A few months ago, my awesome competition pistol got a boo-boo, and had to be sent back to the manufacturer for some TLC. I needed a new pistol STAT, and rather than purchase another USPSA production division pistol, I decided it was time to pick up a 1911 so I could start training for the next Western States Single Stack Match, and to avoid becoming a One Gun Princess.
At SHOT Show earlier this year, I had the chance to run a few rounds through a Rock Island Armory 1911 in 9mm, and I remembered being impressed with both the gun and its modest price tag. At under $500, we were willing to take a chance that the RIA would perform acceptably in a competition setting, and we liked the benefit of 9mm being more cost effective than a 45 ACP.
I was able to find an RIA 1911-A1 (tactical version with Novak style sights) at a local shop, brought it home and gave it a light cleaning, then packed it in my range bag for use the next morning. Out of the box, it performed flawlessly – Zero malfunctions, and it shot more accurately than I did.
There was only one issue with the 1911′s performance, and I noticed it about halfway through the match. I felt a slight burning sensation coming from my right arm, and my first thought was that it was time to reapply the sunscreen. I then looked at my arm and noticed that it was dotted up and down with red marks from spent shells repeatedly tagging me.
We took it home and figured out pretty quickly that the extractor probably needed a little adjustment. As soon as I started taking it apart, I was really glad I had picked up a couple of tools for the 1911 – a plastic barrel bushing wrench and an extractor removal tool from Brownells. Both tools are already invaluable to me – I don’t have to call Capitalist Pig out to the garage every 10 minutes to be my extra hand or muscle something for me (which probably makes the tools invaluable to him as well). The extractor tool is especially handy, as one end works perfectly to get the firing pin out, and the other end has a nifty little notch that makes quick work of extracting the extractor, so to speak. After the extractor was out, C. Pig took a look and did just a wee bit of re-profiling to one of the edges, and it’s been extracting casings away from my body parts ever since.
I got my production pistol back from the shop some time ago, but I’ve enjoyed shooting the Rock Island 1911 so much that just within the last couple of weeks I’ve forced myself to go back to the production pistol, since I’ll be shooting my first “big” match with it this fall. I’m sure my RIA in 9mm won’t be collecting any dust though, I am already looking forward to shooting it again.
If you’re interested in learning more about the RIA’s performance, check out The Firearm Blog’s review of the Rock Island Armory 1911 in 9mm. Oh, and I’ve done a little work on it – stay tuned for more posts on my new favorite pistol!
Disclaimer: I did not get paid to write this, or any other posts on this site. The kind folks at Brownells provided me with the extractor tool with no expectation of anything other than an honest review. When I say I like it, I mean it. If you took mine away from me (don’t even think about it), I would buy another one the same day.
Tags: 1911, Guns, Rock Island 1911, Rock Island Armory, shooty goodness