A Nurse with a Gun

Monday, February 11, 2008

The Rock Island Armory 1911

Interested in acquiring and shooting a 1911 but on a budget? I have not personally shot a Rock Island Armory 1911, but Syd has. He did not intend to like the pistol. After shooting the pistol though, Syd came to this conclusion.
"Well, there’s price, price and did I mention price? For the money, I think this gun is an excellent value. The Rock Island Armory M1911A1 would be an excellent “first gun” for someone who wants to try out the M1911 platform without over-committing resources. Based on my testing so far, it has the reliability and accuracy to serve in the personal defense role. It might be able to go places with you where you wouldn’t want to take the “safe queens.” And, by the way, I still haven’t cleaned and lubed it, and it’s still running fine."
I still have not shot a RIA 1911, and with my stable overflowing with this type of pistol, I don't forsee purchasing one. If a man is wanting to try the platform on a budget though, I trust Syd's recommendation. Here's more.



Anonymous charliej said...

Due to economics, I decide to get a RIA Tactical. Loved it from the beginning. It is dependable, very accurate, and the trigger was remarkable, straight from the factory. I had done my homework concerning cheaper 1911s prior to purchase and had read the forums. Recently, my toy finances increased, and I decided to get a Kimber raptor II. Beautiful pistol, and all that. But to tell the truth, except for the raptor having a slightly smoother trigger, I am even happier with my RIA now. Expensive lesson, I guess.

6:37 PM  
Blogger Joseph said...

I've got experience with two of these pistols, the first I built up at the behest of a buddy of mine, basically, I gutted the RIA of all small parts and replaced it with tool steel quality I know. Added EB Beavertail, Cylinder & Slide hammer and sear, S&A Magwell and had the whole then parked. Essentially, the barrel, bushing, slide and frame are still RIA. The pistol shoots great and he's very happy.

I bought one of them for myself and after the first mag, found that the firing pin had peened and was sticking in the firing pin stop. I replaced it with a tool steel piece and it's now fine. I don't think I'd bet my life on one of these without replacing all the small parts, other than that, they are good shooters.

7:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

After over 800 rounds with no malfunctions I'm please with my RIA

8:34 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No problem with mine, either, except for the hammer bite. Replaced the grips and magazine with some WWII-era parts and it's all I wanted it to be.

8:49 PM  
Anonymous TexaNurse said...

Xavier, you really have to try the RIA Compact. For $339 direct from Sarco, you get GI sights, flat MSH, commander style hammer with beavertail, and smooth clear grips just waiting for personalization. Oh yeah, bull barrel and the magwell is already beveled. All this wrapped in a nice parkerized finish. I got mine for $350 and love it. It is great for when you don't want to carry around the precious $1,000 1911. Link-->http://aycu14.webshots.com/image/44813/2002951531099852132_rs.jpg

11:28 PM  
Anonymous stryth said...

I ventured into the world of non-rimfire pistols last October with one of these pistols. It's generally treated me well, and I can get a 1 1/4" group at 21', which is good enough for me.

I have, however had two issues. The firing pin stop plate fell free 250 rounds in and it turns out that the firing pin had peened against the stop plate as joseph noted as well as bent in jammed into the slide. Also, if I thumbed the hammer back as far as it would go and let it fly the sear would jump off the main engagement surface and come to rest against the half cock notch. I used that as an excuse to replace the hammer so I could fit a beavertail and stop the bite on long shooting sessions.

12:41 AM  
Anonymous DoubleTapper said...

None of you guys have mentioned price.

What does one of these retail?

What do the tool steel quality small parts cost?


4:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought an RIA a few years ago and have well over 3,000 through it. The only problems thus far have been from my first poorly-made attempts at reloading. It's been my my "go-to" IDPA pistol for two years now.

I was attracted by the price and the fact that I'd feel better about tinkering with a $285.00 gun. I put about $100.00 worth of Wilson and CMC small parts into it and managed to not to screw it up with my novice gunsmithing. I still want to replace the original microscopic GI sights and do a complete melt and refinish.

It wasn't available back then, but if I had it to do again, I'd definitely go for a RIA Tactical if for no other reason than to have better sights right out of the box.

8:41 AM  
Anonymous Ct1Catfish said...

A quick correction to Syd's review:

We're now using extruded or barstock material for our slide
and not forged. Be it known to everybody, though, that the barstock
material is of 4140 high grade ordnance steel type.

