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12 Best Affordable 1911s (For Your Budget)

The M1911 is one of the most legendary firearms in existence.

It’s been around since the year 1911 and found its way into wars and conflicts all across the planet.

Effective Range 1911 Pistols
1911 pistols

Today, it remains one of the most popular firearms ever produced for a variety of uses.

Do you know the most fascinating things about 1911s? The 1911 price and customization spectrum.

You can find 1911s for $350 all the way to $4,000 custom guns. It’s truly mind-blowing to look and see how much the 1911 varies in price.

Wilson Combat eXperior Compact Double Stack
Some guns can cost thousands!

Many of us may not want to spend more $500 on a 1911. This article is for those people, the people looking for affordable 1911s, dare I say cheap 1911s?

99 poor meme
Same.

We are going to talk about 1911s, why a cheap one is fine, and what you can expect from a cheap 1911. In the end, we are going to toss a few cheap 1911s your way.

And don’t forget to stick around to the end of this article, where we’ll also give you some recommendations on budget-friendly accessories!

Table of Contents

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Why Go Cheap?

I do think a 1911 should be in any serious gun collector’s inventory. It’s a classic firearm that helped shape the handgun world — a living piece of history.

WWI American Doughboys with M1911s
WWI American Doughboys with M1911s

This might be controversial (and I’m sure I’ll get flamed in the comments) but I think the 1911 is an outdated design that doesn’t excel in the modern handgun world.

It’s heavy, the capacity is incredibly limited, and the gun is nowhere near as modular as a modern handgun.

Yes, the 1911 served its time as a combat pistol, but I think it’s time we move forward.

Remington R1

But that doesn’t mean I don’t see value in the 1911. It’s a fun gun and a part of history, much like an M1 Garand or Lee Enfield.

If you are buying a 1911 just for fun is there really a reason to invest a thousand dollars or more into one?

Maybe not…so I don’t see a problem walking a more affordable route.

very cheap

Another reason to consider a cheap 1911 is if you like a DIY project and want to build a customized gun for yourself.

Its age and popularity gave it a massive aftermarket.

You can start with a very base model 1911 and shape it into the gun you want. The 1911 is almost as customizable as an AR-15.

What to Expect with a Wallet-Friendly 1911

The 1911 is a cranky platform. But can you blame it? It’s over a century old.

Its old-school design came from a time when craftsmanship was a thing. Guns were fitted together versus mass-produced on assembly lines.

These days you can still get a hand-fitted 1911, but you’ll pay for it.

Your standard, mass-produced 1911 can have issues…especially when it comes to tight tolerances. This results in jams, failures to extract, failures to feed specific ammo, and more.

A modern-era Series 70 Ruger SR1911, picture left, and a Series 80 Remington R1, picture right
A modern-era Series 70 Ruger SR1911, picture left, and a Series 80 Remington R1, picture right

Is this a more significant issue with cheap 1911s?

In my experience no, not really. I’ve handled Sig Sauers, Kimbers, Rock Islands, ATIs, and many more across the spectrum of price and found almost all brands can see issues.

Across the spectrum of prices, the most significant difference I’ve seen comes from custom shops or semi-custom shops.

Nighthawk TRS Comp
Nighthawk TRS Comp

Places like Ed Brown, Nighthawk, Les Bauer, Wilson Combat, and other high-end shops make great guns. These would be the guns I’d trust my life to in the 1911 world.

Typically an affordable 1911 is going to be frills-free. The cheapest centerfire caliber you can find is .45 ACP. You can usually expect to get a mag or two.

Popular .45 ACP Ammo
Popular .45 ACP Ammo

These guns are typically equipped with basic GI sights, but Novak cut sights are becoming more popular among affordable 1911s.

Most of the time you won’t find ambi-safeties, adjustable triggers, or nice beavertails on budget 1911s — same goes for night sights or fancy grips.

What you can really expect is a bare-bones gun that functions.

Best Affordable 1911s

1. Rock Island Armory GI-Edition

This is my all-time favorite 1911, and it’s also one of the most affordable 1911s.

It’s a bare-bones model to the core — from the wood grips to the teeny tiny sights, this thing is pure GI 1911.

Nothing fancy here, but that’s why I love it.

Rock Island Armory 1911 GI Midsize
Rock Island Armory 1911 GI Midsize

It’s just a gun designed to go bang, and in my experience, it does just that.

Also, one thing I really love about Rock Island is they don’t throw up a massive wretched billboard-sized Rollmark on their guns.

Rock Island 1911 GI Sights
Rock Island GI Sights

Not to mention it offers that vintage 1911 look — probably the closest you’ll find to a classic 1911. And it’s under $500!

Be sure to check out our full review on the midsize edition to get more deets on this gun.

499
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

What do you think about this RIA 1911? Let us know by giving it a rating below!

Readers' Ratings

4.92/5 (641)

Your Rating?

2. ATI FXH-45 Moxie

This gun has moxie! Well, now that I killed that joke, let’s talk about the ATI FXH-45 Moxie 1911.

It’s a bit sacrilegious, but the ATI FXH-45 Moxie is a super affordable 1911 option.

What makes it sacrilegious, you ask? Well, the FXH-45 utilizes a polymer frame instead of the traditional metal frame associated with 1911s.

Polymer reduces weight, so the FXH-45 shaves off nearly half a pound from a standard 1911.

The polymer frame still allows you to swap grips and install your favorites easily.

You also get a built-in Picatinny rail for all your light needs. Oh, and ATI wisely made the FXH-45 Moxie compatible with Glock-style sights.

So right off the bat, you have dozens of options for iron sights, including night sights, high visibility sights, and — as useless as they are — ghost ring Glock sights.

Glock Night Sights Necessary Tools
Break out the bench and slap on some new sights!

ATI might be best known for their imports, but this 1911 is American-made.

Besides all that weirdness, it’s a classic single-stack, .45 ACP 1911 with the traditional single-action design. It also has an ambi safety, an extender beavertail, and a skeletonized trigger.

Not only that, but it’s downright affordable with a price point of around $450. That’s tough to beat for an American-made 1911.

450
at American Tactical Inc.

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

3. Girsan MC1911 SC Ultimate

I prefer my 1911s in 9mm, and the old-school ASP pistol has always drawn me in.

As such, when I laid my pretty blue eyes on the Girsan, I knew I had to know more.

It’s the best of both worlds. And beyond that, the grips rule.

There’s also an FDE .45 ACP version!

The grips are G-10 material, but they also feature a clear window that allows you to check how much ammo you have left.

In a single-stack 1911, the answer is almost always not much, but it’s still a handy feature! The G10 grips are also fantastic and provide a nice texture.

Nice

On top of the little gun is a set of iron sights and a removable plate that reveals an optic cut.

From the factory, you can toss an optic on and eliminate any worries about sight radius. The footprint accommodates Docter, Burris, and Vortex optics.

Vortex Venom
Vortex Venom

Shooters get a pretty complete budget-friendly EDC 1911 right out of the box.

Typically, I’d approach with caution, but the gun has been proven surprisingly robust in the hands of reviewers in both .45 ACP and 9mm variants.

9mm vs .45 ACP
9mm vs .45 ACP

I think the 9mm variant makes the most sense, but you do you.

The Girsan Ultimate Officer Model provides a lot of neat features at a low price point. This includes an ambi safety, an extended beavertail, and a skeletonized hammer and trigger.

707
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

4. Tisa 1911 Carry

I have a weakness for stainless steel.

Luckily, if you are shopping for budget-grade 1911s, there’s no shortage of stainless-steel options. The Tisa 1911 Carry gives you a carry-friendly stainless 1911 with plenty of extra features.

You get nice, easy-to-see Novak-style sights that are also easy to swap out for other sights if you want.

On the sides, there’s an ambidextrous safety and massive beavertail. Combine that with a high undercut trigger guard, and you get a gun that your hand can ride high on and control with ease.

The beveled magazine well makes reloads quick and intuitive.

You’ll be reloading a fair bit, though, with the 8 round .45 ACP magazines. It’s quite standard in terms of function, and standard means that it’s a proven system.

A Carry model means the barrel is 4.25-inches long, and the frame is slightly cut with melted corners for easy, comfortable carry.

The grip size is essentially a government-length grip, and the 1911 ergonomics you know and love remain in place.

The Tisa Carry 1911 is a fine-looking 1911 that’s simple but effective.

Tisa did a great job producing a budget-friendly 1911 that is perfectly shootable and usable. Most 1911s are “G.I.” style with plain sights, controls, and finishes at this price point.

With the Tisa, you get a nice stainless gun with plenty of extra features that many guns lack.

454
at Classic Firearms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

5. ATI GSG 1911-22

During ammo droughts, I lean a lot on .22 LR. I stock it throughout the year and always have a pile on hand just in case.

.22 is a fun cartridge that’s easy to shoot — perfect for training, new shooters, and young shooters. Obviously, 1911s in .22 exist, and one of the most affordable is the GSG 1911-22.

Popular .22LR Ammo
Popular .22 LR Ammo

This little fella is a simple blowback firearm that tends to cycle reliably as long as it’s kept clean.

.22 LR tends to be dirty, so CLP is required to keep the 1911-22 running.

Various models exist with fake suppressors, threaded barrels, rails, ambi safeties, extended beavertails, and more.

These little guys also tend to be extremely affordable, and affordable is the name of the game today.

It’s a great stand-in for your centerfire 1911 and grants the gun a much cheaper course of ammunition.

The little GSG 1911-22s are a blast to shoot, fit most standard 1911 holsters, and are compatible with a wide variety of 1911 parts like grips.

On top of that, the 10-round magazines are affordable and easy to find. This is perfect for a budget 1911 and a perfect choice as a fun .22 LR handgun for plinking.

I just wish they made an optics-ready model. Then this thing would be unstoppable!

279
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

6. Iver Johnson Eagle XL-10

Compared to many guns on this list, the Iver Johnson XL-10 is rather expensive at around $900.

However, it’s a budget-grade pistol when you start looking at other extended barreled 10mm pistols.

The XL-10 provides a 6-inch barreled 1911 in the Lord’s caliber, 10mm, at an affordable price.

Six inches of barrel grants you plenty of sight radius for making precise shots.

Plus, the adjustable sights allow you to dial in the XL-10 for absurdly precise shots at various ranges.

This is the perfect 1911, in the perfect caliber, for hunting medium game. Hogs and deer will be quaking in their boots when faced with the XL-10.

