Rock Island Armory 9mm 1911

This past week I spent some time out in Iowa doing some ammo testing for a project I have coming up. I decided to bring the Rock Island 1911 out to test their 9mm offerings, and as usual I was completely satisfied with its performance. The video is mostly me just messing around and wasting ammo, but it’s neat to see how flat the gun runs with 147gr match ammo.

As of today, the Rock Island has 3040 rounds on it…still with zero failures of any type. This gun is absolutely a triumph, and one of my favorite guns of all time.


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Kimber Pro Carry II update

The Kimber is now at 1247 rounds fired. Since completing the 500 round break in period that Kimber recommends, it has shot 747 rounds and experienced one failure to extract. Compare this to the first 500 rounds where it experienced 4 different malfunctions. At least in regards to this gun, perhaps the “break in period” isn’t a myth after all.

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Kimber Pro Carry II 9mm: Dot Torture

One of the things I really like about the Pro Carry II is how accurate it is, especially for a smaller gun. This long video is me shooting a 49/50 on Dot Torture with it, putting the pistol through its paces for accuracy.

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Kimber Pro Carry II 9mm: 10-8 Performance Test

Time to test a new gun, while the Dan Wesson is off at NRA getting its photo taken for Rifleman. We’re starting with the Kimber Pro Carry II in 9mm, and like all of test guns it starts with the 10-8 Performance test.

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Rock Island Armory Ultra FS 9mm 1911 review

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.

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Dan Wesson Valkyrie Commander 10-8 Performance Test

While the Rock Island 1911 test is still underway (200 rounds left) I wanted to take a break from it and run the Dan Wesson Valkyrie Commander 1911 through the 10-8 Performance Function Test. The Valkyrie Commander is new for 2016 in the Dan Wesson lineup, and is a followup to their awesome looking Valkyrie, which is a CCO-inspired carry pistol.

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Rock Island Armory Ultra FS 9mm update

1,074 rounds. That’s how many rounds the Rock Ultra FS 9mm has gone through, and oddly enough that’s the same number of rounds it’s fired without a single failure of any type. This gun is blowing my mind. It’s passed the 10-8 Performance Test, passed the 100 round challenge, I set a PR on Bill Drills with it, and it just keeps running. Sure, the fit and finish isn’t as nice as the Springfield, and it costs more than the Taurus, but it’s done several things that neither of those guns were able to do. It’s got it where it counts for me, and that’s performance. It runs. It’s accurate. It’s reliable. In fact, it’s the best 9mm 1911 I’ve tested so far.

I have now crossed over into the camp of rooting for this gun hardcore. I’m still going to continue to subject it to our object test protocol, but now I really want it to go the distance to 2,000 rounds without an issue. How cool would that be? A 1911 that’s ready out of the box for IDPA or USPSA for less than $700? It has a magwell, good grips, fiber optic sights, adjustable rear sights, it’s everything I want (except forward cocking serrations).

Dear Rock Island Armory: I don’t know what kind of devil magic you put in this gun, but please put it in all your guns from now until the end of time.

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Photo of the day: A Dirty 1911

There are a lot of misconceptions about the 1911 floating around on the web. One of them is the idea that the 1911 is a delicate little princess that can’t function if she’s dirty. In truth, a properly built 1911 will run dirty if it has been properly lubricated. On Saturday I stopped by the excellent Elite Shooting Sports facility and in the space of an hour working on recoil control and sight tracking blew through over 450 rounds through my 9mm Wilson CQB. The picture tells the tale…this is no princess. She’s a very dirty girl.

It’s at the point now where handling the pistol leaves crud on my hands, so I’m actually going to break down and clean her up. Saturday’s outing pushed the round count through my CQB to over 4,000. That’s more than 4,000 rounds without cleaning. All I’ve ever done is properly lubricate the pistol with Wilson’s Ultima Lube¬†and occasionally wipe down the outside of the pistol to keep the black crud off my clothes.

A properly made 1911 will still run if it’s dirty. A spotlessly clean 1911 will shut down in short order if it isn’t properly lubricated. I’ve been on the line with a lot of 1911 pistols over the years, including attending courses dedicated to the 1911 pattern pistol. Most made the mistake of lubricating their 1911 like it was a Glock…meaning they use minimal or no lubrication at all. Invariably those people ran into problems inside the first 150 rounds. An all metal pistol, even one with a neat high-tech finish that provides some lubricity (like Wilson’s Armor-Tuff finish on this pistol) needs proper lubrication to function. Especially if you do crazy things like burn 450 rounds through the gun in an hour’s time because you happen to be near the range and have a case of ammo in your trunk.

Wait…you don’t drive around with 1,000 rounds of ammo in your trunk? What kind of heathen are you? (Note: this is a joke. If you write me claiming you were microaggressed by this statement I’m going to laugh at you with all of my friends)

To be clear, I’m not arguing that what I’ve done here is a best practice because it most certainly isn’t. Only cleaning your gun every 5th case of ammo is not really a good idea. I didn’t set out to do this because it’s a good idea or because I was trying to prove a point. I’ve just been too damn lazy to clean the gun. So now it’s time to be a responsible adult and properly clean the beast.

…although I kinda like the stripe pattern that’s formed on the muzzle.


Rock Island Ultra FS: 100 round challenge

The idea behind the 100 round challenge is simple: load up 10 mags, shoot 100 rounds as fast as possible. There’s no real training value to it, but there is testing value. When we subjected the Springfield Armory RO to this test, it didn’t do well. The Rock Island on the other hand passed with flying colors. That’s another objective performance metric where the Rock Island has beaten the Springfield. Weird.

So far the Rock Ultra FS 1911 in 9mm has fired 826 rounds and passed the 10-8 Performance Test. As a benchmark, Tim’s Wilson Combat was perfect at this same round count, the Springfield had failed the 10-8 Test and suffered 5 malfunctions, and of course the Taurus had also failed the 10-8 test and experienced 7 malfunctions. So far the Rock Island 1911 has passed the 10-8 test as mentioned and gone through exactly zero malfunctions of any type.

I continue to be impressed by this gun! Of course, just to make sure my biases are out there, I’m also really rooting for it. I was rooting for the Taurus too, because I absolutely want to live in a world where a budget 1911 is awesome; obviously that turned out to not really be the case with the Taurus, but things with the Rock are shaping up nicely.

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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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