Which 1911 would you buy?


August 8, 2008, 08:00 PM
Please answer the poll question? If you could only buy one 1911, which one would it be? The 1911's on the list are some manufacturers that sell for $1000 or less. Thanks.

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August 8, 2008, 08:31 PM
Colt...either the XSE (which I have) or the WW One Repro (which two friends have).

August 8, 2008, 08:39 PM
Since you did not put price as an issue. RRA. Their 1911's are REAL nice. I have Springfields and Colts that I really like a lot though. ;)

August 8, 2008, 08:40 PM
You might be able to find a RRA 1911 for $1k, but you can buy 3 1911's from Rock Island Armory (Phillipine made).

August 8, 2008, 08:43 PM
Springfield "Loaded' or 'TRP' hands down

August 8, 2008, 08:43 PM
Colt Ė I own a S 70 reissue and the WWI reissue will be next.

Eric F
August 8, 2008, 08:48 PM
RIA best bang for the buck

August 8, 2008, 08:50 PM
If I can find one, a Colt. But for now a Springer.

August 8, 2008, 08:51 PM
While I've heard good reviews of the S&W line-up, I have no personal experience w/ them. I do have very favorable experiences w/ Springfield's, however. One particular model, a Loaded I had fitted w/ a Bar-Sto barrel, was an amazing shooter. Sold it to a friend, regrettably. Used the money to buy a Les Baer, however. ;)

2nd 41
August 8, 2008, 08:53 PM
1911DK...I'm really enjoying my SA Loaded and Colt GC Trophy....but if I could only keep one. The DK would be it. About $1025

August 8, 2008, 09:09 PM
I guess the more appropriate question would be which 1911 did i choose. i went with a sa Mc operator, and i haven't looked back since.

August 8, 2008, 09:21 PM

August 8, 2008, 09:27 PM
Which 1911s have I bought? (Note, I have also owned others not on your list but won't confuse the issue with those)

Rock Island (actually Charles Daly/Armscorp, same thing)--1
Rock River--0

Based on my experiences above, in the future I would buy/consider:

Colt--probably not
RIA/CD/Armscor--no, thank you
Rock River--maybe
S&W--would like to try one, especially an SC 1911

And why does your poll only allow me to select one? I voted S&W, but as stated above, I would/might buy several...

August 8, 2008, 09:31 PM
Colt - its all I've ever known in a 1911. However, the S&W PD does attract my attention.

August 8, 2008, 09:33 PM
Prolly gonna be a Taurus. Start with a decent base gun and slowly build/customize it to my tastes.


Mad Magyar
August 8, 2008, 09:38 PM
In spite of the vast amounts of $$$ in advertising in all the gun rags, you didn't mention KIMBER...Thank you....:)

August 8, 2008, 09:42 PM
DAN WESSON - hands down the best money spent for a semi-custom 1911 ... and no MIM ;)

August 8, 2008, 09:47 PM
I own a Springfeild GI, love it, after I had new sights put on it.

August 8, 2008, 10:01 PM
I voted for SW1911 , I already own/owned an Autoordinance , Springfield and a Taurus PT1911

August 8, 2008, 10:08 PM
I voted RIA so you'd have some money left over for ammo so you could actually shoot it.

IMHO Colt has been living off their reputation for a long time, but its still the one to buy if you think you might sell it later.

Para, IMHO the LDA trigger is a solution looking for a problem. The double stack guns suffer from having crammed too many rounds in the mag for SD adequate reliability, although 14+1 does rock at the range were the every few hundred round feed failure is not biggie. Their "normal" 1911s are OK but I don't like the non-standard "PxT" extractor. I've very few Para double stack mags that have worked 100% out of the wrapper.

S&W, same issue, the external extractor means a trip to the factory when it breaks (on any gun, after the recoil spring the extractor is the next most likely thing to break).

I really like the fact I can keep a 1911 internal extractor in my range bag and replace it at the range should it break. I've done two, one on a Colt, the other a Charles Daly, both about 8000 rounds, My oldest RIA has about 13,000 rounds and the original extractor is still doing right, although I''ve replaced several recoil springs and firing pin springs and the link broke at about 3000 rounds. ($5 replacement). My newest RIA Tactical has been 100% but hasn't quite hit the 5000 round mark yet.

RRA I've no experience with, don't like the price. People seem to like the Springfield's, I'll likely get one eventually, but the RIA Tactical offers Springfield "Loaded" features at a bit under "GI" prices.

STI Spartan is a "glorified" RIA and should be on your list as its only a little more than the RIA and supposedly has better STI internal parts.

