Gun Review: Rock Island Armory GI Standard FS 1911 – Part 2

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According to F. Scott Fitzgerald, there are no second acts in American lives. The rule does not apply to Phillipino firearms. After the GI Standard FS’s abysmal showing during my initial review I sent the gun back to Rock Island for repair. They returned it pronouncing that the bargain basement 1911 had been “complete reliability tuned.” Although Rock Island’s guns are backed with a lifetime warranty, I’m not sure the company offers the exact same vaguely-worded comprehensive service to all their customers (see: bolded typeface below). Anyway here’s my review of their best effort to make the gun run . . .

IMG_1197

Upon disassembly, it was clear the Rock Island Armory GI Standard FS 1911 had been thoroughly cleaned. I don’t know how much work they’d done on the breech and feed ramp but the bottom of the breech was much shinier and smoother than all of the other edges around it.

The GI Standard FS’s grip safety had also been smoothed out. It was still pretty pointed, but at least it didn’t have the same sharp edge as before. Looking at the gun’s grip safety, I noticed that it’s not actually square. The safety is clearly angled, one side higher than the other. (I don’t know if that’s the way it was originally.) I reassembled the 1911, doused her with RemOiled and headed to the range.

Rock Island had improved the FS’ ergonomics. During the first test, the gun’s grip sharp, shiny safety cut into the web of my hand. Within a couple of magazines, I was bleeding. During the remainder of the test I shot with gloves. Without the “new” gun, without hand apparel, the safety still cut me up. After 500 rounds, I was exsanguinating though two small holes on the web of my right hand, happy to call it a day.

This FS’ safety is in the style of the original GI safety. I called a Marine who served in the Korean War and then became a Corps armorer and a shooting instructor. I asked him if the 1911’s safety had been an issue. “That’s how we knew if you had the right grip,” he told me. “When your hand was chewed up by the safety, it was high enough on the gun.” I asked him if armorers or Marines filed down their safeties or bought some aftermarket part. He looked at me like I was an idiot. “We wore gloves.”

Whatever Rock Island did to the FS on TTAG’s behalf, reliability vastly improved. I ran the gun with STI and Wilson Combat magazines (the company didn’t return the original magazine). I shot mostly Winchester white box 230gr FMJs. I also fed it a hundred Blazer and Wolf FMJ’s and 32 rounds each of Remington Golden Saber 230gr HPs, Hornady Critical Defense 185gr FTX. And just for fun, I shot eight rounds of Speer 230gr TMJ rounds.

So how did that all play out? I had my first malfunction, a first round failure to feed, at around 100 rounds. Then again about 40 rounds later. Both of those occurred with the Winchester FMJs. I lubed up the gun again and had a few more failures, nothing round specific, with only one failure to return to battery that required me to drop the magazine.

firstfail

The Remington Golden Saber performed well in the RIA GI Standard FS 1911. Unlike its previous outing, the cartridge seemed to feed more smoothly than any other round, including the FMJs. On the other hand, the FS detested the Speer 230gr TMJ. I had first time failures to feed and failures to return to battery issues. I’ve run that round in other 1911s. Some, like my Colt, like it. Some, like my Ed Brown, don’t. The Rock Island Armory GI Standard FS 1911 really doesn’t.

Looking at my notes, I only had four failures to feed or that failure to return to battery in 500 rounds. That’s not horrible considering the $475 msrp price point. That said, every four magazines or so, the FS’ slide was slow to return to battery. More than once it the gun needed a hard shake forward or thumb press to get the slide to return to battery. At the range, that’s fine. In competition or combat? Not OK at all.

battery

What’s nice is that I was having a particularly good day at the range that day. Some days you’re on, some days you aren’t. This day I was on. Shooting the dueling tree’s plates at 10 yards, I was getting the fifth plate moving before the first plate had swung all the way over. At one point, the other shooter with me turned and asked, “How long did it take for you to learn to do that?” Farago’s heavily depleted ammo supply tells the tale.

The only time I had a hard time hitting the target: after I’d shot the white paint off the plates. At that point, the teeny tiny black blade of the FS’ front sight disappeared on the black background. Aiming turned into guessing. These are GI style sights; they perform as designed. The real challenge arrived the next day when I hauled the FS to the bench, using a front bag for accuracy.

