July 23, 2018
Labeled as Springfield Armory's "most elite production 1911," the Tactical Response Pistol (TRP) is a top-shelf successor to John Browning's design that features the latest refinements. Intriguingly, this model is now offered in 10mm Auto.
Produced in two iterations, these new TRPs are configured as either a standard full-size gun with a 5-inch barrel and fixed ledge-type night sights, or as a longslide housing a 6-inch barrel with a windage- and elevation-adjustable rear target sight. The late Col. Jeff Cooper would surely consider the former to be a proper fighting gun. It is configured much like Springfield's full-custom Professional model with rail as once used by the FBI's Hostage Rescue Team (HRT). Since the FBI played a pivotal part in the development of the 10mm cartridge, the marriage of the two seems particularly apt. The result is an outstanding pistol for those looking for such authority in a full-size 1911 for self-defense or duty carry.
On the other hand, the longslide version of the TRP in 10mm falls beyond the realm of an all-around tool for defending the castle or protecting the Constitution. Sure, it will serve as such, but with its longer barrel, greater weight, bulk and adjustable sights, the longslide is more suitable for hunting or as a daily carry gun for ranchers, outdoorsmen or rural law enforcement officers. Such shooters may willingly accept the weight and bulk to gain the advantage the 10mm offers in sustained velocity and extended-range performance.
Springfield Armory's 10mm longslide TRP provides best-in-class power in a semiautomatic pistol that nips at the heels of the outstanding .41 S&W Magnum revolver cartridge. To beat this semiauto 10mm, you've got to jump to the Desert Eagle chambered in .44 Magnum or .50 Action Express (AE), which isn't practical for everyday carry (EDC). Weighing almost as much as a light rifle, the Desert Eagles are double the physical size of a 1911, which means those are not a belt-carry sidearm.
Why a longslide? In addition to maximizing 10mm cartridge performance, a longslide 1911 provides a longer sight radius, which makes such pistols easier to shoot precisely. Pair that with a really top-shelf, adjustable rear sight such as the version on the Springfield's TRP longslide, and you've legitimately extended your maximum potential range.
The up-front weight of the added barrel and slide length also helps to tame recoil. With the configurations of Springfield's two new TRPs, the historically vengeful kick from shooting full-power 10mm loads becomes quite tolerable.
I had the privilege of spending considerable evaluation time and ammunition shooting a pair of longslide 10mm TRPs. First, let me describe the pistols' bones.
Built on a steel frame featuring a Picatinny-type accessory rail machined as part of this 1911's dust cover, the 6-inch longslide weighs 6 ounces more than a full-size Government model with a standard 5-inch barrel and no rail. That's a significant amount of weight that's nice to have when attempting challenging shots. That said, it can be a chore to pack around all day. In the right scenario, the extra weight is worth it because it helps to stabilize a shooting position and minimize human errors.
The TRP slide is machined out of forged steel. It is not dehorned, which means it has crisp, sharp edges and corners unlike those on trendy 1911s for EDC. Both the frontstrap and the flat mainspring housing feature Springfield's trademarked "Octo-Grip" texture. It provides a nonslip grip without being too abrasive in your hands or while wearing your favorite jacket.
With no extended magwell yawning at the bottom of the grip, the frame instead features a generous bevel around the magazine well. Bevels provide a slight advantage when reloading without the bulk, weight and cost of an extended chute.
A generous beavertail grip safety protects the web of your shooting hand against hammer and slide bite. Nicely contoured, it functioned smoothly and reliably during my use. I noticed that it wasn't blended with the frame when pressed. Since the TRP is not a custom 1911, I can forgive that.
Extended thumb safety levers are available on both sides of the frame to engage and disengage with positive intent. These offer just the right resistance and are accompanied by an audible click. The slide stop is a serrated standard profile lever that also offers a perfect balance of no-snag discretion with accessible function.
The Go Switch Dubbed the "Gen 2 Speed Trigger," this skeletonized part of medium length is left in a natural aluminum color. Tested with a Lyman digital trigger gauge, the TRP 10mm had an average pull weight of 5 pounds, 7 ounces. The hammer and controls are skeletonized combat style with serrations for one-thumb cocking if desired.
The magazine release is a simple, serrated low-profile part. It's ideal for field work where accidentally bumping it and losing the magazine could result in disaster. Behind it are a set of VZ Grips' Alien G10 panels, which are given a generous thumb-relief groove to make reaching the magazine release faster and more comfortable. G10 is a durable composite material made of canvas (or fiberglass) mesh layered with a resin binder and then laminated under tons of pressure. The Alien pattern is a ball-cut grip texture that, according to VZ Grips, was designed for the Precision Weapons Section (PWS) of the U.S. Marine Corps who built the former M45 MEUSOC pistol.
Production-grade 1911s are known for their play that exists between the frame and slide. Fitting the two parts to the tolerances held by the TRP is a time-consuming, costly procedure. Whether we can credit these models' fit to machining tolerances or hands-on lapping, the longslide TRP had an action that mimicked a custom job. There was no discernable play at all.
The slide profile is straightforward. Minimally aggressive serrations are machined fore and aft, and the top rear is dovetailed and relieved for the windage- and elevation-adjustable rear sight. This target-style sight also contains tritium night-sight vials, while the front dovetail holds a complimentary night sight. The ejection port is lowered and flared, which means that there's plenty of doorway for the internal ejector to launch empty cases through.
