Springfield Armory TRP Carry Contour

Springfield Armory TRP Carry Contour

By: Massad Ayoob
Photos By: Massad Ayoob & Ben Battles

Part of a new-for-2024 TRP line, this 45 ACP gem is optimized for concealed carry

The Springfield TRP (Tactical Response Pistol) dates back roughly a quarter century to when the FBI’s most elite tactical personnel were using 1911 .45s, and Springfield Armory got the contract. For 2024, SA updated the theme with half a dozen variations. 45 ACP is still the only caliber choice, but now options include either Commander or full-size slide lengths, “Carry Contour” models, and various finishes.

Springfield’s TRP lineup has been revised for 2024 and now includes full size, Commander length, railed, non-railed, multiple finish options, and models with the Carry Contour cut like the one you’re reading about today.

On Target’s test sample is a 4.25” .45 in black. Like the other TRPs, it has VZ grips in the aggressive surface they call “Hydra” and 20 lines per inch checkering on front and back grip straps. It features the rounded butt that Ed Brown pioneered as the Bobtail; SA calls it “Carry Contour”; and both terms are equally descriptive. This treatment reduces a significant bulge point in concealed carry. These concealed carry versions don’t have the extended mag wells of the other TRPs in the new series. Our CC gun weighed 29.5 ounces with an empty mag in place, a tad heavier than most other aluminum frame “LW Commander style” .45s because the dust cover is built up as an accessory rail.

The first thing you notice upon examination is the build quality, which is excellent. I found the Cerakote finish to be exceptionally well applied, and this was the least of it. The slide runs on the frame as if it were on ball bearings, yet it’s rattle-free. How do they do it? Says Springfield, “The art of building a TRP demands a hands-on approach. Each pistol begins with a forged frame and slide for strength and durability. For enhanced precision, each pair is hand-selected for slide-to-frame fit and numbered to marry them with their matching components throughout the build process. The result is a premium fit, with refined blending and rock-solid performance.”

The Carry Contour cut, pioneered by famed pistolsmith Ed Brown as the “Bobtail” cut, effectively reduces printing during concealed carry. VZ Hydra grips are also cut accordingly and provide an unrelenting no-slip grip. So long as it wasn’t against bare skin, TRP carried fine in Leather Arsenal IWB by Elmer McEvoy.

The rear sight is a ledge style to facilitate one-handed slide cycling in an emergency. It has a good wide rear notch and a big front post, with small three-dot Tritium night sights in place. There are grasping grooves both front and rear on the slide. The mag well may lack enlargement in favor of concealability, but it has still been slightly beveled.

Both the frame and carbon-steel slide are treated to an expertly applied black Cerakote finish. The frame is machined from forged aluminum to help keep the TRP CC on the lighter side of 1911s for concealed carry and features a Picatinny accessory rail for a weapon light and/or laser. The 4.25” barrel is made from hammer-forged stainless steel and uses a traditional barrel bushing.

In Hand

Trigger pull averaged a crisp 5.12 pounds on the Lyman digital gauge. Take-up and reset were both short, and there was no palpable backlash or rearward movement of the trigger after sear release. Our test team ranged from small people to six-footers, including male and female, and both left- and right-handed shooting (yes, the pistol has an ambidextrous safety, perfectly sized and adjusted, in my opinion.)

In a mostly 9mm world, many readers worry about .45 ACP recoil. This time around, our test team had an unusual component: three kids. Regular test team member Herman Gunter III put the TRP in the hands of his grandchildren: Brooke, 14; Benjamin, 12; and Daniel, age 10. Grandpa Gunter is a long-time master instructor and has taught generations of his progeny accordingly. “Kids with .45s?!? OMG!!” Well, when they’re taught firm grasp, aggressive stance, and tricks like cocking the hammer to relieve mainspring pressure before running the slide, they can handle a .45 just fine and they did so here. They shot the guns well with full power 230-grain hardball, particularly impressive since Benjamin was recovering from a non-gun-related laceration to his support hand and was standing on a recovering broken right tibia and fibula.

Serrated controls, including the slide stop, standard-length magazine release button, and ambidextrous thumb safety, all functioned positively and extremely smoothly — which is part of what you’re paying for with a TRP. Trigger pull measured a crisp 5.12 pounds, with a short take up and reset.

Needless to say, the adults – all veteran handgunners – had no problems controlling this lightweight .45. The very aggressive grip checkering combined with the VZ Hydra grip panels had pros and cons. There was absolutely no slippage in grasp, even with hot +P loads. I suspect the strong purchase it affords the hand would even enhance the ability to maintain control of the TRP if there was a struggle for the gun. However, concealed carry next to bare skin could be predictably unpleasant, and it’s not what I’d choose for a 1000-round-a-day training course.

