When the FBI adopted the Springfield Professional 1911 in 1998, new respect was bestowed on the old workhorse. The Professional is the result of a Request for Proposal (RFP) that was issued in 1995 in an effort to standardize the pistol for all of their regional SWAT operators. The RFP was extremely demanding and considered by some to be unreasonable. While half a dozen or so manufacturers and shops submitted guns, there would only be one winner. One of those vying for a chance at the contract was Dave Williams, Springfield’s Custom Shop Director.
At first glance, the Professional may not seem all that unique or different but, in 1998, it set the world on fire. After all, the country’s “premier law enforcement agency” had chosen a design that was some 90 years old. For those who are not familiar with this pistol, the Professional Model is a single-stack 1911 pistol that is built entirely in Springfield’s Custom Shop. The slide and frame start as semi-finished parts and the shop’s staff cut the rails, drill the pin holes and hand fit every part.
The Bureau specified Novak low-mount tritium sights, an extended ambidextrous safety, beavertail grip safety, magazine well, 20-lines-per-inch checkered frontstrap, and match-grade internal components. The proposal also called for Walter Birdsong’s Black- T finish and required the pistols to be shipped with five Wilson 47D 8-round magazines. On top of all this, the manufacturer was required to warranty the pistol for an astounding 50,000 rounds.