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Best Budget 1911s: Everything Around $500

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I am a retired public school music teacher. I also have an affinity for a good 1911 — I’ve owned several. However, when you combine these two facts, it well defines the type of 1911s I’ve been able to own — the budget variety.

I got really good at selecting 1911s that cost a modest amount of money. There are many high-end guns out there that I would have loved to own, but I was always happy with my choices. In this review, we’ll look at some of the best budget 1911s. Remember, cheap in dollars doesn’t always mean cheap in construction or features. Now, let’s get started.

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Best Budget 1911s: The Three Price Tiers

The way I see it, we have three categories or tiers of 1911 pricing. They are the foloowing:

  • Budget Series: 1911s generally priced around $400 to $500, give or take.
  • More-Expensive Standard Production Guns: These are 1911 guns that cost around $500 to $1,200 or so.
  • Full-Blown Custom Jobs: 1911s that can go for any price above $1,500 or so.
Ed Brown Classic Custom - Centennial edition
Ed Brown Classic Custom – Centennial edition Retail: $6,995

Where did I get the price breakdowns? I spend a lot of time reading gun magazines and checking guns out online, so I know where the price breaks tend to be. Of course, this is strictly my opinion — I haven’t found a website that defines exact price points for 1911s.

I also have a working relationship with my buddy Duane who runs a gunshop and spend a fair amount of time talking to him. He sells a lot of guns and I have come to formulate these price breakdowns over several years of seeing what he sells and picking his brain.

Your criteria may be different, but for this article, we’ll go with these price points.

Always remember that you get what you pay for, but these guns tend to “shoot above their price point.” Should you wait and spend a little more on a gun that costs around $1,000? Only you can answer that question. If you are wanting to join the 1911 fraternity for the first time, these guns should work well for that purpose.

Best Budget 1911s: Sears Had It Right

As with most other products, 1911s tend to fall into what I call the old Sears good-better-best categories. Budget guns would be in the good range, pushing into that better group. In terms of construction materials and close tolerances, etc. — the Ruger wins. It is not priced around that $500 window that the others are, but I wanted the reader to have one choice that was a cut above for comparison purposes.

As for the best 1911s, you can pay upwards of $3,000 for a custom-built gun made by a company that only makes such guns. They are true wonders to behold. However, for the majority of shooters out there who will not be competing at the top levels, a lesser-expensive gun will work.

Best Budget 1911s: Cailbers

Another consideration to be made is what caliber to buy (Handgun Caliber Guide).

Pistol Caliber Comparison

1911s first were chambered for, and are known for, shooting the .45 ACP. There are many, many guns out there that are chambered for that round. The new trend, however, is to chamber these guns in other calibers such as 9mm and its larger cousin, the 10mm.

You could pretty much always get one in .38 Super (since its introduction in 1929) and that is a great round. Its popularity has been eclipsed a bit by the other two rounds mentioned, but there are plenty of competitors who use it and love its softer recoil coupled with its tendency to make major power factor in competitions.

Many buyers will have a family of 1911s, one in .45, one in 9mm, and now one in 10mm. With the 10mm in a 5-inch 1911, you have a potent package for deer or hog hunting. I don’t want to spend much time discussing which caliber is best for which purpose. There is a lot of information on the internet about this matter.

The only reason I mention calibers is to help dispel the mindset that older shooters like me tend to have that 1911 is forever married to the .45ACP. There are other terrific options out there in terms of caliber.

Best Budget 1911s: Differences

What are some differences between a lesser-expensive gun and its top-shelf cousin? Let’s look at some of them. (As usual, there are exceptions. Here are some general areas that help show the differences in how a lesser-expensive gun and a more-expensive guns are made).

