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View Poll Results: Cheap 1911: Citadel vs Bersa vs Rock Island
Citadel 12 12.50%
Bersa 16 16.67%
Rock Island 68 70.83%
Voters: 96. You may not vote on this poll

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Old September 27, 2009, 05:59 PM   #1
(BH)
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Cheap 1911: Citadel vs Bersa vs Rock Island

First off let me say, I'm not a member of the 1911 cult. I love the look, the feel, and the history, but I don't own one. Sometime soon this needs to change.

I don't feel that I need a $2000 Wilson. I just want an entry level 1911. I've heard a bunch of good reviews for RI, and a couple of good ones for Metro Arms/Bersa's American Classics. I don't know a single thing about Citadel besides the fact that Bud's has two models in the $500 price range.

I'm looking for some real world TFL recommendations.

Which do you think is better?
Why?
Pros/Cons?
Catastrophic failures?
Ease of upgrade?
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Old September 27, 2009, 06:44 PM   #2
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i commented on the RIA because it is the only one that i have experience with. But my friend owns a RIA and it has been nothing but flawless. Obviously slide to frame fit is not as tight as its more expensive competitors but it is accurate and feeds good which is normally the main problem with 1911's.


If you decide you can afford a little more, check out the STI Spartan. It is decked out with options and is probably one of the best production companies out there. You might be able to find a Spartan used in your price range
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Old September 27, 2009, 07:19 PM   #3
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My Rock Island was having problems for the first 200 rounds. It was not feeding well, the extractor was not engaging the rim of the cartridge (something I had never seen before), and the slide stop was locking the slide back when there were still rounds in the mag.

I was really frustrated with it because I had heard such good reviews. I was debating between the RIA and a Springfield Lightweight Loaded. The Springer was 300 bucks more than the RIA but initially, I was convinced that I should have just stepped up.

That said, I went to the range the other day for rounds 200-400. The slide lock prematurely engaged once on the first magazine and I had one failure to feed. There were none of the strange extractor problems. From then on out, I had no problems at all. Suffice it to say, I am pleased now with the purchase. I think that the extractor tension was too high and it just needed a break in period. I think that whatever you choose, reserve judgment until you get the first couple hundred rounds through it.

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Old September 27, 2009, 07:24 PM   #4
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I was considering buy a "American Classic II", but ended up with a SIG P220 SAO. I already have a really nice 1911. The "American Classic II", or Bersa's "FireStorm" have better fit and finish than the other ones you mentioned. I was actually going to buy the "American Classic II" when I saw a Certified Pre Owned SIG P220 SAO calling my name.

I've been around 1911's for a long time, and I know a good 1911 when I see one. If I had to choose out of the 3 you listed I'd defiantly get the "American Classic II", or the "FireStorm". Their the same gun, they just have different roll marks. Their both imported by Metro Arms.

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Old September 27, 2009, 07:30 PM   #5
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Why a cheap new one - have you considered a good used quality 1911?

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Old September 27, 2009, 07:50 PM   #6
bdb benzino
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First, the Citadel and RIA are the same and both made by Armscore. Second, Bersa has nothing to do with the American Classic or the Firestorm Dlx other than they have the same importer. The AC and FS are made by Metro Arms and are great pistols, as is the RIA but I have to give the edge to Metro Arms for fit and finish. I have both and both have been flawless, the Metro Arms is as nice as my Springfeild Loaded, and also has a forged slide.
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Old September 27, 2009, 07:56 PM   #7
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I can only comment from the experience I've had. I had a RIA base model that I was thrilled with. I've handled and fired nicer 1911s. I must admit the fit and finish were better on the Kimber and nicer springer pistols... but man would my RIA shoot even if the F&F wasn't quiet as pretty. I can't recall having any FTF out of probably 1500 rounds. I'm sure I had one at one point, but I can't recall it. There are two pistols that I've owned that I would bet a million dollars that they would fire 100 out of 100 rounds under normal (read, leave military sand torture tests out) conditions. My BDE re-branded Jericho, and my RIA 1911.

As a side note, the only companies that have been making 1911s longer than Armscor are Colt and Springfield. That really doesn't qualify them to be better than anyone else as much has changed over the years, but it is still fun to know
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Old September 27, 2009, 09:11 PM   #8
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I had an ArmsCor (Charles Daly) 3" 1911 that was a total POS.

