Rock River Arms 1911 Poly

The Rock River Arms 1911 Poly returns.

Rock River Arms is a company more well known for their AR-platform rifles, but at SHOT Show this year the company was showing off their polymer-framed 1911 pistol again.  First displayed 2 years ago as a concept pistol, and possibly to determine market interest, it appears that RRA is ready to bring the polymer framed 1911 to market.  Called the 1911 Poly this pistol aims to combine the proven 1911 design, with the lightweight benefits of modern polymer.  The company is marketing the 1911 Poly as a modern twist on a timeless design.

The 1911 Poly in its case on the SHOT Show floor.

The 1911 Poly in its case on the SHOT Show floor.

Note the OD grip option.

Note the OD grip option.

The 1911 Poly floor models were kept in a glass enclosed box for added security, but the RRA reps were willing to allow onlookers a closer look as long as one of them was present during the examination.  Casually looking at the 1911 Poly it has all the sleek features of the famous John Browning design.  Closer examination reveals some of the enhancements that Rock River Arms has included standard.

Note the speed trigger, OD grip choice, extended magazine release, and beavertail grip safety.

Note the speed trigger, OD grip choice, extended magazine release, and beavertail grip safety.

To answer any questions of durability by pairing a 4140 steel slide with a polymer frame on the powerful .45 ACP, RRA has included a steel insert embedded into the polymer frame.  Magazines will be 7-shot steel with a slightly extended polymer base with angled front.  The slide serrations will be slightly angled forward.  Although not provided, it appears that the other dimensions of the 1911 Poly will be in line with the original 1911 design.

A view of the 1911 Poly from the shooter's grip.

A view of the 1911 Poly from the shooter’s grip.

Handling the 1911 Poly on the SHOT Show floor I felt the weight distribution was still balanced, just with a lighter weight package.  Grip and thumb safeties were easily manipulated and sure.  The 1911 Poly is listed with a 4.5 lb. trigger pull.  With the hammer cocked that pull felt like it dropped to 2 lbs. or even lighter.  Trigger pull was very smooth, and the break was positive and crisp.

A closer look at the machined speed trigger on the 1911 Poly.

A closer look at the machined speed trigger on the 1911 Poly.

Here are the 1911 Poly standard features:

  • Barrel Length – 5.0 inches
  • Twist Rate – 1:16 Left hand twist
  • Barrel Material – Chrome Moly
  • Frame – Polymer along with mainspring housing
  • Slide – Steel with Parkerized finish, steel frame insert
  • Grips – RRA over-molded rubber with textured front and rear panels – variety of color options
  • Trigger – Aluminum speed trigger with 3-hole machined design
  • Trigger Pull Weight – 4.5 lbs.
  • Hammer – Commander style
  • Safeties – Beavertail grip safety, extended thumb safety
  • Sights – Dovetail front and rear
  • Magazine – (1) 7-round
  • Weight – 2.04 pounds
  • MSRP – TBA, but has been suggested to be around $800
A closer look at the Commander style hammer, beavertail grip safety, and dovetail rear sight on the 1911 Poly.

A closer look at the Commander style hammer, beavertail grip safety, and dovetail rear sight on the 1911 Poly.

The 1911 Poly will ship with the recognizable Rock River Arms French Blue hard back gun case.  In 2012 RRA showed the 1911 Poly coming with what appeared to be an IMI Defense polymer holster, double magazine case, and ammunition loader, but it was unclear if those options will be a part of the current 1911 Poly package as only the pistols were shown.

The business end of the RRA 1911 Poly.

The business end of the RRA 1911 Poly.

Rock River Arms is planning on releasing the 1911 Poly in 2014, but an exact release date has not been announced.  Some 1911 fans are sure to feel that bringing polymer to the time-proven 1911 design is a bad thing, but on the other side there may be those who see the design as a natural progression using the latest materials available to the market.  What do you think?

Aaron is a life-long firearm enthusiast and hunter. He has been a police officer for nearly 19 years, and currently is a Sergeant in Special Operations. He has served on the department’s SWAT Team for 14 years, with 8 years as the Sniper Team Leader. When not fussing over fractions of inches, and gut-less wonders, he can usually be found sipping from a ridiculously large coffee mug. Aaron is also the editor and main writer at


  • Colby

    I reserve the right to be wrong if, indeed, I end up being wrong. I am not against the concept in general, but RRA’s execution of the concept looks poor to me and likely to cause computability issues with commonly available holsters.

    First, on the left side of the gun, beneath the thumb safety, I see a sharp corner where the polymer meets the steel sub-frame. That corner looks like it could be very irritating abraiding against one’s grip, particularly if shooting left handed.

