The Rock Ultra FS 9mm is better than a Springfield Armory

Okay, so it might be a little early in the test to say that, but last night we kicked off the test of the Rock Island Ultra FS 9mm 1911 by running it through the 10-8 Performance Function Check. Which unlike the Taurus and the Springfield, it passed. With flying colors. Watch the Rock Ultra FS in action here. The Rock Ultra FS is just like the previous two pistols we’ve tested, a fullsize 1911 in 9mm. I has adjustable sights with a fiber optic front, G10 grips, full beavertail, full length guide rod, and unlike our two previous pistols comes from the factory with a magazine funnel (thank god).

For comparison, here’s the Springfield Armory 1911 running through the 10-8 Function Test, you can see it failed on the 2nd round of the “no magazine” portion of the event. Now, that doesn’t make the RO a bad gun, and it doesn’t actually mean that the Rock is objectively better, because the Rock hasn’t completed the test protocol yet. But I do want to point out that the Rock Ultra is the first 9mm 1911 that I’ve had actually pass the 10-8 test. Tim’s Wilson Combat did, but I would expect that from a Wilson.

Rock Ultra FS 9mm six shot group Critical Defense

This is a six shot group from the Rock Ultra at 15 yards, standing unsupported. It’s slightly longer than the OAL of the cartridge. There’s no question that the Rock Island and Hornady Critical Defense make an extremely accurate pairing. Standard FMJ also did pretty well, turning in some strong bullseye strings like this:

Rock Ultra FS 9mm 20 shots timed fire 25 yards

20 shots, timed fire (5 shots in 20 seconds) at 25 yards? I’ll definitely take that. Only two out of the black, and both of those were called shots.

Now before we get further, I need to talk about bias here. I said during the Taurus test that I wanted the Taurus to be good, because I wanted to live in a world where a 500 dollar 1911 could get a better grade than D. I feel the same way about this gun, but even moreso because I’ve had prior positive experience with Rock Island guns; and because the Rock Island/Armscor people I know are genuinely cool people. So I want this gun to be good. I’ll admit that I was wrong in the video about the price point, I can find them only for $650 but nothing like $500. That’s my bad. However, $650 makes it more affordable than the Range Officer by $100-$200 bucks, and that’s no joke.

Initial results? Positive. I’m pretty optimistic about where this test is going to go. We’re 256 rounds in with 1744 to go, and I’m genuinely excited about seeing what happens next.

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10 thoughts on “The Rock Ultra FS 9mm is better than a Springfield Armory”

  1. Cool. I look forward to seeing more 1911s put through the same test to see how much of a rarity it is for a gun to actually pass what should be an extremely easy test.

    Time for a Colt 9mm right?

  2. Rock Island 1911 are a great value for the money.

    Rock Islands ARE made in the Philippines. He said it in the video at least once and maybe twice.

    My question is:

    Why do the test with an aftermarket Wilson Combat ETM magazine versus what actually ships with each individual pistol?

    Magazines are the “usual suspect” in a non-functioning 1911.

    Otherwise, I am enjoying the series.

    1. Why do the test with an aftermarket Wilson Combat ETM magazine versus what actually ships with each individual pistol?

      To remove magazines as a variable.

      “Brand X is a great gun, but it just ships with junk magazines. If you’d used Brand Y magazines like I do, it would have run fine!”

  3. I’m really interested to see how this one holds up to 2,000 rounds. I have a RIA 9mm FS Tactical and it did not. The slide stop was not locking the slide back and extractor went south around 650 rounds (retensioning and polishing didn’t correct it). Wilson Hardcore extractor and slide stop got it running right.

  4. Why carry a 1911 in anything other than 45 ACP or maybe 38 Super?? BESIDES you need to test the weapon as it comes. Not added to or taken from to suit you. IMO

    1. My guess…

      USPSA has a big part to do with it…no factory gun has five mags, so you might as well buy the right ones. You might as well shoot Single Stack Minor because the extra bullets are worth the minor hit factor, and 9mm is cheaper than .45 and definitely cheaper than .38 super. Why carry a Glock in anything other than 9mm and exactly as it comes with the crappy plastic sights?

      Simply enough…because sometimes you just want to.

      And the Rock Island mags that came with my .45 were absolute turds so buying an actually decent magazine has its perks. My .45 also had some problems passing the 10-8 test and while the extractor is fine, I think the ejector is improperly placed and so ejection is spotty at best.

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