 Budget GunsMore - Expensive Guns
FrameCast then machined with some tool marks possibly presentMachined to close tolerances and cleaned up
SlideSame as above; fitted to frame several guns at at time, in groupsSame as above; hand-fitted to frame, usually one at a time (frame and slide stay together during production and both may carry the serial number)
BarrelProduction-gradeMatch-grade, highly-polished feed ramp
InternalsCast and fitted as closely as production methods and time allowsUsually machined and hand-fitted tightly to closer tolerances
SightsFixed three-dot or black; adjustable rear sight in some cases.Real Novak or other high-end sights, with fully-adjustable rear in some cases
Grip PanelsIf wood, inexpensive hardwood with little to no checkering; if not wood, probably rubber or plasticIf wood, exotic hardwood with checkering or laser-engraving; if not wood, probably G-10 or other composite
MagazinesUsually stamped sheet metal with metal floor plate (some have rubber base pads)Stamped stainless or other steel with rubber base pad; spring is tuned for that magazine
FinishUtilitarian-blued or Parkerized. Stainless Steel is rare. Not highly polished, unless it's hard chromeStainless, or if blued, polished unless matte on purpose (Parkerized). Straight edges and even finish, hand-buffed

These differences are very generic and can vary greatly with each gun. I’ve seen some budget guns with a very nice polish job, and some expensive ones with less-than-adequate prep work prior to finishing.

The point is: you tend to get what you pay for with a 1911. More critical questions might be — does it run without fail? Is it reliable with your chosen ammo? Has the gun held up over the years? How about the finish? If a budget gun answers these questions with positive results, then the gun is worth keeping.

Personal Experience With Budget 1911s

I have owned a few 1911s over the past 40 years or so. Most of these would fall into the budget category. Here is a list of 1911s that have lived with me for at least a while before moving on:

  • Llama Full-Size (1970s model, imported from Spain)
  • Colt Commander
  • Taurus PT1911
  • Rock Island Armory Tactical Compact 3.5″
  • Citadel Full-Size (Rock Island Armory)

These are the ones that stick in my memory. I’ve owned and traded or sold more guns than I can remember, so there may be another one or two that should be on the list. Out of the ones listed, the Colt would not qualify as a budget gun but the others would.

The Colt 1911 gives me an interesting example to compare the others against. To be honest, except for the Llama, I didn’t see $400 worth of difference between the Colt and the Rock Island Armory guns. The finish was better, to be sure, and there was more hand-fitting (very close tolerances). But, when shot, all the guns were accurate and reliable. Does that mean that, if I could own either, I’d choose a budget gun over a Colt-quality model? I doubt it.

Now, there IS a difference. It’s just that I’m not sure that there was that much of a difference (the Colt was $400 more). To be sure, a well-built gun just feels a bit different in hand, but not all of us can plop down the price of a higher-end pistol.

Here’s where the others on my list came in. Except for some pin issues with the Llama, all the guns were reliable and held up well. The Taurus had to go back to the mothership once for a repair, but it came back fine. On a teacher’s salary, I was darn glad to get the guns I did, and I enjoyed reloading for and shooting them.

Types Of 1911s

Now, let’s categorize the 1911. When it first made its appearance in 1911 (read about the 1911’s history here), the 1911 was revolutionary in that it was the first semiautomatic pistol adopted for military service by the U.S.

The gun was only factory-available in its full-size, 5-inch incarnation for many years, until Colt brought out the Commander in 1949. This was an aluminum-framed, 4.25-inch barreled gun.

A couple of years later, they made the frame out of steel and called it the Combat Commander. Capacity on both was 7 rounds (military) or 8 (commercial), the same as the full-sized model.

A shorter barrel with a full-size frame. Where have I seen that recently? Yes — the Glock 19x/ 45, the Sig P320 X-Carry, Springfield XDM compact with the extended magazine, etc. It seems to be a popular concept, and Colt was among the leaders in that arena.

Concealed Carry
An aside about conceal carrying one of these long-grip-short-barreled guns. The short barrel/ full-size frame is popular but for concealed carry, it’s backwards. The grip is what prints or shows through clothing – not the barrel usually. With a longer grip frame, you need a holster that pulls the gun in tightly against you. This is just an observation, one based on experience.

So we have the full-size Government model, the Commander-size model and what Colt calls the Officer’s Model. This was an abbreviated frame (six-round capacity) with a 3 ½ inch barrel. It was designed to be presented to General Officers in the Army and Air Force in 1975. Not available to the public, it wasn’t until 1985 that Colt released it for commercial sale as the Colt Officer’s ACP. It is still available.

Colt’s nomenclature has stuck with the 1911s. A full-size, 5-inch gun is generally referred to as a Government model.

