Mastering the 9mm Ronin Operator

By Paul Carlson
Posted in #Guns
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Mastering the 9mm Ronin Operator

March 27th, 2020

8:34 runtime

There are some transgressions that must be rectified immediately. The fact I have never fired a 1911 chambered in 9mm is practically unforgivable. I recognize that. I’ve spent a lot of time with 1911s, but always chambered in .45 ACP. I’ve probably put even more rounds through 2011s, but all in .40 SW.

The Ronin Operator in 9mm is a flat-shooting and highly controllable pistol.

Consider my transgression rectified. Last week I stopped by Black Boar Armory and Coatings on the way to the range and I picked up a Springfield Armory Ronin Operator in 9mm. This pistol is sweet looking. I was hooked and couldn’t wait to get the pistol out on the range. Want to see my full video review of it? Then check out the video at the top of this page.

The pistol is available in 9mm (shown) as well as .45 ACP, and has an MSRP of just $849.

Familiar Form

The Ronin Operator is a 1911 in the most classic sense. It is a 5” “government model” which is built with a stainless steel forged frame and a blue, forged, carbon steel slide. The barrel is a stainless forged match-grade barrel and interfaces with a traditional bushing. The Ronin Operator is built to last.

Forged steel abounds in Ronin, from the stainless steel frame to the carbon steel slide.

The gun comes with a single nine-round 9mm magazine making it a 9+1 package, and aftermarket mags can take it to a 10+1 platform. When it comes to size and shape the Ronin Operator is a standard 1911. When it comes to out of the box features, it’s a whole ’nother story.

The tactical rack rear sight sports twin white dots.

Standing Out

The Ronin Operator pulls away from other 9mm 1911s when you look at the features — particularly considering the fact it has an MSRP of just $849.

Out of the box, the sights are significantly better performers than your typical 1911 sights. The front sight is a thin and bright fiber optic. Replacement red and green fiber rods ship with the gun. The rear sight is a two-dot tactical rack sight which allows for slide manipulation when you only have one hand with which to work.

The front sight is a high visibility fiber optic unit that comes with replacement red and green inserts.

The sides of the slide and the frame are both attractively polished while the rest of the parts are nicely bead blasted. A pronounced beavertail grip safety protects your hand from hammer bite while the integrated grip safety features a solid memory bump to ensure engagement when gripping the gun. The mainspring housing is crisply checkered for added grip.

The forged stainless steel barrel mates up with a standard bushing system.

The crossed cannons of the Springfield Armory logo adorn both the slide and the rosewood grips.

A skeletonized trigger completes the refined look and has a crisp break and a short reset. My Lyman digital trigger scale put the Ronin trigger at a consistent 4 lbs., 5 oz.

How It Shoots

Like a dream…I mean it. The mass of the Ronin Operator is 41 oz., and that heft counteracts the already manageable 9mm recoil to the point that the sights are super easy to track and return to target. The non-ambidextrous manual thumb safety was easy to manipulate but at the same time had a positive engagement both on “safe” and “fire” modes. The width of the safety blade was just right for my strong hand thumb to ride.

Paul really enjoyed running the Ronin Operator and wished he had more mags during the testing!

In my opinion, the only things I would like to see on the Ronin Operator that aren’t there would be an ambidextrous safety and checkering on the frontstrap of the frame. You should know that these are two unreasonable requests when the MSRP of this fine pistol is just $849.

During my testing, I ran the pistol with Black Hills 124-gr. JHP ammo, and it ran like a dream.

The 9mm 1911 was easy to control for Paul in rapid-fire strings.

Looking Forward

In fact, I like the gun so much I plan on doing a lot more shooting with it. I have a box of 9mm 1911 mags on the way from Gun Mag Warehouse and I need to dig out my Milt Sparks Versa Max 2 holster and a couple of mag pouches. I’ll also be testing the Black Hills ammo for a follow up piece, and will be using the Ronin Operator to run more of that ammo. Additionally, I am seriously thinking that this might be my USPSA gun in 2020. Single Stack minor? Yeah, sounds good to me!

From its beavertail grip safety to its forward cocking serrations, the Ronin Operator offers a lot of bang for the buck.

So, if you’re looking for a 1911 that will last a lifetime (and remember, this pistol is backed up by Springfield Armory’s lifetime warranty) and for a great price, the Ronin Operator would make for a great choice.

Editor’s Note: Please be sure to check out The Armory Life Forum, where you can comment about our daily articles, as well as just talk guns and gear. Click the “Go To Forum Thread” link below to jump in!

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

Paul Carlson

Paul Carlson

Paul Carlson is the owner of Safety Solutions Academy, LLC, a professional defensive shooting instructor, content creator in the firearms industry, and most importantly a husband and a father. Through Safety Solutions Academy, Paul teaches a variety of critical defensive skill courses in more than a dozen states annually. When Paul’s not traveling to teach and work in the firearms industry, you can find him with his family, either on the range or in the mountains.

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