It was overcast and  raining intermittently. The range was well shaded. The targets were like antis: a bit dim. At 25 yards, shooting the Remington HP round off a front bag, my best group was still 5”. Most of the groups were closer to 6”. The tiny little black blade made it difficult to ID the target – in that environment and light. My 10 yard shoot off the bag is a better indication of accuracy, yielding groups around 1.5”.

10yard

F. Scott Fitzegerald cautioned us: never confuse a single defeat with a final defeat. As you’d hope, as you’d expect, the factory-improved Rock Island Armory GI Standard FS 1911 (from the truth about guns!) was a lot better the second time around. It’s still not pretty and it’s still not perfect. After more than 1000 rounds and  a Rock Island’s gunsmith’s best effort there are still reliability issues. But it is cheap . . .

Assuming you could purchase a new FS finished to this standard (or receive the same repair treatment afforded the world’s most popular firearms website), you might overlook the FS’ ho-hum accuracy and reliability. Or you could forget it, save-up and buy something much better straight out of the box. I think you know which way I’d go . . .

Specifications:

Length: 8.56″
Height: 5/5″
Weight: 2.47 lbs. (unloaded)
Sights: fixed
Capacity: 8+1
Price: about $475 retail

Ratings (out of five stars):

Appearance * * *
Cosmetically, it’s the same FS as before, with the sharp shiny edge on the safety removed.

Accuracy * *
I’ll give this an extra star this time. It still doesn’t perform how I would expect a full frame 1911 to shoot, but on the days I was shooting, that particular sight system wasn’t ideal.

Reliability * * *
Reliability is subjective. This heavily breathed-on gun had about a one percent failure rate. At this price, I say that’s reasonable. Assuming you could get it this well sorted at this price. Which is not a given.

Overall * * *
Compared with other 1911s, I’d give this gun two stars. But it’s dirt cheap. That low price point bumps it up into the mediocre bracket. After it was repaired.

comments

  1. avatar Gordon Wagner says:

    You get what you pay for.

    1. avatar arsh says:

      Which is why I’m just going to wait for the surplus 1911’s to be released.

    2. avatar Brian says:

      I have a RIA tactical .45 ACP with 2930 rounds through it and I have had 2 malfunctions 1 FTE in the first 200 rounds through the gun and yesterday 06/11/2015 a failure to go in battery with aluminum case federal fmj. Yes I keep track of how many rounds I put through my handguns. I have a friend who has the exact same model RIA and he had several malfunctions before he got the first 100 rnds through the gun, after that no problems at all. This is just my experience

      1. avatar Toddmori says:

        I had a commander length RIA, and it was great for the first 200 rounds or so, then it would pretty much never return to battery without a thumb press.

        1. avatar DEW says:

          When they start doing that it’s time for a new recoil spring. You guys bash the Lower cost 1911 without realizing they are all 1911’s go with wilson springs and you’ll shoot just as good as the kimber guys. You get what you pay for is BULL given by the MY 1911 is better because the name it carries.

    3. avatar CYRANO says:

      I am happy I picked up a Springfield Loaded Model in 2002 for $475 and do not have to go searching for a 1911 today. Too many malfunctions in this review to make me want to buy it. There have been only a handful of malfunctions in the Springfield over its 13 year life and it was ammo specific.

  2. avatar Tex300BLK says:

    “Or you could forget it, save-up and buy something much better straight out of the box. I think you know which way I’d go . . .”

    Oh boy, I’m going into the tornado shelter for this one…. The peasants will not be happy with you today!

    1. avatar Vitsaus says:

      Its a sad day when people have to apologize for endorsing quality firearms over price driven ones.

      1. avatar DEW says:

        Nothing wrong with quality, I have some and love them. i have some cheap quality guns also IRA 1911, Ruger SR1911 and love them just as much as the higher costing ones. The problem is some think because you 1911 didn’t cost top dollar they are no good, which is pure snobbery.

    2. avatar bob says:

      Like a Hi-Point in .45, with money left over for ammo.

      1. avatar DEW says:

        It can put one the grave like any other gun, they are cheap but work, and work well, they are just so ugly. I don’t like ugly guns, that’s why i carry a 1911, nothing ugly there.

