By: Greg Chabot
Photos by Sasha Steadman
The TRP (Tactical Response Pistol) represents the highest tier of production 1911s from the Springfield Armory lineup.
Built for serious shooting, the TRP line is as close to a semi-custom one can buy, without the price tag, giving shooters a reliable, accurate weapon for duty or recreation. I have wanted to compare a TRP to one of my semi-customs for a long time. Springfield Armory was kind enough to grant my request to put a TRP to the test. This review will be about the TR,P not a faceoff with a semi-custom.
My criteria for testing was reliability, accuracy, and best value for the money. The TRP was tested as it came out of the box. The only aftermarket products used were magazines from various sources.
The TRP arrived in a rugged, lockable plastic case. The test weapon came with two, seven-round magazines with rubber slam pads. I really liked the aggressive 20LPI checkering on the front strap. After picking up the weapon, I knew retention was not going to be an issue. Grips are made of black and gray G10. The three-dot combat night sights were very easy to see in both day and night conditions. The extended magwell is beveled to expedite reloading when seconds count.
The TRP is a hefty weapon at 42oz, and during testing, I found with a proper holster it carried very well. I had to put some effort into manually cycling the action. This weapon is very tightly built, on par with a semi-custom. The adjustable-for-travel pre-series 80 trigger broke at 4.5lbs with a smooth take-up and crisp break. I have shot quite a few production 1911s. In my opinion, Springfield has one of the best stock triggers on the market today.
For disassembly of this weapon, I highly recommend the purchase of a bushing wrench. One can field strip the TRP without one if necessary, however, having one on hand will make your life easier. After reading the manual, I proceeded to break the TRP down. The weapon comes equipped with a two-piece full-length guide rod. Using the provided Allen wrench, one unscrews the FLGR. After removing the piece, proceed to field strip like a GI style recoil system.
This weapon is so tightly fitted I found it easier to use a bushing wrench to finish the disassembly. I know some readers will complain one needs tools to field strip the TRP in the field. In the real world, 99% percent of us will not be cleaning our weapons in “the field,” so there really is nothing to complain about. If you have the parts, you can convert the TRP to the GI recoil system if you desire.
The 5-inch stainless steel match barrel is throated and polished for reliable feeding. The barrel link was properly fitted, as was the barrel bushing. The National Match frame and slide are forged steel and matched to each other for final assembly. The plunger tube is properly staked. The ambi-safety is of the extended type with plenty of real estate for those who ride the safety. I found no machining marks on any parts. The test weapon was finished in Black Armory Kote.
Overall, I was impressed by the fit and finish of the TRP. Once again, Springfield Armory did not disappoint in the quality control department.
All ammunition was dumped into a box and mixed up. Why? I have always believed that a weapon used for self-defense should reliably fire mixed ammo. The weapon was lubed with SEAL-1 CLP, my go-to lube. The TRP was not cleaned during testing. Weather was typical for New England – from the twenties in the morning to sixties in the afternoon. Steel targets were used during this review, as I find shooting paper boring. Steel gives positive feedback and allows you, if you miss, to promptly do a make-up. For gear, I used my go-to set-up from 2aholster.com whose products I trust with my life.
I started out doing some slow fire to get used to the TRP. Both strong and weak hand were used during testing. Recoil was very mild due to the weight of the weapon. The TRP was very front heavy with the guide rod, but balanced out well in my hand. The 20LPI checkering kept the weapon firmly planted in my hand. Even when my hands were dripping baby oil, I had no issues keeping control of the TRP while shooting.
Reloads were very fast with the cavernous magwell. After a few mags of slow fire, it was time to kick it up a notch. Starting at 25 yards, I would sprint to the target and back, then proceed to draw and fire Mozambique drills. I found the weight kept muzzle climb to a bare minimum, resulting in good shot placement on the steel while standing still or moving towards the target.
I incorporated burpees and other exercises to induce stress and fired double taps on the move. Dozier drills were shot, and I shot from cover and inside of vehicles. I also fired the TRP upside down and from other awkward positions with good results. I found the TRP to be extremely accurate and could see no difference compared with my semi-custom. A Ransom rest might bring out the difference, but who cares? For offhand combat shooting, the TRP will do just fine if end-users do their job.
There seems to be a train of thought that handguns need to shoot a specific sized group to be any “good,” which I disagree with. Most firearms are mechanically more accurate than the person using them. Gear is not a substitute for training, ever! My standard is X number of rounds should be the number of hits on the steel. Hits are what count in a deadly situation, enough said.
The TRP was 100 percent reliable during testing. I made numerous attempts to induce malfunctions with no success. The weapon was dropped into sand after the oily hand test. Even filthy with carbon and sand, the weapon functioned flawlessly. During testing, the tritium inserts fell out of the rear sight. The loss of the tritium did not hinder my acquisition of targets or reduce combat efficiency. The sights are from a third party, and Springfield offered to replace them immediately. I was impressed with that level of customer service. I declined to send the weapon back, as the loss of the tritium inserts did not hinder performance in any way.
Upon completion of testing, the weapon was field-stripped and cleaned. No unusual wear was found on any of the internal parts or slide/frame. Seven-hundred and fifty rounds were fired in total.
I thoroughly enjoyed my range time with the TRP. It is a well put-together weapon with many features found on semi-custom 1911s. End users will find the TRP a reliable workhorse ready to go out of the box. I would have no problem in recommending a TRP to a friend or loved one. In a world of $2.5k-plus 1911s on the market, the TRP is a great value for the money. After testing this weapon, I found there was nothing a semi-custom could do that the TRP couldn’t. I would have no qualms about carrying a TRP into harm’s way. And, what’s more, the TRP is proudly made in the USA.
Big thanks to The Gun Closet!
Greg Chabot is an Iraq Combat Veteran freelancer, writing from New Hampshire.