Handguns > Semi-Auto

Rock Island Armory 1911 Tactical II FS 10 mm

New for 2013, this tactical slab-side is dressed and ready for hunting or self-defense.


The Rock Island Armory (RIA) line of pistols is manufactured by Armscor in Marikina City, Philippines, and distributed in America by Armscor USA out of Pahrump, Nev. While many of RIA’s pistols are basic, value-priced clones of the U.S. Military G.I. M1911-A1, its Tactical line includes models that have been fitted with features and upgrades for folks in the market for a pistol with a little more flair. New for this year, Armscor is expanding its line of Tactical II FS pistols to include two versions in 10 mm.

The Tactical II tested for this review is an all-steel 1911 with a black Parkerized finish. The slide and frame profile are of the traditional A1 variety, with a slide catch, straight rear-slide serrations and a magazine release of the same variety. The other version of this new 10 mm has a modified frame with a long tactical rail for lights and lasers. The slide is topped with metallic three-dot sights. The front sight houses a red fiber optic, while the rear white-dot sight is fully adjustable for height and windage. The hammer is a skeletonized combat type that rests above a beavertail grip safety with a grooved memory bump.

The grip frame is fitted with a metallic skeletonized trigger, an extended ambidextrous thumb safety and a checkered straight mainspring housing made of polymer. The front of the grip is smooth with black and grey VZ Grips G10 grip panels attached to the sides with blued standard screws. A steel magazine well has been added, and is held in place by the two lower grip screws. The eight-round blued-steel magazines have bases that are pre-drilled to attach after market rubber base extensions. Rubber bases will be needed for speed reloads since the magazine well extends about a 1/4 inch lower than the magazines when they are fully inserted.

The Tactical II has been designed to handle the increased pressure levels generated by the 10 mm cartridge. Modern .45 ACP cartridges operate at a maximum of 21,000 psi, if they meet SAAMI standards. The 10 mm can run up to 37,500 psi before crossing the SAAMI limits. To keep up with the hot 10 mm round, the A1-style bushing and short guide rod have been replaced by a bushing-less linked barrel and full-length steel guide rod.

The bushing-less barrel configuration requires a slightly different disassembly process than most GI-type 1911s. It's a good idea to wear safety glasses while working on this system since the stout recoil spring remains under pressure until the end of the field stripping process. Start by removing the magazine and lock the slide into the open position. Double check the chamber to verify there is no ammunition in the pistol. With the slide in the open position it's possible to see a small hole drilled in the guide rod, located about 1 3/4-inches back from the muzzle, between the top of the guide rod and the bottom of the barrel. Insert a disassembly tool into the hole (a bent paper clip will do in a pinch) to restrain the recoil assembly.

While holding the slide in place, release the slide catch. Slowly move the slide forward until the notches line up, and then remove the slide catch. Push the slide forward and off of the frame. Remove the captured recoil assembly by pushing it back toward the barrel chamber. Extract the barrel from the slide by pulling it forward out of the slide.

Dismantling the restrained recoil assembly for cleaning is accomplished by using the empty slide as a tool. Re-insert the recoil assembly into the slide in the same position it was in before. Press the assembly forward against the slide to relieve the pressure on the disassembly tool, remove the tool from the rod and then slowly guide the spring and rod out of the slide. When reassembling the pistol, the heavy recoil spring will require a solid and steady application of pressure to press the guide rod back into place so the disassembly tool can be replaced in the hole drilled through the rod. This process is not as difficult as it may sound, but it needs to be done carefully to prevent parts from flying across the room.

Taking the Tactical II to the range for testing was a positive experience indeed. I have been reading about the 10 mm cartridge for ages and have been waiting to give it a try. The Rock Island Armory pistols are universally respected, but I have not worked with one before. I was looking forward to trying both for the first time.

The Tactical II has a utilitarian Parkerized finish, but it was expertly applied. There was no wobble or side-to-side movement in the slide. Instead it was tight and smooth. The magazine release vigorously ejected magazines, and all of the magazines tested locked snuggly into place. The skeletonized trigger had a little take-up before a crisp let off. The trigger is advertized as having a 4- to 6-pound pull, but this sample couldn't convince a Lyman's digital trigger gauge to say it was less than 6 pounds, 8 ounces. As a shooter who blasts away with double-action revolvers and striker-fired pistols on a regular basis, a short-stroke single-action trigger in this weight range was not much of a distraction. As for 1911 competition-trigger aficionados, they may not care for it.

The eye-catching VZ Grips G10 grip panels are aggressively textured. This lends to a very positive grip surface for cold, wet or slick fingers. The down side to this grip configuration is the G10 will abrade bare hands over the course of an extended practice session, especially with peppy 10 mm loads. Just slip on some shooting gloves and enjoy the firm grip.

