Most Elegant Award, SHOT Show: Cabot Guns

Classy and absolutely gorgeous. These displayed on rotating pedestals…



New From Springfield Armory – 9mm Range Officer 1911

This is a sweet shooting gun. 9+1 rounds of 9mm ammunition. Large enough to shoot easily under control and good capacity for a single stack design.

Swap the adjustable rear sight and you have a great carry gun.


A Comfortable Holster For Big Guns: Blackhawk! 3 Slot Pancake Holster

The Blackhawk! 3 Slot Leather Pancake Holster features not 2, or 4, but 3 belt slots. Tricky huh?

It’s for good reason. The placement of the belt slots allow for side, behind-the-hip, appendix or cross draw positioning.

The Blackhawk! 3-slot pancake holster spreads out the weight of a large gun like this Springfield Armory 1911.

The Blackhawk! 3-slot pancake holster spreads out the weight of a large gun like this Springfield Armory 1911.

The holster backing is large and does a great job of distributing the weight of even large and heavy pistols. We’ve been using one with a full sized Springfield Armory TRP 1911 for quite some time and it makes a perfectly comfortable all day carry option.

The 3-slot belt loops allow a variety of traditional and cross-draw placement.

The 3-slot belt loops allow a variety of traditional and cross-draw placement.

The holster, especially the trigger guard area, is nicely molded to the specific gun model so we found fit to be excellent. There is a thumb-break snap at the top to aid gun retention. We found releasing the snap to be, well, a snap, with a natural draw motion.

It’s a nice holster — especially for larger guns.


Be sure to check out our book, The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters. It will teach you all the major methods of concealed carry and walk you through pros and cons over 100 different holster models. It’s available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:

Now available in print! The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters

Now available in print! The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters

23 Things You Can Do With A Leatherman Rail Tool For AR-15s

Today’s gift idea for you or your favorite gunnie is the Leatherman Rail tool for AR-15s and lots of other stuff.

The Leatherman Rail holds a lot of tools per square inch.

The Leatherman Rail holds a lot of tools per square inch.

The Leatherman Rail is a nearly flat tool that is nowhere near flat when it comes to versatility. Just under 5 inches long, 1 ½ inches wide and ½ inch thick, it packs a lot of uses for space taken in or on your range bag. You can even clip it on the outside of your bag, pack or belt using the built-in carabiner.

A ⅜" will allow you to drive a standard socket. It's a bit awkward, but will work in a crunch.

The ⅜” open-ended wrench will allow you to drive a standard socket. It’s a bit awkward, but will work in a crunch. And of course it’s a handy open-end ⅜” wrench.

Here are just a few things you can do with it:

  1. Adjust the front sight on an AR-15 or similar rifle.
  2. Change grips on your 1911.
  3. Remove the bottom of pistol magazines using the pin removal tool.
  4. Open taped ammo boxes. The AR-15 front sight adjustment tool is sharp and pointy like that.
  5. Lovingly and gently encourage stubborn push pins to move.
  6. Measure group sizes – the center of the tool is *exactly* 1 inch wide; the front sight adjustment prongs are 5/16 inches apart and there are ¼ and ⅜ inch drivers. With all those, you can estimate a lot of measurements.
  7. Mount Magpul Back Up Sights on your AR-15 using the flathead screwdriver tool.
  8. Remove the carrying handle on an AR-15 A3 model.
  9. Check / tighten / loosen your scope rings.
  10. Dig a bullet out of a log. While not listed on the Leatherman web site, I find this a valuable feature.
  11. Uncap a bottle. After the shooting is done, you can use the carabiner hook to open a cold one. It’s a little tricky, but if you tackle that, you can also…
  12. Shotgun a beer. Remember that sharp and pointy front sight tool? It’ll go through an aluminum can like butter.
  13. Open and close an oxygen tank valve. If you really choked on that last Steel Challenge stage, take a few hits of O2 and compose yourself.
  14. Tighten or loosen anything you have a ¼” Hex bit for. The hex driver is universal for all sorts of bits.
  15. Remove staples from a target backer.
  16. Remove an AR-15 firing pin retaining pin when cleaning the bolt and carrier.
  17. Pull a nail out of a target stand.
  18. You can open an AR-15 ejection port cover when the bolt is already open – without tearing off your thumbnail.
  19. Remove your AR-15 trigger group.
  20. Peel a banana when the top doesn’t want to separate.
  21. Easily remove the bottom from a PMag
  22. Scrape carbon from your AR bolt in the field.
  23. Use it as an emergency toothpick. Yep, done that. I’m not proud. Just resourceful.

