My latest personal project gun is a Springfield TRP Operator, which was originally bought to develop a new rear sight to replace the adjustable rear sight that comes with this gun. It was sitting in the safe, unfired, in a partially assembled state, so I felt sorry for it and dragged it out for some range time. I was curious to see how the cone barrel setup felt. With all the issues with my damaged elbows, I was intrigued by anything that might help soften the recoil of the .45.
As would be expected, I can't stand any 1911 in its stock format, so I started tearing things off and tossing them in the parts box. Here are the initial changes:
- Slide Stop: The factory slide stop, which was a good quality MIM component, was switched out for a preproduction prototype of one of the Gen 2 slide stops.
- Mag Catch: The stock mag catch, also a quality MIM part, was replaced with a 10-8 mag catch.
- Grip Screws: The factory units require a Torx wrench. I know they look super fancy, but show me a guy who carries a Torx wrench on his person at the range and I'll show you someone in danger of drowning in the next heavy rain. The Torx were replaced with extreme prejudice using some of our GI format flat head grip screws. Handy thing with these is that your gun is typically in the company of some items that can be used to tighten these - the rim of a .45 ACP cartridge.
- The stock G10 grip panels covered the MSH pin. This is one of my pet peeves, as it is quite inconvenient to take the gun apart if you must take both grip panels off every time. All 10-8 grips are cleared for the MSH pin so that you can quickly access the frame parts with the grips in place. The TRP wears a set of the 5lpi grips in the new Predator Green.
- A 10-8 flat trigger, finishes out the new production parts added.
- The factory magazine well is a 2 piece unit where the horseshoe bolts on to the ILS mainspring housing. I had some extra Smith & Alexander magazine wells laying about, so I replaced the ILS setup. The frame's magazine well opening came without any bevel, so the mag well fit right on there without overhang or gap. It would do for now, so the opening was not blended any further.
- The factory coil springs were replaced with Wolff extra power firing pin, 17lb recoil, and 19lb mainsprings.
- The rear sight was replaced with a prototype of the forthcoming 10-8 Modular Rear Sight, which we debuted at SHOT. This rear sight is scheduled for production, and we hope to have it ready by late spring or early summer. We had some setbacks with the early prototypes, and had to push back the introduction that we'd optimistically projected at SHOT.
The overall build quality of the gun was quite nice. The slide to frame fit was snug and smooth, and would not need any further work. The factory hammer/sear/disconnector, are Springfield's high end MIM, and yielded an excellent trigger pull with a smooth break. I did not do anything with these parts, and I anticipate leaving them in place. It is important to note that Springfield has different grades of MIM parts. The budget line of Loaded 1911s has a different grade of MIM small parts than the higher end production TRP line, which includes the 5" TRP models (black and stainless), and the TRP Operator. The MC Operator is between the TRP and Loaded, but it is my understanding that they are build with the TRP grade parts. The new Range Officer is supposed to be like the MC Operator in terms of build, but I have not seen enough of them to provide any useful insights on them. Springfield's high end MIM components yield no complaints from me, and they are fully serviceable as they come from the factory.
The only other changes I made prior to hitting the range were fairly minimal.
- Grip safety - As it came out of the box, the grip safety needed to be fully depressed to release the trigger. As such, it was possible to partially depress it and feel the trigger bow grinding against the partially cleared grip safety arm. I corrected the fit of the internal trigger stop arm of the grip safety so that it cleared within the first 1/4 of its overall travel.
- Dehorning - the gun was reasonably free of sharp edges with the exception of one area, the bottom of the front strap that is cut out for the floor plate of the magazine. This area, with two sharp corners and 20lpi checkering, made for some bloodletting just waiting to happen. This area was lightly dressed off with a #2 file and it was good enough for now.
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