January 04, 2016
By Jake Edmondson
Rock River Arms began building AR-15 rifles and Model 1911s in about 1996 and eventually offered a bunch of different configurations. By 2011 AR production had grown so much that Rock River Arms dropped all of its Model 1911s. Then in late 2012 the company got back in the Model 1911 business with an all-new polymer-frame Model 1911. In 2015, the company started building a steel-frame Rock River Arms 1911 again.
At the time of this writing, Rock River Arms offers the polymer-frame 1911 and six steel-frame 1911s. I got my hands on this Rock River Arms 1911 Carry Pistol for this report.
The Rock River Arms 1911 .45 ACP Carry Pistol has a precision-crowned, throated, 5-inch NM barrel. The chamber area does not have a fully supported ramp, but one isn't necessary for shooting .45 ACP ammunition like it is for other cartridges, such as .38 Super. The Carry Pistol's chamber is throated and polished, as is the feed-ramp. The pistol uses the classic Model 1911 barrel bushing setup and a standard recoil spring guide assembly. The bushing is tightly fitted. In fact, I couldn't turn it with my fingers alone; I had to use a bushing wrench.
The pistol's slide has grasping grooves at the rear and the front, and the ejection port is lowered and flared. The rear sight is a low-profile, windage-adjustable Heinie sight, and the front sight is dovetailed into the top of the slide. Both sights on my sample pistol are plain black and horizontally serrated. Sight radius is 6.69 inches.
Overall length of the Rock River Arms 1911 Carry Pistol is 8.88 inches, and height is 5.75 inches (from the bottom of the magazine to the top of the rear sight). Unloaded, the pistol weighs 39 ounces.
The frontstrap of the Rock River Arms 1911 grip frame is checkered 25 lines per inch and so is the flat mainspring housing. The bottom of the grip frame is beveled, and the grip safety is a beavertail style with a serrated memory bump.
This Rock River Arms 1911 has an extended thumb safety (not ambidextrous), a standard slide stop, a serrated aluminum speed-type trigger with overtravel adjustment screw, and a skeletonized hammer. The rosewood grips are checkered. The capacity of the single-stack magazine (made by Check-Mate) is eight rounds. The magazine has a removable bumper pad/baseplate. The pistol's finish is parkerized.
The trigger pull of my sample averaged 4 pounds, 4.8 ounces over the five times that I measured it with my RCBS trigger-pull scale. There was the expected amount of take-up, but letoff was very crisp. I couldn't detect any side-to-side play between the slide and frame, and with the pistol in battery the barrel didn't move a bit when I pushed down on its hood.
The Rock River Arms 1911 Carry Pistol is guaranteed to shoot 2.5-inch groups at 50 yards with Federal 185-grain Gold Medal Match ammo, so I put it to the test. But first I fired it at 25 yards with the Federal load and five other factory loads. Overall average accuracy for three, five-shot groups with each load was 1.73 inches at 25 yards. The most accurate load was the Winchester Win1911 230-grain FMJ, and its average was 1.20 inches. But the Federal 185-grain Gold Medal loading was almost as accurate. At 25 yards, it averaged 1.25 inches.
After finishing the shooting from the bench at 25 yards, I fired five rounds of the Federal match ammo at 50 yards and produced a group that measured 2.59 inches. I mounted the Rock River Arms 1911 in my Ransom Rest for that shooting in order to remove the human factor as much as possible. And the results are darn close to Rock River's guarantee.
After that, I shot up exactly 100 rounds of the various ammo firing at my favorite tumbling targets (Birchwood Casey's Hex Ball and Champion's Crazy Bounce Star) and on steel plates at varying distances. That definitely was the fun part, and I was thrilled that I made so many good hits on those reactive targets.
The pistol functioned perfectly throughout the entire shooting session, and I really liked the plain black sights. Making hits on paper targets and the reactive targets was easy. The Rock River Arms 1911 Carry Pistol proved to be extremely accurate, utterly reliable, and very comfortable to shoot. I'm glad Rock River is back in the steel-frame Model 1911 business.