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Remington Model 1911 R1 Enhanced

by James Tarr   |  June 11th, 2012 20

We all knew it would happen. When Remington announced it was going to be making the R1, a semi-retro version of the historic 1911, a “modern” version from Big Green couldn’t be too far away. Well, it has now arrived.


The Remington R1 Enhanced Model has most of the features America’s gun buyers want on their modernized 1911s. I say most because I dare you to find two 1911 fans who can agree on which sights, options and accessories make the modern combat/carry 1911.


The R1 Enhanced sports an Ed Brown-style beavertail safety and single-side thumb safety. The gun also has very functional flat-bottomed slide serrations.

This is still an all-steel, 100 percent made in the USA pistol with a businesslike matte black finish. I’m glad to see Remington didn’t just slap on some sights and a beavertail to its original R1 and call it a day. The company apparently put some thought into what gun buyers would be looking for.


First, the rear of the frame has been machined to accept an Ed Brown-style beavertail grip safety, which is a huge improvement over the original GI design in both operation and comfort. The grip safety has a raised pad at the base to help ensure deactivation by people with small or thin hands. That raised pad is checkered 20 lpi and matches the checkered flat mainspring housing.


The short trigger has been replaced with a long one adjustable for overtravel and the spur hammer with a skeletonized Commander-style one. The R1 Enhanced has the same Series 80-style internal firing-pin safety as the original R1. This safety has a well-deserved reputation for screwing up trigger pulls, but I didn’t experience that when testing the original R1. I did experience it, however, with my Enhanced sample, which had a crunchy five-pound trigger pull. Remington advertises trigger pulls between 3.5 and five pounds.

RELATED: Remington 1911 R1 Review

The pistol I received for testing looked a bit like a war relic, with patches of bluing gone and a bit of rust on the slide serrations. I learned the sample had just survived an event at Gunsite. Perhaps clean and new the Enhanced model I shot would’ve had a better trigger pulls, but it certainly ran without a problem–digesting every type of ammunition, including Black Hills’ new steel-cased .45 ACP offering.


Both the flat mainspring housing and the raised pad at the base of the grip safety are checkered 20 lpi for sure handling.

The magazine well features the same bevel as on the original R1, but the frontstrap has been vertically serrated. The pistol comes with dark brown, checkered, laminate wood grips. They were on the thick side for 1911 grips and relieved on the left side for easier access to the magazine release.


The magazine release is what I’ve come to see as a standard-length part in the industry, but it is longer than the one on the original R1. The Enhanced model has an extended, single-side combat thumb safety that had positive clicks up and down.


The R1 Enhanced features a no-snag, Novak-type rear sight adjustable for elevation. Both front and rear sights are in dovetails. The front sight is a long, robust post with a red fiber-optic insert. The insert is supported at the front, back, and twice in the middle by steel, and is one of the more robust fiber-optic sights I’ve seen.


The Enhanced has dropped the GI-style angled slide serrations in favor wider, flat-bottomed serrations. Flat-bottomed serrations are much more aggressive, and thus more functional, especially if your hands are sweaty. Remington engineers also added front cocking serrations. Some people don’t like front cocking serrations–as much for aesthetic reasons as anything else– but I use them and was glad to see them on this pistol.


Slide-to-frame fit was very good; barrel fit was even better. The R1 has a stainless steel barrel bushing and the standard GI recoil spring/plug system. It is provided with two eight-round magazines with base pads.

The pistol’s fiber-optic sight is one of the most robust of this type the author’s seen. The Enhanced also features front slide serrations.

The owner’s manual advises against the use of +P ammunition in the gun, but I don’t consider that an issue. It’s a .45, the handgun cartridge against which all others are judged when it comes to stopping power. I wouldn’t want to get hit with a thrown 230-grain full metal jacket bullet, much less one traveling 850 fps.


The 1911 field is admittedly crowded, but there are few names more recognizable in that crowd than Remington. If its combination of features seems right for you, check one out.


