The new Rock River Arms Polymer 1911 Government and Commander-sized guns.
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You might think of Rock River Arms as an AR manufacturer but in reality the company’s first gun ever was a 1911. Decades later, they’re going back to their handgun roots (can I get a “hell yeah” from my fellow handgun lovers?).

At SHOT 2018 they had a polymer 1911 at their booth – that was in addition to the classic steel-framed 1911s – one boasting a width only fractionally broader than standard single-stacks. This month I spent some time with Rock River Arms running their newest guns and was pleased to see the poly 1911 on the table.

It shot reliably, it’s accurate, and the grip size fit my hands nicely. I haven’t fired it at great enough length to put out a full review today, but thought you might like some pictures and specs. The models at the event appeared well-made with good fitment and secure bushings. Yes, I am a fan of quality 1911s, and I’m excited to get more trigger time with these guns in the near future.

The Government-sized poly 1911 is shipping now and there’s going to be a bit of a wait for the Commander-sized poly 1911.

Rock River Arms Polymer 1911
Skeletonized trigger on the Rock River Arms Polymer 191

Specs (Rock River Arms Poly 1911 Government-Size):

  • .45 ACP
  • 5-inch Chrome Moly Barrel, 1:16 LH Twist
  • Polymer Frame and Mainspring Housing
  • Steel Frame Insert
  • Steel Slide
  • Aluminum Speed Trigger
  • Commander Hammer
  • Beavertail Grip Safety
  • Parkerized Finish
  • RRA Overmolded Grips
  • RRA Dovetail Front and Rear Sights
  • Weight 2.04 Pounds
  • Includes two 7 Round Magazines, Lock, RRA Case, and RRA Warranty
Polymer 1911s? Consider my curiosity piqued.

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  1. so they made a 1911 that won’t market well to 1911 enthusiasts?

    and those who buy plastic framed guns don’t have a reason to buy it either

    • This. Exactly. I’m a 1911 enthusiast and I’m thinking “I hate aluminum framed 1911s because they don’t soak up recoil as well as the steel framed guns, why would I want a polymer 1911?”

      And the Glock Guys are over here like “You want some toast with that JAM!” (you know, because 1911s can’t possibly be reliable like a striker gun, of course).

      • I’m a huge 1911 fan, love my Paras. If soaking up recoil is the only reason you don’t like polymer maybe you should consider a smaller caliber. Recoil has never been a problem in any of my .45acp’s, Glock or 1911 clone.

  2. Hey, they beat Glock to the poly 1911 game.

    Actually, this is not the first 1911 poly frame out on the market.

  3. WHY? A polymer 1911 isn’t going to appeal to the plastic fantastic crowd when they can get a modern double stack for half the price.

    And this also won’t appeal to the metal frame crowd, who like, wait for it, metal frames. I don’t know, this seems like the worst of both worlds and totally pointless. Then again, I said the same thing about the G19x, and those damn things are selling like hot cakes

  4. I’m not such a purist about the 1911 that I’m automatically against such a design. But at the same time, if you’re going to much with design anyway, why not just full all the way and make it a double stack? If they did that and made it for a decent price I might just be interested.

  5. Pepperidge Farm isn’t the only one that remembers their still recent role in disenfranchising the citizens of Illinois.

  6. I got interested for a bit then noticed it did not say Rock Island, who make a very nice 1911 for cheap, but the quislings at Rock River Arms.

  7. I thought Rock River and Springfield were both to be used as a doormat for their transgressions against the POTG, apparently saying you’re sorry makes everything OK again. “I don’t think so Tim.”

  8. For what it’s worth: Springfield Armory has made quite the turnaround in their advocacy for gun rights. Not just for themselves, but for all gun owners in Illinois in the year after the lobbyist for Springfield and Rock River Arms got caught making backroom deals to trade opposition to a gun control bill for a big-assed, money- and regulation-saving exemption for themselves.

    Story here, in fact:

    Rock River has kept a very low profile in that time. I assume they have learned their lesson, but they have not gone out of their way to pour resources into the gun rights fight as Springfield has. I suspect that’s because the scandal darn near killed RRA financially.

    • But do all members of the executive team have their testicals strung from a pole with fishing wire yet? Short term selfish gains, long term pain. And that’s before all of the comments about the market for another poly. Synergy going the wrong way.

      • “executive team” how large to you think even “big” gun companies are? This isn’t Intel, GM or Boeing.

    • I spoke to two different people from Springfield at the NRA convention and I wasn’t impressed. The first was a young lady that I suspect was was some type of CSR. She listened respectfully to what I had to say without any comment. I later had an opportunity to talk to a gentlemen who I think was a bit more up the chain. When I expressed my displeasure at what they had done he took a very defensive posture, I also stated that I thought it was a good sign the had told Dicks they weren’t interested in them anymore, but he would not comment either. He instead sullenly tried to change the subject at every opportunity. I will soon turn 59.5 and will crack open my nest egg. None of it will be spent with SA and likely none of it will be spent at Rock River either. There are too many fish in the sea.

