What's the best "value" in 1911's around $1k?


April 20, 2013, 11:57 AM
I don't mean the cheapest one that works! I have been looking for a 1911 "other than" a full-size or Commander-size steel .45. So either something in 9mm or some type of lightweight and/or compact .45. I was recently checking out a few models of Sig 1911 that I had not previously considered. (Went into the LGS to BUY either a Colt Defender or SA EMP in 9mm. Ended up buying nothing after getting distracted by the Sigs then not being able to make up my mind!)

In conversation someone offered that Sig is where Dan Wesson and STI were few years ago. That is, excellent value offering a lot of features, high-quality parts and excellent assembly at what should be considered a low price based on what was being offered overall. This is kind of where Springfield "Loadeds", Colt XSE's and Kimbers were a decade or so ago, packaging features that would cost much more if added to a GI gun.

Some feel that lately DW's and STI's are pricing themselves a little high. No complaints about the offering, still excellent guns, but not as much of a "value" at their current higher prices. (Most $1100+ and many well up over $1500+) So is Sig the value buy now in the $800-$1000 range? I was looking at the "Ultra Compact" and "Compact" at $950, C3 at $850, and Nightmare Carry at $1000.

I am not knocking the "semi-customs" at $2500-$3000+++ (just can't afford them!) nor am I overlooking the Phillipine guns in the $500 range (I realize they are fine weapons but I would choose to improve certain things that would put them at about a grand anyway). Is Sig trading on their name and throwing "ok" parts together or are they worth a grand? Are the "lower end" DW's and STI's still the "sweet spot" in the $1k range? I will say I was pretty impressed with the Springfield Loaded Champion at $850 but that's not "different enough" from the full size Loaded model I already have.

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April 20, 2013, 12:53 PM
Just yesterday we fondled a Ruger SR1911 at Academy Sports. At $699 I think that's pretty high value: it's USA made and Ruger generally has very good customer service. They also had the "Commander" size but I didn't note it's price.

The Remington 1911 R1 was $699 (stainless $730) which I think is pretty high value also.

Quick Shot xMLx
April 20, 2013, 01:16 PM
Probably the STI Trojan. Handled one locally and I was beyond impressed by it. The trigger is a step above anything else I've handled in that range.

April 20, 2013, 01:30 PM
I have the same dilemma although mine is between the EMP and STI Shadow. I've got to pick up a couple pistols I bought online at LGS in a few hours and will revisit the EMP again.

April 20, 2013, 01:35 PM
I picked up a Springfield EMP for $1100 recently. It's a very nice "non-standard" subcompact 1911.

April 20, 2013, 02:02 PM
Colt Govt. Lightweight (XSE) or 1991 in 9mm. May have to be patient and check multiple sources but they can be found in your price range.


April 20, 2013, 02:17 PM
Many of the Colts are priced around there. I'd go S70 Repro or plain jane Gov't Model.

April 20, 2013, 02:21 PM
I would get this: http://www.gunbroker.com/Auction/ViewItem.aspx?Item=337634767

April 20, 2013, 02:46 PM
Cmndr; That Loaded 9mm is pretty much exactly like my Loaded .45, so I'd be looking for something a little different.

Pilot; My other 1911 is a new o1991 I just got in February. Also a great gun. One of the reasons I passed on a new Colt CCO also in stock was that even with the lightweight frame, it's pretty close to my Gov't model as far as sites, finish, trigger, etc. Honestly, I'd have to say I preferred the C3 to the Colt version anyway and the Sig is $250 cheaper than the Colt also.

For you Sig owners; how is "overall fit and finish" and how about durability? Again, I was impressed by the models I saw but I know nothing of their internals. I'm not worried specifically about MIM parts, I believe there are good and bad MIM parts as well as good and bad forged parts. Being forged doesn't necessarily make it good and being MIM doesn't automatically mean it's bad.

April 20, 2013, 02:50 PM
You WILL NOT be unhappy with the Sig! I just bought a nitron model with night sights. I made out like a bandit for it factory new at $740 and 10 bucks shipping. I'll post a pic with it wearing a set of Sarge's grips.

