Review: Springfield Armory TRP Operator Longslide
November 27, 2018
Springfield Armory considers the TRP Series its most elite production line of 1911s. The company has expanded the line with two brand-new versions of the TRP Operator: one five-inch Government-size gun and one longslide six-inch pistol. Both are chambered in 10mm, which is ironic. A cartridge thought to be dead just a few years ago is now the hot new chambering in full-size semiautos.
These 10mm TRP Operators are identical except for overall length, the rear sight and the barrel bushing. After shooting buckets of ammo through each of these new models at a media rollout, I requested one of the six-inch 10mms to test because I think it is the most intriguing.
This 10mm TRP Operator has a forged-steel frame that has been treated with corrosion-resistant Black T coating. The barrels are match-grade and stainless steel with fully supported ramps. The slides have flat-bottomed serrations front and rear, and the gun’s controls include extended ambidextrous thumb safeties and a beavertail grip safety. The grips are VZ Grips Aliens, G10 in a black/green color it calls Dirty Olive.
Engineers just design stuff. It’s up to the marketing people to invent cool new terms for its firearm’s new design features, such as Octo-Grip to describe the texturing on the frontstrap and mainspring housing of these pistols. To me, it resembles some kind of fencing. It looks pretty neat, although it is not as aggressive as checkering.
The magazine well on the frame has been nicely beveled, and the gun comes with two eight-round stainless steel magazines. The TRP Operator has a fully adjustable Bomar BMCS-style rear sight with tritium inserts. The only negative thing I have to say about this pistol is the tritium lamp in the front sight was totally dead. I don’t know if there was a defect in manufacturing or if some old stock somehow got mixed in (the lamps only glow about 10 years or so), but things happen, and that’s why Springfield Armory offers a warranty.
In Springfield Armory nomenclature, an Operator is any of its pistols sporting a tactical rail. These Operators are equipped with a full-length (and then some) Picatinny rail. The folks at Springfield as much as told me the rail in these models is there as much to add recoil-absorbing weight as it is to provide an attachment surface for tactical lights and/or lasers.
And if you eyeball the forward section of the frame that houses the rail, you will see it is wider than the rest of the frame, adding both strength as well as weight where it will reduce muzzle rise the most. The gun also sports a bull barrel that mates tight to the slide without a bushing. The barrel fit was so tight out of the box I could not cycle it with the hammer down.
What surprised me was how much of a difference in recoil there was between the five- and six-inch guns. There is a five-ounce difference in weight between the two guns, but that 12.5 percent weight increase results in what seemed like a 25 percent reduction in felt recoil and muzzle rise.
I think this is due to three factors. One, the frame is an inch longer and extra wide. Two, the six-inch bull barrel keeps more weight forward during recoil than a traditional barrel/bushing setup. Three, perhaps most significant, the six-inch gun uses the same recoil spring setup as the five-inch gun, and the extra space in the recoil spring plug right out at the muzzle is filled with good old-fashioned steel.
I do all my testing off sandbags using actual human eyes because I think that most closely replicates real-world conditions. However, I’m pretty confident that if I locked this pistol into a Ransom Rest it would show astounding results, like one-inch groups at 25 yards. While Springfields might technically be “production” guns, in quality they are the equal to many custom 1911s I’ve tested.
As I said, this pistol has “Operator” in its name, which sounds more like balaclava-clad SWAT team than whitetail deer. And the TRP series is at its heart a “tactical” pistol line—“serious fighting handguns,” Springfield says. Even diehard 10mm fans will balk at the size and weight of the six-inch longslide as a carry gun, but it seems the perfect setup for a semiauto hunting gun for deer or wild hogs. Offering five- and six-inch “tactical” pistols chambered in an up-and-coming handgun cartridge—one that’s good for hunting and delivers excellent terminal performance in defensive scenarios—it seems like Springfield has all the bases covered.
Springfield Armory TRP Operator Longslide
Barrel Length: 6.0 in.
OAL/Height/Width: 9.6/5.5/1.3 in.
Weight: 45 oz. (no magazine)
Construction: Black T-finished carbon steel slide and frame
Grips: VZ Grips Aliens Dirty Olive G10
Safeties: grip, thumb
Sights: night sights, fully adjustable rear
Trigger: 4.75 lb. pull (measured)
Manufacturer: Springfield Armory, springfield-armory.com