Springfield is well known for its 1911s. However, the company hit it out of the park with its most popular series of pistols — the Range Officer Elite Series. These pistols, built for SWAT and hostage rescue teams, are, as Springfield states, “performance beyond its price.” The newest edition is the Springfield RO Elite Operator, chambered in 10mm.

Out of the Box RO Elite Operator

The new handgun stays true to the goal Springfield sets for its firearms: giving enthusiasts more choices, more value and more ways to enhance shooting.

With two versions already available in 9mm and .45 ACP, the big change with the new model is its 10mm chambering.

Springfield designed the RO Elite Operator with the same attention to detail as earlier pistols in the RO series. Out of the box, you immediately notice the thin-line black/gray G-10 grips, along with the forged steel, black-T finish on the frame and slide. It also includes an ambidextrous thumb safety and accessory rail along with ball cut and front serrations.

It’s easy to see that Springfield built the RO Elite Operator for performance, but it’s a sharp looking gun as well.

On The Range Accuracy

Aesthetics are one thing, but getting the RO Elite Operator on the range is the true test. Performance, function and endurance of a variety of ammo is what I wanted to push with the pistol.

As most know, 1911s are not meant to be ran dry. These pistols crave oil and when supplied with what they crave, they will serve well. So, I applied a small amount of oil to the barrel and ran the slide taking quick notice of its smoothness. Then, I hit the range with a good 500 rounds of mixed 10mm ammunition, including: Federal Premium’s Blazer 200 grain; Hydra Shok 180 grain; Gold Dot 200 grain; Hornady’s Custom 155 grain; and Hornady’s Critical Duty 175 grain.

Regardless of what I fed this gun, it was a tack driver. It had zero malfunctions and zero issues.

Out of the gate, I instantly noticed two things: Minimal recoil and a phenomenal trigger. The 18.5-pound GI Style Recoil System does its job with this full-sized 10mm 1911. Shot after shot I was able to regain sight picture and stay on target. This kept groups under an inch-a-and-half.

Also, the SA Gen 2 trigger gave the Operator a nice, traditional 1911-style short reset. While I was able to tell a bit of a difference between different loads, it did not in any way affect how I ran the gun. The Operator handled every load just fine. Regardless of load, my shots were steady and consistent.

Beyond Accuracy

Static shooting for groups is one aspect, but I wanted to see how the RO Elite Operator functioned beyond. I ran a series of drills, again with multiple flavors of ammo, incorporating moving and shooting.

The Operator comes with two stainless-steel magazines that offer impressive reloading ease. Running movement drills became addictive. It’s always more fun when you’re hitting targets, but doing so with distinct accuracy and consistent performance is beyond satisfying. I must attribute much of this to the pistol itself.

A good shooter can work with any gun, but a good gun makes shooting less work. The 5-inch, stainless-steel, match-grade barrel and fiber-optic front sight (white-dot rear) offered high accuracy along with quick sight acquisition.

Final Thoughts on the RO Elite Operator

The RO Series of guns are quite impressive. Springfield has gone above and beyond incorporating upgrades without making customers suffer a significant elevation in price. This says a lot about Springfield — truly holding to the philosophy of giving choices and value with every firearm.

The Springfield RO Elite Operator is no exception. This is a solid 1911 pistol. It’s made well, runs like a powerhouse and allows the shooter more ease in shooting.

More ease in shooting allows us to feel our gun working with us versus us fighting to work with our gun. When it comes to self-defense, this aspect is crucial; a crucial aspect Springfield understands and continues to deliver upon.

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Springfield RO Elite Operator

  • Caliber: 10mm
  • Magazines: 8-round (two
  • Barrel: 5” stainless-steel match grade
  • Twist: 1:16” LH
  • Sights: Fiber-optic Front; white-dot rear
  • Trigger: SA Gen 2-4 Window Speed Trigger
  • Grips: Thin-Line Black/Gray G-10
  • Frame: Forged steel, Black-T finish
  • Slide: Forged steel, Black-T finish
  • Height: 5.5”
  • Length: 8.6”
  • Weight: 41 oz. (empty magazine)
  • MSRP: $1,145

Be on the lookout for a complete review of the Springfield RO Elite Operator in the March/April 2019 issue of Combat Handguns magazine. Subscribe for physical copies at You can also get a digital subscription on Amazon.

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