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I just got a couple Rock Island Armory/Armscor 1911s from Kentucky Gun Company. The price was so good ($319 shipped for one and $349 shipped for the other), I couldn't resist, even though I didn't really know a lot about the marque. I'd heard overall pretty positive things about RIA 1911s and Philipino arms in general, and I planned to use the complete frames primarily as hosts for a couple .22 conversion uppers I have, so I figured what the hey.

Initial impressions are very favorable. They look and feel like good quality firearms. The slide to frame fit on one is very good with very little movement detectable up or to the side, and on the other one is excellent with no discernable movement. Both fed and ejected flawlessly so far for about 8 mags each.

The only issues so far are:

1. on the "GI" (base model) 1911, the Armscor magazine that it came with, and a Dan Wesson mag I tried, both of which have plastic baseplates with raised areas in the front to fill in the "notch" on 1911s, had trouble locking in fully and the mag release button was quite stiff. I attribute this to the notch not being cut high enough or possibly the mag catch hole being located slightly high, or the mag catch itself being out of spec. However, as noted, functioning was flawless despite the extra pressure needed to lock in and release the mags. With standard, welded-baseplate mags from colt and Chip McCormick, there were no issues.

2. On the FS "Tactical" model, which comes with ambidextrous thumb safeties, beavertail grip safety, commander style hammer, novak-type rear and dovetailed front sights, and full-length guide rod, the front sight is apparently too tall, as POI is about 6 inches low at 18 yards and even a "combat hold" leaves bullets impacting far too low. I'll need to replace the front sight with a lower one, or file it down some. The sights on the GI model appear to be well regulated for 230 grain ball and hits to 8-inch plates at 18-20 yards are easy.

3. On the FS "Tactical" model, the right side ambi thumb safety rubs my hand raw. I'll need to file it a bit or replace it with a single-side safety or a different ambi type.

Video for any interested: Unboxing/overview and quick shoot.

 

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I've always thought the RIA 1911s were a good value for the money. They make great base guns for someone looking to customize a 1911.
 
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