The 1911 Garrison by Springfield Armory

The Springfield Armory Garrison

Springfield Armory just added to their 1911 lineup with their recent release: the Garrison chambered in .45 ACP. Available in blued or stainless steel with checkered thinline wood grips, the Garrison aims to take a modern spin from an heirloom-quality construction. The forged steel slide, barrel, and frame give the platform a rock-solid construction designed to provide a lifetime of operation.

The model I have been testing features hot salt blued carbon steel. This blued finish is classic and flawless where applied whereas the machined rounds throughout this platform utilize a smooth matte finish. Springfield incorporated modern touches to this classic platform through an extended thumb safety, low profile sights, thinline grips, skeletonized hammer, and match-grade stainless steel barrel.

Out of the box, this 1911 was well oiled and ready to go. The slide was smooth and the trigger crisp. Having little experience with 1911’s before testing this and being a huge proponent of polymer striker-fired pistols, I didn’t know what to expect. I can now say I understand the love so many people have for this platform. While it may not be able to hold near as many rounds as the polymer handguns I am used to, the Garrison is a thing of beauty for the price. It fits great in my hands, feels solid, but more importantly is both a solid and well-built pistol.

The slide is smooth, and I can’t notice any wobble. When shooting everything performed flawlessly for the duration of my 200 round test. While the slide serrations work well, they aren’t as deep as I would prefer. However, the angle at which they are cut provides an aggressive contact surface which works well.

The low-profile sights are seated deep in the slide of this pistol and seem to be very durable. These classic three-dot sights are easy to pick up and use.

Low-Profile Iron Sights

The Garrison I received has a great trigger. I found it to have a smooth and buttery take up, and the tiniest bit of creep before getting what I would call a clean break. This creep comes after hitting the wall, and is a movement of probably 0.05” before the trigger breaks, but the creep is consistent and noticeable when testing the trigger at home. The reset is tactile and puts you out just a little past the wall ready for your next shot.

The form is fantastic, but between the thinline grips, and extended beavertail, the Springfield Garrison just feels too good to set down. Personally, it fits my hands great, and I can’t help but pick it up every time I’m near it. The checkered wood is timeless and effective.

Checkered Thinline Grips

The machined frame provides adequate roughness to maintain a solid grip when firing.

Machined Texturing on the Frame

While not being ambidextrous, the safety is easy to activate for me being a right-handed shooter. I find the slide release to be a little far forward making activation tricky without shifting my grip, but it can be done.

The Springfield Garrison’s Safety

The Springfield Garrison comes with one flush 7 round magazine. During my testing, the magazine performed without issue. It was easy to load ammunition and reload the gun even without a flared magwell.

Throughout two different range trips, and 5 different types of ammo, I had zero issues with the Springfield Garrison. Everything cycled just fine with zero malfunctions. The recoil impulse was smoother than I was expecting from a 45, so follow-up shots were still pretty quick.

The image below shows some of my groups from my first range day at around 7 yards. These were shot standing up unsupported in the cold and windy weather. While my groups were not that impressive, I believe this pistol is much more capable than I was that day. I think all the shots landed where my sights were when I pulled the trigger, and I was just getting shaken around by the wind. Primarily using red dots and not shooting much lately due to ammo issues I was a bit rusty with iron sights.

From Left to Right: Sellier & Belliot 230gr FMJ, PPU 230gr FMJ, Red Army Standard 230gr FMJ

This next image is from my second range trip with warmer and calmer weather. Again, my groups aren’t impressive, and I believe this 1911 is capable of much more than I was able to showcase. These self-defense rounds from Hornady performed flawlessly. Both the 185gr FTX, and 230gr XTP pack some serious knockdown power and seeing the Garrison cycle through popular carry ammo was something I wanted to try for myself.

Left: Hornady Critical Defense 185gr FTX. Right: Hornady 230gr+P XTP

The Springfield Armory Garrison did not disappoint. From straight out of the box to the field, this 1911 performed well and looked good doing it. I had no reliability issues, and the Garrison powered through all 5 different types of ammo I threw at it. Currently, this pistol has an MSRP of $800, and you can read more about it on Springfield’s website here.


COLOR: Blued
BARREL: 5″ Forged Stainless Steel, Match Grade, 1:16
SLIDE: Forged Carbon Steel, Blued
FRAME: Forged Carbon Steel, Blued
SIGHTS: Low Profile Combat 3-Dot
GRIPS: Thinline Wood
MAGAZINES: (1) 7-Round
WEIGHT: 37 oz
LENGTH: 8.6″
HEIGHT: 5.5″

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Additional Photos

About the author: Mitchell Graf is passionate about hunting and competition shooting. During college he was the shooting instructor for Oklahoma State’s Practical Shooting Team, and these days he spends as much time as he can chasing after pigs and coyotes with night vision and thermals. You can follow Mitchell’s adventures over at his Instagram @That_Gun_Guy_

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  • David O'Neal January 10, 2022, 4:29 pm

    Watching for the stainless version, as I understand they make it, haven’t seen one for sale yet. I had the SA Mil-Spec model, thought I wanted as original as possible, but couldn’t get over not being able to replace the sights, especially the front one without a lot of special tools or bringing it to a gunsmith.

