It’s common among the shooting folk: the notion that every shooter should own a 1911. At least one, at least for a while (you’re not really going to not own 1911s after you get that first one, anyway). The rub is that as manufacturing processes change, making 1911s has gotten a bit esoteric, where esoteric is another word for expensive. That being said, 2011 is the Year of the 1911, and they’re more popular than ever; the pressure’s on.
Which brings us to our new article series: Bargain Hunting. There are few things shooters like more than 1911s, and that’s great deals. We’re going to do our part to stimulate the economy and show you guns and gear that are just too sweet to pass up, heh. And one of the best combinations of bargain and 1911 is Rock Island Armory.
There are other good contenders: Springfield’s GI is pretty good, and so is the Auto-Ordnance GI, but they still cost $100 or more, on average, than Rock Island’s GI 1911. Where it heats up in particular is with the more premium RIA 1911s. Their mid-range guns, all costing between $4-500, yes, United States Dollars, (you can find the GI for under four bills) are where the real deals are.
They offer many models in an impressive array of finishes and sizes, from parkerized to polished nickel, from government to commander to officer‘s, in .45 ACP, 9mm, and .38 super, in single-stack and high-capacity double-stack frames. They come with understated (tiny) GI sights, Novak sights, and at the high-end, fiber-optic front and matte adjustable rear sights machined into the slide.
The cheaper guns may not have the sexiest grips and the smoothest parkerizing, but where RIA excels is build quality. They’re made by Armscor, the same company that makes 1911 parts and guns for Auto-Ordnance, STI, and Charles Daly. There are few companies that match the fit of Armscor, finish aside. And while Armscor is a Filipino company, Rock Island Armory is situated square in Nevada. Think about it like this: the money they save passes on to you, and that money gets spent on American bullets. Everybody wins.
One of the things that constantly impresses people about Rock Island Armory’s 1911s is their track record of reliability, particularly when it comes to eating cartridges and spitting them out. Not original to the Colt GI model, RIAs guns have enlarged ejection ports that are also flared to rock the cases predictably aside. They also feed superbly with just about any magazine and bullet combination you can put together; many inexpensive 1911s don’t like the hollowpoints.
So if you’re finally giving in to all that 1911 peer-pressure, looking for another way to celebrate the Year of the1911, just shopping around to add another to your collection that you’re not afraid to shoot like mad and knock around, or picking out the base for a great platform to build a custom high-end race-gun of a 1911, you really can’t go wrong with an RIA pistol.
Besides, 1911s are addictive.