Rock Island Armory 9mm Luger TAC1911, affordable reliable and accurate.
I have been talking with Rock Island Armory since SHOT show about a test gun to review and have been in que for a test sample. I had mentioned this to a friend of mine, Brian Hehl, and he informed me he had just picked up a brand new RIA TAC1911 in 9mm Luger. I decided to fast track the review on a RIA and made plans with Brian to review his new pistol while waiting on one from RIA.
It was a few weeks before Brian and I could get together so I asked him to please keep up with round count and (if there were) any malfunctions. By the time Brian was able to get the gun to me he had run 300 rounds through the pistol. He told me there had not been a single malfunction and I am confident that is true. Brian and I have been friends for years, he knows guns, and is a solid cat so I trust what he tells me.
Initial range trip (for me)
I rounded up a nice collection of test ammunition from Hornady, Winchester, and Fort Mill Munitions. Brian and I met on a Saturday morning so I could get a chance to form an opinion on his new pistol. We started off at the twenty-five yard line to get some groups shot from a rest. Brian was good enough to bring along some test ammo as well so we had plenty to work with.
Next up was just running the gun hard for function check. We had run enough rounds through it to get it warmed up but it was going to take more than that to get a solid feel for the Rock Island. After the smoke cleared, brass policed, and empty boxes counted we had run another 150 rounds down the bore. That puts us around 450 trouble free rounds.
The hammer, a skeltonized style, left side of the ambidextrous safety, and extended “beaver tail” on the grip safety. The grip safety incorporated a palm swell to aid in disengagement.
Here you see the slide to receiver fit at the dustcover is snug. There was no drag but also no side to side deflection.
The ejection port is lowered and flared a bit to ensure reliable ejection. Here the barrel is clearly marked for the 9mm cartridge. You can also see the tradition style cocking serrations, reminiscent of the old school Government Models. A very nice touch.
The skeltonized trigger broke clean at 5 1/2 pounds with very little take up and over travel. The trigger is adjustable for over travel but the factory set up was nice.
The barrel bushing was well fit to the slide. This Rock Island incorporated a full length guide rod. That is not my favorite but many folks love them. Honestly there is nothing negative I can say about that but I am a bit traditional.
The checkered mainspring housing and grip safety was well fit to the receiver. The thumb safety disengaged positively with an audible click.
The magazine release was checkered for solid traction. Here you can see the trigger adjustment screw. I also liked the stocks, though not the tradition double diamond style they were comfortable and looked at home on the RIA.
The newer Rock Island Armory rollmark. The front and rear sights are dovetail.
Plain and business. This RIA pistol field and detail strips as any other Government Model with the exception of the full length guide rod, which does not pose a problem in that aspect.
The accuracy chart, not bad at all huh? The RIA accuracy test is from 25 yards.
Though I only got to shoot about a 125 rounds through the pistol myself, Brain has put about 325 and agreed on how the pistol preformed. So I am combining our opinions. I have shot a few Government Models in 9mm Luger and it is a very soft shooting round in this platform. This RIA example is no exception. Recoil was very manageable and with the solid sights and nice trigger it was easy to get rounds on target with fast and accurate follow up shots. It was easy to run through the nine round magazine in a hurry. This pistol had zero sharp edges to catch, snag, or dig into which lends itself, with the other qualifications to be a viable every day carry gun. The 9mm Luger is a solid preforming round as you can see in my ballistic test by following this link
Brian did back off to the 100 yard line using Independence ammunition he was able to get 3 rounds on target out of a magazine. Not a real scientific test but fun nonetheless.
Caliber : 9mm Luger (9 x 19)
Capacity : 9 rounds.
Weight : 2.56 pounds (empty)
Height : 5.5 inches
Length : 8.75 inches
Trigger Pull : 5 1/2 pounds
Front Sight : Snag Free tactical dovetail
Rear Sight : Snag Free tactical dovetail
Model Number : 51632
Action : Single action only
Twist Rate 1 in 16″ 6 groves
Recoil Spring : 12 pounds
Mainspring : 18 pounds
Brian Hehl, for donating his pistol, ammunition, and time.
Winchester for donation test ammunition
Hornady for donation test ammunition
Fort Mill Munitions for donation test ammunition