Springfield’s Range Officer Elite Compact 9mm is one gun that can do it all.

Springfield’s Range Officer Elite Compact 9mm is one gun that can do it all.

For a long time the 1911 universe was pretty easy: You bought or built a full-featured, full-size pistol for competition. Then you bought a plain-Jane beater for daily carry. The competition gun was tricked out with all the features. It was brilliantly accurate, all-steel and won matches for you. The carry 1911 was worn, gray, a lightweight aluminum frame and it was often rattly loose. If it was better than “minute of felon” accurate, we were happy. Oh, and they were both chambered in .45 ACP.

Springfield Armory changed that a few years ago with the Range Officer. It is a plain 1911 built to competition specs in fitting and delivers like a match gun. No extras, no cosmetics, but all the performance of a competition gun without the big price tag and the long lead times for custom work.

Now Springfield has unveiled its new Range Officer Elite lines, four guns available in both 9mm Luger and .45 ACP. The two full-size ones are made with steel frames, and the two smaller ones are made with aluminum frames. The Elite Target has an adjustable rear sight, while the rest have fixed sights.

The sample I received was the 1911 Range Officer Elite Compact in 9mm. The Elite Compact comes with a four-inch barrel and a slide to match. The barrel is stainless steel, match grade, with an integral feed ramp for better case support. If you are in the habit of using +P or +P+ ammunition, the supported chamber of the Elite Compact will serve you well. For the rest of us, it simply means the brass is better supported and thus less hammered in use. Resizing it for reloading will

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