REVIEW: The Commander With No Name — The Rock Island Armory 10mm

“This isn’t a two thousand dollar gun but it shoots like one!” Attention hard-hitting 1911 fans, here’s a 10mm Commander to check out. READ WHY


Bob Campbell

Some time ago the 10mm cartridge hit the ground running and enjoyed a flash of popularity. Soon after the 10mm was eclipsed by the .40 Smith & Wesson cartridge. The 10mm was kept going by a small but loyal base. But the 10mm is enjoying a credible comeback. I think that a learned appraisal of the cartridge is part of the reason. The 10mm isn’t a .41 Magnum but with modern loads it nips at the heels of the .357 Magnum with certain offerings. There are 10mm loads with modest recoil that are easily handled and others that breathe fire and recoil like a drum roll. We have rapidly expanding frangible loads, jacketed hollow point bullets with an excellent balance of expansion and penetration, and hard cast bullets that feature deep penetration for game hunting.

I recently tested a very expensive handgun called “The Gun With No Name.” That three thousand dollar 1911 was stylish with no scroll work to distract from the beautifully machined slide. It inspired the handgun reviewed here, the Rock Island Commander 10mm — yep, a Commander-length 10mm — has had the slide “wiped” of the markings some of us find distracting (although this pistol still has ‘RIA’ in the serial number). It’s the Tac Ultra MS.

Note scalloped ejection port and well designed beavertail safety.

The Philippine produced Armscor pistols are affordable but workmanlike handguns that enjoy a deserved good reputation. The company produces bare-bone bones GI guns and also target pistols. The ‘Rock’ is offered in 9mm, .38 Super, 10mm, .45 ACP, and .22 Magnum, as well as the .22 TCM caliber. The pistol illustrated is a Commander type with 4.25 inch barrel. The kicker is this is a 10mm Commander, a relative rarity in the 1911 world.

The bull barrel is a good feature. It is well fitted.

While the slide treatment and refinish are aftermarket and custom grade, the best things about the handgun were already in place. The pistol features a bushingless bull barrel. This means that the barrel dispenses with the typical 1911 barrel bushing but uses a belled barrel to lock up with the slide. This makes the full-length guide rod necessary. The pistol features a bold front post sight with fiber optic insert. The rear sight is a compact but fully adjustable version. The ejection port is nicely scalloped with a unique and attractive treatment. The beavertail grip safety is an aid in insuring the grip safety is properly pressed to release its hold on the trigger. Those that use the thumbs forward grip sometimes form a hollow in the palm and fail to properly depress the grip safety. The RIA beavertail eliminates this concern. The extended slide lock safety is an ambidextrous design. The indent is clean and sharp. Trigger compression is a tight 5.2 pounds on my Lyman Electronic Trigger Gauge. The grips are checkered G10. The pistol is supplied with two magazines, and I added several additional MecGar magazines into the mix for testing.

The pistol’s sights leave nothing to be desired.

For the test fire the magazines were loaded with SIG Sauer Elite FMJ 10mm. This load is clean burning, affordable, and accurate enough for meaningful practice. The pistol comes on target quickly and handles like a 1911. The low bore axis, straight to the rear trigger compression and hand fitting grip make for excellent handling. The pistol proved capable of center punching the target time and again at 7, 10, and 15 yards. The pistol is controllable but this isn’t a 9mm that you may punch holes in the target with at will. The much higher recoiling 10mm demands a firm grip and focused concentration. The mantra here isn’t a nicely centered group on target but a few solid hits with plenty of horsepower. Be certain you understand this before trying the 10mm. It isn’t something to be taken lightly. If you choose the 10mm you have a cartridge with excellent penetration, good wound potential, and, if need be, the ability to protect the owner against dangerous animals.

The pistol was fired with a variety of ammunition.
The pistol is controllable in rapid fire- but the shooter must expend some effort.

