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I've had this for a while; posted about it when I got it. But info on these double stack Rock Island 1911s is a bit scarce, so I'm going ahead and posting a new thread that might make searches easier and will put everything about my experience with this pistol in one place. Here's RIA's web site on this handgun: GI Standard FS HC - 45ACP | Armscor International, Inc

And here's an earlier incarnation (before any mods at all) of the pistol I'm talking about. This was taken after it's first 25 shots, which were delivered from about 10 yards.
126173d1440179733-very-1911-gun-show-dsc03824.jpg

This is a .45ACP caliber 1911A2. They also make it in a few other calibers; 9mm and 22TCM. It's a 1911 with the frame modified to take a staggered or double stack magazine. I don't have big hands, but this double stack .45 works for me. It fits my hand better than 9mm Glock. It certainly feels bigger than a traditional single stack 1911, but it works, at least for me. The trigger is a bit shorter than the triggers I like on my single stack 1911s; that might help. And the overall ergonomic familiarity is probably helping this big gun work ergonomically too.

Overally build quality is pretty good. Apart from the grips, it's an all metal 1911. That's more than my first Colt could say; it's a 1991, and it came with a plastic trigger and mainspring housing. The RIA 1911A2 came with a metal trigger, and a metal mainspring housing. Everything else that should be metal is metal as well. The grips are the only plastic part, and let me tell you, they ain't gorgeous. But they do the trick. They also came with an odd round void in them, which I filled with aluminum .45ACP heads, as you'll see in the pictures.

The finish is a matte parkerizing. It's held up well. It seems just as good as the parkerizing on that Colt 1991, which has held up well for over twenty years, including more years than I'd have liked in some very humid, sticky, east coast near the Chesapeake environments. Oddly, both the Colt and this RIA 1911A2 have a similar parkerizing trait; the slides on both guns are blacker, and the frames have a tiny, tiny bit of greenish tinge. Not sure what to make of that, but there it is.

Some of the parts are surprisingly high quality. My primary example is the slide release lever. It's got a very nice rounded contour to the flat, instead of the 90 degree angle sharp edges you see on a lot of lower cost (and sometimes higher cost) 1911s. But some parts are pretty rough. The barrel link, for example, has an oddly rounded inside contour to the hole the disassembly pin goes through.
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The grips are also rough. Plastic with mold lines, and those odd holes I mentioned. You can see that hole on the left edge of the picture.
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The picture probably makes it look a bit rougher than it is; this is a very close hi res shot from when the gun was brand new. So it does get a bit better as you use it, but not too much. Get used to it or don't buy this gun, because aftermarket grips with this gun are a game to be played by those with friends in the CNC machining game, or high res 3D printing, or truly obsessive woodworkers. Oh, and I've read that the grip screw spacing is a bit different from the Para Ordnance double stack 1911. If you're buying this to make a high capacity .45ACP showpiece, you've been warned. I like what I've ended up with, personally.

Since I'm talking about how the grips look, let's throw in some pictures. This shows the .45 ACP case heads I set into the grips, and the holster I made to match. If you look really closely, you can sort of see what I was talking about regarding the slightly blacker slide and oh-so-faintly green frame.
127339d1441465930-very-1911-gun-show-dsc04261.jpg

Parts compatibility; the trigger, magazines (duh), magazine release, and I believe the grip screws are not standard; they are shorter than the usual, because these grips are very thin. Other than that, from what I've read and seen every other part is the standard spec, so you can buy whatever you want and drop it right in. After hand fitting of course, because this is the inspired 1911, and drop in parts are for lesser guns. I wasn't sure about the extended thumb safety, but I went ahead and took the plunge and lo and behold, a Wilson Combat extended thumb safety works quite well; after fitting, see previous inspiration comments.

CameraZOOM-20160806180245289.jpg Hmm. No idea why that's coming out sideways.

