Best 1911 for first one


January 12, 2010, 08:19 PM
I would like to add a 1911 to my collection. I have all the rifles I really want, .243, .270, .30-06, .30-30, .22, 12 gauge, so now I am focusing on hand guns. All I have now are three 9mms; all XDs. Two are the 3" SC for the wife and me to carry and one is the 4" Service. I love the 1911 design and don't care about looks as much as quality and affordability; I know two opposing forces. Anyway, I would like it to have a full size one in .45ACP. I will buy used if you can tell me which ones are the most reliable on the used market. I would also like to buy one from an American company made in the U.S.

If you enjoyed reading about "Best 1911 for first one" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
January 12, 2010, 08:28 PM
I can recommend the Colt Model O1991. Mine has been flawless. The price may seem a little steep compared to Filipino or Brazilian guns but save up, itís worth it.

January 12, 2010, 08:39 PM
I recommend the American Classic II by Metro Arms. I paid $400 plus shipping for mine and it is very nice..............:D

January 12, 2010, 08:40 PM
i'd recommend a Dan Wesson as a first 1911.

it has the reliability to not put a new owner off and the build quality to not make you envious of more expensive high end production/semi custom 1911s for a while...i'd also avoid the Filipino 1911s as a first gun.

the Brazilian 1911s from Springfield Armory are actually very nice

January 12, 2010, 08:41 PM
I have a para superhawg. Too big for carry but a wonderful gun. Needs about 500 rounds for break-in. Good Luck no matter what you choose!

January 12, 2010, 09:28 PM
I recommend the American Classic II by Metro Arms. I paid $400 plus shipping for mine and it is very nice..............:D
Thanks for the reference. I looked one up on Gunbroker. Not a bad-looking gun and the price is certainly right.

January 12, 2010, 09:31 PM
What does "Too big for carry" mean?

Honestly, I would look at one of the base models, Springfield G.I. it Mil-Spec, it's there, you can do nothing to it, add some options, etc. You said it would be your FIRST 1911. I think you should give it a fair chance to see if you like it and if you want something different on your NEXT one.

January 12, 2010, 09:32 PM
A cheap one. If you're going to make a mistake, don't let it set you back too much. :rolleyes:

January 12, 2010, 09:33 PM
The first 1911 was a Colt. Why not make it nostalgic purchase? Colt has good quality, and if it's not a Colt, it's an imitation. :D I suggest the series 70 reissue:

Colt Pistols:

Colt Series 70:


January 12, 2010, 09:40 PM
Whatever price range you care to go to I would recommend a GI style.

Springfield GI or Mil Spec
Para GI Model
Colt Government

January 12, 2010, 11:39 PM
Whatever price range you care to go to I would recommend a GI style.

Springfield GI or Mil Spec
Para GI Model
Colt Government
I want to stay as close to possible to the original Browning 1911 but also stay under $600 new or used. I guess that is what you mean by GI style since Browning made the 1911 for the military.

January 13, 2010, 12:00 AM
I would also like to buy one from an American company made in the U.S.

Among the major makers, that means Colt, Kimber, or S&W. S&W has the external extractor, so on your criteria they are out (they ARE good guns, though).

I'd go used Colt. A used (in decreasing price order) Series '70, Series 80, 1991a1 should all run from $600 to $750 in excellent condition. All of them are close to the original design for all intents and purposes. Don't get hung up on the Series 80 firing pin safety - it's totally reliable, innocuous, and you really don't know it's there.

A current new 01991 (mentioned above) is a great gun, too, just not polished like the Series '70 or 80 from those decades. A new one has a $700 handle on it, a used one in the $600's.

I have owned a variety of 1911s in the last few decades and the ones that give me the greatest satisfaction and quality for the dollar are Colt's. I even bought another one this morning, in fact! (An 80's Combat Elite). Other guns work fine, and others are well made. But there IS something about a Colt and if you are looking for a special "authentic" one, I say get a Colt.