Sorry, I would go with a quality used 1911 before I would go with a bottom-rung brand new one. Especially with anything sub 5". If buying a used one, ask the seller to meet you at a nearby range, and put 50-100 rounds through it. I would rather spend $30 on ammo and find out beforehand than pay $400-500 for a pistol that does not function correctly. Been there, done that.
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Old September 27, 2009, 09:42 PM   #9
michael t
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Bersa does not make a 1911 pistol period The American Classic and Firestorm are made by Metro Arms in Philippines. Bersa has nothing to do with them They share same importer and warrenty centers thats it.
Firestorm is a name. They contract with Bersa to build the DA/SA compact 45.
They contract with MetroArms to build the Firestorm 1911.
Bersa once more does not have a thing to do with any 1911's no matter what people post on gunbroker or in the ads for guns like Buds. Their wrong and don't even take time or trouble to research what their selling if they don't know why would you want to buy from them.
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Old September 27, 2009, 11:58 PM   #10
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Ok for starters, I'm well aware that Metro Arms is the manufacturer of the Am. Classic and Firestorm.

I realize I should have put "Metro Arms" on the poll instead but I was in a hurry. Being that they are generally listed as a Bersa product, I put
Bersa. Let's not get all chesty over semantics here. I'm not really looking to get condescended to, and I'm not basing my knowledge on GunBroker listings. I would blindly trust a GunBroker listing about as much as I would trust a crackhead asking for a ride. When looking into a $500 purchase, I do a little more research than a GunBroker listing.

Also, why the Bersa hatred? Bersa Thunders are pretty great guns. I have a family member who has been shooting for 50 years, and owns more guns than he knows what to do with, who carries one daily. It's never missed a beat in 1000's of rounds.

I'm merely looking for the real world opinions of my trusted TFL associates.
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Old September 28, 2009, 01:09 AM   #11
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Citadel and Rock Island are made by the same people and are handled by Armscor of Pahrump, NV. I have both anboyh are good guns. My Bersa was very finicky about ammo and the slightest limp wristing. It's been sold.
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Old September 28, 2009, 01:16 AM   #12
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Already been mentioned, but if you insist on new and want something cheap, the STI Spartan is your best bet. It is also made by armscor, but the fitting is done at STI by the same skilled technicians that fit their much more expensive 1911s. STI is a reputable, established American company with a great warranty and great customer service. Also, if you decide to sell it you'll get most or all of your money back. Take a used RIA to a gun show and you'll find that you can't give it away.

Here's the best deal you'll find on one:

http://www.dawsonprecision.com/Produ...000-1161707138
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Old September 28, 2009, 02:46 AM   #13
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I think Bersa is another rare great find as well as the AC 2 or the FS dlx. I dont know if you were replying to me or someone else but I did not want to come across condescending, just am tired of all the misinformation by dealers on the web. I relize that alot of the dealers put up incorrect info and I just like to give due credit to a great "inexpensive" quality made pistol.
BTW I also have a Bersa Thunder 9 Ultra Compact and it has never failed me, and is an awsome CCW!!
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Old September 28, 2009, 06:23 AM   #14
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I didn't read any one knocking Bersa We were try to correct the idea that their made by Bersa. I have nothing against Bersa I have the BersaTalk board
If I said my American Classic was made by Colt Iam sure many people would correct that.Its the same thing. People post all the time AC or Firerstorm made by Armscor I have seen Buds list the 1911 Firestorm as a Bersa . Like was said only the importer and warrenty center the same .
Other problem still trying to over come is the 1911 Firestorm is still made by Llama They closed their doors years back But people will ask about a Firestorm and you will still find people saying their made by Llama and junk That was true at one time but hasn't been now for years.
Firearms is a strange world something gets started and it hard to stop. Back in 90's Corbon by accident ran some 380 marked +P Of course SAAMI has never set specs for +P in 380 so their isn't really a +P Yet to this day you will see places advertize Corbon 380+P Or read where people won't shoot Corbon 380 because its +P When its not +P These things get started in the firearm world and you can't stop them internet has made worst.
No one knocking Bersa Just trying to make sure people have right information as to who makes what.
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Old September 28, 2009, 12:45 PM   #15
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Bdb and Micheal,

