Know the Difference: 1911 GI Series vs. 1911 Rock Series


When it comes to picking which Rock Island Armory 1911 Series pistol to purchase, the high-quality design and comfortable and reliable user experience of the GI and Rock Series should be right up your alley. But what sets each apart? Let’s break down the differences between the two lines.


On the low end, the GI Series of pistols generally runs less expensive in MSRP than the Rock Series. From the GI Standard FS 9mm at $522 to the GI Standard FS Nickel in both the 45ACP and 38SUPER at $814, it provides a range of prices for any type of shooter.

Conversely, the Rock Series MSRPs range from the Rock Standard Mid-Size and Full-Size 45ACP pistols at $592 each to the Rock Ultra Full-Size HC 45ACP at $814. There are more models from which to choose in the Rock Series, though you generally spend a little more for higher performance.

(Keep in mind that dealer prices may run lower than the MSRP – it all depends on where you’re buying from.)

Verdict: For the buyer with a lower budget, the GI Series is the way to go. It’s also a top-notch introduction to 1911s for an entry-level shooter, as it’s nearly an identical copy of the original 1911. (Which also makes it a potential collector’s piece for true 1911 fans.) For those with a little more spending cash to pay for added performance, try out the Rock Series.



Both series offer a variety of caliber options, so your decision on which to buy depends on your personal preferences. With both series, shooters can find models that feature 45ACP and 9mm calibers.

However, you’ll only find 40S&W and 10mm calibers in the Rock Series. And the GI Series uniquely offers the 38 Super caliber. So whether you’re after a self-defense performer or a competition firearm, there are options available to you.

Verdict: If you’re seeking a pistol that performs like the ones used by law enforcement and military shooters, the Rock Series might be ideal. If you’re looking for more unique calibers, the GI Series has a few more options.



When it comes to sights, your selection between the GI and Rock Series again depends on personal preference. Shooters with recreational intentions might be better suited for a fixed sight that keeps them on target. But for those looking to reload often and looking for flexibility for competition shooting, adjustable sights are probably ideal.

The GI Series offers fixed front and rear sights across the board. The Rock Series, however, offers a few more options in its lineup. Front sights include the Dovetail Fiber-Optic and the Dovetail Mounted Standard, while the rear sight options include the LPA MPS1-Type Adjustable and Fixed Type.

Verdict: Depending on your usage, you can select a fixed or adjustable sight to fit your needs among the products in the GI and Rock Series. For casual or beginner shooters, the GI Series offers simplified sighting. For the experienced or competitive shooter, the Rock Series gives the flexibility and versatility you require.

The Bottom Line

Whether you go with the GI or the Rock, you can’t really go wrong with either series. Depending on your abilities, your needs and your available spending cash, there’s an ideal model for you.

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