Help picking an Armscor officer's size 1911 for CCW


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BullyFan07
September 20, 2012, 02:29 PM
Hello. I've been lurking around here for quite some time, but I just became a member today. This is my first time posting to this forum, and I need some help. I know there are some very knowledgeable members on this forum, so I'm really looking forward to all of your responses.

I'm looking to purchase an officer's size 1911 for use as my new primary carry weapon. I already own a full size 1911 and love the platform and the .45 ACP round. I've done quite a bit of research on the officer's size 1911s and have seriously considered my available funds. That being said, I've narrowed it down to one of the compact 1911s offered by Armscor (STI Spartan III / RIA Compact Tactical / Citadel Compact). Now, I just need to decide which one to go with.

I noticed that gutterman has a thread going right now with similar content, but I'm new around here and didn't want to step on anyone's toes by making it look like I was hijacking the thread. So, I decided to start my own thread. Hope that's okay.

My question: Does anyone have personal experience with any/all of these models? Recommendations? It's my understanding that they all pretty much come from the same mold, but then they get differing levels of quality control and slightly different internals, depending on the rollmark on the slide. If I'm wrong on this, please let me know because I want to make an informed decision when I finally get ready to move on one of these.

Thanks.

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Panzercat
September 20, 2012, 03:09 PM
Wish I could help. Only have XP with the GI model. About all I can offer is that it was a fine pistol, but watch the factory mags. If you get stove pipes and crap, grab some new, quality mags. I'll be getting a r200 stainless sometime this year :D

bigfatdave
September 20, 2012, 06:09 PM
I have the Citadel and a gun built on a CStac frame

get whichever one you like the looks of more or the one you can find easily

for what it is worth, the citadel CIT45CSP comes with an extra magazine compared to the RIA

joecil
September 20, 2012, 07:23 PM
I carry a RIA/Armscor 1911 CS personally with thousands of all kind of rounds through it too. It has been an excellent carry gun for me but is a 3.5" bull type barrel which will require a bent paper clip to field strip and though it will use full size magazines for CCW I highly suggest the 6 or 7 round magazines that fit it. I have been very happy with mine and Armscor Precision in NV is excellent for CS if a problem arises.

trickyasafox
September 20, 2012, 07:44 PM
I have a Citadel CS and it has been very good to me. I also have an RIA but it is a full size tac. Either the RIA or CS will suite you fine. I know nothing of the Spartan.

Drail
September 20, 2012, 10:16 PM
A Commander sized 1911 is just as easy to CCW and won't be as ammo sensitive as a 3 in. gun. And better magazines are more available.

BullyFan07
September 20, 2012, 10:17 PM
I have the Citadel and a gun built on a CStac frame

get whichever one you like the looks of more or the one you can find easily

for what it is worth, the citadel CIT45CSP comes with an extra magazine compared to the RIA
I noticed that the Citadel comes with an extra mag... interesting. It looked to me, and it sounds like the consensus here so far that either model would be great. Good to hear.

BullyFan07
September 20, 2012, 10:25 PM
I have a Citadel CS and it has been very good to me. I also have an RIA but it is a full size tac. Either the RIA or CS will suite you fine. I know nothing of the Spartan.
I have been finding very little info about the Spartan III. It seems like there must not be too many owners of that model yet... or they're just very quiet people. :D I found some stuff on the commander length and full size Spartans that was very positive, so I guess I could probably assume the the 3" model would be just as good -- then again, maybe I should keep researching. I hate the unknown when I make a purchase like this.

BullyFan07
September 20, 2012, 10:39 PM
A Commander sized 1911 is just as easy to CCW and won't be as ammo sensitive as a 3 in. gun. And better magazines are more available.
Thanks for the suggestion. I did consider the commander, but for this next one, I'm really looking for the shorter grip length of the officer's size frame. For me, the slide length doesn't bother me as much as the grip length for concealment. I would like to add a commander to my collection at some point, if for no other reason besides the fact that I think the esthetics are awesome with the slightly shorter slide -- makes for great visual balance. Oh my, listen to me! The 1911 is quickly becoming an addiction! :eek:

Kendahl
September 21, 2012, 12:39 AM
Before buying, you might want to go over to thetruthaboutguns.com and search for "pincus compact". You will find a short video by instructor Rob Pincus in which he states that no sub-compact 1911 .45 has gotten through a full day's training without malfunctions. He didn't have anything to say about larger 1911 .45s or about 1911s in other calibers. I remember reading that he recommends striker fired 9 mm pistols without extra safety features.

