More isn’t always better. In fact, there’s often a point of diminishing returns. From my naive viewpoint, I’ve always kind of looked at the 10mm round that way. It was just too much of a good thing. Too long, too loud, too powerful, too much recoil. I mean, any cartridge that the FBI drops because it’s too hard to shoot probably isn’t my cup of tea.
Then again, until last week, I’d never even shot a 10mm. My opinions were simply based off of gun lore and not personal experience. Would Springfield Armory change my mind about 10mm with the introduction of the Ronin 1911 in 10mm?
It’s a Looker
I’m not one to judge a book by its cover. At the same time, about six months ago I opened up a Springfield Armory box and, when I saw what was inside, I had to say, “Ooh la la!” The Ronin 9mm was the beauty in the box. I loved the two-tone look and the rose colored grips. And the new 10mm didn’t disappoint when I glanced at her as well.
Obviously, the 1911 has a classic beauty all its own. Springfield Armory magnifies what John Moses Browning started. Springfield’s forged slides and frames are the foundation for their 1911 pistols. The stainless steel forged frame is left in the white, and its flat sides are just the right sheen of polish to catch the light just right (and the rounds have a nice matte finish). The hot salt bluing on the forged slide is a great contrast to the frame. The polished slide slabs match the frame flats’ sheen and sport both rear and front serrations. The rounds of the slide also have a matte finish, as on the frame.
The look of the Operator is completed with its laminate rose grips. The 10mm sample I received had an even deeper color to the grips than the 9mm.
Springfield allows the Ronin to lead with its beauty. Instead of the typical large markings on today’s handguns, the Ronin markings on the slide are understated and elegant. If you’re looking for a classy 1911, the Ronin series of pistols definitely fit that bill.
I knew the 10mm Ronin was going to be a beautiful gun; what I wondered about was how it was going to shoot. Remember, the 9mm was my intro to the Ronin family of pistols. Of course, the 9mm 1911 was a dream to shoot. Adding one little millimeter wouldn’t seem to make much of a difference from a shooting standpoint.
However, the difference between 9mm and 10mm is significant. It isn’t so much the diameter that matters here, it’s the overall length of the cartridge. The 9mm Parabellum has an overall cartridge length of 1.169” while the 10mm rings in at 1.260”. That may not sound like much, but it is significant. Between the difference in diameter and the length, the 10mm has a lot of room for more powder and heavier projectiles.
Frankly, I expected the 10mm Ronin to be a gun that would show me who was boss. I was ready to actually have to deal with some discomfort, especially from the hotter rounds. However, I was pleasantly surprised. The 10mm Ronin turned out to be very enjoyable to shoot. Don’t get me wrong, this pistol is snappy, but it was also incredibly shootable.
The 2nd Generation Speed Trigger was crisp and light and, when coupled with the Tactical Rack rear and red fiber optic front sight along with the 5” stainless steel match grade forged barrel, it was easy to get the hits I wanted to get up close or at distance. (Want to see the Ronin take headshots at 70 yards on a steel target? Then click here.)
I ran rounds from 180- up to 220-grains and never felt a flinch from the recoil. There is no doubt the mass of the gun helps to absorb the recoil, but it still was surprisingly pleasant to shoot. Plain and simple, this gun is way easier to shoot than a 10mm is supposed to be.
Just like the 9mm Ronin, the 10mm has a 5” barrel, a height of 5.5”, a length of 8.6” and a weight right around 40 ounces. The capacity of the Ronin is reasonable at 8+1. I was able to stuff a ninth round into the mag, but to avoid the risk of malfunctions my recommendation is stick with the stated 8+1 capacity.
Where It Fits
I’m the type of fella that needs a justification when I pick up a new pistol. Before shooting the Ronin in 10mm, I simply didn’t have a justification for it primarily because of my (inaccurate) perception of 10mm recoil.
To be honest, I’m not really recoil shy. In fact, from time to time it can feel good to shoot something that has a good kick. But the kick never materialized the way I thought it would. This gun changed my mind.
I’m lucky to have spent a couple of summers up in the wilds of Alaska fishing like a mad man. Alaska is a land of big critters. Big brown bears, black bears and moose. In the past I took a 12 gauge stoked up with slugs. No doubt that is some serious bear medicine. It’s also big, awkward and heavy.
The Ronin in 10mm is just about the perfect tool for a long day (and night) on the river. No stock and long barrel to get tangled up in my fly line. The Ronin is a smaller, lighter and much more elegant solution than my old scattergun.
The other place that the Ronin fits for me is as a deer hunting handgun. The 5” barrel and the red fiber optic sight means easy target acquisition and hits.
At times I can become my own victim, falling prey to what I think I know. The 10mm Ronin serves as an excellent example of how I can be wrong and should keep more of an open mind. Simply put, it was a blast. It was beautiful and shootable, and it fills an important niche as a very powerful semi-automatic handgun.
The Ronin is a gorgeous pistol. It shoots much more pleasantly than I ever expected, and there is no doubt I can find a place for the 10mm Ronin in my arsenal. When I factor in the very reasonable MSRP of $849, it becomes even easier to justify picking up this capable blaster.
How about you?
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