Best Budget 1911? Springfield Armory MIL-SPECThe Firearm Blog

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Whether you work in a gun shop, collect firearms or scour the internet looking for great photographs of guns, it is easy to get drowned out scrolling passed the endless pile of cheap 1911 pistols. It has been a trend since the patents of the beloved grandfather of modern firearms, John Browning, have expired that companies around the world make clones and even chincy copies. Militaries skirted patents and produced copies even when they were not expired to have such a profound design defending their soldiers. Springfield Armory’s Defend Your Legacy Series MIL-SPEC 1911 is affordable but it is definitely not cheap. This is one of those very few examples where the “You get what you pay for” phrase does not apply. Want to know more? Let’s dive right into the Defend Your Legacy Series MIL-SPEC!

Specifications: Springfield Armory mil-spec defend your legacy series 1911

Springfield Armory has a line up of three MIL-SPEC 1911 pistols and all of the specifications seem to be the exact same besides some finishing differences and grip changes. As I mentioned in the introduction, this 1911 is not like the rest of the budget 1911’s out there. Looking at the specifications below it is an obvious fact. Some of the specifications provided are of my own observations of my review gun and Springfield Armory’s specifications off of their product page.

  • CALIBER – .45 ACP
  • COLOR – Black
  • BARREL – 5″ Stainless Steel Match Grade
  • SLIDE – Forged Carbon Steel
  • FRAME – Forged Carbon Steel
  • FINISH – Parkerized
  • SIGHTS – Fixed Combat, 3 – Dot

  • RECOIL SYSTEM – GI Style
  • WEIGHT – 39 Ounces
  • HEIGHT – 5.5″
  • LENGTH – 8.6″
  • GRIP TYPE – Fully Checkered Wood Grips
  • MAINSPRING HOUSING – Arched, Metal
  • MAGAZINES – One 7 Round
  • TRIGGER PULL – Roughly 5.5lbs

The photograph above shows the contents of what I will call the older version of the Defend Your Legacy Series MIL-SPEC box. The reason I say it like that is it appears Springfield Armory has improved their packaging of this wonderful 1911 which was going to be a critique of mine. The “original” box was pretty poor but it was obvious they were attempting to make everything as affordable as possible. It had these fins of cardboard on the inside that I assume were supposed to hold the gun in some way but every one of these boxes I have ever opened the fins are ripped free and floating around with the rest of the contents of the box. The new packaging is the same as the Hellcat comes in and even includes a small case.

Springfield Armory MIL-SPEC Defend Your Legacy Series

The MSRP for the Springfield Armory Defend Your Legacy Series MIL-SPEC 1911 stands proud at only $549.99. That is correct, you get a tight toleranced, well oiled, match barreled 1911 for just over $500. After shooting and handling this one compared to others out there, this one is an absolute steal! If you need a little more personality in your life but still want it to have that nostalgic character, there are two more MIL-SPEC’s that Springfield Armory offers. The other two MIL-SPEC’s available include all the same specifications but with the added flair of Crossed Cannon cocobolo grips, a total of two magazines, and the option of a stainless finish. The MSRP of the other two is $780 for the standard parkerized one and $876 for the stainless.

Springfield Armory MIL-SPEC Defend Your Legacy Series

For anyone curious about field stripping a MIL-SPEC 1911 pistol, make sure to check out another article featuring this same pistol here. Springfield Armory puts it pretty plainly themselves that they have the street cred and quality to make a MIL-SPEC correctly and affordably. You can tell that they really care about paying homage to the long winding roots of the 1911. Check out their statement below:

Don’t be fooled by imposters. Like bearded, flannel-clad hipsters, a lot of 1911s out there only look the part. The Mil-Spec, however, is true to its roots and rugged to its core.

Built on a forged frame and slide the Mil-Spec carries on Springfield Armory’s long legacy of quality 1911s. Traditionally styled and built on a full-size frame the Mil-Spec features a 5″ match grade barrel and rear slant serrations on the slide. The mainspring housing is the original arched style found on G.I.-issue 1911-A1s, giving you a classic look with modern upgrades for improved performance and reliability.

