Rock Island Armory Rock Ultra FS HC 10mm Review

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Rock Ultra FS HC 10mm is a name that says a lot. Literally, it means a lot. It’s a long, confusing name that doesn’t quite roll off the tongue as well as something like M&P Shield. The name does actually mean something though. The Rock Ultra name comes from Rock Island Armory. Many people don’t know about this clumsily-worded weapon, so we’re writing a Rock Island Armory FS 10mm review. 

The FS stands for Full Sized, and HC stands for High Capacity. 10mm, of course, stands for the best mm of all time, the mighty 10mm Automatic cartridge. A name says a lot, and I’m not going to type out Rock Ultra FS HC 10mm every time I need to address the gun, so for brevity’s sake let’s call it the Rock Ultra 10mm.

The Rock Ultra 10mm is a neato gun. It uses the classic 1911 design with a fat bottom that allows for a high capacity of a potent round. If you took a standard 1911 and fed it some steroids, you would get the Rock Ultra 10mm. From the overall design to the round it’s chambered in. While some people call these 2011s, I prefer to think lipstick on a big does add a hundred years to the design. The Rock Ultra 10mm is more than just a double stack 1911 in God’s chosen caliber, and it’s as close to a custom gun as you could ever get at this price range. It is built on a series 70 frame so purists can exclaim their joy.

Without further ado, here’s our Rock Island Armory FS 10mm review. 

Rock Island Armory FS 10mm Review

Overview

A gun this size can solve a lot of problems. It’s an excellent gun for home defense duty to the power of the round and the magazine capacity. As an open-carry gun its another good choice, and it could serve as a hunting pistol. Let’s not forget competition gun for those who take the word Major in Major Power seriously. Lastly, the Rock Ultra 10 is perfect as a just for fun shooter for those who like what the blessed 10 centimeter can do.

The gun only lacks in the realm of concealed carry. The gun is massive, thick, and weighs almost 3 pounds unloaded. Not very concealed carry friendly. I’m sure someone has concealed their Rock Ultra 10, but its a dubious choice for sure. It’s more suited for a Galco Miami Classic shoulder holster and a day in Miami Vice than a trip to the supermarket.

Specifications

The Rock Ultra 10mm is a big and heavy boy. It’s an all-metal gun that is bound to be a heavy one as well. Especially once it’s loaded.

Barrel Length – 5 inches
Overall Length – 8.75 inches
Width – 1.31 inches
Height – 5.5 inches
Weight – 2.9 pounds
Capacity – 16 rounds

The Rock Ultra is a heavy hitter, and I don’t just mean the caliber it fires but the actual gun as well. Should you run out of ammo, the gun is big and heavy enough to be used as a club in a hand to hand fight. The Rock Ultra has a hammer on both ends.

Features

The Rock Ultra 10mm is a big gun, and they found a way to pack this bad boy with features. Tons and tons of features. Let’s start from the top and work our way down. The first noticeable feature is the excellent sights. The front sight is a high visibility orange fiber optic sight that’s backed with an adjustable LPA MPS1 adjustable rear sight. This is an impressive and easily adjustable sight that a shooter can dial in for their shooting habits. This allows you to zero your weapon for longer range shooting, which the 10mm is perfect for. Right below this we have a fully supported chamber for the powerful 10mm, and a full-length metal guide rod.

From here we run into a slightly shortened hammer that is rounded off and textured heavily. A slightly shortened hammer and extended beavertail work together to keep the hammer from biting into your hand. Then, we can look at the nice extended beavertail that serves its purpose besides protecting my pretty hands. The grip safety is right below this, and it’s extended quite a bit, making it easier and more reliable to engage.

The manual safety has an extended and ambidextrous design that snaps up and down with a satisfying click. The safety is a decent addition, although I prefer a single side safety versus an ambidextrous model. I do understand why the ambi-safety was chosen though. The extended safety also acts as an excellent thumb rest when you fire the gun.

The trigger is skeletonized and textured for positive engagement. The trigger itself looks very nice, and we’ll talk more about it later. The grips are a very lovely G-10 material that is tough and durable, and just as good as many aftermarket versions. They are also textured and very comfortable. The front and rear sections of the grip also sport a serrated back- and front-strap for greater control.

Then we get to the very bottom and run into a massive and very nicely made extended magwell to make those reloads a little easier.

Fit and Finish

You can’t write a Rock Island Armory FS 10mm Review without mentioning its wonderful design. Rock Island applies a very strong and good looking parkerized matte coating. Most parkerized coatings come off as grey in my experience and often feel rough. However, the Rock Ultra’s finish feels very smooth and gives the gun more of a black than grey look. The gun’s G10 grips, skeletonized trigger, and hammer, as well as the extended beavertail, give the gun a beautiful look overall. It looks like a professional-grade gun.

As always, I have strong feelings on the way a company places its logo on the gun, and to me, Rock Island does it the very best. They place a simple Rock Island Armory Logo, roughly the size of a nickel, on the very back of the gun, just in front of the hammer. Brilliantly done, Rock Island.

