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Help picking an Armscor officer's size 1911 for CCW

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by BullyFan07, Sep 20, 2012.

  1. BullyFan07

    BullyFan07 Member

    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.

  2. Panzercat

    Panzercat Well-Known Member

    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
  3. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Well-Known Member

    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
  4. joecil

    joecil Well-Known Member

    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.
  5. trickyasafox

    trickyasafox Well-Known Member

    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.
  6. Drail

    Drail Well-Known Member

    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.
  7. BullyFan07

    BullyFan07 Member

    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.
  8. BullyFan07

    BullyFan07 Member

    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.
  9. BullyFan07

    BullyFan07 Member

    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:
  10. Kendahl

    Kendahl Well-Known Member

    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.
  11. ljnowell

    ljnowell Well-Known Member

    I have the RIA CS 3.5". Its a great gun. Have a lot of rounds through it, its dead reliable and accurate.
  12. Panzercat

    Panzercat Well-Known Member

    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.
  13. kyletx1911

    kyletx1911 Well-Known Member

    One or the other dont matter i have owned both both are good guns i just dont like the bbl
  14. BullyFan07

    BullyFan07 Member

    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.
  15. springer99

    springer99 Well-Known Member

    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.
  16. BullyFan07

    BullyFan07 Member

    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.
  17. smalls

    smalls Well-Known Member

    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.
  18. AJumbo

    AJumbo Well-Known Member

    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.
  19. Quoheleth

    Quoheleth Well-Known Member

    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.

  20. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Well-Known Member

    my citadel compact has novak-cut sights, fairly nice ones, as far as all-black sights go

    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.

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