My First 1911 - What To Get


Beach Nut
May 4, 2012, 05:53 AM
I've finally got the urge to by my first 1911 and I would like your input. I own
several handguns, mostly Glocks and revolvers, but I now have the itch to
buy a 1911 after talking with so many people who are fans of this model.
I'm not lookng for anything fancy, it will not be a BBQ gun, just something
reliable and a gun I can spend plenty of range time with and carry from time
to time. What you recommend for me that wouldn't require a second mortgage
on the house? (around $ 800.00 or less)

If you enjoyed reading about "My First 1911 - What To Get" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!
May 4, 2012, 06:10 AM
I'd buy a used vintage bullseye gun. They just look right.

May 4, 2012, 06:50 AM
Many on the market now, seems everyone is in on the act as it was the 100 year anniversary recently. Most offerings seem very nice and are in your price range or close. Some higher some lower, you can find alot used in great shape. There are more offerings out there too that are above your range as well. It is a popular 100 year old classic;)

May 4, 2012, 07:14 AM
The Ruger SR1911 is really nice. All stainless with only a few MIM parts, CNC machined, made in America, looks great, solid, and shoots well. I'm picking one up for $600 at a local shop pretty soon.

May 4, 2012, 08:06 AM
Get a Colt. You'll be getting a reliable pistol that will hold it's value. You can pick up an XSE which has some nice features for under $1000 and is worth every penny.

May 4, 2012, 08:08 AM
What to get? The very highest quality you can afford and still buy either ammunition or components.

May 4, 2012, 08:29 AM
If you haven't already done so, I recommend finding someone with a Plain Jane USGI styled 1911 and shoot it. If you bleed after shooting it, you know you'll probably want a beavertail grip safety and Commander style hammer.

If you can find someone selling a used Colt who isn't too proud of it, then that would be a good choice. A non-GSR SIG would be my next recommendation, followed by a Springfield Armory, Inc. pistol. Personally, I wouldn't bother with the rest.

May 4, 2012, 01:53 PM

What does that mean? Is there a good way to tell a non-GSR SIG from a GSR model. What is the difference(s)? Thanks.

May 4, 2012, 01:56 PM
I believe he's referring to Sig's "traditional" style 1911's.

See here:

. . . it's a good suggestion, btw.

May 4, 2012, 04:17 PM
GSR was the original name of the SIG 1911 pistols that developed a poor reputation. They were built with the idea that if you took a bunch of quality individual components you could simply assemble them and have a great 1911. It doesn't work out that way. Incorrectly drilled hammer pin holes resulted in leaning hammers. A silly screw-on cover ("manhole cover") for the firing pin safety components had a tendency to unscrew itself and make a mess of things.

They will almost always have a "GSR" engraved into the slide and most of them have the "manhole cover" on the rear of the slide as well. I would recommend steering clear of SIG "GSR" pistols from that time period.

The newer SIGs are marked "1911" and they represent a more refined product with a lot of hand-fitting done in New Hampshire. Some may have "GSR" as the prefix of the serial number, but shouldn't be confused with early GSR pistols.

LTR shooter
May 4, 2012, 04:36 PM
What you recommend for me that wouldn't require a second mortgage
on the house? (around $ 800.00 or less)

I picked up a Springfield Armory Range Officer and spent under $800. Extremely pleased with this 1911!

May 4, 2012, 06:18 PM
Thanks boricua9mm-I've been looking at a SIG Model STX or a TTT. Are these models in the "good" era?

May 4, 2012, 08:54 PM
I will hopefully when I'm done with school add a 1911 to my collection. I can't see myself going with anything other then the brand that brought it to us.. Colt

P.S. Shot a Colt defender for the first time 2 weeks ago, and I think its the single stage trigger, but I could shoot 1 ragged hole instead of a baseball size group. If that means anything

May 4, 2012, 10:11 PM
I chose my Colt 1991 Commander as my first gun... and love it. ~600 rounds through it with not a single problem, and its more accurate than I am.

Something about the way they feel is just different from every other 1911. Super nice and crisp trigger from the factory as well.

I have changed the rear sight for a 10-8 performance rear sight, my eyes wandered from front to rear sight with the 3 dot setup. I think I will be adding a medium or short trigger + arched mainspring housing for personal preference reasons... My big mittens seemed to have a better/more natural grip on another 1911 I fondled with that setup.

May 4, 2012, 10:23 PM
Springfield Armory Loaded.

May 4, 2012, 11:10 PM
I picked up an STI Spartan not too long ago. I was really surprised by the low price for what you get, so I grabbed it. It's really nothing special, but the trigger isn't bad and it's been reliable with ball, hollow points and semi-wad cutters.

The only things I missed were the front strap checkering and the undercut trigger guard, but you really can't expect to get those for the price of the Spartan.

If you are thinking about buying used, just be careful. Although I do believe that buying used is a great way to get into a nice gun on the cheap, you have to remember that the 1911 is sort of like the AR-15 of handguns. They are very customizable and there are lots of garage gun smiths out there. I've seen plenty of nice 1911s that were butchered by owners that thought they were making the gun "better."

If you don't know what you're looking at, you can easily get screwed. If buying used, I'd suggest that you get the pistol checked out by a smith before buying.

