Rock Island Armory 1911


May 20, 2011, 03:41 PM
I am seriously considering purchasing a RIA Hi-Cap 1911 after talking to a bunch of guys and handling a few. To me it really seems like a quality firearm and I've heard nothing but good about them. I am impressed with the fit and finish and they really seem solid. What are your thoughts on the RIA 1911s? More specifically, I would really like to hear from owners of the High Capacity Rock Island models. I always love the diverse opinions that I see on here and look forward to hearing your thoughts. I am ready to press the "order button" so let's hear it. Thanks in advance for any assistance.

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May 20, 2011, 08:32 PM
My Rock Island is flawless with nearly a thousand rounds down the pipe. A great buy (compact version)

May 20, 2011, 08:42 PM
I've got one of the standard GI models, and it's excellent. Haven't had any experience with the high-cap versions though, but you can check out my video review on my show (see sig line).

May 20, 2011, 09:55 PM
Over 13,000 rounds through my oldest RIA. About 10,000 of it was Wolf ball (the good old days when it was ~$110/1000) so if Wolf is hard on guns the RIA is robust!

The high cap models are going to be dependent on finding good Para Ordnance mags. The Mec-Gars and ACT mags have worked well for me if you are willing to give up a round in capacity.

I've the Armscor labeled versions of the RIA widebody 1911s in 9mm, .40S&W and .45ACP. They work well once you get good mags. 0ver 12000 rounds (mostly Blazer aluminum back when it was $89/1000) through the 9mm.

May 20, 2011, 10:31 PM
The RIA compact tactical is the newest piece in my house. I've only got 85 rounds down the tube. (only had it a week, and been working 55-60 hrs.) I am quite happy with it. Some of the fit and finish isn't quite as nice as my springfield, but it's an awfully nice piece nonetheless. Hope to get more trigger time this weekend as long as it doesn't rain.

I would certainly say it's worth the price.

May 21, 2011, 11:12 AM
Thanks for the input, guys. When I first became interested in pistols, I read a few dodgy things about RIA and was instantly turned away from their product. It's amazing how the complainers always seem to have so much influence. Nonetheless, I read a lot of threads on here after handling a bunch of them and was pleasantly surprised with all of the positive comments that I found. From everything I've gathered, this is one of the best deals out there for the money. I'm looking forward to getting it.

Wally, I got some Para mags to go with it.

Question: Where can I find the best prices on grips/accessories? The only thing that I'd like to swap out on my 1911 are the grips. I'm really liking the hogue grips for the 1911s, but doubt they are available for the hi-cap versions. If they are available, do let me know. Any info would be awesome.

May 21, 2011, 11:49 AM
adam I have been able to find everything I need at Brownells - No issues with service or delivery on 2 different occassions. great selection of 1911 parts.

May 21, 2011, 12:29 PM
All of the "hi-cap" 1911s I've seen have been junk. Rock Island makes a great 1911, but their "hi-caps" are no different, from what I've seen. Stick with the original design

May 21, 2011, 05:32 PM
All of the "hi-cap" 1911s I've seen have been junk. Rock Island makes a great 1911, but their "hi-caps" are no different, from what I've seen. Stick with the original design
... junk in what way?... junk as in made with junky material?... junk as in FTFs/FTEs? I can't imagine why it would be so difficult to get a double-stack configuration to function as well as a single-stack.

May 21, 2011, 06:12 PM
All the hi-cap 1911s that use Para mag tubes have the same problem -- the mags have rather short spring life and are prone to miss-feeds after a little dirt/fouling gets into the body.

Your happiness will be utterly dependent on your luck with the magazines. Perhaps you can't imagine why, but it seems it is, the reliable "double stack" .45ACP pistols stop at 12 or 13 rounds (HK, Taurus, Springfield XD etc.), or have a much longer grip and a mag that protrudes -- the FNP-45 for example. They don't try to be 1911s either.

Houge makes a wrap around finger groove grip for the Para P-14, I've these on my 9mm and .40S&W Armscor 1911-A2 widebodies.

