New from Rock River Arms: Polymer 1911 Handgun


Rock River Arms is here at the NRAAM to introduce their new polymer framed 1911 handgun. The frame of the gun is injection molded polymer, but there’s a small metal insert molded into the gun that holds all of the pins together and distributes the force of the recoil over a larger area. The gun weighs much less than a standard 1911, but there is a downside . . .

The grip is wider. It’s a single stack 1911 but it almost feels like a double stack gun. They’re looking into eliminating or slimming down the grip panels, but until then it’s a gun that would be more comfortable in larger hands.

To be fair, we’ve seen this before. But the big news here is that the gun is actually going to start shipping within a few months.


  1. avatar El Mac says:

    @NL, Yawn…. nothing new here. Who would want a polymer when aluminum is available? And if you are going to go with a fat polymer, just go STI/SVI and be done.

    1. avatar Ryan says:

      Something tells me a Rock River pistol is going to cost far less than a STI/SVI

      1. avatar B says:

        RRA is already cheaper with their all steel guns. Unless they are planning a sub $400 price point weight seems to be the only advantage. What does it weigh BTW?

        1. avatar arturo says:

          They have released demand curves or did you mean price, and not price point? They aren’t the same thing.

      2. avatar El Mac says:

        @Ryan, yep…you get what you pay for.

        1. avatar john says:

          I’m completely happy with my RRA 1911. It’s got a couple thousand rounds through it, and has NEVER had a failure of any kind. I’m sure a better shooter could do better than the two-inch groups I can coax out of it at 25 yards.

          So I guess you’re right – you get what you pay for.

        2. avatar El Mac says:

          @john, Really? So you already have the polymer version? Because that’s what we are talking here…

  2. avatar ST says:

    That’s a good development .

    Why? Well, in colder states, metal guns left in cars during the winter are extremely uncomfortable to hold. I’d imagine LEO’s toting openly carried guns when it’s -10 outside face the same problems. I would not want to have to grab a cold- temp aluminum or steel frame pistol in a hurry . Polymer obviously doesn’t suffer this issue to the same degree.

    Next, no more blatantly obvious idiot scratch. One can also drop the gun, scratch it up, and not think “Dayum I just scratched my Colt/Springfield/etc”.

    Lastly, I’d imagine the RRA design doesn’t require as much lubricant as the traditional 1911. While a peripheral concern, should the gun be used in self defense it’s going into a police armory room for a while until the case is adjudicated. Getting back a rusted heap back after two months in storage would really bite.

    1. avatar El Mac says:

      @ST, “no more idiot scratch”? Huh? Idiot scratches are on the slide…the slide is steel….so, yes, idiot scratches will continue regardless of what the receiver is made out of…

      1. avatar LS/HD says:


        You’re doing it wrong.

        Or wronger?

        1. avatar El Mac says:

          @LS/HD, no…I don’t do it wrong, but plenty do.

        2. avatar Phauxtoe says:

          HA HA!
          “Wronger” – perfectly said!

          The only “Idiot scratch” I have Ever seen is on the frame!

      2. avatar Fler says:

        Not sure if you’re joking, but the idiot scratch is on the receiver.

        1. avatar El Mac says:

          Uh, no, its not.

        2. avatar El Mac says:

          @Fler, interesting…I googled it and you are correct…it seems the mark is generally left on the receiver. That said, this is the one I think of when I hear of “idiot scratch”:

          Way worse that the little mark left on a receiver.

        3. avatar Ryan D says:

          Jaysus people, calm down! The idiot scratch can occur on either the frame or the slide or both depending on how you muck it up… There’s a pic floating around that shows one on the frame and two arcs on the slide where the slide release did at least a 180. Maybe that one’s an “imbecile scratch”?

      3. avatar Carry.45 says:

        Someone pee in your Cheerios this morning Big Mac?

        1. avatar El Mac says:

          @Carry.45, No. Someone pee in yours?

    2. avatar Taylor TX says:

      with or without gloves?

  3. avatar Lfshtr says:

    1911’s should be heavy steel, anything less would feel sissy.

    1. avatar BLAMMO says:

      Yeah, it may be “nicer” to carry but it’s probably “angrier” when fired.

  4. avatar Peter says:

    It looks interesting,
    I find that a wider grip delivers less of a “karate chop” to the web of my hand when shooting. The polymer frame may also soak up some of the recoil by flexing a bit too.
    If not too expensive I may “need” one. 🙂

  5. avatar Sergio says:

    A -10* gun whether polymer or steel is still -10* in temperature. It is a false perception due to the rate of heat transfer. In a DGU the sensible temperature of my gun is going to be the last thing I worry about.

