Remington 1911 RAC BB pistol: Part 1
by Tom Gaylord
Writing as B.B. Pelletier
This report covers:
- Why test the Remington?
- The pistol
For starters, let’s get the model right. The Remington 1911 RAC BB pistol isn’t a 1911, except through a broad use of the name. This gun is an M1911A1 model that has most of the updated characteristics of the Colt that were incorporated in changes made 1924-26.
The U.S. Army found that some soldiers had difficulty reaching the trigger, so the long 1911 trigger blade was shortened. Along with that change, scallops were machined into the both sides of the rear of the frame behind the triggerguard to provide additional clearance for short fingers. The short extension at the top of the grip safety was lengthened to prevent shooters with large hands from being cut by the slide as it moved in recoil. The wide cocking pad at the rear of the hammer was removed and the flat mainspring housing was arched to help some shooters point the pistol more naturally. The front sight was both widened and raised to make it easier to see and the notch in the rear sight was widened.
A pistol with these characteristics is properly called a 1911A1, though several of the features exist as replaceable parts (sights, grip safety, trigger blade, slide, hammer and mainspring housing), allowing owners to mix and match their guns at will.
Scallops in the frame is the only feature that cannot be switched between the 1911 and the 1911A1. If there are scallops, the gun is a 1911A1. Everything else is a part that can be swapped. I had about 40 1911A1s in my company arms room in Germany. Upon closer examination, though, many of those pistols had 1911 parts, since they were still in the supply system, where they could be ordered. The only things that were always 1911A1 were the larger sights and the frames with the scallops. My own 1911A1 had a flat mainspring housing, the wide hammer and a long trigger blade, since I prefer them.
Why test the Remington?
The Remington 1911RAC is one of the most realistic 1911-type BB pistols on the market today, and that’s saying a lot. There are quite a few very realistic models coming from from other manufacturers, so this one has to do a lot to compete.
Remington was one of the major makers of the 1911A1 firearm for the government in WW II. It was called a Remington Rand then and today their pistols are coveted by collectors.
The 1911 RAC is an all-metal semiautomatic BB pistol. Everything you touch is metal except for the plastic grip panels. They resemble government grip panels that are also reddish-brown plastic. The gun offers realistic blowback action that should be good — given the weight of the metal slide, plus the fact that it fully recoils.
The metal is finished a dark matte black that resembles a phosphate military finish called Parkerization. The only drawback I can see is they have put white lettering on both sides of the the slide and frame. I find that distracting from what would otherwise be a very attractive pistol.
The RAC has the older-style 1911 hammer that’s wider at the back. This is a popular feature that often gets replaced. It does nothing for the operation of the gun, but some people feel it makes the gun easier to cock. Their thumbs don’t slip off the wider pad as easily.
Since the 1911 platform is single action, cocking speed is essential to getting the gun into action quickly, so perhaps there is something to this. The normal carry for the pistol is with a round in the chamber and the hammer on the safe notch, and yes, the RAC does have the safe notch (the hammer pulled back one click). The gun is carried with the manual safety on. This is the safest way to carry the gun and still be ready to shoot.
I tried the trigger, which is not adjustable. It’s 2 stages, but stage 2 is subtle and you can squeeze right through it. The hammer fall is dead, which means without vibration. The trigger is light and crisp and I think it’s going to be one of the best features of the gun.
The pistol weighs 2 lbs 1 oz, with a CO2 cartridge installed, while an unloaded 1911 weighs 2 lbs. 3 oz. So they are very close.
The sights are not adjustable. Both front and rear sights are cast in place, so they cannot be moved.
The magazine is a drop-free type that releases when the button on the left side of the frame is pressed. It houses both the spring-loaded single stack BB magazine in front and the CO2 cartridge in the rear. The magazine holds 18 steel BBs. You know I will also try the pistol for you with the new Smart Shot BBs in both the velocity and accuracy tests.
The CO2 cartridge is pierced by a large Allen screw in the bottom of the magazine. The screw fits flush to the bottom of the magazine, so nothing protrudes down. An Allen wrench comes with the gun, but it cannot be stored on the gun, so you carry it with you when shooting.
The grip safety works just as it does on the firearm. I tested it in the same way I test firerarm grip safeties and it functioned perfectly. The spring is light and you should have no trouble with the grip safety when shooting the gun. As long as you grip it normally — either right- or left-handed — it will work.
The manual safety also works the same as the safety on a 1911A1 firearm. It’s in the same place and is the same size and shape. The only difference is this one has an arrow and letters telling the shooter where safe is. After a half-century with a 1911 I feel this isn’t needed, but I do acknowledge there are a lot of new shooters who will probably like it.
Yes, the pistol can be disassembled. The instructions are even in the owner’s manual, so they want you to know how. The parts are somewhat different from those of a 1911A1 firearm, but not so much as to be confusing.
I like what I see so far. This feels like a realistic gun, and with Smart Shot BBs it may make a good action pistol for us. We shall see.