  3. avatar Old Ben turning in grave says:

    At the same price point, a Tisas (Turkish 1911) generally gets few complaints. The one I have sometimes failed to feed the last round of the Mec Gar mag it came with. With Wilson mags, it’s never failed in about 1000 rounds. I should note that I’ve only fired standard 230 ball ammo, though different brands. Never tried hollow points (it was just intended to be a fun gun).

    1. avatar General Zod says:

      On the other hand, I’ve never heard of anyone having the trouble with a RIA 1911 that JWT seems to have. Not talking about reviews here, I’m talking about other RIA owners.

      1. avatar Old Ben turning in grave says:

        True, I haven’t heard many complaints about those either. They generally get favorable ratings.

      2. avatar Sock Monkey says:

        There are loads of satisfied Rock Islanders out there. The brand has a solid track record.

        I also had a problem with a grip safety fit/sharp edges issue. They replaced the gun.

    2. avatar Paul says:

      I can’t use GI sights worth a damn on any 1911, even much nicer ones. Part of why I sold my Commanders 1911 actually. So I don’t hold that against the gun.

      I’ve shot ragged holes at 8 yards once or twice with my 1911 from RIA with Novak sights.

      1. avatar Retired LEO. says:

        Try 24/7 big dots great for eye with astigmatism. Also the Williams Ghost Ring sight for the Ruger 1911 I’d great imo. They also make a universal. Have swapped out nearly all for those 2 flavours.

      2. avatar SwampDaddy says:

        Sights??? Damn guys, the tool was designed for combat…… point and shoot use anyone??

  4. avatar Joe R. says:

    Buy it, love it, wear it out, but keep demanding quality improvement. I have had IWI and Mako products that I would have beat the company’s shippers half to death if I could have gotten my hands on a plane ticket, and a tourist visa. . .

    Rock Island imports from some place way ‘over water.’ Like Taurus, I think they use some type of cosmoline made up from the distilled sweat of old Marine armorers, designed to torture the FCOTG “First Cleaner Of The Gun.”

  5. avatar Jon says:

    Sucks you’ve had so much trouble.

    I’ve owned 4 Rock Islands at some point. A GI, a two-tone, a 10mm model, and now a 9mm. The first two and the 9mm I bought used.

    The GI I made a project, got it for less than $300 used and it worked fine. Decided to make it not a GI and added a beavertail, some Wilson internals, and then gave it to a friend as a present who still has it to this day.

    The two tone I bought off a friend, then sold when I needed some cash. It worked fine and the original owner eventually tracked it down and bought it back.

    The 10mm was fantastic. Traded it off in a deal for something else and instantly had remorse, so I tried to get it back to no avail.

    The 9mm I recently came across used for $300. It has all the goodies, like beavertail, novak style sights, ambi safety. It functions fine except for the slide failing to lock back on the last round. It’s a mag issue, but reliability is fine.

    Honestly, I’ve never had any of them have reliability issues, even with handloads. Everyone makes good an bad at times, I just think this is one of the lemons that happen to crop up.

    1. avatar Chicago2VP71 says:

      GT Jon?

      😀

  6. avatar Grindstone says:

    I wonder what the review would be like if you bought a brand-new one retail rather than a second-hand loaner?

    I’ve had the occasional failure to feed, probably about one every 300-400 rounds, which I’m pretty sure is due to an $8 magazine as I’ve only had one FTF with the factory mag. This being about 3k rounds in.

    Also, the “owies” that you get from it just amuse the hell out of me.

  7. avatar Andy says:

    Not sure what is wrong with yours but I own the same gun and have never had a failure of any kind. Shooting off the bag at 10 yards produces one ragged hole.

  8. avatar Texheim says:

    I’ve never had a problem with my RIA GI, the sights do suck though…

  9. avatar RenegadeDave says:

    Next on JWT’s plate : Mid Range 1911 Shoot out!

    I put forward the Range officer or Loaded, S&W E Series, SR1911 or any other gun that can be bough on Buds between $600-800.

    1. avatar Frosty45 says:

      Seconded. I think the shoot-out review format is a great idea.

    2. avatar Tex300BLK says:

      Have SA Loaded,will travel.

