The Springfield Range Officer’s varied uses might even surprise the manufacturers.
Springfield Armory’s name doesn’t show up much on hunting websites.
They do make a whole line of M-14 type rifles that have enough oomph for big game hunting, but they see most of their use in competition shooting due to their bulk and weight.
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Springfield’s other specialty is in pistols. They’re probably best known these days for their line of polymer XD pistols that have become very popular with the concealed carry crowd and, of course, they’ve always made 1911s.
Actually, it could be argued that Springfield is more or less responsible for the 1911 reentering the mainstream of American handguns. The design had a bit of a hiatus for a while before custom shops and companies like Kimber started producing them again.
While Springfield might not have been the first company to dive back into the 1911 fray, they were definitely the first to start turning out new 1911s that the average shooter could afford. It was one of these surprisingly affordable 1911s that caught my eye this year down at the SHOT Show.
Springfield’s newest offering in the 1911 market is what they have dubbed the Range Officer. This model is a tightened-up, accurized version of the same old 1911 we all love, albeit with adjustable sights and a rather attractive set of wood grips.
This model was originally offered only in the traditional 1911 chambering of 45 Auto and was meant to be an entry-level gun for those interested in getting into competition shooting.
This year, the same tack-driving gun can be had chambered for the 9mm Luger to make things even more affordable for the beginning competition shooter in terms of ammo costs.
This new Range Officer proved to have incredibly mild recoil while I was shooting it down in Las Vegas, and was capable of producing wonderful little clustered groups out at 25 yards. This rig really shoots and costs a heck of a lot less that other tricked-out-for-accuracy 1911s on the market today.
So, Springfield makes a cool 9mm competition gun; what’s that got to do with hunting?
Well, all I can say is that obviously the nice folks at Springfield are marketing this gun to the wrong crowd.
They seem to think that the 9mm Range Officer is a competition gun, but I’m here to tell you that it’s really a small game and varmint pistol.
The simple truth of the matter is that if you’re hunting small game with a GI 1911 and bringing anything home, it has to do more with luck that good shooting.
The poor old 1911 that Grandpa carried doesn’t tend to be very accurate. The Range Officer is already all tricked out to deliver tack-driving accuracy at roughly half the price of a lot of other guns in its class, and while the 9mm chambering might seem like a downgrade in a self-defense handgun, it’s one of the best choices available for small game hunting.
The 9mm is a nice, low recoil cartridge that offers both lower costs and higher velocities than the 45 Auto. A smaller round like the 9mm can also be counted on to do less damage to the small critters you’re bringing home for the pot.
All things considered, the 9mm Range Officer might be the neatest small critter handgun to come out since the S&W Model 10.
Check one out at your local store and you’ll likely find yourself just as eager to try one out as I was.
Images via Springfield-Armory.com