Springfield Armory TRP Operator 1911, by Pat Cascio

The Springfield Armory TRP Operator 1911 is one of the best of the best 1911s available, at any price, and we’ll report our results from testing in this article.

Bear With My Sad Story

Bear with me, before I give my findings on the TRP Operator 1911 in this article. This is a sad but somewhat humorous story about the start to my testing this outstanding 1911. I received the TRP Operator 1911 from Springfield Armory during the past winter. Before testing this gun, I noticed that the Tritium front sight wasn’t glowing at all. I have had this happen with more than a few brand new guns out of the box. It’s no problem; a call was placed to my contact at Springfield and a replacement front sight was on the way through next day FedEx.

The day the new front sight was to arrive, we had one terrible freezing rain in our area. Schools should have been closed, as the roads were hazardous, to say the least. I planned a trip to the local gun shop to have them remove the defective front sight and would return later that day after FedEx brought me the replacement sight. I knew our front steps were ice-covered before I walked out the front door. My wife alerted me to this when she left for work.

TRP Operator Slide Removed And We Both Got “Dinged”

I took the slide off the TRP Operator, as there was no sense in taking the entire handgun with me to the gun shop. I walked out the door with the slide in hand and with one of my trusted German Shepherds, who goes with me 99% of the time I walk out the door. There was the thick coating of ice on the steps and I moved to the side, grabbed the wooden railing, assuring myself of a steady hold before placing a foot on the ice-covered steps. Much to my dismay, the railing was also ice-covered, and as I took a step onto the ice-covered steps I lost my footing. Down I went. It was only four steps to the concrete walk. How badly could I get hurt?

I hit every step on the way down, hurt my lower back the center of my back, the rear of my neck, and last, but not least, my head hit the concrete sidewalk. When I woke-up (yes, I was knocked out), it was raining on the ice-covered walk, making that super-slick. My faithful German Shepherd was sitting at my side, wondering why I was taking a nap…LOL! The TRP slide flew out of my hand at some point and landed in the gravel-covered driveway, too. When I regained my sense, I continued on my way to the gun shop. Once there, they wanted to know what happened to the slide. It was dinged-up a bit. I explained my fall. Later that day, I returned with the replacement front sight, and it was installed.

No Lasting Damage To Either Of Us, Thank The Good Lord

I’m not sure there is a real point to my story about falling, other than to say that even though the slide was dinged up a bit, there wasn’t any real damage to it. The all-black Armory Coat wasn’t damaged on the slide. It just had some “dings” in it. The gravel didn’t penetrate the tough polymer coating on the slide, which is outstanding. My main concern with the fall was my right hip. I was awaiting my scheduled day for hip replacement surgery, and I was sure I broke the hip. Nope, the only thing really hurt was my pride, and I was sore for several days. I just couldn’t believe with hitting all the steps and the concrete walk that my hip didn’t break. The good Lord was looking out for me; that’s for sure!

Not A Deal Breaker With Springfield Outstanding Service

I just wanted to remind our readers that the Tritium front sight that wasn’t working on the TRP Operator 1911 right out of the box wasn’t a deal breaker. Like I said, I’ve had more than a few Tritium front sights that didn’t function right out of the box. Although Springfield Armory goes over each firearm before shipping, the glass vial with the Tritium in it could have leaked out or even broke in-transit. Furthermore, Springfield has one of the absolute best customer service departments in the world, if you ask me. A replacement front sight was shipped right out, or I could have returned the gun or slide and they would have paid shipping to have it replaced at the factory.

Springfield TRP Operator 1911- One of Newest Models

This particular TRP Operator 1911 is one of their newest models, and it has an urban gray Armory Coat finish on the frame, while the slide has the black Armory Coating on it. It has a very attractive and business-like appearance. This model also comes with the fully adjustable rear night sight, for windage and elevation. There is the heavy-weight 5” bull barrel, which is match-grade, and a full-length recoil spring guide, too. The caliber is .45 ACP!