Full power 10mm loads hit hard in both directions, but the longer barrel and 46 ounces of metal the XL-10 packs help tame that recoil a fair bit.

Iver Johnson also decked the gun out with some awesome features, including a flared ejection point, a big beavertail, an extended slide stop, and extended safety, as well as a skeletonized trigger and hammer.

The XL-10 packs a punch and is feature-filled for the price point it is tough to beat.

The Iver Johnson Eagle XL-10 might be the most expensive gun on this list, but for a solid 10mm, it’s a good option.

964
at Iver Johnson

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

7. Fusion Freedom Series Government

There are lots and lots of budget-grade G.I. series 1911 pistols on the market.

Most of these are fine guns, and I could’ve just made a list of those various guns. However, I avoided that and wanted to pick one Government series gun that impressed me.

The Fusion Freedom Series Government model offers a gorgeous gun at a wallet-friendly price.

It boasts a beautiful finish and red cocobolo grips that are textured for easy use.

These are built in the Colt Series 70 vein of handguns. They feature a crisp trigger and excellent reliability.

The sights are the Mil-Spec series 70 sights that aren’t bad but aren’t great either. These sights aren’t as small as typical G.I. sights, but they’re no Novak 3-dot sights.

The gun features a very tight lockup that makes it accurate and capable at a variety of ranges.

Adjustable sights might tune it in a bit more, but it’s unnecessary to ring steel and punch paper.

The classic design of the Fusion Freedom Government ensures excellent reliability and parts compatibility with all your favorite 1911 parts and pieces.

There is something to be said for simplicity and affordability – you get both with the Fusion Freedom Series Government model.

895
at Fusion Firearms

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

8. Para Ordnance GI Expert

If you want to go a little more refined, but don’t want to go too crazy, the Para Ordnance GI Expert is an excellent go to 1911.

The gun sports a skeletonized trigger and hammer — a stylish touch.

Para Ordnance GI Expert
Para Ordnance GI Expert

The Para Ordnance GI Expert comes with slightly bigger sights than the RIA GI. These simple 3-dot sights are easy to use, but nothing to brag about in low-light settings.

But their dovetail style means you can upgrade pretty quickly with whatever sights you want.

The Para Ordnance GI Expert has a stainless steel barrel with a standard barrel design. This barrel is not fully supported, which often aids in reliability.

It’s reliable, what can we say.

Although there is some debate regarding fully supported barrels and standard cut barrels.

The barrel also has a nice 11-degree muzzle crown which is a bit different than a standard GI barrel. This protects the barrel in case of a fall. The ejection port is also lowered and flared for better ejection capability.

All these little editions give you a much more refined 1911 that still sticks to its roots, and comes in at a great price.

799
at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

9. Taurus PT 1911

Taurus 1911s are known to run well and come with a number of features at a price that is pretty impressive.

Features include real Novak or Heinie sights, an ambidextrous safety, an extended beavertail, a skeletonized trigger, and safety, as well as front and rear serrations.

The ejection port is expanded and lowered as well, and the gun comes in a variety of finishes and calibers.

If you wanted an affordable 9mm 1911, the Taurus PT1911 is undoubtedly an excellent go-to option.

The PT1911 comes in either .45 ACP or 9mm, and both are priced at under $500. These guns are likely the best value of features and design you’ll find out there.

Maglula and 9mm Ammo
Grab a 9mm and save some cash!

I’ve run a 9mm variant and really enjoyed it. It functioned flawlessly with a wide variety of ammo, from 115 to 147-grains.

The gun feels exceptionally well made, and the trigger’s smooth and crisp pull surprised me.

This is an excellent value for a 1911, and it’s hard to beat.

10. Rock Island Armory Ultra FS 9 mm/22 TCM Double-Stack

If you really want a double-stack 1911, you’ll spend a little money.

If we agree that prices are relative to what you’re getting, then a cheap double-stack 1911 could cost significantly more than a cheap single-stack 1911.

RIA 1911
Rock Island Armory Ultra FS HC

Rock Island Armory is one of the only companies I know making affordable double-stack 1911s in a variety of calibers.

The price on these guns runs from $650ish to $800 depending on features.

I own both a .22 TCM/9mm double stack and a 10mm double stack 1911 and enjoy them.

The cheapest in the series is the Rock Ultra FS HC. These guns are a little plainer, and lack rails the TAC series carries.

The TAC Ultra FS HC is a little pricer, but still relatively affordable when it comes to double-stack 1911s.

Rock Island Armory TAC Ultra Threaded
You want all the features…you’re going to have pay more. So that threaded barrel will cost ya’.

These guns are big, huge, but they do offer you a lot of firepower. Not to mention, they feature a degree of custom features you’ll enjoy.

This includes a flared magazine well for quick reloads, an ambidextrous safety, a large beavertail as well as skeletonized trigger and hammer.

The guns also wear Novak cut rear sights and come with adjustable LPA sights.

RIA’s 1911s run like champs and seem to eat everything I put through it.

Best budget friendly double-stack 1911
450
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

11. Palmetto State Armory 1911

These can be hard to find in stock and when you do, they are often blems. But they are a lot of gun for not a lot of price!

Offering great value is kind of what PSA is known for with their AR-15 and AR-10s and they keep delivering on that with their 1911s.

