What's the Best Beginner 1911?


November 23, 2007, 01:59 AM
After reading a million reviews and opinions on this site and others, I am wanting to purchase my first 1911 soon. I will admit that I really know next to nothing about 1911's and have no idea which one would best meet my needs. I would use it as a nightstand gun and to take to the range a couple times a month. I don't really have a set in stone budget but I would like to keep it under $700-750, and hopefully a little bit cheaper than that. I'm not looking for custom gun accuracy or any special bells and whistles, just a basic, possibly upgradeable 1911. Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!

If you enjoyed reading about "What's the Best Beginner 1911?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
3 gun
November 23, 2007, 02:04 AM
I'm sure I'll just be the first to say this. You'll have a hard time beating the value of a SA Loaded 1911. You can find them new for your price and closer to $600 lightly used.

November 23, 2007, 02:23 AM
never mind

November 23, 2007, 02:54 AM
The best buy in 1911's with a balance in price and quality are Armscor made guns like the Charles Daly's , RIA's and after that the Taurus PT 1911's .

The problem with the guns that run truest to the JMB design is the sights , it wont be long and you will get a chance to shoot someones gun with decent sights on it . Once that happens you will be thinking of upgrading the sights and the ones that come with front and rear dovetailed sights will be best for this .

Good sights will run ya $100 and double that if you want night sights later .

You might as well start with a the most quality at the lowest price you can find , and the above guns meet that yet already come with better sights than the stock ones JMB put on the gun . The Armscor made guns come with Novak style sights and the Taurus with Heinies that look much like the Novaks .

Now if you wanted to get near $900 or a grand go with a Colt XSE as they can be had with Novaks already .

For a defensive gun that sits on a nightstand most of those bells and whistles can come in handy .

Extended controls may get in the way in a holster gun but you wont have that problem and they DO help should a reload be needed like an oversized mag release button or extended slide stop and safety , the Beavertial grip safety will make sure you never have a problem with hammer bite and help to get a consistent grip on the weapon for accurate shooting .

1911 guy
November 23, 2007, 06:26 AM
My first pick would be a Springfield Armory pistol. Good handgun for the money. Their frames are drilled square, so they're easy for a 'smith to work on later, should you wish to upgrade parts. I advocate going the route of a G.I. model. The sights are easily changed to something better (check Kings and Yost/Bonitz) and the handgun is pretty much stock. You decide what you want to change, if anything.

My second pick would be the Rock Island Armory, Charles Daly or High Standard pistols. I carried a CD for several years before I got the Springfield I wanted built. It ain't pretty, but it works well, is reasonably accurate and has never had a problem with any type or brand of ammo I've fed it.

If you've got the money, get the Springfield. If it's tight around the holidays, get the RIA/CD/HS (all made by the same company).

November 23, 2007, 06:53 AM
The milspec 1911 from Springfield are nice, however, the Taurus PT1911 offers a lot more for a $100 more!

November 23, 2007, 06:57 AM
For a person new to 1911s, I usually recommend a Springfield Mil-Spec or Springfield GI45 (http://xavierthoughts.blogspot.com/2007/11/those-springfield-mil-spec-1911s.html). I recommend a five inch Government Model. They are cost effective, durable, reliable, and reasonably well fitted and well made. They will last a lifetime, and are an excellent gun to learn the 1911 platform with.

If a person has a desire to get something "better" then I recommend a Colt NRM Government Model. That's the Colt Series 80 1991, new style with the wood grips and new rollmark. The same durability, reliability and workmanship qualities applies to them. If the Series 80 FPS is a concern to the person, a Series 70 Colt Government Model is the ticket. Colts tend to hold value in the marketplace better, making them a superior long term gun if you ever sell.

sm speaks wisely. The 1911 is a simple weapon that has been made more complex than it needs to be over the years. Some of the modifications make for easier shooting, others for greater accuracy, others for greater durability. Some of the modifications were made for sheer profit in a competitive market. JMB designed the 1911 for reliability. Reliability is foremost in a defensive weapon. Stick with that, and as you learn the platform, modify the weapon to fit your individual needs. You may find you do not need to modify the weapon at all.

No matter what, stick with a five inch Government Model. Overall reliability tends to decrease exponentially as the barrel and slide shorten.

November 23, 2007, 10:54 AM
Buy a Colt XSE. If you know where to buy them you can get them for $799 shipped to your FFL. It will have everything out of the box that you are looking for.

