Tag Archives: TRP

Range Report For The Desert Eagle 1911, RIA Rock Ultra FS HC, and Springfield Armory 6″ TRP Operator 10mm Pistols

Well folks, at one point I had three 1911-style 10mm pistols. A Magnum Research Desert Eagle (model DE1911G10), a Rock Island Armory (RIA) Rock Ultra FS HC (model 52009) and a Springfield Armory TRP Operator (model PC9610L18). While I like the 10mm cartridge, I didn’t really need three pistols so I decided to take them to the range to decide what I would keep and what I would sell.

The Ammo

I took with me about 200 rounds of Ammo Inc’s 180gr TMC load that I had purchased from Palmetto State Armory during one of their daily deals. TMC stands for “total metal case” – meaning the lead is fully encapsulated by the copper jacket. With full metal jacket (FMC) ammo, the base often has the lead core exposed. Ammo Inc is interesting in that they decided to go the public company route and we’ll have to wait and see how they fare when the panic buying dies down.

I also took about 200 rounds of Sellier & Bellot (S&B) 180gr FMJ ammo as well. It’s been my “go to ” 100 range ammo for years. If you don’t know S&B, they are an excellent ammunition producer located in the Czech Republic dating back to 1825.

That is some of the Ammo Inc 180gr TMC ammo in the bag and S&B 180gr FMJ in the tray.

To round out the test ammo, I took some Underwood 155gr XTP and 200gr XTP jacketed hollow points (JHP). I only had about 50 rounds of this and I wanted to save it for the final round of testing.

For the past six months, finding ammo has been a bear but suppliers are starting to build up inventory. Judging by my inbox, more and more emails are being sent saying “we have ammo in stock” and even a few sales. These tend to come shortly before prices start to drop based on past panic buying ammo shortages [click here for my blog post on the economics of ammo during a panic].

The Range

It was a beautiful March day when I arrived at the Berrien County Sportsman’s Club to use the pistol plate range. The plates are about 30-35′ feet back from the firing line and I had it all to myself.

BCSC is my favorite range hands down and I have been a member there for many years. Definitely a cool place for a variety of sportsman and family activities.

The 10″ steel plates are located about 30-35 feet from the firing line. I really enjoy these for testing pistols. Note the pull cord to reset the plates.

First, the 6″ TRP Operator

As I have written in the past, the TRP Operator was not reliable out of the box and this was a do or die outing for the pistol in terms of whether I would keep or sell it. The TRP Operator is basically a 6″ 1911 and the marketing would lead you to expect that it would have been stunning out of the box but it wasn’t to be perfectly blunt.

Thankfully, after work both myself and Springfield Armory’s repair groups did, it finally handled the way it should have when I first got it. This time around, functioning was reliable and the recoil was handled nicely by the heavy pistol with it’s 6″ bull barrel.

The TRP put in a good showing this time around. All the kinks had been worked out and it ran great.

I was able to fire round after round at the plates at 30-35 feet and hit them. I really wasn’t shooting for benchrest accuracy – just shooting at plates to decide what to do.

Honestly, I had a take-it-or-leave it mentality on front serrations on a slide until I got into 10mm 1911s. Their recoil spring is stout. All of a sudden, those front serrations are really handy. My RIA 52009 does not have them and is way harder for me to hold when racking the slide from the front that the TRP or the Bul.
I was running both Wilson Combat ,and Tripp Cobra mags in both the TRP and the Bul. Both brands are excellent. You can see a Cobra 9-round magazine peaking out of the mag well in this photo. Their beveled base plate is an immediate give away.

In summary for the TRP, it ran just fine but it did nothing to wow me.

Next – The Magnum Research Desert Eagle (model DE1911G10) by Bul Armory

Okay, next up on the testing list for the first time was my new Desert Eagle 10mm that is actually made by Bul Armory of Israel. Out of the box it had the best trigger of any 1911 I have owned and the action was very smooth.

Now I have written about this particular pistol going to the range before – it’s just that I am finally sitting down to write this bigger post about all three pistols just under two months after the range trip. Here are a few pictures for you:

Here’s the Bul with some of the Ammo Inc 180gr TMC ammo and a collection of Wilson and Cobra mags – it ran through everything I brought including the Underwood JHPs with no problems.