PSA 1911
PSA 1911

We’ve had a few mags through one of their 1911s that made short work of short distance steel — hitting 50% IPSC plates at 100-yards. Good enough for me!

Cleanest and best shooting budget 1911
600
at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

We’ve also been impressed with everything else in the PSA line-up that we’ve put our hands on.

Check out our reviews of almost all of PSA’s Guns!

12. Colt Mustang Pocketlite .380

Okay, okay, is the Colt Mustang Pocketlite .380 really a 1911?

It’s surely not a traditional 1911, but it looks like one and essentially handles like one, so we’ll call it one.

The Pocketlite uses a polymer frame, which may seem like heathenry to a 1911 purist.

Unlike the traditional 1911, the Pocketlite is a blowback-operated firearm. Blowback designs and .380 ACP go together like peanut butter and honey. It functions and is small and reliable.

The Pocketlite .380 is a teeny tiny gun that’s designed for concealed carry. It’s certainly small enough to fit in the pocket.

It brings a 6+1 capacity and does away with the grip safety found on most 1911s. But you do have a thumb safety, as well as a firing pin block.

.380 ACP Round
.380 ACP Round

The gun offers a rear dovetail sight and a front sight that’s actually integrated into the slide as a slight ramp.

The Colt Pocketlite is an interesting take on the 1911 and is undoubtedly a capable CCW.

If you want a smooth SA trigger, combined with the slim style of a 1911, this is by far the most affordable option. Plus it’s an authentic Colt.

Of all the guns on this list, I would go with this model as a carry gun. It’s affordable, but it’s also small and uses polymer. That cuts the price a bit without sacrificing quality.

Accessories on a Budget

Before we take off, I wanted to point out a few fun and affordable 1911 upgrades.

Most of these aren’t duty-grade upgrades but are better suited for range time and having fun.

1911 3 dot ADS

Add an Optic

You can actually add an optic for under $300 if you know what to look for.

Trijicon makes an Adapter for Novak cut sights that replaces the rear sight with an RMR mounting plate.

An actual Trijicon RMR is expensive, but a variety of optics use the same pattern for mounting an RMR.

Burris Fastfire 3
Burris Fastfire 3 is a good wallet-friendly option

Combine that with a Burris FastFire 3 and you have a very nice set up for a low price point.

If you’re looking for something to shoot competition with or to rely on for home defense – you’ll want something like the Vortex Venom.

You can read the full review of the Venom and our other top picks for pistol red dots in our Best Pistol Red Dot article.

Add a Rail

If you are running a budget 1911, it likely doesn’t have a rail to accommodate any kind of light or laser.

Adding one without permanently modifying your gun is possible with the Recover Tactical grip and rail system. These polymer grips actually add a rail to your dust cover.

39
at Recover Tactical

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

They make the design a little bit bulkier than average, but its a very cost-effective way to add a rail to your gun.

Recover even produces a holster designed for carrying a light equipped 1911 with the Recover Tactical grips on it as well.

50
at Recover Tactical

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Get Some Grips

If you just want to spice up your grips, then you can always call on Magpul.

Everyone knows Magpul, but it seems like not many people know they make 1911 grips. These polymer grips are simple, comfortable, and affordable.

They look nice and come in a variety of finishes.

19
at Amazon

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Conclusion

The 1911 is a fun platform. An all-metal design, the single-action trigger, and the big ole’ .45 ACP all come together to make something uniquely American.

Field-strip 1911s and other semi-autos for a closer look at parts and possible wear.

And the good news is 1911s don’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

They certainly can, but you have a ton of different options at almost any price range.

Condition 1 1911 and CZ-75
Condition 1 1911 and CZ-75

If you are just looking for a fun gun for the range or the collection I wouldn’t hesitate with a more affordable 1911 option.

What is your favorite 1911? Do you EDC one? Let us know in the comments! If you have a 1911, you need mags. See our top recommendations at the Best 1911 Mags: .45 ACP & 9mm.

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56 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar
    Kurtis Hughes

    SIG C3 ...... Enough said.

    October 25, 2021 10:23 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    David Boerboom

    MD Vickery...I was "jus finna" say.... I have 1.5 words.... PARA.ORDNANCE. Son. Son son. Son son son. Mane.

    October 24, 2021 6:43 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Ed

    I am a 1911 fan. I have had several and finally tried and purchased a Kimber Pro 4" 9mm. Fantastic tigger pull, nice balance, fits great. It has the Crimson Trace Laser Grips - FANTASTIC option for self defense. Allows me a view of what is around the target plus I do not need to line up the sights - the laser shows me what the gun is aimed at. I keep a look out for good deal on a Sig P220 in 9mm to purchase - I have been told they are FANTASTIC.

    October 24, 2021 6:38 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    MD Vickery

    Interesting that you would include both Remington and Para Ordnance. Especially since Para is no more (purchased by Remington, now who knows the result.) Plus the link provided is to an online used gun marketer. I cast NO aspersions on the gun, but question why it was included here.

    October 24, 2021 6:17 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Crday

      Apparently article was regurgitated from 2019. Para has been out of business for several years. They are nice firearms, however. Waste of time reading outdated material.

      October 24, 2021 7:06 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Diver21

    Rock Island 10mm, STI Trojan .38 Super. Excellent values

    October 24, 2021 5:25 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Bob

    I love my rock island armory 1911!

