Range Report For The Desert Eagle 1911, RIA Rock Ultra FS HC, and Springfield Armory 6″ TRP Operator 10mm Pistols

Well folks, at one point I had three 1911-style 10mm pistols. A Magnum Research Desert Eagle (model DE1911G10), a Rock Island Armory (RIA) Rock Ultra FS HC (model 52009) and a Springfield Armory TRP Operator (model PC9610L18). While I like the 10mm cartridge, I didn’t really need three pistols so I decided to take them to the range to decide what I would keep and what I would sell.

The Ammo

I took with me about 200 rounds of Ammo Inc’s 180gr TMC load that I had purchased from Palmetto State Armory during one of their daily deals. TMC stands for “total metal case” – meaning the lead is fully encapsulated by the copper jacket. With full metal jacket (FMC) ammo, the base often has the lead core exposed. Ammo Inc is interesting in that they decided to go the public company route and we’ll have to wait and see how they fare when the panic buying dies down.

I also took about 200 rounds of Sellier & Bellot (S&B) 180gr FMJ ammo as well. It’s been my “go to ” 100 range ammo for years. If you don’t know S&B, they are an excellent ammunition producer located in the Czech Republic dating back to 1825.

That is some of the Ammo Inc 180gr TMC ammo in the bag and S&B 180gr FMJ in the tray.

To round out the test ammo, I took some Underwood 155gr XTP and 200gr XTP jacketed hollow points (JHP). I only had about 50 rounds of this and I wanted to save it for the final round of testing.

For the past six months, finding ammo has been a bear but suppliers are starting to build up inventory. Judging by my inbox, more and more emails are being sent saying “we have ammo in stock” and even a few sales. These tend to come shortly before prices start to drop based on past panic buying ammo shortages [click here for my blog post on the economics of ammo during a panic].

The Range

It was a beautiful March day when I arrived at the Berrien County Sportsman’s Club to use the pistol plate range. The plates are about 30-35′ feet back from the firing line and I had it all to myself.

BCSC is my favorite range hands down and I have been a member there for many years. Definitely a cool place for a variety of sportsman and family activities.

The 10″ steel plates are located about 30-35 feet from the firing line. I really enjoy these for testing pistols. Note the pull cord to reset the plates.

First, the 6″ TRP Operator

As I have written in the past, the TRP Operator was not reliable out of the box and this was a do or die outing for the pistol in terms of whether I would keep or sell it. The TRP Operator is basically a 6″ 1911 and the marketing would lead you to expect that it would have been stunning out of the box but it wasn’t to be perfectly blunt.

Thankfully, after work both myself and Springfield Armory’s repair groups did, it finally handled the way it should have when I first got it. This time around, functioning was reliable and the recoil was handled nicely by the heavy pistol with it’s 6″ bull barrel.

The TRP put in a good showing this time around. All the kinks had been worked out and it ran great.

I was able to fire round after round at the plates at 30-35 feet and hit them. I really wasn’t shooting for benchrest accuracy – just shooting at plates to decide what to do.

Honestly, I had a take-it-or-leave it mentality on front serrations on a slide until I got into 10mm 1911s. Their recoil spring is stout. All of a sudden, those front serrations are really handy. My RIA 52009 does not have them and is way harder for me to hold when racking the slide from the front that the TRP or the Bul.
I was running both Wilson Combat ,and Tripp Cobra mags in both the TRP and the Bul. Both brands are excellent. You can see a Cobra 9-round magazine peaking out of the mag well in this photo. Their beveled base plate is an immediate give away.

In summary for the TRP, it ran just fine but it did nothing to wow me.

Next – The Magnum Research Desert Eagle (model DE1911G10) by Bul Armory

Okay, next up on the testing list for the first time was my new Desert Eagle 10mm that is actually made by Bul Armory of Israel. Out of the box it had the best trigger of any 1911 I have owned and the action was very smooth.

Now I have written about this particular pistol going to the range before – it’s just that I am finally sitting down to write this bigger post about all three pistols just under two months after the range trip. Here are a few pictures for you:

Here’s the Bul with some of the Ammo Inc 180gr TMC ammo and a collection of Wilson and Cobra mags – it ran through everything I brought including the Underwood JHPs with no problems.