Here’s the 6″ TRP on top and the 5″ Bul on the bottom. Those front slide serrations make racking their slides a lot easier.

Let me sum it up and say – I really, really like this pistol. It functioned flawlessly and felt great. With the TRP, I was not impressed by the time it finally worked right. The Bul’s performance was nothing short of fantastic.

Last But Not Least: The Rock Island Armory (RIA) Rock Ultra FS HC (model 52009)

This was the first trip for the RIA Rock Ultra FS HC – let’s just call it the 52009. I wrote a blog post about my first takes and things were looking good so far. At any rate, I knew with the RIA pistols that you needed to clean and lube them plus I slightly beveled the chamber edges and polished the ramp.

I was really curious to see how it would function not only in general but also with the new magazines I was making for them. I also wanted a higher capacity 10mm 1911 if possible so there was a lot riding on the trip.

It looks familiar until you notice the really thick pistol grip and the big mag well funnel.
The 52009 is the bottom pistol and the TRP is the top right. You can see the collection of custom mags I was testing – what you don’t see is that their mag lips are different lengths. I actually found the 52009 very tolerant of different lengths – reliable feeding was a function of how spread open the lips were to point the cartridge towards the chamber. See the magazine laying with it’s back up in the top row? The magazine to the right was the only original RIA ACT-Mag I had to base my work on the shop.
See how short the lips are? By adjusting the lips, it fed surprisingly fine. I have one mag with even shorter lips and it worked.
The stock of 10mm Ammo Inc rounds was dwindling. Let me tell you something – the Mag-Lula universal pistol magazine filler is worth its weight in gold. I really can’t tell you how many 8, 9 and 10 round mags I filled (and emptied) shooting the TRP and Bul pistols but by the time I got to the 52009, my hands were aching thanks to my carpal tunnel issues. By the way, two months later and that loading “finger” you see in the Mag-Lula is now brass colored from all of the magazine test fitting I have done 🙂

To sum up the 52009 – it was starting to wear in and felt surprisingly good. I sure missed having the front serrations on the slide because by the end my hands were starting to ache and my ability to squeeze hard enough to hold the slide and rack it was dwindling.

Once I identified the good mags and problem mags and focused my efforts, it ran great. I was quite pleased with it and I can tell you now that I have cycled it thousands of times fitting magazines, it is quite smooth. The 52009 and RIA 1911/2011 pistols in general are really good examples of parts need to wear in, or get to know each other, to get rid of tiny burrs/imperfections left over from manufacturing.

Would I buy it again? Yes. Was it my first choice? No, actually it wasn’t. I really wanted a high cap 5″ pistol styled after one of their Tac or Tac Ultra pistols that has the forward serrations and a Picatinny rail on the bottom of the frame. The reason being is that they are lighter and more compact than the 6″ Big Rock that I had years ago. Their 56862 model has a 5.5″ threaded barrel (hence the extra half inch) that I would have preferred but with the panic buying, it is impossible to find. Who knows – I may find one some day.

In the mean time, my only wish was that the 52009 hand front serrations – other than that it is a solid pistol.

Final Decision

As you can probably guess, the TRP Operator was voted off the island and my friend, and FFL, Scott Igert sold it for me. I felt pretty good about the decision too.

What’s interesting is that if you go to the Springfield Armory website today – the 10mm TRP Operator is gone. It could be that the demand just wasn’t there. I talked to a fellow at Dawson Precision awhile back about Stacattos (STI changed their name a few months back) and if they had any 10mm pistols because they used to have a number of models including the “Perfect 10.”) At any rate, he told me the demand just isn’t there – everyone is going for the 9mms these days. That might be the case for Springfield though I notice they are offering their Ronin model in 10mm.

TRP at the top, 52009 in the middle and the Bul is at the bottom.
Bul on the left and the 52009 on the right. Note how the 52009 has an ambidextrous safety and the Bul does not. Since I am right handed, I really don’t use the safety on the other side. Some guys train to shoot with both hands just in case their right hand injured and use the safety on both sides as a result so I can understand why it is a feature that some folks want.

