Tyler Kee on Rock River Arms’ Polymer-Framed 1911 Handguns by Tyler Kee | Feb 03, 2012 | 33 comments facebook twitter linkedin email Harleys don’t use inline four motors. John Moses Browning didn’t play with Legos. 1911’s are made of steel. [Click here to read gunsamerica.com‘s preview of the Rock River Arms polymer 1911.] comments C. Walther says: February 3, 2012 at 14:03 That one sure as hell ain’t. *puts on flame suit* Reply Mr. Lion says: February 3, 2012 at 14:13 If they make it in a Defender-esque 3″ size, sold. Reply Blake says: February 3, 2012 at 14:25 I think this comes under the heading of “why?” Reply Totenglocke says: February 3, 2012 at 23:18 If they lower the cost to reflect the decreased production costs, then I’d say it’s a great thing. I know Rock River makes great AR’s, so I’d assume they’d make a great 1911 as well (Yea, yea, I know, don’t assume…). If this could make it so that people could get a quality 1911 for $500, then I’d say that’s a great thing since most quality 1911’s are priced way higher than many people are willing to pay. Reply DrewR55 says: February 3, 2012 at 14:31 My concern? They say we’ll buy $900 M1911 pistols because they are all steel. They reason that if we’ll pay $500 for a glock we’ll pay the premium for the steel fram. Now someone is selling a plastic 1911 and they’ll probably still charge the premium… What a load of crap. All that aside, offer a Commander style for $500 and I’ll buy it. I was recently staring down a Colt 1991 Combat Commander and the only reason I didn’t drop the hammer was because of the price tag for their supposed Economy Model 1911. Reply casey1911 says: February 3, 2012 at 14:32 The free market will decide whether this is a good idea or not, but I will say I think it’s a bad one. Most people buying 1911s buy them specifically because they aren’t “newfangled” plastic, or for their value as beautiful collectors guns. This gun won’t get that market, and it won’t get those that like plastic pistols either, since those people choose those guns (glocks XDs etc) for other aspects as well, such as large capacity magazines and trigger configurations. Reply Richard says: February 3, 2012 at 14:47 Some complain about steele frame 1911 being on heave side buy liter aluminium frame guns. Some people complain aluninium frame gun do not hold up well steele frame guns. So for those do not want care wight steele frame 1911 do not trust aluninium frame 1911 hold up than plastic I think plastic frame 1911 makes commisepro. How ever price point same as custem steele 1911 or good custem aluninum 1911 do see them selling alot plastic 1911 becuase market full them not selling. Reply Bob says: February 3, 2012 at 19:43 Damn, Richard. Do some proof-reading before you post your comment, PLEASE. That was just un-readable! Reply dan says: February 3, 2012 at 14:58 I’m sorry whats so special this is just a single stack version of what STI already makes. this is not a new concept its not a special concept either, it will probably sell better than STI’s version because you wont have to buy special mags for it, and it will be less expensive than the STI version. Reply Tom says: February 3, 2012 at 19:55 Well, the STI costs about twice as much. Reply Silver says: February 3, 2012 at 15:11 Because absolutely nobody demanded it… Reply ST says: February 3, 2012 at 15:27 I personally do not like this development, but it is where the marketplace is heading. It used to be 9mm steel frame semi automatics were the standard handgun sold, until Glocks became popular due to their light weight and reliability. Nowadays steel frames are considered obsolete in the marketplace. Just try selling a 5906 Smith and Wesson against its modern replacement the 9mm M&P . A majority of shoppers would consider the stainless frame Smith a heavy anachronism.Why buy a heavy steel frame 9mm when a buyer can get a lighter gun with slightly higher capacity? One day soon that is how people will view 1911s made out of anything but polymer. New shooters will come into the fold and wonder why they should drop $1000 on a steel boat anchor of a 1911 when everything else in their gun collection is polymer. Once manufacturers realize that people will spend $800 retail on a 1911 whether the gun is made out of stainless steel or elmer’s glue you can bet the writing will be on the wall for metal mass produced variations of the ‘Yankee Fist’. The rest of us who yell ‘sacrilege’ will be considered old Luddites resistant to progress and the benefits of 85 seconds-per-polymer-frame mass production. I sincerely hope someone can prove me wrong about this train of thought. Reply Iconoclast says: February 3, 2012 at 15:45 “In the beginning was the LORD, and the LORD did create John Moses Browning, and said unto him, ‘John, makest thou a pistol of .45 caliber, and make it good.’ And JMB did, and it was good in the sight of the LORD: hewn from steel, because that is what JMB had to work with, and meant for ball ammo, because that is what the laws of man decreed, and though finicky if fed other, still it was good in the sight of the LORD, slaying many enemies of righteousness. And the people unto whom the pistol was given rejoiced. But the LORD was troubled, for though the pistol was good, the fullness of time showed deficiencies, and the LORD commanded others to create other pistols, and they were good. But many among the people made idols of JMB’s pistol, and rejected innovations with much wailing and grinding of teeth, even unto rending of garments. And the LORD was sore disappointed, for verily JMB would have used newer technology and materials, even as he used the newest technology and materials available unto him, to ensure the pistol was good in the sight of the LORD. ‘Woe unto thee,’ saith the LORD, ‘you will be burdened with extra weight, you will spend more for marketing and image with sometimes questionable reliability, for the idol you have created out of JMB’s pistol.’ But still the people were unrepentant in their idolatry, bringing sorrow to the LORD.” Reply ST says: February 3, 2012 at 15:55 Thou shalt not covet the False God of Polymer! Reply Pete says: February 3, 2012 at 16:26 “Nah, where’s your God now [John] Moses [Browning]?!” Reply Ryan Finn says: February 3, 2012 at 16:07 I actually like the idea. My biggest qualm with toting a 1911 around was the weight and would fix that issue in a more cost effective manner than alloys. I really want to shoot one and see if RRA is smart or just reinventing the wheel. Reply Bob says: February 3, 2012 at 19:50 The wheel has been re-invented hundreds of times, because the available materials have improved. I’m very glad the wheels on my car are not made of carved stone. Reply Totenglocke says: February 3, 2012 at 23:25 Yes, but think of how many miles you could get off of stone wheels before the tread wore out? 🙂 Reply Ralph says: February 3, 2012 at 18:35 A plastic 1911? Who came up with the brilliant idea of combining the worst of the last century with the worst of this century? The only thing that could top this would be a hybrid Edsel. Oh, wait. I just thought of something even worse: this gun in .38 S&W. Yeah, that’s the ticket. Reply Mark N. says: February 3, 2012 at 18:45 I thought the whole point of polymer was to lower weight and lower cost. At least I assume that it costs a lot less to injection mold a frame than to machine one out of steel or aluminum. This gun weighs more than my commander sized aluminum framed Kimber. And at its MSRP I don’t see any substantial cost savings to the consumer, just more profit to the manufaturer. What’s next, polymer or kevlar slides too? Reply Brad Kozak says: February 3, 2012 at 19:08 I guess I qualify as a 1911 fanboy, but that’s only because I don’t have the discretionary income to buy an XD (my polymer gun of choice), after I finished paying for my two 1911’s. But I see a different concern than the “blasphemy” that most cite for making a 1911 out of plastic. Glocks were first conceived around a 9mm Parabellum cartridge. They, along with other polymer firearms makers have line-extended the concept to .40 S&W, and then created a cartridge (.45 AGP) specifically for Glock. Now polymer guns come in everything from a .45 ACP on down to a lowly .22 LR rimfire. Go figure. But these polymer guns were designed, from the ground up, to handle the 9mm cartridge. There’s been some speculation that they won’t hold up well under the increased stress that comes with a .45 (or a .40 S&W for that matter). But now they’re taking a 1911 and turning it into polymer? I got a bad feelin’ about that, Sundance. If aluminum-framed 1911s won’t go the distance, what chance does a plastic pistol have? I’m thinking it’s more than just a case of a solution in search of a problem. It’s more like a square, polymer peg being jammed into a round, 1911-shaped hole. Nothing good will come of this. Reply Gossven says: February 4, 2012 