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TTAG reader Brian Connelly writes:

Most gun people  knows Armscor, better known as Rock Island Armory, produces some amazing 1911’s for the money, with a lifetime warranty. They have some unique offerings with more coming seemingly every year. Not too long ago, Rock Island released the scaled down Baby Rock, a 1911-style handgun chambered in .380 ACP for the concealed carry market.

The Baby Rock features a 4140 ordnance steel frame and slide, with a matte black Parkerized finish and, in general, follows the traditional 1911 design. Every part of the gun has been scaled from a full-sized 1911 which makes the pistol very familiar to 1911 shooters.

With an overall length of 6.62” and a height of only 4.62″, the Baby Rock was clearly meant to be carried.

The Baby Rock arrived in a standard Armscor clamshell pistol case. Inside, was pistol itself, two magazines (Metalform), a chamber flag, and owners manual. The trigger on my Baby Rock came in at just under five pounds on my trigger scale. As you’d expect in a 1911, it breaks cleanly with minimal creep or grittiness, so despite the five-pound pull weight, it’s well-suited for concealed carry or self-defense.

This mini-1911 has Novak-style sights that are actually quite good and allow ample space between front and rear sights for good front sight acquisition. All the traditional familiar components are there, traditional thumb safety, slide stop, barrel bushing, trigger, combat style hammer, grip safety, recoil spring, short guide rod, recoil spring plug and field stripping it works just like a traditional 1911, however unlike a traditional the barrel is fixed and the barrel is not locked to the slide during firing.

The Baby Rock operates on the straight blowback principle. With a fixed barrel, the Baby Rock doesn’t use a barrel link. The underlug of the barrel assembly has a single locating notch through it, which is locked into place in the pistol by the slide stop pin. In addition, unlike a traditional 1911 design, the Baby Rock uses an external extractor.

So…..How does she shoot? So far, without a hiccup. I’ve fed it 95 grain Federal American Eagle 95 Grain Full Metal Jacket, as well as Federal Law Enforcement 380 ACP AUTO Ammo 99 Grain HST Jacketed Hollow Point ammo. All ran flawlessly, with no issues whatsoever.

I was very surprised with the hollow point ammo, since I ran it in the pistol before I’d completed the break-in period, but the Baby Rock ate every round I fed it.

Five-shot group accuracy testing was conducted at seven yards using Federal American Eagle 95 Grain Full metal jacket produced a best single group of 1.33″ with a group average of 1.48″. Federal HST Tactical Law Enforcement 99-gr. HST hollow points turned in a best group of 1.35″ with a group average of 1.52″.

With a longer slide that the shorter competition (think Colt Mustang, SIG P238 and Kimber Micro), along with its heavier weight, the Baby Rock has excellent balance and recovers very quickly under recoil. That produces excellent double-taps and controlled pairs.

Reliability was excellent. On the initial range session it digested 100 rounds of FMJ and hollow point without issue. The 3.75” barrel is a plus. It’s a full inch longer than most 380’s in its class, giving you greater velocity and accuracy from the .380 ACP round.

Felt recoil is tame, managed by the additional weight of an all-steel weapon when compared to polymer .380s out there which are quite a bit snappier. Magazines drop freely from the Baby Rock without issue making mag changes a snap.

The slim profile (.76 inches at the slide) makes this weapon very easy to conceal, even when wearing light summer clothing.

I have been carrying the Baby Rock since it arrived in an Azula Holsters OWB rig that’s custom-fitted for the Baby Rock. Given the gun’s diminutive size and relatively light weight, it couldn’t be much more comfortable to carry. Other companies making Baby Rock holsters include Holsterco, Gunners Custom Holsters, Myholster, Sticky Holster, and many others offer holsters in leather, nylon, Kydex, OWB IWB Pocket carry and other options.

In short, if you’re a 1911 fan and looking for a smaller carry gun with a familiar manual of arms, is accurate and, most of all, reliable the Baby Rock is well worth your attention. While too large for pocket carry, this gun is perfect for either OWB or IWB carry, or even in an ankle rig.

