Ayoob and the Ronin | The Armory Life

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World War II combat veteran Jeff Cooper was more responsible than anyone else for the resurrection in popularity of the 1911 .45 auto pistol.  Sixty or so years ago, he quantified how to make it ideal for defensive combat:

  • Big, easy-to-see fixed sights
  • “Throated” chamber to reliably feed more configurations of the versatile .45 ACP cartridge than just round-nose full metal jacket
  • A decent trigger pull
  • An enlarged thumb safety for more positive operation from cocked-and-locked carry
  • Checkered frame for more secure grasp
  • Magazine well edges beveled slightly to allow for faster reloads
  • A combined modification of hammer shape and grip safety configuration that won’t bite the web of the shooter’s hand
  • The good Colonel decided later in life that slim grip panels for more trigger reach would be a worthy 1911 addition
  • Two-tone finish, most commonly blue on top with something silvery below, would add a bit of “dash” to the package
The Springfield Armory Ronin offers great performance with a pleasing aesthetic.

Today’s 1911 aficionado wants even more. Some bright fiber optic up front, please. And while we’re on the sights, let’s go with a “ledge” rear to facilitate one-handed slide operation in an emergency.

Checking the Boxes

Introduced in 2020, the Springfield Armory Ronin checks most if not all of the above boxes, both traditional and modern. (Make sure to check out Paul Carlson’s Springfield Ronin review here at The Armory Life.) And it does it for an MSRP of just $849. Though the grip area checkering is on the flat mainspring housing only, and the stocks are only half-checkered in a diagonal pattern, I found that it didn’t shift in the hand at all even in flat-out rapid fire.

Springfield Armory 1911 Ronin in a box as delivered
The Ronin comes in a plain cardboard box, albeit with a nice nylon zippered pouch.

The ultra-slim grip panels combined with a medium-length trigger gave our test gun ideal “trigger reach.” The beavertail grip safety was perfectly adjusted, and the safety (on left side of pistol only) was crisp and positive, whether flipped up for “safe” or down for “fire.” Springfield Armory ships all their 1911s with titanium firing pin to eliminate fear of “inertia fire” if dropped.

1911 muzzle
Ayoob appreciated the Ronin’s traditional barrel bushing/recoil spring system: proven functional, and easy for takedown and reassembly.

To keep the price reasonable, the pistol comes in a cardboard box with a nice zippered case, and packed with a single Mec-Gar eight-round magazine. Slide grooves are angled in the old Colt Gold Cup style, and they are present on both the front of the slide as well as the rear. Bushing design is good old John Moses Browning original, easy for takedown and reassembly.

1911 magazine well
Light beveling of the magazine well aided quick reloads.

Ronin Specifications

Chambering .45 ACP
Barrel 5”
Weight 40 oz.
Overall Length 8.6”
Sights Tactical rack rear, fiber optic front
Grips Wood
Action Semi-auto
Finish Two-tone
Capacity 8+1 (one)
MSRP $849
Man shooting a 1911 pistol
All steel construction gives ex-SWAT cop Steve Denney excellent control of the .45 Ronin.

On the Range

Trigger pull on the test sample, serial number NM649234, hovered right at 6 lbs. There was a little trigger creep in the take-up, but once the trigger finger felt “the wall” of firm resistance, break to the shot was clean and crisp.

Accuracy testing was done from a Caldwell Matrix rest on a concrete bench from 25 yards. Winchester’s budget white box 230-gr. jacketed hollow point put five shots in 1.90”, center to center. The best three of those (a measurement that tends to factor out human error and approximate what five rounds of the same ammo would have done from a machine rest) was 1.10”.

Massad Ayoob shooting a Ronin
Ayoob found the Ronin easy to control during rapid fire.

Remington 185-gr. jacketed hollowpoint delivered a five-shot group that strung vertically, measuring 2.55” high by only 0.70” wide, with the best three in an inch and a quarter. What I think caused the stringing was that my eye was having trouble aligning the thin black line above the red dot of the fiber optic insert with the top edges of the black rear sight against the black Shoot-n-C bulls-eye target. Suffice it to say, the pistol demonstrated more than sufficient accuracy.

Ronin pistol with ammo and target
The Winchester 230-gr. JHP gave tightest (sub-2”) group at 25 yards with this pistol.

By the time we were done, a few hundred rounds of ball and jacketed hollow point had gone through the Ronin. There were no malfunctions of any kind.

Man shooting 1911 pistol
Shooting the Ronin was made easier with the high-visibility sights and crisp trigger.

I would have liked an ambi safety and front strap checkering, and could have lived without the forward slide grasping grooves. That nit-picking done, though, I think the Ronin stands alongside the Springfield Armory Range Officer series at “best buy” level in a 1911 .45 auto under $1,000 retail.

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