ACTION: 1911 semiauto
BARREL: 5 in.
BARREL MATERIAL: stainless steel
GRIPS: laminated wood
TRIGGER PULL: 3.5-5 lb. (5 lb. as tested)
WEIGHT: 39.5 oz.
Price: $940


Smallest Avg. Group: 230-gr. Hornady FMJ…1.8 in.
Largest Avg. Group: (tie) Remington 185-gr./185-gr. Black Hills Steel Case JHP…2.3 in.
Avg. of all ammo: 2.12 inches
Accuracy results are the averages of four five-shot groups at 25 yards.

  • Wolvie

    Actually had the chance to…er…fondle one of these pistols. (I originally wrote, "handled", but "fondled" was just more accurate…)

    I think that from what I've seen so far, Remington has hit it out of the park with these new 1911's. Haven't seen a single one ever get returned to my local shop and the few rounds I put through a regular R1 (owned by another shooter) showed it to be accurate, manageable and just like the ones costing hundreds of dollars more.

    These are worth a look if you are shopping for a 1911…be it your first or an addition to the collection. Just make sure you shoot it. These were never built to be safe queens.

  • kent payne

    i have a basic R 1 model and I love it and most of my plinking is done with tula steel cased ammo my gun shoots just fine with cheap ammo which is fine with me!

  • jeff

    patches of bluing gone and rust on the slide serrations after an event and gunsite???? dont you think that means the finish is kind of shitty? i have guns that are 20 yrs old and survived numerous events and the bluing isnt coming off and theres no rust on them…

    • James Tarr

      You've obviously never shot with gunwriters. We're harder on guns than cops are on cars. When you send writers to an event where someone else paid for the ammo and we don't have to clean the guns, sometimes we'll invent torture tests just to see what happens. G&A's Tom Beckstarnd and I did that at a Remington event with the original R1, when we put so many rounds through it so fast the gun got too hot to touch. Do you know how many rounds of .45 you have to shoot to get the frame of a 1911 too hot to touch?

      • Richard

        No – How Many

        • James Tarr

          Well, to be honest, we lost count. It was somewhere between 500 and 750 in about 45 minutes. Tom's a forme Green Beret, and he wasn't going to quit, so neither was I. As the original R1 has the GI grip safety, I ended up with a blood blister on the web of my hand and a bruised knucklebone….but it was worth it. And the gun kept running.

  • Alan_T

    My two favorite handguns are the Colt SAA and the 1911 Government Model and I feel the the R1 would make a fine first 1911 for some one ….. but except that my Springfield is parkerised and has a really nice set of coco bolo grips I can't perceive any difference to get worked up about especially with the price ( and yes , I know the real world price will be lower that the MSR ) …….. AND I have to echo Jeff ….. patches of bluing gone and rust on the slide serrations ? Makes that $ 940 .00 MSR sound pretty steep !

  • Chaz

    It looks like a 1911 to me….. For that kind of money I'll take my Sig Scorpion. I bought a near new Taurus 1911 for 450 at a gun show. Best money I ever spent on a handgun.

  • Guy Grace

    This looks like a fine pistol but I have to agree that the finish is a concern. I have the OD framed R1, and it shoots great. However the slide had this blue finish that was scratching and coming off easily. First off the frame was was scratching the slide due to poor final finishing of the frame. I sent it back to Remington and it was back in my hands in about 8 days. The issue was correct but that darn slide finish was horrible. I recently corrected the problem with the slide finish by haveing my local gunsmith parkerize the slide. Wow night and day difference in durability. The gunsmith did say that this Remington finish was quite easy to remove from the slide. To sum it up I am happy with the results. I personally have 14 various 1911 pistols and the R1 is a great addtion to the collection. However hopefully Remington will change thier finish process because a lot of new owners are complaining about this one area on the pistol.

  • David Turner

    Wow great comments about the bluing I am contemplating buying one as my first 1911. I think I will talk to my gunsmith about the slide finish and see if he wont throw some work in on the pistol before I buy.Thanks for the info!

