When the original Springfield Range Officer came out a few years ago, I liked it so much I bought it, and have used it heavily since, carrying it for the police department and on my own time and occasionally winning a shooting contest with it. Because I recommend it as perhaps the best buy in a sub-$1000 all-around 1911 .45, a lot of my students have bought them. They report the same extremely high reliability I’ve experienced. In this On Target test, the Elite version of the Range Officer lived up to expectation in that respect, with several hundred rounds through many hands and no malfunctions save for one failure to lock open on a magazine that wouldn’t lock any other 1911’s slide back when empty, either.
For the money, I’d have liked to see a low-profile magazine chute for faster reloading, not just the radiused edges of the mag well found on the test gun. This is the one addition I made to my otherwise still box-stock, first-year Range Officer, when I happened to be visiting Springfield Armory in Geneseo, IL, and it definitely slicks up one’s reloads with little loss of concealability.
The Elite is the highest of the Range Officer upgrades. The standard model with adjustable sights and Parkerized finish that I’ve had such good luck with retails for $945. In stainless, it’s $1055. The Operator variant, Parkerized with accessory rail, goes for $1039 suggested retail. The subject of this article, the Elite Operator, runs $1145. Up-featured with rail, ambi safety, and Black-T finish, it’s in the same value ballpark as the standard Range Officer I consider a “best buy.” All are available in 9mm, .45 ACP and —as of late—10mm Auto. See them at your gun shop, or contact Springfield Armory; Tel.: (800) 680-6866; Web: www.springfield-armory.com