Gunner’s Journal

The 1911 Worlds Finest Handgun!

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!

70 Responses to “Rock Island Armory Tactical”

  1. Sailorcurt said

    Thanks for the report. I had stumbled across a GI RIA .45 at a gunshop around here and thought that the $325 it was going for just HAD to be too good to be true. I figured it was a piece of junk 1911 knockoff.

    Now that I’ve heard otherwise I’m going to have to seriously consider it.

    Thanks again.

  2. Gunner said

    Yes sir my pleasure. Check There is a section devoted to RIA/Armscorp. You can get a ton of information on them.
    Thanks for your comments:-) I appreciate it.

  3. Joe H. said

    I purchased an RIA standard 1911 and a compact with all the bells and whistles. The both shoot better than I can hold and feed everything as they came ported and throated from the factory. I own an Armand Swenson built 1911 and two Springfiled Armory guns as well, but the RIAs get the most bang for the buck. I’ve heard folks put them donw because they are inexpensive. All I can say is they should try one. OUTSTANDING guns.
    I have used and carried 1911s for 48 years and that compact goes everywhere I do because if I need it it will perform as desired.

  4. Bill said

    I bought a RIA .45 new in a box at a pawn shop for $165 about two years ago, now it seems they go for around $400. I enjoy shooting it and has never given me any problems.

  5. Gunner said

    Wow, I had no idea they were ever that price! That’s a heck of a deal for a fine gun:-)

  6. steve brenner said

    I had a bad mag and switched to shooting star 8 round blue steel units.
    Then not any problems.

  7. Dion..ops144... said

    great info this will be my second 1911.
    the first being a”very old” AO that got me in to this whole mess lol

  8. Gunner said

    Thanks–I do appreciate it! Your right once you start down that 1911 path there’s no going back:-)

  9. Horace J. Lambert said

    Hello Gunner,
    I have been a member of for about three months and after reading all of the good things that have been said about the Rock Island, I decided that it will be my next 1911. Yesterday was my wife and my tenth anniversary and she told me that I may as well order the pistol that I have been telling her so much about. I had got a circular from Centerfire systems two weeks earlier and was excited about the prices of the Rocks, They had the Tactical for $392.00 plus shipping. My wife handles the budget so I didn’t push the issue too much. I had decided that I would be saving some extra money that I use on cigarettes and beer and put it toward buying a Rock. We were driving to Lake Charles, La. yesterday to spend the day at the casino and going out to eat when she gave me her cell phone and told me to order the Rock Island that I want. I ordered and paid for a Rock Island Tactical in the car and am now awaiting its arrival to my FFL here in Beaumont, Tx. I am very lucky to have a great wife that has always supported me in every way. I hope to enjoy my Rock and I will let you know about it after I come back from the range on Monday. You have a great blog here and I use all of the information to help me maintain my 1911’s.

  10. Gunner said


    A late welcome to the forum. I’m sure you’re enjoying it–:-) There are some pretty knowledgeable folks on there. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate the confidence you place in me by using my blog for your needs! My most sincere thanks! Anytime you need anything in the way of information or anything gun related please feel free to contact me at this email address. There is nothing that I enjoy more than being of help to fellow shooters. The reason I started the blog was in the hopes it would be of help to people as well as the blog being kinda fun to read. I make no bones about not knowing it all but if I don’t know I’ll say so then find the answer and let you know. Seriously, anything you need just email me:-)
    You’ll enjoy the Rock of that I’m sure. Of all the guns I’ve used over the years it’s the one I’d keep if I was only able to keep one. You are one fortunate man to have a wonderful wife who understands how much shooting means to you. I’m sure she is 100% supportive of most anything you do. I’m sure you have a true partnership which is a blessing! My wife is the same way and I certainly feel lucky to have her.
    I’ll be looking forward to hearing from you after you get to the range. It’s great to hear from you.