Reliability? We ran a bunch of bullets through this thing, everything from hardball to light Winchester 185-grain target loads to 230-grain +P JHP, and feeding and cycling were both 100%.

Slide-top serrations aren’t just a nice visual touch—they also reduce sight picture glare when lining up the TRP’s fixed Tactical Rack Tritium three-dot sights.

On the Bench

I tested with my usual protocol: five-shot groups from a Matrix rest on a concrete bench at 25 yards, measuring all five center-to-center to the nearest 0.05” and then measuring the best three the same way. About a quarter century ago, the late Charlie Petty and I proved in the pages of American Handgunner that the “best three” from the bench fired by an experienced Handgunner with no called flyers would roughly equal all five from a Ransom machine rest. This is easy for readers to replicate since it factors out unnoticed human error, which in this particular test was a good thing because I was sick as a dog when I shot (not an excuse, just a metric in failure analysis.)  As usual, three different manufacturers were represented in the ammo selection.

An enlarged magwell is absent in the name of concealed carry, but meaningful beveling is present. Our TRP came with three GI-style seven-round magazines. TRPs not cut with the Carry Contour are equipped with an enlarged magwell and extended eight-round mags. Expertly cut 20 L.P.I. checkering is present on front and rear straps.

Remington Express line jacketed hollow point 185-grain chronographs at about 1,025 feet per second from 4.25″ barrels like my test sample’s, and in this case, produced a five-shot group that measured 2.80”, but with the best three in precisely one inch on the nose.

For a 200-grain load, I chose Black Hills’ excellent lead semi-wadcutter target load. It put five big holes in 4.10″, the spread caused by two flyers – one called and one not. But the best three hits clustered in 1.35” — see why I want to factor out both recognized and unnoticed human error?

The traditional .45 ACP bullet weight of 230 grains was represented by my favorite for a service .45, Federal’s HST +P rated for 950 fps velocity. It proved to be the most accurate, with all five shots in 2.15″ and the best three under an inch, 0.95″ to be exact. I’ve seen this bullet open up to a full inch in edge-to-edge diameter with optimum penetration in hogs I’ve shot with it using 5” guns, and it did not produce excessive recoil in the aluminum frame TRP.

The TRP with a 25-yard Federal HST 230 grain +P group, the best of the test for overall measurement. The “best three” of the group — indicative of what all five shots would look like from a Ransom rest — measured an impressive 0.95 inches.

Perks and Quirks

Outstanding build quality and pride of ownership factors, for sure. Feels great in the hand. Excellent “street trigger” for a 1911. For a post-in-notch sight picture, ten out of ten, and the ledge shape of the rear sight could be a lifesaver in dire circumstances. The aggressive checkering and VZ format? That’s gonna be subjectively a bug or a feature, entirely up to the individual shooter.

The lightweight TRP Carry Contour remained controllable even with full power +P carry loads, thanks in part to the purchase afforded by the aggressive VZ grips. During testing, the gamut of 45 ACP ammunition was run, and reliability was 100 percent.

Tester Herman Gunter, doing night shooting with the test TRP, described the Tritium modules as “pinpoints.” He would have liked them bigger. Me too. I would have liked the sights to be dialed in better to point of aim/impact for $2K. The one sharp area on the gun that bothered me was the front edges of the magwell, biting the palm a bit doing reloads with the furnished GI-style magazines, but that disappeared when I used Wilson Combat mags with base pads for the reloads.

The Gunter kids shot great with the TRP and full power .45 ball. From left, Brooke (14), Benjamin (12), and Daniel (10).

In general format, this particular TRP is similar to Springfield’s own lightweight Ronin in “Commander format,” which costs a little less than half the price tag on the TRP. The simple fact is, the higher you get in prices on 1911s, the more you’re paying for smaller increments, little things that sometimes add a little and sometimes add a lot … and that’s more dependent on the individual’s needs and experience than anything else. Bottom line: the new TRP earns a solid thumbs-up for this reviewer. See the new TRP line at your nearest dealer, or for more information, contact Springfield Armory; Tel.: (800) 680-6866; E-mail: [email protected]; Web: www.springfield-armory.com


Action:                        Single action

Caliber:                      45 ACP

Barrel Length:            4.25 inches

Weight:                      27.30 ounces

Capacity:                   7+1 rounds

MSRP:                       $1,999