If you're $600 limit is firm, look hard for a 1991a1 in Parkerized or Blued from the '90s. They are good guns and go too cheaply as they are under-appreciated. $500 to $550 is a good price for an excellent one of those.

January 13, 2010, 01:10 AM
Colt's are plentiful, and you'll certainly find a base Government model on the used market in your price range. Just be patient, search around often, and be prepared to move quickly when you spot one.

Springfield is a good choice, too. Good quality, good customer service.

Just remember that the sights on a standard Government model are the definition of minimalist. If you'd consider any one upgrade from a base model, spending a little extra to get one of the listings by either Colt or S.A. to get the better sights is definitely worth it.

January 13, 2010, 01:11 AM
Everyone loves a 1911 that runs perfectly and I am sure you can find one that will.
The other side of that coin is the more you work on one and tune it, in the end you know the gun, the 1911 platform and all its ups and downs.
I am not saying buy a lemon, just get a stock GI and break it in, learn it.
Dont be discouraged.

January 13, 2010, 04:40 AM
For a first 1911 a Colt 1991 Government or Commander would be a great choice...

January 13, 2010, 05:18 AM
I would say a RIA Tactical, that seems to be the best band for the buck these days and should set you back about $430 or so......the GI model is cheaper by $70 or $80 but the Tactical is more shootable......

January 13, 2010, 10:01 AM
There is no right answer to your question.

There is no wrong answer to your question.

January 13, 2010, 01:17 PM
I'd go for a Taurus 1911. Mine was reasonably priced, has functioned flawlessly, is very accurate, and has been a joy to shoot.

January 13, 2010, 04:03 PM
I also started with a Taurus PT1911 for my first one, and it has ran flawlessly.

But the OP stated he wanted an American made 1911. I don't know what your price limit is, but if you're looking for something around $400 just to get your feet wet, I have to agree with an earlier post of trying an American Classic II (at least I think it's American made). I was really impressed with one I saw one at a recent gun show. I think they were running right around $399.

Although if you have a higher budget, many have already suggested very nice choices.

January 13, 2010, 04:29 PM
Buy a Colt.

January 13, 2010, 06:19 PM
i bought a used s&w 1911 it has been perfect and accurate.

January 13, 2010, 06:57 PM
On the cheaper end, the STI Spartan is the best for the price. I really regret selling mine.

January 13, 2010, 07:20 PM
simple answer: the one that you like

Too many choices and too many opinions. My first was/is a Kimber. Many here will knock Kimber and thats cool, its a free country. Mine has never faltered, with factory ammo, I have had some feed and extract issues with reloads I won't lie.

I am a big believer that you go to the store feel it in your hand, one of them will talk to you just right. Thats your piece.

Good luck!

January 13, 2010, 07:32 PM
I have a Kimber Custom Target II and I love it. It shot very well, and accurately. It looks very well built.

The only cons that I have encountered are that they only give you one magazine, but you'd be better off buying different mags anyway. The one that came with it kept misfeeding the last round. I bought a couple of Wilson Combat mags and has not given me any problems yet.

January 13, 2010, 08:20 PM
get one that's NOT made by Thompson Auto Ordinance...

unless you want to get lots of practice clearing stovepipes.

a 1911 that runs is a pleasure...

a 1911 that doesn't run is a headache.

I just went through a very similar decision making process... and plopped my money down for a new series 80 Colt Commander. It should be here in a few days.

January 13, 2010, 08:28 PM
American Classic II is built in The Philippines by Metro Arms Corporation, and imported by RSA in New Jersey. IIRC

January 13, 2010, 08:32 PM
i also regret selling my sti spartan, if you want g.i. though, go Springfield g.i. or mil-spec

Full Metal Jacket
January 13, 2010, 09:23 PM
para gi expert. :)

less than $500, and has way more features than springer's milspec.