    Take Care,

  11. Horace J. Lambert said

    Hello Phil,
    As you know I received shipment of my Rock Island Tactical this past Monday. I purchased mine from Centerfiresystems and it cost $402.45 shipping included to my FFL. Well I was forced to sit on it until due to the changing of the seasons down here in Southeast Texas. I went to wall Mart today and bought 2 one count boxes of Winchester 230 gr.FMJ and went straight to the range. There was one guy there when I arrived but he was about to leave. Before he left he showed me his WWII paratrooper folding stock carbine. He got it from his dad and has kept it in operating condition all these years. When he let me hold it I seem of have been able to feel the history that was in the weapon. Everything including the folding stock worked and it shot great. Now back to my Rock. With great apprehension I loaded four magazines and then set up my target. I used the shoot n c targets so that I would have some way of recording my shots and their placement. Phil, all I can say is boy oh boy what a shooter. Now I have shot other 1911’s besides my Thompson, among them Colts, Kimbers and a Taurus. All I can say is that this Rock shoot as good or better than anything I have ever shot before. I am not a real good shooter but I can keep my shots iside a five in circle at 25 feet, with my Rock I left a large gaping hole where the red was and my grouping were better. I had one instance within the first 39 rounds where the bullet didn’t go all the way in the chamber but all it took was a slap on the slide and in it went. The other instance was when I had a stovepipe at about 75 rounds and that was it for 150 rounds. I was working on my Ruger this past weekend so I put about 70 rounds through it while the Rock cooled off.I also put about 30 rounds through my Thompson 1911 to keep it from getting jealous. I am very satisfied in the performance of my Rock Island. I found nothing unusual when cleaning it after shooting absolutely nothing at all. I went through it wit a magnifying glass and could not find any nicks or bad spots on it. I am a happy man today. I spent under five hundred dollars and got the performance of a $1500.00 pistol. I am going to leave it as it is for a few months then get a trigger job and new stainless controls and new sights, probably fiber optic for the front. I don’t know now because I am too excited. Maybe in the future you will recommend any changes I may want for the Rock. Thanks a lot, Phil.

  12. Gunner said

    Horace That’s great! I am so pleased you enjoyed it so much. It’s a real eye opener the first time you shoot one of these fine guns and the results are so excellent. Bottom line you just can’t beat a gun that cost $450 or so and shoots like a $1500 gun!
    You are very welcome and I’ll be emailing you later. I’ll be more than happy to pass along some good additions to the “Rock”.

    PS: The fiber optic front sight would be the first thing I’d add. Our old eyes really pickup those type of sights. If you signup for a free membership at Brownells you can get one for about $28 to $30. Get a Novak since that is the sight cut that RIA uses.

  13. Horace J. Lambert said

    Thanks Phil, but if I am to stay married I won’t be doiny anything to my new prize until after the holidays. If you know what I mean.

  14. Gunner said

    I absolutely understand. It’s probably a real good thing we listen for our own good as well:-)

  15. rondog said

    I have three RIA’s, and wouldn’t trade them for anything! I especially love my Compact, it has lasergrips and it’s my daily carry gun. It’s really special to watch my 10 yr. old grandson shooting them.

  16. Gunner said

    That’s great Ron! I need a compact now myself. I have the Tactical of course and the GI 38 super but there’s just something real appealing about the compact:-)


  17. Horace J. Lambert said

    Did anyone have a cleaning kit packed with their new Tactical when you bought it? I had a little green box with a plastic vial of oil and a makeshift bore snake. The bore snake is made our of alumunum balls linked together and there is a brass brush that connects and it is all slid through the barrel to clear the bore of any lead deposits.

  18. Gunner said


    Huh,they added another goodie to the mix. Mine just had a brush and that’s about all. Not that I needed one. I have to much cleaning junk anyway:-)
    That is a good addition though since you can drop that in a pocket to use at the range or on a hunting trip etc.


