Springfield Armory 1911-A1 MIL–SPEC 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.
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.
There are 16 different 1911 models (along with variations of each) offered by Springfield Armory, from modern tactical versions, like the 1911 RO Elite Operator, which is a full military design rail gun with ambidextrous safeties, red fiber optic front sight and G10 grips, to Springfield’s classic 1911 series of traditionally-styled pistols, including the 1911 MIL-SPEC, the basis for the first ever Springfield Armory 1911 blowback action CO2 model. That gun is copied from the MIL-SPEC Stainless version with Springfield’s Parkerized finish contrasted by a polished barrel bushing surrounding the stainless steel 5-inch barrel.
Back to Basics
The .45 ACP Springfield Armory MIL-SPEC is a modestly updated version of the original Colt Model 1911-A1 they produced beginning in 1984. There are two versions; the Stainless Steel Mil-Spec built on a full-size frame and slide with stainless steel construction and a polished finish on the flat surfaces and bead-blasted matte finish on the rounded areas. The mainspring housing is the original arched style found on GI issue 1911-A1s, but it includes Springfield Armory’s I.L.S. (Internal Locking System) on centerfire models, (but not on the CO2 version).
The pistol has a standard spur hammer, standard grip safety, left-side, non-extended thumb safety, and short military combat trigger true to the original 1911-A1. Improvements to the original design include 3-dot fixed sights, and a lowered and flared ejection port (on the centerfire models). Each MIL SPEC comes with cross-cannon emblazoned walnut grips that are held in place with slotted grip screws. The grips for the CO2 model are duplicated with quality injection molded panels that have the same checkering and cross-cannon Springfield Armory logo. As plastic 1911 grips go, these are exceptional looking. The same can be said of the Parkerized-look finish on the CO2 model, and all of the Springfield Armory stampings on the slide. Visually, it is a handsomely upgraded WWII-era 1911-A1 design.
The only immediate fault I have with the gun is the use of the S F white lettering and an arrow on the thumb safety (like the Umarex Colt Commander) and white letter warnings in small type on the left side of the frame. White lettering is also used on the right side for the Springfield name and caliber stamping, but this is more than forgivable as white lettering is sometimes used on centerfire guns for the same purpose. It is the warning on the left side and the S F arrow on the safety that diminish an otherwise superbly executed copy of the Springfield Armory Parkerized finish MIL SPEC model.
In Part 2 we begin examining the features and compare this latest 1911 CO2 model to the competition.
A word about safety
Blowback action airguns provide the look, feel and operation of their cartridge-firing counterparts and this is one reason why they have become so popular. Airguns in general all look like guns, blowback action models more so, and it is important to remember that the vast majority of people can’t tell an airgun from a cartridge gun. Never brandish an airgun in public. Always, and I can never stress this enough, always treat an airgun as you would a cartridge gun. The same manual of operation and safety should always apply.