Gunner’s Journal

The 1911 Worlds Finest Handgun!

The Rock Island Armory 1911’s

When I look at the areas of interest on my blog the Rock Island Armory 1911’s are first in interest by a wide margin. I have my original post on the Rock Island as well as an update I posted 9/14/07. I also refinished my Tactical using DuraCoat in matte black. I especially hope you find some useful information on refinishing a 1911.
Rock Island Armory pistols are available in the Tactical, my favorite, as well as the standard GI model in 45 acp, the 38 super in standard GI configuration and finally a compact CCW model in 45 acp. From information I’ve recieved we may have another model in the next year which would be the Tactical model in a 4 inch barrel! One other model is available by special order and that is the Match version. The match version appears to be a Tactical model with some very important additions. The frame and slide are hand fitted at ARMSCORS custom shop and sports a Millet type adjustable rear sight with an orange fiber optic front sight. Test results may be seen at eZine.
These links will take you directly to everything “Rock”! At the bottom of the page on the first link below is a link you can click to get a large view of the front sight schematic of the Rock Tactical. Just print this out if you wish and you will have all the information you need to replace the front sight with any sight of your choice. Note that the front and rear sight cuts are Novak. More to come:-)

Rock Tactical and update

Refinishing The Rock Tactical

83 Responses to “The Rock Island Armory 1911’s”

  1. Sam Hunt said

    Hey Gunner. I just recently found your site. I enjoy your articles & have picked-up on some very useful information. I have a fe different styles of handguns, but have fallen in love with the 1911’s. Of the Springfields & the Taurus 1911 I have or have had, they have for the most part been good firearms. Then the RIA GI came along early this summer. I used it to learn a little about the 1911. I installed a beavertail, magwell, hammer, triger worked on the trigger pull untill I got it right ect…..I am hooked! I bought a RIA 38 Super a month or so ago & will pick up the RIA Tactical I ordered in a few days. These are great guns! Althogh I liked the PT just fine, I sold it to a friend last week. It went to a good home. I learn most things by reading & hands on experience. Anyway Thanks for sharing your thoughts & knowledge with us. Sam.

  2. Gunner said

    Hello Sam,

    Thanks very much for your comments. I am very happy your finding the posted information helpful. My love affair with the 1911 started about 1972 and hasn’t stopped since! I just love this old gun and I’m especially impressed with the current popularity of it. It’s a design that doesn’t seem to be bound by time.
    It sounds like you have one heck of a 38 Super with the mods you’ve done! I plan on that being my next RIA. I know you’ll love the Tactical it just doesn’t get any better:-)
    I’ve been wanting to try the Taurus but I haven’t figured out a way to fit it in when trying to budget for another “Rock”.
    Anytime you think I can be of help just send me an email. I’m always happy to try and help out a fellow shooter.

    All the best,

  3. Gunner said


    Cool, I’m glad you’re enjoying the Rock!It sounds like your adding some practical goodies on it. That trigger pull will smooth out with a couple of hundred rounds through it. Mine was ok from the start but it smoothed out to after awhile.

    Take Care,

  4. steve said

    Hey is that your Tactical up at shawns for sale right now. If it is how good did it shoot JHP’s in it.


  5. Gunner said

    It may be one of mine. If it’s black duracoated and has an EGEW bushing and an extra bushing wrench from EGW I’d say it’s probably my first one.
    I’ll email you.


  6. Owen said

    The NYSP stainless pictured Jan 17..originally was issued to plainclothes personnel….it came with black rubber grips and had a cocking hammer… was clumsy to carry under a suit jacket and spent more time vehicle trunks and briefcases than it did on anyones belt, it was replaced by a Glock 9mm – most were sold via a contractor to go somewhere in south america, some were purchased by NYSP members when the glock came in….O

  7. Gunner said


    Thanks very much for the information on the S&W. It’s always great to get reliable info directly from the source. I appreciate your comment. I’ll pass this along to my buddy who owns it now.