You can buy the Leatherman Rail here for less than 30 bucks.

The rail includes a phillips and flat head screwdrivers, a Torx #15 bit, pin punch and 7/64" drivers. Those fit in a special slot in the compression handle.

The rail includes a phillips and flat head screwdrivers, a Torx #15 bit, pin punch and 7/64″ drivers. Those fit in a special slot in the compression handle.

Gun Terminology of the Day: 1911

One of the reasons I started writing Insanely Practical Guides was to help acclimate new shooters and gun owners to the confusing world of guns, shooting and etiquette. Here’s a quick excerpt from The Rookies Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

If you talk to a couple of gun aficionados, you’re likely to hear about what sounds like yet another type of handgun – the 1911. No worries, it’s just a type of semi-automatic pistol. People tend to get pretty passionate about 1911 style pistols so they tend to get placed in their own category.

Gun Terminology Alert!


You’ll hear gun folks talk in reverential tones about something called a 1911. Yes, it’s a year. It also sounds a little bit like a famous model of Porsche. But in context of this book, it’s a pistol design. Not a manufacturer or a specific model, but a design. Kind of like how a pickup truck is a design. Lot’s of car manufacturers make them, and you can get them with different size engines, but they all have some common features, like seats in the front and a cargo bed in the back.

Here’s a 1911 model pistol made by Springfield Armory. It’s the TRP Armory Kote model.

Springfield Armory TRP 1911 Armory Kote shown with Galco Miami Classic II

The Springfield Armory TRP 1911 Armory Kote shown with Galco Miami Classic II

It’s not a perfect analogy, but 1911’s are kind of like pickup trucks. They are all based on a semi-automatic pistol design, invented and brought to market in, you guessed it, the year 1911 by one John Moses Browning. 1911’s have a number of common design elements, regardless of which manufacturer makes them and often parts are interchangeable. For example, classic 1911’s are all single-action semiautomatics, have a thumb and grip safety, and a similar design to lock and unlock the barrel during recoil.

1911’s have a lot to live up to. They have been known to take down both a Japanese Zero fighter  and German Storch observation plane in World War II. In fact, some believe that a stray 1911 .45 ACP round inadvertently destroyed the city of Dresden. OK, the Dresden thing may be a slight exaggeration, but the 1911 has been a phenomenally successful and long-lived design.

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition is available in print and Kindle format at Amazon:

The Rookie's Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

The Rookie’s Guide to Guns and Shooting, Handgun Edition

Crimson Trace Master Series Lasergrips: Lifesaving Technology Made from…Wood?

Wood is an amazing construction material. It’s renewable, looks great, feels even better, and makes a handgun look really dapper, dandy, and dashing.

Does anything complement a sweet 1911 like wood grips? Better yet, wood Lasergrips?

Does anything complement a sweet 1911 like wood grips? Better yet, wood Lasergrips?

Did you know that…

  • Redwood bark can be up to 24 inches thick.
  • Each year, the average American “consumes” enough wood to fill the cargo area of 4.11 AMC Gremlins, assuming you fold down the seats.
  • Wood, when converted to paper at the Mead-Westvaco paper plant in Charleston, South Carolina, is really, really smelly.

The only visible parts not made of rosewood are the laser housing and activation button.

With all these nifty qualities, why is the industry steadily moving towards more plastic, and fewer wood offerings? Yeah, I know. Plastic is inexpensive, easy to manufacture and durable. But, but, but…wood!

Enter the Crimson Trace Master Series Lasergrips.

Available in G10 composite, walnut, and rosewood, the Master Series Lasergrips are the Cadillacs of the Crimson Trace offerings.

Read the rest at!

