They Build More 1911s Than Anyone. They Make Ammo in the USA. They Just Introduced an Amazing New Caliber. They Are… Armscor.
ARMSCOR® is on the move. Not content to remain one of the biggest arms producers in Asia, Armscor is coming to America in a big way. CEO Demetrio Tuason believes that the recent American demand for quality firearms and ammunition is here to stay. He recently announced that Arms Corporation of the Philippines is doubling their production capacity for firearms and ammunition this year. His oldest son, Martin Tuason, is the CEO of Armscor Precision International, or API. Intended solely for the U.S. market, this division of Armscor covers two smaller companies: Rock Island Armory and Armscor Cartridge Inc. Why should we care about the corporate structure of this huge company? I’m glad you asked. You are going to be seeing a lot of Rock Island Firearms for sale in the future, and you may have already noticed Armscor USA brand ammo on your local gun store shelves. Where are these products coming from?
Rock Island Armory makes their firearms in the Philippines. The plant is located in Marikina City, a suburb of Manila. If this conjures up images of a few villagers moping around a forge in the middle of the jungle, hammering out 1911 slides with hand tools, you need to educate yourself. Marikina City is one of the most modern, cleanest, and richest cities in all of Asia. The Armscor production factory is an ISO 9001-certified compliant facility. Inside, highly trained workers service enormous CNC milling machines pumping out the parts needed to build the 1911 pistols on which Armscor is building their reputation. Armscor received their ISO 9001 certification in 1997. By comparison, Colt got their ISO certification in 2005. Starting to get the picture?
Armscor produces more 1911 style pistols than anyone else. Last year, they sold about 40,000 units in the U.S. and another 35,000 in the Philippines. This year, they are trying to reach 100,000 units for the American market alone. Aside from Rock Island Armory, they also make the STI Spartan 1911, and the entire line of Auto Ordnance 1911s. Rock Island 1911s come in a wide variety of styles. They start with near-exact clones of your standard World War II era Government .45; then branch out into compact and even subcompact versions. Most come in a no-frills grey parkerized finish, but they also do matte and polished nickel plating and two-tone variants. Recently they have added a Tactical line of 1911s that bristle with all of the latest features. They feature integrated Picatinny rails, VZ micarta grips, Novak sights, skeletonized hammers and triggers, high-grip beavertail safeties, and flared magazine wells. A high-capacity version based on the Para Ordnance frame comes in .45 and 9mm flavors, holding 14+1 rounds of .45ACP or 18+1 rounds of 9mm. What else were you looking for?
How about chambering the 1911 in a unique new caliber, designed by custom gunsmith Fred Craig? The Tuason-Craig MicroMagnum stuffs a .223 bullet into a 9mm casing to create a hot little cartridge that gives maximum muzzle velocity with minimum recoil. It is called .22 TCM for short and it throws a 40-grain projectile at around 2,100 feet per second out of a 1911. Similar to FN’s 5.7×28 loading, this “Honey, I shrunk the .223 Remington” concept produces a big fireball at the muzzle of the gun, very little felt recoil, and the power to zip right through steel plates. According to one early review, “It did things to a watermelon that would put a .45 to shame.” All this from a pistol holding 18+1 rounds with very little felt recoil, using ammo that costs about as much as .45ACP. Interested yet? There’s even more. In case you want to shoot cheaper ammo for the day, each .22 TCM 1911 comes with a spare 9mm caliber barrel, and the rear sight on the gun is adjustable to make up for the difference in point of impact down range.
What good is a new caliber if you can’t find it, or if it’s too expensive to shoot anyway? After all, plenty of innovative and potentially useful pistol calibers failed because affordable ammunition was not available. When was the last time you saw someone at the range shooting a .400 Corbon or a .50GI? Armscor’s .22 TCM won’t have this problem—they just opened a new ammunition manufacturing facility in Stevensville, Montana! Armscor USA ammo now has a new yellow sunburst logo and the motto “Right On Target, Right On The Price”. We have .22 TCM in stock already and it’s just $21.09 for a box of 50 rounds. That’s almost exactly the same price as brass cased .45ACP and 10mm are going for these days. Cheaper Than Dirt! is going to be carrying the full line of Armscor USA ammo, and right now at my desk I have boxes of the stuff in .45ACP, 9mm, .380ACP, .223 Remington, and .22 Magnum. All of it is beautiful new production ammo with polished casings, uniform crimps, and consistent overall length. Now that I am handloading my own .223 ammo I can really appreciate how nicely made this stuff is. For example, the 55 grain .223 bullets have cannelures, and each casing is properly crimped exactly at the cannelure, just like it is supposed to be. I am happy to note that the .45ACP loadings use large pistol primers– there has been a trend recently to use small pistol primers in .45ACP practice ammo as a cost-cutting measure. For low-cost plinking stuff it doesn’t really matter, but it’s not the correct specification for .45ACP and I’m not personally a fan of doing that.
The real jewel of all the ammo I have in front of me right now is the .22 Magnum. I don’t own a .22 Mag but looking at this ammo, I want to try it. I have a couple of .22LR guns and I’m used to feeding them with cheapo bulk-pack stuff, so the quality of the Armscor .22 Mag rounds really surprised me. These little cartridges feature beautifully polished casings an “F” headstamp (Armscor makes this ammo for Fiocchi, so why bother creating a different headstamp), and jacketed hollowpoint bullets crimped nicely right at the cannelure. To my eye, they look like an artist’s scale model of a .30 Carbine cartridge. I really want to shoot them and see how accurate they are! Maybe CTD Suzanne will let me borrow her Smith & Wesson .22 Mag revolver.
It’s no secret that ammo costs are going up and availability is becoming an issue. Many people have asked “Why doesn’t anyone built a new ammo plant to help meet demand?” Now Armscor has done just that. Having seen some of their ammunition first hand, I’m excited to announce that Cheaper Than Dirt! is carrying this American-made ammo. I am happy to promise that a steady supply of this new-production, U.S. made ammo will be available at competitive prices for the foreseeable future. Increasing their firearm production rate exponentially, introducing an exciting new caliber, and building ammunition right here in Montana, Armscor is poised to take America by storm.