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  • Writer's pictureHootey Cline

Review of Rock Island Armory 1911 45ACP

Today we are going to discuss one of my favorite platforms, the 1911. Specifically the Rock Island 1911A1 Tactical. This is the gun that I carry every day and is also the first gun that my wife ever bought me, and it is just a great all-around piece for the money.


For those of you who don’t know; the 1911 is a single-action, recoil-operated, magazine-fed platform that was originally designed to chamber .45ACP. Now, 1911s can be chambered in 9mm and all sorts of other calibers. 1911s are also very rich in their service history with the US military because they were the standard sidearm from 1911-1986. They have seen a lot of action and have been proven combat efficient time and time again. You may also hear a lot of gun guys say 1911 or 1911A1. There is a difference. The M1911 was the designation from 1911-1923. In 1924 they made improvements to the design and then re-classified it as the M1911A1.


The M1911 was originally designed by John Browning. The design is so iconic that it is probably one of the most copied in the firearms industry. Manufactures have sold roughly over 2.7 million units.


Rock Island Armory is owned by the Arms Corporation of the Philippines or Armscor. RIA has created many derivatives from the original GIM1911A1 design. Most of these are targeted to be at the lower end of the price scale and are considered by many to be an entry-level MIL-SPEC piece. RIA’s Tactical, Compact, and Match models offer additional high-end features. The guns are created by using a CNC machine process and are made from 4140 steel. Armscor also guarantees that all of their 1911s are one-hundred percent compatible with original GI models.


The RIA M1911A1 Tactical has a parkarized finish, like most of their weapons. Most RIA 1911s can be had for around $650. This is a fantastic price point though when you think about all of the features that you get and the fact that this is a real 1911 platform. RIA really did take an old warhorse and turned it into a tactical piece of hardware that will compete pretty well with modern platforms.


Some of the potential negatives: Many of the pieces are mold injected, but if you know what you are doing with servicing or gunsmithing this shouldn’t bother you. They are not hand-fitted and they are not made from all-tool steel. They also use a full-length guide rod, which I’ll let you make your own verdict on that. We may look at doing a video that will compare a full length to a GI length guide rod.


Rock Island has one of the best reputations for lower-priced 1911s. Some of the features include adjustable rear sight, fiber optic front sight, adjustable trigger, ambidextrous trigger safety, lengthened beaver tail, and many others. They are also a good foundation for a rig because they are just as customizable as other 1911s, with a cheaper place to start.



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