Holster Review: Blackhawk! Serpa Concealment Carbon Fiber Finish

Blackhawk! Serpa Concealment with Carbon Fiber Finish - 1911

Blackhawk! Serpa Concealment Holster with Carbon Fiber Finish – Shown here with a Springfield Armory TRP 1911 Armory Kote

The internet is an empowering place when it comes to guns and shooting. If you can type, you’re an expert. If you have broadband internet service, you’re a guru. If you own an X-Box, you’re a genuine strategy, tactics, and equipment ninja. While we would never want to disrespect a well-trained internet ninja, we’ve heard lot’s of opinions about Blackhawk! Serpa holsters. Some great. Some awful. Many second-hand and/or uninformed. So we decided to find out for ourselves whether the Serpa is a winner, or not.

The Serpa Holster is designed to offer what gun people call “Level II Retention.” In Average Joe’s English, that simply means that there are two separate methods in use to secure the gun into the holster. For most Level II Retention holsters, the first method is simple friction. The second method is almost always some form of mechanical lock that must be disengaged for the gun to be removed from the holster. This sounds complex, but holster makers like Blackhawk! have gotten really smart about engineering ways for the person drawing the gun to disengage the lock as part of the natural draw, while making it difficult for someone else, like an attacker, to remove the gun.

The Blackhawk! Serpa uses both methods. The Kydex is molded into a perfect form-fitting design that provides plenty of friction on its own for solid retention. In fact, the Blackhawk! Sportster Standard holster is essentially a Serpa design without the second level lock retention. For the second retention level the Blackhawk! Serpa utilizes a mechanical lock that grasps the trigger guard from the inside. To disengage the lock, the trigger finger applies pressure to a paddle that is mounted directly over the slide of your pistol. While drawing, simply apply a little pressure to the paddle button and the lock releases.

Here’s where the fun starts. Many important couch commandos with thousands of hours of Gears of War and World of Warcraft experience have speculated on potential downfalls of the Serpa design. Some folks don’t like it and claim it’s dangerous. When you sort through all that hard-earned internet knowledge, the controversy boils down to the following line of reasoning. If the retention release button relies on your finger pressing towards the frame of the gun, it’s possible for this motion to lead to your finger pressing into the trigger guard. Add a trigger pull to this motion and the gun may discharge.

Umm, yes. If you pull the trigger, a gun will discharge.

Bypassing the plethora of knowledge from nameless X-Box players commenting on internet stories, I decided to try the Serpa myself with a Springfield Armory TRP full size 1911. After getting the appropriate size Serpa holster from the folks at Blackhawk!, I proceeded to perform hundreds and hundreds of draws – with an unloaded gun. I used an unloaded gun so I could intentionally draw a bit faster and perhaps a tad more carelessly than normal to see if I could find any truth to the internet controversy – trigger finger lock deactivation causing a discharge during the draw.

Personally, I don’t see the problem. Here’s why.

With any drawing motion, from any holster, your hand is performing a grasping motion. That means at least five, and maybe six in some rare cases, fingers are closing around the grip of your pistol. If you are hooking your index finger while you grab your gun from a holster with ANY type of holster, you run the risk of negligently pulling the trigger.

What I find with the Blackhawk! Serpa is that the placement and motion of the activation lever causes my trigger finger to do two distinct things. First, it encourages my index finger to be straight. It has to be extended in order to reach the retention disengagement lever. Second, it encourages my index finger to line up with the slide. In order to release the catch, your trigger finger literally can’t be in a hooked position over the open area of the trigger guard. If you choose to deliberately press your finger back into the trigger after the holster release is complete, that’s an operator error issue possible with any type of holster.

In my opinion, this is more of an issue related to sympathetic motion of your fingers. When you grasp something, your fingers will all want to close. Heck, with some excitement, the fingers on your other hand may exhibit a closing motion also – another concept of sympathetic response that has been explored by many people with numerous letters after their names. It’s how the fingers work and why practice is mandatory with ANY gun and holster combination you choose. Practice, practice, practice.

Bottom line? I don’t see the issue. After billions and billions of draws with the Blackhawk! Serpa I see no discernible difference in likelihood of a draw related discharge than with any other holster.

Reholstering is a snap. No lever manipulation is required and a positive click lets you know that the gun is secured.

Blackhawk! Serpa Concealment belt and paddle mounts

Blackhawk! Serpa Concealment holsters include both belt and paddle mounts. Belt width and can’t adjustments allow personalization

Now, with that out of the way, let’s look at this holster in more detail.

