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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I just got one today, and wanted to post a little something about my first impressions of the pistol. If you're not familiar with it, look here:
http://www.springfield-armory.com/prod- ... trpo.shtml

I don't have time to take and post pics, so that'll have to do for now. Sorry.

Anyway, the production gun is exactly as pictured on the site. My gun came with the Surefire P001 light attached, which I promptly wrestled off. The 6V Surefire is huge, ungainly, heavy, and the crossbolt switch is impossible for me to reach. An ITI M3 was briefly tested, with positive results. The gun was handled and tested without a light for a 250 round range session. I took it out of the box, saw that it was oily, and shoved the two included 7 round Metalform mags full of 230 gr ball, and went to town.

My first group at 7 yards was a single hole. The fully serrated Bomar style rear with 3 dot tritium inserts made an easy transition from using Novak 3 dots. The sight picture is actually more similar to Heinies, if they had 3 dots. The gun was perfectly sighted in, so I didn't need to adjust the sights. The gun ran all 250 rounds perfectly -- no malfunctions or other hidden caveats. I don't work for Springfield, so I gain nothing from hiding if the gun choked. It didn't.

I found that the gun was very soft in recoil, compared to an otherwise identical Springfield 5" gun. It would likely have to do with the fact that the gun has a very beefy full dustcover, a two-piece full length guide rod with reverse plug, a full profile slide, and a coned bull barrel. I didn't get to swing between widely spaced targets, but the gun came back down on quickly on stationary targets. Having shot scoped comp guns, I don't anticipate the extra 6 oz to be catastrophic. The trigger pull was a fairly crisp 4 or 4.5 lb pull, and extremely usable. The gun was stable in both rapid and slow fire.

The fit and finish of the gun is quite good, with excellent slide to frame fit and very smooth cycling. The bull barrel is only a standard grade fit, and a loose rear lockup is evident. The gun has a light dehorn, though Springfield doesn't seem to like to bevel the bottoms of their slides at all. Other edges are sufficiently friendly. The beavertail fit, while a touch generous in spacing, is cosmetically pleasing. The mag well is a 2 pc unit, incorporating the new locking system. It's not really obtrusive, and the unit functions much like the SA mag well. The hammer appears to be a MIM component, and is rather rough in appearance on the sides. The machine cut 20 lpi checkering on the front strap is nicely executed for a factory gun, exhibiting about 90-95% sharp diamonds, with only a few flats. It was sufficiently grippy, especially when paired with the sand textured grips.

Overall, my initial impressions of the gun are extremely favorable. I haven't yet taken the gun apart for a detailed examination, and I suspect I'll find a MIM disconnector and sear inside as well. Kimber really hit everyone hard on price cutting when they introduced MIM, so I have no ill will toward SA for keeping up. The gun is put together well, and I would consider it a better product than some Kimbers I've seen -- better fit, finish, and feel. The pistol would be perfect for LE patrol, SWAT, or as a home defense pistol for the 1911 buff. I would consider it as being too heavy for concealed carry. It'd be a great out of the box IPSC Limited gun for someone looking for a little edge without going nuts on custom stuff. In the long term, I'd consider replacing the mag well/MSH with an SA, changing out internals for machined steel parts, and doing a better dehorn on the gun. I'd love to figure out a way to pare down the weight, but it'd be too labor intensive. The Milspec Operator with a bushing barrel oughta be a hot ticket for this platform, as it'd lose the weight of the guide rod and cone barrel. I'll keep shooting this thing and reporting back as I get to know it better.

_________________
DBS

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Hilton Yam on 2001-08-10 19:49 ]</font>
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I disassembled the gun today for a quick cleaning, and found that the inside of the gun was very cleanly and smoothly finished throughout. No rough machining marks, burrs, swirls, etc. It would appear that this SA uses the same amount of MIM parts as a Kimber, but I'll only know for sure after a detail strip. The gun came with a little baggie of takedown tools, necessary for the full length guide rod. If forced, I prefer a 2 pc over a one pc rod where you must capture the spring and later wrestle it back onto the rod and recapture it. It would appear that this gun might work without the full length rod, but why bother? With a full dustcover you can't rack it from underneath anyway.