To maximize reliability and potential accuracy, the 6-inch, stainless-steel, match-grade bull barrel in the longslide is built with a supported feed ramp and has a bushingless fit with the slide. The heavy recoil sp ring compresses around a standard guide rod. Due to the heavy recoil spring, working the slide takes more effort than racking a Government model .45 with a 5-inch barrel. However, the slide reciprocates like grease on glass, which gave a distinctly upper-crust impression when fired.
Takedown on the TRP longslide required a bit of hand strength - and timing. The full-length bull barrel's bushingless fit means that we can't remove the recoil plug and spring to ease spring tension prior to pushing out the slide stop lever to take off the slide assembly. What you do is, with your left thumb through the triggerguard from the left side, grasp the top of the slide around the front sight and flex the slide back to line up the slide stop with its removal cut. Press the tip of the slide stop to start it out, and thumbnail it free from the gun. Relax the left hand and the recoil spring will shove the slide assembly forward and off the frame. Reassemble in reverse.
Holsters & 10mm Loadsâ€‚
I like to carry test guns for several consecutive days - or weeks better yet - if deadlines allow. However, I struck out when shopping for a holster. Appropriate-length leather is readily available for longslide 1911s, but not for longslide versions with a railed dust cover. I found a home for the 10mm TRP in a Galco Yaqui Slide holster, which will accept pretty much any 1911. It's not ideal for it leaves the muzzle unprotected and I'm obsessive about the crown on my barrels.
While handling it over several days, a few observations emerged. Due to its long, weight-forward shape, the pistol doesn't point as fast as a standard 1911. Still, it does point naturally, which is a different thing all together. In practical terms, if a black bear emerged out of his favorite berry patch and objected to my presence, the TRP longslide would be slower to defend me than the 5-inch configuration. That's something to consider.
Also, the extra weight of the railed longslide did make itself felt. I've got a grumpy back, so the weight and pressure on my hip made old aches flare up. Were I to pack the pistol every day in the field, I'd want a good cross-draw holster or, better yet, a chest rig. I'd probably have to custom order one for the railed longslide.
Typically, I carry one of three different 10mm loads in my personal gun. When in country infested with predators of the two-legged type, I opt for Hornady's Critical Duty ammo topped with the 175-grain FlexLock bullet. This is a superb fighting load that sailed through the FBI barrier test protocol. Interestingly, it's loaded slightly below 10mm max pressures, resulting in a pedestrian muzzle velocity of 1,150 feet per second (fps). Still, it offers more controllable recoil, which enables faster follow-up shots.
When hunting in bear country, I generally pack Buffalo Bore's Outdoorsman ammo loaded with 220-grain, flat-nose, hard-cast bullets. A nonexpanding design, the projectiles carry an admirable amount of energy and penetrate like a depth charge smashing through and shrugging off heavy bone that would stop or deflect a lesser bullet. A broad-meplat flat nose cleanly severs arteries and creates impressive blunt-force trauma. It swings for the fence with a factory-rated 1,200 fps. Out of the two TRPs I tested, it achieved even better than that.
One other load bears highlighting. It's Federal's 180-grain Trophy Bonded jacketed soft point (JSP), which is also loaded to full 10mm potential. It's one of the best hunting loads on the market offering controlled expansion and fairly deep penetration.
On the Range & In the Field
On a windless, bright day, I set to testing the TRP off of a sandbagged rest at 25 yards. Recoil was smooth and mellow courtesy of its long, heavy slide and barrel. Sight picture was nice and sharp, a virtue of the long sight radius. Its function was flawless, which is not always the case with new and tight 1911s. Breaking in a 10mm with the 500 rounds recommended for any 1911 isn't as easy with a 10mm as with a .45 Auto or 9mm model. Affordable 10mm bulk ammo isn't readily available either, but the TRP proved reliable from the get-go.
During my evaluation, I began to experience a disconcerting accuracy anomaly. The first round chambered invariably impacted about 4-inches low and a shade left. Then the following four rounds would group into a decent cluster of 2 to 3 inches.This was the first time I experienced anything but superb accuracy from a Springfield Armory 1911, so I ordered a second test gun to give the company and the new TRP model a fair shake.
The second attempt at testing was better. All seven ammo types averaged between 2 to 3 inches at 25 yards. Considering that's an average of three-consecutive, five-shot groups without a break suggests that this pistol is capable of pretty decent accuracy.
Afterward, I broke out several 50-count boxes of Remington UMC 180-grain FMJ ammo - one of the only "bulk" 10mm loads available - and I spent a happy hour running the 10mm TRP to verify reliability and evaluate shootability. The pistol ran without a single hiccup, and recoil was smooth and controllable.
As a specialty 1911, the TRP longslide in 10mm is ideal for those who want a semiautomatic handgun to hunt with. It could be outstanding as a defense and duty pistol in wild and wooly country, where dangerous encounters are not just at distance and where a bullet's impact authority is critical. It's too big and too heavy to carry concealed and is simply too much gun for all-around use in urban environments. However, if you frequent the kind of country it's at home in, the TRP 10mm might become your new favorite partner tagging along for adventures.
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