Martin Tuason says his pistols will run ‘right out of the box.’ Upon opening the box one finds information that says they need a 500 round break in. Which is it Mr. Tuason? For this pistol it was a little of both. Like most things in life, they usually work somewhere in the middle. The first trip to the range proved just that. The pistol had a couple of hiccups at first but after a box or so of range ammo it settled in and provided repeated reliability.
The pistol is definitely black; black body, grips and sights. And yes, the black sights need attention. I painted the front sight white so that it would stand out from the rear sight. That helped but fiber optic sights would be a great addition. If your eyes are like mine you will need to do something with the sights. The grips are a black rubber-like material and do not provide a very aggressive purchase. A set of G-10 grips was the first accessory and they helped immensely, both when grasping the pistol and in looks. It was nice to find that the Rock Island uses standard measurements for accessories. Not all imports do and common things like grips and sight upgrades can be hard to find because of that. In contrast to the factory grips the main spring housing has fairly aggressive serrations to help when grasping the pistol.
Eyesight? Where is that takedown notch anyway? It is much smaller than most 1911s and it is hard to see in anything but the best light. It will hopefully get easier after some practice. I can’t see the reasoning behind a minuscule notch though.
The gun comes with one ACT magazine. I have had good luck with this brand in the past and a quality magazine always benefits a pistol. I also ran a couple of Wilson Combat magazines as a test and they lock in the well and work as they should. Switching magazine brands does not always work and it is nice that my existing ones will in this gun.
The metal-to-metal fit is great with the opposing parts working easily straight from the box. The slide to frame fit is especially smooth. I could not find any two parts that did not mate together well. The trigger is no exception. After some take up it breaks cleanly at an average of 6.1 pounds and has acceptable reset. The front of the slide is nicely beveled to aid when using a holster and there are rear slide serrations to aid racking. This gun does not use a barrel bushing. Instead, the front of the barrel is tapered to form a tight barrel to slide fit when the gun is in battery. This is my first experience with this type of machining and I was stumped at the first take down. Remember to have a paper clip or a piece of wire along when you dissemble the weapon. It is used to hold the recoil spring/guide rod assembly. The take down is easy once the paper clip is used. It is also handy to read the manual before disassembly since this feature is well covered there. Yes, the gun does come covered in lubricant. There was even a lot under the factory grips when I replaced them. That really is not an issue. It cleans easily and has protected the pistol during shipping.
It is hard to fairly compare this pistol with my other 1911s. They are plain prettier. They have better finishes, grips, sights and panache. They run really well but so does the Rock Island. They are chambered in 45 Auto but so is the Rock Island. All of the basic features are located in the same places and work pretty much in the same way. For it’s physical size the Rock Island is somewhat heavy but not unmanageable. That may be a plus during recoil. Is panache worth the extra few hundred dollars? Maybe; but I did purchase both kinds. Lets consider the Rock Island the draft horse of the stable. It is not a quarter horse.
Rating: [5 of 5 Stars!]