    These models look like the front and rear sights could be drifted out at the very least if you don’t have a sight pusher. I’m sure Dawson makes some fiber sights that’ll work well with them.

  • Bobby G Bryant January 10, 2022, 12:11 pm

    It’s a really nice piece and the price isn’t terrible. But the Taurus I bought for $399.99 new was well worth what I paid for it, has a pretty nice trigger and came in a nice plastic case. Only one mag though… I love the platform but there’s really not much new happening with it.

  • Grumpy Old Guy that's popped a cap or two January 10, 2022, 11:14 am

    I quit reading the article when the author said something to the effect that he wasn’t familiar with 1911’s and that he liked plastic pistols. No credibility after that. The author might want to read the 2021 book, “The Guns of John Browning” then go back to the range with a good 1911 and pay homage to this marvelous handgun.

    • Grumpy Old Biker January 11, 2022, 1:17 am

      Grumpy Old Guy… (no relation):

      If you’d finished the article you would have seen that the author did just that. I, too, was disturbed at first by his admission that he like plastic crap guns, but he came around.

  • FirstStateMark January 10, 2022, 10:56 am

    Can somebody tell me if they kept the feed ramp on the frame or did they move it to the barrel?

  • Bob W. January 10, 2022, 10:40 am

    Maybe a little off topic but when I was in the USAF, I was issued a 1911 made by Singer Sewing Machine. I always took a ribbing from my cohorts who often had a Remington or Colt. Oh to be in possession of that firearm now.

    • swimmer January 10, 2022, 2:17 pm

      I have found God has a real sick sense of humor.

    • David O'Neal January 10, 2022, 4:23 pm

      Where were you stationed and when, that you were issued a Singer 1911? It was my understanding some made it to Hawaii before Pearl Harbor? I might have the dates wrong, I forget when the “500” were made by Singer. I know the Air Force hangs on to small arms for a LONG time, I used the original M16 with no forward assist in basic and Combat Communications in the 80s.

      • Bob W January 11, 2022, 4:04 pm

        Malmstrom AFB, Great Falls Montana. I would drive a support vehicle in convoy along with air police to various missile sites. We were always issued the same firearm as stored from the armory; they used a chit that would ID your particular assigned weapon. The idea was that us technical types could lend support fire to the AP if required (ha ha ha). When not driving we were issued an M1 carbine. Most of the ammo looked like it was left over from the Korean war. My one team member who had a Remington model always made the wisecrack that he needed some sewing repairs on his fatigues and that I could use my Singer.

  • Mike in a Truck January 10, 2022, 10:05 am

    Nice pistol. When I drew a 1911A1 from the arms room it had just came back from Depot rebuilt and re-parkerized. I only fired it “in anger” once. Once was all that was needed.

    • Slim January 10, 2022, 11:09 am

      So your one of the morons that screws us LEGAL gun owners by your dumb ass USING A GUN OUT OF ANGER! It’s for SELF DEFENSE OR NOOOTHING! There is NO WARNING SHOTS IFFFF you like your FREEDOM anyways! And funny only old geezers which I’d bet you are that still carry these relics since your “pappy” had one and when you were born they had just came out I’d bet and your still carrying well over hundred year old technology. What moron carry’s a gun that is over a hundred years old?! Like they haven’t came out with WAY BETTER guns! I guess if you like a super low capacity hundred year old plus gun that shoots super slow projectiles. And 1911 grip angle is GARBAGE for FAST shooting and if you don’t agree then clearly you’ve only shot the junk 1911!

      • Philip January 10, 2022, 12:28 pm

        Mike’s single shot was no doubt in resistance to deadly force by an armed adversary. Note that he mentioned the 1911A1 was drawn from the arms room of either a military or law enforcement variety no doubt. Your flame was made without any inkling of the circumstance.

      • swimmer January 10, 2022, 2:20 pm

        Calm down Slim. You sound like your butt is about to explode.

