Is This Pistol Really A GAME CHANGER?


Screenshot from YouTube video.

I don’t know about you, but when I hear the term “game changer,” I become both hopeful and cynical at the same time. It’s a strange feeling. On the one hand, I’m hopeful that whatever is being called a game changer actually lives up to the term and radically improves things. On the other hand, I’ve been around long enough and seen enough promises from politicians to be cynical about big promises.

But one reviewer has called a new pistol model a “game changer” due to its unique new recoil system. Are they right?

Of course, that’s for you to decide (it’s your money to spend, after all, not mine, for your next gun purchase). James Tarr gives us details about this new pistol:

The RIA 5.0 from Rock Island Armory looks to be just one of those rare guns [that is not just different but better]. It is a revelation. It sports a completely unique recoil system labeled “Ram Valve System” (RVS). Not only does RVS work, but it also appears to offer substantial improvements versus traditional tilt-barrel designs — although it does have its limitations.

Tarr continues:

The primary advantage of the RVS recoil system isn’t that it’s smoother, although that’s nice. And I don’t think that it’s inherently more accurate than a properly fit tilting barrel. It’s how low it allows the barrel to sit in the gun. Many gun people don’t seem to understand how important bore height off the hand is in managing recoil and reducing muzzle rise. The higher the bore is off the hand, the more muzzle rise there is with each shot. It’s Lever Physics where the hand is the fulcrum. Anyone who argues that bore height on a pistol doesn’t matter is either inexperienced or trying to sell something. (Probably a pistol with a high bore axis.) I’ve heard some say, “The slide cycles before you can even get off the trigger, so a high bore doesn’t make any difference.” If that were true, nobody would be putting compensators on their pistols to reduce muzzle rise. Muzzle rise can disturb the sight picture and your grip. It matters.

A pistol weighing nearly 21/2 pounds and chambered in 9mm isn’t going to feel like it recoils much. Still, I was curious how flat shooting the RIA 5.0 could be. The answer? It’s pretty darn flat. Muzzle rise was minimal, and I found that the only thing slowing me down wasn’t a bouncing front sight; rather, it was the trigger pull [wasn’t as light or as short as Tarr would want in a competition gun]. 

Minimizing muzzle rise is a huge issue with some pistols, so, anything that decreases that to a noticeable degree could be the difference that makes the difference in a life-or-death situation (that we all hope that we never have to deal with).

You can watch how little muzzle rise the RIA 5.0 has when actually in use in the video below.

The muzzle rise with this pistol is going to get the attention of some people serious about their accuracy. Especially with an MSRP starting at $999.

So, if you’re in the market for a full-sized pistol (this is not an easily concealable microcompact), the Rock Island Armory RIA 5.0 may be worth considering so that you can decide if it’s a game changer for your shooting.

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