All Blackhawk! Serpa holsters come with both paddle and belt loop mounts. Both mounting systems allow the holster itself to be oriented vertically, with a forward cant, or a reverse cant. The belt mount features an adjustable slide, allowing the user to create a perfect fit for various belt widths. You can easily swap the paddle and belt mounts via three anchor screws.

The Blackhawk! Serpa Concealment holster is available in multiple configurations. The evaluation holster was the Carbon Fiber finish. This one features a holster body with a textured weave appearance. It looks great. A matte finish version is also available. For less money and consumer oriented use, Blackhawk! offers an injection molded Sportster model which is a flat grey color. Last but not least is a Serpa configured for use with a limited number of pistols with the Blackhawk! Xiphos NT light mounted.

With an MSRP of $59.99, even the most expensive Serpa – the Carbon Fiber finish model – is a great value. This is a solid holster and mounting flexibility is excellent with the highly adjustable paddle and belt loop options.

Read about more carry styles and over 120 different gun holsters in The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters - available at! Learn more about our Insanely Practical Guides!

Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters

Holster Review: Blackhawk Leather Check-Six Gun Holster

Our Holster Review of the Blackhawk Leather Check-Six Holster

Blackhawk Leather Check-Six Holster

The Blackhawk Leather Check-Six Holster is versatile and comfortable

The Blackhawk Check Six holster can tell time.

The “Six” in “Check Six” refers to the six o-clock position in reference to the circumference of your waist. This is otherwise known as a small-of-the-back holster design. It can be worn on the belt, outside the waistband, right in the center of your back. Hence the Six o’clock reference.

Small-of-the-back Holster Lovers and Haters

Small-of-the-back holsters are one of those topics sure to create a good old-fashioned internet argument. Some people love them. Some people hate them.

The lovers, who are also fighters, might be folks who spend a lot of time standing, wearing garments like sport coats, and are fairly mobile throughout their days. For these types, concealment and comfort are outstanding.

The haters, who are fighters too, are convinced that a gun held in the small of your back can be dangerous for two reasons. First, in order to draw, you have to bring your gun around to the front of your body. This action can cause the user to muzzle, or point the fiery end of the gun, at other people or things on its way to the firing position. The second concern is the risk of back injury if you fall, or are pushed, to the ground. There’s a big hunk of steel, polymer, plastic, bullets, and magazine between your spine and the ground. It you hit the ground back first, it could certainly leave a mark.

For me, this is not a concern, because the Blackhawk Check Six holster can tell time. Meaning I like to use it as a Check 5:30, Check 4:17, and usually a Check 3:52. Simply put, the design lends itself to placement in different positions.

As you can see by the photo, the design of the Blackhawk Check Six has the gun aggressively raked forward. This is a fancy gun term meaning that the holster, and your gun, are tilted clockwise if you’re a righty and counter-clockwise if you’re a lefty. This design accomplishes a few things. First, it makes the holster work as a small-of-back design. A vertical holster placed in the center of your back would be, well, kind of dorky. Second, it makes concealment easier. The tilted design means that the muzzle of the gun is not nearly as far below the belt line as it would be if vertically mounted. This comes in handy if you mount the rig in different times as well. For my own Check 3:52 use, a shirt easily covers the holster and full size Springfield Armory 1911 TRP shown here. Third, the forward-raked design helps create a smooth, rotational, draw.

There is one other thing I particularly like about the Check Six design, especially when used as a Check 3:52. The top is open – there’s no retention strap going over the back of the slide. Normally, a retention strap is a great feature. However, I like to carry a 1911 with oversized, ambidextrous safety levers. Why? Because I can! I find that some holsters with retention straps can flip the safety into the off position while you’re going about your daily routine. Of course, this is not an issue for most polymer gun designs, or most 1911’s with standard safety levers. It’s just something to be aware of for certain handguns.

The Check-Six features a retention adjustment screw that allows you to adjust how tightly you want the holster to grip your gun. This feature mitigates any disadvantages of an open top design as you can secure your gun as tightly as you wish.

One other thing. If you’re a professional tactical type, the Check-Six mount placement allows you to carry a long gun without the frustration of it getting hung up on your sidearm. As your handgun is placed well behind the hip, your rifle is less likely to get caught up on it. This feature is also useful for shooting competitors and hunters.

The Blackhawk Check-Six Holster is a versatile – and comfortable – design.

