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Rock Island Armory Officers Model 1911 Range Report

Rock Island Armory Officers Model 1911 Range Report

I’ve had my RIA 1911 (Officers model – 3.5″ barrel) for about 10 months now. It seems that there are a bunch of people that are RIA curious lately. I have about 3-4000 rounds through it and thought it was due for a range report and today shot 380 rounds through it in 95 degree weather for a class (PPIH).

As I watched guns malfunction around me all day, especially 1911s I became acutely aware at how ridiculously solid the RIA 1911 is. I witnessed the following guns have malfunction after malfunction. 1911s: Colt, Springfield, Para Ordnance (worst of the worst) Others: Springfield XD (different flavors) and a SIG (rainbow flavor). I am not indicating quality of the aforementioned firearms, just observations of which malfunctioned.

I paid right around $500 for this as I wanted an entry-level 1911 to see how I liked the platform. It so happens that I’m now a huge fanboy and plan to buy several others.

Aesthetic impressions

It is not a flashy gun. Parkerized black, and I have a Desert Tan Hogue grip on it. The finish is smooth and even and the gun feels well fit. Very little if any play, feels very solid.

Grip and thumb safety that have operated flawlessly so far.

The sights are simple, black and nonadjustable. I ended up putting some white nail polish on the front sight to help with visibility and have no problems. We did a Flash Sight Point Deviation drill and putting the front sight in all 4 corners of the rear groove still resulted in less than a 9″ grouping.

It’s a 1911 so it’s heavier than my polymer guns, but my ability with it and solid reliability makes it worthwhile for me to carry it.

Trigger Pull

Single Action Only

The trigger is solid with a nice light pull and obvious reset, even when shooting rapid fire 2-3 shot groups (part of the class).


Like I said, I have put quite a few rounds through this workhorse. At the very beginning when I was shooting non jacketed lead bullets there were a couple of failure to feeds. After that happened I treated the gun with Froglube and haven’t had a problem since. I am not sure if it was just a break in period or the lube helped it. Either way I have shot all kinds of ammo with no issue since. Hollow point, FMJ, Non jacketed lead, etc.

It shoots much better than my ability and is surprisingly accurate for a 3.5″ barrel. Towards the end of my class today we had an “IDPA style” mini match. I shot in 1st place out of 21 students in the class with this compact 1911.


  • Price
  • Operation
  • Accuracy
  • Ergonomics
  • Everything
  • Warranty


It comes with smooth wood grips. They are fine, but were a bit sharp and a bit slippery after sustained shooting. I switched them out for Hogues, but the stock grips are fine.

Final thoughts

For me it’s ideal. I have several other handguns and by far this is my favorite to shoot. I liked shooting rifles more before I bought this, now I shoot this gun more than any other. I carry it concealed in a Kholster and it is satisfactory though a tiny bit heavy. I plan to buy several other RIA 1911s and can only hope they are as solid as this one.

(I am fully aware of my rabid fanboyism, but feel free to point it out.)

About The Author

Shawn Herrin

As a certified NRA instructor, fervent shooter and IPSC competitor, safe, responsible, ethical and legal gun use are my passions. Whether handloading, practicing, studying or reviewing items, I am constantly focused on guns and shooting. Staunch supporter of the Bill of Rights and very proud American.

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