I also fired a number of first-rate defense loads. These included the SIG Sauer V Crown hollow point, the Buffalo Bore 155 grain Barnes X bullet, Hornady 180 grain XTP, and the Federal 200 grain HST. I fired a magazine full of each. No failures to feed, chamber, fire, or eject. Even firing these loads the pistol remained controllable. I fired, allowed the trigger to reset in recoil, and fired again as the sights were returned to target. To test absolute accuracy I fired the pistol from a solid bench rest position at 20 yards. I used the Hornady 180 grain XTP and the SIG Sauer 180 grain FMJ loading. The results were good, with the average group at 2.5 inches. The Rock Island 10mm pistol is clearly accurate enough for personal defense and perhaps even hunting thin-skinned game or wild boar out to 35 yards or so.

The GALCO Stryker was used during range drills.

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9 thoughts on “REVIEW: The Commander With No Name — The Rock Island Armory 10mm”

    1. Well, it’s obvious that you didn’t take the time to actually read the story before you dazzled us with your, what I am sure you took to be, witty repartee. If you had taken the time to actually read the story, you would have discovered that Mr. Zediker was, indeed, favorably comparing the Rock Island Armory Tac Ultra MS, to, not just a $2000.00 handgun, but a $3000.00 handgun he had just finished reviewing called “The Gun With No Name.” Perhaps reading comprehension isn’t your strong suit. I would add that neither is witty repartee.

      1. No need to get nasty and personal in your comments. Are you a millennial? Is your nickname “Mr. Perfect?” How’s it feel to be on the receiving end? I can be an asshat as well and just gave you a taste of what you’re cooking.

  1. Interesting sight picture, with the focus on the REAR sight…. Not sure why we do anything at all to distort the understanding of what are the best practices. Meanwhile, I do like Rock Island Armory’s products and pricing, whether or not I ever branch out to a 10mm pistol. Good to know that it’s available. No hint of an MSRP provided here, so maybe it’s a $2000 gun, who knows? Glad to say, I have never missed a shot because brand and model markings on the slide or elsewhere distracted me. Or even all that ugly scrollwork and imagery that fantastic artists sometimes waste so many precious hours inscribing.

  2. I bought the 5 inch A2 FS TACT II and love it! I’ve shot over 2,000 rounds through it of every bullet weight, design and powder charge with no failure of any type. Pushing a 180 grain XTP at over 1250 fps means you are going to have to reload but it also means business! Buffalo bore is the only one I am aware of that loads anywhere close to its capabilities and they are expensive.
    Upgraded spring would be recommended if this is all you shoot as it slings the hell out of brass but like I said, I’ve put over 2,000 rounds through an unmodified pistol with no failure of any type! There’s your $2,000 POS for less than a $1,000 Delta Elite that is known to break using full power loads and with a 16+1 capacity you will never feel undergunned!
    This is a heavy all steel pistol but with a 70 series trigger and a firm grip it shoots like that $2,000 pistol most of us can only dream of. So be a snob if you need to justify spending the money on a pistol that can’t handle full power loads and come off like a dumbass or join the real world, pull your head out and shoot a working mans gun.

  3. Beau: Obviously you have never shot this “pos” gun. It shoots as well or better than either custom house gun I own in .45acp even given more felt recoil from factory loads. I’ll guarantee maximum 2” groups at 25 yards, off hand, from either three, easily and consistently.
    Please extend your expertise to us- it seems to be missing in lieu of your railing on the gun the Philippines got right. I’d upload video if it were worth my time, but I’ve already surprised myself by even responding to your comment. If this seems a bit snarky, it’s simply a reply in kind. Seems everyone’s an expert on the keyboard rather than the range.

    Bill/. Street price in the neighborhood of $575.

  4. I just created and saved a ‘search’ on GunBroker – seems a Commander 10mm is in my future (to join the 6″ Bruin and 5″ Delta Elites and Razorback)…..

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