    Take Care,

  8. Jerry Rogers said

    Can you give me some info on the accuracy of th RIA Tactical 45ACP? I am really getting interested in this 1911. I own a Kimber and a Taurus and both are accurate out to 25 yds. Does the RIA compare? Thanks, Jerry

  9. Gunner said


    From my experience with all three guns they are pretty equal in most respects. The Kimber may be a slight bit more accurate than the Taurus but they are so close the difference is negligible.In my opinion the RIA Tactical and Kimber, if both are in 45 caliber, are pretty much equal out to 25 yards.
    I know the Kimber is advertised as having a match barrel and bushing as is the Taurus the RIA Tactical also goes through some hand fitting.In reality they all three shoot better than we can. In a Ransom rest the Kimber would most likely take the prize but not by much.
    Bottom line is the RIA Tactical is one heck of a 1911 for any price. However at the current price of $379 from Centerfire Systems it can’t be beat! Centerfire is also carrying the RIA Match model which is hand fitted and carries a price of $699 through the same company.
    I hope this helps and by all means feel free to contact me anytime.

    All the best,

  10. Matt said

    This is a great site. I’ve given much thought to getting an RIA .38 Super, as this is the only affordable option in a .38 1911. Let alone the classy Nickel/(simulated)Pearl model, that was the extent of customization aside from engraving or other cosmetics, in the day when the Super .38 Automatic was the ultimate combat handgun.
    1929-35 sounds like a short span but this period held a large number of major gun battles on the homefront, maybe laid the foundation for modern tactical thought in civilian/LE context.

    Penetration was the main draw in those days of steel vests and heavy bodywork. Most master gunfighters (and many were, it was closer to the old west than today’s SWAT procedures) on both sides of the law favored the Super.

    And still today makes for a hell of a SD weapon, giving the endless positives of the 1911, the power of a .357 Sig with the right loads, with mild recoil and flip. Shoots fast, accurate, and hits hard.

    One of these in blue or nickel is definately on my list. Thanks again for reviews on pistols that normally would not get them, at least to be found thru a web search (aside from forum threads rarely giving a thorough picture of the gun). Found both I researched here on one site

  11. Gunner said


    Thanks very much. Like I have said the reason I started the blog was I perceived a lack of information on many guns that are perfect for defense. That and so many post I read had inaccurate information so I wanted to be as thorough as possible and provide fellow shooters with the best info I could.
    Your comment is 100% right and I really can’t add to it. You covered it very well!The 38 Super is a fine defense round. Cor Bon is making some great rounds for defense in that caliber. What you said about the 1930’s is right on the money. It would have been an interesting time to be a LEO!!!

    Happy Shooting,

    PS I saw a Rock Island the other day in nickel GI configuration. Very nice pistol.

  12. Richard Kerr said

    As an owner of a Rock Island 1911A1 G.I. I have been extremely happy with all aspects of the pistol, even the quality of the supp;ied magazines is 100%. I bought a spare mag for mine and found what looked like an exact copy of the one that came with the gun, got it home and lo and behold… it was identical with one difference… my original mag had “NOVAK’S” stampted on it and the new one had Smith & Wesson’s S&W logo. Both mags are top quality in fit, finish, and function.

    Oh, one minor complaint about this blog… the type color and the background color are too close in shading to read in the Comments/Reply section. Otherwise great Blog, just wish it was easier to read!

  13. Gunner said


    Thanks for your comment! Yep all the mags are made in Italy and are the same ones labeled as Novak, S&W as well as Wolff. Very good magazines for certain.
    I’ll check into the color of the type. When they give you a template to use the color just comes with it. I’ll see if I can change it.


  14. Dear Sir,
    Can you please tell me if there is a grip configuration for the RIA .45 1911 like the one that is on the .38 super.
    It is like a wrap around wood grip with finger and a thumb groove.
    I saw a picture on another site and would love to get my hands on one for my .45
    If you know where i can get one could you please advise. It would be a big help.
    Thanks so much, Jason Johnson.

