First look at a Rock Island Armory Ultra FS in 10mm


Rock Island Armory Ultra FS 10mm

People tell me that 10mm is a fun cartridge to shoot, especially out of a 1911-style pistol. I’ll let you know when I get around to trying it, but for now I’m just going to give my first impressions an a used 10mm 1911 from Rock Island Armory. Rock Island Armory have no connection with the famed U.S. Army Rock Island Arsenal. This Rock Island Armory is a subsidiary of Armscor, and is located in Marikina, Philippines.

Rock Island Armory Ultra FS 10mm

Rock Island Armory (RIA) is known for making an affordable (read: cheap) yet reliable 1911 copy. In other words, it’s a good bargain, and if you’re buying something for only occasional use and which you don’t care if it gets beat up in a holster while hiking in the woods, then cheap and used are the way to go. Thus, the RIA Ultra FS 10mm you see here today.

Rock Island Armory Ultra FS 10mm

That’s not to say that there aren’t problems with the RIA’s 10mm. Fortunately, reliability isn’t one of them, according to most reviews. What reliability issues I have seen reported appear to be what would normally be expected during break in of a new pistol using a very powerful cartridge. Finish, however, isn’t up to Colt standards. But, then, neither is the price. A new RIA Ultra FS 10mm comes in at around $300 to $400 less (street price) than the Colt Delta Elite. And for that cost advantage you get the added benefit of having a fully supported chamber, which may hold up better when firing full-powered 10mm loads. There are reports of catastrophic case failures with the unsupported chambers of some 10mm pistols such as the Delta Elite, but I’m not convinced that isn’t more attributable to home reloaders pushing the envelop on an already powerful cartridge.

Rock Island Armory Ultra FS comes with only one magazine

Another difference compared to the Colt Delta Elite is the addition of a bushingless barrel, which supposedly improves barrel-to-slide fit, thus increasing accuracy. The bushingless design also requires a wider “bull” barrel, which slightly increases mass and thus may reduce felt recoil. However, I doubt that the very slight increase in mass here would be enough to result in any real benefit in this regard.

Bushingless design

Note the wider bull barrel at the muzzle end

You can see from the following photograph this particular 1911 has a tendency to eject the casings in such a manner that they strike the upper portion of the slide behind the ejection port. Again, not something I’m very worried about, and I could probably remove those marks without marring the Parkerization.

Ejection marks

Rear sights are adjustable.

Adjustable rear sight

The front sight is fiber optic. Nice touch! Together, here is what you see looking down the slide:

Rear sight

Fiber optic front sight

Watch for a firing review after I get this thing to the range.

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