Don’t buy Rock Island M200 unless you are aware of these 6 problems

The Rock Island M200 double-action revolvers were designed from the bottom up to be a low-cost personal defense handgun. The M200 was designed and continues to be designed to resist abuse that few other pistols can.

In terms of Rock Island M200 problems, you are likely to face misfiring, low-quality grip, trigger issues, fixed sight, and a few more. But these problems can be easily handled with little to no effort.

In this post, we’ll look at some typical RIA M200 problems and how to fix them.

Features & Specifications of Rock Island M200:

ActionSingle/Double Action
Caliber.38 special
GripCombat Polymer
Length8.75 inches
Capacity6 rounds
Rock Island M200 Problems
Rock Island M200

Common Rock Island M200 Problems and Solutions

MisfireChange ammo
Low-quality gripReplace with your favorite one
Non-adjustable sightManually setup the scope
Not +p ratedGive some break between shots
Trigger issueDry firing tends to solve the issue
Subpar hammerSend to RIA/gunsmith for repair

1. Misfire

A misfire occurs when the priming mixture fails to ignite after the primer has been delivered an appropriate blow by the firing pin, or when the ignited primer fails to ignite the powder.

This word is also used to describe a failure to ignite caused by an inadequate priming strike.

The Fix:

If a generally dependable weapon causes misfires with specific ammunition (especially ammunition that is old or potentially damaged), stop using that ammunition and dispose of it in line with local legislation.

Also, see a gunsmith ensure that the hammer and firing pins are in good operating condition.

2. Low-Quality Grip

Trying to keep the price tag at a minimum, RIA had to cut a few corners. And, using a plastic-ish grip is one of those corners. Although polymer grips are lighter, they cannot handle recoil quite well.

Plastic or polymer lowers for firearms are not robust enough to replace aluminum in a major weapon system using current technologies.

The Fix:

So, what is the fix for this? Just change the grip to something that you are comfortable with.

The procedure is very easy. You unscrew one screw, pull the OEM grips off, reinsert the screw, and you’re finished.

3. Non-adjustable Sight

Another problem is the fixed sight of this revolver. The sights are not adjustable, there are no sight rails on this revolver.

The reason for making the barrel non-adjustable was to cut down the manufacturing cost.

The Fix:

For universal weaver bases, have a gunsmith drill and tap the receiver. JB weld may hold for a time, but it will ultimately fall off, and you’ll have to keep the mount centered and square while it cures.

Loctite only works with screws; it does not bind well enough to stand alone.

4. Not +p rated

The designers did not make this gun to shoot +P ammo. As this is by design, the build of the revolver is the only reason it can not handle +P rounds.

And, why they did not include it in the design you may ask? They did it to cut the cost.

The Fix:

The gun is safe to shoot +P rounds every now and then. But it is not built for continuous shooting of +P rounds. There is no other workaround to this problem.

If you must shoot +P ammo, then give the gun some break between the shots.

5. Trigger Issues

The subpar trigger might not serve you the best experience all the time. It is not as finely crafted as a Smith or Ruger. About 15% of the time, the trigger fails to release after the fire. Right-handed shooting is more reliable, whereas left-handed shooting is picky. When the trigger becomes stuck, a gentle touch of the cylinder releases it.

Trigger pull isn’t horrible, although it’s a little cumbersome and rough at first.

The Fix:

It’s smoothing out after a lot of dry fire and roughly 200 rounds. It’s not as good as the others, but it’ll do. Actually, it’s not that horrible.

The double action trigger pull does not appreciate being coddled. In other words, gradually pull. The cylinder will not always revolve to 100% lock if you do this.

6. Subpar Hammer

There may be contact between the hammer’s side and the interior of the frame.  It can create a mild impact on the primer, resulting in a misfire.

Contact with the frame might also indicate a hammer misalignment with the firing-pin hole. Misfires may occur on revolvers with firing pins connected to the hammer.

The Fix:

If you experience something similar, the best course of action would be to send the piece to the manufacturer for repair. Or, you could take it to a reputed gunsmith for fixing.

It is not recommended to try to fix it at home if you are not experienced enough.

User Feedback on Rock Island M200

The revolvers of RIA’s M200 line are made in the Philippines, where labor costs are substantially lower than in the United States.

The maker had to take shortcuts in order to make it affordable. As a result, thread-like cheap grips, trigger difficulties, and fixed sights are on the rise.

The good news is that these issues do not apply to all models. Threads on thefiringline and survivalistboards show that these guns are worth the money if handled properly, according to users.

If you don’t already have a wheelgun and want to try one out, or if you’re searching for a budget-conscious pistol compact enough for CCW, the M200 series would be a good first revolver to add to your collection.

Top 3 Alternative Guns of Rock Island M200

Smith & Wesson Model 642

The “Airweight,” with its aluminum alloy frame, is one of the lightest alternatives (14.6 ounces) in its class. It packs a greater punch than the RIA M200 thanks to its smooth draw and +P rating.

Ruger LCR

The LCR has received praise for its concealability. Ruger’s carry-tailored for a reason. The 38 Special revolver is compact, light, and easy to conceal. It takes up less room than the M200.

Rock Island Armory M206

Rock Island is well known for its affordable 1911s, but it also makes good revolvers. It is a straight replacement for the M200 model.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Are Rock Island revolvers any good?

They’re dependable, easy to use, and have a powerful stopping force when properly loaded.

Is the Rock Island Armory M200 +P rated?

The handgun is not designed to fire +P loads. It is acceptable to shoot a few +P loads, but not many.

Where are Rock Island revolvers made?

Armscor in Marikina, Philippines, designs and manufactures them, while Armscor USA in Pahrump, Nevada, distributes them in the United States.

What is plus P ammo?

It is small arms ammunition that has been loaded to create a higher internal pressure when shot than is typical for ammunition of this caliber.


When it comes to value for money, the RIA M200 exceeds the competition in every aspect. Of course, it has problems, as do other firearms on the market.

With the exception of a few issues, the bulk of this gun’s buyers appears to be pleased with it. This document should help ease your transfer by giving solutions for RIA’s difficulties.

  1. I just got mine about a month ago. Shoot’s great good grouping. Would recommend too buy 1 . I am glad that I have a great home defense weapon.

  2. I bought one a few months ago. Extremely pleased with everything about the gun. I’ve heard some negatives on the grip but I think the grip is really good. Minimal recoil. For the price it is the most solid revolver out there.

  3. Butt ugly with its original grips, it’s now almost beautiful with its Rosewood replacements. Easy to use and as accurate as any other gun in my collection, as well as the best value.

  4. Trigger gets good after some dry firing. What you called “misfiring” is actually light primer strikes. If this is your problem you can try different ammunition or get your smith to install a stiffer spring. I have not experienced any of your failure to reset trigger problem but I have on a few revolvers found myself trying to run them too fast and not letting the trigger fully reset and it seems like the gun until you examine what’s happening. The fixed sights on mine are set right, mine s em to like 124-130gn bullet weights the best. Good luck. Great gun for the price, exactly what hat everyone has wanted, a good and affordable revolver.

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