Rock Island Armory .45 questions.


December 7, 2008, 04:30 AM
If you have seen my posts in revolvers and general handguns, you know I've been looking for a cheap revolver and a good brand of that.

Well, when looking for local dealers today, I found one had a "Rock Island Armory" in .45 ACP. It looks and operates just like a Colt M1911A1, except it had an ambidextrous safety catch and a really stiff slide release (it took two hands, one on the slide the other on the lever). Its brand new.

Making this pistol even more noteworthy: It was $426.00, rounding up, WITH taxes! The Ruger GP100 I've been looking into runs well over $630 new win my area! I could buy a used AR for $630, if not then a new Mini-14!

What this tells me though: A new M1911A1 for only 426 dollars, SOMETHING is up.

Anyone have a RIA .45? Does the slide release stick really bad on yours? Does it suffer from mechanical problems? Can you put on aftermarket sights, rails, and other accessories or is its construction intolerant of additions? Is it accurate (for a .45)?

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December 7, 2008, 06:59 AM
Great pistols with a warranty that most others only wish that they had.
The slide release on mine isnt stiff like that... nor on any others I have handled.
Do a search to find out all kinds of info on them.
And also look here.


December 7, 2008, 07:27 AM
I'm happy with mine also. I have the tactical model with the ambidextrous safety. The sights on this model have a novak dove tail cut so changing them out is easy.
My slide release is only difficult if there is an empty mag in it.
I haven't had any malfunctions in over 400 rounds of jhp or range ammo.

December 7, 2008, 08:53 AM
Rock Island Armory 1911s are made by Armscorp in the
Phillipines. They have cast slide/frame/barrels, but are
machined with modern CNC methods. If you looked at an
example with a ambi-dextrious safety it probably was the
Tactical model which also has a beavertail grip safety,
Commander style hammer, and long trigge, with the afore-
mentioned Novak stylel dovetailed sights. They are a good
value for the money, but realize they are built to a
certain price. If you want to have a base gun for a bunch
of custom work over time, it might be better to start
from a gun at a higher level of material etc.

Armscorp also made 1911s similar to the RIA for
Ithaca, and Charles Daly,. STI makes an economy model
called the Spartan using the Armrscorp/RIA slide & frame
but all other parts are STI or parts supplied by others
STI selected as a sub-contrao and are assembled by STI.

RIA, the USA distributor does have a good reputation
for customer service - Advanced Tactical in Nevada.

I handled an RIA Tactical, dry fired it at the range with a
snap cap, good trigger, good fit finish, no wiggle to the slide,
perhaps the slide release would slick up with use. Were you
trying to just depress it but not touching the slide? I usually
operate the slide release in conjunction with the left hand over
the top of the slide holding the slide back to take tension off the
slide release, and not just letting go of the slide but controlling it's
forward motion to chamber a round.

If you like the RIA Tactical for $426, get it and just shoot it,
and get some quality magazines, like Wilsons or
Chip McCormicks, as well as a holster and gun belt. All of the
accessories and the rig can be used for any full size
1911. Later, you'll have the experience and more knowledge
of the 1911 platforms that would be a good basis for a
gun with all the bells and whisltes you want and you'll still
have the RIA 1911 as a shooter, and not have to wait on
gunsmith work,each time you want to add something.


December 7, 2008, 10:09 AM
I have the RIA Tactical and I love it! Admittedly it is my first and only 1911 but I have put at least 800 rounds through it without a single malfunction! Did I mention the price?

December 7, 2008, 11:34 AM
Just an update to Randalls post...
RIA frames are cast - then milled on computerized milling machines
RIA slides are bar stock - forged - then milled computerized milling machines
RIA ingnition and other small parts are MIM - Slide lock - sear - disconnector - etc.
The barrel on the Gov and Tac are carbon steel
The barrel on the Match is SS steel.


December 7, 2008, 11:44 AM
Rock Island Armory .45s are overlooked bargains.

Buckshot Bill
December 7, 2008, 12:32 PM
Howdy all. I,too have "Rock" and feel they're a great value for their low price! I got my G I standard 5" model before the Tactical model with the better sights, beavertail grip safety, commander style hammer etc. came out. Id've gotten the Tactical model if it was available at the time. I have added Novak 3 dot sights to mine and really like them! $426.00 out the door is a great price. Try one, I'll bet you won't be sorry! Buckshot Bill;)

December 7, 2008, 12:56 PM
I'm the most accurate with my RIA 1911 tactical. My other pistols I do ok with, the RIA just seems to fit better. I did put a Pachmayer grip on it. I've fired the gun off a rest, I thought the results were pretty impressive had some teething problems with it when new, but they are resolved now.