  19. Reverend Frank LaPenna said

    I got a new RIA Tactical at a gun show in Dec. 07. I have since put over 400 rounds through it and I absolutly love this pistol. It is my first 45 and I am now hooked on them. I have a question, the ramp on mine has many little “pockets or potholes” for lack of a better term. I tried to polish them out with a dremel and some flitz and jewlers rouge. No luck, is this common on the RIA’s? I have had a few feeding problems but a quick slap to the slide and in they go. Could the ramp have something to do with this? I still love it and will be looking for the GI model soon. I paid $405. total at the show.

  20. Gunner said

    Hello Reverend,

    I’ll send you an email with some details on the ramp. I should have an email to you this evening.


  21. john said

    I hear great reviews of the RIA 45s, but what about the .38 SUPER RIA’s? Anybody own or shoot one?

  22. Gunner said


    Absolutely, just check toward the bottom of the home page and you’ll find a lengthy review of the 38 Super RIA. Another great 1911 from Rock Island!


  23. Polarbear said

    I bought a Ria 45 standard at Sarco Firearms for 329.00 plus sgipping they still have them for that price. Love it always wanted one since i left the Marine Corps in 1990.

  24. Gunner said

    Great deal on the GI Rock Island! Sarco is used by many members of the M1911 forum. It’s about as close to an original GI model as you can get these days. Enjoy!


  25. 62bravo said

    I was having a problem with my new RIA FS Tactical and the slide not closing completely, but a little tap on the slide and it would lock up. I couldn’t figure out what was causing it until I looked at my spent brass. I noticed that the extractor was deforming the case rim. I pulled the extractor to take a closer look at it and noticed that the bevel on it was pretty small. When held up to a fired case you could see where the flat end of the extractor was hitting the rim and not going over the rim. I filed a little more slope on the extractor and then polished it with a little jewlers rouge and I have not had any problems with the slide not closing since.

  26. Gunner said


    You did exactly what you needed to do alright. Great job! A lot of people take off to much and end up having to buy a new extractor. Sounds like you’ve done some gun smithing before.
    Thanks for the comment! I’m sure that other people will find this tip useful.


  27. Dan said

    Did you have to make any modifications to your Mil-Tac grips for them to fit your RI Tactical? I ordered a set for mine and the right side grip is high enough off of the frame to impede dropping the safety fully on that side which of course locks up the entire weapon. A poor option for self defense. Thanks for any help you can provide.

  28. Gunner said


    Just contact Craig at Mil-Tac and let him know about the problem your’e having. He makes two types of grips. One type is for single side safties and the other is for a gun like yours that has the ambi-safety.
    You just need to exchange them for the type to fit the ambi safety gun. At least it sounds like your grips are the ones made for single side safety.


  29. jin said

    Good day Sir Phil,

    I’m Jin from the Philippines, a new shooter. I got myself a single stock Armscor 1911(same maker of RIA, if I’m not mistaken).

    I’ve put a full length stabilizer on her after squeezing my first 100 rounds (FMJ).
    To be honest sir, I’ve feed my baby just around 500 rounds only.
    I have no problems with it. This last weekend, I used reloads, (not my first time to use reloads)..After a couple of perfect rounds, I’ve encounter mis-feed problems. The round won’t go all the way the ramp. They said I have a soft extractor.. some said it’s because of mag problem. So I squeezed a full mag of FMJ off her and there was no problem.
    Was the problem I encountered before was just a resizing issue?

    Asking humbly for your guidance sir. Thank you.

    Newbie Jin

  30. I’m pleased to read these stories of the RIA 1911 series pistols. I recently purchased the standard GI RIA 1911 .45 ACP. I own a Kimber, a Colt Mk4/Gubment and a Springfield Operator.

    No, the RIA is not as “fluff and buff” as the higher priced 1911 clones, but it is built tight and thus far I have had no failures out of the pistol. 500 rounds of various ammunition and not stove pipe or failure to feed what so ever. I’m very pleased with this weapon and would not hesitate to carry it or leave it on the nightstand for home defense.