    October 24, 2021 4:56 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Derrell Edwards

    You have a cool job testing and reviewing firearms I am slightly envious .. thanks for the article . I was shopping for a budget 1911 to build as I wished for a daily carry piece . Was seriously considering a RIA, locally none were available , always sold out . Before I was able to source one I was offered a Remington R1 enhanced , Alabama built. Used but like new . I bought it and do not regret it .everything I wanted in a 1911 under 1,000 dollars . The only issue ive had is that the factory mag will not allow JHP ammo to feed . Picked up a couple Kimber pro tactical mags and problem solved . Thanks for the time you take in writing your articles I may not agree with you on a few things but I support you 1st amendment rights by exercising my 2nd . Keep it up looking forward to more of your reviews.

    October 24, 2021 4:10 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Rob

    I have walther colt 1911 22 lr it was so cheap and itz so much fun to shoot I got it at a gun show for around 140 bucks along ti.e ago still shoot it almost every week

    October 24, 2021 2:48 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Damon

    I have Taurus PT1911 in 45 and the gun feels really well made. I found the factory mags to be unreliable but once I swapped them for Wilson Combat mags the gun has been 100 percent reliable. I have a two tone version that I paid $600 for and IMHO that's hard to beat.

    October 20, 2021 7:25 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Tracy

    I have a Taurus PT1911 .45cal, an ATI 1911 Titan .45cal, and a Colt Gold Cup 1911 .22cal made by Walther Arms under license from Colt. I put Hogue rubber finger grove grips on all three and I love the way they feel in my hand and are comfortable to shoot. I did a trigger job on all three. The Taurus is a nail driver and an absolute dream to shoot. Those of you that are "gun snobs" and won't try one because of the Taurus name, need to take another look. Taurus quality has greatly improved over the last few years. The ATI Titan which is an Officer size was bought to fiddle around with (changing to a colt guide rod and spring and other things) to see how they worked. The .22cal was something I thought would be fun for me (and especially my wife) to shoot and it has been that. It is also a good training gun, being the same size but a little lighter than a full sized .45.

    December 22, 2020 8:47 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Phil S

    My Iver Johnson Eagle is my favorite 1911 I currently have. I had my gunsmith do a trigger job on it and it is very accurate. Shoots RN, SWC, and hollow points without any issues.

    November 1, 2020 6:04 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Rick P.

    I have a RIA 1911 GI FS, a RIA Compact Officers 1911 (it came with skelotinized trigger), a Colt 1911 Government Combat with all the bells & whistles in stainless steel, 2 SR 1911's one in 9mm & one in .45acp. They're all great shooters surprisingly the RIA's function as well as any. To Alex: I believe Armscor makes RIA's.

    April 30, 2020 5:00 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    alex

    fuck this I want a Armscor 1911 GI 9mm pistol but don't have the monet

    April 28, 2020 5:53 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mike

    I'm surprised that ATI FX45 1911s weren't brought up since, based on pricing I've done for a while, they're a tad bit cheaper than Rock Islands. There was a review I came across where a brand new ATI FX45 Military was shot-for-shot compared to a literal WWII surplus Colt 1911A1. The review actually had them pretty even in quality and performance, but the ATI was favored slightly for the larger rear sight than the OG 1911.

    September 20, 2019 10:04 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Mike

      Btw I just bought an ATI and the first mod I did was the Magpul grips like in this review. I do have a quality issue with a crooked front blade sight, but I was already planning to replace that with a white dot. I just have to find a gunsmith to do it since I don't have the tools or faith in myself to do it right.

      September 20, 2019 10:08 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        John Callender

        ATI is a very good 1911. They are slightly less expensive than RIA & both are made in the Philippines, I put white fingernail polish on the front sight. It works great for me!

        February 4, 2020 3:49 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Frank

    Nice article, in my experience a fair look at the market as of 2019, for those of us with limited funds. I appreciated that you covered models that are actually available ( with the exception of the Palmetto (PSA) guns.) I want to pass along just my feeling that even after having great times with several of these affordable 1911s, I just had to have a gen-u-wine Colt. I settled on a Government Model Series 70 Colt "re-production," paid mid 800 dollars, and it's minus the original split collet bushing and the cool brown box. Now you get a normal 1911 bushing and a plastic box. Other than that , it appears and feels to be exactly like the one I owned in 1976. This comment is practically irrelevant, becuase it doesn't speak to getting a less expensive "shooter," but even though that's what I intended to get I fell for the marketing and hype and just had to have the "original." I hope you avoid this trap better than I did ! It's a really really nice pistol though, actually probably better made than the one I had in 1970s. Beware!!

    June 5, 2019 6:53 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Charles

    Travis, I have a AMT -Galena Government model .45 cal. 1911 in stainless. What would a new one cost?

    April 29, 2019 7:26 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jerre Peak

    I've loved and had 1911's most of my life. I had an experience this past year that's left a bad taste in my mouth from 2 reputable company's.......Springfield and Browning. I've had 2 911 .380 Springfield's and 2 Black Label .380 Browning's. I say 2 of each as both of my first guns were sent back to the company's because of numerous malfunctions. Springfield and Browning both gave me new guns to replace the defective guns.......and, the 2nd guns were just as bad as the first ones I sent back. The 911 Springfield's and the Black Label Browning's were without a doubt the worse guns I've ever experienced......and, I've been shooting guns since my dad gave me my 1st b.b. gun at age 5. Stay away from 911 Springfield's and Browning Black Label .380's !