    1. avatar MarcusAurelius says:

      Perception is the issue, though. If it feels less cold then it feels less cold and there is less discomfort, regardless of the actual temperature.

      1. avatar William Burke says:

        If it’s that cold, you’d be shooting with gloves anyway. Certainly if you were me.

  6. avatar Paul53, says:

    Glove size XXL here (until I find XXXL). Bigger is always better!

  7. avatar Bpjester says:

    ‘Tis a shame. Rock River used to make some very nice forged frames, slides, and complete pistols. They discontinued production of the pistols to increase production of the AR rifles. I’m glad the prototype poly frame doesn’t have a squared trigger guard.

  8. avatar Coloradan says:


  9. avatar cknarf says:

    If I buy a 1911, it’s not going to be polymer, that’s for sure. I’ve already got an XD that does the job.

  10. avatar Tom in Oregon says:

    I’ve been looking forward to this for a long time. They’ve had pictures on their web site for over a year.
    Come on RR!

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      RRA guy showing me the 1911 at Indy was not commiting on avail date. I thought rather nice piece. Thick frame/grip a + (required by poly construction).

  11. avatar Peter Leight says:

    During the Show it was impossible to take POLY back from those who held it. Amused and with a smile miles wide. From the other hand – not going to be uncostly 1911.

  12. I think we can all agree that this is truly an abomination. Want polymer? Get a Glock.

    1. avatar El Mac says:

      @PTM, ugh…I can think of a lot better options for polymer than a Glunk.

    2. avatar 16V says:

      Like the frame material is gonna make a rotten platform somehow worse?

      1. avatar Carry.45 says:

        Paul, I agree. It’s an abomination. Especially since the grip is wider. 16v, on the other hand, rotten? Really? 1911s were the bee’s knees for reliability before manufacturers started tightening up tolerances and decreasing the margin for error in the name of holy grail staus accuracy. Some high end 1911 makers supposedly accomplish both though I can’t vouch for that.

      2. avatar 16V says:

        Carry.45. Please go spend the time and money to throw a few 10 of thousands of rounds out of the “best” 1911 platform you can find.

        Then get back with me. Seriously, as someone who has been dealing with these stone-axes for almost 40 years, I know damn well why the next guns JMB designed were the Hi-Power and the A5…

        1. avatar John says:

          Really….JMB designed the Hi Power…….you better go do some reading ……John Browning never even saw a Hi Power…and had absolutely ZERO with the design…..FN used the Browning name for marketing purposes to import the gun into the states… before you go bashing the 1911…maybe have some sort of idea as to what you are talking about……duh

  13. avatar VSN says:

    EAA’s latest catalog had a polymer Witness 1911–no idea on the cost, though.

    1. avatar tdiinva says:

      I saw it advertised at Cabela’s for about $450. As A 1911 fanboy I see this as an abomination. I just may buy one for the novelty.

      1. avatar VSN says:

        I see as just a sign of progress. OTH, I want a DA/SA 1911 with a USP-style decocker and safety, so I may be the wrong person to ask about it *shrugs*. I still prefer steel guns, though.

  14. avatar C says:

    High heresy, that. I like it.

  15. avatar Kerry says:

    They said it would “ship in a couple of months” at SHOT Show in January.

  16. avatar Thomas says:

    Not a real 1911

  17. avatar 16V says:

    but there is a downside . . .

    Uhh, yeah. 1911 platform. What other ‘downside’ do you need?

    1. avatar El Mac says:

      @16V, so true bro. The 1911 ain’t for every man. Its good you recognize you limitations.

      1. avatar 16V says:

        I had a highly tuned (for the day) Gold Cup Mark IV about 30 years ago, when I shot IPSC. I’ve owned dozens of other 1911 platforms over the years, shot hundreds of others, and put many tens of thousands of rounds of .45ACP down the pipe.

        Without a metric f-ton of work, it’s design flaws work against it and it’s user. If you’re a fanboi, great. Enjoy. You’ll never notice what’s wrong and it’ll likely never matter in your life. But it’s like saying the small-block OHV Chevy is a great engine. Sure, you can (successfully) polish that turd. But it’s a lousy design, and eventually it always fails because of that fact.

        1. avatar El Mac says:

          Like I said, it ain’t for everyone. It certainly isn’t for you. Got it.

        2. avatar 16V says:

          El Mac, enjoy the Olive Garden gun. This is ‘murrica after all, and being proud of unrefined junk is something the masses have been readily manipulated into for quite awhile…

          So yeah. As someone who pays attention and has dealt with them for decades – the 1911 ain’t for me.

        3. avatar El Mac says:

          @16V, ok, you got me on the Olive Garden gun…I haven’t a clue what the fuck you are talking about.

          My SA Pros run very very well and have for about 16 years now. Well over 150k rounds combined through 4 of them.

          My guess is, if you start with junk, you end up with junk. If you start off right, you won’t have any issue.

          So….go enjoy whatever non-1911 you are shooting and leave the 1911s to those that can.

        4. avatar 16V says:

          ElMac, If you don’t “get” the OG reference, god help ya. I guess McD’s makes edible hamburgers, eh?

          It’s a very weak design. JMB knew it and so does everyone else with actual experience and knowledge of the platform. It ‘works’ by being hand-fitted and still sloppy, or by throwing a metric eff-ton of cash into it. And it still ain’t that great even after you do. It is not capable of anything resembling accuracy and reliability without spending $5K+.

          I’m sure it meets whatever little your needs are, just don’t ever bring it to a gunfight. Or a competition.

        5. avatar El Mac says:

          @16V, that has to rate, hands down, as one of the most ignorant comments I’ve read on TTAG to date. Certainly as it pertains to the 1911, you haven’t the foggiest notion. Now…I wouldn’t go up against you on the OG or McDonald’s menu – you got me there. I still don’t know what you are talking about, nor do I really want to.

        6. avatar Frankgon4 says:

          From 16V comments / own words “. I’ve owned dozens of other 1911 platforms over the years, shot hundreds of others, and put many tens of thousands of rounds of .45ACP down the pipe.”
          Seems he is either slow to learn that a platform doesn’t work or is blowing smoke. If he felt the 1911 platform was junk and kept purchasing them and shooting tens of thousands of rounds – Either he is way slow to learn or is making stuff up. Either way, not someone that shows a lot of merit.

    2. avatar John says:

      A ‘downside’ that has lasted for over a hundred years….and it is not going away for a long long time…..right now the 1911 is more popular than ever…maybe the sheeple are waking up and finding themselves sick of all the plastic crap that we have surrounded ourselves with…. The design of the firearm is fine…and if built to spec, it will work…it does not have a choice…it is a machine..a tool… the problem these days is not the gun or the design…it is every company with a drill press thinks they can build one just as good as JMB and Colt did back in the days this country was great…and they try to pinch the cash to the last penny out of it….by taking short cuts and fiddle’n with JMB’s specs…..let 250 different companies build a Glock…to ‘their’ specs and lets see how that plastic POS works….. but haters gonna hate… hate on….hater….ha ha ha ha ha ha ha

      1. avatar John says:

        @16V…and my last comment was at it as well…. ‘Don’t bring it to a gun fight’????? are you stupid or are you just a troll…. What about that little gun fight called WWII…? If it weren’t for the 1911, I would speculate that when some brave solider used his 1911 to whack some nazi POS that had the drop on maybe some far from home American kid…that would later pop a wad in the back of old Chevy at the drive in….hell ….you might not be here to bad mouth it…never know what little detail could change the direction of fate years later… The 1911 was not designed to be a hair splitting target gun….it was created to serve this country by planting a chunk of lead ‘center mass’…and it has excelled at it…so give it a little dam respect.

        1. avatar Frankgon4 says:

          He is a Troll

  18. avatar lolinski says:

    You hear that? That is the sound of the turbine connected to JMBs grave overheating.

    Double-stack 1911 are not much wider than single-stack ones.

    It is just that they are more square, some polishing could probably help that.

  19. avatar Marc says:

    M Kay most of us have missed the point . Jmb made the 1911 just as it should be. It works and works very well it’s stood the test of battle and time like no other . Leave it alone . Don’t fix it till its broke.

    1. avatar Sock Monkey says:

      Nobody’s messing with the 1911. The GI versions are extremely popular, and will probably continue to be. Another poly-frame 1911 on the market won’t change that.

    2. avatar iksnilol says:

      There are improvements to the design, for instance the doublestack frames.

      1. avatar El Mac says:

        @iksnilol, no….a double stack isn’t an improvement, just a variance on the design. To call it an improvement – that’s subjective.

        1. avatar lolinski says:

          Double the ammo, double the fun.

          That is why I call it an improvement.

        2. avatar lolinski says:

          Double the ammo, double the fun.

          That is why I call it an improvement.

  20. avatar GS650G says:

    I had a toy 1911 as a kid which looked like that!

  21. avatar Anonymous says:

    Sweet Jesus. Sigh. The polymer plague has even spread to the 1911??!. When will it end? Can somebody please come up with a cure or at least a vaccine?

    1. avatar Frankgon4 says:

      Polymer is here to stay for a long time. If it didn’t work and didn’t win National Competitions, it would have gone to the way side. Polymers win National Competitions, used by other Military in the world, Used by Law Enforcement, etc. Polymer guns have created a documented track record of success.

  22. avatar BlueBronco says:

    Hopefully, they will make it in 10mm.

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