RIA Baby Rock .380 ACP Pistol, Black – 51912
The Baby Rock has a 3.75″ barrel and weighs in at 1.62lbs loaded. Includes stable low profile angled sights designed for consistent accuracy and reliability.
With gun ownership soaring over the past few years, it’s no wonder top gun manufacturers continue to release quality options that are both user-friendly and easy to conceal where legal and licensed. These aren’t just any compact pistol either, with lower caliber options to showcase initial defense, but powerful options that can help you stand your ground.
Rock Island Armory’s Baby Rock is one such option, and provides a powerful choice in a 1911 style, compact housing that is comfortable to hold, and even easier to carry. Take a closer look at our Baby Rock .380 Review to determine if this is a choice worth having.
Rock Island Armory History and Overview
Rock Island Armory has an interesting history and began as a sporting goods store in the Philippines. Sold and rebought, and sold again to a visionary entrepreneur, it became a family-run store that helped rebuild the Philippines following World War II by obtaining the first firearms manufacturing license from the government. After opening plants across the country, it has passed through the family, rebranded in 1980 as the Armscor brand that is recognized around the world, and opened its first American storefront in 1985. Shortly after it acquired the Rock Island Armory brand, a leading M1911 manufacturer- and the rest is history.
Baby Rock .380 Introduction
Known as the Baby Rock, the M1911 A380 model is essentially a scaled-down 1911-style pistol that embraces the favored style that chambers a .380 ACP to provide a dependable concealed carry option. Obviously not a full-fledged 1911, the major differences between a true 1911, and this sized-down version aren’t noticeable except by the most well versed 1911 enthusiasts. The fixed barrel and that doesn’t lock into the slide during firing is probably the most noticeable difference.
– Compact and lightweight design is conducive for conceal carry
– Comfortable for any size hand
– Easy to control recoil
– Slightly different than a true 1911, despite the scaled-down claims
What to Consider Before Purchase
Anytime you are looking for a dependable concealed carry firearm, you want to both handle and shoot it in advance to determine if it is a good choice for your specific comfort and needs. The compact size of the Baby Rock truly does make it an easy to conceal and carry option for just about anybody type, slight, smaller frames included.
The 1911 is a very distinctive design that was first introduced in the late 1890s and formally adopted in 1911 as a semi-automatic, single-action .45 caliber for use with the US Army. It has more or less stayed unchanged for over 100 years, and has been used as a service pistol on and off through various military branches, and is still popular with law enforcement agencies today.
This specialized design is one that is incredibly popular for many gun enthusiasts, but is a different feel compared to the more modern polymer-framed handguns. The steel frame is probably the first thing you will notice, but surprisingly enough, it offers a comfortable heft rather than a heavy feel.
If you love the idea of either the 1911 or a smaller framed .380 option, but aren’t sold on the Baby Rock, you might want to consider a true, full-framed 1911 if you want a dependable day-to-day open carry choice or good home defense gun. For concealed carry, a Glock 42 or Smith and Wesson M&P Shield chambered for a .380 ACP provides polymer-framed, lightweight micro-compact designs as well.
Baby Rock .380 Features & Benefits
Before making a decision to purchase any firearm, it does behoove you to do a little research in advance about the features, benefits, and specifics of your top contenders. This helps you to better determine if this is a choice that you might love, rather than just like- or tolerate.
Height w/ Mag
Trigger Pull Weight
~ 5 lbs
7 + 1
Height w/ Mag
Trigger Pull Weight
~ 5 lbs
7 + 1
The Baby Rock chambers a .380 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol), which, next to a 9mm, is one of the most popular caliber cartridges to use for concealed carry. It is a rimless, straight-walled pistol cartridge designed by Browning, and is often called a .380 Auto, or 9mm short due to it carrying the same diameter bullet as a 9mm. The difference is, a 9mm has a longer casing and the .380 has less recoil, making it an ideal weapon for smaller framed bodies as well. Personally, I carry a 9mm, but am impressed with how the Baby Rock handles and feels while carrying concealed.