    March 17, 2019 12:29 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    JimiBilt

    Being as a 1911 was the first weapon Uncle Sh!tty issued me in 1982, I will always own one. After owning 4 or 5, I've settled on a Springfield Armory "Loaded" in .45 acp. It's equipped with one of the Recover Tactical CC3P grip rails and I f'n love it. It's my bedside and when I absolutely have to deal with what's left of "humanity", I slide off the light and it still fits in my shoulder rig.

    March 5, 2019 9:36 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    David Johnson

    I don't want to flame you. Yes, 1911s can have horrible issues but so can Khar, Glock, Sig, etc. handguns and numerous other makers who produce polymer-framed handguns. I currently own 4 1911s and I've owned 4 others; Not a single one has EVER had an issue or malfunctioned in any way WHATSOEVER regardless of the ammo type I've used and NONE of them has cost me more than $850.00. The 4 I currently own are a Ruger 45ACP, a Citadel Officer's model 45ACP made by Rock Island Armory, a Rock Island 9mm/22TCM combo gun, and a Colt Civilian Model made in 1912! Even my old Colt is a workhorse that has never malfunctioned in any way whatsoever and that includes with its original pinned base-plate, lanyard loop 1912 magazine! Honestly, it drives me crazy when gun writers start trashing 1911s as unreliable.

    Yes, I own numerous striker-fired, polymer-framed handguns. The truth is that I have owned several of these guns that had significant feed issues and other malfunctions. I have owned Glocks, Khars, and Smith and Wesson striker-fired guns that I got rid of because they were, to quote the article, "junk." However, unlike anti-1911 gun writers, I've never trashed polymer, striker-fired handguns en masse. On top of that, I have several of these "wonderguns" that cost more than my most expensive 1911 by $300.00. Instead of trashing an entire type of handgun, why not state the truth that ANY handgun can have issues regardless of the price point?!?!

    I state all of the above to get to this point: my prefered carry handgun is my Ruger 1911 in .45ACP. I carry it more than any other handgun along with four mags in leather GI double mag pouches I bought from Numrich Gun Parts that are circa the Vietnam War. Yes, I carry several of my polymer wonder guns too but more often than not, I have my Ruger 1911 on my hip because it is completely reliable. On top of that, even though it is a full size 1911, it is easily concealed because is it so thin. My double-stack, plastic wonderguns are nowhere near as concealable with the exception of my Walther PPS 40 S&W which holds fewer rounds!

    In short, stop trashing an entire class of handguns just because you don't like them! You are no different that the jerks who trash revolvers and/or polymer-frame handguns "in toto" simply because they don't like them either.

    February 4, 2019 1:41 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Michael

      Very well said David. I have carried a 1911 since first being introduced to the platform by the USMC in 1983. It is still my preferred combat handgun. As strong as my love of the 1911 is, unfortunately I cannot claim to have never had a malfunction. I purchased a brand-new Springfield Armory GI 1911 in ~1986 that failed on the 27th round through the weapon. The fire control system just locked-up solid. I took it to a gunsmith who found that a burr of metal in the mainspring housing tunnel had broken-off and jammed the mainspring, leaving the weapon useless. While this lack of QC in the manufacturing/assembly process did not put me off of the 1911 in general, I have never since, and will never again, purchase a Springfield 1911. At the same time, I have owned several Glocks, and have never had a single malfunction with any of them, yet I still prefer carrying a 1911.

      February 4, 2019 6:32 pm
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    Fatbird

    Rugers nough said, my 1911 got to be made in the US

    January 13, 2019 6:03 am
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    Jimuzuko

    Hey not sure if you knew, but 1911s come in different forms than large low cap steel framed pistols. Some have polymer or alloy frames, some are double stacked magazines, some use 9mm, 40, 45, 10mm, and probably a couple others, and I'm not really sure what you mean about "not modular" but in my definition of modular but I've considered 1911s to be the most modular firearms out there.

    You should check out some of the different configurations for the 1911! What you're saying is the same as considering all striker fired pistols to have low capacity or to be unreliable because Kahr makes a single stack low cap ammo-sensitive pistol.

    Overall the 1911 is in my opinion an more reliable, proven, safer, more enjoyable platform than any other, especially striker guns! To discount a platform only because it's been around a long time is silly!

    January 5, 2019 6:12 pm
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    Connor H

    Do you have any recommendations on affordable 10mm 1911s? I’m in the market for one but I’m having trouble finding a good list of all the available 10mm options.

    July 19, 2018 11:01 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      David

      My top pick would be the Dan Wesson Bruin in burnt bronze...but it is decidedly NOT budget friendly lol.

      Best budget option I'd pick the Rock Island Armory ROCK Ultra in 10mm. Retailing at around $680, not a bad price for a 1911 in 10mm.

      RIA is also good to go, I own one of their normal .45 ACP 1911s and love it, their CS is also tops.