The bottom of the line "Custom" Kimbers are pretty good value, although beyond that you are paying for style IMHO. So far everyone who has shot my Kimber TLE A-B with my RIA Tactical has immediately said the Kimber is nowhere near 2X better, and half actually prefer the RIA (probably for lack of "series II" firing pin block).

Taurus, I'm waiting for the reasonably priced 9mm 1911 they've promised.


August 8, 2008, 10:17 PM
Look at Dan Wesson . The Bobtail can be boought for less than a grand. It better than either my Kimber or my Colts.
I would buy a Hi Point before I ever bought aother Para Ord. I could be sure the Hi Point would fire more than once befor jaming.

August 8, 2008, 10:28 PM
hmm slim pickins...out of those i'd choose the Colt...SA 2nd.

Black Majik
August 8, 2008, 11:43 PM
Wow, I'm quite amazed. Given that Rock River is on the poll, the only semi-custom producer, and it's 2nd to dead last on the poll.


Beetle Bailey
August 9, 2008, 12:27 AM
Rock River's are a bit thin on the ground around here. I've only ever seen one and the guy wanted $2000 for it. Didn't bother asking him if I could handle it.

But, given their reputation, if I could get their base model (Basic Carry?) for $1000, I'd pick that one. I've shot several of their AR15 rifles.

Besides that, I'd choose a Springfield Armory Loaded, and customize it as funds permit.

deputy tom
August 9, 2008, 12:52 AM
My vote is for Springfield Armory.YMMV.tom.:cool:

August 9, 2008, 01:01 AM
I handled a Rock River Unlimited Police Competition, a $2500 gun. Man, that sucker was TIGHT! Considering I helped the guy select the gun, I assumed the "RRA under $1000" entry was a mistake. ;)

August 9, 2008, 01:14 AM
You forgot to put Kimber on the list. I've got a Custom II that is easily my favorite pistol. But I've heard alot of positive reviews about the Springfields. The next 1911 i get will probably be from them.

August 9, 2008, 01:22 AM
IMHO, for the money, you can't buy a better 1911 than the Dan Wesson Pointman 7. (less than a grand) Shoots better, and better quality, than my last 1911, a SA TRP.

August 9, 2008, 01:33 AM
Springfield 1911 A1 Loaded, much like this one.


August 9, 2008, 01:33 AM
I carry a S&W, Its my favorite 1911 and it wasnt that expensive.
I had a RIA it was great but in a different class than the S&W, I traded it towards a pt1911 which I like very much.
I also had a Springfield GI, it had to go back to Springfield to get it to run right and even then it was ammo pickey.
I also have a Colt series 80, Its a good gun but I think Its over rated.
I dont know anything about the others on your list

August 9, 2008, 02:08 AM
Which N-frame would you buy?....Smith and Wesson, or a derivative?

August 9, 2008, 02:14 AM
I own one or more of each except for S&W.

For $1000, I'd get a Dan Wesson -it's simply the best 'bang for a buck' right now in terms of materials, features and quality craftsmanship. Yes, I have one.

Next would be Springfield.

Third would be Colt.

Don't need to consider the rest.

August 9, 2008, 02:22 AM
Might look into STI as well.

There base model spartan is about 600...though its assembled in the Phillipines.

The Trojan can be had for about 850. Flat top slide, adjustable sights, and MADE IN THE USA!


1911 guy
August 9, 2008, 09:02 AM
I'll tell you, then tell you why. Get either a Springfield or Colt, preferably a Springfield. Here's why:
With the exception of Para Ordnance (which you should avoid like the plague they are), all the manufacturers mentioned make a decent 1911-type handgun. The reason to go with a Springfield or Colt lies with how square the yframe is going to be machined. Not a big deal, unless you plan on having any work done to it down the road. Springfield and Colt are square, Springfield is less expensive for a comperable pistol.

August 9, 2008, 10:04 AM
I work on 1911's on a regular basis customizing them. Of the list you have, I own 3 Rock Island Armory pistols, as they're an excellent basis for a custom gun. And yes, all of mine are customized, mostly (Videcki) trigger jobs, reliability package and custom finishes. I have a 3", a 4" and a Widebody 5".

A gentleman above said the Charles Daly's are the same thing. They are not. Both Charles Daly and RIA get their frames/slides from Armscor and these are a good basis for a pistol, as they're CNC machined for very tight internal/external fit, but Daly cuts quality and uses oddball and typically badly fitted internal parts, particularly springs, on their pistols and have an quirky warranty.