  10. avatar RandallOfLegend says:

    The 1911 platform has more malfunctions than any other firearm I have seen. I have never had to polish a feedramp or file anything on other “cheap” $500 guns. Also, people don’t shoot 500 rounds a session through their $1200 Kimber. If they did, I am sure they will find just as many, if not more malfunctions. Because they are so “tight”.

    1. avatar RenegadeDave says:

      Have you spent any appreciable time behind the sights of a 1911? Well put together ones run like a top.

      I dont’ have a Kimber, but I do have a Dan Wesson. I’ve shot major matches (200-300 rounds no clean/lube). I’ve shot lots of local matches in excess of 500 rounds in a month with no cleaning. It’s never had a malfunction that was not ammo related (tall primer, light charge, etc) in 2000 rounds since January. A lot of guys shoot Springers to the same effect at half the price. You can’t spend $400 on a good 1911, but you can spend $600-800 on a good one that will run. My experience is not the “exception”, you spend time shooting USPSA/IDPA/Steel Challenge and you’ll see. I used to think it was a finicky design until being around enough that didn’t break to make me challenge this belief on the internet.

      The problem is the platform is so old that everyone doesn’t build to spec, so a magazine built to one spec, and a gun built to another causes problems. Good news is the Check Mate hybrid mags are inexpensive and work in just about any gun. Imagine if Glock had 10-15 MFG’s making mags for that.

      1. avatar Chris says:

        I’ve had my S&W 1911 Pro 3.5″ for almost a year, and put well over 100-200 rounds through it every time I hit the range. I think I’ve cleaned it once, and it NEVER fails to go bang.

        Yes, I paid almost $1000 for it. But it is far more reliable out of the box than my M&P 45.

        1. avatar RenegadeDave says:

          My back up/carry 45 is a S&W E series (model 108482). It runs great, only a couple hundred rounds through it to verify function with my competition gear, but it does what it’s supposed to. Only mods I made were to lighten the trigger and “competition” stuff (grips magwell sights). No reliability mods.

      2. avatar RandallOfLegend says:

        I don’t own one personally. But I have several friends who are constantly making excuses for their Kimbers. I know people compete with the 1911 platform, so competition tuned versions should run like a swiss watch. But a majority of gun owners will fall into the $400-$700 range for a 1911, and you’d think there would be a rock solid model in that price range. Not competition or target accurate, just reliable.

        I am all ears if you know of someone who makes such a 1911. And I agree on the dated, and open design. Everyone makes a 1911 these days, and the parts are not always interchangeable. Similar but different.

        1. avatar Frosty45 says:

          I’ve had great luck with a couple Ruger SR911 pistols. They like grease over oil, but will run dirty. No problem with HP ammo.

        2. avatar RenegadeDave says:

          From Buds you can get a Ruger SR1911 for $650ish, and that will probably do the job.

          For $700-800 you get a lot more features, The Range Officer being a good “go to” and the S&W E Series.

          Any action pistol 1911 that’s less than about $1k will need some love to square it away for competition. At a minimum you’re talking sights and a mag well. Grips are a maybe (definitely go on mine). You can tune the spring weights to reduce trigger pull. As far as just running, they’ll do that, but reloading a single stack with no mag well on the clock is challenging to say the least. Grip tape on the front strap or on the stock grips if you’re frugal.

          E series has a lot of premium features on the frame (front strap checkering, flat top w/ serrations).

          The small parts on any of them are functional out of the box, but would welcome a Cylinder and Slide kit.

          As much of a fan as I am of the platform, I don’t like the idea of a 1911 in a sandy environment. Took a fall playing football at the beach and the gun got sandy. Cycling the action it went fine, but I can definitely see problems with sand seizing a grip safety, if not a slide.

        3. avatar Aaron says:

          I had a Kimber Solo jam-o-matic. It was striker fired, NOT a 1911. Having owned several 1911 platforms, and currently owning 4, and having owned Flocks and other types of semi-autos, i’d say it 1911s can be just as reliable as the best striker fired guns (such as Glocks), depending on the execution of the design.

        4. avatar Frosty45 says:

          I’ve had probably close to a dozen 1911, and have yet to find one as reliable as a Glock. However, I have had several Glocks with lots of problems. For me, reliable is a subjective term. You have to “know” your gun to find its breaking point. Once you do, any gun can be flawless – despite its flaws.

