Handguns > Semi-Auto

The Remington R1 M1911

The R1 is Remington’s first semi-automatic pistol since the 1920s.

1/14/2011

The shooting industry and shooters everywhere are reflecting on the significance of 100 years of unbroken service for the grand old semi-automatic—the M1911 pistol—that has done so much for this nation. Understandably, many of our handgun makers have geared up to offer special editions of the .45 pistol. But the pistol we are concerned with here does not come from one of the storied plants that made handguns for the troubled times of the 20th century. This .45 comes from the leading manufacturer of long arms—Remington, the country’s oldest gunmaker. The pistol is called the R1 and it is a G.I.-style M1911 .45 ACP pistol in every sense of the word.

Lest there be confusion about historical matters, let’s take a look at Remington’s one previous foray into M1911 .45 ACP pistols. In the period from 1917 to 1918, foreign influences dragged America onto the international stage and into the horrors of World War I. It was a conflict for which we were ill-prepared. This was particularly true with arms and ammunition. We had to send tens of thousands of troops to fight in the trenches of France, and they needed guns that we didn’t have; therefore, American factories went on three-shift production. Colt was the primary source of the newly adopted Model of 1911 pistol, although Springfield Armory contributed guns before it had to focus exclusively on M1903 rifles. The Army Ordnance Dept. awarded contracts to several American factories for large quantities of the popular semi-automatic pistols. In that time, Remington was known as Remington-UMC (for Union Metallic Cartridge Co.) and the pistols it made were so-marked. Approximately 21,500 U.S. Model of 1911 pistols came from Remington’s Ilion plant before the war ended and further production became unnecessary. Today, those pistols are much-sought-after collector’s items. It is important to understand that the World War II M1911A1 pistols marked “Remington-Rand” were produced by a manufacturer of office machines unaffiliated with the Remington Arms Co.

So yes, today’s Remington does have a history of making the Government Model, certainly none of the original tooling was used, and certainly none of the original technicians are still standing at their machines. Think of the gun at-hand as a new project. Some critics have already noted that Remington management missed an opportunity to precisely replicate the original M1911-style pistol. The gun we see is an M1911A1-style, and Remington is clearly looking forward and not to the past. A careful inspection shows a G.I.-looking pistol with few frills, intended to sell at what has been called an entry-level price.

This is an all-steel pistol in a dull greenish gray, non-reflective finish. It closely follows the original John Browning design for a service .45 with a tilting-barrel form of recoil operation. This brings the barrel down at its rear to clear locking lugs atop the barrel, out from their matching recesses in the roof of the slide. The gun feeds from a seven-round magazine housed in the butt section. All of the controls—thumb safety, magazine catch, trigger, slide lock and grip safety—closely approximate the size and shape of the parts used on World War II pistols. Most of those guns wore molded plastic grips, brown in color and with a functional checkered surface. The new gun has a nice pair of walnut stocks, checkered in the famous double-diamond pattern that was used on original guns in Blackjack Pershing’s time.

By now it should be obvious that the R1 reflects an effort to build a strong and sensible G.I.-style gun and not to replicate any particular model produced through the years. It has the flat mainspring housing of the M1911s, but it has no lanyard ring, as used on almost all G.I. guns. The M1911A1 combined a short trigger, a long tang grip safety and relief cuts aft of the trigger guard—so does the new Remington.

So let’s look at the R1 from the standpoint of what it is, and not what it might have been, or could have been. It is a strong, sound M1911 pistol that was made to be used—and used hard. The gun was built using today’s expeditious technology. The receiver is an investment casting, and most of the small parts are either metal injection molded (MIM) or investment cast. The magazine is marked “R 45 AUTO” and is of the G.I.-type with welded-in bottom plate. All of the markings look like they’re pantographed and are deep and crisp. They can be read much easier than the laser systems used by some other makers. Just about everyone who uses an M1911 agrees that you have to follow Jeff Cooper’s advice and install sights that are big enough to see. On this pistol, the sights are very large; and both front and rear are securely dovetailed into the slide top. And yes, they do have the popular three-dot highlights.

