SUMMER OF 2013 “PROJECT GUN” – SPRINGFIELD ARMORY 1911 “MIL SPEC”

This summer's "Project" Gun" is a Mil Spec 1911 by Springfield Armory

This summer’s “Project” Gun” is a Mil Spec 1911 by Springfield Armory

I was bitten by the 1911 pistol bug relatively late in life, but badly bitten, none-the-less. After enjoying my first 1911 – the Taurus PT1911 – a lot more than the inna-net “experts” said I should, it was natural that I should be “sort of” looking for a next step in 1911 ownership. After selling some of my no longer used offshore fishing gear, I set about searching for an “affordable” 1911 from a select group of 1911’s on the “experienced” market, those deemed suitable for the next step in my devious plan. The Springfield Armory pistols are reasonably priced, for their quality, and have a very good reputation in the “Industry”. Their current line-up begins with the Mil Spec, which is an updated “GI” version of a metal framed pistol with a Parkerized finish and attractive wooden grips. This was the model I selected, and the one I was fortunate enough to find, according to “Patty B”, at Springfield customer Service, shows to have been made in Febriary of 2009, from the serial number. It actually lacks some of the “extra” features found on my Taurus – such as a checkered front and back strap, ambidextrous safety, rounded hammer spur, large, three-hole trigger, and a front light rail. It also does not seem as heavy as the Taurus, probably because of the extra metal that goes into said light rail. The 3-dot rear sights are not as nice as the Novac sights on the Taurus,and the smaller front sight is “staked” on the slide, rather than dove-tailed like the Taurus front sight. It came in a blue plastic case with an extra set of black plastic grips (I guess for “night ninja” use), a minimalist belt retention holster and a belt magazine holder that holds it’s two provided magazines – also under adjustable retention. My magazines were without base pads, but this will be corrected when my next order from Wilson Combat arrives. List prices on these pistols runs in the $700 neighborhood, and the factory website listed “none available” – which might explain why some used models I saw were being offered at more than MRSP.

The Springfield Armory Ml Spec comes in a case with cleaning brush, extra black plastic grips, 2 magazines, a small retention belt holster, and a mag carrier that holds 2 magazines - also under tension.

The Springfield Armory Ml Spec comes in a case with cleaning brush, extra black plastic grips, 2 magazines, a small retention belt holster, and a mag carrier that holds 2 magazines – also under tension.

The plastic holster is a bit unusual in that it appears to have the front optics mounting rail the pistol lacks. I admit to having thoughts of cutting a hole in it to allow pulling the trigger and mounting a red dot sight on it!

Thsi simple pastic holster that comes with the psitol will fir on your belt, had a tension adjustment to hold the pistol in place,  and covers the trigger guard like the holsters designed for the Glock pistols with no safety.

Thsi simple pastic holster that comes with the psitol will fir on your belt, had a tension adjustment to hold the pistol in place, and covers the trigger guard like the holsters designed for the Glock pistols with no safety.

The Mil Spec “feels good” in my hand – as I guess all 1911’s do, and I like its looks, with the non-glare black of the frame offset by the nicely checkered grips. When I fired it, I was not disappointed. It functioned perfectly on the 2 magazines of 230gr FMJ rounds I ran through it on the first outing, and accuracy was decent for me with open sights at 25 yards. As an experiment, I painted the three white dots a brighter yellow with fingernail polish – and on the Taurus, also. This was an improvement, and I am going to try some high visibility paints marketed for use on sights before spending the bucks on good “night sights” with tritium dots.

Not wishing to shell out the bucks for a quality set of fiber optic open sights at this stage of the project, I painted the white 3 dots sights with yellow nail polish for better visibility. It DID help, and was certainly economical!

Not wishing to shell out the bucks for a quality set of fiber optic open sights at this stage of the project, I painted the white 3 dots sights with yellow nail polish for better visibility. It DID help, and was certainly economical!

After firing the pistol, I field stripped it and gave it a good cleaning – also scrubbing down the Parkerized frame and then rubbing it with some silicone – which made it looks almost like new.

