Remember purchasing a polymer-framed striker-fired pistol only to spend even more to customize it to fit your needs? Yes, we all do. Add weight to the frame, lighten the slide, change the grip angle, add a beavertail, add optics capability—the list goes on and on. In the end, you could almost triple the pistol’s original cost. Today, gun makers offer pistols with all those extras as standard. Case in point is the new RIA STK100, which is a feature-rich factory pistol that sets a new highwater mark for this trend.
The RIA STK100 is what I would call a 99-percent-Glock-compatible pistol. Its compatibility extends to almost all the internal parts, except for the rear sights, barrel locking block, magazine release, and pins.
RIA STK100’s Custom Add-Ons
The STK100 has a list of features that put it in a class of its own. It has a clamshell aluminum alloy frame, textured 1911-style grip, extended beavertail, stainless steel guide rod, lightened slide with front cocking serrations, optics-ready slide, and Glock-style front sight.
The only feature that I’m ambivalent about is the rear sight. While I like the low-profile serrated rear sight and its wide square notch, the fact that it is attached to the optics mounting plate means that when you mount an optic you lose the rear sight. I wish the sight and plate were independent parts.
The pistol ships with two KCI USA 17-round Glock-compatible magazines, so if you’re like me and have a good selection of Glock 17 magazines, you’re ready to go.
Excellent Frame Design
One great upgrade on the RIA STK100 is the absence of frame pins. The original Glock has three pins to secure the barrel block, trigger, and trigger housing/ejector. The STK100 replaces these pins with screws. I’ll take a screw that’s properly torqued with a bit of thread lock over a pin that can drift under recoil any day. The overall weight of the gun is great, at a very comfortable 33 ounces with an empty magazine, versus the 25 ounces of a standard Glock 17.
The grip is a clamshell aluminum frame, and at first, I was a tad skeptical, but when I got the pistol, my concerns evaporated. Of course, there is a seam, but these two parts are perfectly fitted together, and the seam is barely noticeable. The sides of the grip are checkered and grippy enough without being overly aggressive, while front and back straps on the grips have very pleasant and comfortable serrations that are about ideal. And the 1911-style grip angle is what dreams are made of. The back of the grip is right in between the arched and flat mainspring housing designs of the 1911, and for me, that is just perfect.
RIA STK100 at the Range
I headed to C2 Tactical in Scottsdale, Arizona, to assess the STK100s accuracy and reliability. For the accuracy evaluation, I used Federal 147-grain Syntech training match ammunition with a listed muzzle velocity of 1000 fps and 326 foot-pounds of energy. I also tested the Federal personal defense Punch ammunition with a 124-grain projectile with a listed muzzle velocity of 1150 fps and an energy rating of 364 foot-pounds. I shot the pistol at 10 yards using a Ransom International Multi Cal Steady Rest, which is a sturdy machined aluminum platform that removes most of the human input from the shooting equation. With the Federal 147-grain Syntech training match ammunition, I got a 1.36-inch 5-shot group and with the Federal personal defense 124-grain Punch ammunition, my groups shrank to a very nice .980 inches.
To assess reliability, I set a Gunsite silhouette target at 7 yards and performed several drills with the Federal 147-grainers. I shot controlled pairs, hammer pairs, and failure drills. Every round was within the specified area of the target, and I didn’t encounter any malfunctions due to ammunition, magazines, or the pistol itself.
I also dry-fired this pistol extensively using snap caps and the trigger pull from the factory is nice with a crisp break. The trigger has a flat face and the center-mounted pivoting safety sits sub-flush when depressed, which is a nice touch. The trigger on mine breaks at a very pleasant 4.5 pounds.
The STK100 Is Well Balanced and Ergonomic
Because of the lightened slide and aluminum alloy frame, the pistol is balanced superbly—with the weight concentrated on the frame and not on the front of the slide. This allows the slide to move fast and keeps recoil manageable for quick follow-up shots.
Even though this pistol is damn near perfect as is, its compatibility with Glock parts means I still might do some customizing. I want to run it for a while in its stock configuration to get used to its functioning and performance, but I think a gold or brass bead front sight and some Apex Tactical parts might find their way into this pistol in the future.
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In conclusion, this STK100 is a keeper. Rock Island Armory took the classic Glock design and performance and improved on it to make a much more comfortable, aesthetically pleasing, and ergonomic pistol. You get many of the best features that shooters want—and pay a lot of money for—in a package that won’t wreck your savings account. The MSRP is $599. It will perform great as a competition, recreation, and self-defense pistol, and I wouldn’t hesitate to use the RIA STK100 for everyday carry too.