    I would like the Tactical model for it’s slight “fluff” and additional components but I think I will just outfit this basic model with the components that I want to make it a more flexible pistol for own nees. Thumbs up for RIA pistols.

  31. Gunner said

    Glad you enjoyed the info. They sure are great pistols especially for the money. It is fairly easy to add the little fluff to the GI model. They are the best buy in a 1911 for sure!

    Thanks for writing

  32. I finally purchased the RIA Tactical model from Citadel Gun and Safe off of

    When my FFL recieved the firearm it came in a rather cheap case that was already broken and there wasn’t any warranty card, manual, nor expended shell from the firearm. To say the least I was a bit ticked that Citadel Gun and Safe would send out an RIA in a case that it did not come in without proper paperwork.

    My hat’s off too Ivan Walcott of Armscorp. I emailed him regarding the cheap and broken case and told him that only one side of the case had foam and there was no manual, no warranty card nor the extra mag that was promised to me by the dealer.

    Today I received a brand new RIA case with manual, warranty card and a fresh mag.

    Kudo’s to Mr. Ivan Walcott of Armscorp Precision/Advanced Tactical.

    Thumbs up to his attention this matter.

  33. Gunner said


    Well I see you experienced the great service that Ivan demands from the company. I’m sorry it happened but knowing Ivan it didn’t take long to get everything to you. They do have the best service there is!!!
    You should put your experience on the forum so people know how good these people are! Enjoy it!!!


  34. sonny said


    What modification can you best suggest for my up comming Commander Cal.45???

    Am staying at Las Pinas Area, where with in my vicinity will you recomend a good gun smith for my modification…

    Please share me how reliable and durable can my up comming baby perform ???

    Thanks and very warm regards,

  35. Gunner said


    Thank you for writing. I have to be honest I don’t know any gunsmiths in ElSalvador but I can check with some gunsmith friends and see if they know anyone good in your area. Let me ask you if your interested in shipping your gun to the USA for work to be done?
    I will do some checking tomorrow and also give you some ideas on the questions you have on modifications and what you can expect from a good 1911.

    All the best,

  36. Gunner said


    My apologies I Googled Las Pinas and it showed you were in El Salvador. I realize now your in the Philippines after going to your business website. I do have some contacts there so it shouldn’t be a problem at all to have a gunsmith for you to contact within a day or so. I have some friends who work for Armscor so I’ll contact them for the best gunsmith for you.

    Again,my apologies and best regards,

  37. sonny said

    To all Readers,

    This site is really something to which i can say in 6 minutes right after i wrote, a very warm helping respond i was reading and even more eager to my interest that help will be on it’s way…

    Phil you gave me a good day with all the hard days work entertaining my mails and inquiry here in the field of forwarding…

    Small game hunting was my sports since child hood and begin to be interested with hand Gun for the about 12 years as it really switches my attention away for hard days and weeks of work…

    Congrats with a very active blog and more power…

    Very warm regards,

  38. alex said

    I recently got a rock island and I love it. the way it shoots the way it looks and specially the price.I love it so much I got another one this time a tactical.why buy one kimber when you can buy two rock island’s, the more the better.

  39. Gunner said


    You bet that’s a plan! I know a good number of people who have done the same thing.
    They are great pistols!!!!

  40. tex45acp said

    I picked up my first RIA, the Tactical, last week. Took it to the range and it gobbled up everything I fed it without a single malfunction. My only gripe is it shoots 1″-2″ low at 15 & 25 yards, and to the left, for three different shooters. I measured the front sight for centering on the slide and it is 1/16″ off center to the right. I plan to move it over a bit and file about 1/16″ off the top to bring the point of impact to the point of sight. Other than that I really like the gun. This is my 15th 1911 and for the price, is a great deal.


  41. I finally got just a bit of time to take the RIA Tactical .45 ACP out to throw a couple of mags of ammunition to test for reliability.

    I’m using Wilson 47D mags and I had one out two mags with one failure to extract. Strange because the round was still chambered and the slide locked back as if the gun was empty of ammunition. I’ve never had this type of malfunction out of any pistol. What is the culprit ??

