I picked up a used Rock Island ‘Midsize GI’, which is basically an all steel Commander with a 4 1\4” bushingless barrel. The front sight is a round-top blade like those found on pre-A1 1911’s. It’s a handy little .45 with a decent dark finish and ugly grips. Trigger is around 6 pounds with a hint of creep.

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I’ll admit to a sentimental attachment to this particular model. It was a recent favorite of my oldest brother, Jim Sargent of Berryville AR, who departed this world on July 31 2015. Jim wore a badge in the early 70’s and he carried 1911’s almost exclusively. He was a fine man of the old school, kind and generous to those he loved. You couldn’t have asked for a better big brother.

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My youngest son & I took the Midsize for its first outing; our mission was to make it choke. The pistol was devoid of oil when I received it and none was added. It fed Tula FMJ, 230 grain Golden Sabers, USA 230 JHP and the few 230 Gold Dots I had on hand. It ran just as well with the ACT mag as it did with Chip McCormick Powermags. The Midsize shot respectably and even produced a 25 yard group with 4 of 5 in a ragged hole. But its tiny sights can be difficult and unsupported, 25 yard groups averaged 3 inches.

I replaced the round-top front sight with a serrated ‘A1’ sight. I also find slick-sided 1911 grips and straight mainspring housings disturbing, so for now it wears a set of brown GI plastic grips and an arched mainspring housing. I’ll order a set of double-diamonds for it and maybe a set of sights. A Wilson sear spring brought the trigger down to a manageable 4 1/2 pounds.  The OEM link was a poor fit and I replaced it with a Wilson #3. The pistol shot a bit better, at no expense to reliability.

A magazine of Tula from 25 yards, a the 4×6 inch head of my dinger target.

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10 more rounds of Tula FMJ at 50 yards, standing unsupported… basic combat accuracy from an abbreviated 1911.

Five rounds of Tula FMJ at an 11 x 18 inch plate from 100 yards; four hits.

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I think I am about at the mechanical accuracy limit of this pistol. Tula FMJ isn’t exactly known worldwide as match-grade ammo. But with 600+ rounds down the pipe, the Midsize remains trouble free and it carries substantially easier than a fullsize 1911. It has potential for a project down the road.

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