There is no evidence that either of the two specimens I had for evaluation was hand-fitted or -finished. They had rather heavy trigger pulls (about 5 pounds), and both exhibited creep and a little overtravel. I have to remind myself that I am an inveterate user of M1911 pistols, and I am accustomed to pistols tuned by custom pistolsmiths. So the multiple sharp edges and corners that such ’smiths remove were present on the Remington R1s I evaluated. I could get used to them, as well as the less-than-ideal trigger pull.

As is the custom with for American Rifleman, I accuracy tested the R1 by shooting five consecutive, five-shot groups at 25 yards. I did this with three different loads, each of which I have used many times with other .45 pistols and have proven exceptionally accurate. Before any accuracy work, I did run about 10 magazines of mixed ammunition through the gun to break it in. Then it was on to the Ransom Rest, in this case C-clamped to a solid concrete bench. In order, I shot Federal 230-grain Gold Medal ball, Black Hills 230-grain JHP and Remington 230-grain Bonded Golden Saber JHP.

The evaluation produced 15 five-shot groups ranging in size from a smallest of 1.24 inches to a largest of 2.99 inches. The three test loads averaged 2.06 inches, 2.16 inches and 1.85 inches, respectively, with an overall group average of 2.02 inches. These results are tabulated above and pretty well establish that the Remington R1 is pretty much a 2-inch shooter at 25 yards. As further indication of that standard, consider what happened when I went digging around in the .50-cal. ammo can that houses my supply of .45 ACP for the range. There were several partial boxes of ammunition of various kinds, none of which amounted to enough to repeat the five-group protocol. I decided to shoot some 10-shot groups with the leftovers, just to see what the R1 could do with them. Ten Speer Lawman 200-grain TMJ bullets went into 3.13 inches, and Hornady’s 200-grain JTC produced a 2.87-inch group. But the Remington really liked Federal’s other Match load, the 185-grain SWC, shooting 10-shot groups measuring 2.01 inches and 1.85 inches, respectively. The real delight was the group fired with long out-of-manufacture Pro Load 200-grain JSP. It measured 1.45 inches. To put its accuracy in context, I have evaluated guns that shot a little better than this, and you may have read some of my reports. But seldom does a gun come along that shoots this well and costs anywhere close to the $699 for which the R1 retails.

It’s certain that Remington put a pretty good barrel in the pistol, but a couple of other things that aren’t so obvious need to be highlighted. A good barrel is important to accuracy in an M1911 pistol, but the consistency of the lock-up between the barrel and the slide is at least equally important. Remington has kept the tolerances tight and established a systematic fitting procedure to achieve consistent lock-up.

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36 Responses to The Remington R1 M1911

Ahmed Mohammed wrote:
May 11, 2014

I Just purchased R1 Remington. Very accurate and durable. I shot 250 rounds on the day of purchase wow it's amazing. I luve it and it's my baby. I have carried many guns before but this one is above and beyond all of them. Great job Remington

Dan Kvam wrote:
April 21, 2014

I've wanted a 1911 since I got out of the service. After shopping hard for a new one, I picked up a remington, and it felt like an old friend. Flawless function, and accurate. Love it, the $75:00 rebate was a nice plus too

Brian wrote:
March 07, 2014

Remington is offering a Mail-In Rebate through June/2014 on this pistol. I just got one at Cabela's - also had a Cabela's Cash Coupon - brought the price with rebate to $575 - not bad for an entry-level 1911 - not bad for a pistol - period.

Lester House wrote:
February 02, 2014

I have Rem R-1 Shot 50 rds 3'&Less No Problems/Nice Feel/&/Looks-gave $600-So I Ask; What More do U Want?

Dave Bonnett wrote:
January 10, 2014

My wife bought the 1911 R1 for my 60th. Have wanted one since I was a kid. Have put 250 rounds through it with no problems. Would recommend it to anyone who likes the G.I. 1911 style 45. I couldn't be happier.

