April 02, 2021
By Brad Fitzpatrick
Armscor is one of the world’s largest manufacturers of 1911 handguns. This Philippine company was founded in 1905 and actually predates the John Browning-designed pistol that made the company famous here in the U.S. Rock Island Armory, an affiliate of Armscor, currently offers a wide array of 1911 pistols, including the 10mm TAC Ultra FS.
The TAC Ultra FS 10mm is one of the most affordable 10mm 1911s available, but like other Rock Island pistols, it offers features similar to more expensive guns. Both the frame and slide are made from 4140 ordnance steel, and the TAC Ultra FS comes with a full-size dust cover with an accessory rail. The frame and slide have a matte black Parkerized finish that contrasts nicely with the gun’s black-and-white G10 grips.
The pistol has a full-length guide rod and supported five-inch, bushing-less, six-groove barrel with a 1:16 twist. The eight-round metal magazine sports a rubber base pad, and the trigger on the test gun broke at an average weight of 5.75 pounds on a Wheeler gauge. The trigger and hammer are skeletonized, and the checkering on the G10 grips and mainspring housing offer a secure hold on this gun when firing full-power loads.
Its square notch rear sight has two white dots and is fully adjustable. A screw on the top of the sight controls elevation while one on the right rear portion of the sight adjusts for windage. The front sight is dovetailed into the slide and comes with a red fiber-optic rod.
There are slide serrations fore and aft, the thumb safety is ambidextrous, and the mag well is beveled for faster, surer reloads. The full-size Rock Island Armory TAC Ultra FS 10mm is 8.75 inches long, 1.30 inches wide across the controls and 5.5 inches high, which is on par with most full-size 1911s. Unloaded weight is just below 47 ounces. Suggested retail price is $806, which is considerably cheaper than its competitors.
Rock Island’s hand-fitting process results in a factory pistol that operates smoothly right out of the box. Slide-to-frame fit was relatively tight, and despite a few minor machining marks and this gun’s no-nonsense, workaday exterior, there’s little to differentiate the Rock Island from more expensive 10mm 1911s.
It delivered excellent accuracy. I was looking for group sizes between two and 2.5 inches, but the TAC Ultra FS beat that. In fact, one group fired with SIG Sauer’s V-Crown ammunition went 1.28 inches for five shots. Three of the five loads tested averaged under two inches, which places the TAC Ultra FS among the more accurate factory 10mm 1911s I’ve shot.
The TAC Ultra FS’s white dot/fiber-optic layout is functional and well-thought-out, allowing the shooter to make quick adjustments in the field without any special tools. The 10mm has a reputation for being abusive, but this 47-ounce pistol is manageable even with relatively hot loads.
Reliability was superb. The TAC Ultra FS fed smoothly and extracted and ejected every load without issue. The only problem was a single hard primer that simply wouldn’t pop, but that wasn’t the fault of the gun.
That’s the type of reliability you want when you’re staking your life on a pistol to protect you from a dangerous predator, which is exactly what I was counting on the TAC Ultra FS to do when I carried it to Alaska’s Arctic as a backup gun while hunting caribou and grizzly. We didn’t always have our rifles close at hand, and that’s when I relied on the TAC Ultra FS to serve as my backup bear protection—while fishing, cutting up caribou meat or glassing, it was often simpler to carry the Rock Island 10mm in a Gunfighters Inc. Kenai Chest Holster. That kept the TAC Ultra FS close at hand at all times.
The TAC Ultra FS was exposed to the miserable wet and cold conditions that are as much a part of hunting in Alaska as the mosquitoes. It rained nearly every day, and the pistol was perpetually wet. I’d coated it with a thin layer of oil before the hunt, and at the end of six days there was no sign of wear or corrosion on the outside or inside of the gun. What’s more, the TAC Ultra FS’s trim profile allowed it to sit close to my chest and remain out of the way, and that bright fiber-optic front sight was easily visible in the murky near-dark hours between two and four a.m. at the top of the world.
There’s little doubt that the 10mm is making a resurgence, and I noticed most of the hunters I saw in Alaska actually carried 10s for backup on bears. The TAC Ultra FS from Rock Island is solid choice for anyone looking to buy their first or 15th 10mm. Accurate, durable, reliable, and affordable, the TAC Ultra FS earns high praise for offering superb performance and excellent build quality at a price you can afford.
Rock Island Armory TAC Ultra fs 10mm Specs
Caliber: 10mm Auto
Barrel: 5.0 in.
OAL/Height/Width: 8.75/5.5/1.3 in.
Weight: 46.8 oz.
Grips: black/white G10
Trigger: 5.75 lb. pull (measured)
Sights: white dot adjustable rear, fiber-optic front
Manufacturer: Rock Island Armory, armscor.com