The nice thing about the Colt is that if you find you don't like the 1911 platform you can turn around a sell it for $799.

November 23, 2007, 11:48 AM
Get something with sights you can see! This negates any of the barebones GI models.

November 23, 2007, 12:04 PM
I'd stay away from the RIA, Cd's, or the Taurus 1911's. It sounds like you want your first 1911 to be a good foundation without breaking the bank. Get yourself either a GI or Milspec Springfield for around $500, get to know the thing, and if you want to later on you've got yourself an excellent base gun for a custom shooter. Companies like Yost-Bonitz, Cylinder&Slide, Novak, and Heinie all use Springfield GI's as their base guns on custom orders. They are built to spec and give them the best platform to work up from.

November 23, 2007, 01:39 PM
TAURUS PT1911. Best gun for the money. Read the reviews of actual owners and you will learn the most if not all of the bashing that goes on in regards to this gun are from those that "have a friend whose buddy had one and it was junk".

The ones that forked over the 450 to 650 (price has increased becuase of demand!!!) have found this gun to be very very good. Mine puts groups consistanly inside 3" at 12 yds and under 2" at 7 yds off hand. Latest outing at 7 yds all but 1 rd are intersected with a previous shot. If I could get me stinkin computer to read the camera's smart card I would inlcude pic's.

November 23, 2007, 03:43 PM
I just answered this very question. For me, the contenders were the Springfield Mil-Spec, Rock Island Tactical, Taurus PT 1911, and STI Spartan.

I put a deposit on the Spartan this past Tuesday. The fiber optic front and adjustable rear were big points for me. Very good reviews that I've seen and no horror stories.

I didn't want a blued gun, so that ruled Taurus out. They've been selling the blued model hand over fist, so they're in no rush to get the stainless out.

So between the SA and the STI, it was more of an emotional decision.

I don't think you'll go wrong with any of the four I mentioned. If it matters to you, all four are made overseas: Taurus and SA in Brazil, Rock Island and STI in the Philippines. The STI has its final QC check done in Texas, and the internals are STI (USA-made) parts.

November 23, 2007, 04:16 PM
i'd get the taurus. i wanted a 1911 for awhile, after shooting my dad's colt. my boss has the taurus, and let me shoot it. i bought it the next week, and only paid $550 for it brand new, as opposed to $800 for a colt. it shoots great, or rather, i shoot great with it: 3" groups at 20 yards. well, that's good for me.

November 23, 2007, 04:23 PM
I would go with a Loaded 1911-A-1 .45 ACP. from SPRINGFEILD ARMORY. Best bang for your buck, plus the life-time warrenty can't be beat. My next stop would be at COLT for a NRM Government model.:)

November 23, 2007, 07:04 PM
Colt 1991 would get you a nice well built pistol using quality materials within your budget not to mention it is a Colt.

November 23, 2007, 07:09 PM
My PT1911 is fantastic. I considered a SA GI, but for a little more, I got the PT1911 and couldn't be happier.

Daryl Licht
November 23, 2007, 07:54 PM
All good suggestions here. I'll have to put in my $.02 for the Springfield Mil Spec. It does have some features such as a lowered and flared ejection port and better sights. It's also available in stainless, which I would wholeheartedly recommend.

The Armscor pistols are good as well. I have the RIA GI model, the only shortcoming is the sights, although with sufficient practice they are servicable as is.

If you have an opportunity to try a few different models it would be worthwhile to do so. There are so many options as far as triggers, hammers, grip safeties, thumb safeties, etc. that you might as well get what you want the first time. I agree with those here who say that the basic pistol is fine just as JMB designed it. It may be for you as well, but it's too easy to buy a pistol off the shelf with whatever custom features you'd like than to find you want some upgrades and end up spending a lot of money customizing a base gun.

Then again, who stops with just one?

November 24, 2007, 06:28 AM
+1 for Colt 1991. I added different springs, full-length guide rod, changed trigger, polished hammer and sear and it's fantastic. (Plus I learned a lot about a 1911 that I would have been afraid to do to a $2000 Wilson.)

November 24, 2007, 06:38 AM
If I were a 1911 guy, I would pick either the single stack 5" Para or the STI Spartan.