If I showed a top view photo, you'd see that the width of this extended thumb safety just protrudes past the width of the grip. I'd say it's less than a millimeter. Not so wide it's obtrusive, but wide enough to make activating the safety a cinch. And darn, does that extended safety make a comfort difference. As you can see, this gun is like summer in the Sahara; it's a beavertail free zone. It doesn't bother me. Holding another 1911 that has a decent beavertail and then holding this, I'd say there isn't much difference in comfort. But I've never been bitten by a 1911 hammer. If you have been so bitten and are consequently shy x2, you will probably want to get this beavertailed. Given my extended thumb safety experience, and looking closely around the area of the grip safety, I don't think that would be more difficult for a smith who was good at installing beavertail grip safeties.

The 1911A2 comes with the short guide rod that John Moses Browning (blessings be upon his memory) designed. Shooting this handgun, I don't know why we all seem to feel it necessary to put in full length guide rods. The slide action is just as smooth. Disassembly is easier. It's win-win. From now on, if a 1911 has a JMB (blessing be upon his memory) guide rod, I'm leaving it alone.

I would say that short guide rod makes this a 100% hand disassembleable (is that a word?) pistol, but the widebody design does introduce one other wrinkle we have yet to discuss. If you're the kind of person who hates so called* "idiot marks" on 1911s, then this is the gun for you. You take the slide stop lever out as usual to disassemble the pistol. But when you go to put it back together, the usual technique (which produces those combat marks) will not work, because the width of the frame that's necessary to house a double stack magazine is still too great in this area to use the usual reassembly technique. Every time I've reassembled it, I've had to use a thin knife blade or similar tool to get the detent pin out of the way so I can slide the slide stop lever back in place. I end up sliding it straight down, with no rotation around the pin that goes through the barrel link.

One of the main reasons the 1911 is the greatest handgun ever designed (feel free to email me at [email protected] if you disagree) is the trigger. The 100% straight back motion, the crisp cleanliness of the trigger feel, leave all other metal guns behind. Poly guns can just go hide in a corner and cry during this discussion. The trigger on the 1911A2 looks a bit shorter than the triggers seen on most 1911s, including the rest of mine. Taking some measurements literally on the back of the envelope, I compared the shadows cast by a standard 1911 with an aluminum, three-hole trigger (most of you will be picturing the right thing as you read that; some of you will be picturing aardvarks, an unfortunate fact that is beyond the scope of this post, and possibly of current medical science) with that of the 1911A2. Front to back, the 1911A2's reach from the apex of the trigger to the closest point on the grip safety is just over 1/8" shorter. About 5/32", for those of you who pictured aardvarks doing fractions. That doesn't sound like much, but I think it helps explain why a 1911 with such a wide grip frame still fits these hands. The trigger itself is metal, as previously mentioned, and has vertical grooves cut into it. The trigger is a bit below average for a 1911, really. A bit creepy, and perhaps (I'm not really sure, but perhaps) a bit above average in weight**. But it's smooth, and I can certainly produce good, accurate shots with it. I've never had a non-1911 that I can think of that has a better trigger than this untouched, straight-from-Marikina trigger. Maybe the Sig P226 I used to have, but that was years ago so I can't be sure. But I wouldn't bet on the Sig single action beating this 1911A2's trigger.

How's it worked for me? It's been just as accurate as a 5" 1911 should be. Very pleased in that regard. Reliability; I've had a couple of those failure to go to battery events that are very easily solved with a tap on the rear of the slide. These have been rare enough and so quickly remedied that this is my current go-to gun for bear country. If you need more than that, I suggest you inquire at Javelins-R-Us. Ask for Stumpy.

Magazines. Mine came with a 10-round Mec-Gar mag that has a plastic block built onto the end to make it the right length/shape but only hold ten rounds. I bought a Mec-Gar magazine marked P14-45. I see that 14 round magazine on more than one web sight right now for less than $25. Hmm; must get around to buying more of those. But if you have one of those mags in the gun, one on your hip, and you're carrying condition one, you have 29 rounds of .45ACP. That's 6,670 grains of goodness. That's a lot of lead, with the best trigger ever designed waiting to help you deliver all those grains right where they need to go.

