The Rock Island Midsize 1911 (2015)

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.


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.


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.


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.

2015-08-20 15.21.05

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.


One Response to The Rock Island Midsize 1911 (2015)

  1. Steve says:

    Condolences on the loss of your brother.

    I picked up my only 1911 a couple years ago, a full size RIA with GI sights and Hogue fingergroove grips. I kinda like the grips, but I couldn’t see the sights worth squat, so had them replaced with a set of 3 dots from Brownells. It shoots pretty good, but I need to get some decent full(er) power ammo loaded up. All I’ve tried so far is some weaker stuff that’s all leftovers from Bullseye practice ammo. It shoots minute of bowling pin so far, but I haven’t really shot it past 12 1/2 yards yet.

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