That’s it for now. I hope you found this post useful.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


My Favorite 10mm 1911 Pistol Magazines

I’ve had a number of 1911-style pistols over the years from Dan Wesson, Rock Island, and Taurus. Now, I have a 10mm 1911 TRP Operator with a 6″ barrel. The one thing I learned years ago is that you need quality magazines to help with reliable feeding. I word it this way because there are many different design elements that need to be executed correctly and the pistol to be adequately cleaned and lubricated — it’s not just the magazines that cause the 1911s to either work or have problems. With that said though, they are an important piece of the puzzle and going cheap isn’t something I would recommend.

Over the years, I’ve had two 10mm 1911 magazines recommended to me that both work great with my TRP Operator. One is the Wilson Combat 47NX and the other are the Tripp Research CobraMags and I’ve used both their 9- and 10-round models. Both brands of mags work great and I have no reservation recommending either.

I’ve shot a variety of Underwood HP and hard cast rounds as well as S&B 180gr FMJ out of my mags without any problem and have no had to do any tuning to the feedlips, etc. They just work.

These are two of the 9 round CobraMags loaded with Underwood 220gr hardcast 10mm rounds. Note the part number on the mag body. 9R-10mm-RG.
On the left are two Dan Wilson 9 round 47NX magazines and on the right are two 10 round CobraMags. By the way, they do sell a “tactical” 10 round magazines and the only difference is that they have a black finish to not reflect light – I actually reached out to Tripp Research and confirmed that.
Here is a pile of 9- and 10-round CobraMags. The 9 round mags have the red hard cast Underwood bullets showing and the 10-round ones are loaded with 200 grain XTP if I recall right. I have a few different XTP loads and they all feed fine.
From left to right: 10-round CobraMag, 9- round CobraMag, 9-round Wilson and a flush fitting 8 round Springfield magazine. All work just fine.
This is how far the 10-round CobraMag sticks out.
This a 9-round CobraMag
This is a 9-round Dan Wilson
This is one of the flush-fitting original 8-round magazines that comes with the TRP Operator.

So what do I recommend?

Honestly, I’ve had very good luck with all of them. I prefer the 9-round magazines from both Wilson Combat and Tripp Research. The 10-round magazines stick out quite a bit and I save them for the range, hunting or some other situation where length doesn’t matter.

I hope this helps you out!

Note, for Tripp Research Cobra Mags, I have bought them both direct as well as from Dawson Precision.


Note, I have to buy all of my parts – nothing here was paid for by sponsors, etc. I do make a small amount if you click on an ad and buy something but that is it. You’re getting my real opinion on stuff.

If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Adding Hogue Rubber Grips to my 10mm TRP Operator Longslide

After I finished polishing the chamber of my new 10mm TRP Operator Longslide, I also replaced the VZ Grips. Maybe it’s my carpal tunnel but I really prefer rubber grips on my single-stack 1911-style pistols. Fortunately, the Hogue 45000 wrap around rubber grips fits great.

The VZ-Grips that come with the TRP are very nicely executed. Replacing them is as easy as removing the two Torx screws you see on each side.

Replacing the Grip Panels

I did some digging and the Hogue 45000 rubber grips are a drop in replacement rubber grip set for Colt-Government size frames including Springfield Armory pistols. Sure enough taking them out the package they lined up just fine.

To remove each panel, you will need a Torx 15 (T15) bit and I would recommend a container to hold the screws. I like using a magnetic tray to avoid them bouncing around.

My factory screws backed out using a T15 bit and I was surprised that there was no threadlocker or much torque..
You have to love the easy stuff when it comes along. The original grips lift off the threaded inserts and then you slide the Hogue into place until the holes align. Yeah, it’s that easy.
When you go to re-install the screws, use a medium-strength threadlocker. I’ve been using the Loctite “stick” series for a while now as you avoid the traditional liquid making a mess as it drips. Would the liquid work – for sure. The stick is just convenient. In terms of torque, I just brought them down snug.

On the topic of grip screws, you have some options to avoid lost screws. First is to use a medium-strength threadlocker and another is to put an O-ring under the head of the screw. Some guys use #61 plumbing O-rings and others use 1.5x3mm Buna-N O-rings. I’d recommend one of the two vs. nothing.

