Armscor 1911?'s


January 7, 2004, 11:54 PM
A local shop has a NIB Armscor compact 4" 1911A1 (I believe this is the model) in Stainless steel for $450 otd. That included all sales taxes DROS fees etc. It looks like a relatively nice gun. I tried the trigger and it seems really nice with very little take up and it broke cleanly at about 4lbs. The owner of the shop carries one daily and swears by it. He said if I would like he will allow me to borrow his and take it out to the range and shoot a couple boxes of .45 through it and see what I think. I have never owned a 1911 and would like to know any thoughts you may have on this gun. I understand it may need some further tweeking my a gunsmith, but I really don't mind that. I figure thats half the fun, plus my freind is an amature gun smith who has done some impressive work on both my 10/22 and mark II, so I would probably just hand it off to him and see what he can do wit it. Anyways, any fee back would be greatly apptreciated.

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January 8, 2004, 03:00 AM
I know that there will be people that post that these guns are crap but I have around 2000 rounds through mine & haven't been disappointed by it. I did have a local gun smith that's been building 1911's since the early days of IPSC (he was one of the founding members of the Iowa chapter) go thought it & asked him his opinion of the gun, his opinion was that it was certainly a decent gun for the money.

Did you test the trigger on a scale? Stock mine had a fairly smooth trigger but it was much heavier than that.

Ammo First
January 8, 2004, 04:12 AM
I'm curious about these armscor pistols as well. This would be my first 1911 and I thought it would be a good way to try one out without breaking the bank. Any one know if the frame 's and slides on these stainless 1911's are cast or forged?

January 8, 2004, 05:44 AM
I have a Charles Daly which is made by Armscor (though word is that the Armscor badged models get a little more TLC in the factory). I have over 6K rounds through it and I still love it. Some occasional hiccups, but nothing that worries me. Most common for me is initial resistance to going into battery- easily fixed with a more powerful spring, but since it works fine once it is put into battery I don't worry about it. If it uses the same mags as the Daly it is probably a safe bet that you'll need to change out your mags. I'd buy another, in fact I probably will buy one shortly after leaving MD (no built-in lock, while there are still some in state that were brought in before the law, I have other priorities right now).

January 8, 2004, 10:35 AM
Thanks guys for the info. I have got a couple of replies at another forum that are much less helpful. Everyone seems to insist on comparing this gun to the RIA guns, but the RIA guns are the very lowend of the armscor ine up. From all the reaserch I have been able to do (including an article in Gun-test wich I tend to value) The armscor 1911a1 are nicer than the RIA's.

racenutz-No, I did not put it on a scale, but I was comaping it to my 2 glocks(23&27) which have the 5.5lb triggers. The armscor felt slightly lighter than both of those.

January 8, 2004, 06:11 PM
Hi :)

Don't own one, but here is some info on their manufacture:

Charles Daly (CD) subcontracts 1911 pistol manufacture out to Armscor.
So does Twin Pines, which owns the Rock island Armory (RIA) name.
Armscor also now handles marketing and distribution of RIA in the United States and other countries: Twin Pines' earlier arrangements with certain US distributors went sour --the distributors wanting to jack up RIA prices, and Twin Pines firmly standing by the concept of keeping good 1911's affordable to the working person.. a concept they adopted from Armscor and its GI series.

Armscor parts are investment-cast 4140 steel, but done properly --the density is still not up there with forged but I've yet to hear of a real-owner complaint of practical weakness in the metal. Usually it's a matter of needing a break-in, though on older pistols the workmanship/finish is not as good ("--pistol works fine, but there's roughness in places"). Armscor's been aggressive in boosting quality over the past several years, and the postive reputation of RIA's is a result of that, but there's still some old (Armscor GI) stock floating around the US market, tainting the reputation of its own GI line of 1911's. I would think those interested in Armscor GI 1911 pistols should ensure their purchase is of fairly recent manufacture, and NIB, to get the current good quality.

Armscor naturally builds its own pistols start to finish.
The RIA's are assembled from Armscor-produced parts by Twin Pines here in the Philippines and over there in Nevada (by Armscor Precision). I would imagine Charles Daly also does their own assembly of Armscor-built parts.
There would thus be greater chance of difference quality wise, between CD and Armscor, than between Armscor and RIA.

One difference between Armscor and RIA is that Armscor makes its own sights and mags, while Twin Pines' RIA now makes use of US-brand sights and magazines.

