Springfield/Warren 9mm 1911 Endurance Test: Report #1

17-Jul-12 – 10:13 by ToddG

2,287 rounds 0 stoppages 0 malfunctions 0 parts breakages

Three range trips and almost 2,300 rounds into the test and it’s fair to say that some sacred cows are in danger of becoming hamburger. Stoppages? None. Break-in? Not necessary. Ammo sensitivity? Three different FMJ-style rounds and two different JHPs without a problem have gone down the pipe. Magazine issues? Three different brands of magazines fed, fired, extracted, and ejected without hesitation. Expectations? Blown away.

In fact, it’s only fair to mention that by this round count during their respective tests both the Glock 17 and even my beloved HK P30 both experienced problems. They were resolved, sure, but no one expected them to have problems in the first place. Some diehard 1911 aficionados were warning me that no one — even the Springfield Armory Custom Shop — could make a 9mm 1911 that would run well out of the box.

They can. I have the box to prove it.

How does it shoot?

Accuracy is very good. Five 5-shot groups fired from the bench at 25yd ranged from 1.44″ to 2.13″ shooting Federal P9HST3 (124gr +p HST), averaging out at 1.82 inches.

Speed on high% targets is easy with splits regularly in the teens. Earlier today I pulled a 0.13 during a Bill Drill… that’s the fastest split I’ve ever managed on a centerfire gun. Presently I’m not even able to manage the gun visually at that speed, so I have some fun work ahead.

Manipulations are another matter. There is a lot of New for me with the 1911: grip safety, thumb safety, strong side thumb magazine release, weak side thumb slide release. My draw to low% targets hasn’t suffered measurably but my high% draw has. My reloads are just abysmal. The lion’s share of my practice both live- and dry-fire has been on reloads. Still, timing ten 1-reload-3 drills near the end of my practice session today I was only able to get three of them below 2 seconds (and those were 1.98 and a pair at 1.97).

In terms of shooting standards, I ended the day today with a couple of drills familiar to anyone who reads pistol-training.com:

Dot Torture at 7yd scored a perfect 50. Seven yards was my limit with the Glock 17 and I was never able to get all fifty hits beyond that. With the Springfield, seven yards seemed easy. It will be interesting to see if I can match the performance I got from the HK45 (50 at 10yd). I don’t shoot DotTor very often — it serves better as a test than a drill — but next time out I’ll add a yard and hopefully turn in another 50.

Three runs at the F.A.S.T. turned in good but not earth-shaking results. Remember, these were shot after about two hours of practice, much of it devoted to reloads. So the results — especially the reloads — were disappointing. The draws and head splits were about what I’d expect. I was a little too cautious on the first run but after that the head shots were coming in under two seconds. The body splits were very fast compared to my typical times with previous guns. But high% splits are the least important part of the drill to me…

  1. 4.92  (1.58, .46 / 2.34 / .19, .17, .18 / clean)
  2. 4.87 (1.48, .37 / 2.50 / .18, .17, .17 / clean)
  3. 5.46 (1.47, .37 / 3.08 / .19, .17, .18 / clean)

Reloads are going to be the bane of my existence for the immediate future, eating up what will probably be many hours of dry-fire.

Also, there have been two hiccups that are not being attributed to the gun, but in the interest of full disclosure here are the details so everyone can draw their own conclusions:

  • While performing the 10-8 Extractor Test, one piece of brass failed to eject fully and was crushed between the slide and barrel during the SHO phase. The gun wasn’t being run in proper configuration and wasn’t inhibited in any way given that there was no magazine and no new round to be fed. After discussing it among some colleagues, I’ve decided it should not count against the gun. I’ve also demonstrated a similar “stoppage” with the Glock and probably with other test guns, as well, and never counted it then, either.
  • As mentioned previously, the Tripp Cobra magazines were allowing rounds to pop out of the feed lips. This happened once while I was manually stripping a mag from the gun. The “lost” cartridge got captured in the magazine well with no indication anything was wrong until I tried to insert another magazine. The fresh mag wouldn’t lock in place for obvious reasons. After some vigorous attempts the errant cartridge dislodged itself and fell clear of the gun. Because the issue did not actually affect the gun’s cycle of operation (feed, fire, eject, extract) and was using what are essentially “aftermarket” magazines, I cannot fault the gun.

I cannot say I’m a dyed in the wool 1911 convert quite yet, but certainly the gun runs great and is genuinely fun to shoot. The challenge of making serious improvement to my reload technique is exciting and of course it will be interesting to see how the guns continue to run in terms of reliability and durability.

