SIM­PLY EF­FI­CIENT

SPRING­FIELD AR­MORY’S NEW RANGE OF­FI­CER ELITE OP­ER­A­TOR 1911 ADDS JUST THE RIGHT TOUCHES

Concealed Carry Hand Guns - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - STORY AND PHO­TOS BY CHUCK TAY­LOR

Spring­field Ar­mory’s new Range Of­fi­cer Elite Op­er­a­tor 1911 adds just the right touches. By Chuck Tay­lor

Some­times the use­ful­ness of a hand­gun is determined as much by what it doesn’t fea­ture as by what it does.

Among the ranks of M1911 makers, one out­fit in par­tic­u­lar con­tin­ues to of­fer the M1911 in vir­tu­ally ev­ery con­fig­u­ra­tion the mar­ket dic­tates, and does so while main­tain­ing ex­cel­lent qual­ity—Spring­field Ar­mory. The com­pany’s lat­est gun, the Range Of­fi­cer Elite Op­er­a­tor, might just be one of its best. For ev­ery shoot­ing dis­ci­pline—bull’s-eye, IPSC, mil­i­tary, po­lice or civil­ian self-de­fense—SA has sev­eral M1911s to fill the bill. Its prices are rea­son­able for what you get, which these days is no small feat in it­self. But this new gun has one pur­pose in mind: pro­tect­ing the life of its owner.

FOR SE­RI­OUS WORK

The RO Elite Op­er­a­tor re­flects a cog­nizance of the need for sim­plic­ity when things get deadly. It’s as simple as can be, while still of­fer­ing a high mis­sion-ac­com­plish­ment ca­pa­bil­ity. No gad­getry or gim­crack is ev­i­dent any­where, just what it takes to of­fer the com­bat shooter a nice tac­ti­cal pack­age. It has SA’s new Black-T fin­ish to min­i­mize cor­ro­sion and wear, both el­e­ments of which any­one who ac­tu­ally car­ri­ers a gun daily are all too aware. It also has high-vis­i­bil­ity fixed sights that are eas­ily ac­quired at high speed, even in low light, courtesy of their dou­ble white dot rear sight and fiber-op­tic front. The rear tac­ti­cal-rack sight fea­tures a ledge to al­low for one-handed slide ma­nip­u­la­tion.

Its stocks are thin­ner than typ­i­cal, al­low­ing fast grip ac­qui­si­tion when pre­sent­ing from a hol­ster and bet­ter con­trol in the fast shoot­ing se­quences common to pis­tol en­coun­ters. And to aid in fast speed load­ing, the left-hand stock panel is re­lieved to al­low faster thumb place­ment on the magazine re­lease but­ton.

On my spec­i­men, no cloth­ing- and skin-abrad­ing sharp edges were ev­i­dent ei­ther, which is in it­self a ma­jor ac­com­plish­ment, given the fact that such edges are com­monly found on the ma­jor­ity of so-called “tac­ti­cal” pis­tols. I also like the fact that the Elite Op­er­a­tor uti­lizes a stan­dard bush­ing, re­coil spring, plunger and guide rod, which in turn al­low easy field­strip­ping and main­te­nance.

Once again, most so-called “tac­ti­cal” M1911s now use a full-length guide rod and spe­cial bush­ing to ac­com­mo­date it, mak­ing dis­as­sem­bly an an­noy­ing—and un­nec­es­sary—chore.

The premise upon which this is based—that a full-length guide rod is needed to pre­vent the re­coil spring from “kink­ing”—is er­ro­neous.

X-ray pho­tog­ra­phy shows that any par­tially com­pressed coil spring is slightly “wrin­kled.” This is not “kinked.”

Kink­ing oc­curs when the ac­tual wire of the spring is bent, caus­ing the spring to lose its nor­mal shape. In reality, all these gad­gets do is com­pli­cate the field­strip­ping process. In re­turn for this, no ac­tual ad­van­tage or in­crease in per­for­mance is achieved.

OTHER FEA­TURES

The RO Elite Op­er­a­tor also fea­tures well-shaped, edge-free am­bidex­trous

“THE RO ELITE OP­ER­A­TOR RE­FLECTS A COG­NIZANCE OF THE NEED FOR SIM­PLIC­ITY WHEN THINGS GET DEADLY.”

Be­low: Forward grasp­ing grooves al­low ef­fi­cient slide ma­nip­u­la­tion re­gard­less of method used and are free of ex­ces­sively sharp edges.

Left: Flat main­spring hous­ings are also pop­u­lar nowa­days. The one on the SA Elite Op­er­a­tor is also check­ered for pos­i­tive grip in fast pre­sen­ta­tion or shoot­ing se­quences or when the hand is moist.

Above: Dis­tinc­tive “Op­er­a­tor” in­scrip­tion is clearly vis­i­ble on left side of slide. Bottom: RO Elite Op­er­a­tor fea­tures a stan­dard bush­ing, bar­rel, re­coil spring and guide rod for fast, easy field­strip­ping.

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