In your shoes, I would talk to as many sub-compact owners as possible to find out what works reliably (both gun and ammunition) and, if they didn't work initially, what it took to make them work. Also, shoot every one you can get your hands on to see if they work for you.

Personally, I love my 30 year old Gold Cup. The grip and thumb safeties have never given me a problem and the trigger is wonderful. The only ammunition it couldn't handle initially was semi-wadcutters and a good gunsmith fixed that. Since then, it has been 100% reliable.

ljnowell
September 21, 2012, 12:53 AM
I have the RIA CS 3.5". Its a great gun. Have a lot of rounds through it, its dead reliable and accurate.

Panzercat
September 21, 2012, 01:08 AM
Lost all respect for thetruthaboutguns when he went off on his criminally negligent and clearly uninformed 1911 tantrum. That Spartan does look nice however. "Spartan iii sti review" in google nets a little bit more info, but not much.

kyletx1911
September 21, 2012, 02:34 AM
One or the other dont matter i have owned both both are good guns i just dont like the bbl

BullyFan07
September 21, 2012, 08:46 AM
...no sub-compact 1911 .45 has gotten through a full day's training without malfunctions.... he recommends striker fired 9 mm pistols without extra safety features.

In your shoes, I would talk to as many sub-compact owners as possible to find out what works reliably (both gun and ammunition) and, if they didn't work initially, what it took to make them work....

I know that the sub-compact 1911s probably won't be perfect (honestly though, what gun is?). I have heard many times that the closer you get to the 3" length, the more problems generally occur. That's the main reason why I'm only considering the 3 1/2" length -- it seems to be as close to a sweet spot as you can get with a sub-compact 1911. And, I'm prepared to make minor tweaks (or have a gunsmith do it for me) to optimize its performance. I also plan to thoroughly wring the gun out at the range (500-1000 rounds) before I start carrying it.

I have a friend that has an M&P 9c and I have shot it on occasion. I have to say that that is one sweet weapon! I shot it very well, and that's why I had initially planned to buy one for carry. However, like I said in on of my earlier posts, I have really fallen in love with the 1911 platform (even with its imperfections) and have decided that consistency across my guns (with respect to manual of arms) and the slim single stack grip is worth the other small compromises that I may be making (weight, etc.).

Thanks for the recommendation of reading the article on thetruthaboutguns. I hadn't seen that one yet, so I'll be sure to read it. I have read several articles on thetruthaboutguns in the past and generally really like their style. I also try to take what any one source has to say as being just another piece in the puzzle when I'm trying to get the complete picture about something I'm researching. I'm a member at a couple other forums and have talked to quite a few owners of various sub-compact 1911s (ATI, American Classic, Kimber, RIA, etc.) in an attempt to find out as much info as possible about this style of 1911 before I take the leap and buy one.

The bottom line is that, even knowing that I may have some minor (or even major problems) with a sub-compact 1911, I think I'm going to give it a whirl and see if I get a good one. If it becomes too big of a PITA, then I'll just sell it and try something else.

Thanks again for the words of advice.

springer99
September 21, 2012, 09:25 AM
Have a RIA CS for about 6 months now, with well over 500 rounds of mixed ammo through it without ANY malfunctions. It's one of the versions with the new "roll-mark" on it, so I can't speak to the earlier versions. It's accurate, functions flawlessly with ball, LSWC and Hornady XTP's. I did choose to use 7rd, CMC magazines, instead of the supplied one, since the flush magazine hides a bit better in my IWB. I like it so much that it was worth adding CT laser grips, which makes it(for me) the ticket for day or night.

BullyFan07
September 21, 2012, 10:05 AM
Have a RIA CS for about 6 months now, with well over 500 rounds of mixed ammo through it without ANY malfunctions. It's one of the versions with the new "roll-mark" on it, so I can't speak to the earlier versions. It's accurate, functions flawlessly with ball, LSWC and Hornady XTP's. I did choose to use 7rd, CMC magazines, instead of the supplied one, since the flush magazine hides a bit better in my IWB. I like it so much that it was worth adding CT laser grips, which makes it(for me) the ticket for day or night.
Sounds like you have a great set-up. I love the fact that there are so many good mags on the market to pick from. Makes it pretty easy to try out a different mag as a possible quick fix if you ever experience feed issues. That's yet another reason I've fallen in love with the 1911 in general. It can be so readily modified to fit a shooter's individual needs. It's reassuring to know that even if the factory configuration doesn't quite float my boat, it's not much of an issue to make it into something that does.

smalls
September 21, 2012, 06:38 PM
I've shot the citadel compact, and it was reliable, but it had the GI style sights, which I hate . The Spartan come with Novak style sights (with no white dots, though), so that may be a consideration.

