Springfield Armory
Ronin 10mm

Bear or Bad Guy, this 1911 is ready
11

For trail use of the Springfield Ronin 10mm, Mas is fond of this 200-grain FMJ from Buffalo Bore.

Your hand wraps around the familiar grip of the 1911, the checkering on the mainspring housing locking into your hand while the checkering on the slim wooden grip panels welcome your fingertips. You rack the slide firmly against the necessarily strong recoil spring, jacking a 10mm Auto round into the chamber. You center the red fiber optic front sight on where you want to drill the hole, you roll the trigger through its short, smooth travel, and you feel the exhilarating jolt as you unleash some 700 foot-pounds of energy.

You are shooting the new Springfield Armory Ronin 10mm. You’re welcome.

First Glance

This 10mm is the latest in Springfield’s successful series of well-made $849 1911 pistols. The fixed sights encompass a ledge-shaped rear to allow one-handed cycling against the belt in an emergency and fiber optic front for fast sight picture acquisition. The left-side-only thumb safety is correctly sized and adjusted “just right” from the factory, as is the beavertail grip safety. Grasping grooves on the slide are cut properly for solid hold when working against the robust recoil spring — which I love — and are present on the front — which I don’t care for — as well as the rear. The classic John Moses Browning bushing and recoil spring guide and plug are used for easier takedown and especially easier reassembly with no downside. The thin grip panels follow the pattern world champion shooter and master pistolsmith Mike Plaxco pioneered decades ago, with Springfield’s own distinctive Ronin checkering format. Trigger pull on our test sample, serial NM 678033, was smooth and free of creep at 5.6 lbs. average pull weight.

For street carry, Mas went with Hornady Critical Defense 10mm.
Anyone still concerned about “Stopping Power”?

Versatility

The 10mm takes you from mild to wild, “mild” in this case being roughly equivalent to the .40 S&W Jeff Cooper called “the 10mm Short.” “Wild” is up to 220-grain hard cast bullets designed to ruin a bruin in self-defense with those 700-plus foot-pounds. Here’s what I had on hand to run through the Ronin:

• 175-grain Hornady Critical Duty. The barrier-blind high-tech projectile runs at 1,160 feet per second (fps) generating 490 foot-pounds of energy (fpe). This is what I filled the Ronin with during the concealed carry part of the test.

• 200-grain Speer Gold Dot. This bonded hollow point is loaded to a nominal 1,100 fps.

• 180-grain CCI Blazer. This aluminum-cased jacketed flat-nose is sort of .40 S&W +P at 1050 fps. Affordability made it my main practice load for the test.

• 180-grain Federal Trophy Bonded. This jacketed soft-nose at 1275 fps and 568 fpe is advertised for “medium game” and should be good for whitetail deer and Florida-size hogs.

• 200-grain Buffalo Bore. From the company’s “Heavy 10mm” series, this is what I’d carry in a 10mm in big bear country. Its flat-nose jacketed bullet at 1,200 fps and 639 fpe duplicates the ballistics of the famously-hot original Norma load.

BB’s 220-grain hard cast lead flat nose at the same velocity is gonna hit harder, but I like the feed reliability of jacketed bullets in a 10mm.

Given the late Larry Kelley once put one of those Normas from the 6″ Bar-Sto barrel of my Colt Delta Elite into the brisket of a truly humongous wild hog — and out its butt, dropping it in its tracks — I’m satisfied with such a round’s penetration on the big stuff.

The first hand-chambered round consistently shot high but check the rest of the 25-yard Ronin group with 10mm Gold Dot defense loads. Bear beware!

Shots Fired

Recoil is somewhat subjective. Full-power 10mm loads felt about +P .45 in the same platform, with the Trophy Bonded a tad snappier and the Buffalo Bore 220-grain noticeably more while the Blazer felt about like shooting GI .45 hardball from a 1911. Our test sample 10mm tended strongly to a “4+1 Syndrome,” with the first hand-cycled load generally going higher than subsequent automatically cycled rounds. Accuracy testing was done with a Matrix rest on a concrete bench at 25 yards, measuring five-shot groups to the nearest 0.05″ once overall and again for the best three, a proven method for factoring out human error.

The Gold Dot 200-grain did 3.70″ for all five counting the errant first shot, and 1.55″ for the next four with the best three under an inch: 0.95″ center-to-center. Federal Trophy Bonded was 5.25″ (all 5), 3.55″ (4) and 1.55″ (3). The Blazer turned in 3.65″ (5), 2.40″ (4) and 1.35″ (3). The stout 200-grain Buffalo Bore drilled a 3.15″ quintet of holes, the best three in 1.50″ and the 175-grain Critical Duty did 5.35″ overall with the tightest trio in 2.35″. The “best three” clusters averaged 1.54″, showing excellent accuracy potential. In some guns, the “4+1 Syndrome” tends to diminish after the parts break in from lots of shooting.

Due to the ammo shortage we didn’t get to run “buckets of bullets” through this sample as we usually try to do but the 10mm Ronin did not malfunction at any point.

Perspective

For the 1911 fan who’s as worried about bears as bad guys, the Ronin 10mm should serve nicely. I would like to see it offered with adjustable sights to take advantage of the broad spectrum of 10mm ammo, the way Springfield offers the option on the Ronin’s sister gun, the Range Officer. The build quality and function make the Ronin a solid value in a 10mm 1911. If 8+1 (or 9+1 with Wilson Combat magazines) does not suffice to mitigate a fear of Ursus horribilus, you can always turn the pages of the Springfield Armory catalog until you come to their XD-M 10mm, which weighs about half a pound less, retails for $652, and comes with two 15-round magazines.

Springfield-Armory.com

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