I ordered this gun from Bud's because I had always been curious about Rock Island 1911's. I lived for a few years in the Philippines and was able to visit the Armscor plant where these are made, but oddly enough never fired the GI model there, only the higher end pistols. I did own two Citadels which are made in the same plant and they were impressive given the price, but they too were enhanced versions. One day, Bud's put this gun on sale for $366.00 and that was enough for me to "pull the trigger" so to speak. I was able to use a discount coupon to reduce the cost even a bit more.
I got the pistol in, and unlike others have reported, mine was not swimming in oil, even though it was well lubed. I wiped it down, field stripped it and cleaned it and lubricated it properly before heading to the range. This is absolutely essential with 1911s, based on my 40 years experience with them. If you don't do this first, you will likely experience some problems that will wreck your confidence in your gun going forward. It is absolutely worth the time to do.
So it was off to the range for test firing. I took along a brand new $1,000 Colt Combat Elite to specifically compare the RIA to. This is unfair, I know, but I wanted to see how the Rock would do. In short, it did great. I experienced a little glitch on chambering the very first round of Speer FMJ from the factory magazine in which I had to bump the slide with the heel of my hand to make the gun go into battery. However, I'm old and have arthritic hands, so I may not have pulled the slide back all the way the first time. In any event, it never happened again, and I'm pleased to report that the Rock Island GI had no malfunctions of any kind using Speer Lawman ball ammo, or Speer Gold Dot hollow points during the course of 250 rounds, 200 of which were FMJ and 50 hollow points. By comparison, the Colt performed flawlessly as well. I did not have other types of ammo on hand to try. because I tend to stick with Federal and Speer for my testing and stock it by the case.
It was a little harder to see the tiny GI sights on the Rock Island with my 60 year old eyes, but I'm surprised at how well I was able to do with them. My indoor range only went to 15 yards, but I was easily able to shoot 2.5 inch five shot groups at that distance offhand. My Rock Island actually has a better trigger out of the box than my new Colt, with the Filipino pistol's trigger weighing in right at 5 pounds and very crisp. I was only able to best my RIA groups by 1/2 inch using the Colt, probably because its big sights were easier to see. My two friends who went to the range with me, who have younger eyes, reported that they had no difficulty with the RIA's small sights. Fast point shooting drills also gave very satisfactory results. None of us experienced any discomfort with the GI grip safety either. The weight of the pistol made it very pleasant to shoot.
I tested this gun with the factory magazine and some Wilson 47D magazines. Both worked fine. I usually just put the factory magazine that comes with a 1911 away and use 47D's full time, and will probably do that with this pistol also. All controls worked smoothly. I really enjoy the clean appearance of this pistol with the very small logo at the rear of the slide. The smooth wood grips I got on the gun were surprisingly attractive. I'm not replacing them. The matte finish is evenly applied and very attractive.
I know that with some imported pistols quality control can sometimes be an issue, but in this case I got a very good pistol for not much money. Based on my testing so far, I would cheerfully carry this gun or use it for home defense. While more expensive guns may have more convenient features or perhaps better sights, there is not as much gap in performance as you might think. If you get a good sample, I think you will be quite happy with this pistol, especially if you like the no-frills GI look. If you think however that you want some additional features, it will be cheaper for you to opt for the Rock Standard Tactical model which is only a few bucks more. I've shot that one a lot and the sights alone are probably worth the difference.
The bottom line is that I test a lot of pistols, 1911s in particular, and this one made me happy. it is a keeper.
Rating: 5 of 5 Stars!