Specifications: Rock Island Armory Baby Rock 
Caliber: .380 ACP
Capacity: 7+1
Barrel length: 3.75 inches
Overall length: 6.62 inches
Height: 4.62 inches
Weight: 22 ounces
Slide width: .76 inches
MSRP: $460

Ratings (out of five stars):

Accuracy: * * * * *
All in all, amazing. Groupings of less than 1.5″ at 7 yards during testing. I expect to tighten those even further after testing with more types ammunition.

Ergonomics: * * * * *
Quite simply, it’s a 1911 in a smaller package. The beaver tail grip safety is excellent and the rubberized grips give you a firm handle on the weapon. Unlike a lot of small .380s, you can actually get your entire hand on the gun and the front and rear slide serrations make racking it a breeze.

Reliability: * * * * *
It just runs. Not one malfunction with FMJ or hollow point ammunition which is impressive right out of the box with no break-in period.

Trigger: * * * * *
It’s crisp, clean and breaks right at five pounds with very little overtravel and a great reset. For an EDC weapon that’s right where you need to be.

Customize This: * * *
There are several grips out there for the Baby Rock already. However being a newer product there is a very limited supply of parts available which I would expect to change as time goes on. Holster options are limited, but available. I found leather, Kydex and nylon options.

Overall: * * * * *
The Baby Rock is an affordable, reliable, compact, concealable, low-priced and, in general, a perfect small carry gun for a lover of the 1911 platform who may not want to carry a full-size 1911 every day. You get the best of both worlds; a compact easy-to-conceal handgun that you can carry anywhere, combined with traditional 1911 style with that trigger we’ve all come to know and love.

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    • The Baby Rock is really no longer the same gun as it was when reviewed.

      Every reviewed reported a quite good trigger and a pull around 5 lb.

      The present spec is 7-9 lb. Mine arrived at over 13 lb, and I had to push hard repeatedly to get them to take it back. They returned it at 9 lb, and not a very good 9 lb by any means. Functional but that’s about all one can say.

      It had failures to feed or to go into battery before sending it back, I reported that, and nothing was done. It continues to have failures to feed, and on some occasions when not going into battery it can’t be pushed into battery by hand as the round is hung up. Examining the fit of the frame’s ramp to the slight ramp of the barrel, it looks pretty poor.

      Internal machining is fairly rough.

      Cheap gun, poor warranty service, poor customer service. I wanted to think that maybe for a change, here was a company from a small country one usually doesn’t consider a source, that maybe this time really is offering value for money. Nope. Definitely did not get more than I paid for, which was about $330, and frankly don’t feel I got $330 worth. Will not be buying Rock Island again in this or any lifetime.

  1. Reminds me of the down scale 1911 style pistol LLama was making in days gone by. It was a decent enough, budget gun.

    When it comes to blowback actions I prefer a barrel that is fixed to the frame. That tight lockup aids accuracy.

  2. Seems like a good EDC.
    Really not a bad MSRP too.
    For me though, it would add another caliber. So, I’m not interested. (I’m a reading reloading 16 calibers.)
    For a first timer, or a second timer though?
    Great choice.

  3. I said it before and I’ll say it again: This company does not care about you, their customer service is horrendous. They sold me a pistol with an obviously underpowered recoil spring and refused to do anything unless I sent the whole thing to them. Couldn’t just send the spring and a copy of my receipt, eventually they ignored my emails. They don’t even make their own guns, somebody else does and they just put their name on it.

    • They wanted you to return a defective gun to them for repairs?

      Yep, that’s just terrible. (/sarcasm)

    • Are you a professional gunsmith? If not, why on earth would or should RIA accept your diagnosis without question? (And let’s forget the whole “I’ve been shooting pistols my whole life” line of BS. That’s hearsay, not objective evidence of competence.)

      I’ve dealt with customers who felt their diagnosis of their problem was obvious … and completely wrong when investigated. While it may have been true in your case (I have no idea) that the recoil spring was out of spec, I can understand the company’s policy much more readily than your attitude towards them for having it.

    • And I said it before you had to replace a spring on a 400 dollar gun. Get over it you tool.

