Coolest Alternatives to a Rock Island 1911 Pistol

Coolest Alternatives to a Rock Island 1911 Pistol

Apr 25th 2024

Let’s face a simple truth. Rock Island 1911 pistols are extremely popular, and for multiple reasons.

Not the least of these are that they are remarkably cheap and reliable while in most instances (especially in the GI series) preserving many of the details, functionality, and operability of the original M1911 in play.

In multiple instances we’ve covered Rock Island 1911 pistols and their virtues. See our explorations of Rock Island quality and the best 1911-style RI pistols for concealed carry to see what we mean.

But, with all of that said, there’s a whole lot more to Rock Island Armory than meets the eye, and a whole lot more than just their 1911-style pistols.

Let’s take a look at some of their other greats.

1. Rock Island STK100 HC in 9mm (Pictured Above)

The Rock Island STK100 in 9mm really is a great handgun from RIA. There’s a lot it offers that shooters will appreciate.

For instance, it has a textured grip that provides better handling, even under adverse conditions, a fast-cycling slide with cutouts, and a fixed, integrated rear sight on an optic cover plate, making optic upgrades easier.

It also features a rail section under the barrel, so making upgrades with WMLs or lasers is a snap. And, on top of that, is the capacity: this handgun has up to a 17 round capacity, delivering plenty of firepower into a relatively compact footprint.

2. LI380

This is definitely one of the best Rock Island pistols out there for shooters that are recoil-shy, as it is a smooth-shooting .380 with a very compact footprint, making it ideal for concealed carry.

Smooth lines and a very fluid outline somewhat reminiscent of a Makarov, AKA a “Mak,” make this a fun gun to carry and shoot. It’s also only 6.53” overall (in both height and length) making it super compact, and excellent for concealed carry, especially as a purse gun or where printing is a big concern.

3. BBR 3.10 in 9mm (.45 ACP Version Pictured)

                                  Rock Island 1911 Pistols

The Rock Island BBR 3.10 in 9mm is about as good as it gets with respect to the balance between firepower and compact dimensions.

The first thing you will notice about this Rock Island pistol is the size. It is absolutely tiny, at only 6.85” long and 4.55” high. It’s surprisingly dense, though, at 1.6 or so lbs (loaded). Either way, it’s one of the most compact entries in the Rock Island lineup, which makes it great for concealed carry.

That’s not the only thing that makes it a great personal defense weapon, though, or it would be equal in stature to the last entry. However, unlike that one, chambered in .380 ACP, this one is chambered in 9mm and has a 10 round capacity, making it superior not only in compactness, but also in capacity and firepower.

4. XT 22 Magnum Pro 22 Mag in .22 Magnum

This one is on this list for its sporting applications. It might not be the best as a defensive handgun (it’s chambered in .22 Magnum) but it has a ton of sporting and competitive applications.

First, let’s talk about features. Like classic Rock Island 1911 pistols, this one has a 1911-style trigger that moves only rearward. It also features the same basic ergonomics and controls.

However, it has a full length of rail along the slide, perfect for mounting optics or a scope which makes it great as a precision-shooter.

Also, its chambering of .22 Magnum with a 14-round capacity makes it great for competition and hunting; for those that pursue handgun hunting, if you’re a rimfire hunter, there are few better pistols out there. This would be great for small game as well as for dispatching trapped furbearers.

5. MAPP FS in 9mm

If you’re after a full-sized handgun more in the vein of a Beretta M9 than a Colt M1911, or a Rock Island 1911 pistol modeled after it, then the MAPP FS in 9mm with a 10-round capacity is for you.

It has a lightweight polymer frame and a steel slide, and the whole thing only weighs 1.67 lbs. It has snag-free sights along with a section of rail under the barrel for mounting shooting accessories.

For self-defense, lawful concealed carry, and sporting applications including handgun hunting, it offers a lot of value.

6. Pro Ultra Match HC in .40 S&W

If your goal here is to find a high-capacity, full-sized handgun in a suitable caliber that offers good stopping power and relatively low recoil, then the Rock Island Pro Ultra Match HC in .40 S&W is a great option.

This Rock Island pistol is perfect for competition, with an adjustable rear sight and a high-visibility front sight that’s good even in low light conditions. You’ll also love the high capacity of this handgun at 16 rounds - which, in this chambering, makes it great not only for competition but also for defensive applications.

7. M206 Spurless in .38 Spl (Version Pictured is a Version with an Exposed Hammer)

                      Rock Island 1911 Pistols

How could we make a list of great alternatives to a Rock Island 1911 pistol without at least one mention of a Rock revolver? Truthfully, the whole article could have been on Rock Island wheelguns, but this token entry will have to suffice for the time being - there are good reasons we put it here.

First, the size. It’s only 6.75” long and 4.67” high, and only weighs 1.5 lbs, which makes it great for concealed carry and discretion. These are not its only desirable attributes on this front, though; it is also spurless and has a fixed wide square notch rear sight that is perfect for snag-free drawing.

Also, as a wheelgun, you have little to worry about in terms of jams, and it’s chambered in the ultra-capable and versatile .38 Special - so it has plenty of stopping power, too. For this size and the fact that it’s spurless, it’s hard to beat for defensive purposes, making it one of the best Rock Island Armory firearms in the whole catalog.

Explore Other Rock Island 1911 Pistols Here

In the market for a conventional Rock Island 1911 pistol after all this? You can check out any of the models in our collection at the previous link and if you have any questions or are looking for something you don’t see listed, contact us directly at 610-250-3960.