  15. Gunner said


    Email sent. Altamont is one company that makes that type of grip.


  16. Federico said

    I have a question, other than the barrel and magazine from the RIA 1911 chamberd in .38 super, can the rest of the parts be interchangable with any other 1911 chamberd in.45 auto?

  17. Gunner said


    Most all the parts do interchange. The other part that can’t be is the slide. The dimensions of the 45 are so much larger than the 38 super that it won’t work. When the bullet is chambered and the gun is in battery the base of the bullet has to have a snug fit on the firing pin and fit the extractor.
    The frame parts are all the same but the slide just can’t be modified to fit. A 10mm can be used with a 40 cal but that’s about the only one. To modify your 45 to work with a 38 super or vise versa you would need a new slide, barrel etc and have it fitted to the frame you have.


  18. frank kinsinger said

    Just found your site and I have to say, I like it already. Just wish to comment on the RIA 1911’s. I purchased two of them last spring. One for me and one for my son, who had recently gotten out of the US Army’s 82d Airborne. I chucked mine in the safe and forgot about it for about 6 months. Evidently my son did the same thing.
    We finally got out to shoot them along with a few M4 kits I had put together on EA lower recievers. We stopped at the pistol range first to fire a couple mags and see just how the guns would run. Well, to make a long story short we spent about 2 hours shooting the RIA’s. Over 600 rds went through those guns that day. Only one stove pipe was had on my sons gun and that was because of loose wristed offhand shot he took. I was amazed. I have Wilson’s, Bauer’s, Kimbers, Colts and quite a few other brands in the safe. None ever shot as reliably as these out of the box. I was stunned.
    They shot with everything my Dillon had spit out. Custom bullets out of my H&G molds, 230 FMJ’s, 200 Semi wadcutters, and a variety of other rounds that were in the ammo box. Amazing. And accuracy was just as impressive. from 7 yds to 25 yds we chewed the x rings out of B-7 targets and inserts one after the other. I gave my son the standard blued version and kept a factory Duracoat model for myself. I have been carrying .45’s since my first and second tours in RVN in 1967. They have saved my life a number of times. I would have proudly carried this gun anyday.

  19. Gunner said


    That is fantastic and very much what I would expect. I know they use old Colt machinery to make them but how they make such a wonderful pistol for that price is truly amazing as you said.
    The accuracy is what floored me when I first shot mine and it sounds like you had the same experience.Best kept secret in the 1911 world for certain!
    Thanks for your comment and I’ll send a longer email tomorrow.


  20. FRED HOLSTER said

    just bought a new ria govt model – noticed that none of my colt type mags seem to fit or lock up properly in this piece – the one novak supplied with it works , but none of the others i have does (they all work fine in my colt and my norinco) whats the deal ? -fred

  21. Gunner said


    Wow, I’ve never even heard of that before. The RIA 1911’s are made on old Colt machinery. All I’ve owned will work with any mag I have put in it. Nobody on any of the forums have mentioned that problem either. What I would suggest is to call Ivan Walcott the CEO in north america and see if you can get an idea from him or the resident gunsmith. 775-537-1444–you can also email Ivan at

    What really puzzles me is the Novak mags fit but Colt mags don’t. They should be identical. One question. Is it a problem with them locking in place or just not fitting in the mag well?



  22. Gunner said

    I tried to email you but the email bounced. Can you check the posted email and try again?