        5. avatar Paul says:

          Try a Ruger? I liked the Remington 1911 I shot too.

          I’m still partial to Rock Islands, but the Ruger’s not very much more than the upgraded Rock Islands with the same features (upgraded sights mainly) and it feels a lot nicer with an easier to rack slide. If I were to buy a 1911 I’d either go with that or spend some more and get a Springfield.

      3. avatar Dan A says:

        +1 on the Dan Wesson. I have a Valor that’s noticeably tighter than, say, any Kimber Custom Shop pistol that I’ve felt. Couldn’t even get the damn barrel bushing out initially. Took it out of the box, shot a 2,000+ rounds of mixed type, including steel case Tula and some whiz bang ultralight high velocity frangible loads, over the course of a couple months without cleaning. Put some CLP on the rails at 0 ~1500 rounds. Good gun. Hate when people use Kimbers as the barometer of what they think a good 1911 should be.

      4. avatar Reef Blastbody says:

        The Dan Wesson is a high end 1911. Maybe not in the same category as, say, Les Baer, Ed Brown, Nighthawk, Cabot or whoever, but it’s definitely not a “run of the mill” handgun.

        That being said, my understanding of the 1911 and the various issues that crop up re: FTF, FTE, double feeds and other chronic malfunctions that require a gunsmith can be attributed mainly to the original design specifications and manufacturing environment of the 1911 and modern manufacturing methods and tolerances. Glocks, M&Ps, XDs, etc are designed to be tolerant and forgiving of cumulative tolerance creep and the assumption that any hand assembly will be done by layman (as opposed to specialists), i.e. every single part in a gun can be under sized, but as long as it falls within said parts tolerance range, the gun will function reliably, and the persons assembling them don’t require long apprenticeships to become qualified to competently assemble them.

        The 1911 was designed in the days when it was assumed that at least one highly skilled craftsman would be supervising the assembly process, and modifying parts that weren’t quite in spec to ensure a reliably functional handgun. The factory workers from Colt in the turn of the century had the same skill sets you find in workers at shops like Cabot, Les Baer and so on.

        A 1911 can be every bit as rugged and reliable as a Glock, M&P, or any other modern handgun, but it requires much more skilled manual labor to achieve that end, thus incurring a higher per unit price.

    2. avatar Aaron says:

      huh? i’ve had “1911 platforms” that were completely reliabe right out of the box.

      for example, my (new version) Colt Mustang Pockelite is waaay more reliable than any other pocket gun I have fired. I think if I loaded the magazines with gravel it might still fire.

      i concede that SOME 1911 based guns are not reliable. it’s all in the execution.

    3. avatar Dave N says:

      I must have hit the lotto, because I have bought 2 Colts, Series 80 no less in the past year with neither having issues, and have fired everything fed into them. Buds guns is selling the basic blued Government model for a touch over $700. Decently polished and blued although not like the Colts of old and runs like a pistol should. The Government model is a year old this month and has run well over 3000 rounds through it failure free in a combination of lead, semi wadcutters, plated and jacketed hollowpoints, and FMJs, reloads and factory ammo.

      1. avatar TODD says:

        I have one great gun had trouble with factory mags sticking replaced mags ok now. The problem with RIA guns is poor manufacturing of some of the parts. I had one with a few problems i don’t think i would buy one again.

  11. avatar General Zod says:

    “Assuming you could purchase a new FS finished to this standard…”

    The one I bought new at Cabela’s is at that standard or better. That exact gun. No FTF’s or failure to return to battery ever. No oddly sharp edges you seem to have so much trouble with (and I work an office job – my hands aren’t tough by any measure). Still wondering in amazement at your experiences with this gun.

  12. avatar Sean N says:

    Don’t forget, the gun is also older. Armscor has been working to improve pretty much everything. I’d like to see a comparison between this gun, and a new production one to see if there are improvements.

