For years, the Rock Island 10mm handgun, which is a 70-series 1911 design chambered in the larger 10mm round,has been a topic of contention among firearms devotees. Among the detractors of this firearm, it has a reputation for several concerning issues. This article unpacks several of those issues and provides suggestions for remedying each of them.
We’ll explain what you need to know about the Rock Island 10mm so that when it’s time to fix any problems or troubleshoot, you’ll be prepared—all without an ounce of guesswork!
All firearms have their own quirks and common issues, so this isn’t necessarily an indictment on the gun itself, but we like to provide owners and potential buyers with as much information as possible.
While the Rock Island 10mm contains a heavier slide than, for instance, a Glock design in 10mm, it is not excessively heavy considering it is a 10mm 1911. . Many shooters find that the additional weight gives them a more enjoyable shooting experience and may even reduce recoil when firing larger calibers.
However, some users argue that this extra heft can create an imbalance that leads to accuracy complications. Everyone has different preferences for their firearms, so it’s up to you to decide whether or not the added weight of the Rock Island 10mm fits your individual needs. This is not a design issue with the firearm itself, but rather a feature of the design that you should think through before making a purchase decision
How to Fix It
While there’s not a whole lot you can do to reduce the weight of your Rock Island 10mm, you can look into other options, such as using a lighter-weight round. This can help reduce the total weight of your gun, making it easier to handle and shoot, though, in the grand scheme of things, a lighter-grain bullet choice will likely only reduce the weight of a loaded Rock Island 10mm by a few grams.
To help shooting feel a bit less fatiguing, practice is the best medicine. From there, considering different backstraps and grips is also a possible solutions
2. Slide Not Locking
The Rock Island 10mm has been known to have slide issues, with many users reporting that the slide does not lock back when it should. This could lead to problems in self-defense or competition shooting, as the 1911 ought to lock back when the magazine and chamber are both empty.
The easiest to diagnose culprit here would be magazines: some magazines do not work well with particular guns from the factory, and others have feed lips that come out of spec over time. Either way, a new magazine is in order as a first step
Another reported issue has to do with the slide stop. This component is supposed to engage the front of the mag follower so that the bolt doesn’t slide forward. But when it jams or fails to engage properly, the slide will not lock back.
How to Fix It
To address the magazine issue, try different, preferably brand new magazines. One way to check for magazine issues is to try to lock the slide back with no magazine inserted at all. If the gun will lock back with no magazine, then it’s likely that your problem lies in the magazines.
Through either poor quality control or wear, the lugs on the slide stop can wear or break: a gunsmith with some 1911 experience would be able to diagnose this in a minute or two and could replace it in about five minutes.
3. Irregular Lockup
Unfortunately, many users have noted that the Rock Island 10mm has an inconsistent lockup which can lead to misfires and other accuracy issues. This is due to its extractor, a part responsible for holding in place rounds as they are loaded into the chamber.
When worn out, it may not be able to securely keep them locked up anymore. Don’t let this issue impede your shooting experience—make sure you replace any malfunctioning parts quickly!
The recoil spring could be another source of the issue. If the spring is underpowered, it can cause the barrel to move before locking into place accurately. Conversely, a hefty recoil spring can lead to increased wear on your gun and an earlier breakdown than projected.
How to Fix It
If the extractor is causing issues, you’ll need to replace it with a new one to have rounds locking securely and prevent any irregular lockup. Since they’re both affordable and easy to replace, ordering a few extractors at a time, along with recoil and firing pin springs is a good practice for anyone who owns a Rock Island 10mm, or any other 1911 design for that matter. Additionally, if recoil springs are too weak, you must also replace them. Be sure to choose ones made especially for Rock Island 10mm firearms so that your gun works properly and resists wear.
Furthermore, remember to always lubricate your weapon adequately, as this will lessen rubbing between components while keeping everything running smoothly.
4. Failures to Feed
If you find that your Rock Island 10mm is jamming regularly, there are a few potential causes. One of the most common issues is related to the gun’s relatively cheap construction. Since some of the parts are made from lower-quality materials, they can easily cause snags or become worn and result in jams. Specifically, if the feed ramp is not quite right in terms of geometry, or wears usually quickly, this will result in failures to feed.
Another potential culprit is the ammunition. If you’re using hollow points, sometimes the lip of that point can catch on the feed ramp.
How to Fix It
For issues related to the gun’s construction on the feed ramp, it’s best to get in touch with Armscor, the manufacturer of the Rock Island 10mm. They may be able to replace the parts, although you may still experience the same issue down the road.
Try using ball ammunition rather than hollow points as a cheap way to diagnose the problem on your own. Also, do not keep your hand on the slide as it’s going into battery: the 1911 relies on the full force of the recoil spring to chamber rounds correctly, and if you ride the slide with your hand, you are depriving the mechanism of necessary kinetic energy.
If the failure to feed persists using ball ammunition and letting the slide go forward freely, consider a trip to the gunsmith: rather than chasing down the specific cause, which could be anything from recoil springs to ammunition or lubrication, a quick look might be able to rule out most of them and see if you need to send the gun back to Armscor with a faulty feed ramp.
5. Failures to Eject
Failures to eject can come from a few sources. It’s fairly easy to tell the causes apart based on exactly what happens. If you fire a round and the entire casing remains in the chamber, it’s fairly certain that the ejector is at fault.
If only the rim of the case is ripped off of the case and the case remains stuck, there can be several culprits. The most common one is that the ammunition is of poor quality or has been reloaded too many times. A distinctly weak recoil spring can also cause this, as the spring is not adequately slowing down the slide and causing more violent ejection than necessary. Finally, a chamber that is a little bit too small can squeeze the case too much, meaning that cases get stuck and the rims can be ripped off by the extractor
How to Fix It
If you suspect that the extractor is the cause, then replacing the extractor is fairly simple and can be done at home.
Similarly, if you’ve been using reloaded ammo or that “new” ammunition that some dude is always selling in plastic bags at gun shows, consider trying some higher-quality ammunition.
If the issues still persist after those solutions, the chamber itself might well be out of spec: if you’ve tried better ammunition and new extractors, stop shooting the firearm and contact Armscor.
While a lot of these issues seem fairly annoying, they’re not totally unknown in the 1911 world. While cutting costs on things like quality control certainly does not help, many custom 1911s and most off-the-shelf models suffer some of these problems, albeit likely to a lesser degree than the Rock Island 10mm. With that said, these issues are offputting to some customers, but are worth tolerating if you’re willing to put some work into tuning, and potentially sending back, your Rock Island 10mm.
Growing up, John loved learning about the components of firearms and what makes them work, which still intrigues him to this day. He’s a very outdoorsy person, and he loves fishing, hunting, and skeet shooting. He is a firm believer in the Second Amendment and the right to bear arms.