Narrowed my new 1911 purchase down to three please help


February 8, 2009, 03:14 AM
I am on the verge of purchasing my first 1911. this is a huge step for me, bc i grew up in a "nothing beats a glock" family. this will be primarily a house saftey/fun at the range gun. i am at a place in my life where i can only afford around 500 for the gun. a little more is not going to kill me, that is just the round about budget. so to get to the point after researching for about 2 weeks i have it narrowed down to a springfield armory, rock island armory, and a taurus. i want to know which one to go with based on A. reliability, B. Warranty/customer support, and C. looks/options. of course this is within the given budget. if you happen to know the cheapest place to get your recommended 1911, i would greatly appreciate the link. thanks for all the help and expertise.

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February 8, 2009, 03:28 AM
Welcome, it sounds like you came from a good family. I'm looking forward to hearing others respond, because I am in the same boat.

February 8, 2009, 04:01 AM
All 3 are good choices.
Taurus generally has issues with warranty work, not always... but usually.
RIA has the lowest price of the 3, all mine have functioned perfectly and are way more accurate than I am, and hes the best factory support I have ever seen.
My EDC is a RIA Duo-Tone Tactical.


February 8, 2009, 04:20 AM
I have experience with taurus and RIA.

I have personally handled and shot 3 RIA GI's- they were all mechanically sound, accurate, and very "positive" in the hand. You knew something was there, but in a reassuring way. They all had some sort of flaw finish from light parkerizing on the front of the grip (my gun), to an uneven rollmark and very thin parkerizing over 1/2 of the slide.

My experience with taurus has been mixed. to me they don't have the "positive" hand feel. I don't know what causes this, but they feel like they're made of plastic (probably has to do with the plastic grip panels that are VERY thin). I've handled one that fuctioned well, but upon tear down it was NOT pretty. Any "hand fitting" was horribly rough and not precise at all- but again, the gun was 100% reliable.

I have a firend that just bought a Taurus and it has that same not positiive feel in the hand, and then on his the thumb safety is "mushy". It disengages pretty well, but to engage it only moves up about half way and then has a dead spot where it feels like you're pushing it through snot, and then it engages.

The thumb safety isn't sweepable, you have to be very intent on engaging or disengaging it and it takes a while. My ria snaps over with a reassuring "click" on the sweep, both up and down.

But the gun has fed 100 rounds so far without a hiccup at all- he likes it and that's all that matters.

As for customer service, I've never heard a single negative comment bout RIA's customer service- I can't say the same for SA and Taurus.

February 8, 2009, 07:34 AM

That there, my friends, IMHO, is the best deal on a new 1911 that you can find anywhere.

It is a Springfield Armory (only Colt has made 1911s longer than these guys) 1911 GI Mil-Spec in Stainless Steel for $532, no tax. (Unless you live in TX) $30 for shipping.

I know you'll be happy with this gun, and when the time comes to upgrade (which it will), this gun will blow the other two you're looking at out of the water in terms of RESALE value.

Good luck and happy shooting!

February 8, 2009, 09:02 AM

Quickly, before they sell out! :)

Also, The Springfields are not "Mil Spec" They are great guns! I own a LW Operator. I LOVE IT! but, the RIA's are true to the 1911A1 design. Drop in parts will fit them. Springfields have the ILS mainspring housing. Also, some other internals have different dimensions that are not true to the original Colt/Browning design. I can not speak for the Taurus as I have never even held one. However, for the price, the RIA is the best deal going. Mine will be here tomorrow...

February 8, 2009, 09:08 AM
Had a blue Taurus 1911 I gave to my son after I bought a stainless Taurus 1911. I shot about 1500 rds through the blue with no problems, no require maintenance other than cleaning.

I have about 500 rounds through the stainless with no problems, just cleaning.

Both accurate, both will eat any kind of ammo.

All the nice stuff I wanted was already on the Taurus and I've had zero problems with either one. They fit my hand very well.

So, I'm a happy owner.

