Davidson's Rock Island 1911 Review

Retailing for just over $600, the Davidson's exclusive 1911-A1 Rock Standard FS has all the features you want for sport shooting or defensive carry.

Davidson's Rock Island 1911 Review

Davidson’s is one of the best-known firearms retailers in the country, having been in the gun business for more than 60 years, and its Gallery of Guns is one of the best sources for Internet firearms sales. A recent arrival to the 1911 scene is an exclusive collaboration between Davidson’s and Armscor/Rock Island Armory: the 1911-A1 Rock Standard FS DS.

I spoke with Bill Bennett, Davidson’s director of marketing, and asked what the concept was for this 1911. He said Davidson’s wanted a full-featured Government 1911 with a unique look that stood out as to price point and performance—one that also gives a salute to those who served in our military.

Armscor—a Philippines-based company that markets 1911s under the Rock Island Armory brand—took its 1911-A1 FS DS and added Cerakote’s Patriot Brown finish to the slide and frame. The blend of brown and bronze gives the pistol look that says it’s ready for hard use, and the application of the finish is evenly applied. The metal finish of the slide and frame is further set off by matte-blue controls.

Davidson's Rock Island Armory 1911
The combination of the Cerakote Patriot Brown finish, G10 Desert Storm grips and matte-blue controls make this gun a real looker—and one ready for action.

Both the slide and frame are 4140 steel and are cut on CNC machinery to ensure close tolerances, so the pistol demonstrates minimal play between the slide and frame. The slide houses a full-length recoil spring guide and sports GI serrations on the rear only.


The frame and the barrel feed ramp are polished, and the ejection port is lowered and bevel-cut to ensure brass is kicked out cleanly. The ejector has an extended tip for positive ejection and is pinned to the frame.


Davidson's Rock Island Armory 1911
The pistol sports a loop-style “combat” hammer and a memory bump on the grip safety.

The frame features a high-swept beavertail grip safety that distributes the recoil across the web of the hand and prevents hammer bite. The grip safety has a memory bump to ensure it gets depressed deep enough to fire even if you’re wearing gloves.

The grips are sandy brown G10 Desert Storm with black highlights and feature a raised starburst pattern. Between the fit and the aggressive texture, the grips lock the pistol to the shooter’s hand with even the heaviest of loads. The left grip is relieved around the mag release.

The mainspring housing is checkered at 20 lpi, and the checkering is perfectly cut. The magazine release button and slide-lock lever are similarly checkered for non-slip operation. The high-cut frontstrap features multiple deep vertical serrations.

The ambidextrous thumb safety is wide enough for easy manipulation but slimmed down for concealed carry. It has substantial detent spring pressure for that positive on/off click I look for in a 1911.


Davidson's Rock Island Armory 1911
The Davidson’s/RIA 1911 features an ambidextrous thumb safety that operates with proper tension.

The slide is the classic 1911-A1 type, and the bottom edges have been dehorned. The sole marking on the slide is the Rock Island Armory logo that is neatly etched into the rear left corner.

The sights have a non-reflective matte-blue finish and are a combination of a dovetail cut front sight and a no-snag, Novak-style rear sight with a setscrew for windage adjustments.

The Rock Standard FS DS is a Series 70 gun, meaning there is no firing pin safety. The trigger is a medium-length, skeletonized, target type with a properly adjusted overtravel screw. The trigger on my sample broke cleanly at just under five pounds—a good trigger weight for use as a defensive handgun.


I shot 300 rounds of SIG Elite 230-grain full-metal-jacket rounds in rapid-fire drills along with and followed with multiple types of defensive ammo and competition reloads at distances from five to 25 yards—about 1,000 rounds in all. Feeding was 100 percent from the supplied magazine, as well as from mags from Wilson, McCormick and Brown.

As the accompanying accuracy chart indicates, at 25 yards, the Rock Standard FS shot nearly all ammo tested into three-inch groups. Many of the groups had three and four rounds in a cluster of less than two inches with a flyer or two that I must claim. The best of the three-round groups had every round touching. All loads tested shot well, with accuracy on a par with far more expensive 1911s I have used.

Davidson's Rock Island 1911-A1 Rock Standard Accuracy Results:

Davidson's Rock Island Armory 1911
Notes: Accuracy results are averages of four five -shot groups at 25 yards from a Caldwell pistol rest. Velocities are averages of two 10-shot strings recorded on a ProChrono placed 10 feet from the muzzle. Abbreviations: JHP, jacketed hollowpoint; LSWC lead semi-wadcutter; SC, solid copper

Overall, this 1911 performed very well, and my only criticisms are that it should come with an additional magazines, and I would like to see an extended mag well for faster reloads.

Retailing for just over $600, the Davidson’s exclusive 1911-A1 Rock Standard FS has all the features you want for sport shooting or defensive carry. The exclusive finish and grip design add to both the look and the feel, and the fact that it pays homage to our military adds to its appeal. And as a bonus, the pistol is covered by Davidson’s lifetime replacement warranty.

Davidson's Rock Island 1911-A1 Rock Standard FS DS Specs:

  • Type: 1911
  • Caliber/Cartridge: .45 ACP
  • Capacity: 8-round magazine supplied
  • Barrel: 5 in.
  • OAL: 8.6 in.
  • Weight: 39.8 oz.
  • Construction: Cerakote Patriot Brownfinished steel slide and frame
  • Grip: G10 Desert Storm
  • Sights: no-snag, adjustable for windage rear; post front
  • Trigger: medium-length, skeletonized; 5 lb. pull (measured)
  • Safeties: ambidextrous thumb, grip w/ memory bump
  • Price: $609
  • Manufacturer: Armscor
  • Retailer: Davidson’s, GalleryOfGuns.com 

Buy it now. Log on to GalleryofGuns.com, select this firearm, pay a deposit and it will be at your local gun store in two days. When purchased from GalleryofGuns.com, Davidson’s guarantees to repair or replace this firearm for life.

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