I believe I should apologize for sounding so harsh. I had a bit of a frustrating day yesterday and was probably being less than agreeable. Also, I had just been on another forum trying to reason with some iCretins who's collective intelligence level was comparable to a brick. Anyways, I was a bit cranky and I let it spill over to the sacred turf that is TFL, and for that I am sorry.
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Old September 28, 2009, 01:32 PM   #16
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just bought a Metro and, so far so good.

had a trigger job done on it and had the sights adjusted (was shooting 2" right at 15-25yds)

$400-$450 new on gunbroker

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Old September 28, 2009, 01:43 PM   #17
howwie
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got a RIA compact tactical off gunbroker for 450 out the door, it has been fantastic out of the box. I would recomend it to anyone. I was in your shoes 3 months ago and I am thrilled with the RIA
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Old September 28, 2009, 05:36 PM   #18
bdb benzino
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(BH) not a problem at all, just check out the Metro Arms and you will see why we like it so much. I also have to say that my RIA tactical compact is also a real find as far as officer models go. I am sure the full size is great also but the fit and finish on the Metro Arms is noticeably better!!! OTOH Any of the 3 you listed would be a great pistol.
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Old September 29, 2009, 08:38 AM   #19
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Spend a little more and get a Taurus 1911, I have one and it has been very accurate and reliable.
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Old September 29, 2009, 10:08 AM   #20
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In my opinion there are two options here:

1. Rock Island Armory Tactical

or

2. Springfield Armory Mil-Spec

RIA 1911's are excellent, especially for the price. The biggest advantage to going with the Springfield is that you can purchase it in stainless. I own two RIA's and both have performed flawlessly. However, given the choice I would pay the extra $100 for the Springfield if for no other reason than the stainless finish.

My RIA GI:



My RIA Compact Tactical:



And my Springfield Mil-Spec:

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Old October 25, 2009, 03:47 PM   #21
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1911

Just bought a Citadel a couple months ago and not one hicup, fit ur hand like a glove and as has been stated, CITADEL AND RIA made by same co, just different inporters, therefore the difference in names. Own both and cant tell any difference in them. My commander Citadel has upgrades of combat trigger and hammer, lowered ejection port, extended bever grip, and novak sights and for $488.00 shipped, I'm happy!
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Old October 25, 2009, 04:02 PM   #22
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I recently purchased a Citadel 1911 Compact and I am very pleased with it. I shoot 200 grain swc through ti and 200 grain XTP HP. Another trip or so to the range and it will become my carry weapon.
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Old October 25, 2009, 06:18 PM   #23
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You can read about the pistol and choice that I made here:

http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/...d.php?t=381493

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Old October 26, 2009, 02:19 AM   #24
stickhauler
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I Ain't Gonna Fight...

I own a MetroArms AC II, in my opinion it matches up in fit and quality to the 1911's I shot in the military built by Colt, and the price point is a lot less than
current retail for a bigger name gun. I have better than 3,000 rounds through it so far, with nary a hic-up. I've spent a lot more and got a lot less gun.

The Firestorm to me is not as attractive with the large billboard sized roll mark on the right side of the frame. My advice to the guys who only buy, or shoot the higher end 1911's, check out the guns for yourself, I think you'll be impressed.

As for the Bersa named firearms, my son has a Thunder in 9mm, a fine gun, in my opinion, more gun for the money than a lot in a higher price range.
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Old October 26, 2009, 03:35 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by (BH)
First off let me say, I'm not a member of the 1911 cult. I love the look, the feel, and the history, but I don't own one. Sometime soon this needs to change.

I don't feel that I need a $2000 Wilson. I just want an entry level 1911. I've heard a bunch of good reviews for RI, and a couple of good ones for Metro Arms/Bersa's American Classics. I don't know a single thing about Citadel besides the fact that Bud's has two models in the $500 price range.

I'm looking for some real world TFL recommendations.
Sorry, (BH), you are part of the cult. You just don't have the membership card (an actual 1911) yet. Welcome to the club. The card is not required for membership.

Why not go with a Colt?

I have Colts, Randalls and AMTs They all are terrific shooters and (almost) every gun I have ever owned has depended much more on the shooter than the manufacturer for its performance. And if a little tuning is necessary to obtain optimum performance, that is probably cheaper than getting a "Name" clone. If not, the difference is likely to be slight, either way.

My opinion: Everything named so far will serve you well. Some may need tuning. Some may come already tuned.

Go forth and shoot. God bless and think about reloading.

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