Rock Island Armory was nice enough to loan me a thousand-dollar gun. Yes, this is a bit out of the normal price range I like to keep here at NBO, but this one is a worthy exception. The capabilities of the gun outweigh my own, but we’ll find a way to show that off as well. For now, we’re going to take a peek at what makes this gun worth breaking my price-cap.
With hunting season upon us, I wanted to look at a handgun that is perfect for hunting deer here in South Georgia. I am pretty adamant about any animal taken while hunting be taken cleanly, which is why I normally turn to a rifle or shotgun. A clean kill, when you want the meat to be as clean as possible, means hitting the deer in the heart and lungs. This can be difficult enough with a rifle, and a missed shot results in a wounded animal and a frustrated hunter. With a handgun, making the perfect shot takes a steady hand, and a quiet everything else.
Some folks do question handgun calibers for hunting. A bullet is not a bullet, and there are things you need to account for. But for today, we’ll assume you are using the proper type of ammo. For my testing and review, Armscor sent me plenty of FMJs, but I plan to harass them for some expanding ammo soon. To get the maximum effectiveness from this caliber, we need every inch of barrel we can get. More barrel means more burn time and that means more velocity. More velocity means more energy, more energy means more terminal effect. A cleaner kill.
I’ve spent a lot of time in the woods near my house and it is not some cleared out, grassy, serene forest It is scrub. With things that stab you. I know what you’re thinking. Tree stand. A lot of people use them, and I don’t blame them at all. I just prefer to be on the ground. And with this kind of view in most of the nearby woods my range is limited. As brushy and bushy as it is, a compact weapon is preferable when moving around. Perfect for a handgun. The question was which handgun to use. I considered a few different revolvers, but I’m set up for automatics at the moment. So I asked the folks at Rock Island Armory what they would recommend, and this is the gun they sent.
This is the Pro Match Tac Ultra 6. It comes in 10mm and 45ACP, though I hear rumors of 22TCM/9mm and .40S&W versions coming. The 6-inch barrel means a longer slide, and longer sight radius. This means you get more accurate shots. It also generates a bit more velocity. With most ammo, the difference between 5 and 6 inch barrels in 45acp is roughly 50-75 feet per second. I found this to be true of the Armscor FMJ ammo. It is a touch hotter from the 6 inch barrel, but the recoil impulse is mild, thanks to all that steel.
So, I found the trigger to feel about right for the claimed spec. No, I did not measure it with a fish scale or anything. This is the same trigger from the Rock Ultra series as with my TCM and the XT22TAC. They may vary a bit, but chances are you’ll never feel the difference. It’s a crispy single action, 70 series 1911 trigger. It’s good.
Like most 1911s, the gun came equipped with checkered hardwood grips, which work very well, but are in fact also very plain. Enter Wicked Grips. I emailed my friend Steve Evatt and asked him to put me with Ed Strange from Wicked to dress the gun up a little bit. Ed, awesome guy that he is, gave me a bit of advice and suggested this particular grip set for this gun. I was a little hesitant at first, because I’m not really a fan of graphics on grips. However, I came over to Ed’s way of thinking. The grips are hydrodipped aluminum, and the photos really do not do them justice. They have an iridescent quality to them. A color shift in different light. Under fluorescent lighting, they have a blue/indigo/violent tint. In the Georgia sun, they reflect shades of green. It is not gaudy at all, and compliments the design. They are smooth, which may or may not worry you. While I prefer a very aggressive grip, these felt good in my hands. I was not, however, sweaty, rained on, bloody or any other state aside from “clean”.
And the grip screws. Ed threw those in as well, because if you’re going to make the gun pretty you need to accessorize. They aren’t essential, of course. But then, neither are the grips. They simply look good. And are a quality made part. If you’ve ever had grip screws with bad threads, weak heads, or sheared off while installing, these are a wonderful replacement, and add just a little something extra to the gun.
Some days, I’m lucky to hit ten for ten with my G19 at twenty yards. I know, it’s shameful. Other days, I pick up a gun that I have less than a thousand rounds through and I hit five for five at forty yards. And this is with plinker ammo.
As mentioned, the gun itself is on loan, and we’ll be doing a followup to this, with more information and better pictures. The ammo was provided by Armscor USA, for function testing. Wicked Grips provided the deer skull grips at my request. And the magazines used were both RIA standard magazines, or from my stash of Mec-Gar magazines, which all ran without a flaw. As always, any products were provided with the condition of an honest review. We don’t do otherwise.