The Hogune 45000 is an easy install. If you are wondering about the Wilson 47NX 9-round mags, I really like them too.

Conclusion

The pistol passes testing with flying colors – it now cycles fine, the slide and everything operate very smoothing during manual testing and the grip makes a huge difference for me in terms of comfort. Now, I just need to get some range time 🙂


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Sources For the 10mm TRP Operator and Ammo

Here are some reputable vendors you can order either the 5″ or 6″ TRP Operator plus ammo:

Tuning the 10mm Springfield Armory TRP Operator To Feed Reliably

After the very disappointing performance of my new 6″ 10mm TRP Operator at the range, I knew I had two options. First, I could send the pistol back to Springfield Armory for repair or two, I could try just a bit of light polishing first. I had good reason to want to try the second option first.

A few years back, I had a Rock Island Armory 52000, that’s their big top of the line doube-stack 10mm, that had problems feeding Underwood ammo but not S&B or SIG. In looking closely at what was going on, I could tell the lip of the case was hanging on the lip of the barrel and not going in. I used a rubber abrasive Dremel bit, rounded the edge of the chamber ever so slightly and the problem was solved.

In looking at the brass coming out of the TRP during test firing, it was getting very scratched and in some cases actually nicked/gouged as it went up the feed ramp and pivoted to then be pushed into the chamber. The rounds that stopped dead and would not feed had to be tapped out with a cleaning rod. They all had a slight nick/gouge in the case where the edge of the barrel literally bit into the brass effectively locking the round in question in place.

I sure wasn’t happy at the range but at least I had a plan of attack. When I had time a few days later, I waded in to try fix the problem.

Before you ever work on a firearm, make sure it is not loaded. Be sure to check the chamber and do not have a loaded magazine in it either.

Disassembly

The 6″ TRP is a slightly odd beast. It does not have a traditional guide rod. You disassemble it just like any other 1911 by pushing the slide forward to the point the slide stop aligns with the disassembly notch and pushing the slide stop out. I don’t know of any tricks to unload the unique recoil spring system the 6″ Longslide TRP has.

As you move the slide forward off the receiver, be prepared for the spring to want to jump out so be sure to have a hold of it before you get the slide half way off exposing it forward of the browning link.

Notice the heavy bull barrel with no bushing and also the unique recoil spring. There is that stubby little guide rod and a long plug that the spring goes into. As far as I know, this is unique to the 6″ Longslide model and is not found in the 5″ TRP.

The spring system is annoying during disassembly and re-assembly but I am getting used to it. I checked with Wilson and Dawson plus did some googling around and nobody has anything to replace it so I’ll just deal with it.

The Barrel

Okay, I took the barrel and looked at the point where the steel transitions from the feed ramp to the chamber. It wasn’t polished and it was practically a knife edge. No wonder the rounds where getting torn up or even caught on that sharp edge.

This is the barrel straight out of the TRP without any cleaning or work done. The ramp is fairly smooth but I wanted to polish it more – same for the chamber but boy is the top of the feed ramp an abrupt sharp angle. No wonder cases were scraping on it and/or getting hung up.
If you look at the angles of the three types of rounds I was test firing with, the most successful was the 220gr hard cast in the middle. The S&B 180gr FMJ on the left has more of angle and the XTP on right has an even greater angle. None of the bullets were damaged during testing it was the cases. Notice that the greater the angle the worse the round fed and the more chewed up the case was.

To address this, I got out my Dremel, rubber abbrasive bits, some felt bobs and also a bit of 800 grit polishing compound.

One thing to remember up front – you do not need to take off a ton of material so use a fine grit abrasive and a relatively low speed. You want to work a bit and test until you get it right where you want it.

