Working Inexpensive 1911s

1911 parts compatibility is sometimes an issue. Here’s what I’ve found about parts interchangeability and reliability working with 1911s from Armscor/Rock Island, High Standard, and Cimarron.

by RK Cambell

After some forty years of working with the 1911 I realize that parts interchangeability is always a concern. No matter how reliable or well made a pistol, it will break or it will be modified. Inexpensive handguns end up in the shop most often.

One of the most popular inexpensive handguns – and by all reports, a best-selling 1911 in the world – is the Armscor/Rock Island Armory 1911. Recent figures indicate there are more Rock Island pistols sold than any other 1911 and I sometimes get questions concerning aftermarket parts and the compatibility of the pistol with these parts. These handguns are patterned after World War Two GI guns but with several changes. “The Rock” features a long trigger and flat mainspring housing, making it easier to fit a beavertail safety compared to the original GI arched housing and short trigger. The pistols are finished in a dull Parkerized finish and are Series 70 without a firing pin block.

After working on sixteen or more of these pistols during the past few years I am able to make several observations. While we call them Series 70, we often mean GI mil spec. Rocks accept most 1911 parts with a minimum of fitting. Incidently, 1911 handguns that are less likely to accept aftermarket slides, barrels, and other parts without fitting are high end handguns as they have a tighter fit. Off spec, economy handguns sometimes suffer the same complaint. My purpose in writing this report is to share my experience with Armscor/Rock Island, as well as the nearly-similar High Standard and Cimarron pistols.

Read more in the June 2017 issue.

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