Rock Island BBR 3.10 Pistol

A handful of .45 acp punch

Reviewed by Christian Sandklev for The M1911 Pistols Organization

The well known Philippines-based company, Armscor, has been a steady and growing player in the firearms industry in the United States and worldwide for the last several decades. The opening of its first office in the United States occurred in 1985 under the banner of Armscor Precision International. Since that year, the company has grown into a formidable manufacturer, offering products such as the well known Rock Island Armory brand of firearms; Armscor ammunition; parts and accessories; as well as manufacturing for the brand name Citadel. Additionally, Armscor has provided parts to American firearm manufacturer STI for their Spartan 1911 pistol.

Since 1941, the company has been owned and operated by the Tuason family and is now headed by third generation president Martin Tuason. Martin Tuason became president of Armscor in 2012. With a production facility in Stevensville, Montana and a manufacturing plant in Pahrump, Nevada, the company will continue to grow and offer products to the sporting world here and abroad.

Back in late July, John Caradimas contacted me and asked if I felt like reviewing a “not yet released” offering from Rock Island Armory. Not one to pass up a good time, my reply was, “Sure, I’d love to.” Within a few days I was contacted by Steve Evatt, who coordinates tests and evaluations for Armscor. After providing my FFL information and reconfirming my address, the ball was rolling to send me a Rock Island Armory BBR 3.10 pistol along with some Armscor .45 acp ammunition.

In about a week’s time, I was contacted by Drew Preston at East 70 Pawn that my package had arrived. I told him that I would be along to pick up the pistol on the following day. I received a package containing test ammunition two days after obtaining the pistol and thought to myself, “I’m ready to go” … or so I thought.

In the days immediately following my receipt of the pistol, my wife required emergency back surgery. After enduring excruciating pain for several weeks, it was confirmed that L5 had to be repaired. For the time being, I devoted myself to house chores and caring for her as she convalesced from surgery. Thankfully, my wife progressed with recovery rather quickly and I started to make plans for the pistol test.

Someone once said that “the best laid schemes of mice and men go oft awry.” After devastating the Bahamas and threatening the southeast coast of the United States, Hurricane Dorian decided to make landfall right on eastern North Carolina. Natural disasters tend to set folks back a bit and I was no exception. Fortunately my house had no damage but the yard needed cleanup. Two days of intense yard work got us back to normal. The following weekend would be (finally) devoted to testing the pistol.

What you get:

The pistol comes in a clam shell case with two magazines , user’s manual, and cable lock. I was happy to see two magazines included with our test sample but it's important to note that the extra magazine is provided for T&E (test and evaluation) only. The relative slight cost of an additional magazine should not break the bank for any manufacturer. Every single gun owner would agree that two magazines should be a fundamental must when selling a pistol.

Initial impression:

As I held the BBR 3.10 in my hand, my first thoughts were that of a solid, well built tool. The Parkerized finish was uniform and even, with no blemishes of any kind. The front strap and mainspring housing had a nice tactile checkering to aid in grip purchase. The G-10 grip panels were a stand-out for me. The combining of form and function without sacrificing looks are a big plus in my book. I did feel that the frame was going to be a little short for my liking, though. My pinky finger just kind of hangs under the gun and provides no support whatsoever. Although it would detract from the ability to conceal better, a finger extension on the magazine bases would be better for the overall package. I was very excited and pleased to see a phenomenal sight system employed. The front has a fixed dovetailed post with orange fiber optic insert. I have always liked this setup, ever since my small game hunting days as a young man. Every shotgun that I purchased had a fiber optic bead installed to replace the factory brass offering. The rear sight was just as thrilling. The BBR 3.10 has a low mount adjustable rear sight that can be moved for windage and elevation! It’s so nicely done that I wouldn’t worry about snagging during holstering or presentation. The beavertail grip safety provided the high handhold that aids in the handling of any pistol. The thumb safety is a non-ambidextrous, tactical lever that is serrated on the top and bottom of the pad. The slide stop is a checkered offering. When racking the slide, the slide to frame fit was tight and smooth with no wobble. The trigger broke cleanly with no creep. The advertised trigger pull is 5-7 lbs. Our test pistol’s trigger broke on the high side 6.5 lbs. with my RCBS gauge.