  23. FRED HOLSTER said


  24. FRED HOLSTER said

    sorry – try

  25. Gunner Davis said

    I recently purchased a RIA 1911 compact45 seems to be a great gun so far.I have a few mods planned.I am searching for a owners manual as well as any advice on where to find accesories for this particular gun {sights..night sights}
    any advice and info on a manual I would be thankful.I just found your site tonite…from what I have seen and read so far Im sure Ill be a regular stop e-mail responsee is fine if you have the time thank you gunner davis

  26. Gunner said

    Hello sir–email sent

  27. Gunner Davis said

    thank you about to take a look now

  28. Michael Haskins said

    Hello there,
    I haven’t owned a handgun for some time and with a family of seven (including my wife) It can be difficult to spend money on weapons. About three weeks ago I was in Scenic Sports and imagine my surprise when I saw a NEW handgun for $119. It was a 380 Hi-Point. I ended up buying the 45 Hi-Point with a spare mag for $200. To date I haven’t fired it because for a couple hundred more I could get a RIA 1911. My father was in WWII and he had a 1911. My sister ended up with it. I have researched the RIA and have read good things. Most people seem (I say seem) to favor the more expensive brands. I am not knocking any of them. But $400-$450 is all I would dare spend right now. Any input would be awesome. Can someone tell me the difference between the ARMSCOR 1911A1 and the RIA 1911?

    Thank you for your time,

  29. Gunner said


    They are the same. Armscor is the parent company of RIA and is located in the Philippines. RIA is the US branch. They certainly are fine guns and a good choice regardless of some folks thinking they aren’t very good because they don’t cost a ton. You might like to check There is a thread there of RIA lovers and owners.

    Take care,

  30. NIK 45 said

    just recently bought a RIA nickel 45(we do love the shiney things) and found it to be in fit and finish to be an exceptional piece for the price.the gun shoots very well and is more accurate than my kimber!! I may just buy another before they ban them too!!

  31. Gunner said

    Well I sure hope they don’t ban them! They are neat looking pistols with that bright nickel finish! You just can’t beat the value of a Rock Island for what you get. Accuracy is one of the best features of this 1911!
    Thanks for writing!

  32. NIK 45 said

    Yes they are very good pistols, in case people don’t know SARCO in NEW JERSEY sells these and the standard GI model is $320,TACTICAL $385,HI-CAP $395,38 SUPER $340! see it in shotgun news.

    Let us not sleep as do others;
    but let us watch and be sober.
    1 THESS. 5:6

  33. Gunner said


    That’s the best price I’ve heard of and Sarco has a good rep. Those are great prices for a fine pistol!


  34. NIK 45 said

    You have an excellent site here,and as I sit here gazing at my Sarah Palin calender and wonder what might have been, I think what the hell I’ll just buy another 45 and some ammo!!!

  35. Bob said

    Phil, I just spent my morning reading the blogs on your site. All I can say is Thank You!! There is a wealth of information here and it is a great site for new shooters, (as well as us weather worn old guys) to pick up tips and tricks to help them enjoy shooting!! I am particularly thrilled with the Rock Island blog. I had a G.I. model a couple of years ago, and let it go to a friend of mine so i could get a Springfield XD in .45. I wanted to cry every time we went to the range as the “rock” just kept blasting away without so much as a hiccup, while i constantly tried to find a handload that my XD would like. never did find the perfect load. My wife caught me reading (More like drooling) over websites about the Rock Island Tactical. One morning she finally said go ahead and get it, you won’t be happy until you do. Well I am happy to report, I have my new “rock” and it shooots as well and even better than some of my friends “Name brand” 1911’s. Mine set me back $385 plus shipping while one friend who is as mad as can be paid three times that for a Kimber, which my “rock” consistantly shoots egually as good as. I get consistant 2 inch groups at 25 yards with a 195gr semi wadcutter handload. Thanks again for a great site, and giving shooters a place to gain and give information to help other shooters!!

  36. Gunner said


    Thanks! That’s why I started the blog in the first place. I kept reading short articles that really didn’t provide much information so I figured I’d start the blog and try to help fellow shooters out.
    That Rock is awful hard to beat and really you can’t beat it for the price and performance you get. Where else can you get a well made accurate and very durable 1911 for that price! When you think about the skyrocketing prices it gets even better.
    That’s really great to know that the blog is helping out and believe me it’s a great satisfaction for me!
    Have fun with the Rock!!!

