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Rock Island 1911 Review

The 1911 style pistol has been a strong favorite for many gun owners over the decades. With its well-balanced features and simplicity, this single-action style handgun still remains to be a very effective weapon of choice.

Currently, there are many adaptations of the original Colt 1911 available on the market. So if you are looking to buy a new version of the 1911, it can be quite a minefield in knowing which one will suit your needs the most.

In this review, we will be taking a look at the Rock Island 1911, and we can’t wait to see how their take on a classic, looks, and performs.

Value For Money

One of the biggest reasons why many people choose a similar alternative to the original Colt 1911 is value for money. The Colt 1911 is quite an expensive option when you compare it to other pistol choices that function in the same way.

An improved design at a lower price…

The Rock Island Standard FS 1911 comes in at a very reasonable price for a gun that looks and feels like a Colt 1911. It is also arguable that Rock Island has added some subtle improvements in their 1911 design.

rock island 1911 reviews
Photo by Aaron Walton

Build Quality

The Rock Island pistol is built with 4140 steel, using a CNC manufacturing process which makes for a high-quality machined firearm.

Armscor, the company that makes this version of the 1911, build their gun to ISO 9001 requirements – so you know you’re not getting anything substandard here.

Compared To The Colt 1911…

When comparing it to the Colt 1911, one difference is that the Rock Island has a cast frame rather than the Colt’s forged frame. It is said that a forged frame lasts longer. But, having a cast frame from a reputable manufacturer like Rock island shouldn’t really be any cause for concern.

The slide however on the Rock Island is forged like the original, but there are several MIM parts which some people might be a little wary of.

You have to bear in mind that the Rock Island is much cheaper than it’s Colt older brother, so there will inevitably be some sacrifices to build quality.

Are There Other Models Available?

Rock Island does offer other models within their series of 1911 handguns. Some have a larger beavertail, others have commander style hammers, while some incorporate Novak Sights. Apart from design extras, the general build on all the models is very similar.

Rock Island 1911
Photo by Ernesto Escajeda

Additionally, there are several caliber choices you can choose from. The Rock Standard FS that we’re mainly looking at has a choice of either a 45 ACP or 9mm caliber. Other models in the series can deal with 10mm Auto, 40 S&W, 22 TCM, and 38 Super calibers.

The Rock Island 1911 Design

On first impressions, it really does look like a Colt 1911, with a very similar shape and feel. The gun fits your hand well, without your fingers overlapping the grip. Yet the gun is small enough to conceal in some capacity.

How Is It Different From The Colt 1911 Design?

Straight out of the box, we noticed a few minor differences to the original Colt 1911 design.

Unlike the original 1911, there is a flat mainspring housing on the back of the grip. Also, the entrance to the magazine slot is sloped outwards, which allows magazines to be inserted more easily.

Another design feature is a cut-away ejection port. The original 1911 has a full ejection port in contrast. The cut-away is a nice addition that makes your rounds eject and deflect away from you as you’re shooting.

best rock island 1911
Photo by John Lawrence Cudal

The barrel length…

We also realized that the barrel lengths differ on both the Rock Island 1911 and the M1911. The Rock Island has a slightly shorter barrel length by about just under an inch. Therefore you may have a better concealment option with the Rock Island 1911.

This could give more of a snappy recoil with the Rock Island, but we didn’t notice anything too drastic.

How about the barrel bushing?

So the barrel bushing on a 1911 gun is quite a significant aspect to whether it will shoot well or not. As a general rule, the higher quality the bushing is on the barrel, the more accurately the gun will shoot. Plus, bad bushing will ultimately wear down your barrel much quicker.

The Rock Island 1911 has very good bushing thankfully, and it certainly does seem to help with the gun’s accuracy when shooting!

Other Features To Consider

This gun does have a well-balanced feel to it, much like the original 1911. There’s a nice beavertail to protect you from the hammer, and to hold your hand in place.

The gun also has a nice weight to it, being slightly less heavy than the Colt. It has an 8 round capacity, which should be more than enough for this type of gun.

The sights on this gun are pretty standard, nothing too special but can get the job done. There is always the option to improve your sights with some external aftermarket hardware if you wish to do so.

best rock island 1911 reviews
Photo by Sean Dobbins

The trigger…

The grooved trigger on this in our opinion isn’t the best we’ve used, but definitely nowhere near the worst. There isn’t so much travel with the trigger which will suit some shooters out there. One advantage of having this very short pull on the trigger is that you will be able to fire multiple rounds quite quickly and easily.

As well, the Rock Island 1911 does have a pretty light trigger, as pistol triggers go. So someone wanting a 1911 style pistol who has less than average hand strength, may want to go for this option.

Shooting accuracy…

As mentioned before, the solid bushing on this Rock Island really helps with its accuracy. You’ll most likely be able to hit your targets comfortably and easily with a little practice.

One thing to be wary of is the potential for the gun to jam from time to time. The jamming will most likely happen when you first start using this gun and then fade away with time and use.

Rock Island 1911 Review Pros & Cons

So let’s summarize our Pros and Cons for this Rock Island 1911 pistol…


  • Closely based on the Colt 1911.
  • There are subtle but useful design improvements.
  • The entrance to the magazine slot is sloped outwards for easy access.
  • Uses a cut-away ejection port for rounds to deflect off.
  • Shoots very accurately and is comfortable to hold.
  • The price and value for money exceed expectations!

rock island 1911 review


  • The trigger is a little short on travel.
  • You could experience some jamming.
  • The sights might not suit everyone.

Rock Island 1911 Review Conclusion

Why choose this particular 1911?

We’ve run through quite a few different aspects of this Colt 1911 inspired handgun, and overall we’ve come to the conclusion that this gun is very good value for money.

One of the most fundamental aspects when shooting a gun is accuracy. The Rock Island 1911 shows you some great accuracy, even at longer distances. Also, if you want to shoot rapid rounds, you’ve got a trigger that allows you to do so with ease.

We genuinely appreciate that Armscor has produced a 1911 inspired pistol. They have maintained the classic look, with only some very minor alterations in appearance. In fact, with this being as close to the original design, but with some small modern upgrades, this is why you should choose this gun!

Whoever said that a great gun has to be expensive? And do you really need all those fancy features to shoot accurately? We think you’ll get tonnes of enjoyment from this firearm, whether you’re a collector or even a first-time shooter.

In conclusion, we thank you for checking out our Rock Island 1911 review. Of course, with any product, it always comes down to your own personal preferences, we can only offer some insight into what the gun is really like.

At the end of the day though, you’re getting a piece of history here, but with a modern edge to it. Still, to this day, 1911 guns are one of the most popular pistols out there, and are still used by some special forces! Choose a Rock Island 1911, and you won’t regret it.

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