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Springfield Armory has in its 1911 9mm pistols lineup a nice looking and often overlooked Commander-sized, single-action 9mm called the “Ronin.” Before I analyzed its features, performance, and gave my opinions, I had to discover for myself “Why is the pistol named Ronin?”
Meaning of “Ronin?”
I learned that Ronins were Japanese Samurai warriors, skilled fighters against bandits, wandering mercenaries, but heroes to local villagers. The 2016 Western action movie “The Magnificent Seven” starring Denzil Washington is a modern-day version related to Ronins. In the movie, residents of the Old West town of Rose Creek turned to their seven gunslinger “Ronins” for help against ruthless and greedy-for-gold bandits. There was another movie called “The Guns of Ronin” with a similar plot involving highly-
trained, cold war secret agents and heroes on a similar mission. So, I now understand the meaning and symbolism for something very special, like the Springfield Armory 1911 Ronin.
Springfield Armory 1911 Ronin Specifications
|Barrel Type||Forged Stainless Steel; Match-Grade; Fully-Supported Ramp; 1:16" RH Twist; Stainless Steel Bushing; Barrel Head Notch Serves as LCI|
|Barrel Material||Stainless Steel|
|Color||Satin Aluminum and Black: Two Tone|
|Sights||Front: Red Fiber Optic; Rear: Black, Serrated U-Notch Rear-Tactical Rack- Ledge for One-Handed Slide Racking, 2 White Dots|
|Slide Material||Forged Carbon Steel|
|Slide Finish||Matte Blued|
|Frame Material||Lightweight Forged Aluminum Alloy|
|Frame Finish||Satin Cerakote; Flat Mainspring Housing: 20LPI Checkering; Plain Front|
|Trigger - Type/Action||Single Action; Modern Speed 2- Flat; Polymer; Recoil-Operated-Spring, Short Guide Rod; Barrel Bushing; Centerfire|
|Trigger Press||4.75 lbs. (as measured over 10 trials with my Lyman Trigger Pull gauge)|
|Magazines - Capacity||9 Rounds; Stainless Steel Mag; Single Stack; Slightly Beveled Mag Well|
|Width||1.18" at Grips|
|Weight (Unloaded)||30.4 oz, with Empty Mag|
|Safeties||Extended Manual Thumb Safety; Grip Safety - Speed Memory Bump; Beavertail; No Firing Pin Safety, Series 7 Design; No Ambidextrous|
|Grips||Custom Checkered; Crossed Cannon Walnut Wood; Magazine Base Pad|
|Other||Limited 1-Year Warranty- from Date of Original New Purchase; No Rail; No Front Slide Serrations|
My Criteria and Considerations
For evaluating any handgun, I use my Col Ben’s 10 Criteria for Handgun Evaluation, including for concealed carry. So I will use them for this 1911 Ronin review. In addition to my criteria, there are other subjective features and factors that may be appealing for some, like smooth rounded corners, a certain style, mag release location, action, caliber, appearance, number of mags included, type of sights/modifications, bore axis, rail, grip angle, non-porting or porting, included extras like a holster and pouch, customer service, etc. So, I combined these into my last “Miscellaneous” criterion. I must admit that all gun-choice decisions involve tradeoffs, but I really want all of my criteria to be ideally met. I assigned a total possible point score of ten points for each of my ten criteria for a total possible score of 100 points. And a “Recommend” or “Not Recommend” at the end of my review. You can certainly add your own additional criteria, preferences or subtract any of mine.
Recognize that there are several features, characteristics, pros and cons, and personal criteria to include and consider. You make your own tradeoffs according to your priorities, preferences, goals, defined needs, and use.
Col Ben’s Concealed Carry Drill
I used my standard “Col Ben’s Concealed Carry Drill” to test and evaluate a pistol after I initially thoroughly clean it. You can use my basic Concealed Carry Drill to test and evaluate your handguns… and it involves shooting only 15 rounds total into five circle targets of various sizes at your chosen distance for the gun you use. I like the realistic 5-yard and 7-yard distances best to match common distances for personal defense.
You can download and print “Col Ben’s Concealed Carry Drill” and targets by clicking on the link at my website at www.FloridaHandgunsTraining.com. Go to and click on the “More” section on the far right of the Home Page and then click on “Carry Drill.” Drag a corner in to resize Drill to full coverage and print on full-size paper.
