GUN OF THE WEEK
By Bob Walsh
My Gun of the Week this time around is a recent personal acquisition, a Rock
Island compact .45 automatic.
I got this because it is an all-steel gun, is compact and was on sale. I have a similar
Kimber which is in many ways a much nicer gun but since it has an alloy frame it
is much less comfortable to shoot. When you are an old fart like me that makes a
The take-down procedure is similar, but not the same, as the larger 1911 pistols.
Once you go below 4” on the barrel you start getting issues with the geometry of
the gun, needed power of the recoil springs and such like. You have to use a pin or
a keeper of some sort to retain the recoil spring partly compressed on the full-
length guide rod in order to disassemble it for cleaning.
The only change I have made in the gun is to add high-visibility sights. These
particular ones are made by Novak and required me to spend a couple of bucks to
have the slide machined for the front sight dovetail. Plus the cost of the sights of
course. So I ended up spending $200 to make a $450 gun more usable for me. I
may be strange, I do things like that. I do know my 65+ eyeballs do not do so well
with milspec sights but do tolerably well with the high visibility sights. I have
similar ones on a Rock Island government model .38 Super that I shoot in
competition on a frequent basis. I also took that gun thru the one week course at
Front Sight a few years ago and was very happy with it.
The grooving on the trigger is a little sharp for my taste, but I can deal with that
myself if it bothers me that much. The trigger is good. There is a speed bump on
the grip safety to give a good, positive engagement. I have now put about 400
rounds thru it and it has behaved nicely with jacketed or plated ammunition. It
doesn’t like exposed lead bullets so much.
I confess I am unlikely to actually carry with it, but I will qualify with it so I can if
I feel the inclination or the need. I believe it to be a well-made pistol and a good
value for the money.
Editors Note: A lady asked a Texas Ranger why he carried a .45? He replied, "Ma'am, It's because they don't make a .46."