Bryan Collins wrote:
December 27, 2013

I've been using my 1911-R1 as my everyday carry weapon for almost two years. You can mention any 'brand' you want, Colt, Springfield, Kimber, etc... My R1 is THE most accurate and trouble free pistol I've ever owned. (would love to post pics, but this comment section won't let me... 14 rounds, 15 yards, offhand, two hand grip, 2.5' group)

pat k wrote:
December 07, 2013

The r1 is one of the most accurate hand guns I ever shot.I am very pleased

Vicki wrote:
August 22, 2013

I recently was given this gun from my fathers death. I need to know how to remove the clip. Thanks for all info you can give me

Greg B wrote:
May 27, 2013

After almost twenty years away from my favorite hobby, I have returned to pistols and shooting again. I recently purchased the Para Expert and have run two hundred rounds of my reloads from 1994. This past week I purchased the Remington R1 and have only put one box of my 150 grain semi wadcutters through it. First shot was free handed at ten yards and was a bulls eye. Wow! The rest of the box shot almost that good with a big hole in the center of the target. I am very pleased with both guns. The finish on both are really good and the triggers are really good too. The Para has a target trigger and the Remington does not but the trigger pulls are about the same. Neither are as good as my Colt Gold Cup Match, but almost. No trigger work is planned on the Remington. It will go with me on the farm. My goal in shooting is to be able to hit a snake in the head at ten yards. This Remington is certainly up to that task. You can spend more for a 1911 gun and you can buy a prettier gun, but the average shooter cannot buy a better shooting gun than this one. I have ordered a Sig Sauer 1911 STX to be my pretty gun, but I am really pleased with my Remington R1.

j goose wrote:
March 12, 2013

I love my R1. I also have a Smith 1911 that cost significantly more money but my R1 is by far my favorite. Its heft makes it comfortable in the hand during firing, but not ideal for carry. This will be my comp gun after a few MIM upgrades. Few. Because it is accurate right out of the box. Love it love it

Dustin Harris wrote:
March 04, 2013

I believe it is legal in CA because I live near San Deigo, CA and I own one. Bought it in Solano Beach.

Jeremy Goosey wrote:
March 02, 2013

Bought one today becase I wanted a 1911 to modify and tinker with. I already have a Smith that doesn't require tinkering. Was considering a Rock Island Armory but really wanted to stay American. Picked up the Remington and knew it was the one. Fit and finish are not excellent but this thing shoots as nice as my Smith does all day long. Very very accurate right outta the box. It will need a trigger job but that's why I bought it in the first place. Remington hit it out of the park. Very well done.

Terz wrote:
February 28, 2013

I just purchased a remington R1 nice tight pistol feels good in the hand also like the fixed sights, However I found something of interest, I tried to incert a colt 1911 magazine in the R1 it will not go as far as I could get it in was three quarters of the way, I tried the r1 in my dad's colt 1911 A1 and the same was true.

Justin wrote:
February 02, 2013

I also have the R1 and the Enhanched R1S. These guns are very well fitted and feel very comfortable. They look great and i have had no troubles with misfiring...he only problem I have encountered is i've noticed on the R1 the 'blueing' has started to come off in spots. This gun is only a few weeks old and bought brand new. After reading some other reviews I have seen others have this same problem with their R1's. Im wondering if this is poor quility from remington or whats the deal with the blueing cause others seem to have issues with theirs. Other then that these guns are flawless.

mike wrote:
February 01, 2013

The R1 shoots almost as well as my Kimber, yet cost half as much. Well done, Remington!!!

Russ Johnson wrote:
January 26, 2013

I recently traded a Winchester model 92 that Graded a little below my Winnie collection standards. I even up'ed for a brand new standard R1 1911. I really only traded to get out of the 92. I decided to try the Remington out before putting it up for sale. Wow! This guns not going any where! I love it. After 50 rounds this gun was popping shots thru the same ragged hole at 15 yards! I now have 500 rounds thru it and still have not experienced a jam. My son and I own a new Colt 1991 Gov't and a Colt WWI reproduction that is professionally customized with full array of Wilson Combat parts. This gun falls somewhere between those 2 in accuracy. I highly recomend this shooter for the very resonable price.