Our Rating

4 Nuns Four Nuns! Versatility, construction quality, and comfort get this design a four nun rating in our holster review. The Blackhawk Leather Check-Six is highly recommended.
Check out other My Gun Culture product reviews here!

Read about more carry styles and over 120 different gun holsters in The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters - available at! Learn more about our Insanely Practical Guides!

Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters

Gun Review: Springfield Armory TRP Armory Kote 1911 .45 ACP

Springfield Armory TRP 1911 Armory Kote shown with Galco Miami Classic II

The Springfield Armory TRP 1911 Armory Kote shown with Galco Miami Classic II

1911’s have a lot to live up to. Designed by John Moses Browning (may he rest in peace) they have been known to take down both a Japanese Zero fighter  and German Storch observation plane in World War II.

In fact, some believe that a stray 1911 .45 ACP round inadvertently destroyed the city of Dresden. (Tweet This)

The Springfield Armory TRP 1911 Armory Kote™ is modeled after the famous FBI contract Professional Model 1911. Given that the FBI contract model comes from the Springfield Armory Custom Shop, imitation is a tall order for a production gun to meet. If the Springfield Armory TRP was designed to capture the most important features and benefits of the Professional Model at a much more affordable price point, the TRP succeeded in the mission. It’s the nicest 1911 platform we’ve shot to date.

The model we tested is the Armory Kote™ version with a black Teflon finish. The TRP is also available in a stainless steel finish and a second Armory Kote™ model with an integrated accessory rail.

Let’s take a closer look.

Just the specs ma’am

Springfield Armory TRP 1911 Armory Kote Case, Holster, Magazine holder

The TRP comes with lockable hard case, kydex holster, and dual magazine carrier

The Springfield Armory TRP Armory Kote™ 1911 is loaded in terms of custom features.

  • Full size 1911-A1 platform
  • 5 inch match grade barrel and bushing
  • 8.5 inch overall length. 5.7 inch overall height.
  • Armory Kote™ Teflon finish (as tested)
  • Weight: 42 ounces. Unloaded. Yes, it’s a full size, steel 1911.
  • Aluminum match grade trigger
  • Checked front strap and mainspring housing
  • Wide mouth magazine well. 2 included magazines with slam pads.
  • G10 grip panels
  • Low profile Trijicon combat night sights

Something old, something new

While the Springfield Armory TRP is not so radical as to make John Moses Browning (may he rest in peace) scream ‘UNCLE!’ from his grave, it does offer some improvements over the original design. Some obvious, and some controversial and sure to cause fists to fly among 1911 aficionados. We don’t really care whether a 1911 design is true to John Moses Browning’s (may he rest in peace) original design or not. We care if it works. All the time. And then some.

With all that said, we found that the Springfield Armory TRP 1911 offers an interesting combination of traditional 1911 features and new innovations.

Springfield Armory 1911 TRP Armory Kote ambidextrous safety

True ambidextrous safeties

Tight like a tiger

World War I and II era GI complaints about shaky actions and resulting accuracy challenges do not apply here. The TRP is fit like Ronnie from Jersey Shore. ‘Tight like a tiger’ to quote the famous Dutch philosopher Goldmember. When we took it out of the box, the slide was, ummm, slightly challenging to rack. The fit was tight, tight, tight. Like a tiger.

For the first 50 to 100 rounds, we noticed that the TRP had pretty aggressive slide rack resistance. Then it became smooth like butter, but without the excess cholesterol. You heard that right, it’s not a typo for ‘better’, the action became like butter. Smooth with no detectable movement whatsoever – vertical or horizontal. Even now, approximately 1,000 rounds later, the slide feels as if it’s welded to the frame rails until you apply a little muscle to rack it. Obviously the fit is excellent, but we suspect the Teflon finish has something to do with it also.

The Guiding Rod

We’re staying out of the full length guide rod versus original John Moses Browning (may he rest in peace) design crusade. Our criteria for success is simple. Does it work? Every time? Are there any observable, not theoretical, advantages or disadvantages to a specific gun design? Some claim that full length guide rods, whether one or two piece, improve accuracy, but we’ve never seen any hard data on this. Others claim that the full length rod makes the recoil spring behave a bit better as it can’t kink. Whatever.

