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Honest Review: Springfield’s Revamped Tactical Response Pistol (TRP)



Ever since the FBI Hostage Rescue Team began deploying Springfield Armory Professional 1911 pistols in 1998, the gun gained a mythic status among users. Thanks to the strict accuracy and performance requirements imposed on the Professional by FBI standards, it became one of the most sought-after 1911s on the market—in part due to its reputation, and in part due to its relative scarcity. The gun was produced by Springfields’s custom shop, meaning that each Professional was assigned from start to finish to one gunsmith who hand-fitted each pistol. I have heard from more than one person “in the know” that Professionals were always produced in batches, and that the FBI always got first dibs. If any were left over, Springfield would then sell them to civilian customers. The waits on these “extra” Professionals could be up to three years.

With a demand that high, Springfield Armory decided to create the Tactical Response Pistol (TRP). Instead of being a pure custom-shop pistol, the TRP would take the same feature set as the Professional and produce it as a semi-custom product. The TRP was a pistol that would bridge the gap between a full custom pistol, and a standard production gun.

How’d that go? Short answer is, “great”! The TRP quickly earned a reputation as a ride-or-die gun that’ll take you to hell and back and then ask for more. From real-life heroes like Chris Kyle, who specifically named his TRP as the pistol that saved his life, to The Walking Dead’s Negan and his Lucille TRP pistol, the TRP is arguably one of the most famous production-custom guns around.

So clearly the TRP ain’t broke, and Springfield Armory isn’t “fixing” it … but it is giving it a refresh with five new models. Expanding the lineup, Springfield adds some compact 4.25-inch-barreled TRP pistols that are lighter weight with aluminum frames. To make the concealed-carry-specific TRP even better for concealment, the frames are bobbed at the back of the frame. This extra clearance keeps the pistol from sticking out and giving away its position. In addition the pistols are now available in a coyote brown Cerakote option that is reminiscent of the now-retired Marine Corps MARSOC 1911s.

World-class pro shooter and brand ambassador Rob Leatham commented, “TRP represents the highest level of performance you’re going to see in a production 1911.” Springfield ensures this by committing to the semi-custom quality consumers are used to. Slides and frames are hand-selected and fitted to each other. Critical fit parts like the barrel, busing, extractor, etc., are still hand-fitted for each pistol and hand-engraved with the pistol’s serial number.

The refresh does bring some updates that more closely resemble current training methodologies. Up to this time TRP pistols all came with Novak night sights. New TRPs still use the Novak dovetail cuts, but the rear sight is now a hooked style sight. That’s due in part to modern gunfighting training, which includes learning how to rack the slide one-handed. A good hook rear sight allows you to move the slide one handed using clothing or a ledge. As the picky UnPewFessional I am, I am going to complain about the 3-dot night sights. I would have liked to have seen them use a high-visibility sight like the Trijicon HD. The bigger bright ring around the night sight vial speeds up acquiring the front sight considerably. I would have also liked to have seen a U-shaped rear sight, which is a more modern sighting system that is easy to pick up, even for aging eyes.

Springfield added a serrated semi-flat top slide. The theoretical point of that is to cut down on the glare from the top of the slide. (In all of my years shooting, I have never thought to myself, “Hey, Self. The shine on top of this slide is too damn bright to shoot.”) Your mileage may vary, but the fact remains that serrated-top 1911 slides are usually only found on high-end guns. The serrations add to the classy custom pistol look, so it’s a win in my book.

The TRP pistols have always used 20-line-per-inch machined checkering, and the new TRP is no different … but there are new VZ Hydra G10 grips, too. Combined with the checkering, these pistols are locked tight in your hand! The difference between my older TRP pistols and the new one as far as grippiness is night and day. If you have tender hands, I would recommend shooting the new TRP with gloves. One or two magazines you are fine, but much more and the grips will tear up your hands with hot spots from sharp edges. One bonus is that the Hydra grips have a nice cutout on the left side. When I shoot weak-handed, my trigger finger rides right in the groove making it easier to reach the trigger. Even though I should practice more weak-handed shooting, the new TRP makes it as easy on me as it can.

If you are familiar with the 1911 platform, shooting the new TRP will be like coming home to an old friend. A good 1911 with this level of accuracy can make a good shooter look like a super marksmen. The trigger measures at just over 3 pounds from the box, with a nice crisp wall that easily allows staging the trigger. Even at distances past 25 yards, if I did my part, I could easily make the head shot on a target.

As far as reliability, everything was almost perfect. The only issue I had was with the full-length guide rod. Out of the box I did not clean or lube the pistol and immediately went out and shot 300 rounds with no problem. I then took the pistol apart and cleaned her up—and that’s where I made a mistake. When I was reassembling the pistol, I took the 5/32nd Allen wrench and tightened the end of the guide rod, not thinking about it. On my next range trip, the end of the guide rod started to unscrew itself between strings of fire. Eventually I just removed it and shot the pistol anyway with no more issues. Once I got home I used the Allen key wrench and this time used some gusto when screwing the guide rod in place, locking it with no more issues.

What would I change?

I wish I could get a TRP in 9mm. Yes, I understand that the original contract was for 45 ACP. But I would buy both, since a 9mm is so much cheaper to shoot. I could practice twice the amount for the same money. I already mentioned the sights—I am too old to be using these factory sights. It would have been nice to see a threaded barrel, since that’s the tactical thing to do these days. I have a SilencerCo Hybrid 46M that’s just itching to be used with this TRP. And my last gripe with the TRP refresh … why not go full-bore and offer an optics TRP? Use the same mounting system and plates as the Springfield Prodigy 1911 pistol? Come on, modern times call for modern solutions—optics on pistols should be standard.

The TRP—new or old—is not going to be for everyone. Remember that the TRP is THE top tier pistol that Springfield manufactures except for the custom shop. The price of the TRP is commensurate with the feature set that the TRP offers combined with the time and manpower of the hand fitting. When you buy a TRP, you are buying the pistol equivalent of a luxury sports car. That said, this is no safe queen: The TRP is ready to put in a lifetime of service and abuse.

—James the “XDMAN” Nicholas, Mr. UnPewFessional Himself!

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Jim

    March 20, 2024 at 12:00 pm

    I have to agree on one point more than anything. Why are the companies, all of them! so reluctant to offer optic mounting on their guns, and I’m referring to the 1911 platforms. It makes no sense because they are losing potential customers due to this. As you said they did it on the Prodigy so it’s possible.

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