  37. Mark said

    Where is the Rock Island 1911’s available wolesale? Looks like a terriffic firearm…

  38. Gunner said


    It really is a great 1911 and for the price unbeatable. As far as wholesale they sell to various companies but that list isn’t generally available. Most of the time I just contact my local dealer who calls around until he finds a dealer who has them. They do sell fast so it is a hunt to locate them at times.
    You might have some luck by picking up a copy of shotgun news and locate a wholesaler that way.

    Good luck!

  39. Terry Thomas said

    Just want to say that I work for the largest firearms retailer in the country and when we began selling the RIA compact .45 under the High Standard banner I was totally smitten with it. What quality and features at such a price. Anyway, I bought one and it shoots right along with my Kimber Ultra Carry. So much so that I sold my Kimber to my brother with almost enough left over to buy another one. The added weight of the steel frame with the RIA tames recoil much better than the Kimber with alloy frame. My job where I work is behind the gun counter and every customer that is interested in a 1911 I show them the RIA first and we carry all the others from Taurus to Kimber to Ed Brown to Wilson. Just wanted you to know.
    Terry Thomas

  40. Charles Jankovich said

    Greetings Phil,
    Need some guidance on where I can purchase replacement parts for my RIA Tactical 1911 .45
    My purchase did not come with the fiber optic front sight, which I would like as an option, however, the rear was a Novak adjustable. So back to my initial point, where can I purchase replacement parts?

    Charles Charlie Jankovich III

  41. Gunner said

    Hi Charlie,

    Glad to help. Here is the website and the phone number is on there. Just tell them you got the one with the adjustable rear sight and they must have put a standard front on by mistake (at least I guess so). They are very good about taking care of customers and they will probably just send you one. Ivan Wolcott is the USA CEO or you can talk with the gunsmith.

    Take care,

  42. Zack said

    I have a RIA 1911-A1 FS. I was wondering if it had a firing pin safety, but haven’t found the answer and figured I’d ask you before giving the company a call since I don’t really have time during the day.


  43. Gunner said


    The RIA 1911’s are based on the Colt series 70 model. No it doesn’t have the firing pin safety incorporated into the Colt series 80 design. Some people who have a concern over this buy a stiffer firing pin spring from Wolf Gunsprings.
    I honestly don’t feel concerned over this myself but I understand those who do. It is possible but unlikely that a pistol dropped on the end of the barrel could impart enough force to the firing pin to fire a round. It would almost have to be concrete and hit just right.


  44. Sandy Platz said

    On 12/9/08 you sent “Gunner Davis” an e-mail with source(s) for manuals on RIA 1911s… I wish you had published that info for others to see, as I need the manuals, too. I don’t mind if you reply to my email, but it would probably save redundant queries if you reply through your site, too. After all, your by-line is “Links to 100’s of Gun Manuals”.

    I’m glad I found your site…it’s going to very helpful for us small FFL Dealers (whose wives do the computer research). Thanks for being so broad in your spectrum of info and so specific in the details. I hate spending hours trudging through dozens of sites and their various links to get at a site with REAL FACTS.

    But I will agree with the comment that your site’s color scheme is a little difficult to read. This from a designer with limited computer skills, too.

  45. Gunner said

    Hi Sandy,

    Here is the link to the office here in the USA and they can send you manuals for customers. They are pretty good about helping out with things like that.
    Here is a printable manual for all models.

    Click to access M1911cs.pdf

    Click to access M1911cs.pdf

    Click to access armscor_1911.pdf

    New website pages
    775-537-1444 This is the phone number so you can have copies sent to you.
    Yea I know it can be hard to notice the dark gray links. I’ve tired other themes and they messed things up pretty bad so I had to go back to this one. WordPress is limited in how much you can change things darnit:-)
    I’m sure glad the blog is helpful. I started it for that very reason. I found so much bad info I decided to start this blog and make sure anything I wrote was correct to the best of my ability.

    Feel free to holler anytime,

  46. Still on the fence between the Compact and the Commander model …

  47. Chuck said

    My quesiton, can I use just 38 in the Rock Island 1911 GI 38 super or must I use the 39 super???

