Article by Nick Jacobellis
In a day and age when striker-fired pistols reign supreme, you may wonder why I just
purchased a Springfield Armory 9mm Operator Model 1911. Even though the 1911 is now 113 years
old, I still have a profound respect for this very iconic design. My admiration for the S/A 1911 goes
back to the early days of my federal law enforcement career when I walked into the U.S. Customs
Service Miami Air Operations Office and I was asked if I would like to be issued a brand-new Colt
Series 70 Government Model 1911 chambered in .45 ACP. When I responded without hesitation and
said yes, an Aviation Group Supervisor removed a box from the case that contained 11 blue steel Series
70 Colt 1911s and one nickel-plated Government Model. Once I qualified with my blued steel 1911,
I carried that pistol in harm’s way while flying drug interdiction missions throughout the Caribbean,
during the Miami Vice Era of the Drug War.
Since then, I have field tested, trained with, and have carried various 1911s chambered in 9mm
and .45 ACP caliber made by Colt, Springfield Armory, Wilson Combat, Smith & Wesson, Kimber,
Tisas and three different Stacatto 2011s. I include Stacattos, because even though the 9mm Stacatto P
Model, the C2 and the CS Model are called 2011s, these pistols are a high capacity Single
Action 1911. Except for the Stacatto 2011s and two of the more traditional 1911s, the bulk
of the 1911s that I have field tested, trained with, and carried were not fitted with a rail. When I decided
to purchase another 1911, I was well motivated to acquire a Springfield Armory Operator Model,
because this premium brand pistol is fitted with a rail, that can be used to accommodate a tactical light.
Since I also intended to carry this pistol, especially in wilderness areas, I focused my search on a 1911
that was equipped with a short rail, as opposed to one with a full-length rail.
I also wanted a full-size “Government Model” 1911 that was chambered in 9mm. After
investigating my options, I focused my attention on a Springfield Armory Operator Model. One reason
I did so, is because to date I have field tested and have owned two flawlessly reliable Springfield
Armory 1911s. My 9mm Springfield Armory 9mm 1911 Enhanced Micro Pistol is without question
one of the most reliable and accurate pistols that I currently own, especially for a pistol fitted with a
short 3-inch barrel. The all-stainless 9mm Springfield Armory 1911 that I owned many years ago was
another excellent performer. Even the plain Jane Springfield Armory GI Government Model 1911
chambered in .45 ACP caliber proved to be an incredibly reliable performer.
The 9mm Operator Model is a full-size all-steel “Government Model” 1911 that is fitted with a
number of standard features. These features make this pistol ideally suited for tactical applications.
Most notable are, the rail, the forward slide serrations, and above all, the sights. While the inclusion of a
rail on the frame allows you to equip your Operator Model with a tactical light, the Rack Rear Sight
allows you to clear a stoppage and or load your pistol in an emergency using one hand. This is
accomplished by placing the flat portion of the white dot rear sight against a flat surface, such as, the
edge of a table, or the side of a polymer holster, and pressing down until the slide locks open. The green
Tritium front sight is also well suited for operating in low light conditions.
The Operator Model is also fitted with an extended grip safety, dual/ambidextrous thumb
safety levers, front and rear slide serrations, a 5-inch forged stainless steel match-grade barrel with a
fully supported ramp to ensure reliable feeding, a G.I. style recoil system, a forged carbon steel slide
and frame with a black Cerakote Finish and a set of VZ G10 grips. The 9mm Operator Model weighs
42 ounces unloaded and comes with two 9-round magazines.
From an ergonomics perspective, I have always found 1911s to be a very comfortable pistol to
grip, operate, and disassemble. This includes 1911s chambered in 9mm and .45 ACP calibers. The 9mm
Springfield Armory Operator Model is no exception, which is largely due to the weight and balance of
this full-size pistol that sports a five-inch barrel. If you are recoil sensitive, the 9mm Operator Model
offers you the opportunity to utilize a 1911 platform in a caliber that is softer shooting.
As someone who carried all steel full-size 1911s chambered in .45 ACP, during my law
enforcement career and after I retired, I intend to utilize my 9mm Operator Model 1911 for training and
concealed carry applications. This will include when I venture off-road in rugged desert terrain. The
9mm Operator Model 1911 is also ideally suited to serve as a home defense pistol.
While testing the 9mm Springfield Armory Operator Model 1911 I fired an assortment of 124
and 147 grain premium brand 9mm Federal, Winchester, and Magtech ammunition. In addition to being
incredibly soft shooting and absorbing recoil like a sponge, the 9mm Operator Model 1911 also proved
to be extremely accurate and flawlessly reliable. For an all-steel pistol, with a forged five-inch match
grade barrel, that weighs 42 ounces unloaded, the Operator Model is also very well balanced and was a
pleasure to use to engage a steel plate at 20 yards. Smaller targets were also engaged at 30 yards from a
standing unsupported position.
During testing, I also utilized three 10-round MecGar magazines, in addition to the two 9-round
factory magazines. Even though the magazines that came with the Operator Model were 100%
reliable, I tend to prefer the 10 round 9mm 1911 MecGar magazines, just like I prefer BF Goodrich All
Terrain Tires over other brands.
If you are a fan of 1911s and you generally tend to utilize 9mm ammunition, you can’t go
wrong if you purchase a Springfield Armory Operator Model in this caliber.
*Anyone interested in learning about some of the high-risk covert air and
marine operations that were successfully executed by U.S. Customs Agents and other LEOs during the
Miami Vice Era of the Drug War should listen to the four podcasts (Episodes 54, 55, 56, and 57) on The
Commander’s Voice (The 82nd Airborne’s Signal Corps Chapter) YouTube Channel at, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCa_Nda8Ft0cU1HXRzYPYmUw
About The Author:
Nick Jacobellis is a Medically Retired U.S. Customs Service Senior Special Agent and a former NY police officer who was physically disabled in the line of duty while working undercover as a federal agent. To date the author has published over 230 magazine articles in various law enforcement, firearms, survival and military history magazines, as well as 14 action packed non-fiction, historical military and police procedural fiction books of the following titles: Tactical Survival 101, Controlled Delivery Book One and Book Two, The Front Line Fugitives Books I, II, III, and IV, Buck Banderas U.S. Marshal Books One, Two and Three, A Special Kind of Hero, The K9 Academy-The Second Edition and Guns South. A number of 5 Star reviews have been posted on Amazon.com (US) and (UK) as well as on ARGunners.com. The author’s 14th book is a Christmas story titled: Santa’s Christmas Tree Convoy. The author was born and raised in Flatbush section of Brooklyn New York and has an BS Degree in Police Science from John Jay College of Criminal Justice.