Springfield Armory TRP 1911 two piece guide rod

The two piece guide rod is removed with an included hex wrench

The Springfield Armory TRP 1911 features a two piece, full length guide rod. From a take-down point of view, this means two things:

  1. You can remove the slide assembly from the frame with no tools. You’ll end up with two assemblies – the frame and the slide with recoil spring and guide rod firmly attached to the slide until you disassemble the guide rod.
  2. You can unscrew and remove half of the guide rod using a hex tool (our Real Avid Gun Tool worked perfectly for this) and then you have a standard 1911 take down for field strip completion. Realistically, we found that the take down process worked out to about a 3 second difference between the Springfield Armory TRP with its two piece guide rod versus a standard 1911.
Bottom line? We don’t really care. The TRP functioned flawlessly with over 20 different types of ammo. We tried ultra-budget steel cased stuff to $2 per round premium self defense rounds to a dozen different handload recipes with various lead, plated, and jacketed projectiles.

90/90 grippy-ness

Springfield Armory 1911 TRP G10 grip panels

Gloves or no gloves, the TRP is solid in the hand

The frame offers sharp checkering on both the front strap and mainspring housing. In average Joe’s English, that means the front and back of the grip have really rough textures. We found the checkering on the TRP to be very sharp, and very grippy. Clearly one of the design goals was to be tactical glove friendly. And it is.

While casually fondling holding the TRP, we thought the aggressive texturing would wreak havoc on bare hands with any significant shooting session. Strangely, this was not the case. The grippy checkering offered a solid, no slip grip, even in 90/90 weather conditions. For those of you who don’t live in a swamp, 90/90 refers to 90 degrees and 90 percent humidity. Paradise found.

1,000 rounds later we have no new callouses and have not yet bled all over the TRP.

Back to the well

Springfield Armory TRP 1911 beveled magazine well

The TRP features a generous magazine well

The Springfield Armory TRP offers a beveled magazine well to facilitate fast magazine changes. It’s also finished with the Teflon-based Armory Kote™ finish. While not a necessity for a solid 1911, we really liked it. You’ll notice from the close up photo that we did a fair number of mag changes throughout this evaluation.

With the magazine well extension, magazines with slam pads are required practically speaking. Springfield includes two of their 7 round magazines with the TRP – both equipped with slam pads. Both magazines operated flawlessly throughout our testing.


The TRP we tested came with Trijicon combat sights – we thought. We thought we knew this because they say ‘Trijicon’ right on them. Well, actually, the metal housings are manufactured by Springfield Armory with the inserts supplied by Trijicon. The rear sight is a dovetail design with two tritium inserts. While the rear sight is a ramped design, there is a small ledge at the front base which can be used to rack the slide with one hand and a nearby belt, table, or other unofficial slide-racking object. The front sight is also fitted via dovetail and has a single tritium dot.


The TRP features ambidextrous safeties, meaning they are on both sides of the gun. So you can shoot righty or lefty with equal aplomb. Unlike some other models, the safety levers are extended and of equal width on either side of the pistol.


The G10 grip panels are also aggressive in texture – like the front and backstrap checkering. The texture is a combination of raised diamond and reptile skin pattern. Please note, this is our description, not the official Springfield Armory version. And yes, they are awesome in both appearance and function. You will NOT lose your grip on this gun. Again, we have to think the grip panels were designed with gloved use in mind.

One very nice touch on the grip panels is the thumb cutout on the left panel. As you can see in the included photograph, this cutout makes it a tad easier to access the magazine release button. We found that it really makes a difference. Depending on your hand size, you may be able to drop a magazine without altering your strong hand grip.

Springfield Armory TRP 1911 beavertail grip safety

The beavertail memory bump easily engages the grip safety


The beavertail on the Springfield Armory TRP has a pronounced memory bump to aid with sure and repeatable disengagement of the grip safety. At risk of starting another 1911 aficionado fist fight, we prefer to shoot the 1911 with thumbs high – meaning the strong hand thumb rides on top of the safety lever. Others feel that this grip results in possibility of the grip safety not being properly activated as the thumbs high grip tends to pull the web of your hand away from the backstrap. So we elected to give it the thumb test to see just how positive it was. No worries here. Between the significant memory bump and limited amount of grip safety travel required to disengage the trigger, we had no problems with grip safety engagement.