Like a traditional 1911, the model has a thumb safety that is easy to flip due to its length and raised ridge for good leverage. It is incredibly easy to use with my small hand, but some people have made comments that it can be a bit difficult to maneuver a larger hand into a quick and easy position for proper use. Although that isn’t a game-changer, if you are used to a different type of compact option for day-to-day carry, you may want to train a bit in advance to get used to the difference.
Despite the steel frame, the tacky polymer rubber grips are well-rounded and incredibly easy to grab and hold. They aren’t overly wide, and create a comfortable option for those with smaller hands and smaller grip. It truly is a comfortable option for me, and if there is one thing that will turn me off from a particular model handgun- it’s discomfort when holding or shooting no matter how awesome the firearm. The Baby Rock is easy to draw and fire, with a perfect size grip for recoil distribution.
Like most sub and micro-compact semi-automatic pistols, the Baby Rock holds 7+1, which is more than enough in a self-defense situation, and works to help fit the more compact frame and low weight- a requirement for comfortable carry scenarios. The magazine is actually quite small overall and it is easy to carry an extra magazine in a holster designed to carry one without much difference in overall size or feel.
The dovetail windage-adjustable rear sights is snag-free and offers a plain squared U notchback sight with serration to help reduce glare. The front sight is a simple plain black post. Despite the simplicity, it is incredibly effective, and if you are a fan of basic sights- these are perfect. For lower light conditions, I would recommend a white dot or night sight for the front however.
Trigger Pull and Recoil
The trigger pull comes in just a hair under 5 pounds, which is about average for a pistol this size designed for day-to-day carry use. The skeletonized trigger is pretty cool, and allows your finger to center easily for a smooth pull that doesn’t list to one side or another. I find it an enjoyable gun to shoot with a perfect balance between the recoil and overall heft of the gun- allowing you to acquire your target in fractions of a second after shooting. I could see the trigger being a bit problematic for a larger hand, however, and if you consider your fingers to be a bit ‘thick’ you might not find that trigger sweet spot quite as quickly.
Because I shopped around a lot before narrowing down my choices for a daily conceal carry weapon, one of the first things I do when considering a new micro-compact is compare it to my go-to firearm: the Smith and Wesson M&P Shield 9mm.
Personally, I find them hard to compare overall despite the size being decently comparable. The polymer vs steel frame, grip differences, safety location, and where the balance falls for me is different enough to truly respect and enjoy shooting each for different reasons. The Baby Rock is definitely heavier overall as well, which sort of is at odds with its compact size. Fortunately, I love a gun with a little heft to help combat the recoil and help keep you on target for your next shot.
From a conceal carry standpoint, both are extremely comfortable, fit well in a non-belted, IWB holster without pulling my pants down due to weight, and draw effortlessly. If you ever need to draw for self-defense purposes, you aren’t exactly going to care or focus on the slight nuances of trigger feel and recoil. But if you want to shoot in matches or get a bit more competitive, you will definitely need to find which you feel has the best feel in your hand concerning balance, recoil, and quick target acquisition.
What People Are Saying
1911 fans love this gun despite the slight sized down modifications that were required to make a true micro-compact option. It fires effortlessly, is an easy carry option, makes a great conceal weapon choice for home, office, and vehicle, and can be counted on to get the job done.
Anyone with a larger hand might find it a bit more awkward to quickly draw and fire as it truly is both narrow and boasts a low overall height profile. In my opinion it is a great women’s concealed carry choice and definitely deserves to be on the top of the list for that purpose. For a larger-framed person, all I can say is- try it out and see if it works for you. If not, consider one of the alternatives we mentioned.
To Wrap It Up
There really isn’t a reason to not really like this little gun. While a 1911 is a fun option to shoot, it’s a bit large for day-to-day carry, and this is an excellent alternative for 1911 fandom. I like the .380 ACP option in such a design that makes it incredibly easy to carry and a comfortable choice for an inside the waistband choice.
It shoots reliably and accurately, and provides a smooth slide action. On the range, you can quickly cluster your bullets in a target with very little issue with rapid firing. I recommend it. It’s different enough from its competitive conceal carry choices to provide a variable shooting experience, making it easy to justify its purchase (as if you needed a reason).
We’d love to hear your experiences with the Baby Rock, 1911 models, and favorite concealed carry options below! And, help spread the word and share this article!