Springfield Armory 1911 A-1 MIL-SPEC Part 5

Springfield Armory 1911 A-1 MILSPEC Part 5

Two gun showdown and benchrest accuracy

By Dennis Adler

The Hyskore is a good pistol rest with a lot of adjustments. There are also extra rubber pads to raise the rear of the gun and a V shape rubber pad for the inside of the rest to use if you want to lay the base of the frame on top, rather than in the wedge (as pictured). It depends on the gun and how you are comfortable shooting from a rest. I have never done that well with the pistol rest and air pistols compared to just shooting off hand. Sometimes I do better if I just settle down and use a two-handed hold and Weaver stance. Today, the rest only made a small difference in overall group sizes.

While we might have expected Umarex or Swiss Arms to develop a new 1911 model to challenge Sig Sauer’s WTP, it was another relatively new company to the airgun game that rose to the occasion, Springfield Armory. In many ways this is not unexpected as neither Sig nor Springfield were in the airgun market until the last couple of years for Sig, and only just this year for Springfield since they are both manufacturers of centerfire guns; this as opposed to airgun manufacturers like Umarex, among others, collaborating with gunmakers to produce CO2 copies of their cartridge guns. Of course, Umarex being the parent company of Carl Walther puts them in the perfect position to do this with gun manufacturers like Colt, S&W, and Glock. When a gunmaker decides to make the move into the airgun marketplace, like Sig Sauer did, even establishing a separate division (SIG AIR), it becomes a more meticulous in-house effort. Much the same has occurred at Springfield Armory and the result is a series of new models that have individually raised the bar. The 1911 MIL-SPEC does that, for the most part. We now have two relatively new airgun manufactures with R&D and marketing divisions and offshore manufacturing competing for the most authentic copy of a current production 1911 model in their respective centerfire lines. We also have Umarex and Glock delivering on their promise to introduce new and better models, including the just released Glock 19X. So the race for this year’s top gun is still up for grabs! But first, the benchrest test of last year’s top ranking 1911 CO2 model, the Sig Sauer WTP, literally against “the new kid on the block.” read more

Springfield Armory 1911 A-1 MIL-SPEC Part 4

Springfield Armory 1911 A-1 MILSPEC Part 4

Handling and Accuracy

By Dennis Adler

Pushing authenticity, the Sig Sauer’s WTP is 1:1 with its .45 ACP counterpart, as is the new Air Venturi Springfield Armory 1911 MIL-SPEC. Both guns suffer from white letter safety warnings but have exemplary slide designs with totally authentic factory stampings that match the centerfire models. Additionally, the MIL-SPEC suffers from the S F arrow on the thumb safety, but it’s not alone with models like the Umarex Colt Commander and Air Venturi John Wayne offering the same “help” to those with no idea how to push the safety up and down. And I know I come down hard on this, and I wouldn’t, if every airgun manufacturer did it. Aside from that, both guns have exceptional grips to match their fine finishes, slides and sights.

Getting it right the first time has been the way Springfield Armory and Air Venturi have been working this year with the launch of their new CO2 models. The 1911 MIL-SPEC is the first new one that has resorted to the white lettering, which they had managed to eliminate with the XDM 4.5 and 3.8 models, and the excellent M1 Carbine (plus adding an optional wood stock to make the M1 even more appealing). The white S F arrow on the otherwise correctly-designed thumb safety for the 1911 MIL-SPEC is not uncommon on other CO2 models, and it is not anywhere as bad as other 1911’s out there awash in overstated white graphics and legalese. In fact, the Springfield is as clean as the Sig Sauer WTP in comparison, and the majority of air gunners looking for a new, classically-styled Model 1911 A-1 will agree that we have found a respectably authentic challenger to the Sig Sauer 1911. The WTP has itself played to mixed reviews, not for its capability, but its perfect match to the equally patriotically graphic .45 ACP model. Now, for the record, I like the hard look of the WTP in .45 ACP so much that I came close to purchasing the centerfire model to go with the air pistol. Of course, it is supposed to be the other way around, you buy the air pistol to go with the centerfire gun, and this may well be the case with the Springfield, because the .45 ACP MIL-SPEC model, at a retail of $764, is almost an entry-level gun in price compared with other more feature laden 1911 Springfield Armory models that can run as high as $1,500 to $3,000. With the CO2 version being a 1:1 for the .45 ACP Springfield MIL-SPEC, it is exactly what the Sig Sauer WTP CO2 is to Sig’s .45 Auto. You can’t really say that about many other 1911-style CO2 pistols, so this has obviously become a two man race. read more

Springfield Armory 1911 A-1 MIL-SPEC Part 3

Springfield Armory 1911 A-1 MILSPEC Part 3

Velocities vary

By Dennis Adler

The competition for the Springfield MIL-SPEC really comes down to one of these four variations of the 1911 as a CO2 model, the first blowback action 1911, the Umarex Colt Commander, the WWII style of 1911 which is represented here by the Air Venturi John Wayne model, and the two most modern of the 1911 CO2 designs, the Swiss Arms 1911 TRS (Rail Gun) and custom Sig Sauer 1911 WE THE PEOPLE, which like the new Springfield is the CO2 understudy to a current .45 ACP model.