Here’s the 6″ TRP on top and the 5″ Bul on the bottom. Those front slide serrations make racking their slides a lot easier.

Let me sum it up and say – I really, really like this pistol. It functioned flawlessly and felt great. With the TRP, I was not impressed by the time it finally worked right. The Bul’s performance was nothing short of fantastic.

Last But Not Least: The Rock Island Armory (RIA) Rock Ultra FS HC (model 52009)

This was the first trip for the RIA Rock Ultra FS HC – let’s just call it the 52009. I wrote a blog post about my first takes and things were looking good so far. At any rate, I knew with the RIA pistols that you needed to clean and lube them plus I slightly beveled the chamber edges and polished the ramp.

I was really curious to see how it would function not only in general but also with the new magazines I was making for them. I also wanted a higher capacity 10mm 1911 if possible so there was a lot riding on the trip.

It looks familiar until you notice the really thick pistol grip and the big mag well funnel.
The 52009 is the bottom pistol and the TRP is the top right. You can see the collection of custom mags I was testing – what you don’t see is that their mag lips are different lengths. I actually found the 52009 very tolerant of different lengths – reliable feeding was a function of how spread open the lips were to point the cartridge towards the chamber. See the magazine laying with it’s back up in the top row? The magazine to the right was the only original RIA ACT-Mag I had to base my work on the shop.
See how short the lips are? By adjusting the lips, it fed surprisingly fine. I have one mag with even shorter lips and it worked.
The stock of 10mm Ammo Inc rounds was dwindling. Let me tell you something – the Mag-Lula universal pistol magazine filler is worth its weight in gold. I really can’t tell you how many 8, 9 and 10 round mags I filled (and emptied) shooting the TRP and Bul pistols but by the time I got to the 52009, my hands were aching thanks to my carpal tunnel issues. By the way, two months later and that loading “finger” you see in the Mag-Lula is now brass colored from all of the magazine test fitting I have done 🙂

To sum up the 52009 – it was starting to wear in and felt surprisingly good. I sure missed having the front serrations on the slide because by the end my hands were starting to ache and my ability to squeeze hard enough to hold the slide and rack it was dwindling.

Once I identified the good mags and problem mags and focused my efforts, it ran great. I was quite pleased with it and I can tell you now that I have cycled it thousands of times fitting magazines, it is quite smooth. The 52009 and RIA 1911/2011 pistols in general are really good examples of parts need to wear in, or get to know each other, to get rid of tiny burrs/imperfections left over from manufacturing.

Would I buy it again? Yes. Was it my first choice? No, actually it wasn’t. I really wanted a high cap 5″ pistol styled after one of their Tac or Tac Ultra pistols that has the forward serrations and a Picatinny rail on the bottom of the frame. The reason being is that they are lighter and more compact than the 6″ Big Rock that I had years ago. Their 56862 model has a 5.5″ threaded barrel (hence the extra half inch) that I would have preferred but with the panic buying, it is impossible to find. Who knows – I may find one some day.

In the mean time, my only wish was that the 52009 hand front serrations – other than that it is a solid pistol.

Final Decision

As you can probably guess, the TRP Operator was voted off the island and my friend, and FFL, Scott Igert sold it for me. I felt pretty good about the decision too.

What’s interesting is that if you go to the Springfield Armory website today – the 10mm TRP Operator is gone. It could be that the demand just wasn’t there. I talked to a fellow at Dawson Precision awhile back about Stacattos (STI changed their name a few months back) and if they had any 10mm pistols because they used to have a number of models including the “Perfect 10.”) At any rate, he told me the demand just isn’t there – everyone is going for the 9mms these days. That might be the case for Springfield though I notice they are offering their Ronin model in 10mm.

TRP at the top, 52009 in the middle and the Bul is at the bottom.
Bul on the left and the 52009 on the right. Note how the 52009 has an ambidextrous safety and the Bul does not. Since I am right handed, I really don’t use the safety on the other side. Some guys train to shoot with both hands just in case their right hand injured and use the safety on both sides as a result so I can understand why it is a feature that some folks want.

That’s it for now. I hope you found this post useful.


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