      You cheap MF’er.

      Buy a good gun next time.

    • Funny, I have heard a magnitude more people praise Rock Island customer service.

    • Rock island most certainly makes their own firearms. They have plenty of videos out there of their factory in the Philippines. Their ceo is always online talking to customers. I highly doubt they wouldn’t replace a recoil spring, but if your gun was acting strangely and they felt it warranted a trip to Nevada to their repair facility and they pay for shipping both ways i don’t understand why anyone wouldn’t avail themselves of the warranty. Their customer service is second to none. It costs the customer 0 dollars to send it in and while it’s there it gets a complete evaluation and tune up.

    • OMG…they offered to fix a defective gun…for free? What horrid customer service (heavy on the sarcasm). Very few gun companies will send you a mission critical part to repair a gun yourself. It’s called liability. Their lawyers would excrete purple turkeys. They would be supplying a part with no control whatsoever over how it was installed, opening themselves up to massive lawsuits. There’s enough liability involved in manufacturing a firearm already. As to them not making the guns…..ahhh…ahhhh…ahhhh…bullshit….sorry, I sneezed.

      • When my Ruger lcp came with one recoil spring and started to fail to feed after a 100 rnds,one phone call,we figured it out and two new springs were sent for free. Imagine that..

  4. OK, why would I want this instead of Glock’s little single-stack .380?

    Convince me, please…

      • “Ain’t plastic.”

        Were you to live where I live (central Florida) and are outdoors a lot in summer, plastic is an official Martha Stewart ‘Good Thing’ in handguns, especially when worn IWB. Much less time expended in maintenance…

        • Yes, but this will do more damage if you were to pistol-whip someone. Everyone has priorities, some maybe different from yours. (yes, it’s a dumb gun with no redeeming qualities, but someone is buying it, so obviously they like something — maybe he price, maybe the feeling of the heft)

    • This would be for 1911 fans. Maybe looking for something smaller to conceal in lighter clothing, or a shooter of smaller stature deciding they like the 1911 but prefer one on a smaller scale. I think .380 lends itself to mouse guns but I have a Chiappa MC14, which is a Beretta 84 (13-rd double stack, blowback) that looks like a Taurus PT911 scaled down. It’s one of the easier-to-shoot guns I own despite not being locked breech, because it’s compact but not subcompact and shoots this cartridge. If I had to choose something easy on the wrists, that would be it because I’d rather have more rounds than a single-stack offers. That said, I do have a single stack .380 I’d consider a secondary carry if I was going to do that.

      .380 ACP in anything larger than a mouse gun doesn’t actually need to be locked-breech. This is a technological preference for a modern, sophisticated action, which is sensible, but once you shoot all the blowback .380’s out there you realize that the manufacturers probably won’t ever make one because there wouldn’t be enough of a difference in felt recoil.

      • The fans of 1911 can buy Browning 1911-380, which is a closer scale model of 1911. Baby Rock even has a wrong grip angle.

        • Yes, the Browning 1911 380 is a sweet little number. It is a very soft shooter as well. My Llama micro 380 is a blowback action the same as the Baby Rock. It is a harsh shooter, even with the extra weight.
          Browning 1911 380 does have authentic grip angle, comes with two mags. Keep it clean and it will run perfectly and recoils mild. Nice.

    • Let me turn this one around. Convince me why I should by a Glock over the Baby Rock.

      • Do you live in the steam bath of central Florida in summer? Less time battling corrosion is time that can be spent doing other things.

        (And did you bail out on Wisconsin? Back in Virginia?)

        • No, I figured everybody knows I am here.

          A Glock isn’t all plastic. You have to battle corrosion with a Glock too. 🙂

    • Because you can? What other reason do you need 🙂

      Also, it’s bigger and heavier that the G42… when shopping for a gun for my wife, she wanted a P238 over the G42 because it felt better and was easier for her to control. This (or the Browning .380 1911’s) would probably make a good bedside/fullsize counterpart for someone like my petite wife with a pocket .380 1911.