For those who demand a quality, authentic 1911 the Mil-Spec offers exceptional value and an undeniable pedigree.

First Look: Springfield Armory mil-spec defend your legacy series 1911

The first time I ever handled the Springfield Armory MIL-SPEC Defend Your Legacy series 1911 was at the gun shop I work at and to put it simply this is a solid gun. It is tight, balanced, and pleasant. I have met and handled a great many 1911 clones that will all remain nameless and none were as impressive as this affordable chunk of nostalgia. The slide is nice and tight, the action does not stutter or feel unfinished, and the hand feel is natural and a wonderfully balanced sort of heavy. The only unimpressive part about the whole deal was the old-style box that seems to since been remedied.

That all being said this gun is an absolute world war two nostalgia object. The parkerized finish and plain-jane checkered wood grips make it feel complete. Obviously, under the hood, we have that stainless match-grade barrel that discerns itself from other MIL-SPEC clones.

Springfield Armory MIL-SPEC Defend Your Legacy Series

Range time: Springfield Armory mil-spec defend your legacy series 1911

When it came to range time, I have to admit that I ended up going on quite a few trips. Each time I had made it a point to use some different ammunition to weed out any potential quirks of this too good to be true handgun. I am very excited and glad to say that I never once had any malfunctions or signs of break-in period rearing its head. I used CCI Blazer 230 grain FMJ, Magtech 230 grain FMJ, Federal American Eagle 230 grain FMJ, and also some 165 grain “low recoil” Federal hollow points.

I have zero critiques when it comes to the operation and firing of this 1911. Everything worked as it should. The slide release was smooth and easy. The safety was positive and comfortable. The magazine release was simple and ejected perfectly fine without any stuttering or sticking.

The target above was the first one I had shot out of the box. This was at 20 yards and I am plenty happy with it. I believe up and down that this gun makes me a better pistol marksman. I have never been super accurate but as I got used to this gun, my groups only improved. It was extremely obvious to me that the tight tolerances of this firearm make it exceedingly competitive to any other budget 1911 you will ever pick up.

Springfield Armory MIL-SPEC Defend Your Legacy Series

final thoughts: Springfield Armory mil-spec defend your legacy series 1911

I had held this budget 1911 long before I ever reviewed it and could tell it was quality. When I finally got to get some much-needed range time in it was brutally obvious this was an amazingly well-made representation of a gun that made it onto the scene over a hundred years ago. It is sleek, tight, and dense. I truly believe any 1911 admirer and aficionado alike would be perfectly proud to own this magnificent example of craftsmanship and engineering.

The price point is more than fair and I don’t think it should change a bit. The quality and elegance you are given at the MSRP of $549 should give you faith and trust in the company that produced it and made it available to you. Beautiful nostalgia that actually functions wonderfully is well worth the money asked. If anyone asks me about getting a great starter 1911 this is the direction I will send them!

Springfield Armory MIL-SPEC Defend Your Legacy Series

In closing, I want to say thank you to Springfield Armory for allowing TFB and myself the opportunity to try out their MIL-SPEC 1911! That is greatly appreciated. Also, we would like to know what all of you guys and gals think? Do you believe that this 1911 is something worth spending your money on? Would you run to the range with this lovable chunk of steel?  Would this be your go-to fun gun at the range? Let us know all of your thoughts in the Comments below! We always appreciate your feedback.

Springfield Armory MIL-SPEC Defend Your Legacy Series

Springfield Armory MIL-SPEC Defend Your Legacy Series

Springfield Armory MIL-SPEC Defend Your Legacy Series

Springfield Armory MIL-SPEC Defend Your Legacy Series

Springfield Armory MIL-SPEC Defend Your Legacy Series

Springfield Armory MIL-SPEC Defend Your Legacy Series

Springfield Armory MIL-SPEC Defend Your Legacy Series

Springfield Armory MIL-SPEC Defend Your Legacy Series

Springfield Armory MIL-SPEC Defend Your Legacy Series

Springfield Armory MIL-SPEC Defend Your Legacy Series

Springfield Armory MIL-SPEC Defend Your Legacy Series


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