NRA Gun of the Week: Savage Arms 1911

This Week's Gun of the Week is the Savage Arms 1911

American Rifleman
September 15, 2023
Gun of the Week

Savage Arms has a long, storied history itself, but the story of Savage and the M1911 is one worth telling. The relationship between the company and the gun, at first, was adversarial. Famously, Savage Arms was the final competitor against Colt in the U.S. Army Pistol Trials early in the 20th century. After a 6,000-round endurance test, the Savage Model 1911, a modified version of the company’s Model 1907, lost out to Colt’s design, which became the iconic Model 1911 semi-automatic pistol that would serve the military through two world wars and other iconic conflicts throughout the subsequent 80 years. Now, Savage is making its version of the iconic John Browning design, and to see it in use on the range, watch the video below.

Savage Arms continued making pistols after the U.S. Army trials, but by the mid-20th century, the company focused mostly on its long arms. Recently, Savage returned to the handgun market with its Stance, a polymer-frame, concealed-carry gun, but the introduction of the company’s 1911 highlights a new focus for Savage. The Savage Arms 1911 is a Government-size gun built with a 416 stainless-steel frame and slide and can be had with either a bare-stainless finish or a black-Nitride surface treatment.

The gun we have here is one of Savage’s two-tone guns chambered in .45 ACP, and this version also incorporates an additional feature in the form of a three-slot Picatinny accessory rail on the frame’s dust cover. Sitting on the matte stainless-steel frame is a Nitride-treated, all-black slide. The gun’s 5” barrel is also Nitride-treated, and the pistol features black controls and a black, textured mainspring housing that contrasts nicely against the stainless frame. Completing the look of the pistol is an attractive set of VZ G10 grips, but these aren’t just there for looks. This gun is built for durability and reliability. Completing this rugged package is a sear and disconnector machined from tool steel, as well as a Nitride-treated titanium firing pin and dual recoil spring.

Topping the slide is a Novak Lo-Mount rear sight and a Mega Dot Glow Dome front sight, both of which are tritium-illuminated for low-light use. The slide features serrations at the front and rear, and there’s a generous beavertail at the rear of the frame that allows for a high, comfortable grip on the pistol. Savage also incorporates a helpful upgrade in the form of bilateral thumb-safety levers, enabling users to get the gun into operation with either hand. A solid-body, matte-black trigger completes the look of this two-tone gun.

The attention to detail Savage Arms put in the production of its 1911 is evident on the range, as this gun ran like a top. It’s clear the company paid attention to the fine line between too tight and just right, as the slide ran like butter on the frame. One nod to reliability we appreciated was the lowered and flared ejection port, which provided plenty of clearance for our spent cases. The crisp trigger broke just under 4 lbs., which was perfect for a pleasant range trip, and our downrange results showed that this Savage is every bit the capable shooter.

Savage Arms 1911 Specifications

Manufacturer: Savage Arms

Action Type: recoil-operated, semi-automatic, centerfire pistol

Chambering: .45 ACP

Frame: forged 416 stainless steel; matte-silver finish

Slide: forged 416 stainless steel; matte-black nitride finish

Barrel: 5" stainless steel, Nitride treated

Magazine: eight-round detachable box

Sights: tritium; Night Fision front, drift-adjustable Novak Lo-Mount rear

Stocks: black/gray G10 composite

Trigger: single-action; 3-lb., 13-oz. pull

Overall Length: 8.45"

Height: 5.63"

Width: 1.31"

Weight: 40.9 ozs.

MSRP: $1,499