Springfield/Warren 9mm 1911 Endurance Test: The Gun

15-Jul-12 – 23:18 by ToddG

The test of the 9mm 1911 has begun!

First, a bit about the pistols themselves. These are not guns that the Springfield Armory Custom Shop built specially for me. When I inquired about a pair of 1911s that were built to the same specification as the FBI “Professional” model but in 9mm, SACS suggested I consider adding my name to the list for a limited run commissioned each year by Scott Warren. If you’re not familiar with Scott, he is a many-times IDPA National Champion and 24 year veteran of the FBI. The majority of his time at the FBI was as part of their Hostage Rescue Team where he served in an operational role and then as the team’s primary firearms instructor for many years. He’s also very well known in the shooting community as the man behind Warren Tactical sights.

The “WTL” (Warren TacticaL) from Springfield is built from selected Springfield TRP frames, slides, and barrels. Then the following work is performed by the Custom Shop gunsmiths:

  • Select fit slide to frame
  • Polish feed ramp & throat barrel
  • Unique three line serrations on top of slide
  • Fitted speed trigger w/ tuned 4.5 lb. trigger pull
  • Tuned for total reliability
  • Lowered & flared ejection port
  • Extended ejector
  • Tuned & polished extractor
  • GI recoil system
  • Hand fit Warren Tactical style beavertail grip safety
  • Extended ambi thumb safety
  • Warren Tactical low mount combat sights w/dovetail Fiber Optic front sight
  • Custom fit S&A magwell checkered @ 25lpi
  • 25lpi front strap checkering
  • “Carry Bevel” complete pistol
  • Warren Tactical custom grips
  • Two tone black and OD green Armory Kote finish
  • 2 Premium magazines with slam pads
  • Unique Warren Tactical logo
  • WTS prefix serial number

Given Scott’s direct involvement in the selection of the FBI SWAT and FBI HRT Springfield 1911 pistols, it’s no surprise that these guns are almost identical to my original wish for a 9mm Professional. Not only were the “WTL” guns less expensive than a true custom gun, they were also available without the usual two year wait time.

I’ve made only two changes: I replaced the sights with Warren Tactical 3-dot night sights (provided by Warren) and replaced the grips with Crimson Trace Master Series Lasergrips (provided by CTC).

As with all previous tests, there are actually two pistols: a primary and a back-up. Unlike previous tests, however, this time I received both guns at the same time instead of having to wait for the back-up. As such, I had to pick one to test and one to leave in reserve. To distinguish them, I’m calling serial number 16 “Grey” (it has the grey Lasergrips) and number 17 is “Green” (it has the green Lasergrips). Green turned in slightly better groups (by half an inch at 25yd) and has a little nicer trigger (crisp 4.75# with very little overtravel and solid reset) so it was selected to be the test gun. Grey will be the back-up, and I would be just as confident to carry and test it.

Later this week I’ll post a detailed write-up about the test gun’s first few days at the range.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

  1. 24 Responses to “Springfield/Warren 9mm 1911 Endurance Test: The Gun”

  2. Is the “WTL” package 9mm specific or will the SACS build it in your choice of caliber? As a shooter who doesn’t own a 1911 I’m excited to see how this test evolves. BTW, how does it feel to be a “True American Patriot” now?

    By MD7305 on Jul 16, 2012

  3. The WTL guns are build in small quantities and have all been 9mm so far. I cannot say whether Scott or Springfield would/could do a different caliber.

    By ToddG on Jul 16, 2012

  4. I’m really looking forward to this test. I might check into buying one later if everything goes well. I wish you the best, Todd.

    By John on Jul 16, 2012

  5. I’ve been thinking of getting a 9mm 1911 and was looking at a Les Baer. These pistols interest me as I really like Warren’s sights and they may be competitively priced. Would you mind mentioning the price paid?

    By Joe on Jul 16, 2012

  6. Is it really a torture test if the gun is a 9mm? With proper spring changes, cleaning, and other maintenance the gun should last for a really long time shouldn’t it?

