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Those of you keeping score at home know that Springfield Armory announced a laundry list of upgrades to their handgun lines at this year’s SHOT Show. We’ve been banging away with the new guns, and are bringing you the reviews. And this week, we’re featuring one hell of a single-action.
So what’s the scoop on this one? Well it is Loaded. That’s what Springfield calls it. Springfield aficionados are probably saying “But they already have a 1911 called the Loaded.” That they do. This one is a line extension of the original Loaded 1911. It is still Loaded, just Loaded with different features.
Loaded or Loaded?
So what is what and who is who? There are a couple of big changes and a handful of little changes with the new Loaded (which is dubbed the Loaded Parkerized with Crimson Trace Grips). It comes with standard frame without a rail it drops the ambidextrous safety. Less stuff … sounds less Loaded. But those things were removed because this is the Loaded with a laser!
The thinking here — this is an assumption on my part — is that if you have a laser you don’t need to mount a light so no rail is necessary. The ambidextrous safety was dropped to make room for the laser.
Loaded Parkerized with Crimson Trace
Yep, the Loaded Parkerized with Crimson Trace is chambered for .45 ACP and it has many nice features that we’ve come to expect on modern versions of the classic Browning design. The grip safety has an upswept beavertail with a bump, the controls are oversized and the ejection port is flared and lowered. The Loaded Parkerized with Crimson Trace has a few other features that make it a good carry piece including front slide serrations and combat-style sights. And of course, it comes with a laser sight.
This Springfield comes with a set of Crimson Trace Lasergrips, which are polymer wrap-around grips with an activation button that sits across the fronstrap for left- or right-handed users. Crimson Trace calls it their “Instinctive Activation” system and you can turn the laser on just by squeezing the grip. The 5 milliwatt red laser laser emitter is mounted to the top of the right grip panel and a master power switch is positioned out of the way on the left side.
- Caliber: .45 ACP
- Magazines: two 7-round blued steel
- Barrel: 5-inch match-grade stainless steel
- Sights: fixed 3-dot combat-style sights
- Grips: Crimson Trace Lasergrips
- Batteries: two 2032 button cells
- Frame and slide: Forged steel
- Finish: Parkerized
- Recoil System: two-piece full-length guide rod
- Height: 5.5 inches
- Length: 8.6 inches
- Empty weight: 40 ounces
Fit, Finish and Function
The fit and finish is good on the Loaded Parkerized with Crimson Trace. The parkerized finish is done well and there are no visible tool marks on the outside of the gun. The Crimson Trace Lasergrips fit seamlessly to the frame and offer a nice grip surface without being too aggressive. I have yet to see a new Springfield that had a bad slide-to-frame fit and the new Loaded is no exception.
We had no problems with the Loaded Parkerized with Crimson Trace at any point with the 500 rounds we ran through it. It was just above freezing at the range and we had to put this Springfield through its paces in a hurry. We picked up the pistol from the FFL and did all of the initial shooting the same day. All I did was function- and safety-check the pistol before running it hard — that is not something we typically do. As you well know, a lot of guns come over-lubricated to protect them during shipping. This Springfield was pretty wet and I was worried that the cold might thicken the oil and lead to issues.
The Loaded Parkerized with Crimson Trace comes with a two-piece guide rod assembly. People typically either love or hate two-piece guide rods. I’m in the middle.
I have shot a lot of 1911s–from original 1913 Colts to tricked-out custom guns from makers like Gun Crafter. And there have been plenty of Springfields in the mix too—this is probably my 5th Springfield to review for GunsAmerica—and from shooting and functioning standpoints, I cannot tell if a pistol has a two-piece guide rod or not.
Some say that the added weight helps to reduce muzzle flip. I disagree. Adding an ounce or so to the front of a 40-ounce pistol doesn’t change anything for me. A correctly-made 1911 in the same caliber, regardless of brand, shoots like a 1911.
So what does the two-piece guide rod do? The only thing it does, in my opinion, is to require a tool to field-strip your pistol — for a handgun that was designed to be detail-stripped without the use of any tools. Call me a curmudgeon if you want. And if you have something rock-solid to add in favor of the feature, put it in the comments below.
So how did she shoot? Like a 1911 should. The Loaded Parkerized with Crimson Trace works and will put rounds in the same hole if you can. Recoil feels like a full-sized steel-frame 1911 in .45 ACP, meaning it has some pop and jump but comes back on target fast.
The Crimson Trace grips feel very nice in the hand. The have a texture that isn’t over-aggressive and great for everyday-carry; enough texture to hang on to but not so much that it will wear or tear your clothing.
We shot multiple groups with the regular iron sights and also a few using the laser. Check out the photos for our results — one hole at 7 yards with a Springfield 1911 should be a no-brainer. With the laser, it is even easier.
This is a nice 1911. Crimson Trace Lasergrips aside, this is a great full-size option for everyday-carry. The controls and sights are just about perfect. Add the laser grips to the mix and you also have a solid nightstand pistol for home defense. It might be a Hollywood cliche, but if I was a burglar and saw a red laser dancing around on my chest, I would get the hell out of Dodge, post haste.
The Loaded Parkerized with Crimson Trace has an MSRP of $1,104, and some retailers are already pricing it around $850 — not a bad price, considering the grips alone run close to $300.