Springfield Armory 10mm Ronin Operator 1911 – Full Review (VIDEO)

in 1911, Authors, Gun Reviews, Handguns, Paul Helinski

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It is hard to believe that this far along in the history of the 10mm, I still had not shot one. So for me, while the 10mm Ronin was at the end of the day just another 1911 review, it really wasn’t. I had been intimidated by the 10mm.

The caliber is the real story on this gun. If you are a fan of the 1911 platform, and you plan to buy some version of what has become a timeless pistol, it is a no brainer to buy the original caliber, a .45ACP. Some people elect to go down in size, to a 9mm, and we have even reviewed a .357 Magnum 1911 here at GunsAmerica Digest.

Springfield Armory 10mm Ronin Operator 1911 - Full Review (VIDEO)
The 10mm Ronin Operator is the newest pistol in the line. She’s a looker, with a forged slide and frame, a match barrel, in a brutal caliber, at an incredible price, $849 MSRP.

But what about the 10mm? Ballistically it falls just north of the .357 Magnum, pushing a 185-200gr bullet out to 1,200 feet per second. Intimidated? I was too, because frankly I have lost my tolerance of really sharp recoil, but I happened to be the only writer here with any 10mm ammo on hand, so there you go.

To my surprise, the recoil is not uncomfortable at all in this platform. Federal makes a couple genuine full snot 1,200 FPS options in carry ammo, and shooting over 100 rounds over the course of an afternoon, not once did I pull a shot because of anticipated sharp recoil. The gun is pleasant to shoot.

Springfield Armory 10mm Ronin Operator 1911 - Full Review (VIDEO)
The 10mm cartridge tops out at about 1,200 feet per second in a 200-grain bullet. Compare that to a .357 Magnum that fires a 158-grain bullet at the same speed.

I had not realized it before, but the 1911 platform manages recoil really well. If you have ever shot a pistol caliber carbine in .45ACP, its a stout load. Yet the 1911 in .45ACP is not unpleasant at all to shoot. Turns out that the same ergonomics of the gun upward scale to the 10mm really well.

My goto SHTF gun has been for a long time a doublestack .45ACP 1911 (Para). I carry a .45ACP XD-S every day. I’m a .45ACP guy! But since this review, I have come to question it, at least in terms of a full-frame fighting pistol. The 10mm in a well designed full-framed steel pistol is not unpleasant at all…with north of .357 Magnum ballistics.

Springfield Armory 10mm Ronin Operator 1911 - Full Review (VIDEO)
The full power 1,200 fps Federal Fusion 200 grain ammo was not unpleasant to shoot whatsoever in the Ronin. If you are in the market for a 10mm, before you buy carry ammo for your 10mm, check the weight and velocity. There are several “low recoil” options out there that are little more than a .40 S&W, which is the little brother of the 10. The range ammo is also much lighter.

If you are new to shooting, and have already decided that you want a 10mm, right now that caliber is essentially the biggest (practical and affordable) boy on the block. I think you will be able to get one. Demand for guns is starting to saturate, and I’m even seeing more ammo available.

Is the 1911 the right platform for you in a 10mm? That is tough to answer. You kind of have to shoot the gun. But my feeling on the 1911 is that it works for almost everyone. There is a reason that the gun has endured for over a century. There is a reason why many of the newer guns will sport a “1911 grip angle.” And there is a reason why the 1911 by far the most popular pistol for high end aftermarket parts. You will be hard pressed to find something that you don’t like about it.

The nice thing about buying a Springfield, not to go wild fanboy too much (even though I am one), is that you won’t have to buy any of those aftermarket parts. It comes with a hammer forged match barrel, skeletonized trigger and hammer, fiber optic front sight, and extended magazine. The grips are gorgeous on the Ronins, and the two tone puts it steadfastly on the sexy side of handguns. Springfield even did away with the otherwise useless bulky plastic case for this Ronin series, and gave you a nice zippered range bag instead.

At an MSRP of $849. That’s crazy.

Springfield Armory 10mm Ronin Operator 1911 - Full Review (VIDEO)
The Ronin comes with an 8 round bumper pad magazine. Flat magazines are available on Springfield’s website for those who prefer them.

