Home » Gun Reviews » Rock Island 1911 Review

When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no cost to you.

Rock Island 1911 Review

In this review, we will “meet” with the Philippine manufacturer of small arms and ammunition – Armscor. Who are known in the United States under the brand Rock Island Armory.

This Rock Island 1911 review, of course, is about their 1911 line of handguns.

In the US, more and more people decide to take their personal security in their own hands. And, therefore, the demand for compact weapons, which can easily fit in a pocket, is growing in the arms market. The times when the choice of compact pistols and revolvers was limited to models for the .25 and .32 ACP cartridge are long gone.

Today there is a huge amount of weapons in several categories, and everyone can choose the right model. So, check these out and see why they may just be right for you.


Rock Island 1911
Photo by Ernesto Escajeda

Rock Island 1911 Overview

It so happened that, instead of European and American weapons makers, other manufacturers begin to enter the domestic market. For example, such manufacturers include the Argentine “Bersa,” which is now represented in our country by pistols for athletes in practical shooting.

In this review, we will introduce a new player in the US market – the Philippine manufacturer of small arms and ammunition Armscor, known in the United States under the brand Rock Island Armory. Below we consider the RIA 1911 series pistols, created on the platform of the already legendary M1911.

To begin with, let us answer the question:

Is it worth considering Armscor and their M1911 clones as an alternative to other brands on the market?
rock island 1911 review
Photo by Rezz Guns (AZ GUNS-R-US)

For this, we shall need to make a small digression.

STI International is a solid American arms manufacturer that has built the bulk of its business in selling so-called open and limited division guns for the IPSC and USPSA. The name STI has proven itself so well in the market of sports weapons that there is probably no shooter in the world who would not know this manufacturer.

And you also need to consider that STI does not invest big money in beautiful marketing and expensive “glossy” advertising. Their advertisements are the results of shooters with STI weapons at championships.

But what does Armscor have to do with it?

At STI International, in the line of pistols, there are simpler models, which are designed for amateur shooters. For example – STI Spartan, and STI Tactical. The blanks for these STI pistols are made by Armscor.

STI chose the Rock Island factory as a third-party manufacturer for the development of these handguns.

Back to Rock Island…

The Cult American Pistol (Colt M1911) has a century of history. With regard to this gun, not one book or encyclopedia article can accommodate all of its accolades.

Adopted by the US Army in 1911 and passed through partial modernization in 1926 (the upgraded pistol received the designation 1911 A1). And it remained in service with the military until the mid-1980s and was again adopted by them in 2010.

Manufacturers of M1911 clones worldwide are more than a dozen. But the main, of course, are in the United States. It is not surprising that in the Philippines (which from 1898 to 1946 were under the control of the United States), the influence of American weapons traditions spread.

Below we shall consider the performance of the 1911 models of the Philippine manufacturer Rock Island, which are now available to US shooters, and shooters worldwide.

Armscor Rock Island Armory 1911 Pistols

Rock Island M1911 A1-FS – The Basic Model With The Basic Performance.

A full clone of the Colt pistol M1911 A1. The letters “FS” in the abbreviation of the name means that this is a full-size version with a bushing. The bushing is a removable barrel sleeve, which is located in the front part of the casing shutter and holds the barrel muzzle.

The only real difference from the original with the Rock Island M1911 A1-FS model is the size of the extraction window. It has a larger size, as is customary in modern versions of model 1911 pistols.

Everything else is completely in the classic style…

The front sight is 2 mm wide and fully corresponds to the rear sight mounted in the “dovetail” slot and has a rectangular slot 2.3 mm wide. The rear sight has the ability to move in a groove in the horizontal plane for its adjustment.

rock island 1911 reviews
Photo by Aaron Walton

Modernization of the Colt M1911 pistol in 1926 was aimed primarily at improving the ergonomic qualities of the pistol. Improvements touched the trigger – its length was reduced, and a notch appeared on the front surface. At the base of the pistol grip, small recesses appeared on both sides in order to create more convenience when pulling the trigger.

Minimum clearance shutter…

Like the original, the Rock Island M1911 A1-FS has a smooth front handle. Also, the shutter is fitted to the frame with a minimum clearance. Such a fit is common to expect from the more famous manufacturers of sports pistols of a much higher price category. The same applies to the clearances of the trunk.

There is no secret in such a fit – Rock Island manufactures components with very good tolerances, which are created by CNC machines.

The trigger pull, like the original, is short.


This performance comes in two calibers – 9 mm Luger and .45ACP. Included are two single row metal cartridge stores. The storage capacity can be increased (+1 cartridge) with an optional extended cartridge holder.

Rock Island M1911 A1-FS Match

The Rock Island M1911 A1-FS Match is a sporty interpretation of the “classics” from Armscor. It is designed for the IPSC, PPC and other service disciplines. There are a lot of differences from the classic performance.