      • I knew this petite Navy O-5 who weighed in at 110lbs. Her preferred personal carry pistol was a 1911. This little gun for the little woman is a real instance of sexism.

        The Browning weighs in at a whole 17ozs. I am sure your wife could carry it.

    • External hammer, single-action, external safety, metal frame,7+1 instead of 6+1…everything the Glock is not.

    • Metal is a good thing, it adds heft for absorbing recoil, aids in durability, and helps bashing in skulls when the rounds run out!
      Oh, and like he said, “Ain’t plastic”!

    • I’m not a Glock hater. I even recommend Glocks to new shooters who admit that they are only going to get minimal training. They work and they’re easy learn. The reason I bought the Baby Rock may not apply in your circumstances. I have a severely autistic child. The 1911 safety features allow me to carry a quickly deployable gun that she will not be able to accidentally set off while I’m wearing it. When I am not wearing it, it’s locked up. For example, I was wearing my full size 1911 and sat down on my couch. She laid down on the couch next to me. Her head was facing the other way. She started to run her bare feet on my holstered 1911 that was under my shirt. I gently told her not to do that but my heart was racing. Then it dawned on me that the trigger was covered by the holster. Even if she had been able to get her toe in the trigger guard she couldn’t depress the grip safety and even if she had been able to do both of those things at the same time, the thumb safety was engaged. It would take an act of God for her to set that pistol off but I can present from the holster and fire as fast as with any other handgun made. Yes, I carry cocked and locked for all the above reasons. That’s why I prefer the Baby Rock to the Baby Glock. It just works better for me. I have carried a 1911 since the 1980’s.

  5. NOT in commie kalifornia. Has not made the safe for the serfs list. So it just has to be dangerous. Well, certain elites can get them, cause they be exempted.

  6. I had a Browning 1911-380 that I purchased just before this gun became available. It was a 3/4 size Commander with a 4.25″ barrel. I probably would have bought this one instead had it been available. 380 out of 3.5″ or longer barrel is much more effective than the mouse gun as you get both good penetration and expansion.

    In the end I traded the Browning because I wasn’t carrying it but I would highly recommend either pistol for someone considering a 380.

  7. Not impressed that this gun is blowback and not lock breach. 300 rounds through it so far. I prefer the sig p238 at this point.

  8. The only 380 I would get would probably be a Ruger LCP2. I don’t “get” 380 1911’s at all.

  9. Can’t see any difference between this .380 Rock Island and my Spanish-made Llama .380, except for the beavertail and the extra slide cuts. Is Armscor also making the new Llama .380 that’s being imported and marketed by American Eagle? My Llama probably cost less used and is a good, dependable shooter.

      • I just recently bought one 1911 baby Rock, it came with only one magazine (stainless steel) and since day one it was a disaster, magazine could not be load because they get stuck in the middle and at the top, so it could not be fired, It fired one shot and the second one was stuck, then it continued to fail to Feed, stove pipe after every shot for about 10 rounds fired 9 were either stuck in the magazine or failed to feed or eject!
        I called them, e-mailed them and after three or four days they did answer. And send me another magazine, also stainless steel, and same problems, they said ” buy after market magazines” they work better” so I did I purchased two black/blued different mags. They work, but the gun continue to fail! out of fifty rounds shot, 42 were failure to feed, and failure to extract, plus stove pipes.
        I did not get my money back, and I haven’t got a new replacement gun either. They told me that I don’t get my money back, but they don’t replace guns either. Garbage.
        Buyers beware, this is all true, you can contact me anytime, [email protected] April 2019. Don’t buy the Baby Rock 1911 it looks very Cheap, very cheaply made, and is not worth $150. Never mind I paid $300.I should have bought a Glock 43, they never fail. Almost the same price. Beware! Junk! Junk!

        • First of all I guarantee Rock island customer service asked for it to be returned for warranty repair especially if it failed 42 out of 50 rounds. No they won’t give you your money back but they will repair it free of charge. Second if you paid $300 you bought it used not new and who knows what the prior owner did to it. Avail yourself if the warranty and send it in for repair

        • Clean it thoroughly. Then oil it lightly. It will prove itself. Dirty guns from cheap dirty ammo clogs the slide and the barrel ramp. Git ‘er done!