Slide and Frame

The slide and frame are forged carbon steel. The frame has a Picatinny rail under the dust cover. This is why this TRP model is called the “Operator” instead of just a plain ‘ol TRP. (“TRP” stands for Tactical Response Pistol.) The front strap is checkered at 25 LPI, and I really like that very aggressive feel, though my wife hates it. The grips are nicely contoured black/gray G10 material, which is almost bullet proof material that will last a lifetime, too. The TRP Operator came in a nice hard plastic carrying case with two 7-rd stainless steel magazines with slam pads on the bottom, a polymer holster, and double magazine pouch. After-market 1911 magazines are easy to come by, and you can replace the 7-rd mags with 8-rd mags, if you wish. However, the two 7-rd mags that came with the gun were very well-made and operated without a glitch. The gun weighs in at 45-oz. Some of the added weight is due to the heavy bull barrel, the Picatinny rail, and the extended magazine well.

Trigger, Safety, Grip, and Carrying

These days, I can take or leave an ambidextrous thumb safety; however, the TRP comes with an ambi safety. The TRP isn’t specifically designed as a concealed carry 1911, although it can be concealed with the right holster and clothing. The TRP is, well, a “tactical response pistol”, and I can see it being employed by SWAT teams or elite military units. In these cases, the gun won’t be concealed. It would, however, ride nicely in a Blackhawk Products www.blackhawk.com tactical thigh holster, so concealment isn’t a problem. The ambi safety snicked on/off with authority, too, as it’s perfectly fitted. The match-grade trigger broke right at 4.5-lbs and was very crisp. The beaver-tail grip safety was also expertly fitted, and it has the memory pad for sure engagement, too.

Nothing To Change On This Gun;

All-in-all, there wasn’t anything I didn’t like on the TRP Operator 1911. There was nothing I wanted to change. I didn’t even want to install a pair of my own designed “Code Zero 1911” grips from Mil-Tac.com either. I was content with the outstanding G10 grips that came on the gun.

Ammo Used For Testing

I had a great assortment of .45 ACP ammo on hand for testing this fine 1911. From Black Hills Ammunition, I had their all-new 135-gr HoneyBadger load. This is an all-solid copper bullet that has the front of it milled out in the shape of an “X”; it is the future of self-defense ammo, in my humble opinion. I also had their 200-gr Match SWC load, 230-gr FMJ, 230-gr JHP +P, and their 185-gr Barnes all-copper TAC-XP hollow point +P load. From Buffalo Bore Ammunition, I had their 160gr Barnes all-copper hollow point low recoil, standard pressure load, 255-gr Outdoorsman +P load Hard Cast FN, 230-gr FMJ +P, 200-gr JHP +P, 160 & 185-gr Barnes all-copper TAC-XP load, both of which are +P, and their 185-gr JHP +P. So, there was a great assortment of .45 ACP ammo to run through this pistol.

Accuracy Testing Results

All accuracy testing took place at 25 yards, with the TRP rested over a rolled-up sleeping bag over the hood of my pickup. In all my testing, I fired slightly more than 500 rounds without any feeding or extraction problems. However, I just couldn’t get the TRP to group. I did have to adjust the rear sight. The gun was shooting a tad to the left for me. I was more than a bit surprised and disappointed in the TRP at the start of my testing.

As mentioned, there were no functioning problems, just some accuracy issues with all the ammo tested. It was very strange! At about the 200-rd ammo count, the gun settled-in and started grouping for me. I’ve had other 1911s that wouldn’t group or function until several hundred rounds were run through it. This is why I recommend that you always fire a couple hundred rounds through any handgun you plan on carrying for self defense. Ya never know! Sometimes there is a burr on some part(s), or the gun just needs to “settle-in” before all the parts start to mesh together. This appeared to be the case with this TRP Operator.

Ammo Accuracy Winners

At the end of my testing, I could easily hold groups down to two inches and some even smaller than a 2-inch group, if I was paying attention to my shooting. And, I believe with more shooting, the gun can give groups down to an inch and a half, if I do my part. The overall winner in the accuracy department was the Buffalo Bore 200-gr JHP +P load; however, right on the heels of this load was the Black Hills 230-gr FMJ, which is always a great performer for me. All other loads were right around two inches, if I stayed on my game, and you can’t ask for better than that.

Final Thoughts

I’m not going to quote retail on the TRP Operator because they are always in great demand, and Springfield Armory can’t produce them fast enough to meet the demand. I’ve seen the TRP 1911s going for full retail as well as under and even above retail price. So, check around before you lay down your hard-earned money. This is one outstanding 1911 at any price. Check one out. I think you’ll be pleased with it. It has all the workings of a custom-made 1911 but at a lot less money.