Right now, if you are reading this when it first went out, I strongly doubt you will find one for that price, but I think things are looking up in that regard. Springfield is making guns as fast as they can I’m sure, but I was in a Bass Pro the other day and though they had some Range Officers, they had yet to get a Ronin in stock. On GunsAmerica a few have appeared, but everyone is asking more than $849. Hopefully we will be back to normal soon.

The performance of the Ronin (I should say my new Ronin lol, because I bought it), was, as expected, flawless. I expect flawless from every gun I shoot these days. There is just no room anymore for break in periods or sending the gun to the gunsmith to tune up. Out of the box a gun should run, never malfunction, and it should shoot close to point of aim. The 10mm Ronin did all off those things.

Springfield Armory 10mm Ronin Operator 1911 - Full Review (VIDEO)
You won’t need to bring your Ronin into a gunsmith for fine-tuning, nor will you have to buy specialty parts. They are all stock on the gun, and it shot very close to point of aim as well.

What sets the Ronin apart from other 1911s in its pricepoint is that both the frame and slide are forged, not cast. Many of the 1911s around the $700 to $750 street price range have a forged slide, with a cast frame. All of the import guns I know of use a cast frame.

That isn’t to say that those guns don’t run. I have an import 1911 that flips brass into your face, but it runs. The frame is cast on it, and not at all clean and elegant, but hey it works kinda. I would call that kind of thing the poster child for why, if you can snag a Ronin, I wouldn’t even say there is a counter-argument.

Springfield Armory 10mm Ronin Operator 1911 - Full Review (VIDEO)
Federal Fusion was the most accurate for me in the gun. It is unusual that a gun likes the hotter ammo, but it did.

Cheap guns are cheap guns, except when Springfield makes them. Then they are just a better value guns than more expensive guns with the same or inferior performance. Oh there I go with the fanboy again.

My accuracy testing with the 10mm Ronin was about what I am able to shoot with a 1911. At 10 yards my closest 8 shot groups were just over 1.5 inches, and they expanded to about 3 inches.

Springfield Armory 10mm Ronin Operator 1911 - Full Review (VIDEO)
The Federal HST shot almost as well. There were several “first three rounds” into a ragged hole, but this was the average group size for 8 rounds.

Surprisingly, the full snot loads outperformed the lighter range ammo. Most gunwriters shoot 3 round groups, but I prefer to show people what they can expect when they take the gun to the range, and most of us shoot full mags. Over the course of the afternoon, I did get several times a first three rounds into a ragged hole the size of a quarter.

In my video I show you the trigger pull and a basic field strip for most full frame 1911s. The only snag I hit with the gun was dropping the slide with one thumb. But one of my Youtube commenters gave me a tip I had never heard before. He said try it with either no mag or a full mag, because with an empty mag it is harder. Go figure he was right. And the slide drops no problem with a full mag and only one thumb. So I have a thumb in reserve after all.

Springfield Armory 10mm Ronin Operator 1911 - Full Review (VIDEO)
I was also able to get some 175-grain PMC 10mm, but it is slightly underpowered, and much less consistent. The video also has some Blazer range ammo, which also was not as much of a performer in the Ronin.

If you carry one in the chamber, the 10mm Springfield Ronin gives you 9 rounds at the top of the food chain in handgun calibers. Extra 10mm mags are available on Springfield’s website (I bought four), and ammo is out there right now, albeit expensive. If you can get your hands on a Ronin for at least close to intended retail price, snag it. I don’t think you will find it unpleasant to shoot, and my oh my what a gorgeous little monster.

Springfield Armory 10mm Ronin Operator 1911 - Full Review (VIDEO)
Beware that if you are a reloader, the 10mm, much like the .45ACP these days, sometimes uses small pistol primers, and sometimes uses large.


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  • Ramon Hardesty July 27, 2021, 1:48 pm

    I have more than a few 1911s. I would love to get my hands on a 10mm . I believe that Springfield has outdone themselves, after reading the article. I think I am going to save some money for one.

  • WILLIAM ZELLER March 3, 2021, 12:23 pm

    As for magazines for this gun, I would tend to recommend the Tripp CobraMags.
    These have outperformed every other .40/10 magazine we’ve tried.
    Maybe things have changed, but traditionally Springfield magazines don’t enjoy the same reputation. But, if you got good results with them, so be it.

