Saturday, October 28, 2006

1000 Words

They say a picture is worth a thousand words, so here are a couple of pictures of the Rock for you to check out.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Rock Island Armory Gigante Special Edition (RIA/GSE)

Let’s face it. If you want a custom firearm you must spend a ton of money and wait years for your little toy, but two fortuitous events happened recently that changed my view of custom guns forever. First, I happened to find a government model Rock Island Armory 1911 for a great price, and second I convinced a fledgling gunsmith known here as Jose Gigante to take the plunge and build a custom gun. The results are the RIA/GSE a custom shop gun for a root cellar price.

The RIA/GSE started life as a standard 5 inch government model 1911 in .45 ACP. This is a quality firearm with surprising accuracy right out of the box and it turned out to be an excellent platform to build this custom masterpiece. I sat down and talked to the big man about my goals with this firearm. I was looking for a custom carry piece that focused on reliability but provided close to match grade accuracy. I wanted a combat firearm I could rely upon and the RIA/GSE meets all of those requirements and more.

Caspian provided many of the internal parts replacing the extractor, firing pin, firing pin stop and slide stop. Chip McCormick was used for the tactical magazine release and the thumb safety. An Ed Brown grip safety and match trigger fit beautifully. A Smith and Alexander magazine well, an EGW 1 piece guide rod, Swenson magazine release lock, and a Wolff spring kit helped to round out the weapon. The true treasure on the gun however, is the Cylinder and Slide Tactical Match Trigger Set. This trigger defines “breaking glass” and puts the “Special” into its name.

Novak Low Mount rear sights and a Millet front sight provide the sight picture and a set of Smith and Alexander Black Rosewood Double Diamond grips grace the gun. The gun was all ready to be finished and I chose an old style parkarization process to give it that fighting look. The finishing job was a little out of Jose’s league, but he managed to find a local gunsmith, AJ Brown, who did a fantastic finish job in only a couple of weeks. Of course this wasn’t just a parts swapping job. Jose polished, cut, fit, honed, and prepped this gun all the way through the refit process.

When you look at the features on the RIA/GSE and compare them to similar guns you find a price tag topping out over 1800 dollars. This beauty will shoot with them best of them and cost less then half of that price tag. It shoots exactly as advertised quickly proving that John Browning’s design and a little elbow grease from a quality gunsmith can create a true work of art.

I’ve compared the RIA to a Kimber Warrior and a Nighthawk Talon. Both pistols have some very nice external features that comes from a quality shop with a milling machine and the ability to dot, diamond, line, and checker just about anything, but the feel of the gun is almost the same. The Trigger on the Warrior wasn’t even close to the RIA and the Nighthawk felt almost the same. Next week I’m taking the RIA head to head against the Nighthawk and I’m expecting big things.

Special Thanks to Jose for a gun that will be my favorite for a long time to come.