    I was using Federal Tactical Law Enforcement HST 230 JHP. They all fed the weapon perfectly but for the one cartridge still in the chamber unfired and the slide locked back. Very strange.

    What could be the problem ??

  42. Gunner said

    Well sir some 1911’s don’t like the 47D Wilson mags because of the rounded follower so I would tend to think that is the problem. I actually used only the standard mags with the flat follower and has the dimple in the middle. They just work better in my RIA and I bet they will in yours as well.


  43. I was able to grab some hardball WWB 230 grain and take both the Government and the Tactical out for 3 mags a piece to give them another shoot.

    I used both the Wilson and the ACT mags (factory) and out of the 3 mags in both the Goverment and Tacdtical I had ONE failure to feed out of each gun.

    I’m hoping this is just a “break in” issue, not a cheap gun issue. Both of the failure to feeds where with the ACT mags. It was the last round in the mag.

    Here’s hoping for some more ammo and a good solid 500 rounds a piece of break in.

  44. Gunner said

    I’m sure it’s not a cheap gun issue. Heck most of the big customizers accept the RIA’s for any work a customer wants so it is a solid pistol. It may indeed be a break-in issue then. The slide is cycling faster than the mag is feeding that last round. That should cure itself after a time. If not then putting in a 17 pound recoil spring should cure this problem by slowing down the slide and catching the last round.


  45. After inspecting both RIA guns I noticed that I had a whole gunk of Pro-Gold grease lube on the rails. After cleaning them both I reaplied the PRO-GOLD sparingly to the rails of both guns.

    I took 200 rounds of WWB 230 grain again to the same place I shot yesterday. Not ONE hiccup with either gun with both the ACT mags and the Wilson 47D mags.

    I think I had over lubricated both weapons and that may have caused the slide to close faster than the mags could keep. It’s guess, but it seemed to work.

    Walla !!!

  46. Gunner said

    Oops–:-) That grease can get ya sometimes. To tell ya the truth I use Mil-Tec and in summer a little Wilson gun grease. In winter Mil-Tec only.
    Glad it’s working well that turned out to be a simple fix huh!

  47. DougT said

    Hello Phil,

    I bought the RIA 1911 because the price is way too attractive to ignore as I was looking for a 1911 to do some customization. I am planning on gutting the frame and replace all internals with Ed Brown components. May be upgrading the upper with a long slide some time down the road. I think the long slide upgrade will be a nice project.

  48. ollie said

    good reading,think i’ll get 1 or 2 of the 45 ria’s

  49. Gunner said

    Good choice I know you won’t be disappointed!


  50. Jack Martin said

    I have owned just about every 1911 made at one time or another, Kimber, Colt, etc. I purchased a RIA 1911 (plain jane) several months back for a backup gun to keep in my cruiser. This thing shoots better than my Kimber TLE II every thought about. Worth every penny. Well made and reliable. I carry it in my 511 push pack with no problems, not the least bit heavy when carried this way. Sometimes simple is better.

  51. Paul Allen said

    Does anyone know how to remove the front GI sight?

  52. Gunner said


    I do know how. It does take a sight staking tool and a bit of time. The best thing to do is let a gunsmith change it for you. It can get a bit expensive buying the tools etc. Brownells carries the tools needed though.


  53. al farrington said

    What happened to you? I miss your input on the M1911 org forum

  54. Gunner said

    Sent ya an email

  55. Well, the RIA Tactical never really ran very well with factory ACT mags or Wilsons. I thought I might have bad extractor so I purchased the Wilson Bullet Proof extractor. I also had some fun one night with a Dremel tool and ruined the finish on the barrel of the RIA Tactical. Don’t ask it was an experiment gone bad. 😀

    Purchased the Kart NM Easy Fit stainless barrel with stainless bushing. Had my smith fit the barrel and bushing and the extractor. He blended in the extractor smoothly with the slide.

