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I've always wanted a 1911 and I think my first shouldn't have to break the bank. I've read a lot of positive reviews on 1911s from Rock Island Armory. Everyone is saying it's a fantastic entry level 1911. I'm looking at the "Tactical" version in particular. It does have a full-length guide rod which is a plus (depending on your preference). They run on average $420-$450.


I had a few questions regarding this 1911:

1. It does NOT have a firing pin or drop safety. Would it be dangerous to carry the RIA in Condition 1 because of this? Is this a big deal?

2. What modifications would you make out of the box? I know I would change the sights to night sights and probably get checkered wood grips.

3. How does the 1911, in general, perform under torture tests? Dirt, mud, water, extreme fouling, etc.





 

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I have not owned that brand of 1911. For under $500 your 1911 will certainly be built to a much looser tolerance than higher priced target/tactical models. It can only be compared to other entry level 1911's.

With a base model pistol, you can also choose to upgrade the things you'd like to have. There are so many things to upgrade on a 1911 that you have to spend a little time researching the things you might want. You should also speak to some of the shops that perform upgrades on 1911's and see what they think of the Rock Island pistol as a platform to build upon.
You should also consider the cost of the upgrades compared to actually buying one with the bells and whistles included. Might be cheaper to put some money into buying a higher level 1911 if you're looking for more already.

As for performance, they definitely have stood the test of time and battle.
 

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RIA aren't bad, they're on par with most 1911s on the market. They aren't as well put together as SA, Colt or the like. Guns are ofter "you get what you pay for". I have 2 sig 1911s, they can be had for a reasonable price used. You may want to look into it. Unless you want a "classic" 1911, which the Sig is not, but that's part of what I like about it...just a little bit different.
 

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You may also want to consider the cost of your upgrades. You could end up spending $200 on night sights and grips, and you'll never get that back when you go to resell. You might be better off to take the price of the base model, add the $200 and see what you can get used for that amount. As far as the safety, I carry mine in cond 1 and I've actually dropped it and nothing happened. I also had one fall off the top of my fridge (long story) and nothing happened. With the thumb safety, the grip safety and the trigger all needing to be set in order to fire, I believe the 1911 is at least as safe to carry cocked and loaded as a Glock is. I know, bring the flames. As for the torture tests...IDK. I never give that stuff much merit, I don't pack my 1911 around in swamps and mud pits and stuff. LOL
 
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