  48. Gunner said


    No I’m afraid not. The cases are very different and your pistol will only operate with 38 super rounds. If you look at the 38 it’s a rimmed case whereas the 38 super case base is shaped like a 45acp.
    Also in most cases the bullet itself is a different weight.

    Take care,

  49. Rick Miles said

    I Have a question. I followed your dissasssembly of the 1911 and it was right on with my RIA 45 fs through the slide. When we started with the frame the differences began to appear, or so I thought, I’m new to all this. I have tried to find a tutorial on line and can’t find one, can you help? I can’t make heads nor tails out of the owners manual.

    Thanks for all you are doing,


  50. Rick Miles said

    Don’t know if last message made it. In the short, I’m new to 1911’s, I’ve got a RIA 45 fs, I can break down the slide following one of your posts, but when it comes to the frame I begin to have trouble. I can’t get the grip safety out and see other differences coming, or so I think, Do you have a post that shows the process? I can’t make heads nor tails out of the owner’s manual.

    Thanks for what you’re doing, great stuff.


  51. Gunner said


    I don’t have any other videos but I tell you I strongly advise that you strip it down no further than removing the slide, breaking the slide down for cleaning. You can also remove the grips clean under them as well. As far as taking the frame down that can get complicated especially for a new user. They can be finicky from model to model. The ambidextrous safety on the RIA can be touchy to reassemble as the other internal parts such as the sear.
    Honestly the frame parts only need to be removed once a year if that depending on how much you shoot. If you still feel you want to take all the parts out of the frame let me know and I’ll help as much as possible.
    When you have more experience it’s no big deal but small steps are best right now.


  52. Jack Bartley said

    I want to put a set of night sights on my rock Island compact 45acp but I do not know what to buy.My gun was made in the philipines and has a dove tail front and rear.Please advise as there is no info on what to buy.
    Thank You

  53. Gunner said


    They have a Novak slide cut and will accept the Novak low mount sights . Try here for arranging to have them installed.
    I should say it does if the gun is the Tactical model. If a GI model then Novak can still install sights like the tactical has. Turnaround time is about a week.

    Good Luck,

  54. JIM said

    Hey Gunner and other Rock Island Armory 1911 owners,

    I am proud owner of the Rock Island Armory M1911-A1 FS 2 Tone Tactical .45! I can’t brag enough about this pistol. I bought this for my birthday a few weeks ago and shot it that same weekend. I can’t wait to shoot again. I have another 1911-A1 (Taurus PT-1911) and owned Colt 1911, but the Rock is just a better shooting machine. I am thinking about buying the G.I. Series .45!!!

    A very happy RIA owner!!!
    “Stay thirsty my friends”!

  55. Gunner said

    There ya go—another convert:-)


  56. David Monroe said

    Hey Gunner,

    I just ordered my RIA .45 Match and can’t wait for it to get here the first of the week. My father in law has got me interested in shooting traditional bullseye and we have a match coming up in a couple of weeks which will be my first. Just a Club meet but can’t wait. I’ve been using his 70 series Colt’s (and according to him there is no other 1911 worth having). They are sweet but I feel like I’m shooting museum pieces. I want my own but didn’t want to get a second mortgage. I can’t wait to shoot her! Thanks for the good words on the RIA 1911’s.


  57. Gunner said


    Good deal! I know you’ll enjoy it. It may feel a bit different than the Colt so some practice before the match. Get her sighted in etc.
    Best of luck and any questions just let me know:-)


  58. Gunner, Old ret. Navy Chief here–only been into guns a couple of years. My CCW is Glock 26 with an added saftey by Ten Ring. Now want to move up and on–looking at the 45 ACP. like the idea of the RIA 1911A!-CS. Have so far foound little ifo–any ideas for me? The old style/new style, 70 & 80, CS, series and bushing no bushing. I don’t know what I’m doing. Any ideas for me?

