Interesting firearms: Springfield Armory Full Railed Operator

Today, we’re taking a closer look at a bit of an unusual pistol, the Full Rail Operator, by Springfield Armory.

Love them or hate them, they are impressive pistols. The giant rail, and un-cut slide gives it a tough and heavy look. While the gun is a bit heavier than a normal one, it is not as nose heavy as a Bull Barreled gun is. What is the rail for? Mount lights. Maybe in combination with a laser, but that’s about it. Adding a foregrip would look weird, and would not only be useless, but would also be a violation of the 1934 NFA, as a pistol can not have a vertical front grip.



The gun has a parkerized finish on it, and it has been applied nicely. It looks very even, and the finish on the frame is a few tints lighter than the slide. While I’m not a fan of two-tone guns, this looks really sharp. The gun came with Novak’s night sights. The grips were added by me, as well as the grip tape. The frame does not have any checkering on it, so some skateboard tape is a great (temporary) fix for those that like it. Other than this, the gun is standard.


The NM serial numbered frame bears Geneseo, Il on it by the serial number. The lack of “Made in Brazil” stamping anywhere else on the gun indicates that the forging for this frame was sent to Springfield Armory in Il for fitting and assembly. Springfield claims that if more than 50% of the work is done in Brazil, the gun must be stamped “Made in Brazil”.
Another pistol of mine, a Springfield Loaded, also a NM serial number, does have the “Made in Brazil” stamping on the dust cover.


Stripped down, the gun looks like most other 1911s. With the exception of the full length guide rod of course. Purists claim the full length guide rod isn’t in accordance with John Browning’s design, and a press check can not be performed. Due to the extended rail, a press check can’t be performed anyway.
So the added weight of the guide rod helps control muzzle flip. The big downside of course it the inability to strip the gun without tools. An allen wrench is need to take the guide rod apart prior to stripping.


Compared to a 5″ Government frame, the Full Rail is quite a bit longer. You can also see the beginning of the reinforced dust cover, right at the slidestop hole. Frame rail dimensions appear identical.


The slide also looks the same as a Government slide, with the obvious exception of the lack of forward cuts.

The business end.

All in all, the Full Rail Operator is a nicely built gun, fit and finish are very decent for a non-custom 1911, and it’s definitely a fun shooter. Within the next month or so I will be fitting her with an extended threaded Storm Lake barrel…..

It is my understanding that Springfield Armory Inc. has discontinued the production of the full railed models for quite some time now, but they will supposedly still do them on custom orders.

Looking her best with a Surefire X200 mounted.

6 responses

  1. Tom

    I also have a Full Rail Operator, Fantastic shooter for a production gun. [ 3 1/2" square cut offs from 2x4's have a hard life at 50yds]
    This is the first real mention of another…. have not seen any others in hand. Good info.

    July 12, 2011 at 23:52

  2. Ron

    Thanks for the review. Rock Island Armory has released their newest 1911 Tactical 2011, also with a full rail. Folks are saying it looks like a TRP, but may not have the fit and finish of the Springfield. I handled one lately, but did not fire it. Rock Island is made by Armscor, the same company that makes the Armalite AR-15. They have a solid reputation and the reviews of Rock Island 1911’s are very good. The Tactical 2011 is parkerized with an ambi safety. The thumb safety clicks solidly into place and the trigger is feels crisp, right around five pounds. The one I saw had Novak-type sights and were black. There were still a couple of sharp edges on the small parts, but the parkerizing was pretty even-coated. The slide racked smoothly, and it had no play even when locked back. I would not say that is was an equal to any Springfield, but it came pretty close, and at about $600, it was a bargain. Fobus Evolution and Comp-Tac may be the only ones that make a holster for it unless you want a generic universal type.

    July 21, 2011 at 03:06

  3. Rick

    Very nice. I just put mine in jail today. Hows that new Storm Lake barrel? Any pics?

    November 20, 2013 at 20:38

  4. gregory burris

    I have the same weapon and can not find a left handed OWB molded leather holster for it. Can anyone point me in the right direction?

    December 8, 2013 at 01:34

  5. Andrew

    Comparing a Rock Island Armory to a Springfield Is like comparing a ford taurus to a cadillac, especially in the 1911 format. Theres a reason they are 600 dollars.

    August 2, 2014 at 05:34

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