The barrel appears to be stainless one piece, and is very nicely finished. It's not fit really tight, but practical accuracy at 20 yds was the same for me as with my match fit 5" guns -- I can shoot about 3-4" for 16 rds offhand, about 3 sec splits (I really hate holding still for much longer than that).

After cleaning the gun, I happened into a 100lb heavy bag, which I proceeded to muzzle strike. With the safety on or off, the gun stayed in battery, with the only slide movement induced by the length of barrel protruding past the end of the slide. I suppose CQC purists would insist on adding the meat shield on the end, but I personally think that this gun is a plenty adequate setup for pounding miscreants. You can even accomplish it with the light in place, as the M3 doesn't protrude past the muzzle.
 

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I think you may have convinced me that I have to have one of these. I called Springfield today and discovered that the Operator is in the process of being approved by the CA DOJ, so I don't have to buy it on letterhead (read: sign it over to the department.)

My only concern now is the availability of holsters for the Operator w/light attached. The ability to "pound miscreants" with the muzzle end of it is a nice feature.

Keep us posted. I finger-f*cked a TRP (non-Pro) at the shop today and it felt pretty good. Edges were still a little sharper than I like, but the gun was well executed. Slide to frame fit was tight, and the barrel to slide fit was good to xlnt for a production gun. The Armory-Kote on the gun was attractive and the three-dot Novaks were easy to see. The trigger broke cleanly at 4-4.5 lbs with no discernable overtravel. The only two things that I didn't care for include the ugly-*ss trigger, which was fit very loosely with vertical and horizontal play, and the wood grip panels. Otherwise, the TRP is what a Kimber *should* be.

Tim
 

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Ok, went into the gun shop today after a DEA class, just to get some VV 310 powder, shop almost always has some. Really, just wanted to get some powder. I then go by the glass and Walah!, there is a fully loaded operator and a milspec operator. Yeah, had to play with them. I wasnt impressed with the loaded model, the frame had some pitting on the frame in the front area, some rough edges, and the hammer just looks plain cheesy. I didnt mind the weight of the coned bbl, but prefer the regular bushing for the accuracy upgrade when needed. After looking at the price tag and realizing how much they marked the gun up, I then carefully put it down and played with the Milspec version. Typical Milspec, two piece bbl that had vertical play, bushing was loose, trigger sucked, 8lb plus(thank you trial lawyers!) Slide/frame fit was adequate.
I spent the hour drive home realizing that if I bought the milspec, I would basically trash all of the gun except the frame, and wouldnt spend the money on the loaded model. I am back at square one, going to find a LB type monolith frame and have what I want built, which will be around the same price of the loaded model with a Barsto bbl and Heinie straight eights. Dont get me wrong, they are nice guns, but I am picky, and dont relish the thought of stripping the frame and sending it out to get high grip cut and recontoured, then checkered, then fit a Caspian full profile slide and the rest. Well, OK, I guess I could live with the loaded model if it was given to me :grin:
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
Another range session with the Operator, and I put about 100 rounds through it while shooting it side by side with a Springfield Pro model. No malfunctions were to be had. My overall impression this time was that the gun was very nose heavy, with or without the ITI M3 light attached. I did Bill Drills, doubles, presentations from ready gun, strong and weak hand only shooting while alternating between both guns. Checking my progress with my CED 6000 timer, I found no difference in split times between the two guns. While the Operator is soft in recoil compared to the std 5" gun, I like the snappier recoil and return of the standard configuration. The heavy slide and bull barrel also contribute to a rather sluggish feel in cycling, and I could feel the slide in motion on many shots. The trigger on the Operator is fairly crisp, but has a rough break, especially compared to my well worn and carefully tuned Pro model.

Latest conclusions:
Disheartened by the nose heaviness and sluggish feel of the gun, now noticed after more dry and live firing, I stuffed a standard 5" top onto the Operator frame just to see how it felt. WOW! It's like a whole new gun. I didn't mind the cosmetics of the stirrup cut on the slide not matching the full dustcover, and that cut actually pares a lot of weight from the nose of the slide. The weight of the dustcover alone does not affect the balance as much as the FLGR, full slide, and bull barrel. A full profile slide with a bushing barrel and std guide rod would be lighter too, but not as much as the stirrup cut slide. The thought had crossed my mind to put hidden lightening cuts into the full profile slide, but that's too much effort. I'll have to find a 5" top end that will actually fit and function on this frame, then test this concept more thoroughly.