The Tactical II proved to be reliable with the ammunition tested. The 40 ounces of steel this gun provides helped to tame the recoil produced by the high-performance 10 mm cartridge. There was only one malfunction during the test, which was a single failure to feed in the first 25-rounds fired. For a factory-fresh, all-steel pistol, a single hang-up early in the break-in period is nothing to worry about. The accuracy of this pistol and caliber combination was excellent, especially for an iron-sights-only, out-of-the-box 1911 pistol.

Working from a bench rest set at 25 yards from the target, the best single five-shot group was 2.25 inches, with no single group exceeding 3.25-inches. After completing the traditional accuracy testing, it seemed like this would be a good opportunity to try DoubleTap's multi-projectile defensive Equalizer load. In the 10 mm round, a functional 135-grain jacketed hollow point is loaded over a 95-grain, hard-cast lead ball. The hollow point expands on impact, while the ball provides deep penetration. From the Tactical II pistol, the Equalizer was accurate, with the bullet striking at point of aim and the lead ball landing just above it. Projectile spread was 1 inch at 7 yards, 2 inches at 15 yards, 3 inches at 25 yards and recoil was moderate.

The Rock Island Armory 1911 Tactical II FS 10 mm Pistol provided a level of performance one might not expect from a budget-friendly import. It arrives with a set of features that makes it ready to run right out of the box. The fit, finish and accuracy of this pistol were top notch, and it never hurts to have a handgun that's reliable as well. The 10 mm cartridge and Rock Island Armory made a good first impression, and I’m looking forward to working with both of them again in the future. 

Manufacturer: Armscor; us.armscor.com
Model: Rock Island Armory 1911 Tactical II FS
Action: Single Action
Caliber: 10 mm
Finish: Parkerized
Grips: VZ Grips G10
Sights: Fiber-Optic Front, Click Adjustable Rear
Barrel Length: 5”
Overall Length: 8.75”
Height: 5.5”
Slide Width: 0.94”
Weight: 40 ozs.
Capacity: 8+1 Rounds
Twist: 1:16” RH
Rifle Grooves: 6
Accessories: Two magazines, lockable hard case, lock and manual
Suggested Retail Price: $659.95

Rock Island Armory Shooting Results

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33 Responses to Rock Island Armory 1911 Tactical II FS 10 mm

Roy wrote:
November 12, 2014

I just purchase RIA 10mm can somebody tell me if it will handle extreme hot loads of Underwood, Cor-Bon & Double Tap with little to no malfunctions?? I'll appreciate if someone can answer my question.

Jon Hallberg wrote:
August 26, 2014

Someone mentioned a slightly over sized bore. What about chroming the barrel?

John T. wrote:
July 18, 2014

Update to my last post in May, R.I. sent me a new mag release and that solved my magazine issue. Great gun, great company.

John T. wrote:
May 08, 2014

My 1911-A1 FS has a problem with magazines backing out after a few rounds. Seating very well with bumper pads but drop just enough so not to feed. My fingers are no where near the mag release. Very frustrating.

Antwone brown wrote:
October 23, 2013

RIA 10mm buyer.. Wow this is really a nice gun not only for the money. But it really performs very well.. It's half the price of a colt delta and will shot on par with it.

jim perkey wrote:
August 26, 2013

I just bought a RIA10mm& i absolutely LOVE IT!!! I kicked the wife outa bed just so my 10 can sleep in bed with me!

Charlie D wrote:
August 14, 2013

I have several RIA in .45 as do several friends. They have all performed flawlessly. The only feed issues were from a box of Remington, simple solution, don't buy that ammo. Just received my 10mm now waiting for ammo to arrive. After shooting my match grade RIA a real shooter pronounced it more accurate than his very expensive Kimber. He was not happy. I anticipate zero issues, and Armscor will make them right if there are.

Motorcycle Joe wrote:
August 06, 2013

I just order my first hand gun, a 9mm RIA Tact II. Are there differences in construction between the 9mm and 10mm? Will the 9mm operate as nice as the 10mm? Did I make a mistake for a first purchase? Thanks for any help.

Tom Jones wrote:
April 20, 2013

I purchased a RIA 10mm Tactical 11 last month and it only came with one magazine. I called RIA and asked them about why only one magazine and was told they only ship with one mag. Odd some people receive 2 mags with their purchase and others just one mag.

gandog56 wrote:
April 07, 2013

Ohhhh, If I didn't just spend all my money on a Fusion Firearms 10mm, I would of got this one, I SWEAR!

Andre Mauboussin wrote:
April 07, 2013

I love my RI GI .45. Accurate and reliable.

Whlsdn wrote:
March 09, 2013

My RIA 1911 Tactical in .45 is my favorite handgun in my small collection of 12. I have 10mm in the EAA Witness, but I'd love to get a 10 in the RIA 1911 version. The grip fit would be so much better!

AndyC wrote:
February 07, 2013

Bud, I've had my Rock for about 5 years - I've put over 31,000 rounds through it so far and it's still tight as a drum. Competed in an IDPA match last night with and took 1st place in my division (CDP).

