Choosing the Right Rock Island Firearm for Your Needs

Choosing the Right Rock Island Firearm for Your Needs

Aug 29th 2023

For more than 30 years, Rock Island Armory, a division of Armscor, has designed, developed, and produced some of the finest 1911-style pistols in the industry.

Rock Island firearms such as Rock Island Armory 1911 pistols are produced using CNC machinery and are hand-fitted and finished. They have a reputation among shooters that can scarcely be rivaled especially among shooters in the United States.

But not all Rocks are the same. If you’re thinking about buying a Rock Island firearm, whether this is your first or your fifteenth purchase, it pays to settle these questions and considerations.

Why Are You Buying?

This is the most important question you need to answer before you buy a Rock Island firearm.

Are you buying a Rock Island pistol for defensive applications or will you be competition shooting with it? Are you buying a semi-automatic pistol for hunting or sporting applications?

If you buy for defensive applications, will the gun be kept for home defense, or will you carry it? If you carry, will you carry concealed or open?

These are all important questions that you must answer, because firearm size, weight, chambering, and other characteristics will all impact how well the firearm you choose serves you.

Choosing a Cartridge

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Once you determine what your applications are, you need to choose a cartridge pairing.

Many Rock Island firearms - at least their handguns - are chambered in either 9mm or .45 ACP.

Keep in mind that .45 ACP produces more recoil than 9mm, though it does produce a lot more muzzle energy and stopping power.

On the flipside, 9mm produces less recoil and similar stopping power. It is also lighter, so you can carry a higher capacity more easily.

Both of these cartridges can be suitable for either defensive applications or sporting pursuits, like hunting.

If you are a competition shooter, there’s little reason to go with the heavier cartridge. Opt for the 9mm. It is widely available, comparatively affordable, and lighter in weight and recoil.

If you are particularly recoil-sensitive, you might instead want to go with a Rock Island firearm chambered in .380 ACP.

This cartridge is substantially lighter than both 9mm and .45 ACP and it produces less recoil as well.

Rock Island Firearm Size, Weight, and Capacity

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Once you determine what your needs are in terms of the cartridge pairing, you need to settle on a model.

Three of the biggest factors you’ll need to consider are the size, weight, and capacity of the platform.

Many Rock Island firearms - specifically Rock Island 1911-style handguns - are modeled after the compact and full-sized 1911s that preceded them.

A compact version is likely better for concealed carry. It will also be lighter, making it easier for you to carry it for longer periods of time without fatigue.

At the same time, a smaller, lighter handgun will produce more recoil than a larger, heavier one in the same chambering.

If you shoot for competition this is another thing you will have to consider. Lighter handguns kick harder and they are less stable.

So, what’s easier for you, controlling and absorbing recoil, or carrying a heavier gun? For hunters, the same considerations apply.

Competition shooters and those who carry for defense should also consider capacity. Rock Island has produced some double-stack 1911s with greater capacities which are ideal for sporting and defensive applications.

How Do You Carry?

If you carry, how you carry will also have implications with respect to the Rock Island firearm you choose.

For instance, if you carry concealed, a smaller compact or subcompact Rock may be the best choice, as these are smaller, lighter, and easier to conceal without printing.

If you practice shoulder or OWB hip carry, you can get away with carrying a larger, heavier Rock since it will be easy to balance and carry in one of these holsters.

If you don’t carry the gun, and keep it for home defense or only use it for target practice or in competition, you have more flexibility with respect to size; you can choose a larger or smaller version as it suits your tastes.

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Is the Platform Expandable?

One of the final considerations you will need to make before you pull the proverbial trigger and buy a Rock Island firearm is how important expandability is to you.

For instance, all TAC-series Rock Island handguns are made with a Picatinny rail underneath the barrel that you can use to mount lights, lasers, and other shooting accessories.

Some TAC-series pistols, like the TAC-Ultra HC, come with a threaded barrel which you can use to mount muzzle devices, like compensators or suppressors.

Keep in mind that even if the platform itself doesn’t have rails or a threaded barrel, there are shooting accessories that you can mount to some trigger guards or even pistol grips to help circumvent this potential issue.

What Appeals to You?

Last but not least, you have to consider what appeals to you. At the end of the day you are the one that needs to be satisfied with the purchase and buying a Rock Island firearm, with all the different options, will entail no easy decision.

If you’re not sure about the different specifications of the Rock Island firearms we sell or would like personalized recommendations, calll us at 610-250-3960 or come visit us in our showroom in Easton, Pennsylvania. We’ll help you find the Rock that’s right for you.