    I also added the Ed Brown MSH with the flared magwell. Very nice inexpensive addition to the RIA Tactical. I’ll attemtp to send some pics.

    I started using Chip McCormick Power 8 mags and now she runs flawlessly and is capable of 2″ groups @ 25 yards.

    I didn’t plan on spending the extra cash on an RIA gun but now she looks and runs better or at least as good as my higher priced 1911s.

  56. Gunner said


    I won’t say a word since we’ve all been there at one time or another. I’m just glad it worked out. Those Kart barrels are good ones so you sure made a good choice on that barrel and bushing.
    I’m glad it’s shooting well for you!


  57. morgansjc said

    I’ve been shooting 1911 style pistols for over 30 years. I have Colts in a couple of flavors, a built Springfield Armory that is my baby, and just bought an RI .45 Tactical for cheap from Centerfire. I still have a few days to wait, California, dontcha know, but my ammo is ready. A cleaning and then to the range.
    First impressions are good. Tight, crisp, and a good pointer. My training is point and shoot, no sights. The muzzle went right where I wanted it to. I rarely shoot over 15 yards, max (generally) sudden gunfight distance, and I can already tell this going to be a shooter. Some guns talk to you. This one is to me. I ordered good mags, never, ever stint on your mags. It arrived at my dealer on April Fool’s Day, and my pickup date is the 13th. I think this bodes ill for the bad guys, and very good for me. 🙂

  58. morgansjc said


    Check the brass. A flattened ring can cause that problem. Also, reloads can cause that with a short powder load. Also, sparing, sparing, sparing with lubricants. Keep a cleaning military brush handy and keep the bolt face and extractor clean. Many extraction failures are caused by grit.
    I shoot M1 Garand and 1911 pistol competition, and these are the usual cause of the failure we see. I keep my bolt faces, pins, and extractors as clean as possible. If I’m not firing, I’m cleaning. My M1 was manufactured in June of 1945, so it’s important to keep it clean because of modern ammos higher pressures. Same with your 1911 style pistol. Keep it clean, use 230 grain FMJ ammo as often as possible since it was made to fire that ammo. Also, a little ramp and throat job is always in order, and generally my first upgrade. Find the magazines your pistol likes, and get half a dozen or so. My SA doesn’t like some mags my Colts eat metal from like candy. Hope this helps.

  59. Gunner said

    I tell you what that pistol sure spoke to me as well. Excellent natural pointer and 100% reliable. Any parts you want to change out can be done with very little or any fitting.
    Just great pistols!


  60. nick said

    whelp, thats it. this forum has made me decide on the ria 1911 as my first 1911! you guys are great and very knowledgeable, so i know itll be a great gun. i wont get it for a couple of weeks but when i do i will for sure let you know how it goes and am sure going to be asking more questions about this firearm. thank you for the great review and the plethora of comments to bring me to this deceivingly great pistol.

  61. Gunner said


    You sure won’t be sorry! I sure appreciate your kind words. I certainly do my very best to provide accurate and well thought out information. That’s the whole purpose behind my starting to the blog was to help shooters with good info to make decisions on guns they may have an interest in.
    By all means let me know how it goes and feel free anytime to ask any and all questions you may have. I look forward to hearing from you!