The RIA's are extremely well fitted and have very well fitted barrels and barrel bushings, items that are very much human dependent. About the only weakness they have is they come extremely tight and absolutely require a 500 round break in to loosen them up.

I wouldn't take a brand new one into a competition, as the tightness tends to make them jam until 500 rounds go through them and break them in. After that, they smooth up, run and outshoot most other brands out of the box pistols.

Because they're well made and well fitted, they're an excellent basis for a custom gun - small internals need to be replaced by far the least of any pistol I work on. Their price point is low enough, you can have one customized for about the price of many other brands off the shelf badly fitted pretend custom stuff. And yes, there is a difference between gunsmith hand fitted and factory worker fitted when it comes to customizing a pistol. A factory worker with a shift quota can't fit as closely as a gunsmith, who is paid for the job, not the quantity turned out.

Colt - good steel, tend to be very loose and internals small parts are mediocre quality and so so, sometimes badly fitted. I've seen many base models with a plastic mainspring housing in the past few years. These are a good model to build a go to war gun, as the tolerances are loose enough they aren't likely to jam, once they've gotten a reliability package, a trigger job, replacement of any crap small part and a steel mainspring housing. Takes a lot of parts to get these to shoot some times. Parts you don't need to replace on the RIA's. Such as a barrel bushing, extractors, slide releases, ejectors, thumb safeties and an occasional barrel. Wouldn't be my first choice for a competition gun - too loose. But, because the prancing horse on the side, you can resell them at a good price once you find out your $350.00 RIA you got to try out just outshot your Gold Cup. (Yes, I've seen this happen, much more than once.)

Para Ordnance - Middle of the pack as as far as tightness goes, but make a good basis for a custom pistol. Prices are higher than the RIA's and don't offer anything much the RIA's don't in a 1911. If RIA wasn't available, I'd use their high cap version. I don't like the gadjet triggers they came up with in some of their pistols.

Rock River - Don't see a lot of their pistols come into the shop, so can't comment on these. Their rifles are generally excellent and their warranties and customer service are good for the rifles.

Springfileld - Good steel, fairly tight, but not as good as they were a few years back when they were made in the states. Internal parts are very inconsistent, sometimes badly fitted. I've often see pistols that need the plunger tube restaked because it wasn't done properly at the factory. I also replace some small parts on these guns with others while fitting custom parts. Overall, good resale value and good basis for a custom gun, but you'll need to buy parts that you wouldn't often times, due to variations in small part quality.

August 9, 2008, 10:05 AM
Well, I have two Colts, a WWI repro and a WWII repro, both outstanding.

I have three Rock Islands, all outstanding.

Don't know anything about Para's.

Rock River's are snob guns, IMO. Probably great quality, but I don't care for the trendy attitude that seems to go with them. Is there even a model under $1000?

S&W makes great revolvers, wish I had a sackful. But my experience with their autos, not so good.

Don't have any Springers, so that would be my pick. I hear much joy about the guns and their CS.

Almost had me a new Stainless Loaded for $600, but the guy was just too hard to communicate with and get a meeting set up, so I backed out. If he would have answered his damn phone or replied to emails.....if you're selling something, be available!!!

August 9, 2008, 10:15 AM

It was refreshing to read your opinions of the Rock Islands! There's so many RIA haters out there, it gets tiring to read all the put-downs. You're right about them needing a break-in to get limbered up, mine all run great after a few hundred rounds.

But my Colt 01911 WWI repro (Carbonia Blue) is by far the best pistol I have, quality-wise. It's very well fitted, shoots dead-nuts accurate, and has a beautiful finish.

My customized RIA GI is my favorite, though, it's also a helluva shooter. I'm a sucker for the polished, hot-blued finish!


August 9, 2008, 10:17 AM
Dan Wesson............no doubt.

August 9, 2008, 10:49 AM
I paid $1080 for the MC Operator. I like it a lot.

I don't like all black sights, or I'd get that STI


August 9, 2008, 04:37 PM
Springfield - my experience with them has been exceptional.

Charles Daly
August 9, 2008, 04:58 PM
...A gentleman above said the Charles Daly's are the same thing. They are not. Both Charles Daly and RIA get their frames/slides from Armscor and these are a good basis for a pistol, as they're CNC machined for very tight internal/external fit, but Daly cuts quality and uses oddball and typically badly fitted internal parts, particularly springs, on their pistols and have an quirky warranty.

This statement is absolutely bogus! Charles Daly 1911's, manufactured by Armscor, use the same internals as RIA, are put together the same as RIA, and use the exact same springs as RIA.

I don't know who provided you with such blatantly false information, but false it is.