Scott wrote:
February 02, 2013

I'm somewhat of a 10mm "collector/shooter" If it is anything like the old Chinese Norinco .45 ACP pistols, It should shoot well and be a good value for the money.

louis wilner wrote:
January 29, 2013

I have/carry the A1 cs tac (officer size) and love it no ftf fte and gets more accurate as I become a better shooter

Ray Landry wrote:
January 29, 2013

I'd love one of these or the 45 but don't think its MA compliant, then again not much is legal in Mass.

Gene de los Reyes wrote:
January 29, 2013

@Erickson, the barrel is based on SAAMI Z299.3 - 1993 p. 23 which specifies a groove diameter of .4005' to .4045'. So your .4035' is still in the ballpark. In any case, you may send the unit to our Pahrump NV office for repair or replacement free of charge.

Jim Robinson wrote:
January 28, 2013

I have the 2011 Tactical with VZ grip. I only shoot full loads and never had any problems. I have a few colts and this is my favorite carry piece. I will get the 10mm when ever I find one.

Brian Holcomb wrote:
January 28, 2013

In regards to the previous post asking about the RIA .45's: I can only tell you my experience, but I have a 3.5' RIA .45 that eats cast semi wadcutters for breakfast and any hollowpoint for dessert. I can't make that gun malfunction outside of dropping it in a mud puddle for a week or two. I've been very impressed with each RIA gun that I have had my hands on in the last few years. This 10mm is a sweet shooter.

Nick Sommerfeld wrote:
January 28, 2013

I love my RIA 9mm. Still the best gun I've shot. The price is fantastic to.

Nate wrote:
January 28, 2013

I carry a full sized RIA .45 1911 and I love it. I have yet to have any FTF or FTE on it.

Greg wrote:
January 28, 2013

I picked this pistol up about a month and a half ago. I've only made it to the range once with it and only put a box of 50 through it. I only had one failure to feed because I didn't seat the magazine properly. That's about the only downside to this pistol is it comes with the extended magwell, but it doesn't have bumpers on the magazines so they are a little bit difficult to get to seat. Another note that may be of concern to some is the aggressiveness of the dimples and the cuts in the G-10 grip. After 100 rounds in a day I could see it getting a little rough on the hands. The pistol is great otherwise and I can't wait to get back to the range with it. I added bumpers to the magazines and it will look and function great now. 10mm is a solid caliber and this pistol filled my desire for a 1911 and a pistol chambered in 10mm. A note to new owners. I couldn't for the life of me figure out how to break it down. It's my first 1911 and apparently there are few ways that these break down. if you pull the slide back there is a hole in the guide rod beneath the barrel where you can drop a straightened paper clip with a small 90* bend in it. One other small thing is it didn't come with the pin or I overlooked it, and the instructions were vague as to the breakdown of the pistol. No worries about CTD, they will never get my business. My LGS had nothing good to say about them as far as shipment times and they have been spoken to rudely and cussed at. Grabagun had a better price by $70 much cheaper flat rate shipping.

Patrick Driscoll wrote:
January 26, 2013

If you don't like CTD, then don't shop there. BTW, it is called FREEDOM and FREE MARKETS. Would you prefer BHO setting prices, say YOUR prices?

R Coleman wrote:
January 22, 2013

To answer someone's question below, the RIA in .45 is great. At 20yds I can put all 8 shots in a .50 cent piece. The only modifications I did to mine was a little smoothing in the trigger and a hougue wrap around grip. Over 1500 rds through mine and there is no slide shake or failures.

Robert Feltman wrote:
January 20, 2013

Amen to Vaughan, about CheaperThanDirt! Not only are they price gouging, after the shooting, they took firearms off website with reply of 'CheaperThanDirt does not sell firearms'! Directly after. Way to go CTD! - I call that move a 'chicken' reaction! And now they come back gouging!!!

S Erickson wrote:
January 20, 2013

I purchased an RIA in 10mm a few weeks go. It has been nothing but problems. The main issue is the barrel. It is very rough, extreme copper fouling in less than 10 rounds and the bore is oversized. Slugging the bore shows a groove diameter of .4035. That's not even close to the proper .400. I would not recommend this pistol at all.

B. Hawkins wrote:
January 16, 2013

I have the full size .45 and the Officer's model. Have had no issues. Did some minor polishing on the triggers, otherwise great guns.

Pat Ott wrote:
January 16, 2013

I have fired about 1000 rounds thru my RIA 45 with zero jams . Target, a bottle cap at 25 yards 2 to 3 inch spread

rob riddle wrote:
January 15, 2013

How much for the 45

elo simeon wrote:
January 15, 2013

this pistol is ready to rock,out from the box.

Vaughan Pederson wrote:
January 15, 2013

Really like Armscor/Rock Island. They make a fine high quality product.

Vaughan Pederson wrote:
January 15, 2013

Sad to see CheaperThanDirt advertising on your site after their price gouging since the school shooting. Shameful, dreadful price gouging behavior.

Bud Camp wrote:
January 15, 2013

Does anyone have experience with the standard RIA .45? Does it have any problems you have found? What about Jamming?