  1. Nothing like a gun made out of good old steel. I’m really tired of the mass of new plastic pistols endlessly offered. My Grandpappy gave me his stock M1911 back in the early 80’s. he bought it from the CMP for 17 bucks and some change in the mid 60’s. The old 1911 is still my favorite handgun.
    The older I get the more often I find myself upside down laying in a snowbank wondering how I got there.

    1. I am sick of plastic guns, so I opted for a new Remington R51 pistol (2nd manufacture run). I love that pistol and Pat did a great review on it. The R51 is featured on the cover of the October American Rifleman magazine with article. Remington made it right the 2nd time!

  2. The single biggest takeaway for me personally from this article was the danger of the things that we take for granted. Those steps and a handrail were wolves in sheep’s clothing. It is so easy to overlook the common place and the familiar. In a post SHTF situation a simple slip and fall could be catastrophic instead of merely annoying.

    PS: I’m also a huge fan of Springfield!

  3. Glad that Pat had a better experience than I did. I had a Loaded model with a slide done in the black “Armory Coat” and it chipped away around the ejection port after only a couple mags.

    I get that firearms are tools and will show wear when used, but it was too fast for my liking.

  4. It still must be mentioned that Springfield Armory and Rock River Arms helped fund a serious attack on the 2nd Amendment in Illinois. Springfield Armory has donated tens of thousands of dollars to the Illinois House Speaker Mike Madigan’s political war chests for the past decade. Madigan is a rabid anti 2nd Amendment crusader in Illinois. Springfield Armory needs to be ignored so they go out of business.

        1. It’s has always baffled me why so many gun manufactures still make their guns in Anti-Gun States such as Conn. Mass. and Ill. Gun Control is not a new issue, so Gun Makers stop contributing your taxes and wages in those Anti-Gun States. Trekker Out

  5. Hmmm, about the accuracy testing, I purchased a bersa thunder 380 last spring in nearly new shape, at about 350 rds it locked up tight on me after a trip to the Gunsmith I took it out and it locked up tight again and then back to the Gunsmith ( second time in 2 weeks ). needles to say I’m more than a little bit gun shy ( so to speak )about shooting it. (Trading material ?) I’m trying to find P14 para magazines for a springfield double stack .45 government model ( 1991a1 I think )

  6. I have a Springfield Armory Operator with a rail bought this year. My first 1911 purchase after a LOT of research and evaluating competitors including Kimber and Colt. I’ve shot perhaps 15-20 different models extensively and by far this production trigger is the best I’ve used on models in the $1k price range. I now understand what “breaks like glass” means. I too have noticed the groups getting slightly better with each range trip. Partly from me getting used to the gun and partly from breaking in. It’s a hunk of heavy metal for sure with outstanding build quality. It’s not my everyday carry but this is one I’ve purchased to hand off to my sons one day. In a SHTF situation I prefer lighter weight polymer pistols with 15+ rounds in the magazine, but this pistol certainly has its place.

    As for comments about SA going against 2A freedoms, I think some of the reporting was overblown and what wasn’t served to teach the company a valuable lesson. I won’t avoid buying their products as they are of very high quality but I do think the company should seriously think about replacing leaders and board members that made these decisions.

  7. Pat, Thanks for the review. I have an older TRP that shoots well. I have to say the trigger on my Loaded model has a cleaner crisper pull. Regarding carrying concealed, try the Milt Sparks Versa Max 2 holster. I have concealed my TRP with a loose fitting patterned t-shirt with no problem. The one thing to remember when carrying any full size 1911, don’t bend from the waist to pick something up and be careful sitting downing an getting back up. When you are standing up, the gun won’t print.

    I greatly appreciate you reviews, they are always detailed and informative. Thanks Pat.

  8. The Dan Wesson 1911s are another great value, if one doesn’t want to support Springfield Armory’s questionable decisions. I’ve shot a few of the DWs, and they are all excellent quality.

    If you’re wanting a true custom 1911, take a look at Guncrafter Industries. They also make them in the proprietary .50GI cartridge, along with .45ACP, 10mm, 9mm, and .38 Super.

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