As for our "quirky warranty", all Charles Daly firearms manufactured after September 1, 2001 are covered by our Lifetime Repair Policy (http://www.charlesdaly.com/warranty.asp). If anyone who reads it can tell me what is "quirky" about it, I'm all ears.

August 9, 2008, 06:08 PM
I agree! Both my Rock Islands are 100% out of the box, but not my Kimber or Springfield Loaded.

August 9, 2008, 07:14 PM
Thank You Mr. Kassnar for taking time out of your busy schedule to set us all straight on the manufacturing of your guns. That explains why Armscor isn't shy about presenting Charles Daly, Rock Island Armory, and STI as their partners of a truely quality firearm.:)


p.s. I vote for the Rock Island

August 9, 2008, 07:30 PM
I noticed you didn't include KIMBERS.

Too bad, you missed

August 9, 2008, 07:30 PM
All of these were under $1,000, infact; the entire group was barely over $2,000:


August 9, 2008, 07:39 PM
I'd buy a springfield lightweight champion operator. Sweet gun.

August 9, 2008, 09:44 PM
Of the few you listed I would buy the Colt, swap out the junk plastic MSH and it's a very nice handgun, no glued in parts like one very well known cheaply made 1911.
But you left my two favorites out! Kimber and Dan Wesson. My Kimber has been an exceptionally well made handgun, I chose the model with no plastic MSH but if you buy a cheaper one with plastic you can swap the plastic junk out with steel or stainless for a few bucks, that's what I did with my Colt, which is a very nice gun other than the plastic. The Dan Wesson is an exceptional handgun for what they cost, why would anyone leave them out of the list, since they are such nice examples of high quality guns at very reasonable prices, and made in the USA to boot! We should make that part of the decision making process, if two guns are identical except that one has parts made somewhere else why would one sabotage our best industries by buying guns made in the Phillipines or Brazil? I personally will happily pay extra to help keep our native gun makers in business.
Another thing to remember, in many of the countries where handguns are made for sale in our great land the people cannot own or carry handguns, why support such a corrupt system when the guns made here can be owned and carried by the people?

The Phillipines


August 10, 2008, 01:36 AM
Taurus! Taurus 1911's come with all the bells and whistles from the factory for no added cost that you have to pay extra for on other brands, and you still only pay about half of what a basic "name brand" costs. Why spend the extra money on 1 "loaded" Kimber, Colt, S&W, Springfield, etc, when you could buy 2 "loaded" Taurus', for the same money? Dosen't make sense to me.

August 10, 2008, 02:11 AM
None of the above,

Norinco, itís the same price as a RRA, isn't cast and has some of the strongest steel available for its price range.

August 10, 2008, 09:00 AM
U can no longer buy a new Norinco.

August 10, 2008, 02:45 PM
& I think you mean RIA not RRA

August 10, 2008, 04:11 PM
There is both, RIA Rock Island Armory and RRA Rock River Arms

August 10, 2008, 06:55 PM
I know, that comment was aimed at this comment "Norinco, itís the same price as a RRA"
Theirs more than a few dollars difference between the RIA and the RRA

August 10, 2008, 06:57 PM
If I wanted a full sized M1911, I would buy the cheapest Springfield I could find. SA has a good reputation for their baseline guns. I'd then have a local guy do whatever else needed doing.

If I wanted a smaller gun, I'd go with the cheapest MicroCompact. A friend has one and it's a great little gun. I was surprised at how controllable it was both with 230gr. ball and 117gr. Aguila IQ.

August 10, 2008, 07:12 PM
no love for Kimbers??? I did lots of research before buying my first 1911 and looked at Colts, SA, Para's and most of the cheaper 1911 brands but always came back to the Kimber. The local gun shop guy whose very well known on knowing his stuff told me he recommended the Kimbers over all the above named and I ended up with Stainless TLE II and haven't regretted it...

August 10, 2008, 08:22 PM
I only have a couple of 1911s, but the only one I own out of the categories listed is a Springfield. Springfield makes good guns, with a lifetime warranty, so any problems you may have will be easily remedied.

August 10, 2008, 08:26 PM
I say STI Spartan

August 11, 2008, 08:57 AM
Colt! I've owned 1 other brand of 1911, and it was a mistake. You really can't go wrong with a good Colt.

They do have more hand-assembly/fitting than most, and as such there are some with niggles out there. 5 or so years ago, it seemed hard to find a really good one in the shops. It's better now, and most that I have seen lately are very good. I just grabbed the S70 Repro below (shown with my WW1 Repro which is a HONEY of a gun):


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