New Gun Review: Springfield 1911, Loaded Parkerized with Crimson Trace

Not the view of the laser you want to see.

Not the view of the laser you want to see.

Read more at Springfield Armory:

Buy a Springfield 1911 on GunsAmerica:

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.

The new Loaded 1911 from Springfield.

The new Loaded 1911 from Springfield.

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.

The Crimson Trace Grips offer a great... well grip.

The Crimson Trace Grips offer a great… well grip.

  • 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.

It didn’t.

The two piece guide rod sticking out.

The two piece guide rod sticking out.

Guide Rod

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.

Note the red dot on the red dot. Out of the box it shoots a little high from 15 yards, but 7 rounds in one hole make up for that.

Note the red dot on the red dot. Out of the box it shoots a little high from 15 yards, but 7 rounds in one hole make up for that.


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.

The switch that turns the laser grips on.

The master switch that turns the laser grips on.

But you have to grip it and press the button on the front strap for the laser to glow.

But you have to grip it and press the button on the front strap for the laser to glow.

I tend to block the laser with my trigger finger when keeping it off the trigger. Training would cure this if I was going to use this as an EDC.

I tend to block the laser with my trigger finger when keeping it off the trigger. Training would cure this if I was going to use this for EDC.

Red dot on red dot.

Red dot on red dot.

The grips are pretty slim but they do feel a little bulky in the hand compared to standard grips.

The Lasergrips are pretty slim but they do feel a little bulky in the hand compared to standard grips.

7 Rounds with iron sights from 25 yards.

7 rounds with iron sights from 25 yards.

Skeleton hammer and beaver tail.

Skeletonized hammer and beavertail grip safety.

The trigger has a little bit of take up but breaks very cleanly at 5 pounds.

The trigger has a little bit of take up but breaks very cleanly at 5 pounds.

Front striations on the slide.

Front serrations on the slide.

One dot on the front, there are two in the back.

One dot on the front, there are two in the back.

Rocking the gun from the holster at 15 yards.

Rocking the gun from the holster at 15 yards.

Springfield Loaded CT 12

{ 18 comments… add one }
  • ronald m pralgo October 28, 2016, 2:51 pm

    Absolutely amazing looking gun. Worth every penny. I am moving back to Florida, from Long Island (And New Sate gun laws.) and I am looking forward to making a purchase of either the Springfield TRP or the Loading 1911 version when I get there.

  • Jim folston July 24, 2016, 10:48 am

    I looked at a nib 2016, SA 1911 Loaded Model with Crimson Trace at a gun show today and when aligning the iron sights at a short distance target approx. 10 ft the CT red dot was offset several inches, ( about a foot) to the right. How do you adjust the Crimson Trace to various ranges, say 10 to 25 yds ? Or is there any adjustment ? Thanks in advance for your reply. Jim

  • Nick v February 16, 2016, 12:44 pm

    In my personal experience I do not like the full length rods….as you said, I couldn’t really tell a difference in operations but my complaint come in on the disassembly then the dreaded re-assembly. These things are a bitch.

  • Jeremiah February 16, 2016, 11:35 am

    I am a great believer in lasers on pistols…. I love my Springfield XDSs – Right out of the box they shoot as good as any other pistol I own. They do not, however possess laser ability. For laser/night defense, I have a laser on my S&W M&P 9, which sits close by my bed on my night stand. It is the greatest gadget ever made for night time defensive shooting. Along with a small LED high power flashlight, they make me and my wife feel extremely safe. If I had the $$$, I’d buy one of these Loaded Springfields with a laser. When properly adjusted to the barrel, there is just no way one can miss when the laser lights up the target at night!

    • 1911bob June 5, 2017, 1:56 am

      Hay Jeremiah, crimson trace has a nice laser that would fit your XDs, it mounts on the trigger guard and operates via a button under the trigger guard. I have the same model ct laser on my PF9, 9mm and love it.

      Check it out, I think you would like it mounted on your XDs, I too am a great believer in lasers on pistols for day or night use.

  • Henry February 15, 2016, 4:50 pm

    I own a 10MM Springfield Omega 1911 frame, I would love to have the grips/laser swapped on my gun.
    Any idea were I could get such a addition to my gun??
    Or better yeat were I can send to for reliable customization.

  • Archangel February 15, 2016, 2:58 pm

    One thing I find is having a CCW there are places you can’t legally bring a gun, and they often are in the worst areas to leave a complete gun in the car.
    With the long guide rod, I can pull the slide leaving the barrel, bushing, and spring all in one piece and can take the slide lock pin and serialized part with me.
    With the short one, I end up with a handful of parts any one of which if lost or misplaced will leave it nonfunctional until it’s found or replaced.
    There is an old gun called and Astra Firecat, and the design allows the slide to be locked back and the barrel turned 90 degrees and to be slid out (slide or barrel removed) legally makes it exempt from possession in restricted areas.

