Its always fun to test 1911 handguns — at least its fun for me. I never tire of them, and I can’t begin to count how many different gun makers are producing 1911s these days, or the number of models being made. Today, we’re looking at the Remington 1911 R1 Enhanced variant. (You may recall that I already reviewed the R1 “Carry” variant, back in 2018.)
As many readers may know, Remington-UMC produced a few M1911 pistols in .45 ACP during World War I, and Remington Rand–best known for its typewriters–produced an even larger quantity of M1911A1 pistols, during World War II. There were several other makers of 1911s during WW2 as well. Even the Singer Sewing Machine company was making 1911s. Colt was the major supplier of 1911s during both world wars, but they couldn’t keep up with demand, thus other companies stepped in to help supply our military. But for many year after WWII, Remington didn’t produce any 1911s. They were primarily known as a riflemaker.
The current crop of 1911s that Remington Arms is producing is an outgrowth of their purchase of Para Ordnance. Para started out producing wide-body 1911 frames only – it was quite the thing, back around 1990. Many people bought the frames, and purchased slides to go on them, so that they had a 13+1 round 1911 in .45 ACP. And at some point, Para started producing complete 1911s. It was touch and go for a while, as there were many problems with the guns not functioning as designed. Para-Ordnance had been located in Canada. The company was sold. The tooling was moved to South Carolina, and the company became Para-Ord USA. Most of the employees didn’t make that move. And, once again, there were problems with completed guns not functioning all the time. Eventually, the bugs were worked out.
Enter Remington Arms. They purchased Para-Ord, lock, stock ‘n barrel, and again moved it, this time down to Alabama. Once again, only some of the Para employees made the move from South Carolina to Alabama. Then, for several years, Remington did not produce any Para 1911s. They eventually did produce some that were rollmarked with both the Para-Ord and Hunstville, Alabama, but it wasn’t very many. But at some point soon after, Remington decided to stop producing 1911s under the Para-Ord name. So if you have one of those interim guns that is marked both Para-Ord and Hunstville, Alabama, then it is worth some money.
Remington began producing their own version of the 1911, and at first it was a disaster. While they “looked” good, they were junk. In very short order, they were loose, very loose – not good and it didn’t contribute to accuracy at all. I know, I owned one. And, I handled quite a few at the local gun shop I haunt, every one of them was loose and the finish was wearing off, in short order.
Today, Remington has clearly figured out what the problems were. The current crop of 1911s from Remington are outstanding in all respects. They don’t produce a big variety of 1911s – only a few models – but they now are doing these 1911s up right. I now own the Remington 1911 R1 Enhanced Government Model and it is a bargain as well as one sweet shooting 1911.
My “Enhanced” R1 is the original Government Model size, with a 5-inch barrel, but that’s about where it ends, when talking about a Government Model. The front sight is a red fiber optic that is dovetailed into the slide, so you can adjust it for windage. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation, and it’s very unique in the design. It is dovetailed into the top rear of the slide, but you can adjust it for windage, and if you need to adjust it for elevation, there is a screw on the top of the sight that allows for easy elevation adjustments. So there is no need to move the front sight if you don’t want to. The rear sight is all black, no white dots or anything. However the bottom portion of the rear sight is serrated, and that helps keep down any glare – very nicely done, Remington!
The barrel is stainless steel and match-grade and fitted. And the barrel bushing is also stainless steel, while the rest of the gun is carbon steel. The barrel is also throated and polished, and the feed ramp is also polished. Unlike the “Enhanced” M1911s from several other makers, there is no full-length guide rod. So it is easy to take this gun apart for cleaning. However, the barrel bushing is tightly fit to the barrel. You need to retract the slide an inch or so, and then the barrel bushing turns easily. Way to go, Remington – nice job once again.
The slide has front and rear slide serrations on it that are large and angled – easy to grasp the slide to chamber a round or rip an empty of loaded round out of the chamber. Of course, the ejection port is lowered and flared as well.
When we get to the frame, we have a nice 3-hole match-grade trigger. That trigger is set at exactly 3.5-pounds, great job on this gun, whoever did it. Only complaint is, the trigger is plastic – that’s not a deal breaker, however the fit of the trigger is a little sloppy – up and down movement – a bit too much, but it hasn’t affected the trigger pull at all…it is one great trigger pull. The front strap on the frame is serrated top to bottom – I wish they had checkered it. Plus, the magazine well is slightly beveled to aid in faster reloads as well.