Get the tactical, its worth the extra money. Especially for the better trigger pull. Mine is the best out of the box trigger I've ever experienced YMMV.

December 7, 2008, 03:30 PM
Thanks for the clarification, FoMoGo.

FYI - One of the Customer Service Reps
for RIA at Advanced Tactical comments on
RIA threads on the 1911Forum, "Other 1911s"
sub area of that Board. I sent him an email as
listed in his .sig and asked and received the
latest ARMSCOR brochure - it was a little lacking
in detail He said they are working on a better
web site for each model and specs, etc. They
are responsive - it was a few days in reply.


December 7, 2008, 03:35 PM
Thanks for the input, folks!

RIA appears to be the source of my next autoloader. Now to decide which .45 to get from them.

Decisions, decisions... .

December 7, 2008, 05:02 PM
The stiff slide stop is common on the RIA guns particularly with a new empty mag in place, at least from the samples I've tried and have bought. It and the mags eases up after some use.

December 7, 2008, 08:00 PM
I picked one up around July '07 after I got back from deployment. I purchased the G.I model for about $380. You get a lot fo bang for your buck with RIA. When I first shot it yes the slide stop was a little sitff to operate but is smoothed out over time and range sessions. I plan on changing out the small sights to something like a 3-dot in the near future. I installed a ambi safety as I am left handed. RIA's should accept aftermarket parts with little or no modification to your existing gun. I keep mine loaded with 230 grain Hydra Shoks for SD/HD and for the range I shoot Winchester white box or my handloads consisting of 230 grain FMJ on top of 8.2 grains of HS6.

For 426 greenbacks, a good deal. Buy it.

December 8, 2008, 01:43 PM
Currently own 2 of them. A GI model in 38 Super and a 45 Longslide. Both have functioned flawlessly. I have only used Wilson Combat mags in them but so far I have had zero issues with both.

December 8, 2008, 04:05 PM

they make good pistols. i got to check out one of their facilities in the philippines... i'd have more pictures, but security guards snatched my camera shortly after this picture was taken, LOL!

December 8, 2008, 07:04 PM
Dude, you must not get out much! RIA's are the best thing going in the 1911 world right now, as far as affordable entry-level 1911's. I have three. Sounds like you were looking at a Tactical model, which is about the best you can start with.

Oh, and FWIW, that's NOT a "slide release", that's a "slide stop". It's purpose is to latch the slide open after the last round is fired. Yes, you can release the slide with that lever, but that will cause unnecessary wear to the part and the notch in the slide. The BEST way to release a 1911 slide is to "slingshot" it, by pulling it back and releasing it after a new mag is inserted. A much better practice than using the slide stop.

December 9, 2008, 12:13 AM
I have for the most part seen very positive reviews for the RIA. They have all been for 5" models and I am curious if anyone has experience with the compact. I'm thinking about picking one up.

December 9, 2008, 09:58 PM
rondog right above you there has one.

Have had a GI model since 2003. Love it. Goes bang. Doesn't like much other than 230 FMJ and the sights are bad (but so are my eyes) but neither do most genuine WWII era 1911A1's.

December 9, 2008, 10:31 PM
I love my RIA 1911 tactical. Not as much as my Pro-Carry II. :D

January 15, 2009, 12:47 AM
I think I want to trade my PT 1911 SS for the RIA Armscor 1911.

Any Thoughts?

January 15, 2009, 10:46 AM
I have the RIA tactical in .45, and found it to shoot very well. My Dad has a Kimber and my Grandpa has a Colt, and as far a functionality my RIA can keep up with theirs.

January 15, 2009, 11:08 AM
When I got back into shooting a couple years back the GI model RIA was the first gun I bought. It's not a fancy gun and it doeasn't have all the features, but it is a quality made gun.

January 15, 2009, 11:08 AM
I have nothing but good things to say about the RIA/Armscor pistols.
My wife and I trust our lives to them every day.


Just One Shot
January 15, 2009, 01:48 PM
You guys are making me drool!

I found an Armscor - Rock Island 1911 A-1 with a 5" barrel for $389.00 on sale (reg. $399.00).

I've been eyeballing it for a few weeks now hoping to see a better sale. I talked with one of the countermen and he said that he thought it had went as low as $349.00 in the past.