Also, I vote for another steal I recently got on gunbroker. It's a S&W 1911 pro series in 9mm. I made off with it for $875. For that price......it's one heck of a lot of gun!!

April 20, 2013, 04:21 PM
These two are on my want list, The taurus gives you a lot for the $$$ (I want the .45 but they make .38super and 9mm), and the Armscor is just a neat 1911 with the options for a 9mm/.22tcm switch barrel.



April 20, 2013, 04:47 PM
My next 1911 will be the Trojan from STI. I owned a sig 1911 (TacPac non railed) and sold it in favor of my STI Spartan and Colt. Just wasn't as good

April 20, 2013, 05:30 PM
Also....what's your idea of around 1k?

Just asking. Because generally when I say something like that I mean UNDER 1k and preferably decently under. For a truly sub 1k gun I don't see a better gun for the money than the Sig. Once I break a thousand I go to 1200 and that brings Dan Wesson and the new sexy looking S&W performance center 1911s. Those are definitely on my short list of guns 1k and over.

April 20, 2013, 09:29 PM
There are several good choices out there. My preference is for STI. I own 2 Trojans (9mm & .45) and they are outstanding. Tight fitting, buttery smooth, excellent trigger, and very accurate. (I shoot the 9mm in competition.) I think it's the best you can get in the $1000-$1400 range. If you want something in a smaller size within the same price range STI also has several options. I have a Ranger (4.25") and a Guardian (3.9") and both enjoy all the same high quality standards STI is known for. The Guardian is my EDC and is uncommonly accurate officer size pistol.

Additionally, all STI pistols (with the exception of the entry level Spartan) are U.S. made in Georgetown, TX. Another plus is the warranty. All of their pistols come with a lifetime guarantee. And the guarantee is on the pistol and it doesn't matter if you're the first owner or the tenth.

Just my two cents, but like I said I'm an STI junkie.

April 21, 2013, 09:30 AM
My new STI Ranger II 9mm has run very well out of the box. 4.5lb factory trigger. Uses all my magazines.

April 21, 2013, 01:11 PM
STI Trojan would get my vote as well.

April 21, 2013, 07:58 PM
S&W gets my vote.

April 21, 2013, 08:06 PM
STI Trojan by far. STI is a hand fitted semi custom (made in USA), the "off the rack" junk is just MIM drop and hammer into place fit guns. No comparison.

April 21, 2013, 08:08 PM
The STI Trojan is a great choice also. Their out of the box triggers are fantastic.

April 21, 2013, 08:40 PM
""Also....what's your idea of around 1k?
Just asking. Because generally when I say something like that I mean UNDER 1k and preferably decently under. For a truly sub 1k gun I don't see a better gun for the money than the Sig. Once I break a thousand I go to 1200 and that brings Dan Wesson and the new sexy looking S&W performance center 1911s. Those are definitely on my short list of guns 1k and over.""

Lantern; by "around $1000" i mean I can't go up into the $1500 range. I've seen a few I like at up to $1100 and I'm ok there. Of the ones I've seen and considered so far the EMP was priced the highest at around $1145 IIRC. If that's the one I decide on I am ok at that price. (I'm a regular customer there and pretty sure I could get OTD with tax and a box of range ammo at $1200. That's pretty much my OTD max. $1200 local purchase including tax or internet purchase including shipping and FFL)

I really like the looks of the DW ECO but you can't touch them under $1500 and their Guardian which I've seen go up to $1800. I know these are good guns but just cant do those prices. I kind of like the looks of the STI Guardian, with a 3.9" barrel being longer than the smallest compacts at 3" but a little easier to carry than the 4.25" CCO style guns. Also available in 9mm which I am considering as well. Only problem I have is spending up to my max for one having never held one. I've never seen an STI in stock at any of my LGS's

April 21, 2013, 09:01 PM
I have a Sig Scorpion and it's been very good. Fit and finish is terrific.
I have had a couple of Springfield Loaded 1911's which were well under $1000 and they were also very good.

