Rock Island 1911 Tactical 45 acp Pistol

Whenever we are talking about 1911 pistols we need to remember that there are literally thousands of variants out there.  Some of the purists only consider the pistol used by the military as the only true 1911.  Others are willing to accept some of the modern upgrades. The Rock Island 1911 is available in many different models.

There is a prevailing idea within the 1911 community that cost equals quality.  If you don’t spend over a thousand dollars for a 1911 pistol you will not get anything that’s worth having.  However, that concept is nowhere near the truth.

I wanted to buy a 1911 but wasn’t sure of the model. I made countless trips to the gun store  I bought a Rock Island 1911 tactical.  The gun I bought is chambered in 45 acp.  To me a 1911 is the perfect symbol of the 45 cartridge.  Part of that is certainly linked to the history of the 1911.

The reason I bought a Rock Island 1911

I found the Rock Island in particular to be at a very good price.  However, at first, I was skeptical about the gun because the price sounded a little cheap to me.  Could it be possible to get a good 1911 for under $500 at the time of my purchase?  After having it for a while and after putting countless rounds through it, I can confidently say that it is well worth the price.

Rock Island 1911

The Rock Island 1911 comes in many different models.

Rock Island has several different models of the 1911 each with some unique features.  The GI model is as plain as it gets with very small sights just like the ones carried by soldiers during WW1 and WWII.  One of the reasons I chose the Tactical model is because the sights are replaceable.  They are not replaceable on the GI model, but a lot of purists will like the GI model instead.


If you are considering buying a Rock Island 1911 there is one issue you need to know about and it is the only issue I’ve had with the gun.  When I first bought the Rock Island I wanted to know exactly what the gun would do.  I tried a few different types of ammo in the gun including defensive loads and that is where the problem developed.

The manual that came with my pistol plainly said the gun was designed to shoot ball ammo and was not designed to shoot hallow point ammo.  It specifically says the pistol will have feeding issues with anything other than ball ammo.  However, the problem is NOT with the gun itself as much as it is with the magazine it comes with.

Remington hallow points in the factory magazine would not feed reliably.  I did this shortly after buying the gun and in no way had fired enough ammo through it to meet the minimum break in period.  The same ammo in a different magazine, a Cobra magazine from Tripp Research, had no issues with the Rock Island 1911 reliably feeding hallow points.

A good magazine makes all the difference

I literally took the ammo out of the factory magazine and put it into the Cobra mag and it easily fired the hallow points.  After getting through the break in period with the 1911, the factory magazine will even feed hallow point ammo.  However, it will not feed it as reliable as the Cobra mag and occasionally has a jam.

In my opinion, the Rock Island 1911 is well worth the money.  With a good magazine it has been perfectly reliable with every kind of ammo I’ve fed through it.  The magazine can make or break the performance of your gun, especially the 1911.  The Rock Island is a great gun and is a great value in my opinion.