Springfield 1911 Mil Spec Review | A Reliable and Well-Performing Pistol

Springfield Armory is known for its reliable and comfortable pistols, and the 1911 Mil Spec is no exception. In this Springfield 1911 Mil Spec review, I’m going to show you why this .45 caliber weapon will make an excellent addition to your arsenal. If you’ve been holding out for a versatile handgun that is easy to customize, you will love what the Springfield 1911 brings to the range. With its incredible build quality and respectable price, you’re investing in a dependable pistol that will serve you well. So with that in mind, let’s see just what all the fuss about the Springfield Armory 1911 is. As reference check out the our best 1911 pistol review.

Springfield 1911 Mil Spec Review

The Springfield Armory 1911 Mil-Spec Semi-Auto Pistol is an excellent entry-level pistol. If you’ve been considering purchasing your first handgun, which we covered in this post, the Springfield 1911 Mil Spec won’t disappoint.

During my time with this gun, I was blown away by just how reliable it is. As you will soon discover, I thoroughly enjoyed firing this pistol. 

It is incredibly stable in its performance and delivery, making it ideal for anyone who wants to shoot a comfortable and well-designed handgun, but doesn't want to splash out for a more advanced and expensive handgun like Springfield XDM Elite

I had previously spent a great deal of time with the original 1911. That GI version was a really fine take on the historical 1911A1. As a staple of World War II, there have been plenty of people who wanted to get their hands on it.

A handgun

Enter: the Springfield Mil Spec 1911. This update on an old classic is sure to have its followers. But if you aren’t familiar with why it’s such a beloved pistol, look no further than to your history books to find out why.

You’re getting many of the features that made the original such a hit among collectors and gun enthusiasts. But there are plenty of updated features to please everyone.

To understand why this is such a winner, we first have to begin with the build quality of the Springfield Armory 1911 Mil Spec. It is here where you get a better understanding of what makes this gun so special.

Forged Frame and Slide

With its arched mainspring housing thin construction, it’s easy to see why the 1911 Springfield is such a great fit for beginners. Oftentimes, large handguns limit the audience in what they shoot.

But because the 1911 has such an accessible body, a lot more people can safely try it out. That’s not to say this is a small handgun. Quite the opposite, in fact. Its forged steel frame adds a considerable amount of weight to it.

So it goes without saying that some shooters may find that there’s a bit of a learning curve with this one. No worries, though. I had the same problem upon the first fire. I have been handling smaller pistols as of late, so there was definitely some adjusting needed on my part. 

With that being said, I’m very pleased with how this pistol feels. As you can clearly tell from my Springfield 1911 Mil Spec review thus far, I’m pretty happy with it. The slide is equally robust, giving you a weighted weapon that is nothing short of beefy. 

As for the housing, it does give the gun a bit more girth, no question. But it’s a subtle amount of thickness that didn’t make a difference in its overall performance and handling. At least by my estimation.

A handgun

Stainless or Parkerized Finish

It’s common to see stainless steel finishes on pistols. It’s a sturdy metal that ensures the gun will provide you with plenty of use over the years. But as for this handgun, one of the first things I noticed in my 1911 pistol review was that this gun feels different.

You’re getting a Parkerized finish this time around, and I feel that the pistol is better for it. Parkerizing a weapon means it has gone through a protective coating method that adds even more durability and longevity to it.

As with all of our firearm investments, we want to be assured that we are buying something that will stand the test of time. And with the Springfield Armory 1911 Mil-Spec Semi-Auto Pistol, you’re getting exactly that.

Unlike typical stainless steel finishes, a Parkerized pistol is treated with nitrates, copper, and chlorates to deliver a tough frame that will hold up to damaging conditions.

If you want a pistol to take with you while hunting, this is a great option. Its special coating will ensure that the pistol withstands corrosion from the outside elements. So you can rest easy knowing your new pistol is well-protected.

Match Grade Barrel

If you’ve been reading other 1911 pistols reviews like Tisas 1911 or Rock Island Armory 1911, you’ve likely seen mentions of the match grade barrel. What does this actually mean to you?

Essentially, the chamber and bore are made to have tighter tolerances. This results in an ultra-tight lockup. I found this feature to do exactly what it is designed to do: give better accuracy on the range. 

During my time with 1911 reviews in the past, I found these handguns to deliver reasonable accuracy, although farther distances would sometimes pose a problem. 

But that’s not the case here. From what I discovered, the 1911 Mil Spec is incredibly accurate – both up close and far away. I was thoroughly pleased with how well this pistol fired, and even more so with its precision. 

A pistol detail

The stability alone was enough to send me over the moon. Let’s not overlook the importance of this. Firing a pistol that is shaky or rickety is a recipe for disaster. 