      • Grumpy Old Biker January 11, 2022, 1:22 am

        Slim, Slim, Slim:
        Not only are you incapable of structuring a coherent sentence, with punctuation and everything, but your overall thought process is obviously seriously disturbed. Might we suggest you cut back on all that Adderall? Or maybe give it a try? You don’t seem to realize that all of John Moses Browning’s designs are examples of timeless perfection. I presume that your dislike of the grip angle of the 1911 is probably due to your weak wrists. Your LIMP wrists. Your hysterical (not the funny kind) delicate sensibilities, your uneducated written expression, your tendency to interpret things too literally, and your dislike of anything but the latest and newest, high capacity, plastic garbage handguns reveals you to be a spoiled member of the Participation Trophy Generation. Stick with video games, where your asinine behavior is acceptable because you’re (not “your”) all alone in your mommy’s basement in that cool apartment you set up when you moved out on your own. And keep a positive thought that someday you might get to touch a real girl… with her permission.

      • D.J. January 14, 2022, 11:53 am

        “ super slow projectiles “ , is precisely the point .
        The velocity assures that the aggressor is knocked
        off of their feet , thereby aiding in conclusion of
        the fight .
        There is a reason , young man , that the weapon
        was used in four major conflicts , and is still preferred
        in today’s S.F. Community . It works well .

  • Grumpy Old Biker January 10, 2022, 6:58 am

    I hate to get too technical and picky regarding such a fine article about a great “new” firearm, but the photo that is captioned “Machined Texturing on the Frame“ is actually a closeup of the checkered, flat mainspring housing, a part separate from the frame. Otherwise, great article — except for the shoutout to plastic, spray-and-pray, striker-fired abominations. Once one grows up and gets over the fantasy of engaging in protracted, running gun battles with the forces of evil, it’s easy to find that a seven- or eight-round magazine loaded with quality ammunition (plus a couple of spares — just in case) is more than you’ll hopefully ever need.

    • W.Q.Henderson January 10, 2022, 10:23 am

      A dam fine, spot on comment on a overall excellent eval of the Springfield Garrison pistol.

      • Grumpy Old Biker January 11, 2022, 12:54 am

        Thank you, Mr. Henderson.

  • Grumpy Old Biker January 10, 2022, 6:46 am

    All of the original 1911 pistols made for the First World War were blue steel. Beautifully blued. Parker using came along later, as did the arched mainspring housing, which was one of the features that made up the 1911-A1 during the late twenties. I have large hands but I much prefer the flat mainspring housing, the longer trigger and the absence of relief cutouts on the frame behind the trigger, all of which were changed to “improve” the already perfect 1911. Well, I do admit the sights on the original were a wee bit too tiny and the hammer spur too bitey. But at least there is no noticeable plastic on this fine beast.

    • Grumpy Old Biker January 10, 2022, 7:44 am

      Of course, autocorrect came along and changed “parkerizing” to “Parker using” because the idiots who write code for such things know better than the user what we are trying to say. But it’s my fault for not proofreading more carefully.

  • Howard Berg January 10, 2022, 6:09 am

    How many 1911’s are we going to produce? And review? I have several, and in different calibers. Do we really need to talk about them anymore? Meh review.

    • Grumpy Old Biker January 10, 2022, 7:41 am

      Allow me to translate for those grownups who know how to bypass articles that do not hold interest for them:

      What Howard Berg said was, “WAAAHHH!”

  • Rick Nemec January 10, 2022, 4:45 am

    My dad got me a 1911 Remington Rand for $20 in 1952, when I was 10 years old. GI surplus ammo could be gotten for$2.00 a box of 50. I put thousands of rounds thru it I bet it can hold its own with any custom new one even now!

  • Mark N. January 9, 2022, 9:22 pm

    I like the idea of a blued slide, but Colt sold the blued slides as civilian models, with military models being all Parkerized. A “garrison” model suggest a military purpose or design ethos. Anyway, this sells for about $100 more than their Mil-Spec handgun, and has better sights, the memory bump on the grip safety, a nicer looking trigger, and upgraded wood grips with the Springfield logo.
    However, I am a fan of the arched main spring housing. It was adopted as it was shown to keep inexperienced soldiers from shooting high–and it fits my hand beautifully. Otherwise, it is basically a very nice looking and well-built “entry” level model that I would love to own. I wonder if Springfield will sell me just the slide to put onto my Mil-Spec pistol?

    On another note, afaik, all of the full size and 4″ Springfields will accept aftermarket 8 round mags.

  • Mark N. January 9, 2022, 9:19 pm

    I like the idea of a blued slide, but Colt sold the blued slides as civilian models, with military models being all Parkerized. A “garrison” model suggest a military purpose or design ethos. Anyway, this sells for about $100 more than their Mil-Spec handgun, and has better sights. However, I am a fan of the arched main spring housing. It was adopted as it was shown to keep inexperienced soldiers from shooting high–and it fits my hand beautifully. Otherwise, it is basically a very nice looking and well-built “entry” level model that I would love to own. I wonder if Springfield will sell me just the slide?

    On another note, afaik, all of the full size and 4″ Springfields will accept aftermarket 8 round mags.

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