Remington R1 1911 .45
By R.K. Campbell

Recently, the United States Marine Corps ordered some 12,000 Colt 1911 .45s. Designated close quarters battle pistols, these handguns are the newest rendition of the legendary 1911 pistol. There is no better firearm anywhere for close quarters battle in the one hand genre. The Marines will once more deploy a pistol worthy of their young arms. It seems that every maker worth their salt, and some not worth a hoot, are building 1911 pistols. It is only fitting that our oldest gunmaker also offers a 1911 pistol. Remington has introduced one of the more credible entries into the 1911 game. The R1 is a GI pistol in some ways but a qualified improvement in other ways over the General Issue pistol the greatest generation carried to victory in World War Two. There has been some confusion and downright ignorance demonstrated concerning Remington’s history of manufacturing 1911 pistols. The World War Two Remington Rand is a fine handgun but it was produced by the typewriter maker, not Remington firearms. Remington firearms, our oldest domestic maker, did produce a 1911 during World War One. In those days Remington was known as Remington UMC, for Remington Union Metallic Cartridge Company. These pistols were excellent 1911 types. The well known Remington Rand was a 1911A1 type. We call them 1911 pistols but the modern types are 1911A1 pistols.

While Colt has had an unbroken line of manufacture, Remington has not produced a 1911 since 1918. The original machinery is long gone and the new pistol is a fresh pistol based upon the 1911 template. Remington is looking to the future and while nostalgia is fine, the new pistol is a credible shooter that is reliable with modern ammunition. The pistol is delivered in a rather nice locking plastic box. The box is Remington green with a large stylized Remington emblem embossed on the box. Two magazines and a barrel bushing wrench are included. The pistol is finished in an attractive blue that is more black than blue. The R1 is true to the 1911 template with a locked breech design with tilting barrel, barrel bushing, swinging link and straight to the rear single action trigger compression. The pistol features nice double diamond pattern checkered grips, a long tang grip safety and stainless steel barrel bushing. The greatest improvement over the GI 1911A1 is found in the sights. The R1 features high profile three dot sights. These sights afford a much more bold sight picture and are much easier to quickly acquire in speed shooting. Even better, the front sight is dovetailed in place. I have lost count of the number of staked on front sights I have seen take flight. This will not happen with the R1 units. The receiver is cast and many of the parts are metal injection molded. Well, forged is traditional but castings work when done correctly. Remington has too much riding on their name to make a mistake. The pistol is designed to sell for just a bit more than the imports but to rival the much more expensive types for performance (As of this writing Remington has introduced several enhanced versions with more features but the underlying foundation is the same pistol.) Fit and finish appear good and the basic tests applied to the 1911 for fit, safety and function were conducted. The safety locks up tight with the lever butting into the kidney shaped cut-out in the hammer correctly and riding the disconnect correctly. The grip safety releases the trigger about midway into detent, which is correct.

Trigger compression is neither particularly light nor heavy but consistent at five and one quarter pounds with no discernible creep or backlash. The feed ramp demonstrated the proper angles, with the perquisite 1/32nd inch separating the two halves of the feed ramp. The barrel seems to be of high quality and the lock up is good. Tolerances appear tight, but not so tight the Remington should not be reliable in the event of hard use in difficult situations.

The primary complaint with GI pistols was the heavy trigger action. Remington has addressed this issue and addressed it well. It is true that a shooter must be more diligent with a lighter action but a five pound trigger compression is controllable. Lighter actions in the three pound range are not noted for longevity. A five pound trigger compression will last for the life of the pistol. Military specifications for the 1911 called for generous accuracy by modern standard. Just the same these standards were deemed adequate. A five inch five shot group at twenty five yards and a ten inch fifty yard group gave soldiers and Marines a fighting chance and saved many lives. A World War One Colt on hand does a bit better but a Remington Rand from World War Two is right on the five inch twenty five yard standard. The pistols may have rattled when shook but as long as the locking lugs and barrel bushing were tight; they were on the money for accuracy.

The Remington was tested with an eclectic combination of loads. In order to test reliability, we felt it expedient to test the Remington with the proven 230 grain ball load, with an inexpensive lead bullet handload, and a number of modern jacketed hollow point loads. One of these loads was the current choice of our most prestigious law enforcement agency. This load is the Winchester 230 grain Bonded Core. Much of the ammunition was expended during drills that proved the mettle of the piece as a combat pistol. While it is redundant to comment on the attributes that make the 1911 a fast shooter and a controllable pistol, the low bore axis and straight to the rear trigger compression resulted in excellent results. We also tested the pistol in slow fire target type shooting off of a solid bench rest. As you can see, the Remington is more than accurate enough for any foreseeable mission. While it is true that there are more accurate pistols, you have to pay a considerable tariff over the price of the Remington R1 for this accuracy. The Remington is more accurate than most and in the end the pistol represents an excellent pistol for the money. During the course of firing some three hundred cartridges during the evaluation there were no malfunctions.

Accuracy results, 5 shot groups at 25 yards, average of 3 groups.
Load Five shot group 25 yards
Winchester USA 230 grain FMJ: 3.25 inches
WinchesteR185 gr. Silvertip: 3.8 inches
Winchester 230 grain Ranger SXT +P 2.0 inches
Winchester 230 grain Bonded Core: 2.5 inches
Cor Bon 160 gr. DXP Short Barrel: 2.65 inches
Cor Bon 185 gr. DPX: 2.5 inches
Cor Bon 230 grain Performance Match: 2.4 inches
Handloads loaded by Alan Campbell
NosleR185 gr. JHP/900 fps/Titegroup Powder: 2.5 inches
200 grainSWC/ Laser Cast/ Oregon Trail/870 fps/Titegroup Powder: 2.25 inches

Remington Arms Company: www.remington.com
Model: R1
Caliber: .45 Automatic Colt Pistol
Barrel length: 5 inches with one in sixteen inch turn
Weight: 39 ounces
Width: 1.35
Height: 5.25
Overall length: 8 inches

This article first appeared in Small Arms Review SAW (April 2013)
and was posted online on February 15, 2013


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