I’ve had my fair share of these types of handguns. They often result in strained wrists and sore hands. 

But with the 1911 Mil Spec, that’s a thing of the past. You’re getting a very well-constructed piece of equipment here. And I couldn’t be more pleased.

So when you combine that with the improved accuracy over previous 1911 models, you’re in for a treat.

Arched Mainspring Housing

If you’ve seen other 1911 pistols review articles, this is another term you’ve surely seen. But what exactly is “arched mainspring housing”? And furthermore, does it actually do anything for you?

By design, arched mainspring housing is supposed to allow for easier shooting. And by extension, faster and more precise follow-up shooting.

So, how does it perform in action? From everything that I could tell, this housing makes a huge difference in the firing. I found myself able to line up targets on the fly much faster than previous 1911 models allowed, that’s for sure.

In fact, this is one of my favorite features of the Mil Spec. I always appreciate a handgun that allows me to chase after my previous shots. I love being able to follow up without struggling to find my target again.

When firing off several shots in a row, I discovered that the arched mainspring housing is a definite bonus on this pistol.

And believe me, I made sure that this wasn’t just a fluke or a one-off. I tested this theory over and over again to ensure that what I was experiencing was truly a decided feature of this handgun.

I’m very pleased to say that I found it to make all the difference in the world with successive shooting. I was able to improve my accuracy once I got better acquainted with how it worked.

The weight of this pistol takes some getting used to – at least for me, it did. As I stated earlier, shooting lighter-weight pistols as of late spoiled me to some degree and I found myself needing to get acclimated to the girth of the Mil Spec. 

The final result, however, was a precise and easy to handle shooting experience. In the end, the weight didn’t bother me in the slightest. In fact, I really couldn’t imagine this pistol any other way.

It’s designed in such a way that each form and function of the gun works in tandem with each other to deliver a satisfying shooting experience. 

And a big part of that goes to the sight setup on this handgun.

Fixed Combat 3-Dot Sights

While this configuration isn’t anything new, there’s no denying that it works. They are very functional in their operation, ensuring that you always have a solid lock on your targets.

And I have to say, this is a big improvement over the previous 1911 pistols I fired. This is a pretty low-profile setup, making it easier for me to keep my eye on my target. In addition, I found this to be a big help in low-light conditions, as well. 

Many times, and especially with older models, I have a hard time getting in sync with my targets after my first shot. I often feel tight and, if I’m being honest, a bit slow. But that’s all gone with the Mil Spec. 

I loved how easy it was for me to obtain my targets using the 3-dot sight system. No longer was I tight and slow on the range. Quite the opposite, in fact. My stance became looser and more relaxed, resulting in much better shooting.

3 dot sights on the pistol

Even better, I soon found myself getting faster and faster with lining up targets and reacquiring my shots. This is a very intuitive design that works wonders for me on the range.

I also spent some time at home out in the back 40. At greater distances, I was able to improve my accuracy the more I got acquainted with the Mil Spec. And in the evening, the 3-dot setup served me really well. 

If you’re just starting out, I highly recommend that you give this pistol some serious consideration. It may take you some time to get yourself acclimated with how it feels and handles. 

But I assure you that it will provide you with a solid shooting experience. Even if you aren’t used to handling a heavier pistol like this, its comfortable grip makes it easier to get used to firing the Mil Spec 1911.

Short Military Combat Trigger

A person shooting the target

It’s important to note that this isn’t exactly a fancy pistol by most people’s standards (aside from the grips, but more on that in a moment).

It is designed to be sufficient in everything that it does. But it is its simplicity that makes it such a reliable shooter. 

And a big part of that goes to the short military combat trigger. If you have smaller hands, you will absolutely love the feel of this trigger. It’s a great fit for smaller statures, for sure. 

But I'd like to think that I have somewhere between medium and large hands, and I have to say, I have zero issues firing with the trigger. Each shot was satisfying and delivered the results I was expecting. At no time did I feel like the trigger was a hindrance to my hand size.

In fact, I'd have to say that I actually prefer this style over larger, skeletonized triggers. It feels solid, sturdy, and gave me a comfortable shooting experience with every shot fired. While it's true that there are better-developed triggers on the market, I believe that you will be pleased with its performance.

Even if you have larger hands, this short action military combat trigger will provide you with comfort. The way it sounds when firing is impressive. The recoil is average, but the range of this gun is top-notch, reaching distances of over 20 yards.

I have one on my nightstand and another as my everyday carry (EDC) firearm. They are my preferred guns, and I exclusively use FMJ ammunition. They are truly great firearms. With over 1,000 rounds fired, I have encountered no issues.

I have 7 sets of grips, 5 holsters, and this gun hits any target I aim at. I added a fiber optic front sight and replaced all the black components with stainless steel, making it my favorite piece.

Furthermore, I installed a match barrel and bushing, and it performed exceptionally well. It flawlessly handled 230 rounds without a single malfunction, and I never experienced any tolerance stack-up.

Crossed Cannon Cocobolo Grips

This is perhaps the best part of the Mil Spec 1911. With the crossed cannon Cocobolo grips, you’re getting a stylish and attractive grip that is a pleasure to hold.

This grip gives the 1911 a traditional, old-school look to it. Its checkered walnut panels provide your hands with plenty to latch onto while you fire.

In my opinion, the Mil Spec pistol offers a fantastic shooting experience, creating a sense of satisfaction that truly lasts. Its nostalgic styling evokes a timeless appeal, providing a tried and true grip that has proven itself over generations.

The visual impact is simply stunning, giving the firearm a distinctive and captivating look and feel that is bound to capture attention. If you're in search of a reliable pistol with a unique style, the Mil Spec is a perfect match.

Furthermore, I found that the grips did not add excessive thickness to the handle, striking an ideal balance between aesthetics and handling quality.

The wooden hand grip not only feels comfortable in your hand but also boasts intricate carving that adds a touch of premium craftsmanship. Additionally, the stainless steel frame coated with high-quality paint lends a discreet appearance.

The overall design of the grip, trigger, and frame exudes a premium look, making it the most beautiful gun I have ever owned.

Inspired by the GI 1911

There’s no denying that the Mil Spec is an update on an old classic. That’s part of what makes this handgun such an attractive buy. Whether you’re a collector or just want to get your hands on some history, this 1911 is sure to fit the bill.

I love that it retains much of what made the GI 1911 such a big hit among gun enthusiasts. But Springfield Armory knew what to leave in and what to modify for today’s modern wants and needs. 

The end result is a beautiful pistol that aims to please – literally and figuratively. You’re investing in a solid and worthy contender that will serve you well in any capacity. 

It’s a blast to handle and even more so to shoot. If you’re in need of a reliable pistol, the Mil Spec won’t disappoint. Furthermore, I found it to be a great fit for both beginners and veterans alike. 

It has the perfect balance of old-school and new. If you have a taste for the finer things in life and love your history, the Mil Spec will make a great addition to your collection. It’s fun to fire and a beauty to behold.

1911 Mil-Spec Handgun Variations

Springfield Armory makes several variations of this handgun. The 1911 Ronin serves to combine the legacy of the historical 1911 with the needs of modern shooters.

Then there is the 1911 EMP. This handgun is made to use the 9mm cartridge. With its smaller dimensions, this variation makes a great entry-level pistol for those with smaller builds, but if you need an even smaller 9mm pistol, with 6 inches in length and weighing only 18.3 ounces, Springfield Hellcat is a great option.

1911 Mil-Spec handles exceptionally well, so you’re sure to be investing a versatile shooter that won’t disappoint. Additionally, it makes this 1911 a great handgun for concealed carrying. So if you like the 1911 but want a more manageable frame, this is the gun for you. 

The 1911 Range Officer is another variation that delivers exceptional precision on the range. If you’ve been needing an excellent handgun for competitive shooting, this is a great choice for your needs.

The Range Officer Elite takes things up a notch with its 10mm caliber. If you’re interested in doing some serious hunting with a 1911, this is the perfect companion while you’re out in the wild.

The 1911 Loaded gives you the ability to customize the 1911 to your liking, ensuring that you’re getting just the pistol for your needs. 

The 1911 Vickers Tactical was developed with the help of combat veteran Larry Vickers, giving you a military-grade version of the 1911. With options like these, you’re sure to find the perfect pistol for your needs.

1911 Mil-Spec Handgun Variations
1911 Mil-Spec Handgun Variations
1911 Mil-Spec Handgun Variations


Overall, the Springfield is not only a beautiful gun but also a faithful representation of the original WWII 1911. The slight variation in the color scheme adds a unique touch, making it a true piece of history. Additionally, I had the opportunity to try out the Springfield All Custom version with modern Novak sights.

Surprisingly, I found myself preferring the smaller military sights over the modern gigantic three-dot sights. The precise sight picture they offered, even under stress, was exceptional. As for the mil-spec aspect, it refers to the tolerances and interchangeability of the gun's parts, ensuring reliable performance. It's a testament to the meticulous design and construction.

When comparing the new and old versions, there are more than just cosmetic differences. The new version features a lowered and faired back ejection port, an extended ejector, and a beveled magazine well.

While some may appreciate these changes, personally, I have a fondness for the original sights. In the end, the Springfield proves itself as a remarkable firearm that pays homage to its historical roots while incorporating modern enhancements.

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