Gunner’s Journal

The 1911 Worlds Finest Handgun!

Archive for May, 2011

Rock Island Armory Vs. Kimber

Posted by Gunner on May 30, 2011

“Rock” or Kimber?

Over the years I’ve owned and reviewed many Kimbers and Rock Island Armory 1911’s. I was thinking the other day about the values of each brand and how they compare to each other. This may seem a bit one sided since the Kimber is much more expensive than the Rock Island Tactical. At least from my viewpoint price doesn’t always mean one pistol is better than another.
I wouldn’t presume to tell you which 1911 is better, rather I’ll present some observations and facts and let the reader decide. As far as price is concerned you can buy three Rock Island’s for the price of one Kimber. The question for the buyer is the Kimber’s price worth it compared to the value of the RIA?
From an aesthetic viewpoint the Kimber 1911’s are very desirable while the Rock Island 1911 is more utilitarian but certainly attractive in it’s own way. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder as they say.
In the last few months I’ve had a sample of each 1911 for review purposes. One is the Kimber Aegis II the other a RIA Tactical both in 9MM. Having fired well over 500 rounds from each pistol I surely have a basis for comparison.
The Kimber has a steel slide with an alloy frame. The entire pistol has a carry melt treatment with the frame front strap checkered at 30 LPI. The top of the slide is also milled flat. The Kimber also has Meprolight nightsights. The trigger, barrel and bushing are all advertised as match quality. This model is from the Kimber Custom Shop. Even so there are MIM parts.Trigger pull is between 4 and 5 pounds. The Kimber is a series 80. Retail is $1159.00.
The Rock Island Armory Tactical is almost universally respected. This is not my opinion necessarily rather information taken from many of the gun forums and feedback from friends. The pistol is forged steel and made in the Philippines. It has ambi thumb safeties, beavertail grip safety, full length guiderod and Novak type sights. I’ve spoken with a friend, who is a plant manager, who told me that the slides are hand fitted. Some hand fitting is also performed on the internals so that they all have a trigger pull between 4 and 5 pounds. The Tactical is a series 70. Pretty impressive for a pistol that retails for $450.00.
Most models have a parkerized finish. In recent months the number of models has increased. Some of these new models are two tone with a parked slide and stainless color frame. Rock Island pays attention to customer feedback with several models on the market as a direct result of this feedback.
What about accuracy and reliability? Well you be the judge. The first 165 rounds fired from the Kimber resulted in eight assorted malfunctions. After the initial problems a total of 900 rounds have been fired with no additional problems. The Rock Island Tactical was reliable out of the box with only one malfunction which was a faulty alloy cased round with a ding on the lip of the case.
The picture below shows a target fired with the Kimber and Rock Island Tactical.

I believe the photo is self explanatory. The “R” stands for Rock Island and the “K” of course stands for Kimber. The rounds fired are an equal number from both pistols. Distance was 10 yards. You be the judge:-)
The Kimber has a one year warranty. Rock Island LIFETIME warranty. Repairs on the Rock Island are seldom needed. Turnaround time for warranty repair is one week to ten days. Kimber warranty work has a turnaround time of one month from what I’ve read in the 1911 forums. Rock Island normally adds an extra magazine when returning a warranty repair gun to the owner.
Would I carry the Kimber while going in harms way? Yes after breaking it in and it having shown itself reliable after the initial problems. Would I carry the Rock Island? Yes without a second thought.
I believe this provides enough information for anyone in the market for a 1911 to make an informed decision to choose between the two brands. I welcome your comments, experiences and opinions.

Posted in 1911 45's, 1911 9MM's, Kimber 1911, Rock Island Armory | Tagged: , , , , | 110 Comments »

Kimber Aegis II Review

Posted by Gunner on May 28, 2011

I wrote a review on the Kimber Aegis II for The Firearm Blog. This is a 9mm made for those with smaller hands.I hope you enjoy it!
Here’s the LINK

Rafter “L” Gunleather

Posted in 1911 45's, 1911 9MM's, Kimber 1911 | 4 Comments »

Select Fire 1911!

Posted by Gunner on May 18, 2011

This is one great video! The sister video is over on the Firearm Blog.

Posted in 1911 45's | Leave a Comment »

Modernizing the Golani

Posted by Gunner on May 16, 2011

My review on modernizing the Golani has been posted on Guns for I hope everyone enjoys it:-)

Golani Link

Posted in Golani | Tagged: , | 4 Comments »

S&W Bodyguard

Posted by Gunner on May 15, 2011

Here is another review I did for Guns for on the S&W Bodyguard snubbie.
Link to article

Posted in S&W Revolvers, S&W Snub Nose Revolvers | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Golani Century Arms

Posted by Gunner on May 15, 2011

I have a post you might enjoy on Guns for This one is on the Century Arms Golani rifle.
Link to the Golani review

Happy Shooting

Posted in Military and Police Rifles | Tagged: , | Leave a Comment »

Hoyt HL-1 Tactical Flashlight

Posted by Gunner on May 15, 2011

In the last post on the tactical knife I mentioned a flashlight as an essential piece of equipment. Whether you’re travelling with the family or just out for a trip to the mall a flashlight like this can make the difference between being a victim or a survivor. Now that may sound like an exaggeration but hopefully you’ll see my point after you read this and watch the short video.
Most people think of a flashlight as a simple tool to light the way when the power goes out or any number of uses. In the world of defense it’s far more when your light is extremely bright and especially so when it has a strobe function.
Personal flashlights using recent circuitry innovations operate in several modes. The Hoyt HL-1 is one such light. The specifications and features for the light are listed below.

