I wouldn't say that the RIA is a "lower end" type 1911. The RIA is more cost effective because it's a no frills 1911. I shoot steel and uspsa with mine and has been 100% reliable with zero malfunctions with over 1200 rounds through it and mine's only a month old. Shoots as well as my Colt series 80 Gold Cup National Match.
I would suggest the Wilson combat spring refresh kit after 500 rounds as the factory springs are known to weaken prematurely. Everything else is preference, depending on what you "need". For example, I changed the grips next, added a magwell to help with reloads and bought adjustable white dot sights for faster aquisition.
The two best improvements I've made was the Wilson combat ultralight trigger to clean up the factory trigger slop and an EGW oversized bushing to help tighten groups. I also run a Wilson Combat compensator for steel matches.
Oh yeah, not sure what you mean about "more forgiving" but my RIA was super tight when I first got it, can't hear anything when you shake it. Like any gun it'll loosen up a bit once you start putting an number of rounds through it, but the spring upgrade kit tightened everything back up.
Last edited by soulbyte; 02-08-2013 at 9:16 PM..