The hammer is skeletonized and large enough to easily disengage, in spite of the big rear sight, and there’s an extended safety lever.
The trigger is a long one with an Allen screw over-travel adjustment. The magazines are stainless steel and have witness holes. Almost every ergonomic feature you’d ask for on a 1911 target pistol is already there.
Inside, the Ranger Officer is old school. The barrel is stainless steel and is slightly larger at the muzzle end, but otherwise there are no new tricks. The Range Officer is well finished inside and out, and I actually like the old style short recoil spring guide.
Apparently, the old school internals didn’t have an adverse effect on accuracy. My first 10-shot string at 25 yards off the Ransom rest produced a right side flyer, a left side shot and put seven of the next eight shots in one hole.
I suspect the first shot was the gun settling into the grip adapter. Subsequent groups displayed about the same group size without the flyer, but none produced seven shots in one hole. Groups averaged around 2 inches with Remington 115 metal case ammunition, quite respectable for an entry-level priced pistol.
Standing at 10 yards, it was easy to stay within 11⁄2 inches. On plates, the Range Officer was really easy to shoot.
I like 1911s and it felt like an old friend in my hand. Recoil was soft, the sights were easy to see and the adjustable sights allowed choosing the sight picture I like to see.
At my level of competitiveness, I don’t believe the Range Officer would put me at any real disadvantage over a pistol twice or even three times the price.
It’s certainly accurate enough to clean all yards on a plate rack and wouldn’t give up much on the 50-yard shots in the practical stage of the Bianchi.
I do have friends who are much better action pistol shooters than I, and they were as impressed with the 9mm Range Officer as I was. After shooting a little over 100 rounds through it, one of them said, “I like it. I give it a 10.”
“A 10?” I asked. “That would mean it’s as good as your worked over STI.”
“I give it a 10 when you consider everything, including the price,” he said smiling. “My STI is a 10 when you don’t consider the price. When you consider the cost, this one’s a 10 right out of the box.”
Springfield Armory 9mm Range Officer
Caliber: 9mm Luger
Capacity: 9 + 1
Magazines: Two stainless with witness holes
Barrel: 5” stainless steel
Sights: BoMar-type adjustable rear, partridge front
Frame: Forged steel
Slide: Forged Steel
Weight: 40 oz. with empty magazine
Dick Jones is a shooting instructor and competitive shooter. He operates Lewis Creek Shooting School in North Carolina.
This article appeared in the January 27, 2014 issue of Gun Digest the Magazine.
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