  59. Gunner said


    Good move on having the manual safety added! Glocks just aren’t safe without one. A lot depends on how much you want to spend to get into the 1911. I’d certainly advise that your first 1911 be a Springfield Armory loaded model in stainless steel. They are very well made. All of the controls are crisp and well fitted. This is the link to the version I’m talking about

    They also make a new parkerized one called the Range Master which is a loaded model with adjustable sights.
    These are full size guns with a 5 inch barrel. If you want a concealed carry 1911 then this Champion model is a great one.

    The Champion has a 4 inch barrel with an alloy frame which reduces weight a good deal for carrying long periods of time without being weighted down. The full size gun is 38 ounces with the Champion coming in at 30 ounces.

    The Champion has a bushingless barrel. I’ve owned both and really enjoy and trust them. With ammo prices high as they are you can also get a model in 9MM.

    I really do like the Rock Island don’t get me wrong but the Springfield is a higher quality pistol. Prices will vary depending on where you live. If they have them in stock a place called Bud’s gun shop has the best prices. They are out of stock since I just checked.

    They will order one for you and send it to your local gun shop. Of course your local gun store can order it as well. $700 to $800 is a ballpark price.

    I hope this helps you and please feel free to contact me anytime.


  60. TV C said

    Glad I found your site.

    I was @ PA. @ tag sale, old farm house. Rickery. I ask ‘any old shotguns for over my fireplace’. She goes in house, brings out rag wrapped something. ‘It was my husband’s’. It’s an ACP, Comm. Battle of Chateau-Thierry. 1967. Never fired. Oily but perfect. She goes back in. Brings out the comm. wood box. That is in fair shape. Needs cleaning. She goes back in, brings out 6 Wilson 47D mags & 4 ww1 mags. Wilsons r new. Says she turned down $250. I say $500 + 50 for mags. I leave cell #. Her son calls. Thanks for a fair offer to Mom. I’ll bring it to gun shop in town. Gun shop charges $600 total. I’m using your video’s to lub it for firing. Yes, it will be a shooter.


  61. Gunner said

    Wow you got a deal on that pistol! That model would sell for around $1000 minimum! That will be fine shooter. Wish I could run into deals like that:-)

  62. jordan said

    I have an RIA 1911 GI model, which I love, but I’m getting into shooting IDPA with it, and the GI sights aren’t doing me any favors there. I was wondering if I can just buy a slide for an RIA tactical and put that on, since it has better sights, or if I can’t do that what kind of sights you would recommend. I know the cuts for the GI sights are really narrow, and I would prefer to avoid the expense of having to have my slide machined and refinished.

  63. Gunner said


    You could do that and have Arnel the gunsmith at RIA fit the slide. Actually it might be about the same price range to have Novak mill and install some sights for you. Turnaround is only a week to ten days. There are a good number of options as well.

    Take care,

  64. Bob said

    anyone know if i can do a barrel swap in my RIA 38 super . I would like to replace it with a stock RIA 9mm . Living in southern California i cant get the 9mm . I am wondering if i could buy the 38super and just swap out the barrel ? Any advie would be of great help.

  65. Gunner said


    Yes you can. You also need 9MM mags but that should be about it. I’m having one done right now through RIA.

  66. Kevin said

    Well sir you have done it! I am going to purchase The Rock 2011 Tactical in .45 ACP. My main purpose for this gun will be open / CC (GOD BLESS COLORADO). I think that the only thing I am really going to do to the gun is throw some tritium night sights on the sucker and call it a day. Being in the US Army, (not to mention a small arms repairer) I have an undying love for the 1911. RIA has really done it and made what all gun toting Americans should have…a low priced diamond in the rough. Thanks for turning the tide in my mind for my first 1911 purchase.

  67. Gunner said


    That’s great sir! I’m sure you will enjoy shooting it a lot! The slide cuts are Novak so you could send the slide off to Novak for night sights or since you’re into small arms repair I’m sure you can do it yourself without any problem. I think anyone really into guns will eventually have a love for the ol dependable 1911:-)
    RIA really does give the owner the best bang for the buck, no doubt about it. I’m really glad to have been helpful! By all means let me know how it goes when you shoot it. Any other information on 1911’s you may need feel free to give me a holler.
    Thanks for your service!