  62. Rick said

    I got a Volenteer Commando Mark III from my brother for $300.00. I then had the plastic grips replaced with Walnut grips made for me by a cabanet company for $150.00. So I had $450 in the wepon and it was worth maybe $600.00. After playing with it for a couple of weeks and a few hundred rounds I decided it was nice but shooting the 45’s brought back my long time love afair with 1911’s. I have had Springfield Armory, Colts, Remington Rans ect… I have always loved the feel and power of the 1911’s since I was in the Army and one of my jobs was working in the Armory and serviceing the 1911’s. Thats when I feel in love with the 45’s. Any way I told my wife that I was longing for another 1911. The bug had me! I went to a friend that owens a gun shop and he wanted the Mark III and I wanted another 45 and he offered a gov model RIA 45 for the Mark III. That night my wife and I searched the internet and read everything on RIA 45’s we could find. WE decided if we were going to trade it would have to be a RIA Tactical instead of the Gov model my friend offered me. I know the Mark III is worth more than the gov model and tactical but when tradeing it comes down to what make’s both parties happy. The next day we went back with our information and requested the tactical with Houge grips and two extra mags and 150 rounds of 45’s and flash compensater for the trade and that is what we did!!!!! I will be happy with my trade and my friend with his! We should get the tactical by friday 09/10/10. I will be happy to update after getting my tactical. The gov model RIA my friend showed me was nice in my hands well balanced and felt very tight. I have read no negitives about this wepon.

  63. Drew said

    I just bought my second RIA, this one is the tactical in 2 tone. I love this gun, took it to the range and blew off a hundred rounds on Winchester white box, and this gun would not fail( trust me, I even tried to limp wrist it and it kept chugging along) my only problem is the sights, what style cuts are they?
    Thanks for the great review on an awesome weapon!

  64. Gunner said

    Hiya—they have a Novak slide cut.


  65. ken said

    I picked up my RIA tactical Friday, cleaned it up, but didn’t have time to get to the range until yesterday. This is only my second semi-auto, and the first handgun purchase in over 20 years. Here in SoCal these things are a little more money than I see other people paying, but hey, a loaded Springfield is a grand here, so 550 isn’t that bad. I can get the compact too for the price of one gun. Anyway, I’ve read a lot of reviews and was prepared to be happy, but I was blown away. Two people at the range came over and complimented me on my shooting, and I haven’t even done much shooting in two decades! Anyway, I ran 150 rounds through it: 50 Blazer brass, 50 blazer aluminum, 50 range reloads (230 ball, same as the blazers) and the four odd Winchester silvertips from a box of home defense loads. Not one issue. I shot 3-5 inch 8 shot groups at ten yards AND I was shaky and jumpy from long absence from the range. The silvertips just reamed out the same hole, basically. My eyes are getting old, I find, and I will have to put some lighted dot sights on it. I have some checkered cocobolo grips on the way, and that is about all I plan to do for now. The RIA is a bargain and a keeper as for as I’m concerned. I like the fact that its old school, rugged, and a little wear and tear will only make it better.

  66. Gunner said

    Good to hear Ken! They are the best buy of any 1911. They always work and never break. It just doesn’t get better especially with the prices you have to pay out there!

    Happy Shooting!

  67. […] I’m not going to drop two grand or more on a Wilson, nor am I gonna spend $800 on a Kimber. A bare-bones .45 with decent sights will be all I need, and I’ll go on using my CZ’s, just like Jeff Cooper […]

  68. Cool keith said

    Hello everyone stumbled across this site wile looking for info on 1911 magazines… i just purchased a R I 1911 tactical that only came with one mag. And am in need for a few more. Was hoping to find a good inexpensive brand that has a good reputation i just want it to work. I will be picking up my fist 1911 in a few days and im so excited i can hardly sleep lol also i live in so cal and like many of us im on a tight budget in this economy seem like every thing is going up except my pay
    any way i digress. What the short and skinny on the cheep tullammo and wolf brand is non brass ammo bad for this gun?

    Any feedback would be great thanks ….

  69. Gunner said

    Well sir I use a lot of TulAmmo and before that Wolf. I’ve never had a problem with any of this ammo damaging a gun. If I can find regular brass cased ammo for a good price I’ll use it but for economies sake yes buy the Tul.
    As far as magazines I have an article listed at the top of the main page. I’m afraid there really is no such thing as a reliable cheap magazine. You may find some on sale for around $22–$25. Cheap mags wear out fast and usually don’t work well so you actually save money by using magazines from Wilson or Tripp Research.

  70. mike coffey said

    are the grips from the colt officers model the same size as the RIA’s compact 3.5 inch barrel

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