What would I change? There's really only one thing, now that I have a good extended thumb safety on it. Rock Island considers this part of their GI series, and that shows in the VIP - the visual indexing protuberances. The sights. They are just as JMB (peace be yadda yadda yadda) designed them. Good for telling the bang end from the beavertail(less) end in the dark, and not much else. Well, that's overstating it a bit. In good light, if your eyes are good, they work. When you concentrate. The rear sight might actually be a millimeter or so taller than what Patton might have packed through Paris in 1917. But they are the smallest sights on any 1911 I've ever owned. Even the ATI 1911 Military, with it's arched, lanyard-looped mainspring housing and tab thumb safety, went further from true early 1900s GI spec than this pistol. I'm going to hit the front sight with a dot of orange paint, which will be a bit tricky with it's arched profile, but it should help. And maybe one of these days I'll put some good three dot sights on it. Might even cerakote it, but that would be a much lower priority and only be considered if the finish doesn't hold up as well as my parkerized Colt.

Carrying it; this is not a gun you strap on and forget. Carrying it makes me think of those pre-60s police uniforms that had shoulder straps. It's not light. I love it. I've carried it all day, always concealed. I've hiked at about 10,000' feet in the Colorado Rockies with this on my hip. And then gone right into town and had dinner with this handgun still concealed on my hip. The right holster, the right outer garment, and you're good to go. Now, a 3" barrel gun conceals more easily, no denying it. But not only can you conceal a 5" 1911, you can even do it when it holds 15 rounds and it doesn't really take much to do it well. But you won't forget it's there, and for a gun like this a good, stiff leather belt really does help. A should strap might too.

A quick look around the net shows one of these for sale right now, for $481. That's a really, really good price for what you're getting. There really are better looking 1911s even at that price, but if you want 15 rounds of .45ACP in an ergonomic package that beats any Glock (at least for the shape of my phalanges), that's a great price if you ask me. But there don't seem to be a ton of them out there; if you want one and you see one, I'd say get it if you can possibly stomach whatever they're asking for it. I could see paying more than $100 above that $481 and still feeling really good about the value.

This is a never-consider-giving-it-up gun to me. As I said, it's my current go-to gun for bear country, and if I ever had to think about being closer to a riot than I'd like, this would be the handgun on my hip. If you're still reading, thanks for the interest, I hope you found it useful, and now I have to go brush my aardvark.



* Personally, I don't care and I don't use that term, because every combat carried 1911 I've ever seen has that mark. So it's more of a combat mark than anything else, if you ask me, and that's something to be proud of. Whatever.
** Personal calibration; I've never owned a customized 1911, or even a 1911 with a trigger job. But I've felt some darn good 1911 triggers, including some very good out of the box triggers and a couple of customized, expert tuned 1911 triggers dry fired (with permission) at gun shows. I have experience creepy, rough, and heavy 1911 triggers, and I'm used to a very little bit of takeup before the real resistance starts.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
Nice write up. I have the .40 cal version of the A2, and am happy with it. Price new was $400.00, hard to complain about that.
And I'm learning something with the first reply! This is the first I've heard of a .40 1911A2. I'd love to try a 1911 in .40. Is it 16 in the mag, plus one in the chamber? Wonder if it could be barrel/spring swapped to have a 16+1 10mm..... :cool:
 
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anyone have an idea what it might cost to get the sights upgraded? i don't have the skills or equipment to do the machining myself. also i found it at $460! and $23 for mags
 

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You're making me salivate! Good write-up! Now tell us how you really feel...lol

Very very nice sir...enjoy...
 
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anyone have an idea what it might cost to get the sights upgraded? i don't have the skills or equipment to do the machining myself. also i found it at $460! and $23 for mags
A bit of googling implies figures in the $200-$250 range. I'm sure there's a lot of variability. I'd want to get a Novak style rear, and something tells me the additional slide machining that would take isn't figured into that figure.