      July 19, 2018 11:29 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Michael

      The Ruger SR1911 , model 6739 https://ruger.com/products/sr1911/specSheets/6739.html , is a government size (5” barrel) in 10mm that can be purchased for ~$800 + tax and fees, which for all of its features (all stainless, Bomar fully adjustable rear sight, lightweight aluminum trigger, beavertail grip safety, etc.) is a great price. It also has a bull barrel and a full-length guide rod, both of which add weight to the muzzle helping to mitigate recoil. The barrel also has a Wilson/Nowlin ramp to fully support the case and improve feeding reliability. The plunger tube is an integral part of the frame, so no worries about it shooting loose with full-power 10mm loads. Add the fact that it is made in the USA, and it is a great choice for a 10mm 1911.

      July 21, 2018 5:31 pm
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      Jeremiah

      I would say you are almost limited to Rock island on a budget 10mm. But that's not a bad thing. There may be something out there I missed when searching, but I landed on a tac ultra ms and I can't believe how tight that gun is for the money!

      August 23, 2018 6:01 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Neight

    Best affordable 1911 IMHO is the Ruger SR1911.
    Have you tried any of Rugers 1911s?
    I have a .45 Commander, but they also make 9mm & 10mm 1911s.

    July 16, 2018 6:30 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Michael

      I have a Talo Limited Edition Night Watchman. It is a Ruger SR1911 lightweight Commander with night sights, blackened stainless steel slide and black anodized aluminum frame. I paid $823 for it, out-the-door for it including tax, background check and transfer fee from a LGS. It is super accurate and reliable. Jeff Cooper said about the LW Commander: “it is a gun to be carried much, and shot little”, mainly due to the aluminum frame. LW Commanders had a reputation for the frame-ramp to get chewed-up by hollow point ammunition. Ruger solved this issue by installing a titanium insert in the frame; no more worries about damaging the frame by shooting hollowpoints!

      July 21, 2018 4:50 pm
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    Oldman62

    Anytime there’s a negative article against a 1911 you can expect strong opinions in response... they are justified calling you out, the 1911 has proven itself for more then 100 years and still is a viable CCW choice... I bought my first Colt in 1984 and have never regretted the purchase... However, I also own Glock, CZ, striker Fire wonder weapons and I like them all..... they have their purpose and the Glocks and CZs are great guns... more of a tactical weapon, but we don’t always want tacticool weapons....

    For myself I’ll take an old man gun where I carry my own flashlight and I can shoot well enough without a laser... I’m not a shootist, operator or expect... but within 10 yards I can protect myself... over 10 I’m running away or getting something else...

    July 13, 2018 8:00 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Michael

    Your first statement that I have to take issue with is “the gun is nowhere near as modular as a modern handgun”. Four paragraphs later you write “the 1911 is almost as customizable as an AR-15”. So which is it? What modularity do “modern” handguns have that the 1911 doesn’t? Interchange backstraps to accommodate different hand sizes? On a 1911 you have a multitude of choices of mainspring housings (flat, arched, bobtail, round-butt, smooth, checkered, serrated, etc.), grip safeties ( GI, wide beavertail, narrowed “concealment” beavertail, Wilson, .250”, or .220” radius cut types, etc.), single side or ambidextrous thumb safeties with a plethora of lever styles, shapes and lengths, short, medium and long trigger pad lengths are available in different materials (steel, aluminum, nylon), face types (serrated, smooth). And let’s not forget the grips; available from ultra-slim to extra thick in every conceivable material from wood to G-10, aluminum, carbon fiber, laminates, the options are limitless.

    All of the above features allow the 1911 shooter to tailor the weapon to fit their hand like no other pistol that I am aware of. So what is this modularity that “modern” handguns have that the 1911 doesn’t?

    July 13, 2018 6:16 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      TravisP

      Modular and customizable are two different things. The SIG P320 is modular. I can swap a full size to a subcompact, I can;t do that with a 1911

      July 14, 2018 2:01 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Bob

        So what?

        October 24, 2021 3:34 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mark

    Nice article. We are very fortunate here in Canada to have access to Norinco products. Their 1911 pistols are hard to beat on quality of steel and selection of features. They sell for < $400.00 Canadian and can be had as low as $300.00 on sale. While they do make basic GI models and shorter commanders, others are available as well with Ambi safety, extended beavertail, skeletinized trigger and hammer, and different sights. Mine is satin chrome, 5" barrel, ambi, with three dot fully adjustable sight. Accuracy is great, it eats everything; factory and all different kinds and shapes of home-loads. Best accuracy for me is with 200gr. SWC uncoated lead. The quality and hardness of the steel is second to none, and everyone's clips fit and function perfectly.

    Finish wise, they are no Wilson, but with a little polishing, the sharp edges disappear, and after a few hundred rounds, the smooth right out.

    There are some kicking around in the US before their importation was blocked (Clinton) I think; and the few I have seen when I travel there, even well used, often sell for more than they do new in Canada.