My spring and summer EDC (every day carry) is a Colt TALO Night Defender. The gun has been on my hip for the last 5 or 6 years or so. I wanted to compare the BBR 3.10 with my Colt dimensionally so I lined them up to see how they looked against each other.

The lengths are about the same for the two pistols. The Colt offers more frame height, with room to rest three fingers under the trigger guard. The double stack BBR 3.10 is considerably wider, as expected. Comparable pistols to the BBR 3.10 would be the Para P10/Warthog and the Llama MiniMax Sub-compact

Photo courtesy of ParaUSA.

The most similar pistols (that come to mind) to the BBR 3.10 would be the now discontinued Para P10/ Warthog and the Llama MiniMax Sub-compact . Both offer the same capacity of 10+1 in a compact double stack configuration.

Here is a comparison of both the Colt and Para sub-compacts

 BBR 3.10Colt TALO Night DefenderPara Warthog
Caliber.45 ACP.45 ACP.45 ACP
Grip width1.45"1.29"1.32"
Barrel legnth3.10"3.0"3.0"
Weight32 oz24 oz31 oz
Capacity10 +17 +110 +1

Prior to shooting any new firearm, it is good practice to clean, lube and inspect. Early on a Saturday morning, I broke the BBR 3.10 to run a patch down the barrel and clean off the shipping grease.

The design of the barrel, slide and recoil spring system is nearly identical to the recoil assembly in my Colt Defender

The cursory clean and lube was performed. I reassembled the pistol and made ready for the range.

First range day:

On the first range day, I employed the help of my shooting partner, Dennis Premo. He and I shoot together at least 20 times a year so his opinion is highly valued. We wanted to run primarily defensive ammo through the BBR 3.10 because of its intended purpose of a defensive arm.

We chose the provided Armscor 230 grain JHP, Sig Sauer Elite Performance V-Crown 230 grain JHP, and my favorite defensive reloads: Montana Gold 230 grain JHP over 4.9 grains of Bullseye. In retrospect, we should have run some Winchester White Box or some reloads through the pistol initially because the sights needed adjustment and the pistol needed some “getting used to.” The pistol printed very low and left out of the box. Two trips to the bench allowed me to adjust the rear sights to bring the hits up 6 inches and right 4 inches. We spent several rounds acclimating ourselves with the handling and characteristics of the BBR. In very short time I found that the rear thumb safety/ grip safety area was wearing a hole in the base of my thumb near the web. I ride the thumb safety with my thumb when shooting because it’s natural for me after sweeping the safety off after presentation. I have medium hands and the web at the base of my thumb sits squarely in that compound area aft of the thumb safety. I think Armscor needs to dehorn this area a bit to cut down on the sharp edges. For the remainder of the session, I had to reposition my thumb below the safety and change my grip. When running the pistol through the paces, we found that when the magazines were loaded to the 10 round capacity, they would jam on the 3rd round. I am confident that Armscor will have this rectified before the pistol comes to market. More than any other magazine I’ve ever loaded, the provided Llama magazines were extremely difficult to get the 10th round inserted. For the sake of ease and safety of tracking round count, we decided to load only five rounds in the magazines. We ran 160 assorted rounds through the little Rock, until the North Carolina heat took its toll on us. Aside from the learned 10 round magazine stoppage, the pistol ran through and digested everything we put through it.