  13. avatar Retired LEO. says:

    My 10mm other than hating the VZ10grips. Has taken 30 or so hogs, no Failures of any kind. Carried a basic 1911 as a duty pistol after the ramp was polished for hollow points and 400 federal 185gr. JHP’s run through.without any failures. Much better than the Taurus my son won at a match. Even free felt overcharged paid $125 for 2 trips to repair 3rd time for same thing they sent a call tag, returned a brand new pistol Plus a free 24/7 .45 traded both to the dealer that was transferring for an almost new 625 no lock. Perfect shooter, son has won 2 matches with it likely. 2500 rounds fired from factory to reloads in last 18 months only problem is a bit of holster wear.

    1. avatar Patrick Wider says:

      Is your poor grammar or abysmal writing skills a result of: 1. being a former LEO, 2. failing to graduate from grammar school, 3. being a bit senile, 4. zero typing skills, 5. sheer laziness, 6. English is not your primary language, 7. too many rounds fired without hearing protection, or 8. sniffing too much Hoppe’s No. 9? Do us a favor, take the time, and make your posts a bit easier to read and comprehend.

      1. avatar Red In Texas says:

        Damn, it’s a freakin blog, not a thesis. Lighten up man.

        1. avatar Patrick Wider says:

          If everybody wrote like this guy the TTAG blog would be history by now. It would be too painful to read. Thankfully most contributors are more literate or take the time to think before they write. OK, maybe the guy is just a product of the American educational system so I should just cut him a break. Or maybe years of pulling people over for rolling through stops signs have had a cumulative effect. But I’m not asking for a peer-reviewed, footnoted PhD thesis, just something above 3rd grade Pigeon English with a proper sentence structure and punctuation. We’re not talking rocket science here. That’s the problem today, too many people accept mediocrity or worse and make excuses for it. IT’S ONLY A BLOG MAN!

          I’ve given the guy a higher goal post to shoot for. Self improvement is to be encouraged, at least in my world, maybe not yours. Typos are certainly acceptable as we all make them, but his post is a real mess. BTW: If you have the time, why don’t you translate and rewrite his post so that the rest of us can understand it without rereading it five times. I must admit that I have a certain preexisting lack of respect for LEOs and their ilk. Their sense of overbearing superiority and power just bother me. Many lie, plant evidence, and defend their dirty brethren. And when their adrenaline gets pumping, they are truly dangerous to civilians at large. I wonder if this guy’s police reports were just as sloppily written? OTOH: if he took a bullet to the brain while on the job I really and truly do owe him an apology.

        2. avatar Grindstone says:

          I skipped over both his and your post. Both give me headaches.

  14. avatar IN Ken says:

    I bought an ATI 1911 for a “fun gun” about a year ago and have been pleased. $400 out the door. No issues while shooting, one warranty claim due to a plunger tube issue and it took the factory a week to get it back to me. Heard of others with issues but mine is not a bad peasant level 1911.

  15. avatar Curious says:

    While I agree that my Armscorp GI 1911 had some sharp machined edges, mine has always been super reliable with WWB and Blazer as well as premium ammo. I use Chip McCormick 8 rd stainless mags as the factory mag was junk. I got the High Standard version with its minimal markings. I do not think they do this version anymore. The pistols are the same other than the slide markings.

  16. avatar spacecoaster says:

    I know it is a minor, nit-picking detail, however: There is no such word as Phillipino. The term you are looking for as an adjective is either Philippine or Filipino. Further, if the word did exist, it would be spelled Philippino, with a double “p” instead of a double “l”. This is a common mistake, but one that any half-ass spell checker will highlight for you.

    I have the 5″ Goverment A2 model from Arms Corp. of the Philippines, and have never experienced a failure. But have heard from a lot of people who were not as lucky as me. An interesting piece of information is that the original tools and die that were used by Armscor came from the original Colt factory in Manila.

  17. avatar Zoppydoop says:

    So you called your Marine armorer buddy, asked him a question. Then you asked him another question, and HE LOOKED AT YOU LIKE YOU WERE AN IDIOT. Oh, were you standing within eyesight while talking on the phone?

    Sounds like a tall tale to me.

    1. avatar TT says:

      Maybe it was Skype.

      1. avatar Grindstone says:

        If you have a WW2 veteran who knows how to use Skype, I have ocean front property in Arizona to sell you. Just explaining an electronic picture frame to my grandmother about made me tear my beard off.