I offered to take it at that price right then but he said he couldn't do it. I guess it has to actually be on sale since it's at MC Sports or he could get in trouble.

I guess I'll just keep checking back from time to time and see if a better deal comes along. ;)

January 15, 2009, 03:40 PM
That's not a bad price in store. The MCSports up here has been past $400 on them for a long time now. Sarco has them cheaper and you can find them cheaper online but by the time you figure in shipping and transfer it'll be close to or more than that price. I'd look for a Tactical though, unless you want a true GI spec 1911A1. Better sights and a hammer and grip safety that won't bite you.

Just One Shot
January 15, 2009, 04:08 PM

Thanks for the info.

This would be my first 1911 and I'm looking forward to getting one.

What would be a good price for the Tactical?

January 15, 2009, 04:20 PM
Look at SARCO. If you shop around I've seen them for right around $390-400 but that is online so plan on shipping and transfer fees. Folks seem to find them for around $500 or a bit lower locally but I've never even seen one in person locally. Lord knows what the rip off artists up here would want.

January 15, 2009, 04:44 PM
Get it.

I got mine.

January 15, 2009, 04:58 PM
Is Sarco back up and selling on the 'net again? I still don't see any RIA's on their site, just 1911 parts. That's where I bought my Compact from, BTW, for $340. But with shipping and FFL fee, it wasn't much below local retail. A little, but not a lot.

January 15, 2009, 05:14 PM
i bought a high standard gi 1911 new in the box for$380 it shoots well. is this a good gun or did i pay to much. what do others think?

January 15, 2009, 05:16 PM
The RIA M1911 is definitely a great gun. I bought a GI model a couple years back, polished it up a bit on the inside and changed out the grip safety, sear, and hammer for Wilson Combat parts. End result is a gun that puts quarter-sized holes into targets at 25 yards if I shoot kneeling, and has cheerfully digested everything from factory ammo to lead handloads.

January 15, 2009, 05:31 PM
Ditto on what Rondog said. Releasing the slide by pulling it back and letting it go not only saves wear and tear, it assures a more positive chambering of the round and lockup into battery.

January 15, 2009, 05:42 PM
i bought a high standard gi 1911 new in the box for$380 it shoots well. is this a good gun or did i pay to much. what do others think?

Ya did good! Essentially the same gun as the RIA GI, and that's an average price, AFAIK. I bought my two RIA GI's for $369.99 and $379.99 locally, on sale each time.

January 15, 2009, 05:45 PM
My Rock shoots great, works without a hitch, feeds anything I put in the magazine... and well... I like how it looks ;)

January 15, 2009, 07:59 PM
I like how it looks

+1 sweet!

January 15, 2009, 08:30 PM
Rondog, yeah, they're back selling guns now. They got that BS settled and have their FFL back.

Last I knew you went to their site and looked for the flier listing. The latest issues of Shotgun News also feature firearms again.

January 15, 2009, 10:15 PM
They have all been for 5" models and I am curious if anyone has experience with the compact.

I own an RIA GI and a compact. The trigger on the Compact is a tiny bit better. Both have been reliable out of the box. As others have said, they are a steal.

Phonetic Diabetic
January 16, 2009, 12:11 AM
I've got a GI. I also own a Sig P220 and an H&K P7. I'm as accurate with my RIA as the others. Bought it for $333 on GunBroker. Eventually bought a Wilson Combat hammer and beavertail grip safety, but I don't know how to install them. Here's the pic taken from the auction I won. I have since also put on Hogue wrap around grips. I love this gun!

January 16, 2009, 12:13 AM

Seen Boondock Saints a few times have we?

January 16, 2009, 12:18 AM
I bought a Taurus PT 1911 in .45 back in Feb 08, and it is one of the most reliable guns I own. I've never shot a RIA, but the ones at gunshows seemed to rattle like a bb in a boxcar when I racked the slide.

Cocked & Locked
January 16, 2009, 02:27 AM
I like the shiny Super .38 ones...

January 16, 2009, 07:04 AM
I bought a Taurus PT 1911 in .45 back in Feb 08, and it is one of the most reliable guns I own. I've never shot a RIA, but the ones at gunshows seemed to rattle like a bb in a boxcar when I racked the slide.
Go find and then handle a good condition (ie not shot out) original 1911 or 1911A1. You'll find that the Taurus and other "tight" guns are the ones varying from the original formula.

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