By Brian Jensen
Rock River Arms is well known for its outstanding AR-style rifles. What is not so well known, is their line of 1911 pistols they used to produce. Very well made and high dollar, they were excellent weapons from what I heard. They later concentrated on the AR platform rifle, which they do to a high degree of perfection many have come to envy. They do still make quality 1911 parts, but up until now, no pistols.
So why should they enter the 1911 market? It’s flooded with excellent weapons as it is, all commanding a high dollar price for anything considered a quality weapon. The answer for that comes in their new design, the 1911 Poly. It’s called the 1911 Poly because of it’s polymer frame (with a 4140 Billet steel insert). I know other companies have made a polymer 1911, but the one from Rock River is a little different. It is made with a 5 inch, stainless barrel and a parkerized 4140 billet steel slide. The gun has a beavertail safety, commander hammer, and dovetailed sights. These all appear to be standard sized parts, and are fitted into the polymer frame.
What sets this gun apart is the polymer frame. Together with the mainspring housing, trigger shoe, which are also made of polymer. The polymer can come in different colors as can the mainspring housing. The polymer lowers the weight, and possibly even the production cost of the gun.
I had a chance to look at the pistol, and fit and finish were very good for a production, parkerized weapon. The gripping serrations on the back of the slide were broad and easy to grip. There weren’t any serrations on the front of the slide. The weapon had an outstanding crisp trigger pull at 4.5 lbs. The beavertail sat the gun low in the hand, and the rubberized grips felt very comfortable.
The gun didn’t have the usual full length guide rod of more fancy 1911’s, and instead has the old fashioned guide plug and spring cap from more traditional designs. To be honest, I have never found them as necessary, or even useful. The plain black sights were easy to pick up, but Rock River staff said that those were apt to be changed out for something else, possible with three dots, but they weren’t sure. We hope to get one in later this year for a full review and testing.
The value of polymer has been pretty well established by such guns as Glock, the XD, and HK. Polymer lasts longer, and helps absorb recoil. This gun feels like it will be no different. However, the gun feels a little different than other 1911’s, not bad different, just a little different. Hopefully when we get to shoot it down the road I’ll be able to put it more directly, and I’m sure taking measurements and weights will explain some of for now is just an instinctive first take on the gun.
The new Rock River polymer 1911 comes in at a projected price point of around $800, which will put it in competition with guns from well established makers in the less than custom bracket, on guns that don’t have some of the refinements found on this gun. This 1911 will raise the bar for those others, if they want to compete at this price. If Rock River keeps to their reputation, this gun will fly off the shelves and be one of those, “Yeah, I ordered mine because they’re not in stock,” kind of guns.
This gun is still in development, so final release figures are not available at this time. However, for those who are looking for a quality, all American-made 1911 that they can afford, you have something to look forward to.