Coming up over the next week: lots of practice. But even more importantly, the 1911 and I are going to attend Tom Givens’ Combative Pistol class in Virginia. While he’s normally seen toting Glocks these days, Tom is more than a little familiar with the 1911 platform… he was an instructor for Col. Cooper back in the earliest days of Gunsite.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

You can also follow and discuss via the pistol-forum.com 2012-2013 Endurance Test thread.

Previous Springfield/Warren 9mm 1911 Endurance Test posts at pistol-training.com:


  1. 38 Responses to “Springfield/Warren 9mm 1911 Endurance Test: Report #1”

  2. Very surprised with the Tripp Cobra mags, do you intend to follow up with the manufacturer? Wouldn’t be the fist time I’ve heard of mags marked as “X” having feed lip geometry for “Y”

    By JD on Jul 17, 2012

  3. Thanks Todd, great report. You know what I shoot but I find this test VERY interesting and I’m excited to read your future posts about it. Due to this test, a friend of mine that doesn’t really read PT.com that much has now become a religious reader. Good luck Todd, I know you’ll do well in performing with the 1911.

    Thanks again.

    By Jeff H on Jul 17, 2012

  4. Am I right in understanding that you got a 9mm 1911 to run 2000 rounds without more than the initial lubrication at round 0?

    By MT on Jul 17, 2012

  5. Nice. My SA Loaded 9mm ran great right out of the box too. And it’s not nearly the gun yours are.

    By Robinson on Jul 17, 2012

  6. Very pleased to see the results of this test so far. I’ve got an STI Trojan in 9mm that has experienced one nosedive during a a range session when I hadn’t re-lubed the gun in approximately 400 rounds. Other than that, it’s run perfectly with the other 3300 rounds down the tube.

    I run it with Tripp mags exclusively, and have been pleased with their performance so I’m curious to see if yours are out of spec in some way. Mine were hard to load at first as well, but they seemed to loosen up after 100 rounds or so and topping them off hasn’t been a problem since.

    By Dave on Jul 17, 2012

  7. “I cannot say I’m a died in the wool 1911 convert quite yet, but certainly the gun runs great and is genuinely fun to shoot.”

    EXACTLY how I felt about the 1911 I had. While mine had reliability issues that wouldn’t let me trust it past a “range gun”, I always was looking for a chance to sneak out to the range and put a few rounds through it, even if it was a 10 minute stop on my way home and I only had a magazine or two of ammo.

    With my current pistols (P30 and P2000SK), I don’t take too much actual enjoyment in shooting them, and going to the range is a deliberate effort. When I sold the 1911, it was because I couldn’t justify going to the range so much with a gun I’d never in a million years carry unless my plan was to pistol whip a mugger, since I’m still a pretty new shooter and I need to make the rounds I shoot count. But I will likely be picking up another 1911 soon, because I miss that feeling of not being able to stay away from the range.


    By Justin James on Jul 17, 2012

  8. Awwww, I feel it coming. I can read it between the lines. Todd’s coming to the dark side.

    Come Todd … come …

    By Billy on Jul 17, 2012

  9. Now you know why I carried a 1911 for 25 years…

    As I have always stated, a well built 1911 is just as reliable and durable as any other pistol–the 1911’s are just way more expensive and difficult to get that way.

    However, in an era when getting a reliable polymer pistol has become somewhat of a crap shoot, going with a properly customized, well built 1911 makes a certain degree of sense!

    By DocGKR on Jul 17, 2012

  10. The real question is… Will it Blend?!

    By Dropkick on Jul 17, 2012

  11. JD — The Tripp magazines are similar enough to the Metalforms that I’ll probably just relegate them to dedicated dry fire use.

    MT — The gun got field stripped, cleaned, and lubricated after the initial 650 rounds. I’d intended to clean it after the second range session (900) but forgot simply out of habit. Now that it’s gone almost 1,700 my plan is to risk it for the last little bit, get it over the 2,000 Challenge hump, then clean it and try to be better about keeping it clean.

    DocGKR — Isn’t that the scary truth? When people are putting APEX extractors or trigger modules, Lone Wolf parts, aftermarket barrels etc. in their “off the shelf” guns to get them running satisfactorily, the price and hassle of semi-custom 1911 doesn’t seem out of line.

    Dropkick — excellent!

    By ToddG on Jul 17, 2012

  12. Are you still using the SIRT Pistol at all? I’m wondering if the fact that it no longer directly translates to your carry gun has relegated it’s use at all.