  68. diaolo said

    sono un nuovo acquirente della roccia pistole Armory Island
    cal 45 e sono contentissimo

  69. Gunner said

    Eso es maravilloso – otro propietario feliz. Usted recibirá un montón de años de uso sin problemas de ella!


  70. William Moore said

    Great site and I enjoy reading about ria 1911

    I have a colt combat commander 38super and would like a RIA Compact in 38super. Haven’t seen one. Dog they make one or can you convert the 45 compact by replacing slide spring and clip

  71. Gunner said


    RIA can make one up for you. They take a 9MM and fit a 38 super barrel to it. Works well:-)

  72. Steve said

    Where can I find replacement barrels for the Rock Island 45 acp?

  73. Richard said

    This is an awesome site!!! I am the proud owner of an RIA m1911a1. Truly a great handgun at a great price. I want to change the sights, ’cause I’m getting older and need something “shiny” to see through. The handbook i received says that both sights are dovetailed, but only the rear sight appears to be. Was the handbook wrong? Can I replace the front sight as well as the rear?

  74. Gunner said

    It sounds like you have the standard GI model which has the small sights. The rear is dovetailed while the front is pinned. The Tactical model has both sights dovetailed. You can have yours replaced though. If you go to they can mill the slide to fit any sight combination you pick on the Novak website. Prices vary but turnaround time is one week/ten days.
    I’d give them a call after you pick the sights that you feel will work the best for you.

  75. Rick Miles said

    I believe that the front sight is staked on your model as mine was.

  76. Gunner said

    Yes the front sight is staked on the GI model—-

  77. T. Callihan said

    Looking around the net , you either love the R.I.A. guns or you don’t. I’m looking to spend some hard saved money for a Tactical version. The stuff that comes standard on the Tactical is what I’d do anyway,so why not just buy it already done . My son went to the gun show in Harrisburgh,(PA) this weekend to look around. I told him to look at the R.I.A.s for me, & see what he thought. He just called, and was impressed by what he saw. “They’re all over the place, dad I must’ve played with at least 50 of them. ( Heh, heh, heh!!!! Am I a sneaky b- – – – – d or what ?) I’m gonna buy a Tactical, a couple spare mags,”tweak it” just a little (only minor polishing probably), and then go visit him…….at his local range. Gotta keep him humble ya’ know !

  78. Gunner said

    Yep, might as well get one at a fantastic price with everything you need anyway. Yes I’d say you’re sneaky in a good way:-) Enjoy those new “Rocks”.
    Check this forum out there are tons of RIA lovers on this thread with some good info! By the way I prefer Tripp Research magazines for all my 1911’s.

  79. Robert May said

    Hey Gunner, first time on your web site, very helpfull. Have just purchaced a used 1911, love the way it shoots. Had a problem with the original mag. Bought a new kimber mag, problem solved. Just wondering if theres a web site I can get in to, puting in my serial number tell me when this gun was made. Thanks, Robert

  80. Gunner said


    I’m sure glad you found it helpful:-) As far as finding a website like that I’m not aware of any with the exception of Colt’s only. You can however call Kimber and they can give you that information I’m sure.(888) 243-4522

  81. 1SG Davo said

    Thanks for the info, love your sight, just got a rock island 1911A1 Tactical. Fell in love with the 45 in MP AIT. Always wanted one after, went to the 9mm shortly after basic and ait. Happy, happy happy

  82. Gunner said

    Glad you enjoy the site!You certainly got the best buy in a 1911!

  83. J.R. Lyon said

    sir, I had a colt 45 20yrs ago & was able to buy an extended mag (14 rds) & there was a 50 rd mag available. What is the largest mag for a RIA 38 super now days, & what is the price & where can I get it?

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