Gun Review: A Serious Tool – Springfield 1911 TRP Operator

Springfield Armory 1911 TRP Operator

An operator — a member of a special forces or special operations unit in the United States military — obviously requires the best equipment to achieve success. The highest quality sidearm is, naturally, a vital part of his armament. For years, Springfield Armory, Inc. has been making just such sidearms — although information on just how many years, the number manufactured and for the use of which units they’ve been doing so isn’t being generally discussed. What is public, however, is that these handguns are now being made available to the civilian market. We’ll review the Springfield 1911 TRP Operator, a handgun that is being called “a serious tool for the most serious of applications.”

Springfield, of course, has a long history with the 1911 pistol. From the time it was founded, in 1974, when it took on the name and mantle of the old U.S. government arsenal of the same name. They’ve been manufacturing 1911s ever since, in large numbers and a wide range of styles, from mil spec to customized. It isn’t surprising, therefore, that they should be tapped by the government to design and manufacture the Tactical Response Pistol (TRP) for operators.

Even without seeing the original specifications, the requirements of the TRP Operator are obvious. It is a pistol that should be made from the best materials, milled and fitted to the closest tolerances and designed to be absolutely accurate and reliable under any and all conditions. There would be no purpose to take the time and trouble to create a special class of 1911 if they didn’t meet these stringent requirements. How well did Springfield do?


Straight out of the box, it’s obvious that, yes, this is a serious tool. The full-size frame is 8.6″ overall and 5.7″ tall. It’s chambered for .45ACP, of course (even the Pentagon, after a generation-long “fling” with the 9mm, is looking to come back to this proven caliber). With its black Armory Kote™ finish (which provides for nearly frictionless action as well as tough protection), it looks every inch what it’s intended to be.

The frame and slide are forged from national match carbon steel. The 5″ bull barrel is match grade stainless steel. The trigger is aluminum, which does little to cut down on the 42-ounce weight (with unloaded magazine). More to the point, however, it is so carefully finished and fitted that it has no discernable horizontal or vertical play. Although it is not a Springfield Custom Shop product, it might as well be for all the care that has been taken to produce it.

With a 4.5- to 5-pound trigger pull, the crisp action offers no slack. The weight helps provide a quick reacquisition of the target for follow-on shots, too. Add to that the extra-thick barrel, which does not heat up after just a few rounds, and the result is a truly accurate pistol.

The sights are fully adjustable 3-dot tritium. In addition, there is an integral accessory rail, if you want to add a light or laser. Again, anything other than the tightest group is on the shooter, not the handgun.

Designed to be used under the most difficult conditions, the 1911 Operator has G-10 composite grips for a tight hold. The backstrap and front strap are also checkered at 20 lines per inch, to provide a no-slip even under mud, sweat and high-adrenaline conditions. The ambidextrous manual safety and slightly extended grip safety provide for instinctive, unobtrusive operation.

The extended beveled magazine wells are also designed with combat use in mind. The pistol is shipped with two 7-round stainless steel magazines, complete with slam pads.

It’s only right that the men who go in harm’s way got first pick of production, but it’s also good that civilians are now able to be able to acquire the Springfield 1911 TRP Operator. It is, indeed, a serious tool that will find an enthusiastic welcome.