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Range Report: Remington R1

Remington R1 pistol left profile

I own a number of nice 1911-type handguns. Several are high-end custom handguns with super fitting; good, tight tolerances; a crisp trigger action; and high-visibility sights. Just the same, the handguns I grew up on were GI .45s, and I remember them fondly. Many have been cut up and new sights installed, and they were otherwise modified. Today, I believe that among the best choices for service and personal defense is a Government Model .45 with high-visibility sights and a good trigger action. Little else is needed to provide excellent self-protection. Among the best choices in modern Government Model-type handguns is the Remington R1.

Sight picture of the Remington R1 pistol
The R1’s sights are good examples of combat sights.

This is a new handgun, not a remake of the Remington UMC-type produced during World War I. And the Remington Rand produced during World War II wasn’t a Remington firearms product at all but made by a typewriter company.

The Remington R1 has been in production for a few years and earned a good reputation. This seemed a good time to revisit the pistol with a new-in-the-box 2019 production pistol.

The R1 is similar in concept and appearance to the Springfield Mil Spec or modern Colt Series 70. This is a pistol with a very nice, evenly applied blue finish and checkered wooden grips.

The pistol features high-visibility sights. Both the front and rear sights are dovetailed in place. The pistol is a standard locked-breech, tilting-barrel design exactly like the original 1911. The sights, however, are a great improvement.

The pistol features a stainless steel barrel bushing that is tight but not too tight for an easy fieldstrip. The pistol is supplied with two seven-round magazines. For my money, in the long run seven-round magazines are more reliable than the modern compressed-spring eight-round magazines.

Bullet holes in a silhouette target showing combat groups
Combat groups were good.

The controls consist of a magazine release, slide-lock safety and grip safety. All function properly. An improvement over GI guns is a smooth trigger compression of 4.5 pounds and clean. Someone who knows what they are about has been involved in overseeing not only barrel fitting but trigger work on this handgun.

This isn’t a copy of the GI gun but a modern 1911 built to offer a reliable firearm with good features. The finish is excellent and the scroll marking attractive. From the three-dot outline sights to the nicely finished grips, this isn’t a handgun that is likely to give any complaint. It comes with considerable pride of ownership considering its price.

Barrel fitting is also very good. The locking lugs slide into place nicely, and the overall impression is one of quality. For this test fire, I chose several loads I have enjoyed good results with. I think all of us want quality ammunition with good consistency. I began with cranking up the Lyman loading gear and putting together several hundred handloads. The majority used the Hornady 185-grain XTP and enough Titegroup powder for 950 fps. This combination has proven accurate in several 1911 handguns.

I supplemented the Remington-marked magazines with several from Mec-Gar. I also included the Wilson Combat eight-round magazine. Wilson Combat has proven that eight-round magazines may be reliable, but these ultra-reliable magazines are a radical redesign of the 1911 feed device.

Remington R1 pistol in cocked and locked configuration resting against a box of Federal Syntech ammunition
The Remington is well fitted and finished, and reliable as well.

I fired 100 cartridges in fast combat drills, drawing from a Blackhawk! belt slide and cutting out the X-ring of the Action Target silhouette. The pistol is controllable. In fact, after firing several Commander .45s lately, this steel-frame Government Model was a joy to fire.

Firing in combat-style shooting from 7 and 10 yards, results were excellent. The Remington R1 handles well and offers excellent hit probability. There were no failures to chamber, fire, or eject. I also took a few shots at objects on the berm at 20 and 25 yards and connected on small targets more often than not.

Absolute accuracy is always interesting. It is good to be certain the sights are properly regulated and the pistol is accurate enough for a long shot if needed. I collected several loads that have proven useful in previous testing. The results listed are for five-shot groups at a long 25 yards. The Remington will run, is accurate and reliable, and looks right.

25-yard accuracy, five-shot groups, Remington R1

Handload Group in Inches
Hornady 185-gr. XTP 2.4 inches
Oregon Trail 200-gr. SWC 2.5 inches
Wolf Performance Ammunition 230-gr. FMJ 3.4 inches
Federal Syntech 230-gr. 3.0 inches
Hornady 200 grain-gr. 2.5 inches
Hornady 230-gr. XTP +P 3.0 inches
Hornady 220-gr. Critical Duty 2.7 inches
Speer 230-gr. Gold Dot 2.65 inches


Caliber: .45 ACP
Action Type: Recoil-operated, semi-automatic, centerfire pistol
Frame: Steel
Barrel: 5″
Rifling: 1:16″ LH twist
Capacity: Detachable box, seven rounds
Sights: Three dot, drift adjustable
Trigger Pull: 5 lbs. advertised, 4.5 lbs. actual
Overall Length: 8.5″
Width: 1.32″
Height: 5.25″
Weight: 38.5 oz.
Accessories: Lockable hard case, lock, manual, extra magazine
Suggested Retail Price: $699
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We all love a good 1911 .45 ACP, but do you prefer a workhorse Government Model or a high-end custom 1911? Share your 1911 preferences in the comment section.

The Mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!'s blog. "The Shooter's Log", is to provide information - not opinions - to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decicions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!

Comments (26)

  1. Owned my R1 for 2 years now, love the feel in hand. Fits like a glove, it shot well right out of box, no problems with feed or ejects. Since purchase I’ve run over a thousand rounds through it. The only thing I changed is the trigger, recently added trigger with adjustable screw. Took care of all the trigger movement. Almost bought a high end 1911, glad I didn’t, more money for ammo. Highly recommended for any one in doubt.

  2. I have read that the Rrmingtons are ok for the upper level of entry priced 1911 pistols, but I have not handled one. I used to be a pretty good shot with a modern 1911, with the standard shootability upgrades; but not so with basic Government Model. The 2 styles shoot like totally different platforms, imo.

  3. I own a R1 for a couple of years and it is a great pistol, But about a year later I got the Stainless and that is my favorite. Some thing about that it fires great fits my hand perfect and can fore it all day. The Remington’s are my favorite.

  4. I’ve always preferred the good old fashion government model 1911 .45 automatic to the higher end types. I have had them both and I feel that old reliable usually works just as good as the new fancy ones plus they don’t cost an arm and a leg. I have friends that say I need to get with the times and get a polymer frame gun but my answer to that is if I had to carry it all day every day maybe I think about that but because I’m just your average shooter I prefer the pistol I shoot to be heavy enough to soak up some of the recoil

  5. I was in the market for a 1911, specifically a Springfield GI model. They didn’t have one in stock at my preferred gun dealer when I went there so I handled almost every 1911 brand they had and nothing felt good in my hand. I had completely forgot about an ad I saw in a gun magazine about Remington’s new R1. The guy that was with me reminded me about it so I asked if they had one in stock and they did. It felt like part of my hand it was so comfortable. I didn’t buy it because I still wanted to see the Springfield GI model. I went back a week later and they had the GI model. It felt almost as good in my hand as the R1 but it had military sights on it and my eyes just couldn’t see them good because they were so short. I bought the Remington R1 and I’m glad I did. It has never had a malfunction and I’ve fed it many different brands and types of ammo. I wouldn’t trade it for any other brand on the market because it is so reliable. When I bought the R1 it was the only one available. They came out with the Stainless Steel model after I bought mine. The next 1911 I buy will most likely be the SS R1. I highly recommend the Remington R1 if you’re in the market for a 1911 and the price is great on them.

  6. I own an enhanced model of the R1 with the extended beavertail, and the adjustable trigger as well as a crimson trace grip and the fiber optic front sight. For my first 1911, I couldn’t be happier. After installing a compensator and a Wilson combat trigger, I love the feel of the shot, and the comp helps with the muzzle flip. I’m not a very large guy, and at first I thought I was in over my head getting a full size 1911. But the ease of control this pistol offers even I’m able to drop reliable shots at the range and be happy! I’d 10 out of 10 reccomend this firearm!

  7. I bought one of these for $600, thought it was a nice looking 1911 for the price, took it out to the range the same day I bought it and was highly disappointed. The biggest issue was, it wouldn’t feed properly, every time it would fire and cycle another round, the round would pitch down in the magazine, causing it to jam. There were a few rounds where the bullet was actually mashed down inside the casing.

    Another issue that I found was, the trigger had a lot more play than I’d like, you can wiggle the trigger up, down and side to side.

    I sent it to the gun smith they recommended and when I got it back, you could see where they dremeled the feed ramp. They didn’t do anything with the trigger though. Instead of it jamming on every round, it would jam every few rounds.

    You mentioned the finish, I was carrying this and was caught in a rain storm, by the time I got home, which was 2 hours later, there was visible rust near the safety, inside the trigger guard, near the rear sight and on the slide near the ejection port.

    Once cleaned and oiled, I put it back in the box and put it in a drawer.

  8. Do you know if the receiver and frame are forged steel? Do you know what kind of steel they are made from? If these two components are NOT forged, are they milled from billet or investment castings?

    Thank you for your time.

  9. I love the military 45. It is a very good and safe pistol. Easy to use and clean. Would not trade it for anything. Oh and stopping power is impressive

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