Re: the Baer Monolith and light mounts, I feel that the execution of the SA frame is more streamlined than Baer's, which includes an additional attached rail. The Monolith would be lighter and smoother without the added rail, if a full dustcover was all that was sought. SVI also makes a good looking full length dustcover gun.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
I haven't had the chance to really shoot the gun much lately, though I have played with the various light mount options quite a bit. Here's a pic of the gun with an ITI M3:



Here's a pic of the gun with a Surefire Millenium series M119 light mounted, and a P101 and ITI M3 for comparison:



The P100 series lights, as seen in the new Amer Handgunner, are the smallest pistol lights available from Surefire. As you can see, they still dwarf the M3. However, the Surefire has much better light output (whiter, cleaner, more lumens with an optional lamp) and significantly more robust construction than the ITI unit. Of the 3 lights, the ITI is the easiest to install and operate. The SF's tape switch is fast, but the light was harder to install thanks to a counter-intuitive catch that required pushing UP and away from the light body to release it for installation/removal. The ITI unit, by way of contrast, allows you to squeeze the catch DOWN and toward the light body when removing it. The P101 has not gotten much testing, as it only has a crossbolt switch, and further, it was designed for a Weaver rail interface. The light's rail slot does not quite fit right on the Picatinny frame rail, and required some hearty wrestling to initially remove. Of the 3, the P101 would have the most potential with a redesigned catch assembly and a tape switch. The Millenium light, depsite its incredible light output, is far too gigantic and ungainly to use on a CQB pistol. The gun is already nose heavy, and the addition of that light makes it unwieldy.

The proliferation of light mounts for 1911's -- Caspian and Dawson both make rails for standard 1911's -- should make for interesting wars of standardization for holsters and upcoming lights. Safariland is apparently going to manufacture a holster for the Operator with and M3 light. Thanks to jumping the "small/bright" market in a more responsive way than Surefire, the ITI is showing up in more holsters. The Operator will also fit in the Safariland Adjuster holsters.

I'm continuing to play with the Operator. If you like full dustcover type guns like the SVI's and whatnot, you'll find the TRP's coned barrel and heavy front end to your liking. I am still leaning toward the Milspec for a lighter setup. An interesting option, proposed by a friend of mine, was to use a standard slide and cut the big dustcover back to standard length -- an intriguing concept that I'll have to consider some more.
 

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Thanks for the photos. They really illustrate your point very well. Looks like the Surefire P101 is the best light for this type. My desire is to have a single stack 45 with the light mount. I am seriously considering taking something like a Baer Monolith gun and reducing the full dust cover down to standard length and then welding on a light mount. The Monolith frame should have enough thickness to the dust cover to allow for the extra stress of the mount and light.This would also allow you to use a standard stirrup cut slide to reduce the weight of the whole package. From your posts, it sounds like you would like this setup that would allow a bushing barrel and more closely resemble the weight and handling of a standard single stack gun. The SA Operator in your photos does look good and should be strong enough to handle anything. Thanks again for the update.
 

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I received a new Mil-Spec "Operator" last week. I was quite impressed with the overall
fit of Slide to Frame and the finish. Some
outside tool marks, but not a lot. The stock
Barrel is a one piece Stainless unit. It does have several MIM Parts, but what doesn't these days.
I have to stick by what I have said in the past. The Springfield Mil-Spec Pistol is still the "Best" complete Pistol to start with if you are going to build what you want.
I hope to have this one done by Shot Show time.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Richard:
Do you find the balance of the Milspec Operator to be significantly more nose heavy than a normal 5" gun? I am finding the balance of the TRP version to be too far forward (w/o the light). I had even considered making hidden lightening cuts on a Milspec Operator to bring it back toward the balance of a standard 5". Do you think this is necessary or feasible?
 
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