Review: Springfield Armory Ronin 1911 10mm, by Pat Cascio
I requested a sample of the new Springfield Armory Ronin 1911 in 10mm as soon as I heard about it. Still, I had to sit and wait for my sample – this gun, in this caliber, is in great demand! Back in 1988, I owned the only 1911-pattern pistol chambered in 10mm at that time. I ended up selling it, because we just moved back to Oregon, and my wife wasn’t yet working as a teacher and I was on disability from an auto accident – collecting a whopping $125 per week. I thought I’d never own another 10mm in a 1911 configuration. That gun that I ended up selling, is no longer made. However, a quick check on GunBroker.com revealed that it is now selling for over $2,000.
As long-time readers will know, my end-of-the-world handgun is a Glock 19X. However, my all-time favorite handgun is a good ol’ 1911, and the chambering would be in .45 ACP. I have 1911s in several calibers, and love them all. However, I have a brand-new love affair with this Springfield Armory 1911 in 10mm – it would make an excellent gun for self-defense. And, one nice thing about the 10mm round is that you can pick and choose different ammo, for different chores. For defense, I’d go with the Black Hills Ammunition HoneyBadger 10mm round with a 115-gr all-copper bullet that is fluted. I believe it may just be the ultimate man-stopper. For dangerous game, a heavier bullet. And for target practice, I’d use a 180-gr FMJ bullet.
Be advised that some ammo makers are just now starting to jump back on producing the 10mm round. However, it is still a very expensive round to fire – additionally, it is next to impossible to find any 10mm ammo in my neck of the woods. So, it is a mailorder-only event for me. Much of the less expensive ammo is running 40 cents per round, plus shipping and a couple boxes will set you back about $14 for shipping alone – ouch! More and more ammo makers are starting to produce 10mm, so the price and availability will come down over time.
The New Springfield Armory Ronin is a full-sized Government model with a 5-inch barrel and made out of all steel – the frame is stainless steel, and the slide is blued steel – a beautiful contrast and a work of art. The slide’s sides are highly polished blue steel, with the rounded parts a brushed blue steel. The frame has a highly polished flats and the rounded portions are a subdued matte finish. Thin walnut grips adorn the frame, and had they carry the Springfield crossed cannons on both grips, with a portion of the grips smooth and the other half checked.
On top of the slide is a tactical rack rear sight, with two white dots, and the front sight has a red fiber optic in it. Both sights are dovetailed into the slide. We have a speed “combat” hammer as well as a combat grip safety with the “memory” bump installed that makes it easy to compress to release that safety. The mainspring housing is flat and nicely checkered love it. The front strap is smooth – my one minor complaint – would have loved a checked front strap. However, I applied some skateboard black friction tape that only costs pennies. It will last a good long time, and once a year, if needed, I can peel it off and replace it with another fresh strip of the skateboard tape.
The trigger is made out of G-10 – a synthetic material is near bulletproof, and it has holes in it for a lighter trigger pull. Speaking of which, the trigger pull on my sample broke absolutely crisp and clean at 4.25 pounds – just perfect if you ask me, in a 1911. I know a lot of folks like a lighter trigger pull, but you are asking for trouble and an unintentional discharge.
The magazine well is slightly enlarged to make reloads a bit faster. The magazine release is standard – not extended. The slide stop/release is also standard size – not extended, and made out of tough stainless steel. The rear and front sides of the slide had angled grasping grooves – perfectly done and spaced. The barrel bushing is stainless steel, that contrasts nicely with the rest of the blued slide. A standard, full-sized bushing plug is standard GI as well, to take the gun down for cleaning. The barrel is match grade stainless steel as well. There is no “play” between the barrel, slide and frame – makes for outstanding accuracy. I did have to use a 1911 barrel bushing wrench to depress the bushing plug and turn the barrel bushing, since it is tightly fitted.
There is a single-side thumb safety that is slightly extended. I used to love ambidextrous thumb safeties, nut as a right-hander I never actually used them. There is no Series 70-style safety in the slide, and that is my preference.
The left side of the slide simply has Ronin stamped into it. To explain: A ronin was teh term for an unemployed Samurai back in feudal Japan, and they would go to work as a sort of mercenary if the pay was right. On the right side of the slide it is marked with the Springfield logo and their trademarked crossed cannons on it. The top of the barrel is marked SA 10mm.
The entire Ronin, weighs in at 40 ounces – not too heavy, and not too light. I believe the recoil spring is rated at 20 or 21 pounds – a standard full-sized recoil spring is 16 lbs, however, I always swap it out for an 18 or 18.5-lbs recoil spring – they just seem to work better for me. The Ronin 10mm only comes with one 8-rd magazine. I wish it came with at least two. However, I ordered several spare factory magazines for my testing. All of the magazines worked flawlessly too – and easy to load.
The frame and slide are both steel forgings – and this makes for a stronger 1911 than typical cast ones. I’m confident that it will stay nice and tight for many years to come – what’s not to like about that?
I live in Western Oregon, and it is well-known as black bear country – as a rule, they will leave you alone, if you leave them alone. However, when I’m out in the boonies – and I also live in the boonies, whenever I’m on-foot, I’m armed, and this Ronin with the proper load would make an excellent stopper if there is a black bear attack.
For my shooting test, I only had 80 rounds of their new HoneyBadger load left over from my previous test of another Springfield 10mm – their XDm Elite. I’m waiting on more 10mm from Black Hills for further testing later on. However, I had some other 10mm ammo on-hand that I used in most of my testing. I had some MagTech 180-gr FMJ, Blazer brass-cased 180-gr and Sellier & Bellot 180-gr FMJ. In all my testing, I fired slightly more than 250 rounds – needless to say, this was a very expensive shooting session, with I laid-out my hard-earned money for shooting.
I had zero malfunctions from the Ronin – it ran extremely smooth with all the ammo. The 115-gr Black hills HoneyBadger wasn’t all that hard in the recoil department, but it was loud – you know you touched off a powerful round. The Sellier & Bellot was the hardest “kicking” round…much more power than the Blazer was.
All accuracy testing was from 25 yards, with the gun rested over a thick rifle rest bag. I did some standing shots with no rest, as well – this was done with quite a bit of the ammo. Best accuracy and consistent accuracy came from the Blazer ammo, it came it at slightly over an inch and a half – and the HoneyBadger was only slightly bigger groups – and I mean, I had to measure the groups they were that close to being the same. Can’t ask for better than that. I think I can do even better once I fire this 1911 a bit more.
I honestly don’t have much to complain about at all. I fell in love with this gun after the first magazine I put through it – it balances a bit better in my hand than my Ronin .45 ACP does for some reason. The photo to the right shows three different Ronin 1911s – the top one is the full-sized Government model, the middle one is the .45 ACP Commander-style and the bottom is the EMP 9mm Ronin – all winners.
I packed this Ronin around in a Blackhawk Serpa tactical thigh holster, while on a nearby logging road – it fit perfectly in the holster, along with two spare 8-round magazines, on either side. I also carried this pistol on my hip, in a Craft Holsters high-ride leather holster – it rode tight to my side and high – perfectly! I’ve become a real fan of Craft Holsters www.craftholsters.com over the past year or two – great products and more than fair prices, too – check out their website.
Now for good news, full-retail on this brand-new 10mm Ronin is $899. That might sound like a lot, but not when you check around and see what other 1911-pattern pistols chambered in 10mm are selling for. Plus, you get that lifetime warranty from Springfield Armory. They are a great outfit to work with if you have any problems – they’ll fix it – period!