Just my .02,

the pistolero
November 24, 2007, 07:09 AM
My very first 1911 was a Springfield GI. If I had it to do over again I might have gotten the milspec for the better sights, but I can work with the low-profile GI sights. Whereas with the Taurus 1911, notwithstanding the great deal it might be, the Heinie straight eights would be the first thing to be replaced. Maybe the only thing. I can't speak for the Taurus, but I do wholeheartedly and without reservation recommend the Springfield. The GI or Mil-Spec would both be great candidates for upgrades, or the Loaded if you want it with the bells & whistles from the factory. I got my parkerized Loaded for $760 and change out the door; a stainless would have run a little more, but I personally find the parked finish quite appealing.

Then again, who stops with just one?
That's a right good question, Daryl Licht. :D :D

November 24, 2007, 07:18 AM
I say to try the various 1911s and then go with one you like the best. You can rent at a range or try some that your friends own.
I think that you get the best bang for your buck with a Kimber.

Ala Dan
November 24, 2007, 08:11 AM
I'd say one needs too pick up a Springfield Armory WW-II G.I. model :cool:,
as there's lots you can do to them~! ;) :cool:

November 24, 2007, 08:41 AM
RUA Baseballer?

I recently decided I wanted in on the world of m1911 pistols. I checked out all the cheaper brands -- fine guns, all of them. But when I was at a large dealer with many used 1911s, I saw a Colt Government model, series 70 (1979-built), in 80% condition, with a few extra features, selling for $475.

I now own that pistol, and I'm happy I do.

Nothing wrong with getting a used gun.

November 24, 2007, 10:08 PM
Whereas with the Taurus 1911, notwithstanding the great deal it might be, the Heinie straight eights would be the first thing to be replaced.
I disagree. I have straight-eights on a Taurus 24/7 and like them quite a bit. I wouldn't mind them on another pistol.

November 24, 2007, 10:24 PM
This is my current take on Colts: :D I am currently having issues with one of my newest Series 70 reissue. We'll see how well Colt handles it. All of my other Colts have been excellent.



JP from Phoenix
November 25, 2007, 12:06 AM
I'm torn between the Taurus PT1911 or the SA GI or Milspec. any of them would be great for me i think. I like the taurus bc its already loaded at a nice price and the general feedback on that particular taurus is outstanding from what i've seen. I'm not really about spending a grip on improvemants on a gun i already spent good money for IMO a gun should be good to go out of the box. If i got a SA GI All id probably do is change out the sights and the grips a new trigger would be nice too thats like another 300 bucks. So I might as well spend 800 get get the S&W 1911 I really want thats how i see it

November 25, 2007, 07:27 AM
go sa and never look back i own 3 sa handguns and love them all, one is a 1911 and it is awesome, any of the loaded models, the milspec etc, they would all make great 1911's. good places to start there. you could also look at the taurus 1911's.

the pistolero
November 25, 2007, 12:38 PM
I have straight-eights on a Taurus 24/7 and like them quite a bit. I wouldn't mind them on another pistol.
Well, if it works for you, that's really all that matters. :D How long has that type of sight been around, anyway? I had never seen anything like that before I saw that Taurus.

I think that you get the best bang for your buck with a Kimber.
And this is something I must respectfully beg to differ on. I have Springfields and Kimbers both in my collection, and it would seem to me the Springer is the better value. Just as good of a firearm as some say the Kimber is, at a better price. I like both my Kimbers and would not hesitate to buy another, but in my experience Springfield's bang-for-the-buck is hard to beat.

November 25, 2007, 10:12 PM
I am in agreement with 3 gun. Springfield Loaded or "mil-spec" is a great gun with the basic 1911 upgrades and can be turned into a real shooter by a good smith.

November 26, 2007, 09:39 AM
:cool:IMO buy a real 1911. That means a Colt. I found a stainless Government Series 80 that was like new for $550.

November 26, 2007, 10:30 AM
STI Spartan usually runs between 500-600 and has a fiberoptic front sight and adj rear. Novak mags.

November 26, 2007, 01:08 PM
IMO buy a real 1911. That means a Colt. I found a stainless Government Series 80 that was like new for $550.
I'm sure some would argue that Series 80 and stainless are not part of a "real" 1911.

STI Spartan usually runs between 500-600 and has a fiberoptic front sight and adj rear. Novak mags.
If you want an STI, now's a good time. Join the group buy here:

November 26, 2007, 01:41 PM
go with a springer! :D

If you enjoyed reading about "What's the Best Beginner 1911?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!