I'm pretty sure the house brand gets extra TLC at Armscor's plant and forge in Philippines. The Armscor GI series has been around for ages and has always been intended as an affordable, working-man's weapon. I have to agree that when ii comes to workmanship, the Armscor GI 1911 seems to have a slight edge over the RIA (I've handled lots of such pieces, and sat in on field-strips at the range). RIA's have better (US-made) mags though, and if you're buying Armscor it's for now a good idea to factor in the possible expense of replacement mags.


I wouldn't buy a 1911 for defense, as I'm too small/weak to use it.
BUT I am definitely going to own a 1911, on principle, and choosing between an Armscor GI 1911 and a RIA is driving me batty :D

PROC-built Norincos are easily obtainable here in the Philippines and have this reputation for hard metal, but the rough workmanship I've seen in the shop units I've looked over turns me off. The Springfield Armory Mil-Specs look very good, but are still a tad too pricey for me. JMO, YMMV

Tropical Z
January 9, 2004, 03:28 PM
Are the slides on Armscor's cast as well? I have my Phillipino SAM and i like it a lot.

George Hill
January 9, 2004, 04:24 PM
I dont know about the Armscor branded 1911's... but I have played with and fired the GI version of the RIA gun and I liked it.
It looked good and it felt good and I thought it was a bargain at only 350. And best yet, it shot good. ZERO problems.
If Armscors are better than that, then it's one hell of a gun then.

January 9, 2004, 11:40 PM
Originally posted by George Hill
...I have played with and fired the GI version of the RIA gun and I liked it.
It looked good and it felt good and I thought it was a bargain at only 350. And best yet, it shot good. ZERO problems.
If Armscors are better than that, then it's one hell of a gun then.

Mr. Hill :)

Well, I honestly don't know if the Armscors actually perform better than RIAs, but Armscor's newer "GI series" manufactures seem to have a slight edge over the RIAs this newb amateur has inspected, in terms of internal finish and fit.

Certainly, a great deal of the RIA's early appeal, deservedly ascribed to quality and affordability, also resided in its apparent high regard for the original design. I'm not really sure why, but I don't really care for many of the shiny bells and whistles that other manufacturers (including Armscor and increasingly, even RIA/Twin Pines) treat as necessary.

originally posted by TropicalZ
Are the slides on Armscor's cast as well? I have my Filipino SAM and i like it a lot.
Hi, TropicalZ :)

AFAIK Armscor frames, slides and small parts (and therefore RIA and CD) have all been the product of stringent investment casting of ordnance grade 4140 steel, followed by CNC machining, and then hardening. Over a year ago, I heard that Armscor had begun exploring the feasibility of using "true" forgings (it could simply mean reverting to milling things from forged 4140 billets), and/or the possible use of high-strength stampings for certain internals. I do not know where that effort stands today, since refinements in technology and QC for investment casting have been producing such strong results of late.

SAM 1911's are manufactured by SAM (Shooters Arms Manufacturing corporation, formerly Leon Guns) in Mandaue, Cebu. They have little manufacturing connection to Armscor in Marikina, Metro Manila. SAM frames and small parts are cast, while the slide and barrels are machined directly, from billet 4140 steel, and then everything is hardened.

Ammo First
January 10, 2004, 02:37 AM
horge, thank you, very informative. I have handled one of the sam pistols and I must say it was nicer than I expected, beautiful machined slide. Any other info on the sam pistols? Are they using investment casting for the frame and the other small parts? Know Anyone Who has a current Model? Thier Opinion? Century advertises these pistols have been improved from the ground up. Any truth to this? Thanks.

January 10, 2004, 03:12 AM
Hi Ammo First :)

SAM quality (according to range acquaintances) was very poor six years ago: NIB-and-straight-to-the-gunsmith was pretty mandatory, and pricewise they could not begin to compete with Armscor. Recent --and marked-- improvements to their pistols' quality notwithstanding, their new products seem to be almost entirely shipped out to the US, so it's unlikely their reputation in the Philippines will improve.

I would presume SAM frames and widgets are indeed investment cast.
Supposedly, the dealbreaker with investment casting is really the metal blend and how long (and hot) the metal is heated in the mold. Armscor has finally, apparently gotten it right, just like Ruger did.

Perhaps SAM hasn't yet gotten to the same level of confidence to make their slides thereby, as it would shave a lot off of the manufacturing cost without great practical sacrifice in durability.

Tropical Z
January 10, 2004, 01:27 PM
Thanx horge!
Youve been very helpful.I have a SAM "combat grade" 5" and its been very nice from the start.The only SAM quality i dont like was its plastic grips that came from the factory.Too rough.I like the fact that the slide is machined from a solid billet.

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