  • Guy Grace

    David if you buy one rack the slide a couple times and watch the dust cover area where the slide would rub against the slide. You can see on the picture of this pistol a straight line scratch, possibly from a rough slide finish. My scratches appeared after I rack the slide twice. Again I know some 1911s will do this but I never had one on two racks. Personally I like my Springfield Range Officer, and loadeds parkerized finish better so I went that route on the R1. Cost me 50 bucks. The R1 original finish would scratch on a light interaction with my fingernail. I still believe it is a great gun, if the change the finish options they will be just fine.

  • kent payne

    I have to say the finish on my basic R1 is perfect!

  • Frank

    I looked at the r1 enhanced two days ago it was next to a new government model " by Colt" in the case.
    I've had a Springfield loaded and Kimber tle2 so I have had some 1911s to compare each other to. The Colt
    Was $40 more than the enhanced. The problem is I always like originals….and I've always wanted one from
    The company everybody else has copied. So I purchased the Government model. I have a tool and die background and the first thing I did was field strip it. I always do to look at what I really bought. WOW! Some of the most beautiful tight clean machining I've ever seen in a firearm. It is more accurate than I am and to shoot it is a feeling of a rock solid piece of forged steel of which the slide barrel and frame are. I'm so glad I purchased the original. You do get what you pay for ….most of the time and this is sure one of them. Several hundred rounds already without one malfunction…regardless of what I feed it. After all….it is a Colt Government Model!!

  • Jon C.

    A few months I purchased Remington's, R-1 Enhanced 1911, and it is an amazing piece of machinery. The tolerances are very tight, there is no rattle at all. The black oxide finish is much better than on the "Basic R-1". The basic R-1 is pretty much entry level, and the Enhanced is just that and if you had to add all the other features the Enhanced has it would cost you about $450 more. I paid $750 OTD for mine and I Think I got a Bargain. I have run about 2100 rounds of about everything you can shove down the stove pipe and some of it was pretty cheap. I have not experienced any FTE's or FTF's and some times the whole front end of the barrel and slide looks like I ground it into a dirty ashtray. I have had no bluing problems or any other problem as a matter of fact. The accuracy is above Parr and I have consistent groupings of about 2 inches at 25 yards, I have shot Kimber's, S & W's, Springfield's, even the new 5 1/4 match grade, Ruger's, and even a Colt, and none of them shoot as nicely or better. So I highly recommend this pistol from the Big Green it is as fine as they come out of the box, and as accurate as their rifles. Semper Fi

  • SA Ruger Fan

    My R-1 basic is a pleasure to shot and I do it a lot at the local outdoor range in the summer and the indoor range in the winter. The only time I had a stovepipe was with Blazer brass ammo.My Reloads have not failed with blue dot, red dot, 231 or bullseye. A regular diet of Hornady HAPs and round nose lead cast bullets do not bother this workhorse as it does what it was built for without fail. Made in America still means something here!

  • Jacob J.

    I've been shootin for about 20 years. I recently picked up an OD framed R-1. I only have about 100 rounds through it now, but have to say, so far I'm extremely pleased. I haven't noticed the finish issues discussed above. It shoots great and is extremely accurate right outa the box. My dad has about $1000 more in his Kimber and I can't shoot any better with that than my R-1. I'm really happy with it. I bought it used, a week old, only because the price was right, with every intention of just selling it…then I shot it. I'll probably hang onto it forever. Honestly one of my favorite guns to shoot.

  • Fred Dwight

    This is a beautiful handgun and a wonderful initiative by Remington. I love this handgun and I own the R-1 Extended version. I'm close to running 1,000 rounds through this pistol and have had no issues with it.

  • William Harris

    I have the R1 Enhanced love every thing about it. I have owned Colt ,Ruger and more. All good guns but the Remington is my pick. I went today and orded a stanless R1 Enhanced .Just hope to get it soon. I know there is a big back order list on them.

  • Donovan Bone

    What about the R1 Enhanced versus the SR1911?

  • Ben Murch

    I need the sight cut dimensions because I don’t like the factory sights much and I want 3 dot night sights

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