    By Jesse on Jul 17, 2012

  13. Interested in the question abo e about the SIRT as well. Been considering getting one but have been holding off since I carry a 1911.

    By Josh Landers on Jul 17, 2012

  14. Todd. You’re wrong about the P30 having problems at the 2,287 round mark.



    The 1911 still has a ways to go to prove itself. (To me.)

    By Robert on Jul 17, 2012

  15. Robert — Fair point but in retrospect it looks like the initial problems with the Blazer in the P30 might have been linked to the out of spec mainspring. After all, I shot quite a bit of Blazer through the gun after the mainspring was replaced and I also shot a ton of it through the HK45. Believe me, I’m not bashing the P30. I still think it’s the best handgun on the market today. But so far, the SACS/WT 9mm 1911 has managed to handle a wider range of ammo with fewer problems in its early life.

    By ToddG on Jul 17, 2012

  16. What you have not commented on yet is how it feels to carry the gun. Low back pain yet?

    By YK on Jul 17, 2012

  17. YK — I honestly don’t notice any difference. The Wilderness belt is stiff enough to support the holster well.

    By ToddG on Jul 17, 2012

  18. Todd… can I ask what AIWB holster you are using for this 1911 test? What AIWB holsters do you recommend for a 1911? Thanks.

    By Chris on Jul 17, 2012

  19. I’d love to see how this compares to a Browning Hi Power since it’s basically a 9mm 1911.

    By Edwin on Jul 17, 2012

  20. Chris — Presently I’m running two: a Keeper’s Kydex Keeper and a prototype of John Ralston’s upcoming aiwb holster. As I’ve only been carrying the gun for five days I don’t really feel I’m in a position to recommend holsters for it quite yet.

    By ToddG on Jul 17, 2012

  21. Todd –

    Yeah, re-reading that I see you’re right. I was just going off of the malfunctions you counted against the gun.

    Which reminds me: How come you didn’t count that against the gun? Because it was a factory fluke or something?

    (A fluke that still gave thousands of trouble free rounds. Which is awesome.)

    By Robert on Jul 18, 2012

  22. Dyed. Dyed in the wool. Unless you expired amongst sheep.
    Nits R Us. 😀

    By Larry on Jul 18, 2012

  23. Doh! No one tell Tam…

    By ToddG on Jul 18, 2012

  24. Robert — To answer your question re: the P30 test, they weren’t counted initially because the assumption was it was the ammo’s fault (or perhaps more correctly it was the user’s fault for using ammo that the manual specifically said was not suitable for the gun). By the time the out of spec mainspring was discovered, there was no way to go back and re-assess whether it was the cause of the original Blazer issues or not.

    By ToddG on Jul 18, 2012

  25. you can do an add on magwell but what.looks even better is a gentlrman’s magwell. This is where the grip is cut off at the magwell and a magwell welded on then blended. total length of the grip stays the same. Should help your reloads.

    By Brian beard on Jul 18, 2012

  26. Is this gun available for purchase anywhere, or does one have to order it as a custom package from Springfield? Actual street price?

    By rob on Jul 18, 2012

  27. rob — Thanks for asking, I think I missed it the last time the question came up.

    The guns are $1,995. They’re commissioned by Scott Warren and built on a semi-regular basis (whenever there are enough orders to justify the next build). Anyone interested in getting one should send me a PM on pistol-forum.com (username: ToddG) and I’ll get you the necessary details.

    By ToddG on Jul 18, 2012

  28. Yep. Todd’s hooked. That crisp, non-hinged single action trigger will get them every time. Add the heft and solid feeling in the hand, lack of muzzle flip (in 9mm) and you got a winning pistol! Todd …. you may never go back.

    OK. Enough with the 1911 love fest. Notice the lack of P.P.P (polymer pistol people) posting? Funny.

    The malfunction-less round count stunned everyone. I may need to buy me one of those …. or two. And the reloads will get faster with practice.

    I can’t wait to read the rest of the test and your training adventure!

    By GhettoSmack on Jul 18, 2012

  29. I have a much less expensive Springfield “Loaded” 1911 in 9mm that I’ve used as a duty gun for 6 years now. Other than a Caspian stainless extractor, it’s pretty much like it was out of the box. I think it’s safe to say that it runs better than my .45’s.

    I would guess that I only have about 10,000 rounds through it, but carry it every day.

    Only once did I have problems with it, and when it rains it pours. I was using a bad batch of Winclean; the powder wasn’t completely burning and was gumming things up. In that condition I believe the 9mm 1911 is more susceptible to short stroking, which I experienced a lot of that day.