February 8, 2009, 09:18 AM
Have held and shot all of the makes. Seen $2000 Kimbers miss and jam like a $200 Norinco. Have not had a problem with my Springfield. Fit and finish is that of a $500 gun, not a $3000 custom, BUT is well worth it. No plastic parts like I have seen on Colt's. RIA and Taurus are both also nice guns, but I still prefer my SA.

February 8, 2009, 10:32 AM
springfield has the best customer service in the business. Also the mil-specs do not have full length guide rods as stated above.

February 8, 2009, 10:41 AM
sti makes a gun called the spartan that I believe is a RIA or armscor with fancier guts. they're affordable.

February 8, 2009, 10:58 AM
the mil-specs do not have full length guide rods as stated above
jonc, thanks for the correction.

February 8, 2009, 11:05 AM
sti makes a gun called the spartan that I believe is a RIA or armscor with fancier guts. they're affordable.

If he could come up with $550ish that would be my vote. Of the 3 listed, I've had several of each come through. I've helped ship 2 Taurus guns back. One owner was OK with the service, the other eventually gave up. I'd go with RIA or Springfield, no real preference.

February 8, 2009, 11:23 AM
I had a RIA Match, which was the same pistol as the STI Spartan, except for the fire control parts.
As a shooter, it is as good as I have seen... but not the greatest for carry.


February 8, 2009, 11:34 AM
The basic RIA is solid and reliable, but it's finish quality is a bit spotty and the USGI-design sights suck. The Taurus has better sights and farkles, but their QA/QC leaves a lot to be desired and I would not consider a Taurus for carry duty. The Springfield MilSpec is solid and has better sights than the RIA.

In the end, it comes down to which sucks more - the RIA's sights or the Springer's ILS.

I would choose the Springer, because swapping out the ILS mainspring housing takes about 5 minutes and a few parts, but getting better sights on the RIA is more complicated.

Of course, you could just get the RIA Tactical, which is still under 5 bills but comes with the sight and farkle upgrades that you might want. It is, IMO, the best deal in a 5" 1911 right now.

February 8, 2009, 11:45 AM
isn't it fun to have so many good options?

God Bless John Moses Browning

February 8, 2009, 11:46 AM
in no particular order:
Springfield mil-spec
RIA tactical
STI Spartan.

it all depends on what features you are looking for.

I have Springfields (TRP, EMP, 9mm Loaded & used to have others), and a STI Edge. i also had a plain RIA, but didnt care for the sights.

My advise is find a gun that you like, and if its out of your price range right now, save up to get what you WANT.

February 8, 2009, 12:11 PM
Mil-Spec, forged frame and slide, great CS, all smiths work on them

February 8, 2009, 12:22 PM
The RIA tactical is the way I would over the GI or the Match.
I dislike the GI sights, and the Match sights were not for me... for carrying.


February 8, 2009, 12:30 PM
that is a great looking pistol, I really like how it has all the loaded features but doesn't have the foward cocking serations. It looks good.

here is a picture of my second springfield 1911. It is the enhanced gi hi-cap. My first was a milspec.

Mitch from LA
February 8, 2009, 12:33 PM
I'm a taurus fan.

February 8, 2009, 12:38 PM
This is my next one. Sig TTT

2nd 41
February 8, 2009, 12:45 PM
Ditto on the Springfield's Customer service. Worth buying their product on that alone.

February 8, 2009, 02:11 PM
I had a G.I. spec Springer, dead nuts reliable and pretty accurate. Perhaps with a trigger job, it'd be a bit better. Gr8 gun. Never had a problem with it. Any ammo, any mag.

The Taurus is not one to be afraid of...I have a stainless one and it has been very good. It's approaching 400 rounds withOUT a cleaning.Reliable and accurate. (Total is 1100 rds). If it ever had a problem, I don't think I'd use the warranty. The 1911 is a very popular pistol. Plenty of good smiths around to "Tweak it" to your liking(Perhaps a Wilson trigger, sear etc to improve it if needed).