May 22, 2011, 12:06 AM
... junk in what way?... junk as in made with junky material?... junk as in FTFs/FTEs? I can't imagine why it would be so difficult to get a double-stack configuration to function as well as a single-stack.

Junk as in quirky, unreliable, etc. I've had friends buy various brands (Para, Rock Island, Springfield, etc) of "hi-cap" 1911s, and they were all the same. Not a single one of them still have them any longer. They either sold or traded them off for standard capacity 1911s and couldn't be happier. I don't recommend them to anyone

The Lone Haranguer
May 22, 2011, 08:59 AM
I am in agreement with the others that the magazines are going to be your weak link in the chain. Your choices are limited and quality is variable. In general, it is asking a lot of any magazine spring to push up the heavy cartridges in time.

May 22, 2011, 09:20 AM
Well, I've been warned about other purchases, went against the advice, and ended up being very happy. If I get the pistol and dislike it, it won't be the first firearm that I bought and sold because I was unhappy. I have yet to lose money on any of these endeavors and if I do, it'll be worth it in terms of experience. If I never try one out, I'll forever be wondering. There is always the option of getting aftermarket magazine springs. As far as functionality, I can only figure that the mag. spring has to be the main issue in terms of FTFs. I'll let you guys know the results of my purchase.

May 22, 2011, 10:30 AM
In general, it is asking a lot of any magazine spring to push up the heavy cartridges in time

That and the extreme side by side stack of the Para mag tubes to cram 14 rounds in without extending the 1911 grip length. It greatly increases the friction on the sides of the mag thus making them more sensitive to dirt/fouling.

The 9mm and .40 S&W versions are much less problematic here because the rounds slide along a couple of crimps in the tube leaving lots of room to push crude aside. Unfortunately the shorter rounds in the longer mag can cause other issues with the rounds not being in proper feed position generally giving nose down jams. Tweaking the feed lips in a bit at the front has so far worked for me. This is the opposite of single stack 1911 adjustments -- open the lips if feeding low, close them if feeding high. This is because you are using the 9mm & .40S&W case taper to hit the narrower lips and rotate the nose up a bit to solve the problem.

The Wolf extra power "custom fit" Para springs are what you will need.

May 22, 2011, 11:21 AM
Go over to and look at the auctions, they can not give any Armscor guns away (Armscor = RIA, Charles Daly, etc). On the other hand US made 1911's are bid through the roof! You really do get what you pay for, and a self defense weapon is not the place to settle for third or fourth class.:fire:


May 22, 2011, 11:59 AM
Aminyard, I went to GB a few days ago and saw one used RIA out of the 80 or so .45 ACPs listed. Nearly all of them were new. I am guessing that the dealers are having trouble selling them because they are trying to make a profit when there's not really a market for that profit. I mean, why in the world would I buy a RIA on GB for $470.00 + S&H when I can get it for $440.00 with free S&H from a online site that I trust?

As for sellers not being able to give them away (I've already sort of addressed that), I would have to say that you sound misinformed. Have you ever owned one? Out of 40-50 comments that I read (from RIA owners) regarding RIA's standard 1911s, I would honestly say that I might see one negative comment. Now, the high-cap models (from any manufacturer) seem to be a different story. I am reading/hearing mixed reviews. On other forums, I am hearing a lot more positives about the hi-cap 1911s.... on here, not so much. I really do have reservations regarding ANY hi-cap 1911, but would not hesitate to carry and depend on Rock Island's standard 1911.

May 22, 2011, 01:54 PM
Adam123 - you're on the right track. Only listen to the opinions of those who've owned them, shot them, etc. A while back I proposed that if you've never held one or even seen one, you shouldn't get an opinion on them. Tons of "I heard they were crap..." opinions, but I see as many complaints about Kimber, Springfield, etc. My opinion - for the price point of the gun, which was around $450, I am very pleased with mine. I do not expect it to match an Ed Brown custom that costs north of $2000. Yet I find it remarkable that a gun for $450 is accurate, feeds anything, has great sights and a great trigger.

