New Guns: Springfield Armory’s RO Elite Series


The Springfield Armory RO Elite Series takes what works under the hood of the original Range Officers and makes it better with a number of notable upgrades.

  • Springfield Armory's new RO Elite Series offers the same tried-and-true functionality of the the original Range Officers but with a number of enhancements.
  • The Black-T treatment is the most noticeable upgrade, with the self-lubricating finish offering superior corrosion resistance.
  • This is the same treatment found on the 1911s Springfield Armory built for the FBI’s regional SWAT and Hostage Rescue Teams.
  • The RO Elite Series pistols are outfitted with Gen 2 triggers, but few details are out yet about this newly designed system.

Springfield Armory’s Range Officer Series of 1911 pistols has earned a pretty solid reputation over the years. An up-to-date take on the age-old design, it has offered shooters an attractive handgun with clean lines that, more importantly, performs dang-near flawlessly. From its rock-solid forged steel frame to its eye-catching Cocobolo wood grips, the Range Officer and its iterations can handle any shooting chore flung at it and look good in the process.

Honestly, there aren’t many nits to pick off the Range Officer variations and few ways they could really be pepped up from their present state. But Springfield has found a way.

RO Elite Series Target Model
RO Elite Series Target Model

The company recently released the RO Elite Series, which retains all the under-the-hood features that count on the pistol, while tacking on some notable and welcome upgrades that should make it a true gem.

The most noticeable improvement to the RO Elite Series is the 1911’s striking jet-back finish. While Black-T treatment certainly has aesthetic appeal, it is most definitely a functional upgrade. The treatment is self-lubricating and offers superior corrosion resistance to most other options on the market. To boot, it is the same treatment found on the 1911s Springfield Armory built for the FBI’s regional SWAT and Hostage Rescue Teams.

RO Elite Series Compact Model
RO Elite Series Compact Model

It is further set off with the addition of black, thin-line G-10 grips — specific to the RO Elite Series — which give the pistols an overall ominous appearance. At the same tick, the slim grips make the handguns less bulky for concealed carry, while still promoting a strong purchase in the hand.

As far as operation goes, the major upgrade to the RO Elite Series is the newly designed Gen 2 trigger. Though, there is a bit of a shroud of mystery to this aspect of the pistol because the company has released few specifics on what it brings to the table. At time of writing, the pull weight was not even listed. Hopefully, more details will be available in the near future.

RO Elite Series Operator Model
RO Elite Series Operator Model

Like the other Range Officer iterations, the RO Elite is outfitted with an ambidextrous thumb safety, fiber optic front sight and white-dot rear, and high-carbon steel slide. And the RO Elite is being offered in four models: Compact, Champion, Operator and Target.

Both the Compact and Champion have 4-inch barrels, but vary in capacity. Each has a flat wire recoil spring that utilizes a full-length guide rod. The Operator and Target have 5-inch barrels, but the Operator is outfitted with an integral rail under the barrel. Like all of Springfield’s full-sized 1911s, the pistols have a traditional GI-style guide rod. All models are available in 9mm or .45 ACP.

RO Elite Series Champion Model
RO Elite Series Champion Model

Presently, the MSRPs of the RO Elite Series pistols aren’t far off Springfield’s original Range Officer counterparts — $125 more. Depending on model, they run from $1,030 for the Compact and Champion to $1,145 for the Operator. That doesn’t look to be too bad for a 1911 that’s set up to perform as wicked as it looks.

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