2,074 rounds. That’s how long the Rock Island Armory Ultra FS 9mm 1911 has gone without a malfunction of any type. I’ll get the boring bits out of the way right here and now. The gun passed the 10-8 Function Test, passed the 100 round speed test, passed every single thing I could think to throw at it, and became only the second gun to achieve a perfect 100/100 on the Gun Nuts 1911 Evaluation. The only other gun to achieve a perfect score? Tim’s Wilson Combat.
If you want more boring stats, here’s a complete list of the different types of ammo fired through the gun.
- 200 rounds of 124gr American Eagle
- 798 rounds of 115gr American Steel
- 500 rounds of 115gr Armscor FMJ
- 50 rounds of CapArms 147gr Match FMJ
- 77 rounds of 115gr Hornady Critical Defense
- 399 rounds of 115gr PMC FMJ
- 50 rounds of Winchester 147gr PDX
During the test it was lubricated twice, once at the start with a zero round count, and once again at approximately 1,000 rounds. The Rock Ultra FS 9mm has an MSRP of $722, however a quick check online shows them going for as low as $500 if you shop smart; and averaging around $650. That’s in the same ballpark as the Taurus for a gun that is superior in every single way imaginable, and it’s $150 less than the 9mm Springfield Range Officer.
The RIA isn’t perfect, not by a long stretch. The sights from the factory are fine, but they’re only fine. I blacked out the two rear white dots to improve them a bit, which did help. I’d still only rate them as “serviceable” though. So far of the three guns I’ve tested, the Springfield had the best sights. As I mentioned in the video, there’s kind of an ugly gap between the grips and the magwell, but that’s an aesthetic issue and not a functional one.
In fact, every single criticism I’d level against this gun would be aesthetic – because if we’re talking about pure function, the Rock is well…a rock. In accuracy testing it wasn’t as accurate as the Springfield, but it was reliable, and that counts for a lot. As long as it will hold under 2.5 inches at 25 yards with good ammo, I’m happy with that level of accuracy, and the Rock does that. It does that very well, in fact. It has a good trigger, serviceable sights, a good magwell, good grips, and it’s accurate enough and more than reliable. All for less than $700 at retail.
The Rock ships with two 10-round Metalform magazines, which didn’t cause any issues with this gun, but may not work right in every gun. I primarily used Wilson ETMs and Dawson Precision Tactical, both of which worked like a charm. No issues with mags not dropping free, ever. I recommend if you do get a Rock to upgrade your magazines to Wilsons as soon as possible, but I recommend that for basically every 1911, whether it’s a .45 or a 9mm. Wilson Combat just makes the best, most consistent mags on the planet for 1911s.
So here’s the deal. If you want a 1911, but you want to spend less than $1,000 you should look hard at the Rock Island Armory models. My recommendation is going to be to skip RIA’s entry level stuff, their GI guns and whatnot, and go straight for either their Rock Ultra series or their Tac series. Those guns seem to have a little bit more special something in their build process, and and as result run extremely well. This gun is everything I’d hoped for, and I’m super pleased that it worked out the way it did.
- Rounds fired: 2,074
- Failures of any type: 0
- Armorer repairs: 0
- Broken parts: 0
- 10-8 Performance Test: Pass
- Final Score: 100/100