October 23, 2021

Remington 1911 R1 Enhanced, by Pat Cascio

Its always fun to test 1911 handguns — at least its fun for me. I never tire of them, and I can’t begin to count how many different gun makers are producing 1911s these days, or the number of models being made. Today, we’re looking at the Remington 1911 R1 Enhanced variant. (You may recall that I already reviewed the R1 “Carry” variant, back in 2018.)

As many readers may know, Remington-UMC produced a few M1911 pistols in .45 ACP during World War I, and Remington Rand–best known for its typewriters–produced an even larger quantity of M1911A1 pistols, during World War II.  There were several other makers of 1911s during WW2 as well. Even the Singer Sewing Machine company was making 1911s. Colt was the major supplier of 1911s during both world wars, but they couldn’t keep up with demand, thus other companies stepped in to help supply our military. But for many year after WWII, Remington didn’t produce any 1911s. They were primarily known as a riflemaker.

The current crop of 1911s that Remington Arms is producing is an outgrowth of their purchase of Para Ordnance. Para started out producing wide-body 1911 frames only – it was quite the thing, back around 1990. Many people bought the frames, and purchased slides to go on them, so that they had a 13+1 round 1911 in .45 ACP. And at some point, Para started producing complete 1911s. It was touch and go for a while, as there were many problems with the guns not functioning as designed. Para-Ordnance had been located in Canada. The company was sold. The tooling was moved to South Carolina, and the company became Para-Ord USA. Most of the employees didn’t make that move. And, once again, there were problems with completed guns not functioning all the time. Eventually, the bugs were worked out.

Enter Remington Arms. They purchased Para-Ord, lock, stock ‘n barrel, and again moved it, this time down to Alabama. Once again, only some of the Para employees made the move from South Carolina to Alabama. Then, for several years, Remington did not produce any Para 1911s. They eventually did produce some that were rollmarked with both the Para-Ord and Hunstville, Alabama, but it wasn’t very many. But at some point soon after, Remington decided to stop producing 1911s under the Para-Ord name. So if you have one of those interim guns that is marked both Para-Ord and Hunstville, Alabama, then it is worth some money.

Remington began producing their own version of the 1911, and at first it was a disaster. While they “looked” good, they were junk. In very short order, they were loose, very loose – not good and it didn’t contribute to accuracy at all. I know, I owned one. And, I handled quite a few at the local gun shop I haunt, every one of them was loose and the finish was wearing off, in short order.

Today, Remington has clearly figured out what the problems were. The current crop of 1911s from Remington are outstanding in all respects. They don’t produce a big variety of 1911s – only a few models – but they now are doing these 1911s up right. I now own the Remington 1911 R1 Enhanced Government Model and it is a bargain as well as one sweet shooting 1911.

The Specifications

My “Enhanced” R1 is the original Government Model size, with a 5-inch barrel, but that’s about where it ends, when talking about a Government Model. The front sight is a red fiber optic that is dovetailed into the slide, so you can adjust it for windage. The rear sight is adjustable for windage and elevation, and it’s very unique in the design. It is dovetailed into the top rear of the slide, but you can adjust it for windage, and if you need to adjust it for elevation, there is a screw on the top of the sight that allows for easy elevation adjustments. So there is no need to move the front sight if you don’t want to. The rear sight is all black, no white dots or anything. However the bottom portion of the rear sight is serrated, and that helps keep down any glare – very nicely done, Remington!

The barrel is stainless steel and match-grade and fitted. And the barrel bushing is also stainless steel, while the rest of the gun is carbon steel. The barrel is also throated and polished, and the feed ramp is also polished. Unlike the “Enhanced” M1911s from several other makers, there is no full-length guide rod. So it is easy to take this gun apart for cleaning. However, the barrel bushing is tightly fit to the barrel. You need to retract the slide an inch or so, and then the barrel bushing turns easily. Way to go, Remington – nice job once again.

The slide has front and rear slide serrations on it that are large and angled – easy to grasp the slide to chamber a round or rip an empty of loaded round out of the chamber. Of course, the ejection port is lowered and flared as well.

When we get to the frame, we have a nice 3-hole match-grade trigger. That trigger is set at exactly 3.5-pounds, great job on this gun, whoever did it. Only complaint is, the trigger is plastic – that’s not a deal breaker, however the fit of the trigger is a little sloppy – up and down movement – a bit too much, but it hasn’t affected the trigger pull at all…it is one great trigger pull. The front strap on the frame is serrated top to bottom – I wish they had checkered it. Plus, the magazine well is slightly beveled to aid in faster reloads as well.

There is a match hammer, with the oval hole in it – once again, nice job fitting it. We also have a beavertail grip safety – perfection fitted and timed. Plus the bottom portion of the beavertail has a memory hump on it, as well as being checkered to match the flat mainspring housing – outstanding touch.  The magazine release is of the “combat” style — slightly extended. The grips are hardwood and checkered, and a great job checkering the grips, nice and sharp. However, I traded out those original grips for a pair of my own design, “Code Zero” 1911 G-10 grips that I much prefer. The gun came with two Mec-Gar 8-round magazines, stamped with the Remington name on their floorplates.

There is an all-black finish on the entire gun. It appears just an all-black oxide finish, not Cerakote. But it seems to wear well, thusfar. This gun was designed for serious combat. The extended thumb safety is only on the left side – I like that, and it snicks on/off with authority, too. Fitted perfectly.

My Shooting Tests

The fun part, at least for me is, getting out there and doing some shooting with a good 1911. Due to the Coronavirus, I’m presently doing all my gun testing by myself.

I fired 300 rounds of ammo during my shooting – usually shoot a lot more ammo – but it is lots of work for one person to do a lot of shooting. From Black Hills Ammunition I had their 135-gr HoneyBadger load – my favorite self-defense load, and their 185-gr Barnes Tac-XP +P load all-copper hollow point – another outstanding self-defense load. Last up was their 230-gr JHP +P load and this one is stout – so you know it is hard-hitting to say the least.

After targets of opportunity, like rocks, tree stumps, etc., I got down to some accuracy testing, and this was done at 25 yards, with a rolled-up sleeping bag over the hood of my truck. The outstanding, 3.5-pound trigger pull only added to the accuracy of this gun, the trigger pull is short and sweet, with only a little bit of take-up, before it broke. I didn’t have any of the Black Hills match semi-wadcutter ammo, and that is always extremely dead on – have to order some more.

As usual, I shot several targets with the three different types of ammo, and take my best groups and report them. If I happen to be having a bad day, I’ll come back a day or two later, and re-shoot the ammo for accuracy. The top performing round was the Black Hills 135-gr HoneyBadger, and my best group with that on, came in at slightly over two inches – that’s outstanding, and I give the credit to the sweet trigger pull. However, the 230-gr JHP and 185-gr Tac-XP came in just under three-inches – no complaints there at all. I favor the HoneyBadger load for self-defense and this gun will be stoked with it, when I happen to carry it. If however, I’m out in the wilderness and carrying this gun, I’ll have the 230-gr JHP +P load in it for dangerous four-legged critters.

Its hard to pin down prices on this gun, but I’ve seen them for as low as $700 and as high as $899. And if you paid the higher price, then you’re still getting a heck of a deal, if you ask me. I’ve had 1911s that cost twice as much, and they didn’t shoot half as well. Check one out…you’ll fall in love!

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