April 21, 2013, 09:07 PM
I think the best value in a 1911 is the Metro Arms American Classic II. When I bought mine there were many other 1911s I compared them to side by side. The fit and finish were equal or better than all of the others in the range of up to $1000 but it cost half of that. It was the ONLY 1911 I've owned that actually functioned 100%. The action was incredibly smooth on it. If I were to buy another 1911 I think it would be the Commander (Amigo?) version. There was also a Colt in the case for around $900 that seemed like a very nice piece. Its your money friend. I hope you are happy with whatever you get. Personally, I would much rather spend that money on a M&P 45 and about 500 bucks worth of ammo.

April 22, 2013, 01:21 PM
From what I read it sounds like you REALLY want a smaller 1911 style in 9mm. If that's the case then the sti guardian is a very nice choice and can be had on gunbroker right now at your asking price. Knowing that this is what you really want then may I add the Springfield EMP into your short list. It checks all your boxes and can also be has at your asking price on gunbroker right as I type this.:)

April 22, 2013, 01:33 PM

April 22, 2013, 01:36 PM
STI Trojan.:D

Sent from my Nexus 4 using Tapatalk 2

April 22, 2013, 01:42 PM
my sig tacpac for $650 was an amazing value. The gun alone (sig sauer nitron rail 1911) was worth far more, as a feature loaded 1911. Add the holster, laser, and other accessories that comes with the tacpac, and it was a no brainer.

it shoots very well, as well. EXTREMELY accurate.

April 22, 2013, 02:12 PM
Dang forgot about that little gem! Good call. I'd also give the nightmare carry a hard look.

April 22, 2013, 02:28 PM
New things have come out since I got my Springfield Loaded but it's everything I want in a 1911 and ran about $750 when I bought it in the mid-2000's.

Oops, I didn't catch that you were looking for a 9mm version. Sorry.

April 22, 2013, 03:40 PM
No, problem there, CSG and I heartily agree. I have a Loaded Stainless Government model and it's a great gun. (10 years ago mine was around $670 IIRC) While checking out the Sigs I saw the store also had a "Loaded" Lightweight Champion. Even at today's price of $850 I think they are a great gun and great value. Just not different enough from what I already have to make me jump on it. (I was actually considering a couple of used versions and did not realize SA was still making them. The one at my LGS was NIB.) I just figured if my next 1911 is to be another .45 I want it to be more different from what I already have. Same with the Sig Nightmare Carry. Awesome gun from what I could tell, really impressive, but with already owning 2 - 5" steel .45's the Nightmare Carry was also not "different enough". Beautiful and cool but when you boil it down the only real difference is a 3/4" shorter slide. The bobtail is nice but I'm never gonna carry a steel 1911. A lightweight compact might even give the Shield a run for its money as an EDC or might just turn out to be a fun shooter that is different from what I have already.

I guarantee if either of the Sigs were in 9mm I would have jumped on one of them. Again, I was there to buy either the EMP or the Defender with cash-in-hand. The Sigs were nice enough to put a hold on to do some homework. (You all HAVE to know how hard it is to be in a gun shop with a grand in your pocket and leave without a new gun!!) I won the April Self-Control Award!

April 22, 2013, 08:26 PM
The Loaded's are offered in 9mm, too I thought?

Idk, I'm an STI fanboy. I say pick one of their offerings and never look back :D

They're one company who seems to have something for everybody, as long as it 's a 1911, haha.

April 22, 2013, 08:40 PM
I love my Sig Scorpion! But that puts you a bit over the 1K mark. Unless you are military. I got mine at the BX for $924.
For value, I would go with the Tac Pac. There is a lot of stuff in that package. The BX didn't have that one so I got the Scorpion.
I would not be comfortable with getting a Para. I shoot with a guy that has one and it's back to the factory for the third time. Maybe he got a Monday or Friday gun.


April 23, 2013, 09:54 AM
Have you given any thought to the 38 super? The length of the cartridge lends itself to be more reliable than 9mm in the 1911.