Anybody got firsthand experience to share?
 

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RIA shows an upgraded version with all the bells an whistles for about another $200 but no one seems to have any in stock Why oh why don't they just put on the better sights on them. would anyone say no, i want the USGI style sight and decide not to buy it? Oh well. with 14 rounds, who needs sights.......
 

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Nope, still a 15+1, but the 10mm thing sounds interesting...
The question is do you REALLY need 15 + 1 in 10 MM??
If not theres a RIA 10 MM for under 600 at most places.
if you do EAA ( Tanfoglio) makes a witness 10 MM with that capacity and will shoot with most any 1911 under 1500-2000 dollars.
 

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Thanks for the positive review.
 

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I would want to put one in hand to see how it feels.If it is narrower than a Glock 19 then it may be worth a look.I can shoot a G19 but I have to alter my grip rotating my trigger finger forward a touch which I do not like.Short of finger extensions I had written of the possibility of a double stack 1911.
 

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I would want to put one in hand to see how it feels.If it is narrower than a Glock 19 then it may be worth a look.I can shoot a G19 but I have to alter my grip rotating my trigger finger forward a touch which I do not like.Short of finger extensions I had written of the possibility of a double stack 1911.
not quite the same, but i had a chance to compare the old para one with the newer one with thinner grips and it did male a difference. i was OK with the newer version. It sounds like this RIA has the thin grips. anyone able to compare with the Para ordinance?
And i found the upgraded Ultra 1911 A2 for $630 (more than what the tactical one goes for even though the tactical listw for more, guess that 8+ oz isn't worth having a rail to most people). For that extra $170 i don't think i could begin to upgrade the sights and other neat stuff.
 

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To each their own, personally I own one stacked 1911, its a 14 +1 and all steel.
the thing weighs in at right about 54 ounces loaded, its to heavy to me for carry , it is a handful but feels fine in my hands.
I would not care to have another, yet I would not want to get rid of this one, mostly because its a fairly unusual Dan Wesson.
Dan Wesson Point Man High Capacity (PMHC),yea that's serial number 52.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
I would want to put one in hand to see how it feels.If it is narrower than a Glock 19 then it may be worth a look.I can shoot a G19 but I have to alter my grip rotating my trigger finger forward a touch which I do not like.Short of finger extensions I had written of the possibility of a double stack 1911.
Narrower? Hard to say. The funny thing about handgun grips is that there's no single measurement that tells you everything you need to know. But as I said, even the 9mm Glocks feel uncomfortable to me, but this fits.

not quite the same, but i had a chance to compare the old para one with the newer one with thinner grips and it did male a difference. i was OK with the newer version. It sounds like this RIA has the thin grips. anyone able to compare with the Para ordinance?
Haven't compared to PO, but I don't know how the grips on the RIA could be much thinner. They are almost like veneers.

Also, the magazine in Olaf's last two photos are what my 10 round Mec-Gar looks like as far as the plastic block at the bottom.
 

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Also, the magazine in Olaf's last two photos are what my 10 round Mec-Gar looks like as far as the plastic block at the bottom.
One of the nice things about the DW is that it was deigned from the factory to use Para P-14 mags, so easy to find and not to expensive.
the ones in the picture may be Mec-gar actually?
 

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Nice write up. If you happen to want a couple more P14 mags, I have a pair of Mecgar P14 that I bought to try in my pt145. Had them at the range twice, and they didn't work for me. PM me if interested.
 

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My RIA is a single stack Dura-coat ...& as GI as RIA makes'em ...

I had a Wittiness in 10mm .. Great pistol .. I wish I still had it....



This is the rest of my 45acp pistols
Glock 41
Glock 21
Glock 30S
 

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Nice write up. If you happen to want a couple more P14 mags, I have a pair of Mecgar P14 that I bought to try in my pt145. Had them at the range twice, and they didn't work for me. PM me if interested.
Lots of thanks there my friend but honestly I have 4 mags for it an honestly very seldom shoot it.
 
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