May 22, 2011, 05:25 PM
I have a RIA Match .45 and love it. Great gun for the $$$. Mine is very picky about magazines, mine seems to only like the ACT mags. So don't buy a bunch of mags until you are sure the gun will work with them. I tried C-Prod mags, Chip McCormic, and another brand I don't remember. The slide locked back on the second shot and almost every shot after that. The ACT ones work properly.

Sometime this summer, I am trying to meet up with some 1911 shooters who have some very high $ Ed Browns and such. Will be interesting to see how mine shoots compared to some high dollar guns.

May 22, 2011, 05:30 PM
Thanks Liberty. I try to be as objective and open-minded as possible when looking at these things. Wanting to hear from actual owners only makes sense.

Speaking of which, are there any RIA HI-CAP owners that could weight in on this? I would love to hear from actual owners.

Also, I just ordered some Wolff springs. I am going to try a bunch of mags with the stock springs before I jump on the Wolff bandwagon.

Fred, did you get the RIA Match with the 5" or 6" barrel? I've been looking long and hard at the 6" Match.

harmon rabb
May 22, 2011, 05:42 PM
just have a regular ria tactical, but it's a good gun. has never had a failure, no matter what cheap mag i use, no matter what ammo i use.

May 22, 2011, 08:25 PM
I just bought an RIA tactical and have run only about 100 rounds through it, so I'm not claiming any profound knowledge. But it has been flawless and it shoots nicely. I researched the brand heavily before I bought and the comments from owners were overwhelmingly positive.

Aminyard needs to provide some evidence because that post reads like empty, opinionated rhetoric without it.

May 22, 2011, 08:46 PM
Huh, learn something new every day. I was thinking my 8+1 was a high cap 1911. After reading this thread, I see that it is a 14+1 wide body gun. Interesting. I would be a bit hesitant about buying one. Defiantly see how the people that own one like them.

Please excuse my ignorance. :)

My gun has the 5" barrel Adam.

May 22, 2011, 10:29 PM
My RIA compact version runs like a sewing machine and as far as high cap mags. Well I keep a second standard clip in my pocket and have only needed it at the range, hope it stays that way.

May 22, 2011, 11:52 PM
I own a full size and compact RIA 1911 and both run like champs. Don't listen to any gun snobs they feed Full metal jacket, hollow point and even semi wad cutter reloads. I have put 1000's of rounds through each without issue and I would not hesitate to purchase another. I am interested in finding out where you are going to get your double stack RIA from. I was looking for them a little while back and couldn't find any in stock.

May 23, 2011, 05:52 AM
Try here..........

May 23, 2011, 09:01 AM
I had an RIA that I ran about 1800 rds through. Ran great after about a 200rd break in. No malfunctions after that and accurate enough for USPSA.

Purple Rice
May 23, 2011, 09:21 AM
RIA 's are a great value for the money. I own five of them (GI, Tactical, Match, Compact, and Mid-sized). I don't own a hi-cap version (never saw a need for a hi-cap 1911). All of my Rocks are great shooters. I had a problem with my Mid-sized 4" Rock Island a while back (broken reverse plug), but their customer service took care of it within a week at no cost to me. They have great CS. Good luck with yours!

May 23, 2011, 12:39 PM
I just finshed repairing a friends Charles Daly, and it was a piece of junk. The trigger, sear, firing pin, and hammer all needed replacement with quality parts.
The frame was very poorly fitted to the slide and when I went to correct the fit by closing the rails on the slide the metal was like putty. Once again, you get what you pay for.

May 23, 2011, 02:35 PM
I have 3 RIAs...2 GI and one compact. Have about 3500 rounds though all three total. No hiccups, no FTF, FTE, or any other issues. pretty good for out of the box non-American made firearms, I would say. Not to mention their customer service is A+.

