Help me choose entry level 1911


August 2, 2012, 08:50 AM
I saw these on Bud's:

ATI Firepower Xtreme .45ACP caliber 1911 $389 Delivered
Rock Island Armory Officers 1911 45acp $402 Delivered

My 1911 experience is limited to familiarization with GI models while enlisted in the army.

Please tell me the pros and cons of these two options.

I am open to input on comparable alternatives.

My usage would be for carry and related range time for familiarity. Not concerned with tricking it out or squeezing out every drop of competition level accuracy.


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August 2, 2012, 10:15 AM
I'm not real familiar with ATI at all but do own a couple of RIA/Armscor guns. My 1911 CS (compact) is excellent and now my daily carry gun. Armscor Precision in Nevada is the best customer service I ever dealt with period.

I bought a used MAPP1 MS 9mm and owned it about a year. It developed a problem with loading more than 5 rounds. I called on their warranty (yes it is on the gun not the owner). Explained the problem on the phone, got a box to return it and sent it in. They replace the gun period without a problem and I was back to shooting in one week with it.

I have heard somewhere that ATI used to be made by Armscor as well as serviced by Armscor Precision but don't know if that is true. I would also check out the prices on them at Centerfire Systems as both are here in the Lexington Area. I got my 1911 from Centerfire at the counter.

Mauser lover
August 2, 2012, 10:31 AM
As far as I know, they are both owned by Armscor, so they are basically the same quality, but I have heard that the finish is better on the ATI 1911s. Never actually held one, but that is what I have heard.

An Armscor is on my (short) list. I know a person that carries one (Rock Island), and he really likes it.

August 2, 2012, 10:33 AM
Well, first pick a size. The ATI is gonna be a commander length (4.25"), and the RIA is an officers (3.5").

Commander length 1911's have a full size frame (the grip is going to be the same as a 5"), while the officer's is smaller, and nicer for CC.

Officer's sized 1911's can be finicky, but RIA has a great customer service department, and if it is finnicky, they'll make it work.

I've also heard great things about the ATI's, and their customer service, too.

August 2, 2012, 10:56 AM
I went through this whole thought process recently.

First I picked the size I wanted, like smalls said. To me the commander length not only feels right but looks "proper" to my eye.

Then I thought about what features I wanted, or rather didn't want. That boiled it down to a few manufacturers.

In the end I picked the Colt Commander O4691 model. Seemed most appropriate for a first 1911.

August 2, 2012, 11:11 AM
ATI is not made by Armscor (Rock Island Armory), although they are another Philippine company (S.A.M.).

I have two RIA 1911's. The .45 is five years old and has been a very reliable range gun. The 9mm officer is a recent purchase (used) and has been a problem child. The upside is Armscor stands by their product and CS has been first class. I'm sure they will get things sorted out.

Just an aside... I don't carry, but if I did, I would ask my gunsmith to do a reliability job on any gun that I carried. JMHO.

Here is another place to shop for Rock Island Armory ...

August 2, 2012, 11:47 AM
Without being an expert on RIA or ATI 1911s... For an all around 1911? I'd go with the commander sized ATI. The smaller RIA will definitely be easier to carry though.

August 2, 2012, 04:58 PM
I'm torn

For me the Commander length gun would be the obvious recommendation...just based on function, but...

I have a lot of respect for RIA quality from shooting one during a class and from talking to a rep at their booth at SHOT...he is a member here...but my personal rule to to never recommend am Officer size 1911 to folks who don't have a lot of experience with the 1911 platform (and usually some armorer skills) who are thinking about carrying it for serious purposes

August 2, 2012, 05:26 PM
The 5" 1911 will be your most reliable as well as powerful.

Buck Nekkid
August 2, 2012, 09:45 PM
You might also throw the American Classic Commander into the mix. Another Philippine manufactured pistol. It's just awesome! I've got their American Classic II, full size, and their Amigo, officer's size.

oh and the price is right!!


August 3, 2012, 12:25 AM
I am kinda new to 1911s even though I was issued one 40 years ago in the military, got one Para GI expert and am looking at the Springfield Armory GI stainless, about $515. guess I'll start collecting and these 2 might be a good start. would love to have a Colt Commander in the next year, saving my pennies.

August 3, 2012, 12:50 AM
Check out the STI Spartan for a little bit more money. Very good gun.

August 3, 2012, 01:12 AM
your lower end STIs are also made in the Phillipines nowadays, only the higher end are made in Texas

Mauser lover
August 3, 2012, 02:15 AM
Oops, I mixed up STI and ATI... STI (the Spartan) is made by Armscor, RIA is owned by Armscor. ATI is not an Armscor company.

Did I get it right this time?

August 3, 2012, 02:25 AM
Those Norinco 45's are not too bad if you can find one.

August 3, 2012, 06:01 AM
ATI. Better fit and finish. Impressive actually for a value 1911.

August 3, 2012, 06:54 AM
I have 4 rocks a gi 2 tacs fs and a citadel all are fine weapons and coustmer svc at the super secret location(inside joke for rock owners) is outstanding!!!
The citadel is a officers model good balnce nice size
and not heavy. Poa and poi is good. It has all the goodies beaver tail 8rd mags and runs like a scalded dog. All are in my edc rotation just my thoughts hope this help

August 3, 2012, 10:15 PM
I have 2 RIAs. A government and a Tactical. Love them both. Got rid of the compact. $449 OTD for the tactical, the Government was used and cast $320

I also have an American Classic Commander. Finish is amazing. Absolutely LOVE IT. It was a choice betrwwn the AC and the ATI. The AC won. The finish was better and it had the features I was looking for (beavertail, sights, etc). $425 OTD

August 3, 2012, 11:17 PM
Take a close look at the ria standard gi mil spec or (even better ) their tactical model, in the 5"configuration. I would rather have a standard 1911than the officers model at this budget. Stick with the tried-and-true. :cool:

August 4, 2012, 12:22 AM
I have owned the government, commander, and officer's variations of the 1911.

