Gun Review: Rock Island Armory Tactical 9mm

    NOTE: This product review was made possible by GunsForSale.com.  To get up-to-date information on where to find Rock Island 1911s for sale, please visit GunsForSale.com.

    If you want to save money on ammunition without sacrificing your beloved 1911, then this is the pistol you need! The Rock Island Armory Tactical 1911, one of the most popular 1911s on the market, is now available in 9mm. Compared to the more expensive .45 ACP model, you can feed it for much less money and keep the same number of rounds going down range.

    I have always been very fond of Rock Island 1911 pistols. First and foremost they are well made with all, they have the features I like and the price is great at roughly $450 for all Tactical models. Don’t let the price fool you into thinking that it is cheaply made because it surely is not. I own several in 45 ACP, including both the full size and compact version. I received this sample Tactical in 9mm directly from Rock Island.

    Now a number of you will say “but it’s a 9mm”! Well yes it is, but over the last few years the 9mm has gone through some serious improvements. Loads like the Buffalo Bore 9mm +P+ (115 gr. at 1,400 fps / 500 ft/lbs) and the Cor-Bon DPX (115 gr at 1250fps / 399 ft/lbs) will not leave you underarmed. Another advantage of a 9mm version of the 1911 is capacity. The Rock Island Tactical 9mm holds ten rounds with eleven rounds using a new magazine from Metalform. Of course, if you want to keep the 45 .ACP for defense you can always use the 9mm for practice.

    Affectionately referred to as “The Rock” among owners, the Tactical has all of the features desired by most shooters. The pistol is made from forged 4120 steel with a hammer forged barrel. Its safety is an extended ambidextrous with Novak type low mount black sights. The grip safety has the beavertail configuration. A full length guiderod is also included. The barrel has a nice feature with an 11 degree muzzle crown to protect it from damage should the pistol be dropped. It also has a lowered and flared ejection port. The hammer is skeletonized. A durable parkerized finish is standard.

    Rock Island packs each pistol in a hard black plastic case with one magazine. The Rock Island warranty is lifetime for the original owner.

    Trigger pull on this example is 5 pounds with little takeup. This was a bit of a surprise because the trigger didn’t really feel like 5 pounds. Let’s just say the trigger is certainly a good one.

    The stats are standard for a full size 1911 and weighs in at 38.5 ounces.

    Range Time

    I spent about two hours in this session firing 250 rounds total of Armscor 115 .grn 9mm. Testing distances were 7, 10 and 15 yards. I used the standard 5 inch targets from Birchwood Casey.

    The first rounds fired were some older Winchester Silvertips I had laying around. If anything will test a new pistol for reliability it is hollowpoints. I fired all 50 rounds at various distances and speed to check more for reliability than accuracy. The magazine was a bit stiff to load 9 rounds. After fifty rounds it eased up a bit. Even so there were no failures of any kind.

    After loading up with the Armscorp ammo I set my target up at 7 yards and started working on accuracy testing.

    7 yards standing.

    The target above was fired from 7 yards. Two magazines were fired for a total of 18 rounds. The group measured right at 1 inch.

    10 yards standing.

    Moving back to 10 yards I fired this string again measuring right at 1 inch. Pretty darn good for a new pistol right out of the box. Many times when a new pistol is taken to the range the first time some adjustment of the sights is needed. Rock Island sights these pistols in at the factory. I’ve never had to adjust the sights on one yet.

    15 yards from a rest

    Normally I would fire from the 15 yard line standing as with the 7 and 10 yard targets. This time I used my shooting bag as a rest. One magazine of 9 rounds yielded this group of ¾ of an inch. That’s a very good group for any 1911!

    This range session was no surprise. I’ve spent enough time with these pistols to know them pretty well. As I said earlier they are 100% reliable and this one was no exception. There were no failures of any type during the entire session of 300 rounds.

    I mentioned earlier the magazine was rather stiff and difficult to load. After using one magazine for all 300 rounds it was no longer difficult to load that ninth round. Aftermarket 10 round high quality Metalform are available from MidwayUSA for $27.99

    Recoil in a 9mm 1911 is very soft allowing the shooter to get back on target easily. It makes a range session firing 300 rounds easy on the shooting hand.

    Conclusion

    The Rock Island Armory 1911 have been very successful since they began being imported from the Philippines about five years ago. This is a 1911 with a large following that just keeps growing. New models are released fairly often.

    What you get is a 1911 that is accurate, reliable and well made. The price sure is hard to beat. Honestly it handles and shoots as well as my much more expensive Springfield Armory with the same features.

     

    Phil White

    Retired police officer with 30 years of service. Firearms instructor and SRU team member. I still instruct with local agencies. My daily carry pistol is the tried and true 1911. I’m retired as associate editor since December 14th 2017. My replacement is my friend Pete M email: [email protected] you can reach Pete for product reviews etc.


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