First Shots: Ronin Range Test Results
I used my above standard Concealed Carry Drill and easily and quickly landed all 15 rounds (with a mag change) with the Ronin in the five various-sized circles at 5 yards, 7 yards, and then at 10 yards. I bypassed the 3-yard trial for more of a challenge and shot 110 total rounds of various types. Use my drill at various appropriate distances for yourself, e.g. 3, 5, 7, 10, 15, and 20 yards to challenge yourself and assess skill-level improvements, as you progress. At first, do not time yourself but safely practice, until you feel comfortable and safe with the drill. Hope my drill helps you. Safety First!
First, I fired rapid fire with the Sig V-Crown 124 grain JHP and all 15 easily hit in their five circle targets and within the 20 seconds time limit at 5 yards (see above target hits) and then again at 7 yards with Hornady 115 grain FTX. I easily met my short-range goals. Then, I fired the Federal Hydra-Shok 135 grain JHP and American Eagle Syntech 115 grain TSJ and repeated the Drill for both at 10 yards. I had 14 hits within the 20 seconds at 10 yards with both, missing one hit on the 2.5″ circle and one on the bottom 3″ circle, firing quick-fire, for both rounds. I met my goal with all rounds, including the Sig Sauer V-Crown, Federal Hydra-Shok, Hornady Critical Defense, and American Eagle Syntech ammo. Thanks to Santa Rosa Shooting Center FL, Tom, and Camie for range use to test the new Ronin 1911.
Ammo Performance Through the 1911 Ronin
I had no failures to fire, stoppages, or malfunctions of any type, mixing the different weights and types of the above-named quality ammo. However, I did have two failures to lock the slide back when the provided mags were empty, but this was only using off-brand, inexpensive FMJ rounds. When I switched to the high-quality ammo brands named above and mostly in JHP, there were no failures to fire, malfuntions, stoppages, or problems at all.
Also, I did experience “bullet setback” when using one type of off-brand, low-priced rounds. And they were not reloads. Bullet setback is when a bullet recedes into the case by a small hundredth of an inch or more and becomes firmly seated there. This is potentially dangerous because it reduces the round’s internal case volume and produces higher-than-normal pressure when the round is fired. It is possible that a firearm could blow up. There was one dangerous situation I am aware of where the chamber pressure of a 9mm round increased by 55% when the bullet was setback by only 0.03 inch. This can be a problem waiting to happen. But, even the best, high-quality ammo or product can have a bad lot slip through quality control procedures. I know of one solid-rocket motor missile fuel bad lot that led to a high-dollar problem while working in 1971 in California at Air Force Plant #70 as an Air Force quality control inspector at Aerojet-General Corporation.
1911 Ronin Score, Opinions and Evaluations for Each Criterion
After live-fire shooting with the 1911 Ronin 9mm, here are my opinions and evaluations for each of my ten criteria.
1. Accuracy and Reliability – Score: 10
The 1911 Ronin’s accuracy was excellent and effortless for me at close and medium distances of 5, 7, and 10 yards, typical self-defense distances. Despite my less than average eyesight, colorblindness, and average marksmanship, this senior guy was able to shoot decent groups with the gun right out of the box, with various ammo. All my hits out to 10 yards with this 1911 Ronin were on target and accurate. My group sizes were about 2.5 inches for this old codger, drawing from a holster. I used my Modified-Isosceles Stance, a two-handed grip, and shot various types of 115 grain FMJ and JHP ammo. I had no problems with any of the rounds when loading or ejecting. No significant malfunctions or stoppages whatsoever. The press was short, soft, and crisp, and the recoil was very minimal for me. I was impressed with the Ronin’s inherent reliability.
TIP: The Ronin’s accuracy was very good from 5 to 15 yards using a Center-Mass Sight Picture or Hold. After 15 to 20 yards, the accuracy was best for me with a 6 O’Clock Sight Picture/Hold.
2. Trigger Press – Score: 10
Out-of-the-box the trigger press averaged 4.75 pounds without modification for the 1911 Ronin 9mm, with 10 readings with my Lyman Electronic Trigger Pull Gauge. I expected the press to be less than five pounds and it definitely was. It met my goal. With more ammo down-range practice and “break-in,” the press should definitely improve and lighten. I did have a slight abrasion from the slide on my thumb.
TIP: I have found on most 1911s that after about 500 to 1,000 rounds fired the trigger press weight will drop about 1/4 to 1/2 pound lower.
Overall, the flat, polymer skeletonized trigger was crisp, smooth, and excellent, with minimal takeup, and with a short reset, for quick follow-up shots. It was easy to feel the definite reset and it was solid and very identifiable. This excellent single-action trigger had a consistent and very similar press of near 4.75 pounds each time. I really enjoyed shooting this single-action short and soft trigger.