January 13, 2010, 09:27 PM
Just bought my first, came down to Kimber vs Springfield Armory. Ended up with a parkerized Springfield Loaded

January 13, 2010, 09:41 PM
RIA Tactical. Save some coin over the big boys.

January 13, 2010, 09:58 PM
I started with a Taurus and, although I've added others to the mix, still shoot it. The company is Brazilian, but they do have an American presence in South Florida.

Ala Dan
January 13, 2010, 09:59 PM
Basic Springfield Armory G.I. model < still less than $500~! ;) :D

January 13, 2010, 10:04 PM

I too like XD's, here's a pic of my .40 - 4 inch.

The 1911 is a MetroArms American Classic II .45., true USGI Mil Spec. Grips ought to be replaced, mine are Kimber Rosewood, EGA. I also replaced my mags with CheckMate mags with hybrid lip and dimpled follower. They also make Colt mags with the "C" stamped on base. These worked the best and smoothest on my gun. The ACT mag that came with it is alright but not smooth and somewhat noisy. Check the extractor tension beforehand too and expect some wear in.

I paid $415 total with FFL thru "galleryofguns .com" via my local dealer.

January 13, 2010, 10:21 PM
My first two were Colts and they did not function worth a darn. It took me nearly 15 years to buy another. I bought a Taurus Duo-tone a year ago and have been incredibly happy with it. I have nearly 3000 rounds through with no malfunctions due to the pistol. I have only had three bobbles total and that was due to my reloads. I bought a Kimber and had I bought it new for over $1100 I would have been ticked off. Fortunately I had only paid $700 for it slightly used and I know a good gunsmith. I ahve since bought a Second Taurus Duo-tone and, most recently a stainless Springfield GI. I have to say that the Sprinfield appears to be a very nice gun. If I had bought new I think I would have bought the Sprinfield Mil-spec. It has the lowered ejection port and somewhat better sights. I also like Rock Island Tactical.

January 13, 2010, 11:15 PM
after owning several 1911's, some suggestions:

buy a 5", nothing shorter
RIA or a Springfield milspec $500-600 if the budget is a bit soft right now. a lot less and you may get what you pay for. para's GI expert has good ratings also
if cost is no object, Nighthawk Custom or Ed Brown, maybe wilson combat
somewhere in the middle ($800-1000) live many of the Kimbers, Springfields. STI, etc
SIG makes a great 1911, but a bit less classic in the looks and shape

January 13, 2010, 11:30 PM
I don't know man,...that RIA is looking a little rough:

January 14, 2010, 11:19 AM
I recently bought a Springfield GI45 as my first 1911 (and my first handgun period) and so far it has met and exceeded my expectations. I've got < 1000 rounds through it though. Quality seems to be very good, there is some play in the frame/slide fit but I understand that is typical of a GI model 1911.

I also bought a Kimber .22LR conversion kit to go with it, and that has been superb as well. I've put 10x as many rounds through that as I have with .45, but then again that's the whole point right? Super cheap way to practice while maintaining the same controls and feel as the .45.

My father-in-law has a Kimber Stainless II which he got used. The frame/slid fit on that is definitely much tighter. He loves it. Kimber is also 100% made in the US, in Yonkers, NY.

I paid under $600 for my Springfield brand new, and about $300 for the 22 conversion. I was on the fence of whether to spend $1000 on a slightly higher end 1911 or buy a basic GI model and the 22 kit. I was looking at a Springfield Loaded Stainless and a Kimber Custom TLE also stainless as my other options.

For right now I'm pleased to have gotten the .45 and .22 on the same gun for the same as just a nicer .45.

I'm sure that I will be adding to my library with at least one more 1911 in the future.

January 15, 2010, 03:26 PM
S&W 1911 for 9 years; thousands of reloads later, not one malfunction. Haven't felt the need for an additional 1911.

If you enjoyed reading about "Best 1911 for first one" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!