They upgraded the steel for the slides about a year (or more) ago. I have a 4" and it has been a very accurate dependable carry gun. It is all steel though so it is not a lightweight.

2:05 PM  
Anonymous nelson133 said...

I've got a stock full size RIA with something over 3000 rounds. It shoots well, feeds absolutely anything and just runs. The only thing I have done to it is clean it occasionally. The factory service has been reported as top notch, but I haven't needed it. The hammer bite problem is real and I will have to do something about that eventually.

I highly recommend this if only for the purposes of taking it to the range, letting someone else try it and then telling them what it cost.

4:53 PM  
Blogger Carl H said...

I bought an RIA tactical 5 months ago ($450 ish) and really like it. Nice trigger, accurate, so far it's been very reliable. Good bang for the buck.

5:46 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wanted to get familiar with the 1911 platform without breaking the budget so after much research I decided on a RIA Tactical. I paid $407.00 shipped plus my local FFL fee. I changed the wood to rubber and that's it.

I've shot about 1,000 rounds and two IDPA matches and it is working great for me. This is the first 100 rounds out of the box.


1:13 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I bought my RIA 1911 for exactly the reasons you cite...wanted to test the 1911 platform in .45 acp without breaking the bank.

It's a solid piece and very accurate at the range. Before the purchase I had been considering the GI parkerized 1911s from Auto-Ordinance and Springfield Armory as well. I was dissuaded from the Auto-Ordinance by two separate gun stores; The Springfield won high praise, but with the higher price-tag to match.

I'm glad I opted for the RIA; It was a used gun, and I got a free paddle-holster. I could use it for CCW, but I feel more comfortable with my Taurus PT92 (17 rounds versus 8) right now. In .45 acp, I am considering a Springfield XD, because I do like the grip safety on my RIA 1911.

I have a Glock 23 I sometimes carry but the lack of external safety is still unnerving for me, whereas the Springfield XD, with that grip safety, makes me feel a whole lot more confident about carrying "cocked and locked", i.e. with a round in the chamber.

My only complaint about my RIA 1911 is the occasional hammer-bite. Doesn't happen every time at the range, but it does happen. Funny thing is, I usually don't notice it until after I'm done shooting and notice during cease fire the little spots of blood on my hand where I've been nicked.

11:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I love mines Rock Island had now for about 5 years very dependable and it hit everything that I aim at

6:53 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I highly recommend buying one of these. The only problem i had was with the extractor, a local gun smith replaced it and it fires flawlessly. Can fire several clips with no misfires. I spruced it up with some rubber grips and it fit my hand very well. The price was right. The sights need some improvement, i might replace these one day. I am getting some great shot groups at 20 yards. Practice make perfect I guess. This pistol will improve with age or is it we lol

7:12 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

everyone is talkin about the triger bite i got rubber gribs for it an i dont have a problem with the triger bite the rubber grips work really wellthe brand of rubber grips i got is hogue an it stays in ur hand very well

1:26 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I heard good things about this gun and bought one 2 months ago. I've put 1,000 rounds through it and love it. the only negative is a bite because of the bever tail, but hey, it's a true GI .45. I use a band aid on my hand when I shoot now. Am looking for a RI 1911 .38 now. Can't go wrong with this one!

3:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with everything that all of you had commented on the RIA M1911A1. I picked up mine a few days ago and was so happy with the purchase. I am an avid 1911 collector. I carry a Dan Wesson Commander Bobtail, kept a couple of Kimbers in the gun safe, and will most definitely use my RIA as a range gun. I only changed three things to the RIA before I took it the range over the weekend: hammer, thumb safety, and rubber grip panels. It performed flawlessly at 7 yards, no malfunction whatsoever. Even though I had swapped out the stock hammer, I also hold the RIA a little low so I did not have any problems with hammer bites as some of you reported. I do plan to upgrade the stock grip safety with a Chip McCormick beaver-tail G/S in a few weeks and retest the pistol with a higher grip and see what happens. My overall impression of the RIA is very positive and I am 100% on board about the price affordability of my new RIA M1911A1.

2:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

i got mine over a mounth and a half ago and have put over 600 rds though it and not a problem but i do clean it after each firing just a army thing

10:23 AM  
Blogger oldtimerinfl said...

To Anonymous - Started shooting Pistols with my Dad in 1950. His motto was simple:
(1.) If you shoot it, clean it and oil it.
(2.) If you don't shoot it, clean it and oil it.

One of my 1911's has more than 10,000 rounds through it without a repair and it still shoots precisely where you aim.

8:56 PM  

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