A barrel less than five inches but at least four inches long results in that gun being referred to as Commander-sized, and anything less than four inches earns the Officer’s, or General’s, Model sobriquet. So, you can check across brand lines and at least have an idea of what that company is describing in regard to specific barrel lengths.

Now that we have some background on 1911 sizes and build qualities, let’s look at some specific guns. Before we do, pricing needs to be clarified. Most of the guns on my list will have MSRP pricing over the +/- $500 price. However, real-world prices tend to be at or below that limit.

There are certain guns that we can look at in order to keep prices around our $500 budget. Some of the most prominent companies that produce budget 1911s include:

  • Rock Island Armory (Armscor): A Philippine-based company that makes guns of more than one brand and ammunition.
  • American Tactical, Inc. (ATI): U.S.-based company that imports and manufactures firearms.
  • American Classic: Eagle imports.
  • Cimarron and Taylor’s & Co.: Importers of Armscor-made 1911s.
  • Taurus: A Brazil-based company that manufactures guns both there and in the U.S.
  • Ruger: The largest gun maker in the U.S.

This is a relatively short list of 1911 makers but I think everything we need is within this list. Guns from all of these manufacturers except Ruger have a real-world price of around $500, and the build quality is good for that price range.

Best Budget 1911s: The Specs

Let’s look at some basic specs. Being 1911s, many measurements will be very similar, with only additional features and manufacturing processes and materials being different. Here is a chart that will allow you to compare guns at a glance.

GunLengthWidthHeightBarrelWeightSightsThumb Safety
RIA 19118.5"1.5"5.5"5"40 oz.drift adjustablesingle
ATI8.46"1.26"5.28"5"37 oz.drift adjustablesingle
Cimarron 19118.5"1.5"5.5"5"40 oz.drift adjustablesingle
American Classic II8.4"1.24"5.5"5"37.3 oz.drift adjustablesingle
Taylor's & Co. FS 1911A18.5"1.5"5.5"5"40 oz.fixedsingle
Taurus PT19118.5"1.5"5.45"5"39.4 oz.drift adjustableambi
Ruger SR1911 Standard8.67"1.34"5.45"5"39 oz.drift adjustablesingle

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Rock Island Armory 1911

The Rock Island Armory (RIA) 1911 series is very deep, with many variations. I have chosen a lesser-expensive model to feature, given the nature of this article. A look at their website reveals a lot of 1911s, available in several calibers.

Rock Island Armory 1911A1 Blue

For those of us on a budget, a RIA pistol makes a lot of sense. I have owned two of them, a short-barreled tactical model with all the bells & whistles and a full-size gun. The full-sized gun said Citadel on the slide but it was made by Armscor and at that time was essentially equal to if not a small notch above the RIA-marked guns.

So, I’ve had some experience with the company and its customer service. An example of that service involved a missing ambidextrous safety on the shorty gun. It was advertised as having the dual safety levers but mine came with just the usual left-side lever.

I’m unsure if someone shipped the wrong gun or how it happened, but they fixed it. One call to Ivan at RIA U.S. headquarters in Pahrump, Nevada, got me the parts I needed in the mail that day. I also got an extra recoil spring and other goodies. This, in my book, is a perfect example of how a company should respond to an inquiry from a paying customer.

Rock Island Armory 1911A1 Blue Hammer

This gun has what you need to get started in the 1911 business: a full-sized barrel, a decent trigger, usable sights and is reliable with different types of ammo. I have to recommend these guns if for no other reason than they worked well for me.

Rock Island Armory 1911A1 Blue Muzzle

I have described the base model 1911 from RIA. As I said, one glance at their website and you will see many different levels of features and extras.

I was at my friend Duane’s shop yesterday and he had just gotten in an upscale Tactical model with G10 grips, forward slide serrations, ambi safety, Picatinny rail, fiber optic front sight, the whole nine yards.

My point is that whether you want something fairly inexpensive to keep in your vehicle or are looking to get into some serious shooting events, RIA has the gun for you.

If you’re looking for a decent 1911 without spending a lot of money, check out the Rock Island Armory line of pistols.