Fit wise, the slide-to-frame fit is nice and not too tight or too loose. It doesn’t wiggle when you shake the gun, and it doesn’t feel like peeling a potato when you rack it. The slide glides rearward and feels excellent. The safety clicks into place easily, and the grip safety depresses without any unnecessary force being applied. Overall this gun feels and looks like its well. The real test: how well does it withstand the 10mm?

Ergonomics

The 1911 design has always been an ergonomic powerhouse, and plenty of successful guns have taken their cues from the legendary design. The biggest difference with this gun is the grip size. It’s big, and if you have small hands, I recommend trying out before buying. This is one of the few guns that makes my hands feel full, and I’m a big guy. The size isn’t an issue for me, but maybe for you.

Other than that, the ergonomics are spot on in many ways. The G-10 grips are comfortable and as grippy as they need to be. You can reach the safety with the thumb on either hand, and the beavertail provides some leverage and comfort over the big gun. The only non-custom feature is the magazine release. It’s a standard 1911 release. It works, but due to the grip size, I have to shift my hand to reach and work it. The slide lock is also standard but textured for a comfortable grip to engage or disengage the gun.

The gun only has rear slide serrations, something I again find odd on such a decked out gun. Although rear serrations are all I use and it gives the gun a cleaner overall look. The rear sight is very easy to adjust and locks down well. LPA sights are fantastic, and this is the third gun I’ve owned that sports them.

On the Range

10mm is one of my favorite calibers of all time. It’s powerful, flat-shooting, and you can store a ton of ammo in a gun like this. It’s also a versatile round that can be loaded to 40 S&W specs up into pocket nuke specs. Maybe not a pocket nuke, but a 200-grain hard-cast lead round is nothing to frown at. When it comes to recoil, a lot of the sentiment and feeling will depend on the ammo you use.

The typical ammo I shoot for fun has to be affordable, so it’s not a hard-hitting round. The Armscor 10mm costs the least and has a 180 grain round reaching a hair over 1000 fps. That round in this gun feels a bit 45 ACP-ish, but a light 45. It’s pleasant to shoot, slightly stout, but enjoyable. It’s a round I could fire hundreds of and enjoy it immensely.

That’s fun to plink with, but for defensive or even hunting purposes I go full power with loads like the Federal Premium Vital-Shok 180 grain rounds. These move at 1275 feet per second and delivering a wallop. The same goes for the Winchester 175 grain Silvertips at a searing 1290 feet per second. These rounds feel as stout as a good shot of tequila. They don’t reach 44 Magnum levels but are potent and powerful. You’ll notice a difference. Even so, it’s never painful in this gun, and the 3 pounds of metal does quite a bit to soak up this recoil.

The leverage offered from that beavertail comes into play with this gun. It helps control the gun and muzzle flip especially. One thing I think this gun needs is a higher undercut for the trigger guard. The higher I can get my hand the easier the gun is to control.

The gun performs admirably across a spectrum of 10mm loads. I had one significant issue when shooting a box of Buffalo Bore. The front sight popped off. Just flew off. I’m not sure how secure it was, but a little Loc Tite later and it’s stayed put over the last 200 rounds.

The trigger is to die for. It’s a crisp 4 to 5 pounds and breaks very cleanly. Combine that with the impressive iron sights, and you get a fantastic and accurate hand cannon.

Rock Island Armory FS 10mm Review: Rating Each Category

Looks: 5 out of 5

Rock Island knocked it out of the park with this gun. The design, the finish, all the little extra features come together to create one sexy gun. It has aggressive styling and practical design. Form and function go hand in hand with this design.

Ergonomics: 4 out of 5

For me and my big hands, the grip isn’t a problem, but a few people I shoot with expressed that the grip is too large and uncomfortable. Luckily the single-action trigger reach is short. I like the big grip, but understand why others don’t. Also, I pinched my finger a time or two on the big magwell, but likely more of a me issue than a gun issue.

Accuracy: 5 out of 5

This is by far one of the most accurate iron sight only guns I’ve ever fired. Seriously, It’s a straight shooter with the cheapest of ammo. I love the adjustable sights—they make this a great gun for hunting and learning to shoot at extended ranges.

Reliability: 3 out of 5

This rating seems harsh, but hear me out. I have tortured this gun through the elements of through thousands of rounds so it would typically be a 4 out of 5. However, with the front sight flying off it loses a solid point. I was lucky enough to find it on the ground, but it’s still an issue.

Customization: 4 out of 5

You’ll be able to swap plenty of 1911 parts out, including the grip panels, hammer, trigger, etc. However, finding extra mags is a hassle, and you’ll need to experiment with 1911 holsters to see if they fit.

Price: 5 out of 5

A double stack, 10mm 1911 for under a thousand bucks is already a score. Shove a ton of features into it, and it only gets better. The MSRP is $798, but you can find them for as little as 650ish if you shop around.

Rock Island Armory FS 10mm Review: Parting Shots

I love this gun for what it is for me. A fun gun. A gun that goes to the range and blows off steam with me. It’s not in the line up as a defensive pistol or even a hunting gun, but it could be.

It’s a great looking and excellent feeling gun with some outstanding features at a great price.

By

Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd BN 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record setting 11 months at sea. He’s trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines and the Afghan National Army. He serves as an NRA certified pistol instructor and works as a firearms writer.

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