1.25 in.
Weight Unloaded40.0 oz.
Weight Loaded45.0 oz.
Slide MaterialForged steel
Slide Retraction Effort20.5 lbs.
Receiver MaterialCasting
FinishStainless steel
Front Strap Height2.6 in.
Back Strap Height3.2 in.
Barrel Length5.0 in.
Grip Thickness Max.1.25 in.
Grip Circumference5.2 in.
MagazinesTwo 8 round
Rear SightDrift-adj. Novak w/tritium two-dot inserts
Front SightDovetailed post with tritium insert
Sight Radius6.4 in.
Trigger Pull Weight4.9 lbs.
Trigger Span2.8 in.
SafetySlide lock, grip
WarrantyLimited lifetime
Telephone(309) 944-5631
Made InUSA
We used a good number of magazines during the test with excellent results. Shooters should always check magazines for function before deploying them in self defense.
It has an ambidextrous slide lock safety, beavertail safety, and the usual Springfield lightweight firing pin and heavy-duty firing-pin spring for drop safety. The slide is tightly fitted. The slide racks more like a TRP than a Loaded Model. The Springfield features Novak sights with three-dot tritium inserts. The pistol is supplied with a magazine well that aids in rapid magazine changes. When the handgun was dissembled, the Armory Kote finish proved to be evenly applied to the inside of the slide and frame.

 The pistol features forward cocking serrations. We noted that the transition from the slide to the dust cover features what appears to be a ball end cut rivaling the work on the Nighthawk handgun. The controls are tight and crisp and easily manipulated, with a positive detent. The G10 grips are molded in slightly different patterns forward and to the rear. This makes for good adhesion but also allows easily adjusting the grip. Both adhesion and abrasion are good. Trigger compression was pleasant, with the trigger breaking at a clean 4.9 pounds. At 40 ounces, this is the heaviest pistol tested, but it also seemed to handle recoil the best. The effort to rack the slide was the greatest. This is a trade off because the recoil spring does a good job with all loads, including +P ammunition, and the pistol locks up tight.

This rater is a nationally ranked champion. He gave the Springfield Operator a high rating.

During the firing test, we really liked the sight set-up. The serrated front sight provided an excellent sight picture. Combat accuracy was at least as good as any of the pistols tested for the most part, with the Nighthawk shading the Springfield by a margin. This is impressive considering the price difference. Firing off hand for head shots (often called hostage rescue) was limited to 15 yards, but that is a long shot if you are hitting the cranio-ocular area. The Loaded Operator was very consistent, with good results in trained hands. The pistol did not equal the Nighthawk or the Guncrafter in absolute accuracy, but it was close in practical terms. While none of the pistols tested were dogs, and all were actually very accurate, the Springfield Loaded Operator was the least accurate of the 5-inch-barrel guns in absolute accuracy, it you can criticize a pistol that fired a 1.75-inch group on one occasion!

Our Team Said: After appraising the performance of the Springfield Loaded Operator, we gave it an A rating. Based on the light rail, tactical finish, night sights and good reliability, we also named this pistol a Best Buy.

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45 ACP Range Data.xlsx

Fiocchi XTPHP 200-grain 45XTPB25Dan Wesson 1911 HeritageSpringfield Armory Loaded OperatorNighthawk FalconDevil Dog 4.25 Standard Guncrafter Commander
Average Velocity970 fps954 fps951 fps899 fps922 fps
Muzzle Energy418 ft.-lbs. 404 ft.-lbs.402 ft.-lbs. 359 ft.-lbs. 377 ft.-lbs.
Small Group1.8 in.2.0 in.1.5 in.2.2 in. 1.4 in.
Average Group2.4 in.2.5 in.2.0 in.2.7 in. 1.8 in.
Hornady Custom 230-grain XTP +P 9096Dan Wesson 1911 HeritageSpringfield Armory Loaded OperatorNighthawk FalconDevil Dog 4.25 Standard Guncrafter Commander
Average Velocity919 fps907 fps903 fps867 fps880 fps
Muzzle Energy431 ft.-lbs.420 ft.-lbs.416 ft.-lbs.384 ft.-lbs. 395 ft.-lbs.
Small Group2.0 in.2.2 in.1.7 in.2.4 in. 1.6 in.
Average Group2.4 in.2.6 in.2.1 in.3.0 in. 2.0 in.
Speer Gold Dot Short Barrel 230-grain GDHP 23975GDDan Wesson 1911 HeritageSpringfield Armory Loaded OperatorNighthawk FalconDevil Dog 4.25 Standard Guncrafter Commander
Average Velocity855 fps839 fps828 fps810 fps780 fps
Muzzle Energy373 ft.-lbs.359 ft lbs.350 ft.-lbs.335 ft.-lbs. 311 ft.-lbs.
Small Group1.9 in.1.8 in.1.6 in.2.6 in. 1.7 in.
Average Group2.4 in.2.4 in.2.1 in.3.3 in. 2.0 in.


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