  • Extremely reliable gun
  • Solid and durable construction
  • Works well with almost any ammo
  • Affordable
  • Poor finish, may not be aesthetically appealing for some

ATI 1911

ATI 1911

The GI version of the 1911 still lives. Although not used by the military anymore, the stock GI gun is prevalent on our list of budget 1911s. Why? The standard version has simpler sights and fewer bells and whistles than its more-expensive brothers and is, therefore, cheaper to produce.

American Tactical, Inc 1911 Grip

The ATI (American Tactical, Inc.) does have a few improvements that make it easier to operate. The ejection port is slightly larger to facilitate easy ejection of a fired case. Sights are drift-adjustable (rear) and are larger than those found on a stock GI model.

American Tactical, Inc 1911 Slide and Sights

The hammer is of the rounded Commander-type, which helps do away with hammer bite from the hammer digging into the web of your shooting hand on recoil.

American Tactical, Inc 1911 Hammer

This is also helped with the addition of a beavertail safety. The magazine includes a bumper pad, so it’s less likely to be damaged when ejected from the gun. Also, judicious use of +P ammo is tolerated.

American Tactical, Inc Muzzle

The ATI gun looks like someone took the old original warhorse and while keeping its lines and general appearance, upgraded some areas that make it better to shoot without adding much to the list price. This gun is particularly good with 200-grain JHP ammo, which not all GI versions can claim.

If you want a more-or-less faithful copy of the GI model, check the ATI out.

  • Reliable and accurate
  • Easy to control and use
  • Excellent trigger
  • Some models can be very expensive
  • Some people experienced bad customer service from the brand

Cimarron 1911

Cimarron 1911

Cimarron is a name that you might associate with the American West of the 19th century. Going a step further, if you are a shooter, you could stick that name on a plethora of 1873-style single-action Army revolvers and related guns from that period that are generally made in Italy.

So why do we see a photo of our beloved 1911 bearing the Cimarron name? Because, in 2011 Armscor started building 1911s under the Cimarron banner. This gun was designed for Wild Bunch-style competition. That entails using a pre-A1 1911, and if you look at the photo above — you’ll see that this gun is pre-A1 — no arched mainspring housing, longer trigger, no trigger relief cuts, etc. If you want a pure 1911, here you go.

Given the quality that Armscor builds into its 1911s, this should be one nice gun for the money. If you want a Philippine-made gun other than a Rock Island Armory, here’s one for you. The gun is solid and well-built, like everything else that Armscor builds. Check one out next time you see one in the gun case of your local shop.

  • Excellent crisp trigger
  • Accurate to shoot
  • Parkerized finish
  • Affordable
  • Issues with the grip safety: hammer would drop even the grip safety is depressed

American Classic II

American Classic AC45

Here we have a slight upgrade from the stock G.I. model 1911. The Classic II has some pretty nice features:

  • A laser-machined, rounded hammer with an intricate pattern
  • Nicely-checkered wood grips
  • Novak-style drift-adjustable sights
  • The trigger has lightening holes drilled into it
  • The ejection port is lowered and flared
  • The beavertail safety has a memory bump
  • The slide stop and thumb safety lever are extended

The gun’s finish is nice (it is also available in hard chrome and DuoTone for a little more money), with a decent blueing job and no machining marks. Reviews about this gun are consistently good. This gun seems to fall into what I call the Goldilocks category — not too cheap, not too expensive, but with enough features and build quality to separate it from others in the crowded 1911 budget market.

If you are looking for a gun a cut above some of the other budget-priced 1911s, give the American Classic II a look.

  • Great aesthetic design
  • Blued and polished finish
  • Well-laid out controls
  • Thick and unattractive fish-scale-looking wood grips
  • Long and oversized slide lock/release

Taylor’s & Co. Full-Size A1 1911

Taylor’s & Co. Full-Size A1 1911

Here we have another instance of a gun maker known for one type of gun marketing a different style of gun. Taylor & Co., like Cimarron above, is known for its 1873-style revolvers and related era guns.

What happens sometimes is that a certain style of competition will really take off and gun makers look around for ways of capitalizing on it. I wrote above how the Cimarron 1911 was designed to take advantage of the Wild Bunch-style competitions. Here is another gun designed to do the same.

