1911: Springfield, Para-Ordanance, or Rock Island?


November 7, 2005, 04:55 PM
I'm new to 1911's and want a cheaper mil-spec type pistol, so I'd appreciate feedback.

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November 7, 2005, 04:57 PM
Springfield. No comparison.

Black Majik
November 7, 2005, 05:21 PM

Springfield easily over the other two.

November 7, 2005, 05:23 PM
I don't think you're likely to find anything that will compete with the springfield in a mil-spec form that's still within it's price bracket. They are good, reliable pieces. Definitely the leader of the pack from what you offered in the poll. You might look at Colt, as well, for a basic 1911.

November 7, 2005, 05:41 PM
I don't think Para has any offerings in your category.

I voted RIA as its less expensive and mine had a trigger out of the box that is essentially as good as my much more expensive Kimbers.

Use the search on my name and RIA, I've a J-point red dot sight on mine and shoot it a lot and am very happy with it. Fantastic gun for the price. Armscor has resolved a few minor issues I've had with their guns efficiently and profesionally. While the grips on the RIA are no great shakes, IMHO they are nowhere near as ugly as the SA "GI" logo grips.

If you are planning to change out things, look at the Armscor Enhanced 45 first as you'll get SA "loaded" features at GI prices. Get the RIA if you want the "GI" look.


November 7, 2005, 05:43 PM
I vote Springfield. They offer everything from the barebones (yet quality) GI models for sub 400 prices, all the way up to 2,000+ custom guns.

Not to mention a lifetime warranty, good customer service, and a great (albeit slow at times) custom shop.

November 7, 2005, 05:50 PM

November 7, 2005, 06:15 PM
Springfield. would be my choice
on the ones you gave to pick from

November 7, 2005, 06:26 PM

November 7, 2005, 08:17 PM
No question - Springfield. Excellent guns for the money, and a lifetime warranty to back it up.

XD Niner
November 7, 2005, 08:30 PM
+8 on the Springer!:)

November 7, 2005, 09:37 PM
I'll vote for RIA. I have an Armscor (same company as RIA) and I consider it one of my best buys ($385 OTD).
Great customer service too, from what I've heard. I never have the need use that dept., though.

November 7, 2005, 11:01 PM
I think Paras are better than Springfields, but Para Ordnance doesn't offer a real mil-spec level pistol, and they can't come close to a Springfield GI in price.

November 8, 2005, 12:37 AM
Springfield all the way.

November 11, 2005, 03:51 PM
Fellow next to me at the plate rack today had a stainless Springfield, MilSpec I think, had better sights than the GI, but not the "Novak's style" of the Loaded models. I was shooting my RIA. Swapped guns a bit because he was having trouble hitting. I hit fine with his he missed about the same with mine despite the J-point red dot sights on it. He was happy to find it was the shooter not the gun since he'd not been out in a while. He asked if the RIA was a "high dolar gun" obviously confusing it with Rock River Arms (RRA). I laghed and said the sight and mount cost close to as much as the gun and my RIA cost a good bit less than his XD9.

Anyway his SA had quite a bit more slide to frame wobble than my RIA does and my RIA had a better trigger. IMHO a really tight slide to frame fit reduces reliablity more than enough to negate any extra accuracy benefit but lots of folks equate this wobble or lack thereof with "quality". I think both are great guns, but most folks starting out are better off with the cheaper RAI and having some more cash left over for extra ammo. At most gunshows here you can take home the RIA and 500 rounds of UMC ball for about the same as the SA GI gun.

He hit pretty well with his SA XD9 and I very much enjoyed shooiting it, I'd always thought they'd be "flippy" because the bore appears so high above the web of your hand, but it was a sweet shooter with a much better trigger than my Glocks (even after I'd put in the 3.5lb connectors). I may have to get me one of these Croatian creations!


Zach S
November 11, 2005, 04:25 PM
I like the SA Mil Spec.

However, if I had a choice between the SA GI, and the RIA, I'd go for the comparable RIA that has a lower price.

November 11, 2005, 04:38 PM
Thank y'all for all the feedback and getting me oriented. What I have now realized is that I meant Auto-Ordnance, not para. Looking in gunstores around here the springers appear to have a better fit and finish than RIA, and the results from this thread clearly point to springers; and I know that this is already the bargain level for 1911's, but saving +/- another hundred bucks for the RIA is very attractive.

One more question--I've heard people complaining that the Springfield (and I assume all pistols in this price range) uses alot of metal injection molded parts, specifically the slide stop. Is this a serious concern for the longevity of the gun? Would I be better off spending some more and getting a pretty well used colt? Once again--thanks for all of the advice.

November 11, 2005, 04:58 PM
Everyone is using cast or MIM small parts these days. So IMHO buy the gun you like best in your price range and simply replace any parts that break when the time comes. Use the search, I ran a poll a while back and it seemed most cast/MIM parts failure was in the "infant mortality" usage range (say 1000 rounds or less) after that seemed the ones that didn't break early gave essentially normal service life.

FYI Springfiled uses a 2-Piece barrel in their GI and Milspec guns, also I don't think it makes a hoot of difference if your particular gun was put together right.

Definitely stay away from the old "Numrich" or "West Hurley" Auto-Ordnance guns! Maybe if you can shoot it first is the only exception I'd make. A Kahr made one might be OK, they've got some good reviews, but have a tough road to resurect the brand. I've not seen one yet.

As I said I'd take the less expensive RIA over the GI, but if you need better sights I'd go with the Armscor Enhanced (or the Armscor made Charles Daly near twin FS model) or the SA Milspec. Changing sights on the RIA or GI is not a do it yourself job unless you are putting on a red dot like the J-Point I have on mine, since the front sight is staked on and replacing it without the right tool is not a easy job.


November 11, 2005, 05:03 PM
MIM parts DO break, but rarely --one can't ensure 100% QC on manufacture,
and for sintered products, that can mean insufficient cook time, voids, etc.
Springfield is made of both forged-steel and MIM components. If a MIM part fails, get a replacement.

Investment-cast parts are generally not subject to breakage (FN Hi-Powers use investment casting precisely to protect frames vs. fracture), but improper heat treatment leaves them vulnerable to to wear. Armscor uses investment-casting for virtually all the RIA's pistol components

Springfield Armory of Geneseo IL is a US company that imports Brazilian-made (IMBEL) pistol kits, and assembles them in the US.

Armscor Precision Inc. of Pahrump NV is a US company that imports Philippine-made (Armscor) pistol kits, and assembles them in the US.

I own an Armscor and am very, very pleased with it.
I've borrowed a Springer GI on a few occasions, and was very, very pleased with it.
You can't go wong with either.

November 11, 2005, 05:43 PM
I voted for Para because I saw the poll question, "which is best." Then, after reading the post and realizing the true question, I realized I answered the poll incorrectly; Para Ordnance does not have a mil-spec 1911. Their excellent Para SSP strays quite a bit from a Mil-spec. Sorry.

It's funny that Para actually brags about the use of MIM in their manufacturing processes.

Colt doesn't use many MIM parts in their pistols.

November 11, 2005, 06:10 PM
Check out the NEW Auto Ordnance (kahr) 1911a1. I just got one and can't believe how nice it is. I can't imagine a better finished, finer fit true military pistol.

The older AO's, I guess, had some problems but everything I've heard about those made in the past cuppla years has been excellent.

Look at one. You'll like it.

Note it has vertical slide gooves. The old one has slanted grooves.


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