        1. avatar Dustin says:

          My tech-challenged WWII Vet is a Marine… Yes, I said “is.” You do not know pain until you try to get him to accept that Chrome and Google are not downloading his Microsoft wrong every 10 minutes or so…

    2. avatar John says:

      Could have been FaceTime – I use that a lot to talk to my dad when I’m working on a car or computer, so I can show him something. Would be pretty useful for gun work too.

      And of course, I can tell from both of my parents when they are giving me the “I raised you smarter than that” look over the phone, just from their tone of voice. Just saying…

    3. avatar jwtaylor says:

      Nope. He’s my uncle by marriage. Called him and tslked, went to his house, had lunch, reloaded some, chit chatted about his health, the weather, short wave radio, guitars and guns. Not every detail makes it into the article.

  18. avatar Ryan L says:

    Purchased a Tac II 9mm from Rock Island at the turn of the year. I am somewhere between 800-1000 through it. Not completely perfect but I can count the number of malfunctions on one hand. No rough spots or beating up of my hands whatsoever.

    Perhaps the fact that I’ve never run more than a couple hundred through it at a time I haven’t given it enough of a chance to chew up my hand?

    1. avatar Frosty45 says:

      Does the Tac II have thr beavertail grip safety? I find only the GI style grip safety/hammer combo is rough on my hands. Similar experience to JWT.

  19. avatar BIG AL says:

    Still a better buy than the Cabot…..

  20. avatar Dave J says:

    I own one chambered in 38 super…never had an issue other than the one you mention regarding seeing the front sight on a dark target. I blame 54yo optics.

  21. avatar Former Water Walker says:

    I don’t have any plans to buy a 1911 and after reading all these opinions I have no clue what to buy. My buddy has a Taurus and loves it-how does it compare to the Filipino brand?

    1. avatar Dustin says:

      I have the PT1911AR. Considering giving one of these RIAs a try because I want something half-assed to tinker with… If it gives me no reason to tinker, well, damn.

  22. avatar george from fort worth says:

    guess it is not relevant to this topic, but my officer RIA 1911 remains just great. opened the plastic bag, wiped off the obvious areas of grease (removed the grips, too), and took it from the counter to the range. i shoot this one better than anything else i tried (including military handguns). still waiting for the darn thing to turn to crap. had this one two years. reckon if nothing goes wrong in the next year, i will buy another (maybe the specops black one).

    btw, my lgs has all the big name/big dollar 1911s represented. just manipulating the slide on anything below $5k makes me glad i have the RIA. i would happily accept the donation of a mega-dollar 1911, but the RIA (no experience with the commander or full size) makes me grin.

  23. avatar Thomas says:

    Sounds to me like you got a bad gun. I have a Tactical model and the only times it fails are when I buy crappy cheap ammo and the ammo fails

  24. avatar Aaron says:

    I have a Norinco 1911 clone I bought new in the 90s for $180 (if memory serves). That was a bargain, Gun is still kicking many rounds later. very reliable with .45 ball, hates any hollowpoints. Doesn’t beat up the hand at all. Accurate enough. Not a carry gun, but fun for plinking. Lower assembly is currently hosting a mech-tec CCU.

    because it’s a .45, the limitation to ball ammo is acceptable – ’cause ya know a hit with .45 ball ammo will vaporize the flesh and leave nothing but a bare skeleton. Hollowpoint .45s actually steal the soul of anyone they hit, and that just seems like overkill….

  25. avatar stykusfykus says:

    I got one of these in .38 super and the breach face didn’t have enough room to accept the semi-rimmed .38 supers. I was planning on modding it anyway so I had that addressed when I had a beavertail and trijicon sights installed. Interestingly enough, I found the GI style sights to be very precise as long as the light was good. So why did I spend a bunch of money to have it modded? Because.

  26. avatar CoolHand says:

    90% of the time, these failures to RTB can be traced back to an extractor that has been set a little too tight from the factory, the other 10% are usually caused by either an extractor hook that has a burr on it, or a breech face that has a sharp firing pin hole, or very rarely, a too tightly fitted barrel bushing.

    All of those problems can be fixed by a competent DIY guy in about half an hour, given only a needle file, a .45 Auto round, and the willpower to stop futzing with it once he’s done what needs to be done.

    The fixed extractor design on a 1911 requires more tuning than the later developed external spring loaded extractors that more modern designs use.

