Rock Island Armory MAPP FS: Underappreciated Performer

The Rock Island Armory (RIA) MAPP FS pistol has been in Armscor’s menu for quite a while, but it seems that it has yet to stand out in a market already saturated with polymer-framed 9mm pistols.  I got to shoot an earlier model about 8 years ago and it left a good impression, so much so that I recently requested Armscor’s Johanna Ibay to arrange for a more comprehensive evaluation of this seemingly underappreciated pistol.

RIA MAPP FS: Polymer pistol with Filipino, Italian and Czech lineage. (Photo by IGG)

Pedigree

The RIA MAPP FS and its compact sibling the MAPP MS are, in design undoubtedly inspired by the Czech CZ-75—a modern classic that has spawned too many imitators to mention here. Of course, the major difference being that the MAPP sports a lightweight polymer frame versus the original CZ’s steel receiver.

Very noticeably these supposedly Philippine-made handguns look much like the Witness Polymer pistol made by Tanfoglio of Italy. That is because they are for most part made by Tanfoglio, then shipped to the Philippines in broken-down “kits” where Armscor completes the production process. Armscor’s SVP for International Sales Mely Cayabyab explained this to me thus satisfying a long-standing curiosity.

Design

The MAPP’s polymer grip feels very good indeed. Everything from the grip size, the texturing to the grip angle seems to hit the spot with me. I feel rather certain that while the MAPP’s grip is not complicated by swappable backstraps or any size adjusting accessories as with most pistols of this genre today, it will fit most hands just fine.

Its CZ-75 lineage means that its slide rides within its frame/receiver, which is the opposite of the set-up in most contemporary semi-auto pistols. This design supposedly contributes to better accuracy and allows for lower bore axis compared to more conventional hammer-fired, semi-autos.

Interestingly, the MAPP FS weighs about the same (33 ounces) as the full-sized Tanfoglio Witness Steel pistol, which I find rather perplexing. Both pistols are essentially manufactured by the same Italian firm and are of similar size and general design—with the exception of the fact that the MAPP’s frame is polymer and the Witness Steel’s frame is, well… steel!

At the range

Team HDJ received a pair of MAPP FS pistols to test at its Marikina City facility recently, one brand new, the other with a bit of mileage on it. We burned through box after box of Armscor’s 115-grain FMJ ammo with almost no issues. We did experience one stovepipe jam with the newer gun earlier in the session but that issue never reoccurred as we began to really break the gun in. All in all, the MAPP seemed more than reliable enough—although we have yet to try it with hollowpoints and other hard-to-feed ammo.

No surprise was the fact that felt recoil was a non-issue. Whether this was due to the recoil-absorbing polymer frame, the pistol’s 33-ounce weight, its relatively low bore axis or all of the above—shooting the MAPP was smooth and easy as a summer breeze!

We kept our testing within the 10-meter mark as we were shooting inside Armscor’s ballistics firing range and not the commercial range. Accuracy-wise, we had absolutely no trouble keeping all shots within the A-Zone of our silhouette target even as we tried to really pick up the pace. I got the impression that this gun, while not sensationally accurate, was more than adequate for defensive assignments.

HDJ Specs for RIA MAPP 9mm

Home Defense rating:

HDJ Rating on RIA MAPP FS

Stay tuned for our photo and video coverage of the MAPP FS pistol soon!

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