Aerospace-grade aluminum construction
Mil-Spec type III hard anodized Finish
Anti-scratch tempered glass lens
Shockproof high power LED
Waterproof double O-ring seals
Balanced, ergonomic design
Anti-roll flanged grip design
Serialized for positive ID
Diffused light bezel included
Crushproof, waterproof case included

Max Output: 155 Lumens
Min Output: 7 Lumens
Runtime (max output): 100 minutes
Runtime (min output): 100 hrs
Length: 5.9 inches
Weight: 6.9 oz
Battery: (2) 123a lithium

(4) Multi-function, application specific operational modes
Universal-Survival-Close Quarters Combat- Weapon/Nav
(5) Illumination modes
Low-High-Full Adjust-7Hz Strobe-SOS Strobe
Adjustable low light setting
Constant and Momentary On
Simple, Intuitive clickie switch
Lockout tailcap

The information listed above sums up the abilities of the light in a literal sense but until you see the very very bright 155 lumen light in darkness you can’t really appreciate it. When used in strobe mode it’s especially impressive. Speaking of strobe lets take a look at a short movie I made. This was done in late afternoon on a cloudy day so it wasn’t even totally dark. One thing you’ll notice is the strobe seems to pause after a few flashes. This is a camera effect. The strobe is fast and constant when viewed with the human eye.

The Hoyt HL-1 comes in a thick black plastic case with foam lining. It’s waterproof and holds the light, four extra batteries and a diffusing lens which replaces the standard lense when you want to light up a wider area. This does reduce the “throw” or brightness and distance the light covers.
These are the four modes of operation:
Modes are controlled by the number of clicks specified in the instruction book which is to lengthy to list here. In spite of the long instructions it’s very simple to select the mode of choice. I keep mine in CQC or Close Quarters Combat. With one click you have the full power 155 lumen light with a double click activating the strobe. Two more clicks turns the light off. The weapon/nav function simply means it’s handheld or weapon mounted using the low power 7 lumen setting to navigate the landscape without letting everyone in the area know you’re there.

I imagine you see my point of the importance of a good flashlight with the strobe function. Pointing the light in an attackers face will blind and disorient them badly allowing you more time to draw your handgun or take whatever action you feel is needed.
One cautionary tail. When we first starting using strobe lights on our police units we found that a strobe operates on a frequency that will send an epileptic into a seizure. The first and last time this happened to me made the suspect hit the ground in a hurry. You don’t want to play with the light on strobe if a family member or friend is an epileptic!
I’ve owned many flashlights over the years. The first was state of the art in the mid 70’s which was a Mag-Lite with three D cell batteries. That was followed by the Streamlight SL-35. These lights served two purposes if you know what I mean:-) Jump forward to a few years ago to retirement and the search was on for a smaller handheld light that could be carried in a Galco mag pouch that held a spare magazine and a flashlight. I won’t bore you with a list of all the lights I tried but suffice it to say I’ve found a keeper in the Hoyt HL-1!

Mine is from the great folks at Mounts Plus!

Happy shooting and as always feel free to comment or ask questions you may have!

Posted in Flashlights | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »

Blackhawk CQD Mark 1

Posted by Gunner on May 14, 2011

Those of us who carry a handgun everyday put a lot of thought into which gun is right for us. We consider caliber,size and other criteria. The problem is many times we neglect other essential equipment that we should give as much thought too as our handguns. Two of these items are the knife we should carry as well as a flashlight.
I’ve carried many different knives in my law enforcement career. Of course some proved better than others. The knife I carry now is the best knife of the bunch. It’s the Blackhawk MOD series CQD Mark1. This very sturdy knife has all the features any officer or civilian could ever want or need.
The body of the knife is made from injection molded nylon with 420J stainless steel liners. With that construction I don’t see how you could possibly damage it to the point of failure. The surface of the grips are stippled for a firm grip when your hands are damp or when the user is wearing gloves. The body also has an extended pommel for striking. Just in front of the pommel are two very sharp blades recessed into the body. These blades cross each other for cutting seatbelts, Para Chord or any other utility cutting. These are razor sharp and will cut anything that fits in the wedge the blades are mounted in. These blades are approximately one inch in length giving them a great deal of strength.

The body of the knife has a pocket clip which can be reversed to the opposite side of the knife. The blade is large at 3.75 inches in length and constructed from AUS8A stainless steel. The blade is coated in PVD to protect it from rusting as well as making it more difficult to see at night. The blade also has thumb studs on both sides.
When the blade is deployed it automatically locks into place. To release the blade a silver plunge lock button is depressed allowing the blade to be folded. A secondary lock is mounted as a sliding piece on top of the body which is easily operated with your thumb as it rest on the flared knife body.

Another great feature is a glass breaker mounted alongside the blade hilt. It’s made of steel with a rather sharp point seen below.

At least for me this is the best knife around to compliment my other equipment. With a retail of $100 you get a lot of knife for the money. I would encourage anyone in the market for a great knife to check this one out!

Posted in Knives | Tagged: , , | 1 Comment »