4. Barrel Length – Score: 10
The 4.25 inch Match-Grade Barrel was perfect for concealed carry. The traditional GI steel barrel bushing helped keep the barrel properly aligned. The cold, hammer-forged barrel was stainless steel with tight tolerances and helped with rust resistance. It definitely helped with stability, accuracy, reliability, and minimal recoil. The felt recoil was very manageable for both my wife and I.
5. Sights – Score: 9
I like the Fiber Optic front sight and all-black, serrated rear sights with two white dots on the Ronin. They are easy to pickup and use and they allow sufficient light to help you focus. But, I really prefer just an all-black rear sight for contrast, which is easy to fix with a black marker. Because of my color blindness, I like and prefer a green fiber optic front sight because that color is more easily identified by me… and also by most others. The front sight is dovetailed into the slide and the rear is windage adjustable. While I could pickup the medium-small sized front dot, a slightly larger front sight dot would make it even better for my aging eyes. Night sights are important for Concealed Carry and this model does not have them, but the Fiber Optic front sight certainly helps.
6. Proper Gun Weight – Score: 8
The 1911 Ronin weighed 30.4 ounces empty and is heavier than I wanted for carry, but that weight was honestly not noticeable and helps with accuracy, muzzle flip, and felt recoil control. Loaded this gun weighs close to 33 ounces or so and that is not the best for concealed carry. But, certainly helpful for other uses, control, and is manageable. So, this gun does not meet my up-front stated criteria for carry weight, but comes close. I do not really mind that because there are tradeoffs, like the 4.25″ Commander barrel, for this quality, solidly-made pistol, and resulting accuracy.
7. Caliber – Score: 10
The Ronin in 9mm caliber was easy and fun to shoot and I managed the recoil well. It is definitely a soft shooter. Of course, shooting 9mm ammo is much less expensive than most others, and quality, modern ammo with improved ballistics like the kind I used here get the job done. I prefer the lessened recoil and reduced movement for improved accuracy with the 9mm caliber.
8. Capacity – Score: 9
I liked the 9-round capacity of the one steel mag included. But, would like the readily-available 10-round mags on the market now. And two provided steel mags should be standard, but consider the very moderate price for this pistol. A 10-round mag should be the single mag included as standard. Given the likely need to have more ammo to deal with multiple bad guys/gals and the trend toward magazine capacity restrictions, shooters need more than one mag and at least a 10 rounder. However, Springfield was nice enough to send another 9-round mag for my test and evaluation. I appreciate this and it definitely helped. While I prefer at least two mags to be included as standard, I recognize that this adds cost for everyone to the package. The mag has helpful round indicator holes. Without a magazine safety, Ronin magazines ejected cleanly and fast with an easy press of the mag release button.
9. Ergonomics – Score: 9
The ergonomics of the 1911 Ronin were excellent. It felt great in my hand with its narrow width. It measured about 1.18 inches wide across at the grips. Most 1911s measure between about 1.25 inches and 1.38 inches at the grips. At its widest point across the controls, the Ronin 4.25 measured to almost 1.30 inches, similar to many compact striker-fired 9mms with manual safeties.
And it was easy and comfortable to reach all controls like the thumb safety, slide stop lever, and magazine release. I could tell this is a high-quality pistol with excellent craftsmanship. It fit great in my medium-sized hands… and for my wife and her small hands. The mainspring housing, hammer, slide release, mag release, thumb safety, grip safety, and hammer and sear pins are all quality made with steel. And the smaller parts are firmly and tightly fitted to enhance accuracy and reliability. No rattles at all. I had no slide nor hammer bite, but just a minor thumb abrasion. It felt very good to hold this thin profile pistol. The slide-to-frame fit was very solid and it was easy to
rack the slide.
10. Miscellaneous – Score: 9
I easily disassembled, cleaned, and re-assembled the 1911 Ronin before I shot it. The Operating Manual was very detailed and helpful. Although there is no hard plastic case included, there was a nice, well-made, padded soft case included in the cardboard box. Makes sense to me to save on costs and ship in a cardboard box and have a nice soft case for carrying it. Included is only one 9-round mag, a lock, bore flag, and Instruction Manual. The beauty of this 1911 Ronin is very apparent, but so is its performance. It is a high-quality accurate and reliable handgun. I really like the quality and attention to
manufacturing details, especially for its moderate MSRP of $849. and its several extras and upgrades. I probably will add this fine 1911 Ronin 9mm to my arsenal.
94 out of 100 possible points.
