Rock Island 1911 Lack Of Firing pin Block?

I asked this a few months back and it got buried in another topic. I saw a Paul Harrel video where he pointed out that there is no firing pin block in the RI 1911. He said this could mean there is potential for the gun to go off when chambering a round, though the chances are small.

What are y’all’s thoughts? I’d like to get a 1911 one day, but I’m not sure I can justify the expense of most 1911s.

I do own Rock Island 1911 and yes - they do not have firing pin block. These are based on Colt 70 series pistols which didn’t have this extra security level.
Is this something I’m missing? Nope. Even I’m really pro safety person I do not feel any needs for firing pin block in 1911.

There is a lot of 1911 forums where people are discussing this problem and one quote I like:

At least with a 1911, a firing pin block isn’t necessary as long as the firing pin spring is changed at appropriate intervals. A 1911 without a firing pin block is reasonably drop safe, especially with a titanium firing pin. Various 1911s made by a number of makers, including Springfield, Ed Brown, Les Baer, and Nighthawk, have passed the California drop test without the firing pin block.


Rock Island is a good 1911. Not top of the line, but quality enough and reliable.

As far as firing pin blocks, Series 80 I would guess, I have carried and fired 1911s, some from WWII, and never had a problem. Remember to keep your finger off the trigger when you rack the slide.

I have done some research, and they do have good reviews. They are reliable, accurate, and generally fire any ammo.

The same with the American Classic II.

Saw a Springfield for $529 but when I went back with the cash… it was sold.

Rock Island can be had on sale sometimes for $350 and the American Classic II is usually $450 up to $500.

Not bad pricing for what the reviewers say are reliable and good shooting firearms.

The chances of this happening are probably less than your chance of winning one of the National mega lotto prizes. I can’t even figure out how it would happen. I have 1911s with and without firing pin blocks and I can’t say I’ve ever lost a moment of sleep over either design. RIAs are fine 1911s.


I’m not sure about this, but I’ve inferred from some FP random forum posts through Google-Fuing that although many 70 series 1911 manufacturers use lightweight FP’s, RIA might not. I don’t know if this true.

This whole topic makes me want to drop my RI 1911A1 over and over to see if I can get it to fire.

Yeah… I didn’t get enough sleep, last night.


It won’t fire… believe me…


The only post I could find on RIA and drop fire from a quick internet search was this (looks like it was posted in 2008):

I dropped my RIA 45 and…

Note: I’m not bashing on RIA, and might pick one up in the future.

Don’t worry about it. I have a bunch of 1911’s and carry one every day and never feel unsafe. Many many many 1911’s don’t have a firing pin block and things are just fine. If it was a problem, with all of the non-firing pin block 1911’s out there (and we are talking millions upon millions of them) believe me, we would know about it.

As for how 1911’s can be expensive. Yes, you are right, they are a lot more expensive than a Glock or something similar for the same features and there are reasons for this. The 1911 was designed in a time when hand labor was cheap and machine labor was expensive, so the build process includes a fair amount of manual labor. Sure, its more automated now than it was, but it still requires a lot more hand labor than firearms of today that were designed in an age when machine time is cheap and hand labor is expensive. Need proof? Take a look at a glock. How many options do you have for parts such as slides, barrels, etc. You can purchase them and expect to put them right on your existing glock and have a reasonable belief that it will still be 100% reliable. You buy a new part for a 1911, any new part, you can not expect it to drop right in and function. You need to be ready to perform some hand-fitting in order to get the part to fit and work properly. Nothing wrong with either way, but is an overly simplistic reason why 1911’s seem to be so much more expensive than a more modern design.


@Scotty, did you drop it muzzle down?

@Ouade5… do not believe me then… :face_with_hand_over_mouth:


There are only a few MFG’s that I am aware of that have some form of firing pin block and only on certain models. On a FULLY functional 1911 it is physically VERY hard to get it to go off by dropping it. The grip safety physically blocks the movement of the trigger. So if you have enough inertia to move the grip safety forward that same inertia would also keep the trigger forward. If the grip safety is forward it does move the sear and disconector into firing position. So the thumb safety would have to be off and it would have to land nose down and the trigger would have needed to have been modified below safe standards to get it to bounce off of cocked. Conceptually the half cock SHOULD catch the hammer because its not at full spring pressure.

Is it possible? Yup! Is it likely Nope!

As for setting the gun off while chambering a round I call BS. There is not enough inertia in the firing pin to override the firing pin return spring.

If you want a look at the RIA check this out. The gun was fine out of the box but I can’t let a 1911 sit at good when I know what I can do and what I prefer.

The VooDoo that I do




The firing pin block on 1911’s is (in my personal opinion), a solution in search of a problem… The Series 80 complicates a detail strip and reassembly and the Swartz (sp) type can be damaged while installing the slide on the gun, rendering it inoperable. I have been told a Series 80 can be tuned by a gunsmith to have as good of a trigger pull as a non Series 80, but that could be costly.

Not sure how you could get a ND when loading a functional 1911.


It can be done but it takes time and for a smith time is $$$. When I got my Series 80 Officers Model back in 1988 and I did the polish up I melted the BOTTOM of a candle and smooshed it on the pieces to use as a handle while polishing them up to a mirror finish after knocking off every sharp edge on them. I even polished the inside of the holes. The end result was IIRC a 2 oz reduction in trigger pull. For the actual FPB that is in the slide I cut down a wooden dowel so that I could press the cup end on it and polished it on a drill press. Never had an issue with them since and my trigger pull is as good as any custom 1911 out there. Of course I have replaced the sear and hammer a couple times because I flat wore them out.



I don’t mean to hijack the thread, but I had a quick question for you since it looks like you kept the extended thumb safety on your RIA project. I picked up the Bianchi 3S that you suggested (love it), but noticed that the thumb snap presses on the extended thumb safety. Is this a concern? I don’t think a GI style safety would have this issue.

That is one problem with many holsters with a thumb break and a 1911. The holster actually disengages the safety.

Some are designed to give extra room, so you may need to check different holsters and see which does not disengage the safety.

Aren’t there, like, 11 different safeties on a 1911, anyway? :laughing:

Glad you like the 3S.

With an ambi safety the holster is not designed for it. I’m still working with mine off and on to decide how to fix that. I soaked my 3S flap in water and snapped it closed over the ambi safety and pressure packed it with foam and a bunch of steel to get the proper indent. Now that I have that my intention is to use a dremel tool to remove some of the leather on the right side to form a channel and then press fit it again. Leather can and will stretch it may just take a bit of persuasion to get it done. A single sided safety would not have that issue but as blocky as RIA safetys are there would be a wearing in factor.

Leather has many benifits but one of the big detractors is that it “wears in” and gets loose. I had a bud with a leather rig he loved that when he snapped in the thumb safety came off. After many rounds of skull duggery more than a bit of scotch we figured out how to put a “bolster” under the safety to make sure that only a cocked and locked, safety on pistol would fit in the holster. In reality it was leather stitching and a tiny bit of leather sewn into just the right spot. The gun essentially would not snap into the holster unless the hammer was back and the safety was on.



No only 3. You get a cookie if you can correctly identify them.



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Thumb, grip, slide?
Probably not right, but those are the 3 things that make me miss my first target. :grinning_face_with_smiling_eyes:

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Regarding the thumb safety, I’m attaching a pic that better illustrates my concern. It’s not ambi, but the plastic snap protector is placing pressure on the extension which I’m weary of. It looks like a non-extended safety wouldn’t have this problem.