FWIW, I carry a Spartan IV, and I love it.

AJumbo
September 21, 2012, 11:01 PM
RIA used to sell a compact that had a beavertail and Novak-like (Faux-vak? Yeah, I'm keepin' that, LOL) sights. If I was looking for a belly gun, that might be what I'd look at.

Quoheleth
September 21, 2012, 11:14 PM
I had the Rock Island CS a couple years ago. I had the model with the beavertail grip and low-riding GI style sights. I dabbed a little fingernail polish on the front sight and had no problems with it. Good gun and no feed or ejection problems with either my handloads or factory stuff (LSWC, LRN, LRNFP, FMJ, JHP). It just ran. I don't recall total round count...400? 500? Somewhere in there.

I sold it because I rarely carried it - just too heavy - and for a range gun, I gave up a couple rounds per mag. This is one gun I don't miss - not a gun-related problem; it was just a niche I didn't need to be filled.

Q

bigfatdave
September 22, 2012, 08:59 PM
I've shot the citadel compact, and it was reliable, but it had the GI style sights, which I hate . The Spartan come with Novakmy citadel compact has novak-cut sights, fairly nice ones, as far as all-black sights go

===
RIA used to sell a compact that had a beavertail and Novak-like
Yes, they call it the CS tactical

===

joecil, I made a takedown tool out of a piece of copper wire just the right size to fill that hole in the guiderod, rather than shearing off a paperclip every few weeks I just have a couple of those tools around. In the end MrsBFD made me a couple really nice ones with her jewelry-making tools, they have pretty spirals on the end you hold and exact angles/lengths ... mine looked like deformed copper staples
The point is that with the right tool, that step of takedown is really easy. And if you don't have the right tool, it isn't that hard to just hold the slide in place while you pop out the assembly pin.

===

Complaints about compact 1911-based guns not working may have been true in the past, but Armscor's compacts WORK, I suspect they figured out the solution to the puzzle a while back. Mine eats a wide assortment of ammo happily, and only has a few types it doesn't like. Perhaps it wouldn't like Uncle Grandpa's home-made handloads fed to it from a rusty gunshow magazine ... but quality commercial (or skillfully reloaded) ammunition from a Wilson/Metalform mag cycles through wonderfully.

Nushif
September 22, 2012, 09:43 PM
Had/Have the CS Tactical.

By that I mean that I broke my first copy in a 250 round training class and had to have it replaced. My replacement functioned fine, but I did end up putting a 4 1/4 inch slide on top and the frame is running like a champ. 8)

TLDR:
My first one was broke, but my second one is just fine.

smalls
September 22, 2012, 11:29 PM
Ahh, I wasn't aware the Citadel's were offered with Novak style sights, I've never seen one with them. I knew the RIA's could be had with them, though. Thanks for the clarification, BFD.

BullyFan07
September 23, 2012, 02:25 AM
...Complaints about compact 1911-based guns not working may have been true in the past, but Armscor's compacts WORK, I suspect they figured out the solution to the puzzle a while back. Mine eats a wide assortment of ammo happily, and only has a few types it doesn't like....
....but quality commercial (or skillfully reloaded) ammunition from a Wilson/Metalform mag cycles through wonderfully.

I'm getting very close to moving on one of these guns, so it's good to know that you (and so many others) are having such good luck with yours. I have a feeling that you're right about the various manufacturers figuring out the basic problems that used to exist. It makes sense, because if they hadn't, I wouldn't imagine that sales of these models would continue at the strong pace they currently are seeing. Customers would probably just get fed up with the malfunctions and switch to something more reliable instead.

Also, I do plan to use reloads after I get a sufficient stockpile of.45 brass, so I hope they work well for me. If I have any feed issues, I'll just try a high-quality magazine and see it that doesn't clear things up.