On this handgun, modern sighting devices are installed – the TruGlo retroreflective front sight and the Italian horizontal and vertical adjustable LPA sight.

The back of the automatic safety lever is enlarged and has a more rounded shape for better interaction with the palm of the shooter. The notch on the back of the handle is modern, more “aggressive,” which also improves the holding of the pistol even in shooting gloves.

There is more…

The trigger plate is lightweight, metallic. It has a screw to adjust the trigger for free play. The descent is clear; rather short. The trigger is distinguished from the original by the fact that it has a sharp notch on the top face.

The M1911 A1-FS Match is available in the .45ACP caliber. The delivery set includes two single-row metal stores (ACT-MAG) of increased (+1) capacity with a plastic lid for the store.

Rock Island M1911 A1-FS Tactical II

This handgun’s performance differs from the previous two. The extender of the receiving shaft of this pistol provides more convenient and faster reloading.

The second different feature is the polymeric lining of the handle. This has a peculiar, modern pattern of notches, which increases ergonomics and ensures reliable retention of the pistol even in shooting gloves.

Rock Island M1911 A1-CS

From the name, it becomes clear (“CS” – compact size) that this is a compact version of the M1911 A1 pistol.

The gun is primarily designed for concealed carry. However, it can also be considered as the “feminine” option for shooting and shooting complexes.

From the full-size versions, it naturally differs in weight and size parameters. The length of the compact version is shorter by three centimeters and one and a half centimeters lower.

Also from the original, this performance is distinguished by modern sights (Novak Lo-Mount), installed in the “dovetail” groove.

Bullet capacity?

Included with the Rock Island M1911 A1-CS are two single-row, eight-seat cartridge stores.

Like the older, full-size versions, the Armscor M1911 A1-CS has a lightweight trigger, but a one-way safety lever. For special combat brutality, the Armscor M1911 A1-CS gives a thick-walled 89-mm trunk.

Rock Island M1911 A2-FS – The Basic Model And Basic Version Of The Gun With A High Magazine Capacity.

The main difference between the versions with the “A2” index is a frame with a handle of increased thickness, which accommodates a store with doubled capacity as compared to a regular cartridge store.

The Rock Island M1911 A2-FS pistol comes in .45ACP caliber. It has a frame with a handle of increased thickness.

The Rock Island M1911 A2-FS pistol retained significant similarities with the classic M1911A1. As in the Rock Island M1911 A1-FS version, the front sight has a width of 2 mm, and the rear sight, installed in the dovetail slot, has a rectangular slot 2.3 mm wide. Accordingly, the rear sight is adjustable horizontally.

The safety valve is one-sided, as in the classic version.

As noted, this performance pistol comes in the caliber .45ACP. Two 14 bullet cartridge cases which are produced in Italy are included in the package.

Rock Island M1911 A2-FS Tactical 2011

The tactical version of a pistol from Armscor, the frame of which has with an enlarged handle for user comfort and ease of use.

This design satisfies all requirements for modern pistols – it has a two-way safety lever.

Its sights are the Novak Lo-Mount, which is adjustable both vertically and horizontally. It also features the TruGlo retroreflective front sight, placed in a dovetail groove.

A large grooved notch in both the front and the back of the bolt improves the grip of the hand and the bolt during reloading.

What is more?

On the frame of the 2011 Tactical pistol, the Picatinny rail type MIL-STD-1913 was added. This allows you to install attachments.

The modern notch on polymer linings and the back of the pistol grip help to comfortably hold the gun during firing.

To significantly reduce reloading time, this version of the 1911 pistol is equipped with a pistol receiving shaft extender.


This performance handgun is sold in two calibers – 9 mm Luger and .45 ACP. The set includes two cartridge loading cases – 17-seater for 9-millimeter version and 14-seater for .45 ACP pistol.

Rock Island M1911A2 FS Match

The sports version of the M1911 A2-FS Tactical 2011. It differs in several features from the tactical version.

This pistol has an adjustable (horizontally and vertically) rear sight. While the front part of the pistol grip is covered with a modern notch for better holding of the pistol.

But, there is a catch…

The pistol frame does not have a Picatinny rail. However, this form of the frame, due to its mass, gives a surprisingly accurate sense of balance to the pistol when in your hands.

The M1911A2 FS Match comes in a .40 S and W caliber and traditionally with two two-row magazines designed for 16 rounds.

Rock Island 1911 Review Conclusion

As already mentioned, the M1911 pistol platform is one of the most popular pistol platforms, which has been modernized and refined for more than a century.

And, the quality of these Philippine products is really surprising, in a good sense of the word. And it can be safely compared on a par with more eminent brands.

The use of CNC machines and European and American components gives extra points for Rock Island pistols. The big plus is a huge range of versions of pistols, among which you can choose for yourself a weapon for any level of use.

According to Guns America, the brand Rock Island Armory, in early 2015, deservedly entered the top five best-selling budget handguns on the market in the United States.

Leave a Comment