Rock Island Armory “Baby Rock” 380 Semi-Automatic Pistol

by Jeff Quinn

photography by Jeff Quinn & Boge Quinn

December 6th, 2017


Click pictures for a larger version.







The Baby Rock has real, easy-to-see sights.





Top to bottom: manual thumb safety, grip safety, magazine release.





Baby Rock 380 compared to Jeff's everyday carry 45.





380 Semi-Automatic pistols are among the most-popular in the U.S. now with those who choose to carry a handgun for personal protection. The 380 pistols are usually small, lightweight, and easy to conceal. The problem is, for many shooters, they are too small and too lightweight, making the little pistols harder to control and to shoot accurately. While some of these little jewels are no bigger than a pack of smokes and almost as light, that is also what makes them a poor choice for many who choose to carry a concealed handgun.

The “Baby Rock” from Rock Island Armory is a pistol that I have been waiting to hit the market for a long time. I first shot one of these almost two years ago, and immediately put in a request for a production gun for a full review. It has finally arrived, and I am not disappointed. The Baby Rock reminds me of the old Llama Star 380 pistols from thirty years ago, but seems to be of much better quality.

Rock Island Armory is a division of Armscor, which has been making quality 1911 style pistols for over three decades now. RIA has an extensive line of full-sized 1911 pistols chambered for the 45 ACP, 10mm Auto, 38 Super, 9x19mm, and 22 TCM cartridges, as well as the 22 Magnum Rimfire; this Baby Rock is pretty much a scaled down 1911 of blowback action, but has controls that will be familiar to anyone who has fired full-sized 1911 pistols. The Baby Rock is made to be carried cocked-and-locked (chamber loaded, hammer cocked, safety on) just like its larger brethren. The manual safety is right-hand-only, and the pistol also has a 1911-style grip safety.

Critical specifications for the Baby Rock 380 are listed in the chart below. Weight is listed in ounces. Linear dimensions are listed in inches. Trigger pull is listed in pounds of resistance, as measured with my Lyman digital trigger pull scale. Height includes sights and magazine floor plate.

Chambering 380 ACP
Weight with Empty Magazine 22.8 ounces
Trigger Pull 5 pounds, 9 ounces
Barrel Length 3.782 inches
Barrel Diameter 0.474 inch
Overall Height 4.563 inches
Overall Length 6.625 inches
Grip Width 1.05 inch
Slide Width 0.785 inch
Maximum Width 1.05 inch
Trigger Reach 2.25 inches
Manual Safety Right-Handed Only
Grip Safety Yes
Magazine Safety No
Magazine Capacity 8
Magazines Supplied 2
Sights Black, Rear Windage-Adjustable
Accessory Rail No
Construction Black Parkerized Steel
Grip Material Synthetic Rubber
MSRP as of December 207 $460.00 US

I fired the Baby Rock 380 with every brand and type of 380 ACP ammunition available to me to check for reliable function. I fired several types of ammunition over the chronograph to check velocities, with the results listed in the chart below. Velocities are listed in feet-per-second (FPS). Bullet weights are listed in grains. JHP is a jacketed hollowpoint bullet. DPX is a Barnes hollowpoint homogenous copper bullets. FMJ is a full metal jacket roundnose bullet. FP is a full metal jacket flat-point bullet.  PB is Cor-Bon Pow’RBall. HC is a hard-cast flat-nose lead bullet. XD and ARX are specialty bullets with unique nose shapes that enhance terminal performance in soft tissue. Velocities were taken twelve feet from the muzzle at an elevation of 541 feet above sea level, with an air temperature around the fifty-two degree Fahrenheit mark, with forty-eight percent relative humidity.   

Ammunition Bullet Weight Velocity
Remington JHP 112 877
CCI Blazer Brass 95 949
Atomic JHP 90 889
Cor-Bon JHP 90 1017
Cor-Bon PB 70 1288
Cor-Bon DPX 80 1003
Handload JHP 88 997
Buffalo Bore HC +P 100 1118
Armscor FMJ 115 889
Lehigh Defense XD 65 1221
Ruger ARX 56 1339

The Baby Rock dampens felt recoil much better than the lighter, smaller 380 pistols on the market. The all-steel construction of the frame and slide add enough heft to make the pistol very easy to shoot well. For even lighter recoil with good performance, the Ruger ARX ammunition is an excellent choice. For deep penetration, I like the Buffalo Bore Hard Cast lead bullet load. Every brand and type of ammunition tested in the baby Rock worked flawlessly, except for one failure-to-feed with the Lehigh XD early on in the shooting. That load hung up on the feed ramp for one shot, and one shot only. Other than that, every load fed, fired, and ejected perfectly.

Loading the magazine to its full eight-shot capacity required little effort on my part, but if hand/finger strength is an issue, the Baby UpLULA makes the process very easy. The slide never failed to lock open on an empty magazine, signaling to the shooter that it was time to reload. The Baby Rock feels very good in my hands, and also in the hands of others whom I asked to try the pistol. The synthetic rubber grip panels provide a secure hold, and the trigger is very crisp and just about perfect for a pistol of this type. I really would like to see Rock Island offer this pistol with an ambidextrous safety option, as that would make the pistol equally useful for left-handed shooters.

The Baby Rock pistol is unique among the 380 pistols that are available today: it fills the hand well, and has a good, solid heft to it, without being overweight. It is not a pocket 380, and is about five ounces heavier than the Browning 380 of similar design, but the Baby Rock also sells for about two-hundred dollars less than the Browning, comes with two magazines instead of one, and has a steel frame instead of polymer. These features make the Baby Rock a solid choice for someone wanting a 380 pistol of 1911 style that is easier-to-shoot than most, reliable, affordable, and accurate, yet easy to conceal in a good holster. On that note, Simply Rugged makes some excellent leather holsters for carrying this Baby Rock, and well as other similar 1911-style pistols securely and safely. Crossbreed Holsters has a variety of quality Kydex/Leather Hybrid holsters for both inside and outside the waistband wear.

There are several good choices for a pocket-sized 380 on the market today, and the Baby Rock is larger than most, making it better-suited to holster carry, but that larger size makes it easier for most to handle well, and the longer barrel produces higher velocities than those delivered from the pocket guns. There has never been a better time than right now for those shopping for a 380 semi-automatic pistol, with dozens of choices among pistol manufacturers. The Baby Rock from Rock Island Armory is one of the best choices on the market for a 380 that is small but not too small, light but not too light, easy to shoot, and reliable.

Check out this and other Rock Island Armory firearms and accessories online at

 For the location of a Rock Island dealer near you, click on the DEALER FINDER at

 To order the Baby Rock 380 online, click on the Gun Genie at

 To order quality 380 ACP ammunition, go to,,, and

For quality holsters to fit the Baby Rock pistol, go to, and

Jeff Quinn

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Click pictures for a larger version.



The Baby Rock comes with hard case, instructions, cable lock, and two magazines.







A variety of ammo tested in the Baby Rock (L-R): Lehigh Defense XD, Ruger ARX, Buffalo Bore Hard Cast, Remington JHP, and Armscor FMJ.