    By Rifleslinger on Jul 18, 2012

  30. I’m relieved to see I’m not the only one having that problem with the Tripp mags. I compete with mine and they would routinely come out of the mag pouch with a round halfway out of the feed lips, making my reload execution something less than a textbook example. I’ll be interested to see how the Metalforms fare through the test.

    By KMays on Jul 18, 2012

  31. Todd – Thanks for answering my question, Sir. :)

    By Robert on Jul 19, 2012

  32. The only 9mm 1911 I ever had problem with out of the box was a PARA LTC, & Para later admitted their Power Extractor didn’t work on every caliber.
    It will be interesting to see how long before the recoil spring goes, I have found around 2000 or so I start to have problems.
    I’ve always felt shooting a full-size 1911 in 9mm is almost like cheating, there is little “felt” recoil.

    By The Duck on Jul 19, 2012

  33. If you’ve looked at Brownells catalogs in the last few years, you’ve seen my 6″, 9mm 1911, STI double stack in a couple of them. It shot perfectly from day 1, no problems, no stoppages. Until the mag springs wear out. I’ve had nose-down problems and replacing the mag spring fixes that. Mags are untuned, stock STI. I’ve used their 9mm follower with space, their .38 Super follower with no spacer, Grams followers/springs and they all work. It’s a superb combination and makes me look like I know how to shoot. We ran 900 rounds in one day with 30 or 40 different shooters, as fast as they could load mags, ZERO problems. I now shoot 147 gr. CCI Blazer since it’s cheap, accurate and runs just fine – and hardly ever clean it. It was custom built by Tony Barnes here at Brownells and destroys the myth that a tight gun is fussy. I took it to Gunsite when it was brand new and had no problems in the class, other than getting crap for “shooting a rifle”. I don’t care that it’s the wimpy 9mm, I can hit with it. I don’t try to carry it, the big silver mag well funnel makes it HUGE. 9mm 1911s are great.

    By larry weeks on Jul 19, 2012

  34. I’ll say this about my 1911 project… I’m doing my part to keep Brownells in business now!

    By ToddG on Jul 19, 2012

  35. I have seen that same issue with a few different 9mm mags. 9mm mags are just Super .38 mags with a spacer welded in to keep the cartridges from rattling around. The result is feed lips are a tad shorter than they probably should be.

    My Super. 38 Tripp mags work great (in my super) and I have used them in several 9mms with success.

    By MattNW on Jul 19, 2012

  36. i am interested in the specific technical problems with 9mm in 1911 platform. i.e. why did SA (and others) say 9mm would not run?

    I asked several gunsmiths (including expensive semi custom manufacturers ) but no gives a concrete answer.

    Anyone know?Or is the problem an urban myth?

    By shooterdoc on Jul 19, 2012

  37. Todd,

    I Know I’m a little off subject but as of right now your order of 9mm pistols as a go to gun would be HK,Glock,then M&P?

    Looking back it seems like the M&P did pretty well out of the gate and on.

    I’m Dissappointed in the glock at least out of the gate.

    I’m both happy and eger to see what plays out with the 1911 because so many gun folk have always steered me away from the 1911. Telling me that it was to temper mental for me to be carring in the woods with lots of Rain, Dirt, Dust, ect. I was also told that a 1911 should see a gun smith once a year to be tuned, and I have no Idea wether any of it is true or not.

    One last question do you think that a 9mm 147gr hollow point is enough to take care of a Black Bear with of course good shot placement in a defensive situatin only (not for hunting)or should a guy go 40 / 45 cal. I like my 9mm lot cheaper to practice with than a 40 or 45.

    Any sugestions would be Great.

    By Alan on Jul 20, 2012

  38. Todd, can you take a few pics of your mag well? Curious to see what the flair looks like. Many people who switch to single stack have issue getting the magazine to enter smoothly because it does not have the progressive shoulder of a double stack.

    A trick I picked up from Taran Butler (and with my moderate skill level it helped so for you I imagine it would shave a good bit of time) is to hit the flaired well on the side with the front edge of the mag then guide the mag forward with your index finger. Since 1911’s have no flair on the front of the grip if the mag is forward they are not very forgiving. If you do this regularly you should have some nice impact scars on your magwell flair to confirm you are doing it correctly…

    Just a thought though.

    By Matt NRA on Jul 20, 2012

  39. Todd, have you cleaned the 1911 yet?

    By tesseract on Jul 21, 2012

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