May 5, 2012, 12:15 AM
There are some really nice, high dollar 1911 clones on the market that shoot great and there's a lot that don't. However, a Colt is the standard by which all others are judged. A Colt 1911 is always going to hold it's value because it's the "real deal" and will shoot/function better than most.

May 5, 2012, 04:16 AM
I have a Springfield Range Officer, and a Ruger SR1911, both have shot very well for me. I handload 230 grain round nose cast bullets in them and they're sweet shooters. I dont think you can go wrong if you look at most of the guns listed. I had a PT1911 that was a really good shooter but I just couldnt get over the ugly PT1911 stuff on the side of it. So I sold it and it partially funded my Ruger.

May 5, 2012, 11:36 AM
The Ruger SR1911 is really nice. All stainless with only a few MIM parts, CNC machined, made in America, looks great, solid, and shoots well. I'm picking one up for $600 at a local shop pretty soon.
Nice find! IMO, both Ruger and Springfield are good options in your price range OP.

May 7, 2012, 09:19 AM
I picked up a Springfield Armory Range Officer and spent under $800. Extremely pleased with this 1911!

That's a great gun for the money on everything I read!

I own an older Colt Commander, love it.

May 7, 2012, 10:31 AM
VX, you've established a very tight budget for a 1911 in what is a crowded market of hit and miss contenders.

If it were me I'd choose a Colt 1991 then double its cost at the gunsmith's.

Because I'm not the one shopping and it sounds as though you want a ready to go package I'd recommend the aforementioned STI Spartan as a solid alternative to a basic GI configuration. You'll have a well built pistol with good internal parts, sights you can see and it won't break the budget. You'll have good warranty service with enough money left over for a quality holster.

The Springfield Range Officer would be another decent option with a very similar set-up, again with meaningful features and top-notch customer service.

May 7, 2012, 04:58 PM
I have two 1911's; a Les Baer PII 1.5G and a Spartan STI. The Spartan is a great budget 1911 choice. No, it doesn't have as good of a trigger as the Baer, and no, its not quite as accurate, but at 50', you'd be hard pressed to tell the two pistols apart. The Ruger or the SRO are also good choices if you want to spend a little more.

I recommend the Spartan to someone looking for a 1911 under a grand. If you have more than a grand to spend, I recommend looking at used semi-custom guns like Brown or Baer.

May 7, 2012, 05:23 PM
A Springfield Armory would be my first choice. Up until last week I had a SA EMP .40, a 3" 1911, and thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread. Kinda over your budget though. A friend of mine has an ATI 3" 1911 that he picked for about $400. And to be honest, I'd like to have either the micro 3" or the full size 5" from ATI.

Another that I've heard great things about is the RIA, Rock Island Armory line. One of the guys at the range let me pop a few with his, and I really was impressed with it. I think he said he paid about $300-350 for his about five years ago.

Another buddy of mine has a few of the STI models, and does nothing but brag about them. And from what I've read and seen of them, those boys in Texas at STI are doing it right. And the Spartan is right in your price range. About $700-750 or so.

Good hunting

May 7, 2012, 05:55 PM
How about $635 for the Spartan?

May 7, 2012, 06:17 PM
My first is a GSG 1911, which is a .22 cal. I bought it so I could get used to the feel of the 1911 frame and it has been great fun shooting. Fortunately, I have friends who shoot 1911s in the traditional .45 cal, so I get to experiment with theirs. My favorite so far is a Kimber, but can't recall the model at the moment. Can't wait to get one myself. Hope you get a good one, they are loads of fun to shoot.

May 7, 2012, 06:50 PM
Got a baseline kimber 1911 custom II a couple summers ago, installed a wilson combat spring kit and wilson combat extended slide release before ever shooting it. The spring kit made a nice difference in hammer spring tension, and the extended slide release's finish matches that of the kimber. Total into it is about $850. It will probably be the only 1911 i'll ever own, it's a great gun and my dedicated carry .45.

May 8, 2012, 12:09 AM
I just picked up my Ruger SR1911 this afternoon. Had the chance to put 50 rounds downrange before the range closed for the day. I've been looking for one for quite a while but couldn't find any available for less than $800. I lucked out and found one online for $649 after about 2 months of almost daily searches. I'm very happy with it and glad I waited for it. It is my first 1911.

May 8, 2012, 12:17 PM
If you don't want to invest all that, maybe think about the RIA Govt Model. Pretty much a direct clone of the basic 1911A1, good value for the money and they "run" well for the price----around 400 or so.
Been happy with mine, I shoot my reloads through it with no problem. Without investing a lot, you can see if you like the 1911 platform and can always upgrade with a resale of the RIA.

May 8, 2012, 09:00 PM
Have 2 Springfield Armory 1911's

4" Champion Model has night sights, ambi safety
5" "GI-45" model.. single sided safety, and tiny sights

May 8, 2012, 09:52 PM
Get you a taurus 1911 or springfield 1911 both are nice you can find used ones between 480 to 560.I am going to get a ruger 1911 when the prices drop. Ruger has been delaying the supply on these autos since dec of 2011.when the hipe dies done then Iwill get my third 1911.

May 8, 2012, 09:58 PM
Get the RIA Tactical for cheap . It has great reviews and wont hurt the bank. If you want the best , stick with Colt XSE .

If you enjoyed reading about "My First 1911 - What To Get" here in archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join today for the full version!