May 23, 2011, 04:46 PM
I should also note that I once owned a Para Warthog (sub compact double stack) that was absolute trash. Fit of the parts wasn't all that great, it was EXTREMELY unreliable, and wasn't very accurate (in my hands). Horrible experience for a gun so expensive

I will never own another 1911 that isn't a 5" single stack model because of that (and two other unreliable sub compact 1911s)

May 24, 2011, 12:03 PM
I owned an alloy Para-P13, I carried it for a year or so, went back to my Glock. The Para never had any problems from day 1. I kept 13+1 in it at all times and it fired everything I ran through it, accurate, and a generally nice gun. It was very lightweight for such a Hi-cap weapon. I had 6 mags for it and none ever gave me a problem. This gun was traded after 10 years of sitting in the safe, as I found smaller Glocks to be better for my needs.
The RI tactical is a great gun for the money, I just had a Duracoated version in my hands, "my gunstore", and the owner is a competive shooter who carries a 45 from the S&W performance shop, other than the grips, I would carry one without hesitation.
He also agrees that he wants one now for himself, so I don't see any problem with the pistols other than a possible mag upgrade.

May 24, 2011, 03:03 PM
Anyone have the RIA .38 Super?

May 24, 2011, 09:22 PM
Hey guys, thanks for all of the feedback. I really appreciate it. If any other Para/RIA hi-cap owners would like to leave a comment, you are more than welcome. Here's the RIA that I am going to buy:

I am also strongly considering making another purchase on this one:

... but I am a bit apprehensive about the Nickel. From reading and talking to people, nickel finished pistols sound like a massive pain in the ass. Are they really *that* bad?


May 25, 2011, 05:42 AM
I have this one.........

and so far, no problem........

May 25, 2011, 06:31 PM
... last call for Rock Island Armory High-Capacity owners. If you own one, please post your thoughts.

May 26, 2011, 03:29 AM
I have 3 RIA's - one 38 super in nickel, one .45 hi-cap matte that I believe is 1911A2, and one .45 1911A1 Commander length. All have been fun range guns.

The 38 super had FTF's during the first 300 rounds but now seems to be broken in. It is deadly accurate. The hi-cap that is of interest to you is not broken in yet but has been accurate and reliable after about 200 rounds. The Commander I rarely use since I have a bunch of other 1911's.

To the OP, I say go for it. I've even considered using the RIA hi-cap as a home defense gun or car gun but I will not likely carry an RIA. The Dan Wesson is hard to replace from that position.

May 26, 2011, 09:08 AM
Docnyt, thanks for the reply. I really appreciate it. The RIA hi-cap will be exactly what you suggested - a car and home defense pistol. As for carry, I really don't carry. I am a RN and don't really need it for the job.... I hope. For the most part, I only go to work, the gym, and grocery shopping. If I were to carry (I do have a CC license), it would probably be when walking through the woods and I am not really concerned with weight or concealability when doing that. Nonetheless, if I ever decide that I do need to carry concealed, I'll be a standard 1911 (something I have yet to purchase). They are surprisingly slim when compared to nearly all other auto-loading pistols and that's why I'd go with a 1911 for CC.

May 27, 2011, 05:50 AM
A Commander length 1911 is hard to beat for CCW. There's something about a .45 1911 that's comforting to carry.

May 27, 2011, 08:01 AM
i own 3 rocks a gi a 4in and a tac all are great shooters as for a hi cap go to 1911 forum and look for automag he has 3or 4 of them and from what he says they are good pistols.
I trust his knowledge i think last count he owns well over 100+ 1911s and is a collector as well i hope this helps

May 27, 2011, 01:10 PM
Despite the "we love philippino junk, and hate America"sentimant on this forum, the RIs are pure junk, lousy metallugy, lousy fit and finish, terrible triggers, bad hammers, etc. I have had the displeasure of trying to make decent guns out of several (for my friends) and I invariably have to replace: hammer, sear, trigger, disconnector, and safety. For what they paid to salvage their Philappino junk they could have bought a good pistol to start with.:fire:

Old Shooter
May 27, 2011, 01:21 PM
^ I guess I must have gotten the good one then..... :)

