The 10 Best 1911 Pistols for the Money

Gun enthusiasts vary from type of gun preference, use, reason, and whether it is for home use or for self-defense (with a concealed weapon license). Maybe you just want a handgun for target practice, or maybe for protection, either personal or for your family and property, or maybe you want one because it’s your constitutional right.

Carrying a gun on your person or just having one in the house can make you feel safer, make your family feel safer, and if you put the little sign in your window, “Gun on Board,” then it can be a deterrent for would be thieves. Maybe it gives you confidence, or maybe it makes you behave in a safer way.

Regardless of your reason, there is no shortage of handguns available. One of the most popular is the 1911 handgun, which has a long history as a service pistol in America.


Best 1911’s

 Kimber-Rimfire-Target-1911Kimber Rimfire Target 1911

This little gun is reasonably priced and is great for target shooting or for first time users.

The chamber is designated for high velocity ammunition only. These guns are made to the same standard as their centrefire counterparts, and you can get a conversion kit to adapt this gun to centerfire. It’s just over five inches high and is very light weight with the magazine empty. The magazine holds ten rounds, and the gun is almost nine inches long.

The frame and slide are made of aluminum, while the barrel is solid steel.

It’s a good fit for younger, first time users and should be under $1,000, depending on the place of purchase.



Colt-Combat-EliteColt Combat Elite

Colt is a name well known in the fire arms market, and rightfully so. Quality, craftsmanship, durability, and dependability – these are some words associated with Colt. Whether you are a shooter or a collector, this gem will not disappoint.

Just some of the features are the two-tone, half-checkered, and half-smooth rosewood grips and the Colt embossed logo. It also includes an upswept, beavertail grip safety and palm swell, a single-safety side lock, a forged steel receiver, forged steel slide, forged stainless steel barrel, and forged steel slide stop for safety, durability, and ease of use.

The Combat Elite sports the Novak low sight. These sights are some of the best. The rear sight will not trap shadows, offering crisp sight picture. The front sight is a bold post, with accuracy dots. In addition, it features an enhanced hammer, as well as front and rear slide serrations. The typical price is around $1,000.



Browning-1911-22-Compact-Black-Label-Laminate-with-RailBrowning 1911-22 Compact Black Label Laminate with Rail

The Browning name goes a long way back when it comes to firearms, and rightfully so. For more than a century, they have a wide range of products for the outdoorsman.

The Compact Black Label has the look and feel of a larger caliber 1911. It is chambered for .22 LR rimfire with a removable magazine. This compact pistol offers an affordable way to practice target shooting.

Made with the traditional military design, it features fixed sights, a manual thumb, and a grip safety. The alloy frame and machined-aluminum keep the weight under a pound.

Other features include a 10-round magazine, 22 caliber, a barrel length of 3 5/8,” a matte finish on the barrel, trigger guard, and receiver, a front and rear sight (black A1), a steel barrel, and checkering textured grip panels.

It’s small and light enough for younger and first-time users and lower on the price scale. Depending on the place of purchase, it’s typically just over $500



Smith-and-Wesson-Tactical-Accessory-Rail-PistolSmith and Wesson Tactical Accessory Rail Pistol

Another fine and well-known name that is no stranger to the firearms market, this gun offers precision and accuracy.

They offer a wide selection of SW1911’s, like the Pro Series and Performance Centerline of SW1911 pistols, which are manufactured with a wide variety of materials and finishes. Each pistol comes with its own unique features to suit anyone’s needs.

This one has a five-inch barrel, with a single stack magazine, and single-action trigger. It also has the Tritium night sights for shooting in the dark.

Other features include an eight-round magazine and a steel frame and sides.

Unloaded, this pistol is very light weight, which is perfect for first time users or a nice graduation gift for your teenage daughter.

It will likely cost over $1,000, depending on the place of purchase.



Remington-1911-R1-StainlessRemington 1911 R1 Stainless

Well-known and trusted name in all things guns and other merchandise, this pistol is made with precision.

Features include a stainless steel barrel and bushing, five-inch barrel, machined stainless steel slide and frame, premium grip side panels with a serrated slide, wide serrated slides (help your grasp when shooting or racking a round), beavertail grip safety, and a rear sight and front sights (two dots in the rear, and one in the front). It also has a flat mainspring housing, a solid aluminum trigger with 3 1/2 – 5-pound pull, a beveled magazine well, and two seven-round magazines.