BullyFan07
September 23, 2012, 02:44 AM
Had/Have the CS Tactical.

By that I mean that I broke my first copy in a 250 round training class and had to have it replaced. My replacement functioned fine, but I did end up putting a 4 1/4 inch slide on top and the frame is running like a champ. 8)

TLDR:
My first one was broke, but my second one is just fine.

Sorry to hear you had trouble with your first one. At least the second one is functioning the way it should have in the first place. I guess that's where RIA's great customer service comes into play. Kind of a reassuring thought that they'll stand behind their stuff if things go downhill.

How much fitting (if any) was required to get the longer slide to function well? I know there are companies that produce this combination (commander slide on an officer's frame), but I never really thought about making my own. I've heard that people who own these tend to really love them. It seems like a great combination of concealability and accuracy.

BH Shooter
September 23, 2012, 09:21 AM
I've had my RAI Tactical now for over 3 years and have well over 500 rounds through it now. You will buy more mags as time goes on so I don't think that one more mag that comes with the others that you mentioned will matter. I love mine, I have two Kimber 1911s that are now safe queens because of the RAI. It shoots just as well and is shorter than the other two and never a problem and the biggest plus is a no hassle CS team to back them up! I think that you get more bang for the buck with the RAI(no pun intended). I'm sure you will be happy with any of the three that you listed. Good Luck.

Nushif
September 23, 2012, 10:16 AM
How much fitting (if any) was required to get the longer slide to function well?

When the slide came in, he simply slid it on, we tried disassembling it once whe it got stuck, so my 'smith took it in the back for about five minutes and came back. Been running like a champ since.
Obviously it's not perfectly fitted in the rear, Les Baer style, but the fit is pretty much standard factory.

I got really lucky, probably.

bigfatdave
September 23, 2012, 10:28 AM
Ahh, I wasn't aware the Citadel's were offered with Novak style sights, I've never seen one with them. I knew the RIA's could be had with them, though. Thanks for the clarification, BFD.I wasn't aware there was a NON-novak compact model, honestly ... I sort of stumbled onto the Citadel when I was looking for my first 1911, and I've been a rabid Armscor CS fan since

How much fitting (if any) was required to get the longer slide to function well? I know there are companies that produce this combination (commander slide on an officer's frame), but I never really thought about making my own. I've heard that people who own these tend to really love them. It seems like a great combination of concealability and accuracy.Dig up the old thread Rittmeister and I discussed this in, if you ask nicely the lead gunsmith at ArmscorUSA will do it for you, at a reasonable price (so reasonable compared to other manufacturers' CCO models that I won't put it out publicly)
I had my faux-CCO outfitted with tritium night sights and a 4" bushingless bull barrel slide, built on a CS tac frame.
Go look up how much other CCO models run for, then get in touch with Arnel at the RIA/Armscor facility in Nevada, you'll be amazed at the price, unless he's significantly raised it since.
Here, I remembered that the thread I was referencing was in my "subscribed" list:
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=599890

smalls
September 23, 2012, 12:29 PM
Yep, before I bought my Spartan, I considered a Citadel CS, but all I could find were GI sights, and couldn't live with them.

bigfatdave
September 23, 2012, 12:53 PM
interestingly, Legacy no longer offers anything without Novak ramp sights in their Citadel 1911 line, they're all pretty close to the tactical RIA line

http://www.legacysports.com/products/cit_m1911.html
(warning, link opens a REALLY annoying/loud audio "multimedia" "feature" ... open on mute and find the pause button at the bottom)

BullyFan07
September 23, 2012, 03:21 PM
Dig up the old thread Rittmeister and I discussed this in, if you ask nicely the lead gunsmith at ArmscorUSA will do it for you, at a reasonable price (so reasonable compared to other manufacturers' CCO models that I won't put it out publicly)
I had my faux-CCO outfitted with tritium night sights and a 4" bushingless bull barrel slide, built on a CS tac frame.
Go look up how much other CCO models run for, then get in touch with Arnel at the RIA/Armscor facility in Nevada, you'll be amazed at the price, unless he's significantly raised it since.
Here, I remembered that the thread I was referencing was in my "subscribed" list:
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=599890

Thanks for the link and the heads up about Arnel. VERY good to know. I'll keep it on the down low. ;) Unfortunately, I'm going to have to hold off on doing anything like that until my "fun fund" recovers a bit after my upcoming CS purchase, but I'll definitely read up on it and keep it in mind as a future mod/addition. That would be really convenient to be able to choose which slide to use depending on the situation and need on any particular day.

