Despite the two fit and finish problems with the preproduction pistol, I loaded two seven-round magazines with BVAC hollow-point ammunition, snapped one into my R1, then took aim at a TQ19 police qualification target from a distance of 21 feet, and opened fire. My rounds impacted the chest and head area of this man-sized target, and the pistol functioned so reliably that I quickly forgot about the fit and finish issues. At least for awhile.
After emptying my first magazine into the target, I executed a quick combat reload and dumped seven more BVAC 230-grain hollow points into the targets. I also fired some 230-grain Speer Lawman FMJ ammunition through the R1, and was satisfied with the results.
Now I was on a roll. So I decided to get a little daring. I loaded two more mags full of BVAC hollow points. Then I repeated the qualification shooting. I also fired two different types of 230-grain Federal hollow-point ammunition into the man-sized paper target. The R1 performed amazingly well for a preproduction pistol.
During my first few range sessions, the preproduction R1 proved to be flawlessly reliable. Unfortunately, during the next range session, the Remington R1 failed to load the last round in the magazine and left the entire bullet resting on top of the empty magazine.
After separating the magazine that was involved in this stoppage from the other magazines, I then loaded the R1 with a Wilson Combat Magazine that I had used before in this pistol to shoot FMJ and hollow-point ammunition without any difficulties. Shortly thereafter, the R1 experienced a failure to extract that was so serious the empty round was rather severely dented when the empty brass case was caught by the slide as it cycled forward.
I should also mention that my preproduction R1 had a somewhat erratic ejection pattern, which may be explained by the fact that I believe the test pistol did not have a properly fitted extractor. I want to stress here that this was a preproduction test pistol that was sent into the field specifically so shooters could report any problems encountered back to Remington. Once these field reports were collated Remington used the information to make adjustments on their regular full production models.
It should also be noted that the preproduction test pistol tested in this article had more than 1,500 rounds through it with no malfunctions reported before it was sent to me to field test for POLICE Magazine. This means that my R1 was flawlessly reliable for some time before it experienced one feeding problem and one extraction problem during the POLICE Magazine testing.
Remington has taken all of the observations, comments, and advice from various shooters and has reportedly corrected every problem encountered. I checked with Diamondback Police Supply in Tucson and spoke to a sales representative who said he recently field tested a Remington R1 1911 and after firing 21 rounds (three magazines) they had no malfunctions. Then they fired a total of 300 rounds in one shooting session. I believe this means that since the initial preproduction and early production pistols were field tested, improvements were made to the design.
Carrying the R1
The Remington R1, like most 1911s, has a magazine capacity of 7 plus 1. In this day and age of high-capacity pistols, I have to wonder if most shooters will believe that is sufficient. All I can say to the doubters is that I know from experience that with the proper training anyone can execute an incredibly fast combat reload while armed with a pistol like the 1911.
When it came time to carry the Remington R1 1911 test pistol, I used a DeSantis paddle holster. I also have an excellent DeSantis leather Speed Scabbard and a leather inside-the-pants holster with a clip for concealed carry use. In the field I used the DeSantis paddle holster and BlackHawk coyote tan nylon Special Operations Holster. In order to carry spare magazines, I wore a variety of DeSantis mag pouches.
I believe the R1 1911 worked rather well for a preproduction pistol. In fact, now that all of these preproduction and early production problems have been resolved, I expect that every Remington R1 that you inspect at your local gun store will be a perfect specimen of an entry level 1911.
Nick Jacobellis is a medically retired U.S. Customs Agent and former police officer who was physically disabled in the line of duty while working undercover as a federal agent.
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