  • Marion Boone February 15, 2021, 5:54 pm

    Just a thought if you depress the spring plug and twist the bushing one way the plug comes out and relieves the spring tension, makes taking a 1911 down a whole lot easier.

  • Mike February 15, 2021, 3:12 pm

    Right bullet, shoot strait don’t need more than 8. Luv My S&W 1006

  • Charlemagne February 15, 2021, 1:42 pm

    “But what about the 10mm? Ballistically it falls just north of the .357 Magnum” really? I keep hearing this old wives tale but the actual figures don’t bear out this claim. The two cartridges are in the same class powerwise so there is a lot of overlap between the various loadings. But the very hottest .357 is more powerful than its 10mm counterpart. Buffalo Bore got 1375 fps out of their 180gr. Hardcast in a 4″ L frame compared to 1337 fps and 1351 fps out of two 5″ 1911s shooting 180 gr. Check out the energy graphs for the two cartridges in Ballistics by the Inch.

    • Rick O'Shay February 19, 2021, 4:35 pm

      You can’t compare hot loaded 357 to standard 10mm. Standard 10mm is 180gr-200gr buzzing along at roughly 1250 fps or 1175 fps and 625 to 650 ft lb of m.e. and std 357 mag is 125 gr or 158 gr at about 1325 fps or 1270 fps and around 575 ft lb. Most off the shelf 10mm is no better than 40 s&w and loaded lighter so as to prevent beating up the 1911 frames too much. Original design 10mm ammo such as what was developed back in the 80’s by Norma pushed a 200gr bullet at about 1250 fps. That is the std for the 10mm and is right in between 357 and 41 mag.

      • Charlemagne June 25, 2022, 2:51 pm

        I just found your reply last night. If you notice I gave an example of hot 180 gr loads, by the same
        manufacturer of both cartridges, Buffalo Bore.. Likewise my example used analogous guns. A chamber and 4″ barrel on a revolver is close in effective length to a 5″ barrel on a semi auto, which includes the chamber.Comparing a a 686 with 8 3/8″ barrel to an XD-M® Elite 3.8” 10mm would yield misleading results in a power comparison.

        I also referenced the tests that Ballistics by the Inch (BBTI) did with multiple loads of each cartridge by Ballistics by the Inch. BBTI did all their tests with a single shot T/C Encore, so firearm type was not a factor in their tests.

        Looking at all this data, the most obvious conclusion is, that although their is a great deal of overlap powerwise between various loads of these two cartridges, the .357 Magnum if anything has slightly more power potential than the 10mm Auto . As a practical matter, I would base my choice between these two cartridges on the type of gun I wanted to use (.357 Magnum works better in revolvers and 10mm works better in semi autos) rather than some small difference in power between the hottest examples of each.

  • Rick February 15, 2021, 1:08 pm

    I have several handguns. Of all of them my wife prefers the Colt Delta Elite in 10mm. I reload using budget bullets but always carry factory Underwood Ammo. She loves the trigger pull and the recoil doesn’t bother her at all. RK

  • Mark Potter February 15, 2021, 12:20 pm

    Is it easy to mount a red dot to this pistol?

  • Andrew Malik February 15, 2021, 12:07 pm

    Underwood and Buffalo Bore are even hotter. I use Underwood 155 grain XTP’s in my Glock 29 gen 4. Alaskan Ballistics on YouTube did Underwood tests on a 29/20/40 and he averaged 1,427 fps for 701 foot pounds out of the G29. The big brands can’t even get close to that.

    Well, they can. They just won’t.

    As for the guy above who says he needs more rounds, to each their own. But it amuses me that people think carrying anything less than 15+1 is a death sentence.

  • Michael Lewis February 15, 2021, 10:58 am

    Finally !!, Springfield build a gun with an attractive finish !!! No question they have always made a good fire arm, but in my option most were butt ugly until this one. Mikey

  • Al February 15, 2021, 10:43 am

    I’m a 1911 guy but the threat landscape has changed in the last few years so I want more rounds in the magazine than a 1911 provides. I have a Glock 20 10mm and a Springfield XDm Match 10mm and much prefer the XDm with its longer barrel.

  • Frank J Smith February 15, 2021, 8:35 am

    Nice review. Too bad there isn’t one of these guns to be found anywhere. As in anywhere.

  • Jon February 15, 2021, 7:13 am

    Luv my Delta Elite and my Glock 40.

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