M. Sno wrote:
January 15, 2013

I own an R1 and an R1 Enhanced, both guns are well made and shoot well. The extra money for the Enhanced version is well spent. The improved trigger, adjustable sights and the other add ons give this gun a more 'custom' feel. Well done Remington!

Jua wrote:
October 11, 2012

Is this gun legal in California?

arthur austin wrote:
August 27, 2012

Just traded for a new r1 and being a disguished pistol shooter (&hp rifle) I love it.For the price you can't beat it.Shoots good also,needs trigger work.

ricshaw wrote:
July 02, 2012

i bought a 1911R1 on 6/4/12 i went to a well stocked local gun store cash in hand and 5 different brands of 1911s in mind the Remington was the second pistol i handled and as was said here before "it just felt right"at 628.00 it was to good to pass up . A set of Pachmayr grips and a Galco "cop series"belt holster completes the ensemble.The pistol has not left my side. Well done Remington ! Well done indeed!

drjb wrote:
April 13, 2012

i have a wwII remington 1911 45 presentation piece it is nickel plated was given to a colonel at time of his retirement i am the "only" owner beside this original soldier where can i find out more about this weapon, value, history etc all help appreciated

Sebastian A. Solo wrote:
March 14, 2012

My wife bought me one for Father's Day last year for 747.99, tax included at Academy. I love my gun and it fires like a baby. Have no complaints at all, except for the green color on the case, bought a different one, problem solved. Recommend to anyone. An American Product too!

godwine wrote:
February 22, 2012

wow wat a nicz gun am 1911 lover of remington

cobz. philippines! wrote:
December 23, 2011

watta nice short firearm! my favorite also! awooaaah!

Jim R wrote:
December 16, 2011

I found one in a local store in the "Talo Edition" for $650 and bought it. I am impressed with gun but have not fired it yet. The Talo comes with fancier grips and a match-grade SS barrel.

Michael wrote:
November 25, 2011

What a beautiful handgun. This is my favorite handgun

Bob G wrote:
October 15, 2011

Always wanted a 1911. Walked into my favorite gun store a week ago, saw one, handled it, and bought it. $650. Shot it a few days later and I'm a happy camper. Bought a Wilson Combat concealed carry holster and all is well.

Reece B wrote:
May 07, 2011

I purchased a R1 today, at a local (national) outdoor store, $669.00. I went in to buy a Citidal .45, but when I picked up the R1, it felt "just right". I will pick it up on Thursday and will fire some rounds at the indoor range.

wayne seabury wrote:
April 29, 2011

I have had this weapon for 7 mounths & have shot hundreds of rounds,i have experenced NO problems at all. It shoots a little low but i think thats bad form on my part.

Paul Gaj wrote:
March 10, 2011

I have been waiting for three months for this pistol to show up. My local gun shop can not get any. Why so much hype on this pistol and no one can get them?

Joel T. wrote:
January 23, 2011

I checked out SA GIs and milspecs, RIA, Para, and Citadel for a month. Stumbled into one of these at a local shop and bought it on the spot ...$549. Fit and finish on mine are incredible...no slop anywhere and no evidence of hand fitting. Barrel to bushing fit is excellent. The trigger had a small amount of creep that went away after an afternoon of running snap caps. Shoots everything I stuff into it. Beautiful pistol and made in the USA. Works for me.

ROD H wrote:
January 22, 2011

When compared to other entry and mid-level 1911s, I chose the Remington R1. It bested the Colt and SA. It has the intanglible "feels right." Good job, Remington.

Larry Pederson wrote:
January 22, 2011

Is the 1911R1 Legal in Calif.

Tom M wrote:
January 20, 2011

I bought one of these and I am really glad I did. After looking at so many "entry level" 1911's I saw this in my local store and bought it ($625)as soon as I held it. The sights are great, I like the three dots, very visable for older eyes. I can selectively shoot out the orange in the bullseye at 25 yards, it's that accurate. Repeatedly cut bull every time, except for the occasional flyer. It shoots as good as it looks!

WILLIAM ESCUE wrote:
January 20, 2011

Me too, Juan.

Juan Marcano wrote:
January 18, 2011

I want one...