Rock Island (Armscor) M1911 A1 FS TAC II (10mm)

KinleyWater

Handloader
Jun 15, 2019
274
169
A few years back I wanted a 1911 in 10mm, and my budget was limited, so I ended up with a factor new Rock Island 1911 A1. MSRP was in the $650 range, and I think I paid a little less than that out the door, including tax. I haven't shot it much, but recently had it out (today) so I thought I would put up a review for you all.

Details:
1911A1 pattern (series 80 I want to say, as it has a half-cock notch)
5 inch barrel, fully supported chamber
4140 steel
Some sort of black coating over everything except the barrel and the guide rod
G10 grips
Trigger adjustment screw
Fiber front and adjustable white dot rear sight
2.5 pounds-ish weight... in metric, that's something like 40 oz. ;)
1 Magazine (8 rounds)

Ammo used:
Armscor 180gr FMJ
Hornady Custom 155 and 180gr XTP
SigSauer Elite Performance 180gr V-Crown
Creedmoor 180gr XTP

Factory new, it was a $600+ single shot pistol with magazine and feed problems. I sent it back and a few weeks later, the problem was resolved (yay!). Shooting Armscor brand FMJ I found this to be a mild recoiling, easy to shoot pistol. It functioned as designed and was a whole lot of fun shooting, with the exception of that one time a bullet got stuck in the chamber and had to be beaten out with a dowel and hammer. In fairness, I attribute that to the poor quality of Armscor ammo, and not the gun.

My first attempt at using a defense/ hunting load was the Hornady 155gr Custom XTP. It cycled well, hit more or less where I pointed the gun, and the combination seemed adequate for me to carry for walks in the woods. At times, I would carry a spare mag (picked up a Kimber magazine online) with Hornady Custom 180gr XTP, because the two Hornady loads printed to the same location, more or less, at 7 yards and I thought while walking in the woods, the heavier bullet might be a good option. All in all the Hornday loads gave adequate, but not exceptional accuracy.

Next up was the SigSauer Elite Performance 180gr V-Crown -- and that was when the serious flaws started to come to light. The trigger on this 1911 features a hex screw which can be used, in theory, to adjust the pull weight. Frankly, I've run the screw all the way in and out and never really felt much of a difference, though that may just be my hands. At any rate, I found that unless you kept your finger over the adjustment screw, it likes to back out under recoil (I suppose it's handy that I can't really feel a difference). I also discovered that the slide does not like to go all the way into battery while cycling. At first, I thought it might just be the Sig ammo, but I found that it like to do it with other brands as well, including the formerly well behaved Hornady. Then I thought it might be me limp-wristing it, so I fired a number of strings paying careful attention to wrist tension - same issue. It isn't much, less than a quarter inch, I'd say, but it is enough to prevent the pistol from firing. So, when shooting more than a few rounds, I have to periodically push the slide into battery with my thumb. ** side note, I will never again complain about a forward assist **

So, today, I hauled it out again to give it a workout and try some newly acquired Creedmoor 180gr XTP. Adjusting the rear sight is a snap (a positive!) and can be done with a small screwdriver. The adjustment screw moves with a positive "click" and someone likely knows the value of each click (I don't). Anyway, it brought the Creedmoor onto target with relative ease. Yes, I had all the same issues. However, at 7 yards, I was shocked (shocked I tell you) to shoot an 8 round group I could cover with my thumb. So this particular pistol, with the Creedmoor ammo, is more than accurate enough for anything I would ever find use for.

Disassembly (or how I learned to stop worrying and love the internet). Disassembly is without a doubt the most frustrating thing to deal with. As a hint for anyone reading: If the disassembly instructions include a phrase akin to "use a bent paperclip", it's a bad sign. Yes, on the guide rod there is a small hole, into which you insert a paperclip, or similar object, to keep the spring compressed throughout disassembly. You MUST keep the paperclip in place or you CANNOT remove the barrel. Anyway, that's my last and final gripe.

Conclusions:
Is this a range toy or a serious firearm? As it came from the factory (single shot issue notwithstanding), it's a fun, ridiculously accurate (with the right ammo) handgun in a powerful cartridge. However, as it came from the factory, it isn't reliable enough to stake a human life on and probably not that of an animal, either.

*EDITS*
In the body, corrected the spelling from SigSaur to SigSauer.
In the body, Clarified Hornady as Hornday Custom (factory loaded ammunition)
 
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KinleyWater

Handloader
Jun 15, 2019
274
169
Thing is, the fit and finish were comparable to a lot of the M9s I've used. If it weren't for the slide issue, I would be 100% comfortable carrying it. I know I can get aftermarket springs (well, I know they are made, not sure about availability), but I wanted to put it out as it came from the factory. I think it's important people understand what they will be getting "out of the box" and not after investing $XXX in aftermarket parts. I also don't think it's unreasonable that a firearm function properly at time of purchase without modification. Yes, sometimes things will slip through, but in this case, I think the spring set was from stock that was improperly treated, so if they are using substandard parts, even a factory replacement would only last a short time before the same thing occurred.

*EDIT*
I suppose it is possible I am misdiagnosing. I will ask in the general forum to see if anyone has ideas.
 
Apr 17, 2020
153
99
I think I know why the screw on the trigger was not adjusting the trigger pull weight. That screw should be a trigger over travel screw, not a weight screw, unless this is a highly unconventional 1911. The trigger spring, which is called the sear spring, is a flat spring that resides almost all the way to the rear of the frame. It has three legs, which while looking at the spring in the gun from the back of the gun are as follows; the left leg is the the sear spring with a small hook at the top, the center leg is the disconnector spring, and the left leg is the grip safety spring. The disconnector spring in the center accounts for more of the trigger pull weight and can be lightened slightly by shaving off a little bit of metal equally from both sides of the spring. You want to remove the most metal at the middle of the spring and less at the ends so that you make an arched relief on both sides. This has to be done slowly and not too much or it can cause malfunctions. The sear spring on the left also accounts for some of the pull weight and could be lightened as well, but should probably be left alone because you absolutely want that sear to engage the hammer firmly.

Rather than bother with the above I would instead highly suggest looking into replacement sear springs which are inexpensive. Wilson Combat makes them and I would suggest them if you are looking for maximum reliability, but they may not lighten the trigger pull noticeably. There are lighter sear spring replacements which can reduce pull, but may decrease reliability. They could be worth trying and seeing if they work, just be very careful handling the gun with lightened springs until you can verify that it is running reliably, be especially careful if you have lightened the springs yourself.
 

KinleyWater

Handloader
Jun 15, 2019
274
169
Well, I don't know what you think of it, but from where I sit, it looks like you've been learning quite a bit about gunsmithing. Fascinating subject, I think.

To your point. Okay, travel screw. Either way, it backs out under recoil, and since I notice next to no difference wen using it, I'll either locktite it in place, or just remove it altogether.

Thanks.
 
Apr 17, 2020
153
99
No problem, glad I might be of help. Locktite is what I would try, but since it doesn't cause a noticeable difference, it won't hurt to pull out. That will just mean you have maximum over travel, which if I'm not mistaken will be the same as a standard trigger that has no adjustment anyway.
 
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