That’s a close up of the TEMO rubber polishing burr that I use to round over transition from the ramp to the chamber. Basically you want to get rid of that abrupt sharp edge and round it so that it is easier for a cartridge to tip over and get pushed into the chamber.
You can see the rubber that came off the bit during polishing and also note the slight rounding at the top of the feed ramp – that is exactly what we want.
Next up is to polish the ramp and the chamber. To do this I used a 10mm felt bob and 800 grit grease-based lapping compound. I’ve used Flitz in the past too by the way and it works. I like the Goodson compound due to it being petroleum based. It seems to cut better and doesn’t fly all over the place. Note, this is 800 grit and we just want to polish – our goal is to remove as little material as possible while getting the job done.
Okay, here’s an action photo. I polished the chamber and the ramp already. You move the bob around and don’t sit in one place – back & forth, up & down, in & out. Think of it this way – you are your own random orbit sander and don’t want to stay in any one place too long and remove any more than needed.
I put CLP on a 10mm Ramrodz (think of a Q-tip made for cleaning a 10mm pistol barrel) and cleaned it it out followed by a second to mop any remaining debris. I carefully cleaned the other surfaces as well.

Greased the parts that slide

When we were at the range, I noticed the action was sluggish at times. This is to be expected during the break-in/wear-in period of any firearm. What I do to help the parts get to know each other is to use an acid brush to apply a light film of SuperLube grease to the parts that slide. Not a ton – just a film. For the TRP, I put it on the slide rails, the bottom of the slide. the exterior of the bull barrel and in the slide where the barrel passes. Wow – what a difference. The slide feels smooth as glass now. I also again put a drop of SuperLube oil on the trigger, hammer, browning link, etc.

Re-assembly

Putting it back together takes some practice – re-install the barrel and try to hold the recoil assembly in place as you slide on the receiver. For me, it’s easier if I do it with the slide inverted (bottom up), hold the slide and spring with the left hand while guiding the receiver into place with my right. One the receiver is on about half-way, the spring is adequately captured. Now, this also means that when you go to re-install the slide lock, you are fighting the tension of the spring. I support the pistol on a table during this step and am getting better at it. If someone has found a magic trick, please email me 🙂

Test Feeding

The proof is in the pudding right? I had to test in my shop vs. the range so that meant I needed to be very careful about where the pistol was pointed. Do what you are comfortable with and be safe.

I loaded up three magazines with three rounds of each to start. All hand cycled just fine. Prior to the above tuning, I could not do that. I then loaded up full mags of each and repeated the tests – everything hand cycled just fine.

Conclusion

I hope to get to the range at some point this week to verify the results. I fully expect it is good to go now. Also, let me again use this opportunity to point out this is why you always need to test your combinations of pistols, magazines and ammo. The TRP Operator is an excellent pistol but I knew not to rely on it out of the box. There are just way too many variables to take that gamble.

2/16/2021 Update: Read this post where I list the Q&A between readers and myself about the TRP.


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Sources For the 10mm TRP Operator and Ammo

Here are some reputable vendors you can order either the 5″ or 6″ TRP Operator plus ammo:

The Magazines, Ammo & First Range Trip for the New 10mm TRP Operator

This post is continuing on the story of my newly purchased Springfield Armory TRP Operator 10mm Longslide. I’m going to touch on three topics – the initial mags, ammo and my first trip to the range.

The Magazines

The pistol comes with two 8-round magazines that flush fit with the bottom of the grip. My experience with factory mags is mixed so I bought four Wilson Combat 47NX magazines to use as well plus they hold 9 rounds and have a bumper on the bottom.

On the left is one of the two 8-round magazine that Springfield Armory supplied with the pistol. On the right is one of the four Wilson Combat 47NX 9-round magazines I bought.
Left is the factory mag and on the right is the Wilson. Note the slightly different shape to the magazine body at the top. Interestingly, both followers are stamped with the same patent number. The followers are identical but not the bodies or the floor plates.

I tried a factory magazine with one of the S&B 180gr FMJ rounds I bought and it immediately jammed on the first test, and the second and the third. Okay, I really wasn’t surprised given past poor experiences and tried one of the Wilsons. The round went right in. I thought that fixed the problem and we’ll come back to that later when we discuss the range.

The Ammunition

With my Rock Ultra and Bruin, S&B 180 grain FMJ proved to be a very decent range ammo so I bought a few hundred rounds of it to break in the TRP.

In the 10mm community, Underwood has a great reputation and I had also used it with both of my previous 10mms. This time though, I bought 5 boxes of 220gr hard cast for bears and 4 boxes of 200gr XTP to try out.

