Everything a Beginner Needs
As a shooting instructor, I see a lot of new shooters who choose to start with a .40 or .45 and develop serious issues with recoil anticipation.
Those issues can have such a disastrous effect on accuracy as to discourage the new shooter, and sometimes they become habits that are almost impossible to break. The Range Officer in 9mm has everything the beginning competitor needs to get started at a reasonable cost, and provides more than enough accuracy for all but the more advanced competitors in action shooting.
Of course, the Range Officer as it comes out of the box isn’t going to win the Bianchi Cup, but it’s a good starting point. Obviously, it could be the basis for a very serious race gun. The 24-time USPSA National champion, Rob Leatham, has had a little more than his share of success using Springfield Armory guns, and he continues to do so.
While the exterior finish of the Range Officer is below the level of the pre-70 Gold Cup, the slide and frame fit are as good or better.
The barrel bushing fit on the Range Officer is definitely better. I really like the trigger design, and it works well enough for accurate shooting, though a little finesse from a good gunsmith to lighten it and make it crisper would help.
The Gold Cup’s trigger is a little better, but remember, it was the finest 1911 commercially available in 1969.
When shooting the Range Officer, the first thing I noticed was the sights. They are reminiscent of the wonderful BoMar sights that were probably the most popular addition to early 1911s.
The front is a partridge with no adorning dots, something I like. Dot sights are wonderful for novice shooters and defensive work, but they do little for speed and accuracy in competition.
The rear sight has solid and tactile clicks, and screw heads big enough for regular screwdrivers. While such sights may be a poor choice for concealment, they’re a boon on the range.
The Range Officer is loaded with features found on guns twice the price. There’s a large, extended beavertail on the grip safety and a healthy bump on the bottom for guys like me with sparse palms. I sometimes have a problem with the 1911’s grip safety, but this one is big enough to ensure engagement.
The mainspring housing is the flat pre-A1 style and well stippled, another feature I like. I would have liked the same stippling on the front of the grip frame as well, but it’s smooth. Grips are cocobolo with good checkering and the familiar Springfield Armory logo.