Field stripped, the Mil Spec looks like any other 1911. It has a stainless barrel, which the Springfield web site describes as "match grade", but does not have a full-length guide rod - yet!

Field stripped, the Mil Spec looks like any other 1911. It has a stainless barrel, which the Springfield web site describes as “match grade”, but does not have a full-length guide rod – yet!

A good, smooth and polished feed ramp is essential for successfully feeding various bullet types in a 1911. The Springfield Armory ramp will do the job!

A good, smooth and polished feed ramp is essential for successfully feeding various bullet types in a 1911. The Springfield Armory ramp will do the job!

Almost all 1911 pistols will feed Full Metal Jacket ammo - "Hard Ball" - successfully, but hollow-point and semi-wadcutter bullets require a good feed ramp that transitions to the barrel properly.

Almost all 1911 pistols will feed Full Metal Jacket ammo – “Hard Ball” – successfully, but hollow-point and semi-wadcutter bullets require a good feed ramp that transitions to the barrel properly.

This "exploded" view of the Sprignfield with the grip off shows the spacing and angle of .45 ACP bullets in the loaded magazine (Note: The pistol's thumb safety was "ON" in this picture).

This “exploded” view of the Sprignfield with the grip off shows the spacing and angle of .45 ACP bullets in the loaded magazine (Note: The pistol’s thumb safety was “ON” in this picture).

The Mil Spec, like my Taurus, is made in Brazil – by IMBEL, a respected firearms maker. With what I’ve seen from the Taurus, I sort of like Brazilian pistols!

The Springfield Mil Spec is made in Brazil, by IMBEL - which I am told is nothing to be ashamed of. The higher end Springfield Armory pistols are made in the custom shop in Illinois.

The Springfield Mil Spec is made in Brazil, by IMBEL – which I am told is nothing to be ashamed of. The higher end Springfield Armory pistols are made in the custom shop in Illinois.

I mentioned the Mil Spec does not come with a front “light” rail? This was going to be a problem for the next phase of my project- installing a pistol scope! I mean, who needs fiber optic open sights? I have been playing with a mount that attaches to the front rail on my Taurus, and it seems to be stable and sturdy. It holds the scope above the slide, rather than on it – which is better for the scope, and allow for the use of the open sights beneath it if required.

This mount attaches to the front light rail on the Taurus PT1911 and holds the scope above the slide - high enough to use the open sights beneath.

This mount attaches to the front light rail on the Taurus PT1911 and holds the scope above the slide – high enough to use the open sights beneath.

I found an add-on front rail , made of aluminum by Surefire, that is attached primarily to the pistol by a longer slide stop – furnished with the adaptor – and further tightened by a set screw against the trigger guard. It is so far very secure, and the scope mount can be attached to it, just as on a built-in rail, except it takes a little experimenting to get it to provide a level mounting surface. The rail, mount, and scope DO add some weight to the pistol – but that also works well with my plans for the NEXT step in the summer project gun.

Why depend on open sights, when a system can be fashioned to mount a 4X Leupold pistol scope, one of 3 optics beign interviewed to work with the new .460 Rowland barrel.

Why depend on open sights, when a system can be fashioned to mount a 4X Leupold pistol scope, one of 3 optics being interviewed to work with the new .460 Rowland barrel.

TOMORROW, THE SPRINGFIELD 1911 MIL SPEC .45 ACP WILL HAVE IT’S SLIDE SHIPPED TO LOUISIANA TO HAVE A NEW .460 ROLAND BARREL FITTED TO IT!

About MikeH

Texas hunter and fisherman for 50 years, published outdoor writer since 1979, licensed charter boat operator from 1982 to 2013. Past Member, Board of Directors, National Association of Charterboat Operators, current member Environmental Advisory Committee to the DOE and the Strategic Petroleum Reserve. Married to Dorothy since 2000, one son, Michael who is recently married and living in Nederland, Texas. My wife and I live in Oyster Creek, Texas, near Freeport, and have a hunting property outside of Brazoria, Texas.
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