RO Elite Operator

By Karen Hunter
Posted in #Guns
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RO Elite Operator

April 27th, 2019

3 minute read

Firearms are not gender-specific. However, being a woman in the firearms community can be fun. I love showing up to the range with guns one wouldn’t expect a “girl” to have. Case in point, my Springfield Range Officer Elite Operator (PI9110E) chambered in 10mm.

Everyone begins to revert to childhood schooldays when someone brought in a cool toy, boasting a look that says, “will you share?” or “can I hold it?” Of course, I always let them especially with a firearm that runs as flawlessly as this one.

The Range Officer series is a line of guns designed for SWAT and Hostage Rescue Teams. That said, it’s obvious these firearms need to perform well, and the RO Elite Operator lives up to its purpose.

Before I get into performance, let’s talk about looks. Out of the box, the Operator commands attention. It boasts thin-line black/gray G-10 grips that feel great in your hands. The frame and slide are designed from forged steel with a Black-T finish.

They also include an ambi-thumb safety with ball cut and front serrations. The aesthetics coupled with the 5” stainless steel match grade barrel and fiber optic front sight (white-dot rear) give the Operator a look of strength and power that’s undisputed.

Range time gave the Operator a chance to show that its performance lives up to its looks. While my range buddies looked on from afar, (I said I’d share, I didn’t say I’d let them go first) I put the PI9110E to the test.

I had a great 500 round mix of various ammo including Blazer Brass 200 gr FMJ, Federal Hydra-Shok 180 gr JHP, Speer Gold Dot 200 gr JHP, Hornady’s Custom 155 gr JHP and the Hornady Critical Duty 175 gr FTX rounds. [Editor’s Note: See Yamil Sued’s gelatin testing of the Federal Hydra-Shok rounds.]

Knowing I was going to put this firearm through its paces I began by giving it some oil. 1911 style handguns, no matter what brand, need to be kept oiled to ensure proper functionality.

Once I fired, I immediately noticed two things: minimal recoil and a great trigger. Springfield’s 18.5 lb GI Style Recoil System truly enhances the Operator. I was able to regain my sight picture and stay on target keeping my groups accurate and under an inch and a half.

The SA Gen 2 trigger gave the Operator a nice traditional 1911 style short reset. While I was able to tell a bit of a difference between the different loads, it did not in any way affect how I ran the gun. Higher grain tends to be a little snappier which the Operator handled just fine. No matter what grain, my shots were steady and consistent.

The RO Elite Operator is definitely a bigger gun but one I found to be comfortable to run. I was able to get a good purchase on it and run it as if it were more like an extension of myself, giving me that feeling of being “one with my gun.” During moving and shooting drills I found practicing reloads to be smooth and easy along with slide manipulation.

Allowing trusted range buddies to share in the Operator experience enabled me to see that I wasn’t the only one who was enjoying this gun. As stated earlier, firearms are not gender-specific. Both men and women in varying sizes, possessing proper firearms handling training were all able to run the Operator with ease.

Between the group of us shooting, we had zero malfunctions or issues. This is phenomenal to me given the work of the SWAT and Hostage Rescue teams this series was designed for. There’s no window for malfunctions and time is of the essence. That also applies to civilians who can purchase this gun. In a threat situation, you need a firearm you can trust and the PI9110E is exactly that. Not only built to perform but made to last. Just as Springfield itself states, “performance beyond price.”

Magazines(2) 8-round stainless steel
Barrel5” stainless steel match grade w/fully supported ramp;
stainless steel bushing; 1:16 LH twist 6 groove
SightsFiber optic front & tactical rack white-dot rear
TriggerSA Gen 2-4 window speed trigger
GripsThin-line black/gray G-10
FrameForged steel, Black-T finish, ambi thumb safety & accessory rail
SlideForged steel, Black-T finish w/ball cut & front serrations
Recoil System18.5# GI Style
Weight41 oz. (with empty magazine)

Of course, I’m not the only one who likes this gun. Respected gun expert Massad Ayoob expressed appreciation for the Range Officer Elite Operator in his review. I recommend giving that article a read for a more in-depth look at the pistol.

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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 and videos 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.

Product prices mentioned in articles and videos are current as of the date of publication.

Karen Hunter

Karen Hunter

Karen Hunter is a regular contributor and columnist to several national print publications as well as various digital platforms. She holds a passion to reach and educate people in the gun community and beyond. In addition to being a published author, Karen is a certified firearms instructor. She holds certifications in defensive handgun and carbine through Forceoptions USA, where she is also the Senior Range Officer for all training classes. Karen teaches full classes as well as private instruction. A regular guest on a variety of podcasts, she is a vocal advocate for the 2nd amendment and personal protection. She is a knife lover and lifelong student currently pursuing the study of Japanese Swordsmanship. If she’s not on the range, writing about guns or playing with blades you can most definitely find her in a drive-thru somewhere enabling her addiction to iced coffee.

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