Second range day:

Fortunately, the second range day started out better than the first. Having become familiar with the pistol and sights now being in adjustment, we set out for some 25-foot accuracy testing as well as rapid fire drills. On this day I had the help of my buddy Dennis and my buddy Rick Williams. Rick’s input proved to be very valuable because he’s got larger hands than Dennis and I. I was eager to see how he handled the little compact. Having larger hands, he was not bothered by the sharp area near the thumb and grip safety. We expended all the Sig Sauer ammunition on the last range day so I had 100 rounds of the Armscor ammunition remaining as well as 100 rounds of the Montana Gold reloads. Additionally, I had some 200 grain Berrys reloads and Winchester White Box 230 grain FMJ to warm up with. I gave Ricky the lead-off spot to get him used to the pistol. After running about 25 rounds through it, I realized that the pistol fit him the best. Rather than have him participate in 25 foot accuracy drills, I wanted to get some video of him on Rapid fire drills later. For the accuracy test, Dennis was first up to the line, with two magazines loaded with 5 rounds each of the Armscor 230 grain JHP. He laid down ten rounds total with a flier or two. Next we loaded two magazines with 5 rounds each of the Montana Gold reloads. Dennis ran them through with better results than the Armscor ammo. I was next up with the same program of the Armscor then the Montana Gold ammo. My results were similar with each of the two different rounds, with the Montana Golds having a distinct edge in accuracy.

Rick was next up for some slow fire then rapid fire shooting. His slow fire was about on par with ours…albeit he looked more comfortable doing it. Rick then reloaded and stepped up to the line for some rapid fire testing. I chose to shoot video of this because it would be more telling of the controllability of the little Rock. Rick performed as expected, being a West Virginia hound dog.

Dennis stepped to the line for some rapid fire shooting. During his first round we experienced our first stoppage. We had a failure to feed on the fifth and final round of a magazine. He quickly reloaded the round in the magazine and fired the last round. Upon inspection, I found the pistol to be quite dry. Throughout the testing I never cleaned or lubricated the pistol through approximately 400 rounds. The BBR 3.10 was running on the light lubrication that I gave it weeks before. I blamed the stoppage on myself.

Final thoughts:

In conclusion, my overall impression of the BBR 3.10 is that it’s a pretty good pistol. The magazines need refinement by Armscor both in terms of reliability when loaded to capacity and enhanced ergonomics with the addition of an extended finger rest on the base plate. In a high stress defensive situation, the BBR can lay down some formidable .45 acp fire power inside typical gun fight distances. It took me a little while of intentional retraining to shoot it with any kind of accuracy. I would need to change my entire shooting discipline to have it work for me. I don’t think the gun would print any less than my Colt Defender because it is thicker at the grip/ frame and the Colt is a tad longer at the bottom. For the sake of three extra rounds but sacrificing comfort, I’m not sure I’d be willing to do that.

Dennis feels about the same as I do. He’s impressed with the construction and substantial feel of the BBR. At 32 ounces, you know you’re holding onto something. He is used to his Glock as his EDC so moving to a 1911 type platform would also create a ground up retraining.

Rick seemed to flourish the best with this pistol. His bigger hands helped with controlling it. His follow up shots were quicker and more accurate than ours. I have little doubt that if pressed into service tomorrow, the BBR 3.10 would suit him fine.

Finally, I think the BBR 3.10 would find use with many, many concealed carry holders. Probably more men than women due to the width of the grip but lack of length. It seems that Armscor has done a lot with the small package. Size, firepower and capacity takes important aspects from all areas of self defense.

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Rock IslandBBR 3.10
Caliber.45 ACP
Width at Grips1.45"
Barrel Length3.10"
Weight / no mag32 oz
SightsFully adjustable rear/FO front post
Capacity10 +1
Grip MaterialG-10

Acknowledgements and thanks

Drew Preston
East 70 Pawn
3317 B U.S. Hwy 70E
New Bern, N.C. 28560

Toby and Brenda Simmons
B&T Grocery LLC
5730 U.S. Hwy 17S
New Bern, N.C. 28562

Dennis Premo

Rick Williams



Armscor International, Inc.
150 North Smart Way
Pahrump, NV 89060
Tel: 1-702-461-9469
Web site: