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Side by Side shooting comparison- Colt 1911CS vs Rock Island Armory 1911CS

Discussion in 'Handgun Discussion' started by akelly17, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. akelly17

    akelly17 salem oregon New Member

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    I just bought myself a Rock Island Armory, Officer 1911 the other day, but the day I got it, I was only able to put 50 rounds through it, so I had to leave a shooting review for another day.

    I should have taken more close up pictures of both to show a better comparison but obviously the two 1911's are in the middle, i also shot a ruger 22, 38 special, and a .357mag super blackhawk today:thumbup:

    Today I went shootin with my Pops, who, luckily for me, brought his Colt 1911 Officer model! I was pretty stoked because this gave me the amazing opportunity to shoot both guns, side by side, and compare them for anybody interested in knowing how the two compared.

    Firstly, How do they look?: Almost Identical, besides the finish.The Colt was stainless steel, and about 25 years old. The RIA is parkerized, and basically brand new out of the box this week. The Colt still looked nicer, original grips were nicer, and so on. This can kind of be a personal opinion but the parkerized finish of the RIA is definitely not going to last 25 years, and I plan on duracoating mine soon to take care of this problem.

    Secondly, Sights: Colt has novak style sights, with the normal 3-dot configuration, my favorite type of iron sight. The RIA uses novak style sights but without any contrast, which personally I dislike. I plan on getting new sights for my RIA as well to fix this.

    Thirdly, Accuracy: The two guns aimed identically, but I noticed that I definitely preferred the trigger pull of my RIA compared to the Colt. Im not sure if the RIA has a lighter trigger or possibly a shorter travel, but I continually noticed myself pulling down with the Colt, while being more accurate with the RIA. When I would get a good trigger pull on the Colt, it shot amazing, but so does the RIA. I would say from about 600 rounds through both, that they are equally accurate, just have small differences that can easily be worked out with repetition.

    Lastly Reliability: I shot two different types of ammo through both guns, first was a 230grain federal fmj, which went flawlessly through both guns. Second was a 185grain hollow point (not sure what brand as it wasn't my ammo, it was my Dad's). The hollow point had issues feeding on the last round of my RIA, AND the Colt. out of roughly 800 rounds total (of both Colt and RIA) of the hollow point, i had 6 fail to feeds, three from each gun, and it was always the last round. I am going to credit this to possibly the low grain? I have heard that using such a low grain round can cause it to jam, and since both guns did it, only with the hollow point round, and only on the last round of the magazine, that it most likely was an issue with the ammo choice and not the gun itself.

    I would have to say that if you want a beautiful gun, that you will never EVER want to get rid of, the Colt is the way to go. Comparing them side by side you can just tell which one costs more, but if you weren't worried about looks, they shot the same to me personally. They shot so similar that they even had the exact same malfunctions with the hollow point ammo!

    If you want a gun that you can beat up every day, and pick up for under $500 bucks? RIA all the way. This will replace my sig as my carry weapon easily and I plan on keeping this gun for a long long time. I am surprised more gun companies don't try and follow RIA's footsteps with making an affordable 1911.
  2. iamme

    iamme Lane County Well-Known Member

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    Nice write up. However parkerizing should hold up just fine with care

  3. akelly17

    akelly17 salem oregon New Member

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    yes i agree parkerizing should last a long time, but this already shows light scratches from the casings hitting the slide, and inside thr trigger guard, which other guns I have owned havent shown damage to the finish that quickly ever. I can just foresee that continuous holster use and other normal wear and tear may have adverse affects on this particular parkerized finish.
  4. Petes

    Petes Active Member

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    AK, I also just acquired a RAI 1911cs and wow this one is very solid and shoots great. I am impressed with the slide fit and over all close tolerances.
    I just ordered gloss black dura coat and clear coat .. I agree with you this cs needs it.
    Going replace the sight withneither fiber optic or 3 dot but am having trouble finding them and not sure how to replace the front sight ( looks like it is pinned )
    Curious as to what sights you are going to go with.

    All the best ..... Pete
  5. unklekippy

    unklekippy In The Mountains Near Sprague River Well-Known Member

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    RIA's are an incredible value and incredibly underated. The only problem that I have seen is that when you get a bad one, it can be a real bummer. I would never knock a Colt, they are fine weapons. For my money, being able to feel and in a perfect situation, fire an RIA prior to buying seals the deal. If you get a good one, it is in my opinion as good as even a Colt or Kimber. I strongly urge anyone looking into sights to look at Meprolite(Meprolight?). They are wonderful, bright night sights that I would put on any 1911. Congrats on your purchase. Kip
    auditrevor and (deleted member) like this.
  6. Longshot34

    Longshot34 Moses Lake Member

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    I just picked up a citadel officers 1911. I know they come from the same factory but it is noticeably tighter than the RIA I bought a few years ago. They are great values. I don't know about the current batch of RIA guns but my citadel has Novak style sights, beaver tail grip safety, skeleton hammer and trigger. All which are upgrades from the RIA I bet a few years ago.
  7. Spad

    Spad Kennewick,WA, the desert side Active Member

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    I have a full size RI Tactical and two Colts and I have to say the Rock Island is a bargain and a fine shooting pistol. Nice report,thanks for the on scene comparison...Now if RockIsland would just make a light weight version of the Officers model...Spad