  • John D. Taylor, Ph.D. February 15, 2016, 11:31 am

    To my knowledge a proper test to determine which of the three guide rods (short, one-piece, two-piece) guide rods provides the most accuracy has not been conducted. On the other hand, the short is the most convenient. The one-piece guide rod was designed to promote consistent recoil compression – decompression with the hope that this would somehow improve accuracy. The two-piece came along when a number of 1911 shooter complained breaking down the 1911 with the one-piece was a pain. The two-piece came along to solve that problem but in turn, created another problem; i.e., the two pieces unscrewing. This can be corrected by racking the slide back and lock and do the final tightening step at this time.
    Logic tells me that the consistent compression – decompression of recoil springs would be better. Better for what? Until proper tests are conducted we will never know. But maybe a partial answer exists. What do high end 1911 pistols manufactures use? And more importantly what to manufactures of non-1911’s use? Perhaps the answer is hidden there.

    • John R February 15, 2016, 1:53 pm

      Thanks for your input. All of my Sig 1911’s came with a short recoil rod that I replaced with full length two piece guide rods and saw an improvement in accuracy. While the results are purely anecdotal I went further, for an experiment, and replaced the full length guide rod on my S&W full sized E series with a two piece and noticed a slight improvement in groupings and recoil control.
      Two piece guide rods work for me and an hex wrench takes up little space in your pocket or range bag.

  • Chuck February 15, 2016, 8:13 am

    I have a 1911 loaded in 9mm and it is my favorite gun. It never gets left home when I go to the range. Unless I missed something Sprinfield and Crimson Trace have ignored part of the shooting population. Southpaws! The lack of the ambi safety and the fact that the heal of a leftys hand would rest on the master switch would make it unsuitable for us. I wonder if they would show some consideration and offer a lefty version.

    • Allen Alexander February 15, 2016, 12:27 pm

      You said leftys were being ‘Left’ out with the master switch on the left. Unless you are turning the laser off or on (I think putting it on standby would be a better description) it doesn’t matter. The activation of the laser is controlled by your middle finger via a pressure switch under the trigger guard. I personally leave mine on 24/7. I will turn it off when I am at the range and doing a ‘worst case’ scenario, i.e. no laser. A commenter further down laminated the loss of his wood grips when he went with the Crimson Trace, but I purchased the Rosewood (REAL Rosewood) Laser grips. Made my Springfield Armory Range Office a really sweet looking gun. And I never leave home without it.

      • Chuck February 15, 2016, 2:07 pm

        My main complaint was the lack of the ambi safety. I do understand why it’s not there and I’m familar with the op of the CT. As for the master switch the concern is with your hand resting on the switch. Can it be turned on/off by your grip and would it be irritating when firing several boxes at the range. Point being if you can make the 1911 loaded in ambi ( I have one) for this particular model they could offer a left-handed version if they chose.

  • Rev.Ken Deaton February 15, 2016, 6:02 am

    I have two Springfield 1911’s set up with the crimson trace red dot’s. They are very well made and spot on at 15 to 25 yards. I found the Crimson red dots on sale for $175 and went a head and bought two, One for each pistol. As far as I could see the only color they came in was black, So I kind of hated taking off the rose wood colored original grips but once on and shooting them I long forgot about the rose wood color. I don’t know if they still do it or not but my grips came with a life time supply of batteries but at 2 to 3 dollars I don’t think I would wait for them to be mailed to me. which I am sure that’s what they count on !

    • buh February 15, 2016, 9:27 am

      You can get crimson trace grips in wood, several kinds even.
      unless springfields arent normal size 1911’s, I dont know? I will never buy springfield again and not up on their products.
      I’m still laughing at the fact that they are still parkerizing when nitriding is better and more popular now. but just wait, springfield is good at copying others, im sure they will offer it in a year or two.

      • Jay February 15, 2016, 7:00 pm

        I’m not sure about what SA is copying. If you’re talking about the 1911 design, most everyone is copying someone, at least in basic design. Kinda why they’re so popular-a 1911 is a 1911. Sure, some makers use external extractors. They are also copying – John Moses Browning’s own 9mm Hi Power pistol went with an external extractor eventually.

        Springfield has other finishes besides parkerizing. I’ll agree it may not be the most durable or modern. As to quality, my 2 TRP pistols are as well-made as many so called custom guns, and very accurate.

        Maybe if you had bought a better grade gun you would have been happier. You didn’t say which model had disappointed you.

      • JRW February 15, 2016, 7:59 pm

        I can appreciate SA copying the original parkerized finish. On the RO model, it keeps the price competitive and for $35, I can have any color finish I want. Most, in my shooting circle, purchase the RO and change it to suit. Less expensive than a custom or full build and one is not paying for parts that will be replaced. I wish they would copy what Colt is doing with some of their AR rifles. Sell the base 1911 without sights, grips and rear mainspring housing so many of us are not paying for the most common parts that we replace. Seemed to be a great idea for the AR platform as several companies now offer an assembled rifle without furniture and most have been available without sights.

  • Joseph February 15, 2016, 4:31 am

    My Springfield Armory 1911 has been my faithful bed mate for over 20 beautiful years. It gives me great comfort knowing she is right there if ever needed. I clean her up from time to time ensuring the functions are smooth and ready.
    I might buy her one of those crimson trace grips if they are as comfortable as the Pachmayr grips on her now.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend