Do you like heavy metal? Are you a Harley Davidson kind of person? Look at the Ronin Operator by Springfield Armory. It is a good-looking, full-sized 1911 pistol with nice features far above a standard 1911. 

The two-tone slide and receiver combo are striking. Custom features are abundant on this mid-priced gem. Stay tuned with me as I view and shoot this beauty today in Area 51, Arizona.

Table of Contents

Video Review
What Is a Ronin, Anyway?
My Impressions
Range Time
Pros & Cons
Customer Reviews
Parting Thoughts

Video Review





Springfield Armory Ronin Operator 1911 Pistol
Springfield Armory's Ronin Operator is a production-level gun that sports many custom features but is still affordable. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Springfield Armory is well known for its quality, high-end 1911-style handguns. Priced above $3,000, they are above my modest income level. 

Enter the Ronin. It is a production-level gun with many custom features. I think Springfield succeeded in making a full-size 1911 that the average person can afford and use in daily carry and defense.



Springfield Armory Ronin Operator 1911 Pistol
This Ronin in 9mm is a smooth operator with good looks to boot. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

"Ronin" is a Japanese term describing a samurai who has lost his feudal lord. He has become a “wave-rider,” or a homeless soldier looking for work. We would call him a mercenary. Today’s mercenaries do not carry a samurai sword – they carry a 1911 pistol! 

It is a catchy name for a gorgeous pistol. Although available in different sizes and calibers, my Ronin for testing is full sized and chambered in 9mm.

Related: New Springfield Armory Commander-Sized Ronin Operator 1911 in .45 ACP, 9mm



Springfield Armory Ronin Operator 1911 Pistol
The Ronin is an impressive gun with its unique grips and blued slide, not to mention its hefty 2.5-pound weight. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

When I pick up this handgun, I notice that it is big and solid. This is not bad. Solid and heavy is useful in taming kick, and big means a full sight radius. This 9mm version is a bit unusual due to its 5.5-inch barrel. It looks long and mean and fills my hand as only a 1911 can. 

The stainless-steel single-stack magazine is made for 9mm and gives the handgun a thin grip. One big advantage to the 9mm Ronin is the nine-round magazine capacity. Good idea, Springfield Armory. Nine plus one will give me an extra three rounds over a standard .45 ACP magazine. I might need that today for doing battle with these 2-liter bottles!

The laminate grip panels are walnut with a unique checkering diagonal/smooth design centered with crossed cannons. It looks cool! I love the way a 1911 feels in my hand, and this one commands me to a steady hold. It is well-balanced, and its 2.5-pound weight gives me confidence in aiming.

Springfield Armory Ronin Operator 1911 Pistol
The Gen II Speed Trigger breaks at 5.5 pounds with minor creep and no over-travel. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

Look at that slide! Springfield got the color right. The deep blue jumps alive. Slide serrations on the rear and forward sides are a great touch. The oversized ejection port will stop jams and stovepipes. It means business. The rear grip is nicely checkered below the generous beavertail extension. It completely shrouds the skeletonized hammer from my skin. 

Sights on Springfield Armory Ronin Operator 1911 Pistol
Sights are fixed, two white dots on the rear and a bright red fiber-optic front. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

The Gen II Speed Trigger breaks at 5.5 pounds with minor creep and no over-travel. It is easy to learn this single-action break. Sights are fixed, non-adjustable, but stand out and grab my attention. Two white dots on the rear beg to line up with that bright red fiber-optic front sight.   

Related: New Springfield Armory 1911 Operator



Springfield Armory Ronin Operator 1911 Pistol
No hammer bite here – the beavertail grip extension completely protects my hand from the skeletonized hammer. (Photo: Ben Philippi/
  • Overall length: 8.6 inches     
  • Height: 5.5 inches      
  • Barrel length: 5.5 inches  
  • Sight radius: 6.5 inches    
  • Trigger: Gen II Speed Trigger; 5 pounds, 3 ounces     
  • Weight: 2.56 pounds
  • Magazine: 9-round stainless steel   
  • Sights: Tactical rear two dots with fiber-optic front
  • Slide: Carbon steel, blue      
  • Frame: Stainless steel    
  • Beavertail rear grip and light hammer
  • MSRP: $917



Springfield Armory Ronin Operator 1911 Pistol
The Ronin feels as good as it looks – like I'm shaking hands with myself. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

There are plenty of targets here in Area 51, and I cannot wait to run some ammo through this solid, sharp-looking pistol. This Certified Used gun comes from with one factory nine-round magazine and one Zenith Firearms 10-round magazine. I will test both in the gun today and hunt for jams.   

Starting with a paper target, the pistol prints nicely offhand at 15 yards. Its bark is not bad and is nicely controllable. Next, the steel target shows a couple of center hits, and I can hit the “flipper” steel plate and make head shots easily. 

Springfield Armory Ronin Operator 1911 Pistol
Blue steel: check out the business end of the 5.5-inch barrel, topped with a fiber-optic sight. (Photo: Ben Philippi/

I love the 1911 design, because it feels as if I am shaking hands with myself! Telling you that the trigger breaks at 5 pounds does not do justice to its clean break. It helps my confidence and accuracy. This makes it easy to hit my “milk bottle” steel target at 30 yards reliably.

Root beer soda bottles go down as they explode nicely. Full metal jacket 9mm bullets are capable of much damage. I encounter no jams and no misses on the 2-liter bottles. Time to reload now. The single-stack 9mm magazines require a lot of pressure to compress the springs. 

Luckily, I have my trusty UpLULA universal magazine loader. With it, I can quickly load each magazine and finish testing the Ronin on pop cans. Despite a missed shot, the Ronin comes through to open those cans one after another. Dumping the 10-round Zenith magazine into the steel target flawlessly finishes my fun time with Ronin!

Related: What Are the Best 1911 Magazines?

Pros & Cons


  • Good looks – eye-catching two-tone slide and frame
  • Laminate wood stocks
  • High quality: reliable, solid, and smooth       
  • 9+1 stainless-steel magazine 
  • Crisp Gen II Speed Trigger    
  • Skeletonized hammer     
  • Dual slide serrations     
  • Beavertail grip   
  • Affordable                  
  • 5.5-inch barrel with longer slide and sight radius 
  • Available in 9mm (as tested) and .45 ACP         
  • High visibility sights 


  • A bit heavy at 2.56 pounds empty   
  • Non-adjustable sights    

Customer Reviews


I am going to be sad to send this one back to It is hard to be impartial regarding this beautiful 1911. Yes, I am partial to 1911-style pistols, but this one is not only solid and smooth but a good looker, too. 

If you are a samurai searching for your next assignment, forget the sword and pick up a Ronin by Springfield Armory. It will not kill your bank account, and you will get more value for your buck!

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