at 09:16 The Glock 22 & Glock 21 have been out for 2 decades, I think were past the speculation point. Pretty sure polymers are up to the task. Reply C. Walther says: February 5, 2012 at 21:37 Let’s not forget the Glock 20 (or the 29, 30, and 36 for that matter!) Reply Mehul Kamdar says: February 3, 2012 at 19:30 The Israelis have been making a polymer framed 1911 for a long time (the Guns America piece talks about them) and I recall that they were even sold here some years ago. Maybe they still are. If someone wants a polymer 1911, I can’t see any reason why they shouldn’t have one. Whoever doesn’t want one doesn’t have to buy it. And, if the very idea horrifies someone, its easy to look away. 🙂 Reply Bob says: February 3, 2012 at 20:10 Steel was the best material available in the early-20th century. Aluminum was the best in the mid-20th century. And polymers are best in the early-21st century. Progress is good. A “1911” is, by definition, a pistol based on a design of John M. Browning in 1911. I can think of no valid reason (except collecting) to buy a pistol today that is exactly like one designed in 1911. Even if one were to accept that the design is “perfect” (which I don’t), everyone must admit that the available materials could be improved. Reply michael says: February 3, 2012 at 20:57 There is no practical or ergonomic reason to buy a traditional 1911 these days, given other market options. But, that is not why people buy them. They buy them for the same reason they buy a Harley, and not a high performance BMW, Ducati, or Japanese bike. The latter will eat a HD at just about anything (unless you and your girlfriend are very fat), etc. But the latter are not Harleys, and they don’t allow their dentist and attorney owners the ability to dress up like its Halloween, and pretend to be a Hells Angel. It’s the same with a 1911. The owner can pretend to be a GI. Maybe they once were (a lot of us still remember the experience, which actually argues against a 1911), and now imagine that they are carrying something that defeated Tojo. Thus it is special. And who can argue pride of ownership? A plastic 1911 will be looked down upon by the “real” 1911 crowd. But unless the design is fundamentally flawed, once the bullet leaves the muzzle, it simply boils down to perception and peer pressure. If I had plenty of cash, I’d own a couple of 1911s, and maybe even a plastic one. Reply Sean says: February 3, 2012 at 21:33 I can see the use of it as a duty gun for someone who wants a 1911, but doesn’t want to carry the weight. Someone who has almost no chance of actually using their gun. Rock River should just go back to making their superb steel 1911’s. A few shooting buddies bought them, and the ones I shoot were outstanding. They made a longslide 9mm that was like shooting a laser gun. Every shot went in one hole. Reply Tom says: February 3, 2012 at 21:57 As long as it works. Reply okto says: February 4, 2012 at 00:20 Polymer frame, 1911. Pick one. Reply retrocon says: April 9, 2012 at 19:30 Well, let’s see, SW1911PD, full length guide rod, external extractor, and, yes scandium alloy lower. Not very JMB’ish, but i fine firearm. if this comes in around 700 at the store, mywants. Especially in commander size. Reply Shane says: September 7, 2012 at 14:57 Why…when you can buy a SR1911 for the same or less money. Why….when you can buy a STI Spartan of any three sizes for less money. I just do not see what it is they are trying to do. What market are they after? Now like others have said, bring the price in line with M&P’s, Glock’s, and SD’s, make it in the Commander and Defender size first, and you might have a sellable product with staying power. People could carry the poly 1911 more comfortably than a metal counter part etc…etc… However, if it is nothing more than a poly 1911 in the same price point as a metal 1911, than I just do not see it selling much. I personally like the feel of the metal which is why I have revolvers and metal 1911’s Reply Michael B. says: January 7, 2014 at 12:50 When is this coming out? Reply TGugs says: March 16, 2014 at 12:34 Never….How many Shot shows has this been promised?? Good idea executed horribly ( from marketing standpoint) or probably just does not work well. I “imagine” it would hold up to battering better than aluminum. Still waiting….. Reply Write a Comment Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment. Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.