The world of compact firearms has a new contender that’s turning heads – the RIA 380 (Rock Island Armory Baby Rock .380 ACP). This pistol, a downsized version of the classic 1911, combines the timeless design of its predecessor with modern improvements, making it an intriguing option for both 1911 aficionados and those seeking a reliable concealed carry weapon.
RIA 380 Design and Build
The Baby Rock may look like a miniature version of the Government model .45 ACP 1911 at first glance, but it’s distinct in its own right. It features a 3.75-inch barrel and a seven-shot capacity, making it significantly smaller than the original 1911. Despite its reduced size, the Baby Rock maintains a comfortable grip, allowing most shooters to get all their fingers on the handle. The frame’s rear corner is slightly rounded for added comfort, and the grip angle is subtly more vertical than a traditional 1911, though this difference is barely noticeable.
Performance and Features:
- Classic 1911 Controls: The Baby Rock retains the single-action-only mechanism, complete with the traditional 1911 grip safety and thumb safety. The grip safety has a modest beavertail, enhancing the shooting experience.
- Extractor Design: A notable departure from the original 1911 design is the use of a pivoting spring-loaded external extractor, which is considered more reliable than the internal tensioned model.
- Sights and Serrations: The pistol is equipped with steel dovetailed sights, including a serrated ramp front sight and an angled no-snag rear sight. For better visibility, especially in self-defense scenarios, a high-visibility front sight modification could be beneficial.
- Construction and Weight: Unlike many modern firearms that use polymer to reduce weight, the Baby Rock is predominantly steel, weighing in at 23 ounces. This weight contributes to its controllable recoil, making it a comfortable shooter.
Concealability and Comfort
The Baby Rock excels in concealability due to its compact size and slim profile. The slide is just 0.79 inch wide, and the rubber grips are the fattest part at 1.1 inches. This makes the pistol virtually disappear under any covering garment, making it an excellent choice for concealed carry.
Trigger and Handling
The trigger is a curved aluminum piece with a serrated face, providing a crisp and smooth pull at around 5.5 pounds. The short reach to the trigger allows for precise control, enhancing the shooting experience.
Market Position and Pricing
Initially introduced at a retail price of $459, the RIA 380 remains competitively priced, considering its features and performance. Its position as a legitimate defensive caliber firearm, combined with its 1911 heritage, makes it an attractive option for both .380 and 1911 enthusiasts.
The RIA 380, Rock Island Armory Baby Rock .380 ACP is more than just a downsized 1911. It’s a testament to the enduring legacy of the 1911 design, adapted for modern needs. Whether you’re a long-time 1911 fan or looking for a reliable, compact carry gun, the Baby Rock deserves your attention. At The Gun Room, we’re excited to offer this blend of classic design and modern functionality to our customers.