Although an inexact science, we did some eyeball testing to see at what point of grip safety depression the trigger is released. Using highly scientific eyeballing, we found that the trigger would release when the grip safety was depressed somewhere between 1/3 and 1/2 of its full length of travel.


Springfield Armory TRP 1911 front cocking serrations

Front cocking serrations are handy for chamber checks

Like most modern 1911’s, the Springfield Armory TRP features an enlarged ejection port. Unlike many 1911’s however, the TRP offers front cocking serrations on the slide. These exactly match the primary rear cocking serrations in texture and angle. While the need for front serrations invites yet another bar fight, we grew to like having them – especially for checking the chamber loaded condition of the pistol. Although the physics are exactly the same, it somehow feels easier to partially retract the slide to check the chamber using the front serrations. There must be some type of leverage difference resulting from hand placement.


The trigger is match grade aluminum, factory set for a 4.5 to 5 pound pull. It includes an adjustable over travel screw. Out of the box, we needed to make no adjustments. Take-up was minimal and there was no detectable over travel after the break. Nice.

Internal Lock

Freakin’ lawyers. We’re blaming My Cousin Vinny for the integral safety lock on the Springfield Armory TRP. Schlocky lawyers are absolutely responsible for adding needless parts to a perfectly functioning gun. We would prefer not to introduce any additional variables or things that could break or malfunction into this proven and reliable design. Fortunately we are still able to buy hammers and butter knives without integral safety locks. But those are probably next.

Springfield Armory TRP 1911 thumb cutout

The thumb cutout on the left grip panel facilitates access to the magazine release

All griping aside, here’s how it works. The lock is intended to be used with the hammer down. Period. In this condition, using one of the two supplied keys, you can rotate the lock 90 degrees clockwise. This jams up the entire system. The slide won’t rack, the hammer won’t cock, and the gun won’t go bang. The lock will not function if the hammer is already cocked, so it appears this feature is really intended for cold storage rather than securing a loaded and ready gun. The only gripe we have with the TRP is this lock. Arrghhh!

Accuracy testing

Here on My Gun Culture, accuracy testing is a bait and switch tactic. You see, we’re not really going to talk about the mechanical accuracy of this gun or any other. Within reason, most quality guns on the market today can shoot far more accurately than their handlers.

We’ve got a pet peeve about gun writers who talk about the accuracy of a given gun by holding it, setting it on sandbags, and so on. We don’t buy it, Unless a gun is in a mechanical rest, we don’t want to hear about mechanical accuracy. As long as human eyes, human trigger fingers, and human brains are involved, we’re not learning a darned thing about the mechanical accuracy of this gun or any other.

With that said, we would like to talk about ease of shooting accurately. Yes, this is a subjective measure, but an important one.

In short, the Springfield Armory TRP is easy to shoot. Accurately. Part of that is the weight of the pistol. It’s heavy (we like that) and doesn’t flop around as much as a pocket rocket. The trigger is crisp. And the tolerances are tight. Shoot this gun in a half decent two-hand hold and you’ll be hitting baseball size targets at 25 yards with no problem. Yes, it’s designed as a tactical defense pistol, but it sure is a fun plinker!

Ammo digestion

We tried 2.4 boatloads of ammunition in the Springfield Armory TRP. If you’re not up on your redneck conversion rates, that’s about 25 different varieties. We shot budget steel cased ammo. We shot moderately priced, brass cased practice ammo. We shot numerous premium defense brands. We cobbled up handload after handload and shot them all. Lead bullets, plated bullets, jacketed bullets. Weights ranging from 165 grains to 230 grains. Semi-wadcutters, hollowpoints, and round nose profiles. It handled them all. Over 1,000 rounds into testing, we’re still waiting on the first malfunction. No failures to feed, no failures to eject, no failures to fire. There was no detectable break in period with the TRP.