Depending on the place of purchase, this pistol typically costs $800.



Sig-Sauer-1911-Ultra-Two-ToneSig Sauer 1911 Ultra Two-Tone

The Sig Sauer 1911 is a reliable and exceptionally accurate pistol. Features include stainless steel frames and slides, precision hand-fitted grip, premium internal parts (a match grade barrel, hammer/sear set, and trigger), slide with Novak night sights, and checkered custom rosewood grips.

With so many exceptional features, this pistol is ideal for concealed carry. For safety, it features a beavertail grip safety with speed bump, extended thumb safety, and a firing pin safety and hammer. The trigger pull is five pounds.

Depending on the location, this pistol costs around $1,000.



Springfield-Armory-Loaded-Operator-MCSpringfield Armory Loaded Operator MC

This pistol is built on a full-size steel frame. Some prominent features include a two-tone black and olive green matte finish, an extended ambidextrous thumb safety, a beavertail grip safety with a lightweight delta hammer, an extended trigger for ease of handling and performance, a five inch stainless steel match grade barrel, a forged steel slide with slanted serrations on the front and rear, and three dot Trijicon night sights.

The ejection port is lowered and flared and has a standard guide rod. The price will usually be around $1,000.



Wilson-Combat-CQB-Tactical-LEWilson Combat CQB Tactical LE

Constructed for speed, accuracy and power, this pistol is a full-sized firearm with a stainless steel frame and all carbon-steel construction. It has an integral light rail, beavertail grip safety, thumb safety, crisp trigger pull, G10 diagonal flat-bottom grips, a five inch carbon steel slide, and a battle sight with a fiber optic front sight.

Additional features include an optional surefire weapon light, a hand-fitted match-grade barrel with bushing, and single-side tactical safety. This pistol is higher priced than other models covered here – you are looking at around $3,000.




Ithaca-1911-PistolIthaca 1911 Pistol

The Ithaca Gun Company has been in business for over 125 years. They seem to know a thing or two about the firearms market! Although they have been making these types of guns for years, the newer, custom versions have much more to offer.

Built for quality and accuracy, this gun has the Novak style combat sights, grips with large checkering for a secure grip, beavertail grip safety, skeletonized hammers and triggers, and stainless steel two-piece guide rods.

Depending on the exact model and location, these pistols can run you anywhere from $1,500 to $3,000.



Kimber-Micro-Carry-Stainless-SteelKimber Micro Carry Stainless Steel

This Kimber Micro Carry is a compact 9mm for concealed carry – it slips in your pocket or in your purse for ease and comfort.

This pistol is a recoil-operated, semi-automatic that fires single action from a closed breech with a smooth pull. A standard magazine holds six rounds and fits flush in the base of the pistol; a longer magazine that holds seven rounds is also available.

Features include an external safety, firing-pin block, hammer safety notch, 1911-style thumb safety, and slide and magazine release. It’s made of aluminum for a lightweight strength. Great for concealed carry, this pistol is ideal for first timers or shooters with smaller hands.

This smaller but powerful model typically costs around $500 and up, depending on the seller and location.



About the M1911

The M1911 is a single-action, semi-automatic handgun, that is magazine-fed with a recoil-operated pistol chamber. This gun was the standard-issue sidearm for the United States Armed Forces from 1911 to 1986. It was used in all of the World War I, World War II, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War battles.

The Model 1911 semi-automatic pistol is one of the most popular handgun designs ever made. More than a hundred years after it was first introduced, it still remains a firearm of choice to many law enforcement, military personnel, competition shooters, and gun owners wanting a trustworthy gun for personal use and protection.

The 1911 model is valued for reliability and quick handling, and features a grip that will fit most hands. The bore axis is low, so there is very little leverage for muzzle flip. The slide lock safety allows cocked-and-locked carry, hammer cocked, and safety on. These factors contribute to the 1911 being one of the fastest handguns around. The grip safety locks the trigger until pressed forward for release, and trigger compression is controllable and straight to the back.