Made by Armscor to original 1911 (not A1) specs, the gun is a very good-looking replica. (OK, I know, the photo above shows an arched mainspring housing. You can get this gun with the flat housing, too — it’s just that this photo was better). They sell four different 1911s — these two pre-A1 guns, a compact and an upgraded tactical full-size.

If you are wanting a gun very close to the original 1911, take a look at this one (well, maybe the one with the flat mainspring housing). I read good things about it, and my experiences tend to corroborate them.

  • Snag-free sights
  • Offered in a compact size for comfort and versatility
  • Accurate and performs well
  • Scratches and shows signs of wear easily

Taurus PT1911

Taurus PT 1911 .45
Photo: Gunsamerica

I owned a Taurus PT1911 a while back. I bought it because of several reasons, one of the most prominent being that it had an ambidextrous thumb safety. There are few budget 1911s that do. Some of the features that set this gun apart from the others include:

  • That thumb safety
  • Straight 8/Heinie or three-dot drift-adjustable sights
  • Forward cocking serrations
  • Rounded Commander-style hammer
  • A good, big memory bump on the extended beavertail
  • Extended thumb safety and slide stop levers
  • The choice of getting a Picatinny rail or plain frame
  • Double-diamond checkered rubber grip panels
  • Lifetime warranty

Once upon a time, there was a stigma attached to Taurus pistols in terms of QC and customer service. I had to avail myself of that customer service once and, although it took a while, they fixed the problem and had the gun back to me.

The company is under new ownership. We will see if that helps settle the question of improved QC/ customer service.

Taurus PT 1911 Slide
Photo: Gunsamerica

This gun has a whole lot of features for the price. Mine was reliable (it liked my SWC handloads) and was very accurate. The double-diamond grip panels worked very well, allowing the gun to remain solidly in my grip. It is available in stainless for those who prefer that finish, but the blued version’s finish seemed to hold up well.

Taurus PT 1911 chamber
Photo: Gunsamerica
  • Reliable and accurate to shoot
  • Excellent trigger
  • Easy to strip and clean
  • Affordable
  • Uncomfortable grips
  • Grip safety feels awkward


Taurus has had a lifetime warranty on their guns for some time.

Here is what their new warranty statement says:

Taurus warrants to the original purchaser that the enclosed firearm was made free of defects in material, function, and workmanship. Taurus promises to remedy any defect in material, function or workmanship for the entire time that the original purchaser owns the firearm. This warranty covers the firearm’s finish, grips, magazines, sights or accessories for the first year. Any claims of defect related to lasers must be directed to the manufacturer of the laser. This warranty terminates automatically upon the transfer of this firearm to any individual or entity other than the original purchaser.

So, you are covered, for some items a year and for others, as long as you own the gun.

Taurus PT 1911 Muzzle
Photo: Gunsamerica

If you are looking for a fairly-well equipped 1911 with several features included that used to cost extra, give the Taurus a look.

Ruger SR 1911 Standard

You tend to get a lot for your money with a Ruger. They are overbuilt, with very close tolerances.

Ruger SR1911 CMDR Slide

Their 1911 is no different. The SR1911 comes in a few different flavors — Government (5″), Commander (4.25″), Officer (3.6″), 9mm and 10mm. I listed the .45ACP model because that’s what we’re looking at in this little discussion.

Ruger SR1911 CMDR

Technically, it shouldn’t be here because our definition of a budget gun is one that hovers around the $500 mark. The Ruger’s street price is a couple hundred or so more than that. So why did I include it? For the simple reason that, to some 1911 aficionados, $700 IS the cost of a budget-priced 1911. This gun does have most everything a 1911 newcomer would need in a gun.

  • Oversize thumb safety and slide stop levers
  • Oversize ejection port
  • Integral plunger tube is not staked, can never come loose (I had that happen once)
  • Tight tolerances at the muzzle-bushing wrench is needed and included
  • Oversize beavertail grip safety
  • Skeletonized aluminum trigger with overtravel adjustment screw
  • Flat mainspring housing
  • Series 70 design
  • Novak© three-dot sights with drift-adjustable rear sight

The SR1911 is a platform available in several different versions, as noted above. I talked to a guy in Duane’s shop a while back that owned one in .45, and he was going to get 10mm to go with it — a matched set, I guess. The thing is that if you are familiar with one SR1911, you’re familiar with all of them.