1911 Ronin Holsters
1791 Gunleather Custom 1911 Commander-Size Pistol Holster
Shown with the high-quality Ronin above is an also high-quality 1791 Gunleather Outside-the-Waistband holster, custom-made and dedicated for a 1911 Commander-size pistol, with or without an optic installed. It is very quality made with Certified Heavy-Native Steerhide that holds the 1911 pistol snug and secure. Steerhide has the advantages of being consistent in weight and grain throughout the hide. And the holster is designed for use with an optic or Red Dot accessories and also with an Officer-size pistol. This Model BH1S holster fits a 1911 pistol with no rails or with half rails and comfortably molds to your body. It is attractive and perfectly fits the 1911 Ronin Commander pistol like a glove. It comes with a reinforced mouth and sweat guard as standard. The holster comes in three colors: Classic Brown, Signature Brown (as shown), and Stealth Black. It is designed to provide excellent retention for barrel lengths between 3.5″ to 4.25″. This excellent leather holster is very reasonably priced at about $60. and has a Lifetime Warranty. When ordering, mention “Col Ben” and “USA Carry.”
1791 Gunleather Gun Holster Belt
This premium-leather holster belt is made with top-quality, full-grain 14-ounce leather and from the best topmost layer of hide, according to 1791 Gunleather. It is a very sturdy, quality belt designed for everyday carry and built to last. It has a steel buckle and genuine Chicago screws. The manufacturer says their belts will “never split, sag, stretch, or break” and are backed by a Lifetime Warranty with a 100% guarantee for satisfaction. These leather belts have reinforced stitching for durability. Belts are available in Stealth Black, Classic Brown, and Vintage Brown (as shown) colors, 1.5 inch width, many sizes, and priced at about $60.
Why the 1791 name? In 1791, the new United States of America ratified the Bill of Rights, the first ten amendments to the U.S. Constitution, confirming the fundamental rights of its citizens. Our Second Amendment was ratified in 1791.
I most certainly recommend this high-quality Springfield Armroy 1911 Ronin 4.25 Inch 9mm pistol for concealed carry, home defense, and fun plinking at the range. With its lighter-than-steel alloy frame and shorter barrel, it is designed for carry and is easier to conceal than other 1911s and their 5-inch barrels and weights.
The Ronin is more than beautiful with its Satin Aluminum and Black two-tone color and solid Cerakote frame, given its excellent performance, attention to detail, and it’s precise finely-built craftsmanship. This is an excellent 1911 classic and modernized pistol with a Commander-size for carry. All of this for a very reasonable price. You definitely get a lot of extra features and accuracy and reliability for the great 1911 price.
Although the pistol was heavy at near 31 ounces, I was very impressed with its accuracy, reliability, and its very controllable felt recoil for a 9 mm. The added weight was slightly more than I expected, but actually helped reduce my movement and contributed to my accuracy and less felt recoil. Without any doubt, I would conceal carry this pistol with peace of mind and easily, given its many high-quality features, like the Match-Grade, forged stainless steel barrel with fully-supported ramp, improved Gen 2 flat trigger, and fiber optic front sight.
The 1911 Ronin is built on a lightweight forged aluminum alloy frame and features a cold hammer-forged Match-Grade steel barrel, with CNC-machined parts. The 9-round mag, pretty and sturdy checkered walnut grips, modernized extended beavertail, and grip safety with memory speed bump are superb extras. If I had to change anything, I would have two 10-round mags and a green fiber optic front sight, but these are reasonably priced and available in the market. Also, my personal preference would be for a bobbed grip, but this Ronin stacks up well with pistols costing much more.
The 1791 Gunleather custom-for-1911 4.25″ holster and belt are mandatory high-quality necessities for this high-quality 1911 Ronin 9mm.
After a total of more rounds down range demonstrating these same results, I would bet my life on this excellent 1911 pistol. Consider that this is just my point of view with the limited live-range fire of only about 110 rounds, with the pistol not being broken in yet.
Continued Success and Be Safe!
Geneseo, IL 61254
Miami, FL 33142
Sig Sauer Elite V-Crown & Performance Ammo
Newington, NH 03801
Photos by Author and Springfield-Armory.
* This personal opinion article is meant for general information & educational purposes only and the author strongly recommends that you seek counsel from an attorney for legal advice and your own personal certified weapons trainer for proper guidance about shooting & using YOUR firearms, self-defense and concealed carry. It should not be relied upon as accurate for all shooters & the author assumes no responsibility for anyone’s use of the information and shall not be liable for any improper or incorrect use of the information or any damages or injuries incurred whatsoever.
© 2021 Col Benjamin Findley. All Rights Reserved. This article may not be reprinted or reproduced in whole or in part by mechanical means, photocopying, electronic reproduction, scanning, or any other means without prior written permission. For copyright information, contact Col Ben Findley at ColBFF@gmail.com.
Accuracy and Reliability