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4 Aug 2014 - mkillebrew

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Rock Island Armory 1911 Tactical Overview

Having unpacked my Rock Island Armory Tactical 1911 and not yet fired it, I was surprised at the fit of the slide to frame and the bushing to barrel, as well as equally impressed with the surface of the feed ramp and the ease that it chambered JHP rounds while riding the slide home. The trigger feels around four pounds and the beaver tail is properly fit. Every one of my other 1911s, two Colts and a Springfield, are substantially sloppier in slide to frame fit, of course giving the one that was made in 1917 consideration for its age negates any valid comparison, but it looks pretty in the lineup. I had purchased it for a project gun, however, the only thing I'm likely to change at this time are the grips to a thin profile checkered as the grips it comes with are not appealing to the eye or hand, and it may receive a baked on gunkote finish in dark earth. The parkerization is uniform but thin, and will provide an excellent base for gunkote. The full length guide rod I find unnecessary but I have no valid complaint about it, the light skeletonized trigger, skeletonized hammer, beaver tail grip safety, large sights, extended ambidextrous thumb safety , and slightly flared ejection ports are very welcome and something I had planned to do to in my build until I found that the RIA already offered a product that matched the desire at half the cost of the Springfield Loaded. The flat mainspring housing is also, in my opinion, much more comfortable that the A1 housing. For $420, I'm extremely satisfied thus far.

I've installed the new slim grips, which makes a world of difference, and took a shot of it in the Galco N3. Pictures can be found at the bottom of the page.

Took it to the range for the first session and put 120 rounds of FMJ through it and 20 rounds of gold dot JHP without a single failure. It groups better than I'm capable of but the sights need to be drifted to get it on zero at fifteen yards. I'm also going to lighten the trigger to three pounds.

Detail stripped the 1911, polished the back of the trigger arm that and its contact surface on the sear and disconnect, polished the top of the disconnect where it fits through the frame, and the arms of the trigger to smooth its movement inside the frame. Also polished the trigger spring as well as bent it backwards slightly to lighten it, along with the sear spring. Pull is now much smoother. I out the sear and hammer together on the outside of the frame with their pins to act as a jig and inspect if it was a negative or positive fit, turns out it was exactly neutral on this one, which is great. No work was done on the sear/hammer contact surfaces. All polishing was done by hand with 600 grit then oiled.

Another range trip. Three round group was one inch at fifteen yards, but left. Drifted the sights and tried again, another three round one inch group right on center. About 120 rounds of FMJ and on accident eight rounds of Gold Dots, two inch ragged hole where the bullseye once was at fifteen yards with the first 48 rounds after the sights were drifted. I had not noticed anything but an unsual smell, then it hit me, I had just fired the magazine of Gold Dots with the flash suppressant, no failures of any kind, chambered and cycled like FMJs did. So far it is still positive.

More updates to follow

Right Side:

Left Side:

Full Length Guide Rod:

Plug with rod recessed slightly inside to aid in disassembly:


Guide Rod:

Feed Ramp:

Tool Marks on Underside of Slide:

Tool Marks in Slide:

1911 lineup: Colt Stainless Compact - 1917 production Colt 1911 - Springfield 1911-A1 - RIA 1911 Tactical:

Rear of 1911s: Colt Compact - Colt 1917 production 1911

Rear of 1911s: Springfield 1911-A1 - RIA 1911 Tactical

Slim checkered grips installed:

In its Galco N3:

Cerakoted with Wilson Combat bushing, hammer, sear, and trigger:

The RIA as a carry has been replaced by a USP .45, not because the RIA has any failings, but the USP provides the same features and more.