Here’s a look at some of the factory rounds we tested:



Black Hills JHP +P 230 grain 927 fps
CCI Blazer FMJ 230 grain 853 fps
Federal FMJ 230 grain 866 fps
Federal FMJ white box 230 grain 803 fps
Federal Guard Dog EFMJ 165 grain 1,053 fps
Federal Hydra-Shock 230 grain 883 fps
Hornady Critical Defense 185 grain 1,002 fps
Magtech First Defense +P SCHP 165 grain 1,076 fps
Remington Golden Saber +P 185 grain 1,165 fps
Remington UMC 230 grain 844 fps
Sellier & Bellot 230 grain FMJ 804 fps
Winchester PDX1 230 grain 911 fps


Springfield Armory TRP 1911 with Crimson Trace Lightguard for 1911

Just for kicks we tried the Crimson Trace Lightguard for 1911s

We tried over a dozen different handloads with the TRP, but by far the most fun was a true plinker load. We loaded 185 grain lead semi-wadcutter bullets from Missouri Bullet Company over 4.6 grains of Trail Boss powder for a fun load that clocked in at just over 814 feet per second. This load was enough to cycle the TRP reliably, but gentle enough to expose a couple of pre-teen shooters to the joys of shooting a nice 1911.

The other surprise load in the TRP was the Federal Guard Dog Expanding Full Metal Jacket load. At 165 grains and standard pressure, it clocked in with plenty of velocity but was surprisingly gentle to shoot. Expansion results were quite dramatic.


While not one of the evaluation criteria, we happened to have a Crimson Trace Lightguard on hand and decided to try it out on the TRP. Crimson Trace only guarantees the 1911 Lightguard to fit Kimber, Ruger, and Smith & Wesson 1911 frames, but we had no problem using it with the TRP.

Springfield Armory TRP 1911 in Galco King Tuk Holster

Fit was excellent in the Galco King Tuk holster

A variety of standard holsters were tested including the Blackhawk Serpa, Blackhawk Sportster Standard Concealment, Galco Miami Classic II, Blackhawk Leather Pancake, and Galco King Tuk to name a few. We didn’t expect or experience any fit issues.

Closing arguments

The TRP is one fine pistol – the best we’ve evaluated to date. And it’s a production gun. The model we tested can be acquired new for about $1,500 street price and it’s worth every penny. Can you buy a 1911 for half that sum? Yes. Will it work? Most likely. Will it give you that special joy that a finely made handgun does? Probably not.

We highly recommend this one.

Our Rating

4 Nuns Four Nuns! Well made with plenty of attention to detail. More importantly, reliability was 100% through the first 1,000 rounds.

While you’re here, why not grab a copy of my free eBook, A Fistful of Shooting Tips? It’ll help make you a better handgun shooter and the envy of your range in no time!


Check out other My Gun Culture product reviews here!


You can find Accessories for the Springfield Armory TRP at Brownells

Galco International Miami Classic Shoulder System


Find holster options in our new book, The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters - available at! Learn more about our Insanely Practical Guides!

Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters

Holster Review: Blackhawk Sportster Standard Concealment Holster

Blackhawk SERPA and Blackhawk Sportster Standard Gun Holsters

Almost identical to the Blackhawk Serpa (left), the Blackhawk Sportster Standard (right) is a great value.

Like the Blackhawk Serpa, the Blackhawk Standard Concealment holster comes with two mounting options – a belt loop system and a paddle. Both gun holsters are insanely configurable. Cant is adjustable in two positions forward and two positions backward in addition to the default straight drop. The belt mount can be sized to fit belts from zero to 2.25 inches. So, in theory, if you wanted to mount this holster on a string, you could, although we wouldn’t recommend it…

The paddle mount option features the same cant adjustments but also allows sizing to your specific belt. Even through the paddle option does not require a belt, it has adjustable pegs that are captured by the bottom of the belt – thereby improving stability immensely. This is the most solid paddle mount system we’ve tested. If you set it up right, it doesn’t move. It’s firmly anchored into position – like Rosie O’Donnel at the Dunkin’ Donuts counter. The paddle is also very large which noticeably increases comfort by distributing the weight across a large area of your hip.

Blackhawk Sportster Standard Belt and Paddle Mount

The Blackhawk Sportster Standard holster includes both belt and paddle mounts

The model we evaluated was for a full size 1911 and the kydex was molded perfectly. While not necessarily required, the holster has an adjustable retention screw that allows the user to set the strength of retention to preference.

With a street price of around $20 and sometimes less, depending on your gun model, this holster is a tremendous value.

You can find one here – Blackhawk! Sportster Standard Holster.

Read about more carry styles and over 120 different gun holsters in The Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters - available at! Learn more about our Insanely Practical Guides!

Insanely Practical Guide to Gun Holsters

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