You would think that if all these 1911 CO2 models share the same parts internally and variations of the same parts externally, and use the same CO2 BB magazines, that they would all shoot the same and have average velocities that are very close. But there are differences from the sights to the trigger designs and trigger pull weights. All of these can lead to differences in accuracy, as they should, that’s why 1911 sights, triggers, recoil springs, and slide and frame interfaces, have been improved upon over the years for centerfire models. A gun that is based on an early design, like the Tanfoglio Witness, Swiss Arms 1911 A-1, and John Wayne 1911 A-1 WWII commemorative have the oldest design features and those will have an effect on accuracy for most shooters. (I say most because there are some people who can pick up any gun and instinctively hit their target.) read more

Springfield Armory 1911 A-1 MIL-SPEC Part 2

Springfield Armory 1911 A-1 MILSPEC Part 2

Evolving parts from one design to another

By Dennis Adler

There are two types of blowback action 1911 CO2 models, those that follow the John Browning design and have fully functioning slide and barrel interfaces, removable (drop free) self-contained CO2 BB magazines, and true operating features such as thumb safeties, slide releases, grip safeties and correctly designed SAO triggers. And then there are those that don’t, and use what I call short, short-recoil designs, are not field strippable, have a separate CO2 compartment in the grip frame and load BBs with a stick magazine. However nice they may look from the outside, they are not in the same league with CO2 models like the new Springfield Armory 1911 A-1 MIL SPEC. read more

Springfield Armory 1911-A1 MIL-SPEC Part 1

Springfield Armory 1911-A1 MILSPEC Part 1

A new blowback action 1911 model with its own heritage

By Dennis Adler

Today’s Springfield Armory is the successor to the original Springfield Armory established in 1794 as the first manufacturer of arms and munitions for the United States military. Originally located in Springfield, Massachusetts, the Armory remained America’s oldest armsmaker until it was closed in 1968, with the facilities becoming a National Historic Site and the main arsenal converted into one of America’s largest arms museums.

Our first look at the Air Venturi Springfield Armory 1911 MIL SPEC blowback action model confirms three things, one that Springfield Armory knows how to build a good box for storage, two, print a first class instruction book based on the centerfire model’s book, and lastly, build a darn good looking air pistol. How this all plays out in use we will find out over the next week.

The Springfield Armory name and legacy as one of the great armsmakers in American history was reestablished in 1974 with the design and production of three of the original armory’s most important contributions to our nation’s military, the M1 Garand, Model 1911-A1 and M14. That trio of famous American arms was the foundation for today’s Springfield Armory brand produced in Geneseo, Illinois. The 1911 was the basis for the company’s handgun manufacturing (which now includes other handguns like the XDM Series). Beginning with the 1911-A1 standard model over 30 years ago, today Springfield Armory is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of the legendary Colt Model 1911. read more

HK USP vs. Glock 17 Gen4 vs. XDM 4.5

HK USP vs. Glock 17 Gen4 vs. XDM 4.5

When worlds collide

By Dennis Adler

Unequal equals, the Umarex HK USP introduced late last year is a polymer frame pistol just like the Air Venturi Springfield Armory XDM 4.5 (left) and Umarex Glock 17 Gen4, but the centerfire gun that the HK USP is based upon is 30 years old. The Gen4 Glock was developed from the 1982 G17 but in 2010 was a completely revised design compared to the original Glock 17. The XDM centerfire model was introduced in 2008, so technically the HK USP is the oldest of the three designs and was as groundbreaking of a pistol back in 1989 as the original Glock 17 was in 1982. And as I have mentioned before, HK developed a pistol with a plastic (ABS) frame almost a decade before Glock’s polymer frame concept.

The only thing the Umarex Heckler & Koch USP has in common with the Umarex Glock 17 Gen4 and the Air Venturi Springfield Armory XDM 4.5, other than all three being blowback action CO2 pistols, is that the HK also uses a polymer frame. The centerfire guns share that in common as well, but the HK USP is far more traditional in its design, first, being a double action/single action pistol (DA/SA), secondly, being a hammer-fired design vs. two striker fired designs, and lastly, being a pistol that can be de-cocked and carried 100 percent safe with a chambered round and a manual safety set. In the real world of centerfire pistols these are features that law enforcement, military, and seasoned gun owners grew up around, and handguns that offered these features were the norm; guns like the Glock 17 were the exception. Those roles have reversed themselves today, and semi-autos like the Heckler & Koch USP, though still carried by some law enforcement agencies, and preferred by individuals who want “options” in how their handgun can be carried, is not what the majority of people are carrying. The HK is a graduate of the “Old School” only with a polymer frame that sets it apart from other DA/SA, hammer-fired contemporaries. The CO2 models of the HK, Glock and Springfield Armory pistols embody all of those differences and make it possible for air gun enthusiasts to make the same choices and weigh the advantages, disadvantages, and authenticity of each in much the same way. read more