Now I don't have one because I wanted 9mm and its not gonna be a self defense gun. But If i were wanting one for SD I'd give a real hard look at 38 super just from the reliability standpoint.

Danny Tumma
April 23, 2013, 10:48 AM
I have a Smith and Wesson E series. Great shooter. Zero malfunctions. The thing shoots a whole lot straighter than I do.

April 23, 2013, 06:50 PM
Lantern; No more calibers for me! I have .22's, .38/.357's, 9mm, .45ACP and 1 @ .380. It's already hard enough to feed this family! I can't really see myself buying a 1911 in anything other than 9mm or .45ACP

D.Tumma: I've also seen a few REALLY cool S&W's. I recall a Commader model coming in to my LGS and the GM just couldn't bring himself to put it in the case. It went right to the range then right onto his hip! (High praise when you figure the guy could have just about any gun he wants on his hip!)

Gun Geezer
April 23, 2013, 09:51 PM
I thought I'd see at least one "like" for the Colt Defender. Love the way it feels and points, low weight, etc. But I have not bought or shot one.

Rex B
May 6, 2013, 09:42 AM
I have a Para LDA/PDA. It has never failed. It's also the same size as my EMP. There are probably dimensional differences, but I found none that mattered. OAL, thickness, and loaded weight were essentially identical.

Good gun and worthy of consideration.

May 6, 2013, 10:25 AM
Might not be what you had in mind but the route I took was to get a $600 Citadel (aka Armscor/Rock Island) then take what was leftover and buy a new trigger, fiber optic front sight, steel MSH, and pay to have them professionally fitted/installed. I absolutely love mine; sure, it's no Dan Wesson but I wouldn't trade it for a Kimber.

May 6, 2013, 09:15 PM
Well I bought a Sig C3 on my way home from work Friday night! I have never bought a NIB gun before and took so long to get to the range with it! I took it with me to work hoping to get a break at some point but that never happened. I'll try again tomorrow but will likely miss out again. Wednesday after work should be a definite. I really like the look and feel of this gun. Very nice fit and finish but flyin' lead is the true test.

May 6, 2013, 10:56 PM
Awesome! Don't forget to tell all the details on your range trip!

May 7, 2013, 04:10 PM
I snuck out at lunch today with my new C3 and popped-off 100 rounds; 50 each PMC Bronze and S&B 230 FMJ. I had field-stripped and cleaned it over the weekend and used the grease Sig packs with the gun for its first lube. (Went a little heavy on the grease as I usually run a new gun pretty wet for the first couple of range sessions.)

Upon firing, I was surprised that I did not feel like it had much more recoil than my steel 1911's. Noticeably more, definitely, but not as bad as I expected it to be. It was also very accurate. Out to 25 feet it was almost on par with my full-size guns. Everything in the 9- and 10-rings with a few X's. Groups opened up a bit at max distance on the indoor range, which is 45 or 50 feet, I think, but still "Paper-plate accurate" to that distance. I was more focused on function today and also in a bit of a hurry to get back to work. I believe this gun is capable of much more accuracy than I could wring out of it today.

I had three failures in the first 50 rounds, all with the PMC ammo: two were simple failures to fully return to battery where a simple nudge on the back of the slide sent it fully home and the rounds fired and ejected correctly. The third appeared the same at first but tapping the rear of the slide did not send the slide home. The round also appeared to be slightly oriented toward the inside of the slide where the first two were lined-up straight with the barrel, just not all the way in. I ejected the round and noticed a very small burr or imperfection at the case rim. I had not noticed it when loading the mag so can't be sure if it came out of the box that way or if somehow it got dinged up as it was feeding. This was a PMC round - last one in the box, first one loaded, last one out of the mag with 6 rounds of S&B on top. (I kind of doubt that had anything to do with it but I might as well mention it.) As the burr was very small and the round appeared fine otherwise, I loaded it by itself in a mag and tried it again and it fed, fired and ejected with no issue.