The only one I trust for daily carry is the full-sized government 1911.

Hard to carry? Yes.

Best to have if you actually have to use it? Yes.

With that said, I usually carry a S&W 642 with 2 reloads....

August 4, 2012, 12:44 AM
not sure if you set on those two models or not but you may want to check out Regent Arms. heard nothing but good things about them , great starter 1911, great fit and finish and I beleave there US made ,I konw there out of Fort Smith AR but like so many others they may job things out of country,
I own a S&W 1911 and love it $650.00 for the gun and $500 for the name lol:)

August 4, 2012, 01:05 AM
If you don't know the difference in the two models (and there is nothing wrong with not knowing and trying to learn, god knows I know far less than I think I do) how can you be certain these are the best two pistols for your intended use?

I would take a step back and ask what you desire from this pistol. Is it a given size, ease of carry, capacity, caliber, reliability record, looks, name image, blued vs stainless, polymer vs steel vs alloy, light weight or not, only 1911 based or not, etc. You have to place value (or lack their of) on these and other qualities first and let them be known more than simply "for carry". Once you have answers to those questions it will be easier to find a pistol that fits your wants/needs. Otherwise it's everyone picking their favorite pistol regardless to how it fits your criteria.

August 4, 2012, 03:19 AM
your lower end STIs are made in the Phillipines, nowadays

The STI Spartan is made by Armscor, but to STI specs. And I believe STI employees went to get them set up. they are also QC checked when they arrive here. All other STI's are built here in the US, with the exception of their SA/DA's, which I believe are made in Croatia.

Nevertheless, the STI Spartan is probably the best bang for your buck for under $800. The slide to frame fit and barrel lock up is leaps above any Rock Island I've ever held. Not that the RIA's are bad, but the Spartan is nicer. The Spartan also has a match barrel.

But, he didn't ask about the Spartan, so it really depends on what his budget is, and what options he wants on his gun. And also, why does it matter that it's made in the Phillipine's?

Browns Fan
August 4, 2012, 10:39 AM
I agree with tuj. If I was in the market for an entry level 1911, I'd get an STI Spartan.

August 4, 2012, 11:51 AM
Never had a chance to mess with an ATI- hickock45 on youtube did a few videos on one and had nothing outstanding or terrible to say about it if I remember correctly. I do own a rock, a citadel, and an ACII and have had great luck with all of them. I did have to send the citadel's barrel in for factory repair- cost me 2 bucks to ship and 1 week to get it back- but it shot fine with most factory ammo before the repair- it just wasn't very lead friendly.

August 4, 2012, 12:10 PM
Almost any of the Philippine imports will be of equal quality.

I handled a Metro Arms 1911 the other day, was very tight, felt good, and had a really great fit and finish. Finish was as good the ATI's and better than the Rock's. I believe it was on par with the Citadels, but it's been quite some time since I had one of those in my hands.

I'd get the ATI over the Rock just based on the finish quality alone.

August 6, 2012, 11:54 PM
There's a Llama Max for sale locally. I couldn't find a lot of info on the net but what I did find seemed to be favorable. Anyone here have any first-hand experience?

Texan Scott
August 7, 2012, 12:25 AM
Watch out... they spit. Seriously, never handled a Llama pistol that didn't rattle a bit when shaken, clackety-clack-snap slapped together rattle trap pap. They feed ball ammo reliably, and push bullets in the forward direction.

August 7, 2012, 08:30 AM
Hmm doesnt sound too promising there. Maybe we will try to find one of the others in this thread.

August 7, 2012, 08:35 AM
these are 3 of 4 of my rocks all on edc rotation

August 7, 2012, 09:03 AM
Sorry, edc?

August 7, 2012, 09:27 AM
i recently purchased a Arcus 9MM for 300.00
five inch barell,extremly nice for the money. 15 round mag. very accurate and so far reliable.i got mine at this pistol is made in Bulgaria.these guns are being issued to the Iraqi military and police.i am very pleased for the money verus what i far best bang for buck i have is built on the FN Browning High Power design.

August 7, 2012, 09:29 AM
Sorry, edc?

Every day carry

August 7, 2012, 11:18 AM
Another vote for the STI Spartan. It's not just the fit of the parts that is better but the parts themselves. All internals are STI and all build parameters were specified by STI. Priced around $630 with good sights and warranted by STI.

August 7, 2012, 11:20 AM
Ria does parts parts for sti also

August 7, 2012, 12:02 PM
Armscor fits and assembles them with STI's thumb safety, grip safety, hammer, sear, disconnector and trigger. I cannot verify the source of the Spartan's match barrel and bushing but the STI parts are not the same as those found in the RIA or any other foreign made clone. Have a look yourself:

August 7, 2012, 12:25 PM
Sorry thats what i ment

August 7, 2012, 02:15 PM
I have a Rock Island 1911. I love it. It is extremely accurate, and takes any kind of .45 ACP round I have used--fmj. jhp, etc, very reliable, over 1000 rounds fired, only one failure to eject properly.

August 7, 2012, 05:47 PM
Rock Island Armory makes a great 1911, whether entry level or not. If you want a rail get the 'tactical'. If not the compact model is fine for carry. Make sure it has dovetailed sights if you want to upgrade to night sights.

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