The Rost Martin RM1C Review: A New Kid on the Block

It’s hard to launch a new gun. It’s even harder when it’s your first gun to be produced. Recent memory brings to mind a few different cases where such companies tried to “revolutionize” the industry or “change the game” with their product only to fail to deliver, much less stay in business (I’m looking at you, Hudson). Such hubris does not seem to be a problem for Rost Martin, the creators of the RM1C pistol announced this week.

Rather, the RM1C aims to blend features more common to custom pistols or aftermarket work with proven build and design elements, creating an affordable, made-in-the-USA handgun.  I was fortunate enough to receive a production model just before Christmas.

The USA-made Rost Martin RM1C, equipped with Trijicon RMR.

A Brief Overview

At a glance, the RM1C looks like the vast majority of compact handguns on the market with its 4-inch barrel,  polymer frame, and slim 1.1-inch thickness. It includes reliable MecGar-made magazines in both flush 15-round and extended 17-round capacities. Looking at it closer, you’re welcomed by ambidextrous controls including the magazine release and slide stop lever. That polymer frame features laser-cut stippling they call Responsive Grip Texturing, or RGT, designed to “grip back” based on the pressure provided by the user.

The nitrocarburized black slide sports an optic cutout (with an RMR-compatible plate included). Rare on production defensive guns are both a flattened and serrated top slide and recessed barrel crown, but Rost Martin includes both. This combination of features and accessories wouldn’t be that surprising on an $800+ pistol, but the RM1C boasts an MSRP of just $459. That sets it up to compete as an American-made alternative to guns like the Canik Mete SF and TP9SF.

Premium features like the recessed barrel crown and flat and serrated top slide set it apart from other competitors at this price point.

Shooting Impressions

Range time for this gun was limited to an indoor session due to the weather as I was traveling for Christmas. Being back home for the holidays did allow me to gather a small group of trusted friends with a wide range of experience; all eager to give a brand-new gun a try. I gave them all zero information to get their true first impressions. Immediately, the trigger drew multiple comparisons to the Walther PDP with its crisp, five-pound break and short reset. The feature set and the price drew similar comparisons, with the group ranging between $550 and $650 street price.

Stacking rounds at three yards is my usual first string for a pistol anytime I go to the range. The RM1C did not disappoint, and I was able to keep rounds touching at seven, with my first two fliers not coming until the 10-yard line. Those were entirely my fault. Controls were easily reached by my small hands.   Through our combined 200-round session, we had no malfunctions. The gun overall was remarkably unremarkable. Everything worked as it should effortlessly, just as you would want on a carry gun.

My only issue came when starting to shoot faster. The lack of aggressive texturing higher on the grip caused some slipping when speeding up the shot cadence. There is some consideration when striking a balance of grip texture on a carry gun versus a duty-style gun. Pistols like the Springfield Echelon can get away with the more abundant, wrap-around texturing as they are mostly intended to be carried further off the body. A carry gun rides close, and too much or too rough a texture wears through clothes and can irritate the skin when worn regularly.

That makes Rost Martin’s design decision an understandable one by eliminating an excuse one might use to leave it on the nightstand.

Being in the mag business, we appreciate when manufacturers use top-quality OEMs. The Rost Martin mags are made by MecGar and come in 15-round flush and 17-round extended capacities.


While the RM1C does almost everything right, there is still one question in my mind: Why this size in 2023? The micro-compact 9mm craze kicked off by the Sig P365 is not slowing down, especially with the various sizes it and its competitors now come in. You might think that the days of the “compact”, 15-round gun were numbered. But those of us who keep our finger on the pulse of the defensive shooting market are quick to forget how many new shooters start out.

In all my years behind the gun counter, not once did I have a customer come in and ask for a gun for home defense — and one for concealed carry — and one for the range, and so on. The average person is looking for the jack of all trades. One gun to do everything and not a different tool for each specific job. Rost Martin’s RM1C fills that role well, and it has the features to stand out in that crowd.

In Retrospect

The Rost Martin RM1C isn’t looking to reinvent the wheel but, rather, refine it.  It aims to set a new standard in the sub-$500 category that has been dominated in recent years by stripped-down domestic offerings or imported guns.  It has an uphill climb to attract the market’s attention but has the features and the value to succeed where others have failed.

Brandon Light has spent 13 years in the firearm industry working in roles from behind the gun counter to managing range/retail facilities and LE sales divisions.  He joined GunMag Warehouse in 2018 as an Operations Manager and currently works building relationships with vendors as Partnership Marketing Manager.  You will never be able to convince him that any gun is better than the original Sig P228, so don't even try.

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