    By Shawn Knight on Jul 16, 2012

  7. Are you comfortable with the ambi safety in a carry pistol?

    By Brice on Jul 16, 2012

  8. That gun looks awesome. What a great package.

    By Ken Rihanek on Jul 16, 2012

  9. I suspect you are going to make me buy a damn 1911 by the time this test is done…

    By Jesse on Jul 16, 2012

  10. I’d never MAKE you do anything, Jesse.

    By ToddG on Jul 16, 2012

  11. Do the guns have ramped-barrels, or traditional 1911 non-ramped..?

    By ChipK on Jul 16, 2012

  12. Sometimes you underestimate the strength of your influence. I bought my two handguns on the basis of your testing and writing! =)

    By Curby on Jul 16, 2012

  13. Curby — the question is whether you’re happy you did!

    By ToddG on Jul 16, 2012

  14. I’ve owned every single pistol you’ve ever tested. Odd, I feel sheepish. 😉

    By Sparks2112 on Jul 16, 2012

  15. Well no you can’t make me but after almost 19 months of shooting just my Glock 17 in matches I’ve been looking for something to shoot that is different, that said I just looked at the Springfield TRP price and I’ll probably just stick with my Glock for now.

    By Jesse on Jul 16, 2012

  16. Beautiful Guns!

    By SalC on Jul 16, 2012

  17. It’d be interesting to see SACS offer more of these TRP based guns. They seem to offer a lot of 1911 at an good price point, without the expense or delay of the Custom Carry or Pro.

    By JSGlock34 on Jul 16, 2012

  18. Very cool. I wish I had known these existed last year. I carry a 9mm 1911 on duty but mine is an STI with some work done to it. These look very nice. Only thing that worries me is not running an AFTEC. Mine has been 100% reliable even with gold dots.

    By Josh Landers on Jul 16, 2012

  19. Those really are beautiful pistols. Once you finish the 2000 round challenge, please clean them. It’s one thing not to clean a Glock (not a good thing, but one thing) but it would be a crime against humanity to not keep those pistols clean. They are just too pretty.

    By SteveJ on Jul 17, 2012

  20. Can you post a picture of the magwell?


    By Ray on Jul 17, 2012

  21. I read the week 1 report, and am glad to see that the 1911 can be as reliable as other guns. It’ll be interesting to see how it performs over time. That said, I wonder how fair of a comparison this is. Painting in $500 strokes, we have:

    M&P: ~$500
    Gen4: ~$500
    P30: ~$1000
    HK45: ~$1000
    1911: ~$2000

    Now the Glock, S&W, and HKs cost what they cost, and you can’t really change that, but the playing field could still have been evened up. There are 1911s that cost under $2k, and perhaps the M&P and G4 might have benefited from some additional work by smiths with experience doing initial tests on and shoring up the known weaknesses of those platforms. You took pains to make it clear that the Gen4 was a straight off the shelf Glock 17, but this 1911 is hardly that at all.

    I know these tests aren’t meant to be an apples to apples comparison, and I love reading about them regardless, but using a limited production test gun that could buy FOUR of another test gun seems needlessly unbalanced.

    Anyway, just 2c. Thanks for all your hard work pushing these things to their limits!

    By Curby on Jul 17, 2012

  22. Curby — That’s a totally fair thing to say. As you pointed out, the tests have never intended to be apples to apples. I see it more like an auto magazine. They’ll write up reports about a Ford Focus and a Porsche 911 in the same issue. One is achievable by the masses, the other isn’t… but is still interesting to many even if they’re not planning to get one themselves.

    People will obviously draw comparisons between the different guns I’ve tested. Heck, I do it myself. But it should always be in context. “My $2k Springfield achieved xyz compared to my $500 Glock.” If the conclusion most people reach is that the $500 Glock makes more sense, so be it. I’m not trying to sell these things, just shoot them. 8)

    By ToddG on Jul 17, 2012

  23. Why did you change out to 3-dot sights? You usually use 2 dots.

    By Robert on Jul 17, 2012

  24. Robert — The sights I’ve been using on my Glocks have all been 3-dot for the past several months. I got tired of having the rear sight dot drilled slightly off center and causing alignment issues.

    By ToddG on Jul 17, 2012

  25. Ah. Thanks for answering that, Todd. :)

    Have you tried plain black rears, like the 10-8 sights?

    I’ve been a fan of ’em on my Glocks for a while.

    By Robert on Jul 18, 2012

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