1911 Madness

So I’ve been rolling around the internet gun boards (you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy) and I’ve noticed an odd trend with regards to the venerable 1911 platform.  Mainly, a lot of people seriously hate the Taurus PT-1911; which I’m fine with, right up until those very same people turn around and praise the glories of the Rock Island Armory 1911s.

That’s where I get “the madness”, because last time I checked, the Taurus guns had something that all 1911 afficianods crave, which is a forged frame, barrel, and slide – whereas the RIA guns have a cast frame.  And then there’s the fact that the Taurus gun comes with all kinds of goodies like an ambi safety, checkered frontstrap, forward gripping serrations, Heinie sights; while the admittedly less expensive RIA gun comes in what is basically a mil-spec package.

Now, I’m not a 1911 expert, so color me confused.  Unless I’m completely missing some detail here, is it just because people like to hate on Taurus?  Or are the RIA guns in possession of some kind of secret Filipino gun making juju that I just don’t know about?  Is it because STI uses a boatload of parts from the RIA guys?

I mean, I have to admit that I’m interested in the RIA guns if for no other reason that $350 for a 1911 that I’m going to fill full of Ed Brown parts sounds pretty awesome; but the amount of internet hate for Taurus cross-stitched with unrequited love for the Rock Island guns has me pretty confused.

Although the RIA Match Grade pistol is pretty sexy looking, and I’m a sucker for wood grips.


  1. The only thing I can really think of is that people just love to hate on the Taurus. I don’t have one, but I’ve heard nothing but good things about them.
    As for more wretched hive of scum and villany…what about the gun rags? 😉

  2. If I’m going to spend over 1k on a 1911, it’s going to say “ParaUSA” or “Springfield” on the slide. If I’m going to spend over 2k on a 1911 it’s going to say “Wilson”, “Les Baer”, or “S&W Performance Center” on the slide.

  3. If I buy a Taurus, I’d need to get someone to fix the fuXX0r3d “checkering”, and replace all the craptastic MIM small parts.

    If I buy a Filipino slag gun, I need to add checkering, and then replace all the craptastic MIM small parts.

    (Incidentally, Paras are cast frames, too.)

    S&W, SA, and Kimber are all forged frame/slide guns, but are still full of craptastic MIM.

    Non-MIM 1911s start at the ~$1k mark, with guns like the SIG GSR, but then you’re back to a cast frame & slide. Not that there’s necessarily anything super wrong with that; Ruger Super Redhawk frames in .454 Casull are cast, after all. I’d rather have a good casting than a sloppy forging that nobody magnafluxed to check for cracks and was badly heat treated and is full of stress risers from poor machining…

  4. I have come to the conclusion that no matter what I buy, I’m in for changing out a lot of craptastic MIM parts.

    Although my local gunwonks are selling SIG GSRs.

  5. Well…..I bought a RIA tactical for $410. I’ve now got 500+ rounds thru it and I love it. One of the best triggers out of the box, etc. I later bought a Kimber Custom shop model that is basically the same pistol in features. I prefer the RIA. Maybe if I break-in the Kimber some more, that could change. But, my feeling as of now is that I wasted $1300.

  6. I bought a Taurus 1911 a while back. It was a great gun. Only problems I had with it were I didn’t like the lock in the hammer, and the magazines were sucky. The trigger was crisp, and it was as accurate as my Wilson CQB.

    I ended up trading it with a buddy for a Colt 1991, which I plan on fussing with, but it just sits in the safe.

    When I took a class pistol at SIG a couple of years ago, they were having horrible problems with the GSRs. I suspect they were too tight. My Wilson can be a little fussy that way (got to keep it clean) Where as the Colt Commander I have will eat anything. I ended up using that as my 1911 carry, as it always works.

    With all of this said, YMMV

  7. Spence,

    The problems with the early GSRs were twofold:

    1) “Drop-in” parts don’t. Apparently their assembly guys weren’t up to speed on that.


    2) Out-of-Spec pin hole locations on the Caspian-m’frd frames causing timing issues and weird lockwork behavior.

    I’m sure most Tauruses run fine. So do most Springers, Kimbers, Smiths, and other guns with craptastic MIM parts. The issues I have with MIM parts are not those of functionality, but durability. (And snobishness, I’ll freely admit. I like to know that no part on my gun was selected because it was cheaper.)

  8. Don’t own one myself, but the Rock Island .45 my buddy has is a nice gun. It does exactly what it is supposed to do. I’m no 1911 expert but they seem a good deal for the money. My guess is they are popular for the same reason the WASR-10 is. Simpe, reliable, entry level priced version of a classic type of firearm.
    I figure if anyone is going to make knock off Colt 1911’s it might as well be the Filipinos, considering the history that pistol has in their country.

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