Remington has had some mild successes on the handgun front and several debacles. Big Green and I might’ve had a difference of opinion on previous handgun models, but they didn’t hold a grudge. And I am glad, because this week we are taking a look at something that is an unmitigated success.
It appears that Big Green spent their summer doing steroids and practicing jujitsu. The new line up looks fully prepared to stomp some teeth out in a crowded marketplace.
You may have heard that Remington is currently filing for bankruptcy protection, but don’t count Big Green out yet. According to Remington, they’re going through a restructured bankruptcy that will keep the 200-year-old firearms manufacture still up and running while it restructures its debt. This is great news for Big Green fans and we’re glad to hear a long-standing staple in the firearm business isn’t closing shop.
The new R1 1911’s are double stacks, a subject we can’t discuss without bringing up the Para-Ordinance brand, which is under the Remington umbrella. Not that many years ago, Para-Ordinance was still independent. When 3 Gun was reaching its apex as a sport, Para did something out of the ordinary. They brought in pro shooter and champion Travis Tomase and worked with him to build a gun for the race circuit. This would be a pistol that would bear his name. The result was spectacular. Tomase set up demonstration bays at local North Carolina matches, where you could get your hands on and provide feedback. From the first time I shot one of the Para’s, I knew I had to have it.
The problem at the time, and that still persists today, is that the cost gap of a race-tuned pistol. Even a 1911 hater such as myself will admit that for competition, a 1911 is a superior platform. The trigger cannot be beaten, weight isn’t an issue since you carry it short distances, and weather conditions don’t generally penalize you for a tight fitting gun. The only real problem is the price. But there is no such thing as mid-price, wide body 1911. T
herefore shooters generally fell into two camps. My camp, the Glock 34 crowd, made due with a suboptimal pistol. The other camp was the guys with a $3,000-$4,000 STI or SVI. Para Ordnance was stepping in to address the issue. They were offering high capacity, 1911 trigger, and most of the goodies at a sub $2,000 price. That is a lot more attainable for guys with a job and not a trust fund.
So the Para Ordinance got a following. We were waiting with bated breath for the first batch. I had one on order at a local gun shop, the fulfillment that was supposed to be any day. And then….. nothing. Remington bought Para Ordnance and started the process of moving them to Alabama. I don’t know if any of the Para models made it out the door, but I never saw one.
Big Green Rolls Out the 1911 R1 Limited Double Stack
But today is a new day. Remington dusted off the Para-Ordnance designs and unveiled the 1911 R1 Limited Double Stack. The new ones are Remington brand, but the heritage is the same. It seems, from initial experience, that they have done everything right. I got not one but three test models, 9mm, 40 S&W, and 45 ACP.
- • 19+1 round capacity in 9MM
- Match grade trigger – adjustable
- Full-length, 1-piece guide rods
- Fiber optic front sight
- Fully adjustable LPA target rear sight
- Wide front and rear cocking serrations
- Oversized magwell for lightning-fast reloads
- 5” ramped, match-grade barrel
- Stainless steel frame, slide, and barrel
- PVD coating delivers the smoothest operation and unparalleled durability
- Ambidextrous extended thumb safety for easy operation in either hand
- Machined G10 VZ operator grips
- Checkered front strap and mainspring housing
- Two double-stack magazines.
- MSRP: Starting at $1,310
Why all three calibers? 9mm and 45ACP make sense to everyone. 9mm is for guys with weak wrists, and 45 ACP is for the codgers/ tactical ninjas. Okay, that isn’t exactly true. 9mm is the caliber of choice in 3 gun, they have no power standard. So max capacity is the name of the game. Not having a 1911 in 45 offering would be sacrilege, so that makes sense too. The 40 S&W, it just so happens, is the minimum caliber for USPSA if you want to make major power factor in Limited Class. I see the tactical potential of these guns, but they were built first and foremost to win on the competitive front.
And that I think they will do. The actions are very smooth, and the triggers are nice. Mine came out of the box at 4.5 lbs, but so do most factory 1911’s. A pistolsmith can tune that up right quick, and 1911 knowledge is well spread. Even if a bit heavy, they are crisp and break clean. There is a nice checkering to the front strap, and the grips are a good balance of texture. The rear sights are adjustable and flat black, with fiber optic fronts. Out of the box, you could take this to compete, no question. The only thing I would consider is a trigger job, and that is true of any factory pistol these days. You can thank the lawyers for that one.
My test models ran like a sewing machine. They required no break in period. It has been a while since I shot an all steel 9mm, you forget how forgiving that can be. Even with full power ammo, it felt like the sights never left the target. I think this is a huge win for Remington, they now have a handgun for a market segment no one else does.
And let us not skip over the tactical implications as well. I typically don’t care for 1911s for that work, but a lot of people due. A lot of my argument is capacity, and the wide bodies solve that. The 9mm is 19+1, the 40 S&W is 18+1, and the 45 ACP is 15+1. That is comparable, if not better than most combat Tupperware and beats the pants off an 8+1 Single Stack. I bet with a few months of success, we see things like threaded barrels and factory night sights. Another nice thing about this being at heart a 1911, red dot mounts exist that aren’t cut into the slide. If you want to see a fast red dot, try one that doesn’t reciprocate with the slide.
At a price starting at $1,310, this is now the one to beat. Grab yours while the grabbing is good, on shelves now.
For more information about Remington R1 Models, click here.
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