You could extend that familiarity to seventeen different models of SR1911s, counting all barrel lengths, distributor specials, and target/ competition guns. That’s a passel of pistols.

Ruger SR1911 CMDR Hammer

If you want an adjustable rear sight, no problem. Three-point-six inch Officer-style gun? Two to choose from. Commander-length barrel? Seven. Target-style? There are target-tuned 1911s in 9mm, .45ACP and 10mm calibers. OK, you get the point — the SR1911 line is fairly extensive.

Ruger SR1911 CMDR Muzzle

With Ruger’s typical attention to detail and excellent customer service, you have a winner no matter which way you turn with the SR1911. I have never had a bad Ruger (at least not a bad one that started that way. Also, I have caused some problems that were not the gun’s fault).

I have owned more Rugers than any other handgun brand, so I speak from experience. And I think you get a gun that performs above its price point with this brand. If you want to read more on this gun, here is my full Ruger SR1911 review.

  • Slim design yet has a substantial weight
  • Traditional design adheres to the 1911 look
  • Ergonomic design
  • Reliable construction
  • Non-ambidextrous and oversized grip safety


So, you want a 1911 but don’t have tons of greenbacks to hand to the guy behind the counter? No problem. Any of these guns should do well for you. I have my favorites, but I won’t mention them so as to keep this as objective as possible, Just remember that if you buy a budget 1911, it may kindle the all-too-common 1911 bug within a lot of shooters that makes you want to start collecting these guns.

The budget arena is a great way to introduce yourself to the world of the 1911. You will soon want others in different calibers, barrel lengths, finishes, with different features, etc., but there are so many good choices out there you shouldn’t have any problem finding what you want. One hundred and seven years young, the 1911 is stronger now than ever and shows no signs of changing that status.

Give one a try, and I’d bet you’ll be hooked. Have fun with it.

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  1. Started out as a kid playing with my dad’s WWII issue sidearm, that my mother gave to my Uncle for disposal when my dad died and she was afraid I’d kill myself with it. All that was left was a spare barrel she didn’t know about.

    20 years later, I bought a Colt Model 70 out of nostalgia. Then I bought an aluminum frame and built a target trainer out of it, using an Ace .22 conversion kit and target grips. When my uncle passed away, I found an Ejercito Argentina .45 that he had bought after the war (he was a marine – Okinawa), and a big surprise: my dad’s .45, which HE had converted using an Ace .22 conversion, and the original slide and barrel; he did not have it destroyed – he kept it – because he was the one who gave it to my father in WWII when they met after Japan surrendered, on a visit in Tientsin, China.

    So now I have 4 1911’s – two .45’s, and two .22’s, plus the original slide. And a small 9mm lookalike by Star that I bought in the late ’70’s after I built the aluminum target gun. Oh, yeah – and I still have the spare barrel.

    I like that the prices are now so affordable, and am looking carefully at either the ATI and Taurus as a potential addition – although 10mm? Maybe. Something about them – their simplicity, even design elegance – is very reassuring that you are well-armed. Nice comparison article!

    1. Thanks for the kind words! If there’s one thing I’ve learned about 1911s, it is that they will never totally go away in no small part to their ability to be customized. You basically built your own guns and it sounds like you have quite a collection. Talking about WWII guns, hopefully those WWII 1911s will be coming through the CMP soon – now THAT would be a 1911 to have! Good job on all of yours!

  2. On Ruger…I own a Super Blackhawk, 44mag, my first-ever handgun. It fell out of my holster while hunting, and I didn’t notice until too much walking later. It was gone. Leaving the woods after one of my fruitless searches for that gun, I stopped to talk to a guy that was driving in. He told me to give him my number, and he’d call me if he found it; he said he was out there a lot. Sure, what the heck.

    A few weeks later, I got the call. That guy had not only found it, weeks after it had been dropped in the snow, but he took it apart and cleaned it all up, and paid himself back by shooting it (just to be sure, of course!) And then he called me.

    No charge. That guy said, “I own a couple myself. I know how I’d feel if I lost mine!”

