In March, Springfield Armory introduced the Ronin Operator, a handsome two-tone 1911 built with a forged slide and frame and a hammer-forged barrel. The gun features robust fixed sights, an extended strong-side-only safety and a high sweep beavertail. My test sample was extremely accurate, and the gun had every feature a 1911 purist would ask for and nothing they wouldn’t.
Perhaps the Ronin’s best feature was its price–just $849, and that would place real world street pricing right around $800. It was hard for me to send that test gun back and I’ve regretted it ever since. I asked my media contact at Springfield Armory if they’d ever consider building a Commander-length gun on a lightweight frame.
A few weeks later, much to my delight, I received the press release for the new Springfield Armory Ronin 4.25–a gun that shares many of the original Ronin’s attributes but with a 4.25-inch barrel and slide. Meanwhile, the frame is machined from a forging of alloy. Also priced at $849, the Ronin 4.25 was designed for guys like me, who understand and practice with the 1911 system but want to carry a lightweight gun.
The Scoop on the Springfield Armory Ronin 1911
At the 2020 Athlon Outdoors Rendezvous, I had a chance to speak with Steve Kramer, Springfield Armory’s Vice President of Marketing. Standing in a harvested wheat field in Driggs, Idaho, yelling above the 30 mph winds, Kramer explained, “The idea behind that gun was to come out with a really classic, vintage style, two-tone gun, but at an extremely affordable price point. We’re talking about an MSRP of $849, so it’s street price will probably be right around $800. You’re getting a forged frame and slide and a classic Springfield Armory gun for an incredible price.”
Kramer continued, “It’s a fully forged gun and we won’t ever do anything besides forged at Springfield Armory. We don’t cut corners like some other manufacturers and we don’t use inferior cast parts, so you can get a lifetime of service out of the gun. And it is an heirloom quality gun that can be passed down through generations.”
Springfield Armory machines the Ronin 4.25’s frame from a lightweight alloy forging and then Cerakotes it a for a smooth satin finish. The slide is also machined from a forging, and Springfield gives it a hot salt blue to create a traditional and distinctive finish. The two-tone finish gives the gun a classy, retro look.
Built to Carry
Designed for carry, the gun features an extended, strong-side-only safety, as well as a high-sweep beavertail. The Ronin 4.25 uses thin-profile wood grips that are laser checkered and also has a Springfield Armory logo. Trigger pull is right around 4 pounds, which is just about perfect for a carry 1911.
The Ronin uses a stainless steel, match quality barrel with a supported chamber (in 9mm–the .45 Ronin 4.25 uses an unsupported barrel). A traditional bushing is also used and thankfully, the Ronin does not use a full-length recoil spring guide rod. That part, in my estimation, is totally without merit. I, for one, am happy to see Springfield Armory not incorporate it into its Ronin design. Maybe that’s great marketing on Springfield’s part? The Ronin series of guns are built for guys that know their 1911s.
Test Rounds Downrange
After the Rendezvous I received a Ronin 4.25 chambered in 9mm. Thankfully the winds in southern Arizona were slightly less than those I experienced in Idaho, and I had the chance to shoot the gun for groups. Using a DOA Tactical portable shooting bench, I fired all groups from a seated rest with my targets at 25 yards.
The crisp trigger pull and excellent sights combined to help realize the Ronin 4.25’s accuracy potential. My aggregate group size is just a hair over one and a quarter inches at 25-yards! I have custom built match-grade 1911s that cost me thousands of dollars that don’t shoot that well.
Folks that know me generally describe me as a slow learner. But I learned my lesson when I returned the first Ronin test gun. When you find a gun that you feel was designed to fit your specific carry needs, is completely reliable and tremendously accurate, you don’t send that gun back—you send them a check! Springfield Armory’s new Ronin Operator 4.25 will remain a permanent part of my collection. For more information, please visit springfield-armory.com.
|Aguila 147-grain FMJ FP||919||275||1.19″|
|Blackhills 115-grain JHP||1,218||378||1.40″|
|DoubleTap 77-grain SCHP||1,477||373||1.12″|
|Federal Syntech 150-grain TSJ||872||253||1.43″|
|Hornady American Gunner 124-grain XTP +P||1,138||356||1.48″|
|Norma 108-grain Monolithic Hollow Point||1,062||270||.91″|
Springfield Armory Ronin Specs
- Caliber: 9mm
- Capacity: 9+1
- Overall Length: 7.9 inches
- Height: 5.5 inches
- Overall Weight: 31 ounces (unloaded)
- Barrel: 4.25 inches
- Slide: Machined forging
- Frame: Forged aluminum alloy
- Sights: Fiber optic front, tactical rack white dot rear
- MSRP: $849
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