From left to right: Underwood 220gr hard cast (the bullet is colored red and easy to spot), Underwood 200gr XTP HP and last, S&B 180gr FMJ.
So here is a side-by-side in the same order – Underwood 220gr Hardcast, Underwood 200gr XTP and S&B 180gr FMJ.

The hardcast comes in at 220 grains and the bullet is a “Hi-Tek Coated Hard Cast Flat Nose” and the Brinell Hardness Number (BHN) is 41. That puts it somewhere between copper at 35 BHN and Hardened 6060 Aluminum at 75BHN. Pure lead comes is at 5 BHN. In short, you’d expect it to penetrate without mushrooming easily – which is what I would want for a bear’s skull for example. The round pushing the bullet 1200 FPS and 703 ft/lbs at the muzzle makes sure it gets delivered hard.

The 200 grain XTP was what the vendor had in stock at the time. I like XTP bullets in general as they perform well in terms of mushrooming so this is not something I would use on a bear but two legged predators maybe. Underwood reports that the muzzle velocity is 1,250 FPS with 694 ft/lbs.

The S&B 180 grain FMJ is for the range. In the past I found it affordable, reliable and accurate enough for practice. S&B USA reports that it’s exiting the muzzle at 1,165 FPS with 544 ft/lbs of energy.

A Quick Cleaning and Lubrication

I ran a couple of 10mm RamRodz down the bore to clean out the accumulated gunk from the factory and travel. I then applied Superlube to the frame rails and other lubrication points on the pistol.

The First Range Experience

The weather was perfect for going to the range and both Niko and I commented that as we lugged firearms, ammo, targets and what have you down the shooting lane we planned to use.

Getting ready to shoot. Ignore the MagLula – we had some Polymer80s and SIGs to shoot after the TRP.

First up for testing was the TRP operator. We loaded the Wilson Combat mags up with the S&B ammo, loaded the first round, fired and it jammed. Well crud. It was jamming hard too – the bullet was hitting the top of the chamber during feeding but not rotating enough to then go the rest of the way forward. After a few of these we noticed that the transition point between the feed ramp and the chamber was actually indenting the brass enough to cause a notch and stop the round hard. So much for the S&B at that point.

We then switched to the hard cast and the TRP relatively liked that. It fired a lot more with fewer jams. What we noticed was that the angle on the hard cast bullet seemed to be such that it helped the round to properly chamber most of the time. So, we shot about 20 rounds in total and decided to move on to the 200gr HP.

Wow – the Underwood 200gr XTP load was jam city. I could not get them to feed at all. So, disappointed, we stopped shooting the TRP and put it away. In looking at the cases, I was betting that I needed to slightly bevel the transition point and polish both the ramp and chamber. Doing that will be the topic of our next post — and yes, it did make a world of difference.


If you find this post useful, please share the link on Facebook, with your friends, etc. Your support is much appreciated and if you have any feedback, please email me at info@roninsgrips.com. Please note that for links to other websites, I may be paid via an affiliate program such as Avantlink, Impact, Amazon and eBay.


Sources For the 10mm TRP Operator and Ammo

Here are some reputable vendors you can order either the 5″ or 6″ TRP Operator plus ammo:

Springfield Armory 10mm TRP Operator – Out of the Box

A few months ago while hiking in the Smokies, we got up close and personal with some black bears including a sow with cubs. Neither encounter was planned of course. We were about half to three fourths of the way back to the parking area from Laurel Falls and it was near dusk when my daughter rounded the bend of the trail and shouted out “bear”. Not what I was expecting.

I went to the front of the line and saw a juvenile just as startled as we were about 50 feet ahead. I had drawn my 9mm SIG P365 that was loaded with Critical Duty +P ammo but also knew it was woefully under-powered and was literally praying that I would not need it even though Critical Duty is supposed to have some degree of barrier penetration. I was telling the bear firmly to go away and we made a bunch of noise. The bear really had a “oh crap it’s humans look on its face”, immediately looked for an exit in the brush and left the trail. No drama at all. I think the foliage and all the turns in the trail had muffled the noise of our six person group. As we left the area I kept checking behind us just to be sure it wasn’t following us.