    July 13, 2018 3:00 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Michael

      Mark, one of my several 1911s (and still one of my favorites) is a Norinco 1911A1 Government Model that I bought new sometime around 1991. I believe that I paid a little over $300 + tax for it then. After dropping about $1,800 with Jim MacDonald of Mac’s .45 Shop fame, the only original Norinco parts left are the frame and the slide. “Mac” transformed it into one of the sweetest 1911s that I have ever had the pleasure of shooting. From the ramped and throated Bar-Sto Match Target barrel, Millett Custom Combat Low Profile adjustable sights melded into the slide that Mac flat-topped and serrated, Caspian beavertail grip safety, King’s 201a ambidextrous thumb safety (that Mac customized by narrowing the levers), Smith & Alexander flat checkered mag guide hand blended to match the hand-beveled magazine well, Videcki speed trigger with a perfect “glass rod breaking” 3# pull, the deepest, darkest, high-polished slide flats with matte blue top and flawless hard chrome frame, and too much more to list, I will put my custom Norinco against anything that Wilson, Ed Brown or any other 1911 ‘smith can build.

      July 13, 2018 5:59 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Jeff Rubinstein

    I read somewhere on line that the US Gov is releasing some old 1911's from their armory for sale to civilians.
    Do you know where or how to get one?

    July 12, 2018 11:30 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David

      http://thecmp.org/cmp_sales/1911-information/

      July 13, 2018 12:37 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mark Caldwell

    ok, you picked some good choices, why did you pass over Metro Arms Corp, American Classic Commander 45ACP????? the build quality is beyond awesome.

    July 12, 2018 9:13 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      TravisP

      Never shot it, or even seen one in person, so I don't know a lot about it.

      July 14, 2018 2:01 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mark

    This is the most poorly written article ever to show up on this blog. Just the typos and such... it's probably the end for us Pew Pew.

    July 12, 2018 8:26 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David

      Feel free to point out any typos and we'll correct them.

      July 12, 2018 9:09 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Mark

        Lol. Now you’re just trolling.

        July 13, 2018 6:19 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Andrew

    I have a S&W in 1911 and it feeds and functions flawlessly. I don't remember what I paid for it 600-700 I think as I got it on a S&W military/first responder sale. I got the 4" version and the fit and finish are great as well as the function. The author is correct in that these are not "cutting edge" pistols, but every gun enthusiast should own a 1911.

    July 12, 2018 7:56 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Kona

    I think a Spingfield Parkerized 1911 at about $700 would have been a good fit for this article.

    July 12, 2018 5:40 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Sean

    What Colt 1911 currently in production most closely resembles the traditional GI issued model?
    Thanks
    Sean

    July 12, 2018 5:38 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Michael

      Sean, the Colt Series 70 Government https://colt.com/detail-page/colt-70-govt-45-acp-5-71-double-diamond-rosewood-grip-blued is the current production Colt model that most closely matches the 1911 that was issued to U.S. Armed Forces for 75 years. There have been other, limited production and/or commemorative models in the past that were for all intensive purposes identical to USGI 1911s.

      July 13, 2018 6:28 pm
      • Commenter Avatar
        Sean

        Thanks Michael
        I wasn’t sure if the 70 or 1991 was “closer” to the early GI models.
        Thanks again.

        July 17, 2018 10:37 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    Tony Gold

    Magnum Research G1911 is an outstanding firearm. Paid $650.00 at my local gun shop. This dealer has great credentials and told me that this gun is the best kept secrets on the market. Sales pitch.??? No way. When I went to the range to test fire, it shot just as good as my “worked” Colt and SA 1911,s It is a Series 70 and super accurate out of the box.

    July 12, 2018 5:11 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      TravisP

      I'm a fan of Magnum Research, but never got to handle one of their 1911s. I would love to though.

      July 14, 2018 2:04 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Ed Allen

    Good article with the benefit of reminding me that RIA has the 22 TCM. I do agree, the RIA GI is a great gun. I did equip it with a grip laser as it is my home defense gun when in my home office. I have no doubt it will go bang every time and, at $399, it was an absolute deal!

    Once I relocate to a more friendly environment, the TCM is on my list. Especially since it has the conversion kit for 9mm.

    As for more expensive 1911s, I have a few. They are all great. Only my Kimber Custom II has ever had a fail to go into battery. The Sig Saur and the Springfield, so far, have not had any problems.

    As for relevance. The 1911s are still among the most ergonomic hand guns I have ever fired. I do have a couple of Glocks, but the ergonomics (at least for me) are not that great. The closes fits, for me, are the XD and the ultra heavy Ruger P90.

    Thank you for the article and Semper Fi!

    Sgt Sgt Allen (And yes, there is a bit of a story on that).

    July 12, 2018 4:48 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Pete

    You've never run into a bad Taurus automatic? Have you ever seen one? There was a class action suit involving hundreds of thousands of them. They are trash. They break at completely random times for no discernible reason. Take it from the owner of one, who also knows the owners of other broken Taurus automatics. Try to use the warranty, you might get your gun back in 9 months. They might fix it, they might ship it back just as you sent it. They might tell you they're substituting a different model and caliber from what you sent in, because that's their policy.

    July 12, 2018 4:34 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      Kona

      We really have say it's SEMI-automatic? As you've experienced, I've avoided Taurus products because of the inconsistent quality and problems friends & family have had.

      July 12, 2018 5:31 pm
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    Majinro

    How about the norinco 1911?

    July 12, 2018 4:20 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Sean Curtis

    Travis,

    Great article, and I totally agree with your assessment of the 1911. They are great guns! They are also a step in-between the revolver and the modern combat pistol.

    I've carried one on patrol over the years, but that was a while ago.

    Sean

    July 12, 2018 1:51 pm