    Once properly tuned though, the fixed extractor works every bit as well and reliably.

    Why 1911 OEM’s don’t tune their extractors properly from the factory is anyone’s guess, but I’d wager they’d halve their warranty complaints if I they did so.

  27. avatar AJ187 says:

    I’ve had great luck with the 3 I’ve owned over the years. The GI is my favorite. It is the most comfortable 1911 I own. I can’t understand what exactly is cutting into your had like that from the one I own.

  28. avatar LC says:

    Its funny how all the youtube and comment box warriors make elaborate claims about thousands of rounds through their RIA 1911s “with no malfunction” (straight face). Which brings up several points:

    1.) No you dont have “thousands of rounds” through your gun (one claimed 20k without “parts replacement or malfunction I tell ya!”). You are FOS.

    2.) Even if you did shoot a 1000 without a malfunction (nothing short of a divine miracle tbh), other RIAs wont. Period. They dont have a consistent pattern of reliability. Your anecdotes are not enough to convince me of the many troublesome ones I’ve dealt with.

    3.) If you are on a budget and choose a 1911, you have your head screwed on backwards. They’re not for those on budgets. if you are on a budget, get a M&P or glock (or walther or Ruger). Listen to LAV, even if learning something offends you

    1. avatar CoolHand says:

      Says the TTAG comment box warrior.

      /rolleyes

    2. avatar 2Asux says:

      Glad to know my RIA is trash. Have an officer style 9mm that only had problems with one 20rd box of JHP (not using that brand anymore). Have 1150rds thru the gun, with 8 fail-to-feed (noted in prior sentence). So I only have 1130 failure free, sequential rounds out the spout. On any other gun, I would consider that performance good enough to trust for EDC. However, being such a POS of a pistol, I am taking your advice and going to the local pawn shop to see what I can get for it. Better to trust a GLOCK with about 45 intermittent FTF and 1000rds downrange. A GLOCK is without question the better gun, even if it malfunctions more often. The GLOCK used to be my “fun gun” because it was a beginner purchase, replaced for regular use by the compact RIA..

      Thanks again for your input.

      Oh wait, my experience with the GLOCK is only anecdotal. Guess I just have to go with all the other anecdotal experiences and trust my life to someone else’s anecdotal experience with a GLOCK that never failed. That’s right, all reliability stories are anecdotal, like real world experience. The science behind the GLOCK reliability is predicated on whose testing? GLOCK? Yeah, their testers don’t set up ideal conditions and test until they get what they are looking for, not at all like those RIA folks who live on an island and will say anything to make a sale.

      – America has no inherent criminal class, excepting Congress
      Mark Twain

  29. avatar Bria says:

    Your gun is used so that might have alot to do with your problems. I have the same gun, put 600 rounds through it with no issues. I know others who have it and they have no issues either

  30. avatar Russ says:

    Never experienced a single failure out of the two rock islands I had. Had a compact and a full size GI model. Planning on buying another, they both out shot the Colt 70 series I replaced them with!

  31. avatar Winterborne says:

    My RIA is the Tac model, not the GI model. I have found that after about 800 rounds without cleaning it will start to fail to RTB. It hates Speer Gold Dots, waste of time to load them in the magazine.

    Otherwise, it goes Bang when the trigger is pulled. I did replace the black target sights. All in all a very good gun.

  32. avatar jr says:

    got my Armscor GI FS yesterday and broke it in at the range today. shot only 200 rounds, and have scheduled another 150 rounds this weekend.

    wish i knew how to post pics, because i can tell you that the gun’s more accurate than i could be. now, i’m not an expert marksman by any definition, but i was doing 15-shot holes from 7 to 20 meters. trigger was a bit stiff, though. on reliability, gun’s pretty finicky with magazines – 100% reliability with the ACT mag that came with it and the extra i bought; however, with the 2 Pachmayr mags and 2 very old CMCs (which i’ve had for about 20 years, but seldom use), i had several failure to feeds and soon gave up on them.

    this is my second Armscor, and will keep everything stock. i think i’ll be very happy with this as i am with the first one (hi-cap Tac model 1911A2). i’ll just remember to stick with the ACT mags. sorry to hear that you just got a 3-star experience with yours, especially since everybody i know get no less than very good ratings with theirs.

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