A New Operator® is Born: The 1911 Range Officer® Operator® 9mm

Posted by Steve Horsman

Jan 13, 2016 12:00:00 AM


When Springfield Armory® introduced the 1911 Range Officer® (RO) in .45ACP and 9mm a few years ago, the pistol was an immediate success. The RO line continued to evolve into the Champion™ and Compact pistols, also in both .45ACP and 9mm. 

These models were not lasting long on dealer shelves, selling as soon as the local gun shops were getting them.  

Springfield has continued to expand the RO line with a few different models this year, one of which is the Operator®. 

The Operator®: A Brief History

At the beginning of the 21st Century, Springfield introduced a full-size, full-length-rail 1911 in three different models: 

While I personally felt the full-length rail was perfect, many shooters wanted a three-quarter length rail. The shorter rail had become common with other manufacturers and holster makers. Springfield then discontinued most of its full-length rail guns, including the Loaded and Mil-Spec. 

But unknown to many shooters, the full-length TRP™ was kept on the production line. It still remains a big seller and is sometimes referred to as the "California Operator®." 

Hint: If the Springfield model name includes "Operator®", that tells you it’s a rail gun.

A New Operator® is Born 

I have acquaintances ask me all the time if anyone makes a rail gun in 9mm or, to quote my shooter buddies, "A rail gun in 9mm would be awesome!"

I totally agree. And it's finally available.

The latest Operators®  all have the three-quarters rail, and range (no pun intended) from the Range Officer® models, to the Loaded models, all the way to the Professional model.  

The newest, the Range Officer® Operator® in 9mm (also available chambered in .45ACP), is the one I just got done handling and shooting.

All I can say is, "This is another great gun from Springfield Armory®."


The fit and features are standard with all of the Springfield RO pistols:

  • Built on full-size, government-model frames
  • Fixed sights with two white dots on the rear and a fiber-optic front (which I really like) 
  • 5- to 6-pound match-grade trigger
  • 10-round magazines

The weight of this gun just feels good, sturdy. The balance was equally as good - I prefer a little extra weight on the front end of the gun, and this pistol gives you that.

My favorite new feature of the RO Operator®, though, is the Cocobolo wood grips.  

They have the double-diamond checkering pattern and our awesome Springfield Cross Cannon™. That's just too cool.


I'm really not considered a "trendy" guy. Well, except for the beard. But I do keep up with what's going on in the gun world.

  • A lot of shooters are moving to the 9mm for self-defense.
  • Others are buying 9mms simply due to the availability and cost of ammo.
  • Many gun-owners are looking to buy a 1911 for the first time.
  • Law Enforcement (LE) agencies are moving to the 9mm for approved duty guns.

Anyone in the above categories would be wise to consider Springfield’s 1911 9mm RO Operator®. With its sleek look, light recoil, lower ammo cost and ability to easily pop on a gun light, this 1911 is a good value and makes a great deal of sense.


After watching big-name, professional shooters win big matches with a 9mm 1911, I now own a few for competition. The first time I shot a match with one of these guns, I remember thinking, “This is cheating!” 

The gun’s recoil was so mild, comfortable and (dare I say) enjoyable to shoot, I immediately ordered my first of many.  

The 9mm recoil impulse feels very different than a .45ACP. The 9mm creates a quick, soft snap, and, with the added weight of the thicker barrel and the rail, this RO pistol is as soft a recoiling 1911 as I have ever shot.


As I mentioned before, some LE agencies are also making the switch from larger .40SW and .45ACP caliber pistols back to the 9mm.

And many agencies are allowing and approving the 1911 for duty use. Most police officers I have talked to in the last few years that carry 1911s are almost exclusively using guns that have a rail on them.

Many of these same officers already carry a small, lightweight 9mm pistol as a backup or off-duty gun.

Their ideal setup would be to allow the use of the same ammunition in their duty and backup guns without giving up their beloved 1911s.  

Sounds like the answer is here.

If I was looking for a new duty 1911, regardless of whether I wanted a 9mm or .45ACP, I would really consider the Springfield Armory® Range Officer® Operator®.  It provides everything the on-duty cop or SWAT operator needs for a primary pistol.


Now I just need to convince my accountant (a.k.a., my lovely wife) that I need one for my new off-duty "job."

Any suggestions would be appreciated.   

Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual.  These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory®.