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.

RIA 9mm accruacy test

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

Finish: Parkerized

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


By Hunter Elliott

I spent much of my youth involved with firearms and felt the call early on to the United States Marine Corps, following in my father's and his brother's footsteps. Just after high school I enlisted and felt most at home on the rifle range, where I qualified expert with several firearms and spent some time as a rifle coach to my fellow Marines. After being honorably discharged I continued teaching firearm safety, rifle and pistol marksmanship, and began teaching metallic cartridge reloading. In the late 1990s I became a life member to the National Rifle Association and worked with the Friends of the NRA. Around that time my father and I became involved with IDPA and competed together up until he passed away. I began reviewing firearms for publications in the mid 2000s and have been fortunate to make many friends in the industry. Continuing to improve my firearms skills and knowledge is a never ending journey in which we should all be committed. I am also credited as weapons master on a few independent films.

3 thoughts on “Rock Island Armory 9mm Luger TAC1911, affordable reliable and accurate.”
  1. I have had the Same Gun for a few years now a great shooter just eats everything i feed it ..

    Only Negative i have on the gun is the ambi Safety .. I am a lefty and think its great they include on but they bend of it doesn’t make it very easy for grip changes..

    If you have a nice pair of wood stocks you have to cut the right side panel to clear the safety or just about any grips .. i bought a fairly cheap set or G10 grips of ebay to grind down since it is mostly a range gun ..

    I would had to cut on a nice pair of wood grips the only gripe i have

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