There is a match hammer, with the oval hole in it – once again, nice job fitting it. We also have a beavertail grip safety – perfection fitted and timed. Plus the bottom portion of the beavertail has a memory hump on it, as well as being checkered to match the flat mainspring housing – outstanding touch. The magazine release is of the “combat” style — slightly extended. The grips are hardwood and checkered, and a great job checkering the grips, nice and sharp. However, I traded out those original grips for a pair of my own design, “Code Zero” 1911 G-10 grips that I much prefer. The gun came with two Mec-Gar 8-round magazines, stamped with the Remington name on their floorplates.
There is an all-black finish on the entire gun. It appears just an all-black oxide finish, not Cerakote. But it seems to wear well, thusfar. This gun was designed for serious combat. The extended thumb safety is only on the left side – I like that, and it snicks on/off with authority, too. Fitted perfectly.
My Shooting Tests
The fun part, at least for me is, getting out there and doing some shooting with a good 1911. Due to the Coronavirus, I’m presently doing all my gun testing by myself.
I fired 300 rounds of ammo during my shooting – usually shoot a lot more ammo – but it is lots of work for one person to do a lot of shooting. From Black Hills Ammunition I had their 135-gr HoneyBadger load – my favorite self-defense load, and their 185-gr Barnes Tac-XP +P load all-copper hollow point – another outstanding self-defense load. Last up was their 230-gr JHP +P load and this one is stout – so you know it is hard-hitting to say the least.
After targets of opportunity, like rocks, tree stumps, etc., I got down to some accuracy testing, and this was done at 25 yards, with a rolled-up sleeping bag over the hood of my truck. The outstanding, 3.5-pound trigger pull only added to the accuracy of this gun, the trigger pull is short and sweet, with only a little bit of take-up, before it broke. I didn’t have any of the Black Hills match semi-wadcutter ammo, and that is always extremely dead on – have to order some more.
As usual, I shot several targets with the three different types of ammo, and take my best groups and report them. If I happen to be having a bad day, I’ll come back a day or two later, and re-shoot the ammo for accuracy. The top performing round was the Black Hills 135-gr HoneyBadger, and my best group with that on, came in at slightly over two inches – that’s outstanding, and I give the credit to the sweet trigger pull. However, the 230-gr JHP and 185-gr Tac-XP came in just under three-inches – no complaints there at all. I favor the HoneyBadger load for self-defense and this gun will be stoked with it, when I happen to carry it. If however, I’m out in the wilderness and carrying this gun, I’ll have the 230-gr JHP +P load in it for dangerous four-legged critters.
Its hard to pin down prices on this gun, but I’ve seen them for as low as $700 and as high as $899. And if you paid the higher price, then you’re still getting a heck of a deal, if you ask me. I’ve had 1911s that cost twice as much, and they didn’t shoot half as well. Check one out…you’ll fall in love!
I am not familiar with the Remington para-ord so can’t speak about their quality.
But in my opinion, Colt screwed up when they tightened up the tolerances of the 1911 in the Series 70s model in order to increase accuracy and satisfy the paper punchers.
The looseness of the WWII 1911s is what made them so reliable. Certain gunsmiths supposedly could restore that reliability while maintaining the accuracy but they weren’t cheap and by that time the 1911s weren’t either.
Amazing how our MBAs can destroy iconic brands. I don’t know why our foreign enemies bother to train saboteurs.
BTW Remington’s customer service is horrible. I emailed them about a new in box Rem 1911R1. Had to literally pull the trigger TWICE to get the hammer to fall. Their quality assurance…isn’t! They assigned a ticket #, and nothing thereafter. I gutted the 1911 and replaced with Ed Brown quality parts and resolved the issue myself.
As most on this thread probably already know, Remington has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy – again. Maybe once they get a new owner they will commit a little more $$$ to servicing the products they sell. Apparently the Navajo Nation is the leading contender to purchase the company, so we will see what bag of worms that opens up??
Sadly the Navajo Nation spokesmen released a statement that they would likely not make firearms if they acquire Remington. Take that as you will not sure why buy it and not make the sole product of said company.
I did see where they would probably discontinue AR style firearms but not their long guns. I don’t think it mentioned handguns one way or the other. It also stated they would pursue “smart gun” technology. Guess they’re thinking some kind of biometric device so only one person could fire the gun? Not sure what else could come from that mindframe…
I bought my first pistol in 1973, a Colt Mk IV Series 70. The feed ramp was a bit rough, so a polishing was in order. After that, it was a reliable pistol. I shot it to the point i cracked the frame just ahead of the slide stop. IPSC was in its infancy then, but I competed in Columbia, MO with guys like Armantrout and what’s-his-name, who started his famous shooting school there. The pistol was submerged in dreadful mud a few times during a very involved string of challenges shot after four days of rain. The only result was I got a face full of mud every time I pulled the trigger. But the Colt never failed.