    As you mentioned in one of your other articles, “It’s a Ruger, and that’s enough.”

    1. Rugers are amazing! I’m glad you got it back – I would be sick if that happened to me. In my new article on .44 Magnums, I give the Super Blackhawk a great review. I owned one once myself. Again, glad yours came home!

  3. Mike you sound just like me.I have owned at least 7 1911’s,with my last being a1914 government millitary issued 45ACP. A few Springfield Armory models A 50 A E .And a .44 Auto Mag I have loved them all.

    1. Hello Mike my name is Christian. I’m a single dad living in Fountain, a suburb of Colorado Springs, CO. I recently picked up a Tisas Govt 1911. Made in Turkey. I love it. Paid under 5 bills at Big R and it has a spur hammer, forward serrsations, beaver tail, skeletonized trigger, etc. I may do center ports and full length spring guide but that’s it. Nice finish. Since it seems more and more we are limited to budget everything these days I thought you may want to include this gun in future “$500 + under 1911” articles. SDS is Tisas’s parent company and they have a line of nice looking (do not have one yet, so can’t say definitively) shotguns for under $300! Nicely done article and very pertinent for today.

      1. Christian, I agree about Tisas. I’ve liked them for years – not sure why I didn’t include them other than the fact that there are so many budget 1911s out there I had to narrow it down. Their 1911s are well-built and offer a good value for the dollar. I’m impressed with most of the guns I’ve seen from Turkey, especially those from Tisas and Sarsilmaz. Thanks for writing!

  4. What about the Auto ordinance 1911A1. I bought one 26 years ago and it’s been my favorite handgun. Never had a problem with it and is my most accurate pistol.

  5. Had a Colt Gold Cup way back, let it go in a trade. I loved that firearm.
    A excellent line up you have here, Mike. I’d go with the Ruger, had a Redhawk at one time too. Thanks for the excellent articles.

    1. BillD, I appreciate your comments – thanks for the kind words. I agree, the Ruger is hard to beat. Thanks for writing!

  6. A Colt 45 saved my life once in the Army, so I am partial to the Colt. I owned a Springfield 1911 loaded and it was top notch in all ways. Best 1911 I ever owned. your review was very fair here as I am familiar with most of these pistols.
    The upscale full size Ruger would be my pick out of these.

    1. Bert, no wonder that that episode when you were in the Army cemented you to a particular 1911 – I can’t even imagine that situation. The Ruger is one nice gun, for sure. Thanks again for writing!

  7. Good article Mike. I mentioned my experience with an import 1911 that left a bad taste in my mouth, but I’m warming to the idea of owning one again, although that will be a year or so from now. A pensioner’s budget doesn’t allow a lot of purchases.
    When I do take the plunge, 9mm or 10mm will be the choice. I’ve plenty of 9 brass on hand, and my .40 S&W dies will handle 10mm. I just don’t have a big desire to add another caliber to my bench. It might mean marriage counseling if I did (LOL). My better half doesn’t subscribe to the “He Who Has The Most Guns, Wins” philosophy as I do.
    In fact if a reputablevmanufacturer offered a .40 S&W version, I’d be very interested, as I’ve more .40 on hand than any other caliber.
    Thank you for your honest assessments.

    1. Bemused, yeah, I get the better half angle, for sure! I’m not sure about too many .40 1911s but I know Sig makes a match version – I’ve seen it for around $800. As usual, I appreciate your comments!

  8. Got to add my Springfield Mil-Spec Defender series (identical to regular Mil-Spec, but with plain checkered wood grips, cardboard box instead of plastic case, and 1 instead of 2 mags). Forged frame/slide/barrel, tight as a bank vault, not one malfunction yet. $519.95 a year ago.

    1. Stan, yeah, that should be here for sure. I’d not seen a Springer at that price range – ought to be a good deal! Thanks for telling us about it.

  9. Another great article Mike. I started my journey shooting my father’s GI45 while camping. My first handgun was a Colt Gold Cup .45acp Series 80, graduated to a S&W 625 and recently bought a Springfield Armory XDe. Now, I’m definitely going to start researching another buy, thanks to your article I’m starting to scope out a new middle tier option. Keep the great articles coming.

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