The M1911 pistol was initially designed in the late 1890’s to become an improved version of the self-loading pistol (to replace the few revolvers then in use). It went through multiple changes throughout the years before becoming what it is today. Developed by John Browning, the basic M1911 design has undergone very little alterations throughout continued production.

Today, there are many military and law enforcement organizations in America and in other countries who continue to use the M1911A1 or variations of it. This  includes the Marine Corps Special Operations Command, LAPD SWAT and S.I.S., the FBI Hostage Rescue Team, some FBI SWAT teams, and several more. It is still widely used for both professional and personal reasons in many countries.


Buyer’s Guide

If you have decided to invest in a smaller type of pistol for the first time or if it is your first time looking at the M1911 range, here are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Cost

As all guns are not made the same and even all guns within the 1911 frame are not all alike, the price can really vary. This depends on the brand, the make, and the added features, plus craftsmanship and materials the gun is made of. If you are going to be using it rather frequently, or if you just want a bit of security in the home, these are both important factors to keep in mind when facing the pricing of the new gun.

You can probably find a cheaper priced gun by buying it used, but if you are unsure of what you are meant to look for, shop with a reputable dealer in used firearms, rather than just buying one from your neighbor or off the internet. There can be way too many problems buying a used gun, injury and death being two of them.

The problem there is not only the fact that the gun may have been adjusted or customized, it could be damaged or the quality can be compromised. Plus, you will not have the factory warranty, which you most certainly want, particularly if you are a first-time buyer.

  • Quality

 The quality and the materials play an important part in any major purchase, so it’s important with your firearms purchase, as well. Look for quality work and solid, dependable materials. Keep an eye out for cheaper, lesser quality pieces that may be included. There could be a good steel barrel, but it could have cheaper, smaller parts to the pistol itself. Look for forged parts rather than metal injection moldings.

This is particularly important with the sides, the barrel, and the frame of the gun.

  • Features

 For a first-time buyer, getting a custom gun means that the gun has been altered to make it custom, but it may not be what you want or need. This could also mean that the quality of the gun has been compromised in some way, so you are better off to find one that is ‘Mil-Spec,’ which really means it has not been changed or altered. It has factory specs.

These guns come with different calibers as well, so you need to know what each one is capable of and which one will suit you best.

  • Finish and Fit

This is important – you need the gun to fit in your hand comfortably and not feel too small or too big. You also need the gun pieces to fit together and work well together. The slide should be smooth and not stick. The trigger should be even and not stick or feel gritty. Check all the safety features so you know that they all feel and work well. Make sure they all fit and don’t catch or pinch.

The grip should be secure and not slide out of your hand, but it should also not be too coarse that it will cut or damage the hand. All the parts should be flush, smooth, and work together.

Don’t be afraid to ask questions – at the store, to other gun owners, and really understand what you are looking for.

Your New Pistol

Once you get your new gun home, make sure it is all there and all together. Then, clean and lubricate your new gun before you use it. Be sure to do a proper field-strip, clean the bore, and lubricate the pistol according to the guidelines specified in your owner’s manual all before your first time at the range.

New pistols are shipped with preservative oil inside them so they don’t rust during shipping and storage, but be sure to check it, as it may have already been dried up before it gets to you. Firing a dry new pistol right out of the box that has not been properly oiled can cause serious problems, malfunctions, or damage to the gun.

Use new ammunition only. Using retooled ammunition can cause damage to the gun, injury to yourself, and may cancel out your warranty.

If something does go wrong with your gun, like a jam or something won’t work or it doesn’t fire, unless you are an expert at fixing or understanding guns, do not try to fix it yourself. Take it to a reputable gun repair shop or back to the place of purchase to be inspected and fixed.


Cleaning Guide

Cleaning your gun and keeping it in tip top shape will give your 1911 a long life. There is far more to it than just taking it apart and wiping it out if you want to make your pistol last for decades to come.

Ten Golden Rules for Maintaining the Beauty and Workmanship of Your 1911

  1. Read the Manual

Your new 1911 comes with a manual –  it may even be a CD or perhaps just a small card with their website address to download or read the manual. It’s always important to check the manual, even if you think you already know it. When new technology in materials, design changes, or other new developments come along, there can be a few changes. Reading the manual won’t take much time and can help you understand your new purchase and avoid mistakes or changes you were not aware of.

  1. Unload It

Remove the magazine and rack the slide, using the slide stop to keep it open so you can make sure that the chamber is empty. Always remove the magazine first, and never assume it has been cleared. Remove the magazine, and thoroughly check the chamber.

  1. Recoil the Spring Plug First

Always remove the recoil spring plug first, as this releases all tension in the parts of the gun that you need to clean. When the slide is in place, this means there is only one direction the spring plug can go, so you are in control of that.

This will be the first item out and the last item you put back in.

  1. Brush from the Breech

The nose end of the barrel is finished in a particular way. Even on the lesser quality types of 1911s, there is a crown on the barrel that controls the release of gas pressure behind the bullet as it is shot out of the barrel. A metal rod or the bore snake guide can cause damage to the fine edges of the crown, causing it to wear or grind down. Over time, this can cause the gun to perform inaccurately or even erratically. By brushing from the breech, you will prevent this problem from happening. 

  1. Cleaning Products

The cleaning products available pretty much all do the same thing. Don’t worry too much about what may have been the suggested product to use, as they likely have a stake in it, or maybe the gun seller carries that brand and has some kind of marketing agreements with companies. Soap is soap, right?

Switching products is not a big deal, but be sure to clean the gun completely of the last product before using the next one, in case there is some kind of reaction. But there is no reason to pay for the highest priced cleaners or oils if something usable is on hand.

  1. Use Proper Ventilation

Just because you like the smell of gun oil in the morning, doesn’t mean everyone will, plus, most of the solvents and cleaners available that may contain some form of petrochemical base can cause severe brain damage if used improperly. Even with today’s more eco-friendly, non-toxic cleaning products, you should still use proper ventilation. Gunshot residue will still have unburned powder, atomized heavy metals, and any number of other types of toxic chemicals from the bullets.

  1. Use Oil

Do not use any type of food or other cooking types of grease. Do not use WD 40, and those types of lubricants either. Grease can solidify and gum up depending on the temperature the gun is stored or used, and it can also cause foreign matter to become trapped inside the gun. Penetrating types of oils like WD 40 are great for their intended purposes, but can penetrate your ammunition and cause misfires or duds. Use the proper oils and not much of it.

  1. Properly Lube

Without the proper amount of lubrication, your gun may cause friction where it really shouldn’t. This can cause undue wear and damage to the gun. Too much lubrication can cause the same issues as using grease or penetrating oil, gumming things up, collecting debris, or contaminating the ammunition.

  1. Wipe it Down

After you have finished a good cleaning, lubrication, and put it all back together, wipe it down with an oiled silicone cloth. Skin oils on the firearm can damage the finish, and may even penetrate the steel and ruin the bluing. A final wipe will leave a light coating of oil, or a fresh application of silicone, on the surface to keep it coated and prevent damage to the finish.

  1. Don’t Clean Too Often

The 1911 was specifically designed for use in a wide range of terrain and climate and to be cleaned only when absolutely necessary.  Even the higher priced weapons with extremely exacting tolerances don’t need to be cleaned all that often. Too much cleaning can cause the internal dimensions to alter by even just a thousandth of an inch, changing the function of the gun and the accuracy. Check the manual for the factory recommendation and keep the gun on a regular cleaning schedule.


Take good care of your new 1911 to preserve its life and functioning ability. Keep it looking and working the best it can, and your new pistol will be a great asset to you for many years to come.

Getting your first gun can be a special time in your life, whether it is for yourself, for a family member, or if it’s a part of your occupation. Knowing what you want is important, and knowing how to use the weapon is also important.

Don’t take chances with the safety of yourself and others – get proper training on how to use the gun and how to use and maintain the pistol to keep it safe, usable, and in working order.

Understand the power that owning a gun brings and the damage it can cause. Proper usage, safe storage, and gaining as much knowledge as you can about your new weapon will ensure that everyone is safe and secure.

Don’t take chances with gun ownership. Buy the gun from a reputable dealer, get the proper licenses and permits you need to carry a concealed weapon, and do your best to use it in good faith and responsibly.

There will always be an ongoing argument about gun ownership, so make sure that you understand that responsibility and take it seriously. It’s all fun and games until someone loses their life. Proper usage, proper storage, and using the gun in a legal manner is the best way to go with your new 1911.