May 27, 2011, 02:12 PM
^ That can't be, Old Shooter! /I/ got the good one. :D

May 27, 2011, 03:38 PM

May 27, 2011, 03:51 PM
Despite the "we love philippino junk, and hate America"sentimant on this forum, the RIs are pure junk, lousy metallugy, lousy fit and finish, terrible triggers, bad hammers, etc. I have had the displeasure of trying to make decent guns out of several (for my friends) and I invariably have to replace: hammer, sear, trigger, disconnector, and safety. For what they paid to salvage their Philappino junk they could have bought a good pistol to start with.:fire:
Aminyard, I really appreciate your continual passion within this thread. It's great to have your unbiased and honest opinion. I don't think anyone said they hated Americans... even though you utilized quotes. On the contrary, If I were forced to guess the person in this thread that hated a particular country/race, I would have to say that it is you who sounds like you hate Filipinos. Of course I joke, but it is meant to bring out the stupidity of your point. Despite your eloquent RIA hatred, I am looking forward to getting my 1911.

Nonetheless, I have been talking to countless others about their RIAs (on top of perusing 20+ forums and reading hundreds of threads regarding RIA 1911s) and have found a scant amount of dissatisfied customers. Furthermore, I have called 30+ online dealers (centerfire, jgsales, etc) and they all have said that they rarely receive complaints about RIAs. As I stated before, I am shocked (in a good way) at the ratio of satisfied/dissatisfied RIA owners.

Thanks all for your input, guys.

gun addict
May 27, 2011, 05:23 PM
another +1 to rock island 1911s, never had a single problem with my GI model and the thing eats everything i feeds it

do a comparison, there are FAR more complaints on non-functional American made Kimbers than there are of the Rock Islands........hmm

June 30, 2011, 10:53 AM
I can speak from experience. In regards to 1911's, I own 5 Kimbers, 2 Colts, a Coonan 357mag, Ruger, Desert Eagle, Para USA, Charles Daly, and my least expensive 1911 is my basic RIA. I bought the Rock Island to do the majority of my shooting to save the wear and tear on my other 1911's. And I'm REALLY impressed. After a whole lot of shooting with it, mostly with cheap Winchester White Box specials from Walmart, it has been a champ! Does it surpass my other 1911's in terms of performance? No. Does it perform as well as my other 1911's? Absolutely. Don't get me wrong, it's not a Kimber or a Colt, but if you want an inexpensive 1911 that reliably gets the job done go with the RIA 1911. I've been pleasantly surprised with its solid handling and performance. I didn't expect to get this type of quality based on the price I paid.

June 30, 2011, 06:57 PM
How much wider is the double-stack to a single stack?

June 30, 2011, 07:33 PM
I've got both the single stack and high-cap models of RIA's 1911, and haven't had a single burp from either. Almost any mil spec will run flawlessly if you use the ammo that it's designed for... 230 Gr ball. When you start feeding them "other stuff", you start changing feed angles, etc. and you get jams. My RIA's are practically boring to shoot they run so well... and I've never seen anybody shot with a 230 grain bullet complain that it wasn't strong enough to stop them.. Oh, I know... the "reloaders" and "hot ammo" crowd will instantly disagree, but like any other machine, if you use what it's designed for, it will work. When you change the formula, you get different results. Both of mine have been running smoothe for over 5 years with no problems... so something's working...


August 27, 2011, 11:09 AM
I spent considerable tome in the Philippines as a US Navy repair coordinater. I have personal experience with the standards of metallurgy and manufacturing in use there. The things that they manufacture are pure junk. I once had to outsource a pump shaft, It took what was considered the best machine shop in the country three tries just to get a shaft that would fit in the pump casing!! The shop could not understand why I kept rejecting their work, after all, they "looked like" pump shafts. That is only one example of my experience with Philippino "engineering".

Good luck and BUY AMERICAN!

August 27, 2011, 12:26 PM
My snobbery got the best of me and i traded for a stainless SA.

But there is nothing wrong with the RIA.

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