    Aesthetically, it doesn’t look like an $800 gun. I wasn’t there to view it in person so I may be mislead by the pictures, but the parkerized rather than stainless bushing, the parkerized sights, the style of the slide serrations, the rear of the extractor standing proud rather than being finished, all remind me of the upper assemblies on some Philippine1911s I’ve seen which are at the lower end of the cost spectrum. It just doesn’t look like there are any styling or finishing features to indicate that this is a 1911 that justifies that price, especially considering the manufacturing expense likely saved by being able to injection mould, rather than machine and finish, a good portion of the frame. Maybe if they went with a ball-cut rather than the parabolic cut on the front of the slide that would dress it up a little bit and make it look a little more distinct.

    Finally, it looks to me like the subframe is actually the same width as a standard 1911 frame, and that the polymer part of the frame overlays that subframe, thereby making it thicker than traditional 1911’s. Therefore, I anticipate that the added width of the frame overall might cause it to not fit commonly available holsters (similarly to how most Sig 1911s have a more square profile on the top of the slide than traditional 1911’s thereby making finding holsters difficult).

    Like I said, I might be getting the wrong impression from the pictures but, if I am right, then to justify those compromises the RRA would have to represent an exceptional value due to the decreased cost of manufacture. Therefore, I’d be interested in it in the $400-500 range, but not the $800 price range, especially when there are so many other competitive options out there that look a whole lot better and have more features.

    Just my $.02, so take it with a pound of salt.

    • Jason Mills

      “he 1911 Poly is listed with a 4.5 lb. trigger pull. With the hammer
      cocked that pull felt like it dropped to 2 lbs. or even lighter.”

      So is this 1911 a double action? That’s the only way the trigger pull could drop from 4.5lb to 2lb with the hammer cocked.
      Or is this just a badly worded statement?

      • gunslinger

        it sounds like a badly worded statement.
        the official specs lists pull at 4.5 pounds, but it sounds like the writer thinks the pull “feels” like 2lbs.

        i haven’t seen a DA 1911.

        • raven

          Para LDA.

          • gunslinger

            interesting. thanks.

          • Duray

            Para LDA still can’t be cocked tho.

      • kevinp2

        My question exactly!

      • Aaron E

        Yeah I completely blew that statement – it is a 4.5 lb. trigger but felt way lighter than that. Sorry for the mix up.

        • Aaron E

          I meant to say it felt like other pistols SA pull of around 2 lbs. Seemed to be a very short pull as well.

          • Jason Mills

            cool! Thanks for the clarification.

  • ColaBox

    Things that should not mix: The 1911 design and plastic. The design might not be great but their nothing wrong with good ol’ metal.

  • FourString

    Well shieet, ferk you RRA, that’s now another choice to add to my cross shopping list with the HK USP 45 and Glock 41 T-T

  • Kav

    Interesting. Have we seen anything else today with a polymer frame for about $800? Looks like competition in this segment is heating up.

  • Lance

    rather have a M-45

  • Jeff Smith

    Any clue as to the reason for the added security?

    Also, the compact model should be called “1911 Poly Pocket.”

    • noob

      “wanna see what’s new? really fun compacts just for you!”

      now that’s a fun compact surprise

  • Vhyrus

    A 1911 that doesn’t weigh as much as a brake rotor? Where do I sign?

    • noob

      your chiropractor suddenly goes broke because nobody in town has a bad back anymore.

    • 2wheels

      Not with RRA if the weight listed above is correct… It still weighs as much as a conventional 1911.

      • Aaron E

        Though not much lighter the 1911 Poly is 2.04 lbs., where what I found on the original 1911 it weighed 2.44 lbs. With a 5″ barrel, there is still a lot of steel on this pistol.

  • Geoff a well known Skeptic

    The pistol weights just over 32 oz. a standard 1911 39 oz and a Colt Light Weight 26 oz. I’m not seeing a major improvement here. Geoff Who is skeptical.

    • 2wheels

      I did a double take when I saw the listed weight, what are they doing if it weighs as much as a steel framed gun?

  • DaveP.

    Wilson Arms did it first, a bunch of years ago. I’m actually kinda surprised that it’s taken so long for another company to go there.
    This would make a lot more sense in a Commander or Officer’s size frame.

  • 2wheels

    That weight has to be wrong… Because that’s not much lighter than a steel framed 1911, and it’s heavier than alloy framed 1911s!

    So if there’s no weight advantage and no real cost advantage… make my 1911 metal!

    I’m not against the idea of a polymer framed 1911, if it provides a real advantage.

  • Cknarf

    If I’m going to spend money on a 1911 It’s not going to be plastic.

  • Adam

    Meh. I don’t mind the weight of a steel 1911. Maybe it they had integrated the grips, Possibly even making it a double stack while they’re at it, I would be more interested. A big reason I like 1911’s is the solid feeling of a metal frame.

  • Johnny

    No light rail? Gee. You’d think everything made after the turn of the century should have a rail of some kind.