  10. I recently held one of these. It was cute.
    Still not ready to give up my P238 Equinox though.
    I can pocket carry the Sig – this is substantially larger (and I imagine easier to shoot).

  11. IMO the bbr would “rock”, if it had a fiber optic front sight, blue , polished stainless steel frame, and a vertical line on the real sight for quick target acquisition. These upgrades would blow away all competition Look at what Lliama did for its 380/ 1911. Frankly, the bbr / 1911, Browning, 380 1911 and Llama are the “same” gun. I life my little gun, nonetheless.

    • They arent the same. The Browning is locked breech like original 1911s and a a real soft shooter. The Baby Rock and Llama 380s are blowback designs, and kick hard. Also the grip angle is more verticle unlike the Browning which is original.
      If you want the best, get the Browning. Your search will be over.

  12. I’m 65 years old and afflicted with both arthritis and diabetic nerve damage in my hands. Back in the day I’d shoot the big bore magnums all day. But now my hands are very sensitive to recoil. The blow back action in this little gun makes for very sharp recoil. I have 9mm’s that are softer shooting. Even a 38 snubby is easier on my hands. I own a Walther PK380, a Glock 42 and the new S&W 380 Shield EZ. All three are softer shooting. This is a great little gun, but it’s just not for anyone who has issues with snappy recoil

  13. I am happy with the size the way it handles. Even the recoil is good. My big concern are the sights. Kept losing them in the sun. Thought it was me so 5 of my friends were at the range. Gave it to them to shoot amazing they had the same problem. So I called Armscor they don’t have any other sights for it. So basically it’s a paperweight until they come out with new sights. Thinking maybe I should have spent the extra $200 and bought the browning black label 380.

  14. A dab of dayglo orange on the front sight and slight white top edges on the rear sight of my Baby Rock made it much, much better to sight up.
    It shoots everything I can feed it: none of my other 380s will do that. In fact, my other 380s each require a specific type of ammo for reliable feeding, else there’s issues. Not with the Baby Rock.
    The Browning (almost bought it, but it…) is plastic. I have found that I don’t shoot my plastic guns much, as their uber-lite weights don’t help with accuracy. Nor with recoil.
    The Baby Rock does kick more than I thought it would, but then I have never shot less than 200 rounds every time i pick it up(!), so much fun…I am next going to install a recoil buffer (like in my 1911s) to help soften the kick a bit.

    Just ordered 1000 rounds of HBRN to try with it, to see if a slower-burning powder might actually work in a 830: usually they require [almost] TNT to get any velocity because the barrels are so short!

  15. I purchased the baby rock approximately 6 months ago.
    Since then the gun has gone back to thee factory 3 times because of FF and Stove piping.
    On the third attempt to resolve the problems(return of the defective gun), they did replace the gun.
    The new gun (replacement) did not stove pipe of FF BUT would not lock back on the last round no matter what I did.
    I tried everything I knew how to do to isolate the problem.
    Needless to say I have NO confidence in this weapon what so ever.
    I really like the feel and when it did fire it was accurate and manageable.
    Rock Island has been very courteous and responsive to all of my concerns.
    Customer service is impeccable I wish the weapon was likewise.
    For these reasons I would say don’t waste your money.

  16. This little 1911 is thin and the recoil is more significant than expected. The grip safety and the beaver tail really push back hard. The trigger pull is pretty hard and mags hard to load.
    For comparison I shot an original LCP with the same ammo. The LCP was smooth and the Magazines were easily loaded and the recoil was tame (with rubber grip sleeve). Way to go LCP.

  17. I have a baby rock in dark earth finish, I’ve just finished putting 1000 rds thru it without any malfunctions , accuracy is outstanding for a small pistol, only came with one magazine and it to tight to fully load only hold 5 rds, called customer service and they sent a replacement in less than a week, I’m very satisfied with my purchase good gun good customer service good lifetime warranty,it just don’t get any better 👍👍👍💯

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