      I sure wish someone would fix the damned comment system here.

    • Doing a 180 because they were caught means nothing to me. Until Dennis Reese resigns I’ll spend my money elsewhere.

  9. My 4″ Kimber with an aluminum frame weighs 4 oz. less (28 oz.), and will probably last longer. OK, so it is 6 to 8 ounces lighter than a steel framed 1911, but it still seems too porky to me, especially for a polymer framed pistol.

  10. If i buy a 1911 from a rock its gonna be rock island… ya know the company that didnt try to screw us over

  11. Finally! You now have the choice to bring a 1911 instead of a Glock and be invisible to x-rays. /sarc

    It’s easy not to forgive the rock river traitors when they make stuff no one will have much interest in.

  12. 33 oz. v. 39 oz. for my SS frame 1911 doesn’t seem like enough weight savings to be attractive, especially since it is bulkier.

  13. SA 1911s for me. Could GAF about politics in Illinois. SA makes the best production 1911s period. They keep right up with my WC semi- customs. If the price is below $700 I might try one of these.

    • I am with you. The people making the most noise about Springfield are remarkably silent when Glock wines, dines and procures whores for politicians in California, New York and New Jersey to make a sale. Same for S&W and Sig. When I see these TTAG favorites boycotting these three States I might take their indignation seriously.

      And I just picked up an EMP 4″ carry today so I can put my BHP away for posterity.

      • I have an EMP 4 also. Great weapon runs like a top. You’re right, quite a few companies do shady stuff. Ruger was one of the first back in the day.

    • Dude, no. They ain’t up there with Wilson Combat. I have had both brands. Maybe with Kimber. For the price of a SA 1911, maybe spend a few more bucks and get a Dan Wesson. Then you can talk about it being near Wilson Combat.

      • I meant they keep up with WC while shooting. Reliability etc. Put them side by side yeah no comparison.
        On the range I can’t complain about either one.

        • Yep, there is a train of thought that one needs to spend $1k plus for a “Good” 1911. Fact is you do not. For under $1k one get a very reliable 1911 that won’t let them down. Granted I have no regrets in my WC purchase I carry my SA everyday. There is also a train of thought a 1911 is inaccurate if it doesn’t shoot under an inch. At combat distance that is a moot point. Under stress one won’t be doing the perfect stance etc. As a combat veteran I can attest to that. I’m waiting on an answer to my challenge. Everyone likes a gun vs gun article.

      • Thought about this over night and come to the conclusion that we equate precision with quality. That is certainly true in many instances but in the world of firearms precision often leads to reduced reliability. Reliability is the ultimate measure of quality in “working man’s” gun. You can get a Springfield Milspec dirty and grimey and it will work. A Wilson Combat won’t. As any AK or Glock owners know precision is the enemy of reliabilty.

        • At the range, right now, with a WC CQB that hasn’t been cleaned in 2k rounds. And that was just from the last 2 weeks of shooting. Running like a top.
          On all my reviews of SA guns, none were as accurate OR as reliable as a WC gun.
          In any category the SA 1911 doesn’t come close to the most basic WC 1911.

        • I agree they are not as accurate but I have shot with people who have trouble getting through 500 rounds with tbeir WCs

        • Afterthought:. I once embarked on a “shoot to failure” test for my Milspec. I bailed at 900 rounds without a failure. I have had less than a hand’s worth of failures in 5000+ rounds. Three were magazine failures and the fourth, a FTE, was due to unknown causes.

  14. 1911 ergonomics are based on a balance between the slide assembly and the frame. Lighten the frame and you change the recoil characteristics. If you are too much of a weakling to carry the extra 9 oz carry a Glock.

    I weighted out my daily carry with a 32 oZ BHP and reload. Total weight for wallet, keys, cellphone, a knife, and a wrench multitool was 4lbs 11oz. Swap out the BHP for a 1911 it’s 5lbs 5 oz. Get smaller with something like a P365 and you drop down to 3ibs 12 oz. There is a 1lb 9 oz difference in the wight. If you can’t handle the weight difference you are a heart attack waiting to happen. If you want to carry a 1911 man up and carry the real thing.

  15. “You might think of Rock River Arms as an AR manufacturer but in reality the company is a backstabbing, duplicitous, entity only worried about lining their own pockets, and you are correct.”


  16. Yeah to hell with them. I’m not even a never again type. But they’ve literally done nothing to atone. If both RR and SA admitted they F’ed up, then decided to use their financial weight to help pro gun candidates win in the mid-terms, it would be a far different story.

  17. Hey Taylor, I’m calling you out on your statement. How about doing a VS article. SA MC Operator vs WC for reliability not looks etc? What do you say?
    Criteria is you use same ammo and mags and new recoil springs. 600 rounds mixed ammo each gun.

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