Overall I am pleased with the fit, finish and accuracy of my new gun. I am never pleased with any failures in any gun but I am not too put-off by three minor occurrences within the first 50 rounds from a NIB 1911. (The last three guns I've bought new in the last few years have all been perfect out of the box, including a Colt 1991.) Like any other gun, I will run a couple hundred error-free rounds through this before I would trust it for defensive purposes, but my initial impressions are very good and I believe it will get there. I did not buy this specifically to be a carry gun, anyway, and it may not actually be carried that much, even after it proves itself. I am definitely happy with it. It's a very handsome and pretty cool little pistol.

DC Plumber
May 7, 2013, 07:13 PM
Congrats on the Sig purchase. Are your failures due to the fact that the grip frame is short and you may have limp wristed?

I'd post a pic of my two Sigs, an XO and a Fastback Carry, but I don't know how to post a picture. Absolutely love them. Excellent fit and finish. Have yet to fire the Fastback, but the XO is flawless, even with a starting load with LSWC bullets for target shooting.

May 7, 2013, 08:06 PM
Are your failures due to the fact that the grip frame is short and you may have limp wristed?

Limp wrist a 1911??????

May 7, 2013, 09:00 PM
I've had bad luck with recent boxes of PMC Bronze - had 2 boxes, both had some rounds that wouldn't chamber. Took them out and looked at them and they had burrs as described below. Wouldn't feed in an otherwise 100% reliable gun - I'm avoiding PMC in .45 for a while, which is tough in an ammo shortage situation...

May 7, 2013, 11:48 PM
Colt Govt. 70 series. They go for about 1k new

May 8, 2013, 09:13 AM
Colt Defender or New Agent

May 9, 2013, 10:13 AM
Two guns come to my mind:

1. I recently bought one of the new Sig "Fastback Carry", Nitron coated 4" 1911s. Great value for ~$800-$900. Nicely bobbed mainspring, checkered front strap and a very nicely fitted slide. It's definitely not a rattle trap. The trigger gets better and better as I shoot it. The Fastback Carry comes with nice rosewood grips, and the "Nightmare" model comes with black (G10 I think?) grips. No reliability issues.

2. I think the new Rugers are a steal. If you can find one of the 4" ones, I think it would be a great little gun. A friend has the 5" and it's one of the best deals going. Very nice pistol.

May 9, 2013, 12:55 PM
The Sig gets my vote I bought one for my dad last year for fathers day. I liked it so much I ordered one for me too. When my dad and I hit the range it was amazing, smooth, low recoil compared to other 1911s. I loved it. When I got mine in a customer came in and had it have it so I let mine go and regret it everyday.


May 9, 2013, 01:05 PM
I would look at a decent all around mid price gun with the intent on accurizing/customizing it the way you want. You will end up spending less in the long run and know what you have, they usually will bring more money if you need to sell also! Many of today's so called match grade and custom guns still need a lot of TLC to make Top Notch!

May 10, 2013, 09:52 AM
Magnum Research Desert Eagle 1911 4.33 brl. Nice trigger and seems a little lighter than my RI was. The roll mark is a little gawdy, but I dont notice it anymore. Its definetly a good shooter. Way to many choices out there.

May 10, 2013, 01:27 PM
Limp wrist a 1911??????
Indeed, some people still (erroneously) believe this.

A properly-timed 1911 can be shot all day and night with the loosest hold you can imagine.

Properly-timed, of course, means you're shooting 230gr ammo with stock parts and stock springs.


May 10, 2013, 01:35 PM
Oh, er, here's my entry:


Remington R1S; my mods:

Ed Brown arched, serrated mainspring housing
Ed Brown Hardcore slide stop
Wide-spur hammer from ebay
Wilson Combat Bulletproof sear
EGW disconnector
Various EGW pins
Colt recoil spring, sear spring, and mainspring
Full-checker stocks from ebay
Checkmate magazines with GI feedlips

The only strictly necessary changes, in my opinion, are throwing out their crappy springs and crappy magazines. Everything else is pretty good.

Quite happy with my stainless copy of a M1911A1. :-) Last step? Lanyard loop!


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