Gunner’s Journal

The 1911 Worlds Finest Handgun!

Archive for February, 2007

Rock Island Armory Tactical

Posted by Gunner on February 2, 2007


Many positive things have been written about these fine guns. Many models are available this one being the Tactical version. Without a doubt they are the finest quality guns for the price available today. Mine was $389 plus tax! I purchased mine from Cott Firearms in Marshall, MO. This is the best gunshop I have ever dealt with. Shawn, the owner, is a very honest person and always gives the best prices and customer service. Speaking of customer service RIA has no equal. Ivan, the north american rep, is on everyday taking care of “his” customers and fellow shooters. Problems are almost unheard of but Ivan is a wealth of information and goes all out to give the buyer of RIA products the best personal service possible.
On to the gun. I checked the trigger pull first as always. It broke right at 4 pounds and was very crisp with no creep to speak of. The ambi-safety was very positive and easily manipulated. After cleaning the gun I took it to my small range even though the temp was about 12 deg. I managed to endure the cold long enough to fire 100 rounds. I had no malfunctions of any type with some magazines of questionable reliability. Accuracy was on a par with guns costing twice the price.
I paced off 10 yards. By the time I finished I placed 50 of those rounds into a hole about 2 inches by 2 inches. Very good accuracy for a gun of any price. I was using a 5 inch Birchwood Casey stick on target.

I had two flyers no doubt induced by my wearing some pretty heavy gloves. One pet peeve of mine is a gun that ejects brass all over the place. This one doesn’t! Most all the brass was to the right rear about 4 feet just where it should be. Let’s put it this way. I was able to get down on one knee and pick up all the brass left over from my firing session. I ordered some Mil-Tac G-10 grips from These are some fine grips that provide a secure grip without being to abrasive. As always I put some skateboard tape on the front of the grip frame. If you’ve never tried this it’s worth giving it a shot. Most skateboard shops have scarps around they will give you. As it turns out lying your 1911 bushing wrench on the tape and cutting around the outline of the tool gives a perfect fit to the grip.
Even after all the positive comments I’ve heard I was very surprised with the quality and function of this gun. I highly recomend this gun for the first time 1911 buyer or the old experienced guys like myself who appreciate fine 1911’s. This one I’ll keep a very long time!

UPDATE: 9/14/07

As of now I have shot over 2000 rounds through my Tactical without any problems at all. I have made some mods to the gun such as replacing the FLGR with a GI model and a hand fitted bushing. It did make it a little more accurate but you have to hand it to RIA when they put a gun together they do fit it not just throw it together. Accuracy is still on a par with any Kimber or Springfield Armory I’ve owned. Pretty impressive for a low cost 1911 to be this accurate and durable. I’ve had 1911’s costing hundreds more and showing signs of wear and some that have started having some minor problems after 2000 rounds. Not this RIA Tactical. It just keeps on rolling along. If you like 1911’s or are thinking about your first one this is one gun you need to buy–you won’t be disappointed.
Some of us with older eyes feel the need to add a front sight with a brass bead or some type of fiber optic sight to help us pick that front sight up a bit faster. One of the guys on the 1911 forum gave me this schematic from RIA on the dimensions of the front sight. I’m adding a fiber optic on mine pretty soon and this drawing has been priceless in buying the correct sight. Remember RIA uses a Novak cut front and rear on the Tactical model. I hope you find it as useful as I did. I made a link so the schematic will be large enough to read:-) Just click on the link below.

Front Sight Schematic For RIA Tactical
Rear Sight Schematic For RIA Tactical

Update 2/13/08

I wanted to just add a short update for those who read this review on the fine RIA Tactical. This 1911 now has just over 4000 rounds fired through it without any problems whatsoever. It’s just as accurate and tight as the day I brought it home.
Prices have risen somewhat but the Tactical models are still available through Center Fire Systems for $379. Shipping is only $13 from this company to your FFL. This is still the best value in price as well as quality of any 1911 period!

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