The Springfield Armory Mil Spec models multiplied in my safe, but again, like most 1911s, hand finishing and fitting was required to get them running about half the time.
At my job, Raytheon, execs would drift down to my area in the shop during lunch- so they wouldn’t be seen- to inquire about what pistol they should get. “Um…..I want to buy a pistol for uh….target shooting.” I’d reply, “You want a pistol for shooting people.” Them: “Well….yeah.” So I’d send them to a store for a Mil Spec SA .45, and about 50% of them came back with issues. I had a kit in my tool crib stocked with all sorts of hand finishing tools and abrasives. I’d hand the polished pistol back to them with instructions to shoot it a few hundred times and to bring it back if there were further problems. None returned.
I got tired of doing SA’s job for them, so started referring them to Glock. Never had a problem after that. Of course, I always sent them to a fabulous local trainer to minimize the danger to themselves and everyone around them.
My 1911s gather dust since I learned how to run a Glock trigger. Haven’t used them in 15 years. It’s all about Continuity of Fire. If you think you’ll only need six rounds in your fight, you might look up the Peter Soulis Incident on line. After that, search “Why One Officer Carries 145 Rounds”. Each involved an officer and only ONE suspect. None were on drugs or alcohol. The latter example was a SWAT training officer who struck his assailant nearly 18 times (as I recall) with a .45 using the latest and greatest street load. The fight lasted about five minutes! Any 10 hits would have proved fatal- over time. The bad guy died in the ER, not at the scene. Pistols are relatively weak. Prepare yourself for a Failure To Stop.
Like the 1911s in storage, I standardized on what works. I have a lot of Glocks that use the same magazines, ammunition, holsters, etc. Not 9 different pistols that use different ammunition, magazines, holsters. This is why the military doesn’t let everyone bring their own weapons. Logistics. A few niche guns, for sure, but the main effort is in one caliber, model. Sometimes I’m going into a non-permissive-environment….so a tiny .38 is in order.
Lately, your primary weapon just might be your pickup truck if you live in a big city. Ground clearance. Do. Not. Stop.
Thanks for that detailed comment! You really should expand it into a feature article. That might be a writing contest prize winner.
Yes, very good info…As much as i like the feel in the hand and the aesthetics of the 1911, I have finally abandoned them. I carry Glocks, as ugly and clumsy as they are, at least they are reliable.
You have a great resource in Pat. I like reading his work! His writing triggers a flood of thought I have to write in the moment or I’ll forget. But I’ll give your suggestion some thought soon. Right now, I have a broken water line in the city- my side of the meter, of course! It’s amazing how important water gets when you don’t HAVE IT.
I ran a hose from my front faucet to my neighbor’s front faucet. Turned my house valve off so I don’t back-feed the leak. Works just FINE. They’re out of town for a while, but I have permission to use their water until I get repairs done. Just passing this along for those who might be able to use it WHEN their line breaks.
I’ll pay my neighbor’s June water bill!
RE: Gotur6 and Remington Firearms; Quite the disappointment when the Supreme Court allowed civil lawsuits to go forward to sue Remington over the Sandy Hook shootings. I am sure that contributed to their bankruptcy. It is a shame, that company was a fine company that produced quality products, but has been mismanaged and is a ghost of what it was in the past.
Especially when S.397 is the law of the land, and this bill was specifically designed to block civil lawsuits when their products are unlawfully used to injure or kill others.
Seems like more and more we see the unraveling of the Rule Of Law. Perhaps the selling of Remington to an Indian Nation was in fact over lawsuits, as the Indian Nations are immune from civil lawsuits according to the Supreme Court.
But, once again that is assuming that the next Supreme Court case against them will be done following the rule of law, or past cases. The way things are going, just because past cases say NO, now it is YES. Everything is upside down.
Regarding: “If however, I’m out in the wilderness and carrying this gun, I’ll have the 230-gr JHP +P load in it for dangerous four-legged critters.”
Really? Rather than a solid, more penetrating design than a hollow point?
Whenever I see the words “another review by our Field Editor, Pat Cascio, I’m always excited to get to the story. Have yet to be disappointed.
Can’t go wrong with a 1911. Nice review on the Remington. I must admit, I have never shot one. 1911’s are well balanced and are a pleasure to shoot. However, modern polymer designs, with excellent reliability, weight reduction, good triggers, good ergonomics, and better magazine capacity have moved me away from the 1911 for EDC and “Schumer Hits the Fan” situations.