I'd buy mine again for sure.

Good luck.

February 8, 2009, 03:04 PM
I wouldn't count on Taurus to be a suitable base to build on. The sight cut is propriatary, nobody makes sights that fit. The grips are also different, most aftermarket ones won't fit properly. Not sure about any of the other small parts.
SA would be my choice in your price range. Good, solid base gun that any custom shop will work on, best CS in the industry.

February 8, 2009, 03:09 PM
ok so after reading all of the posts im now down to the ria and the springfield. let me sum up, but please if i am incorrect let me know, bc as i stated before i am new to the 1911 world. the ria are easier to customize, springfield seems to have amazing customer service. ria's are less expensive, but are still a great value. springfield and ria are both very dependable. now for a few more questions, what is the problem with the springer ils? as i have large hands i am concerned with the "hammer pinch", not that it would stop me, but i have the option why deal with it ya know? so how hard would it be to switch out to the beaver tail? like i said im learning as i go so if i asked something rather elementary or that does not make sense please forgive me. i really do appreciate all the help.

February 8, 2009, 03:10 PM
fomogo who did your grips by the way?

February 8, 2009, 04:29 PM
Both have about the best customer service you could ever expect, but like I said in my previous post- RIA is the only one that I have never heard a single complaint about. go and check out the RIA forum on RIA customer service reps frequent it and stay on top of everything.

Honestly, RIA has something to prove right now and they know it- they're breaking the mold of what it means to be a "cheap" 1911. While they might skimp on finish to keep the costs down, they are going to make sure their guns function as well as possible and stay right on top of any problems. They are building a reputation and are doing a great job at it.

There isn't anything inherently wrong with the ILS- it's just some people don't like the lawyers meddling with their guns. It's like the people that won't buy a new S&W because of teh hammer lock.

As for hammer bite, I'm pretty sure ALL beavertail safeties require reshaping the rear of the frame and opening up the safety slot since they are wider as well.

I'd recommend finding someone with a mil-spec 1911 that will let you shoot it, see if hammer bite is an issue for you at all. Honestly, i think it's blown a bit out of proportions. if the gun has an A1 hammer and not a WWI hammer, i don't think it would actually be possible for the hammer to contact your hand.

Find out what you like and want, and get either the RIA or SA that meets your needs- you really can't go wrong either way.

February 8, 2009, 05:44 PM
michael88, then don't buy a G.I. spec ANYTHING if you are worried about hammer bite. trust me, i detest the short beaver tail! it really becomes annoying having a red sore on the web of your hand. by all means get one with a big beaver tail! well worth it...and much more comfortable.

February 8, 2009, 06:36 PM
1. Mil Spec

2. RIA

3. Something besides the Taurus.

None of the stock GI grip safeties bite my hand. They don't bite most peoples hands actually.

February 8, 2009, 07:05 PM
I think the RIA Tactical or the SA Mil-Spec would both make great choices. Both companies have fantastic CS, which is very important to me. I am partial to the SA pistols over the RIA simply because I prefer a forged frame over a cast. However, I have been very tempted as of late to order one of the RIA Tactical models. They sure look nice and offer a lot for the money.

The way I look at it, it just makes good sense to reward the companies that strive so hard to keep their customers happy.

February 8, 2009, 07:35 PM
i like my sa 1911 alot, it is accurate, and reliable. has 4k through it right now. that has been in the last 7 months in that gun alone.

i have had great luck with the ria 1911's that i have tried they are exceptionally accurate for the money.

the taurus from the reports i get from those i work with that own them and other forums they have all had positive things to say about it. i can't say how taurus is about warranty work but i can tell you that sa will take care of you for sure if anything goes wrong.

February 8, 2009, 07:37 PM
I'll always vote for a Springer.

February 8, 2009, 08:33 PM
I bought my grips on ebay.
I would put RIA customer service up against SA any day of the week.
The reps from RIA frequent the gun forums and have been known to contact people who post issues or questions to resolve problems or potential problems before the owners can formally report them.


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