You can’t make this stuff up – we had hiked Laurel Falls during the day so many times and never seen bears. However, 10 minutes later we saw two cubs in a tree maybe 25 yards off the trail and down a slope and the sow was at the bottom looking at us. What worried me was that she stood up and walked parallel making sure we were not a threat. We stayed as far away as we could on the trail and I was talking to the bear as we all walked down the trail. She made sure we were leaving and watched until she sat down and started eating berries. When she did that, I knew we were okay and we walked the remaining 15-or-so minutes to the parking lot.

Okay, I did a lot wrong in hindsight. We did not think we would encounter bears on this trail that we’d walked many times before without seeing anything and then we had two encounters. Walking at dusk likely played a role. I didn’t have my bear spray with me and a 9mm would not be my first choice of a backup pistol. We were lucky in that the bears were genuinely not interested in us at all. These things went through my head as we went back to the hotel that night and during our drive home.

Thinking About What To Carry Next Time

When we go back, we will be carrying bear spray – no ifs, ands or buts. Bear spray works 90+% of the time to deter a bear and there is research to support it. Also, a bear can cover a ton of ground astonishingly fast. I read 44 feet in 2-3 seconds and that also means you aren’t going to have a ton of time plus you may have a moving target to try and hit. A fog of pepper spray deployed in front of the bear is a good first line of defense … but what if the next bear is part of the 10% that doesn’t stop?

The more I thought about it, the more I wish I had not sold my 10mm Dan Wesson Bruin. At the time, I needed the money more than I did the pistol even though it was amazing. I’d read plenty about guys carrying 10s in bear country with heavy hard cast loads for penetration of a bear’s skull — by the way, you shoot for the head because all the layers of fat, muscle and bone in a big bear are liable to work against you.

After a lot of thinking, I decided to get another 10mm along with some stout loads with hard cast bullets before our next trip. My good friend Scott Igert of Michigan Gun Exchange has long told me how impressed he is with the Springfield Armory TRP Operator pistols. As a retired police officer with tons of firearms experience, I put a lot of faith in his opinion. I told him my story and he recommended the 10mm TRP Operator.

Enter The TRP Operator

Scott and I both like 1911 style pistols and how they feel. My one quirk is that I like long slides so I told him to order me the 6″ version. I like how the longer pistols feel and also how they absorb some of the recoil. The downside is that finding holsters usually requires custom work and I knew that up front.

After waiting about a week, Scott messaged me that the PC9610L18 TRP Operator Longslide had arrived. Needless to say, I went right over to get it.

The TRP operators are just wicked. The slide and frame are forged steel and sport a massive forged stainless steel match bull barrel with a 1:16 twist. It’s a “fully supported” barrel in that the feed rap is part of the barrel and no part of the cartridge case is left dangling once chambered. It also has a small notch at the rear to let you see if there is a round in the chamber.

The sights are adjustable and use tritium for illumination. They work very well.

The pistol weighs 45 oz (2.81 pounds) empty with a nice balance. It’s 9.6″ long overall and about 5.5″ tall. The grip angle really works for me and feels way better to me than a Glock’s angle. The one thing I didn’t care for were the grip panels. SA puts these “VZ Alien G10” grips on the pistols and they are very nicely done. It just so happens that I really prefer rubber Hogue grips on my 1911s so that is a personal preference thing.

All in all, it was a functional piece of art. It did feel gritty and dry but I tend to expect that with most firearms these days.

The pistol comes new with a soft case and two flush fitting 8-round magazines. In the photo you can see that I bought S&B 180gr FMJ ammo as well as Underwood 220gr hard cast and 200gr XTP loads to test the pistol with.
Boy it looked nice. The finish and fitment were superb. Note all the details in terms of the picatinny rail, skeletonized trigger. big beavertail, and what they call “Octo–grip” checkering that is on the front strap and back on the mainspring housing.
Here’s a better look at the main spring, beaver tail and trigger. The thumb safety is ambidextrous
The TRP Operator has a bull barrel and does not use a bushing. Instead, there is careful fitment between the slide and the barrel.

Summary

This gives you and overview of the pistol. In the next post I will talk about the ammo and magazines.

2/16/2021 Update: Read this post where I list the Q&A between readers and myself about the TRP.

Sources For the 10mm TRP Operator and Ammo

Here are some reputable vendors you can order either the 5″ or 6″ TRP Operator plus ammo:


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