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Remington R1 review

Alien Gear Holsters' Remington R1 1911 Review

If you're looking for that first 1911 pistol or you want a modestly priced GI model that's long on performance, the Remington R1 1911 is about as good as it gets. We'll go over why in this Remington R1 review.

The Remington R1 is a GI model with a couple of modern touches. It is not, however, without some flaws. If you're looking for the basic 1911 experience, though, the Remington R1 1911 is one of the best points of entry.

Remington R1: This Is Just A Tribute

Remington R1

The Remington R1 isn't the first 1911 that Remington has ever made. The company made a small production run of M1911 pistols toward the end of the first World War. Unfortunately, peace broke out and they ceased production. Later on, a great many of M1911A1 pistols would be made by the Remington-Rand Corporation, a different corporation from the gun maker.

Anyhow, Remington Arms decided they wanted back in the handgun game. To do so, they decided to make a GI-spec 1911 to honor that original production run of Remington M1911 pistols back in 1917, since the government leased the design to producers other than Colt. The first examples rolled off the production line in 2010.

Since then, Remington acquired Para USA and moved them in-house. Their 1911 line has expanded as well, offering a fairly diverse line-up of pistols including Gov't, Commander and Officer frames and much more. The Remington R1, of course, is the basic model.

Remington R1 1911

The Remington R1 1911

The Remington R1 1911 isn't a plastic sissy pistol. You get about 40 ounces of parkerized blue steel and wood. If you want blacked out everything, swappable backstraps, 1913 rails everywhere and double stacks of 9mm, this ain't your gun. Could you concealed carry a 1911? Sure...but you better have a good belt, because lugging one around can be a chore.

However, it is an excellent example of the basic edition of the breed. Takedown reveals clean machining, and a beveled (non-ramped) barrel throat on a stainless steel barrel. A stainless solid bushing holds it in place, with the classic spring, partial guide rod and plug.

The grips are walnut, with the classic diamond pattern and knurling for texture.

The ejection port is slightly flared, and a port is tapped in the top of the barrel to serve as a loaded chamber indicator.

The frame includes the GI-style grip safety, with a left-side-only thumb safety. The thumb safety lever is closer to the original M1911 thumb safety, which was replaced with a larger button on on the M1911A1 in 1927. Controls are the thumb safety, magazine release and the slide stop/slide release lever/takedown pin.

The slide serrations are the original vertical style, but are grippy enough. Tthe grip housing has vertical serrations on the front and on the mainspring housing, which is a nice modern touch. Said mainspring housing is the original straight style rather than the arched A1 style.

The sights are modern three-dot, with driftable front and rear sights in lieu of the staked front and driftable rear sight arrangement on the original.

The trigger system is the Series 80 design, with a firing pin block in addition to the grip safety and manual safety lever.

So, it's a GI model but it has a few modern updates.

Remington R1 review

Remington R1 Review

Many a Remington R1 review has commented that it's a basic pistol, but done very well. This review is a continuation of that theme...to a point.

One of the things people look for in a 1911 pistol is fitment. Specifically, that of the slide-to-frame, bushing-to-barrel and bushing-to-slide. A tight fit means tight lock-up, which contributes to accuracy.

Slide to frame fit isn't impossibly tight, but certainly isn't loose. Add some lubrication and it slides as smooth as glass. If you carry the gun, give it a little bit of lubricant every week or so and it'll stay that way. The bushing to barrel fit isn't the tightest, but bushing to slide fit is very tight indeed. Takedown without a bushing wrench isn't impossible but is not easy...at all.

In short, the bits that should be tight are definitely tight. Those bases are covered, and this pistol will shoot groups that prove it. While not quite a laser, it is highly accurate, more so than typical price points would suggest.

The Remington R1 1911 has no issues with hollow point ammunition. While the barrel isn't ramped, it does have the proper bevel to the barrel throat, allowing sure feeding of JHP rounds. The manufacturer recommends a limited diet of +P ammunition, but reviewers and owners have found it doesn't have too many issues shooting it.

The grips are much nicer than most other pistols of this price point, as they are a set of very smart-looking walnut. However, the knurling is aggressive to say the least. If you carry this gun IWB, you'll feel like you're wearing a wood rasp. However, the knurling can actually be appreciated while shooting as they grip the hand tight.

The gun comes in a hard green case, with a lock, owner's manual, bushing wrench (you'll probably need it!) and two 7-round magazines. It's more than you get from some companies after spending more money, so that's nice.

MSRP is $749, but you won't spend that much unless you screw up. Remington R1 pistols can be found for as little as $500 from many retailers; $450 or less is not unheard of either.

Overall, the gun gets a lot of the basics right. It has a nice tight fight, is incredibly accurate given the price point and runs reliably if cleaned and lubricated...like any other 1911 out there. In terms of value for money, you can't beat it with a stick. You will not find a pistol this well-made for this price point, period. Other GI pistols close to this price point aren't nearly as cleanly machined or finished.

But...there are some caveats.

First is the Remington R1 sights. They're decent white dots, which - no doubt - is part of why so many a Remington R1 review hails the pistol's accuracy. The issue is the sight cuts. You see, the typical GI pistol from a bunch of different manufacturers uses the original sight cuts from Colt. Why this matters is that you can easily upgrade with a staked front sight and dovetailed rear sight from a number of manufacturers.

Remington, in their wisdom, decided the R1 would have a proprietary sight cut for the rear sight while the front sight uses a Novak front sight cut. At the moment, only XS Sights makes aftermarket sights for the Remington R1. If you wanted to add aftermarket sights, your choices are XS sights or having the slide machined...which will void the warranty unless you use one of the Remington-recommended service providers.

Second is the trigger. The truth about Series 80 triggers is that you're just a bad shooter if you can't use one, but many of them aren't as crisp as a Series 70 trigger.

The R1's trigger is decent but no more There is a clean break at about 6 pounds and a short, audible reset, but it's kind of mushy. Granted, a Cylinder and Slide kit and upgraded trigger can fix that….but then again, you're demented if you expect a custom shop trigger on a mass production gun.

Are those deal-breakers? It depends. If you want a platform for DIY upgrades, other basic 1911 pistols - Rock Island, Springfield, Colt - are a better fit, as they have traditional sight cuts. That said, if all you want is a basic 1911-pattern pistol that will run reliably, shoot accurately, and give you the pleasures of 1911 ownership without breaking the bank...frankly the Remington R1 1911 is the gun to get.

About The Author

Writer sam hoober