BullyFan07
September 23, 2012, 03:25 PM
interestingly, Legacy no longer offers anything without Novak ramp sights in their Citadel 1911 line, they're all pretty close to the tactical RIA line

http://www.legacysports.com/products/cit_m1911.html
(warning, link opens a REALLY annoying/loud audio "multimedia" "feature" ... open on mute and find the pause button at the bottom)

No kidding, that advertisement is loud! I've gone there before at night when everyone else in my house was sleeping, and I thought the whole house was going to be awake by the time I got it down to a reasonable volume.

ljnowell
September 23, 2012, 04:17 PM
Its a shame you arent looking for a used gun. I have a RIA CS officers(the one mentioned earlier in this thread. About 500 or so down the tube, a great shooting gun. Looking to move it and the galco leather small of back holster down the line to fund a new bullseye pistol.

BullyFan07
September 23, 2012, 04:38 PM
Its a shame you arent looking for a used gun. I have a RIA CS officers(the one mentioned earlier in this thread. About 500 or so down the tube, a great shooting gun. Looking to move it and the galco leather small of back holster down the line to fund a new bullseye pistol.
I've bought used before, but for this one, I think I want to go with new. Thanks for the option though, and good luck selling it. It sounds like they're popular enough that you shouldn't have too much trouble.

Jed Carter
September 23, 2012, 09:21 PM
If you intend to stake your life on it, of your choices, I would go with the STI Spartan III. Personally I cannot trust the 3" 1911 in .45ACP to be reliable enough to be my CCW of choice. I use a SIG RCS 1911 a CCO sized pistol, with a 4.2" barrel and an officer frame. Cost will be about $500 more than the Rock Island, but I can shoot it much better, and faster than I ever could any 3" 1911. Well worth the extra $$ in my experience, actually a very good shooting 1911, equal to most 5" 1911s I have shot.

ljnowell
September 24, 2012, 01:00 AM
I've bought used before, but for this one, I think I want to go with new. Thanks for the option though, and good luck selling it. It sounds like they're popular enough that you shouldn't have too much trouble.


Cant say I blame you! I had two hits on it today and a local guy too. They arent hard to resell because they have a great reputation. You will definately like it when you get it!

BullyFan07
October 3, 2012, 09:41 AM
Thanks again for all of the advice. I ended up getting an STI Spartan III from Budsgunshop.com. When it was all said and done, I ended up paying $588 (insured and shipped to my LGS) + a $25 transfer fee. I can hardly wait for it to arrive! I think I'm really going to like it. I'll post again with an update once I get it and am able to get out for my first range session with it.

BullyFan07
October 22, 2012, 10:34 AM
Well, here it is. I've had it to the range twice now with a total of just over 250 rounds through it. I've had a few failure to feeds, but nothing unexpected considering that it's still in the break-in period. I love the feel and I've been really happy with my accuracy so far... and I'm hoping that will just improve with time and familiarity with the particulars of the gun. I had a local gunsmith install an ambi safety (only $25 + what I paid when I ordered the thumb safety from Dawson Precision), so now I'm good to go for carrying it as soon as I get a couple hundred more rounds through it. Thanks for all of the advice.

Nushif
October 22, 2012, 11:20 AM
Like the beavertail, especially. Iffy on the hammer though. Looks ... out of place?

BullyFan07
October 22, 2012, 12:09 PM
Thanks.

I generally like the look of the gun a lot, but I agree that the hammer is a bit out of place with the rest of the gun. The only other stainless that is visible is end of the bull barrel on the muzzle end. I actually considered getting a stainless version of the ambi thumb safety (instead of the blued I went with), but I thought doing that would necessitate replacing the slide stop with stainless as well so that everything would match. I think it would look great with those added stainless parts, but I just couldn't justify spending the money right now. I might eventually make those changes, but for now I just plan to leave it the way it is -- simply as a utilitarian gun that will be carried daily, and will undoubtedly acquire a lot of beauty marks over time. I'm good with that for now.

smalls
October 22, 2012, 12:54 PM
I just think the hammer looks kinda goofy. When I bought my IV, I thought it was coming with STI's square hammer. I was a little disappointed, but got over it. I still may switch it out, though.

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