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What's the Best Beginner 1911?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by imabballer, Nov 23, 2007.

  1. imabballer

    imabballer New Member

    Jan 20, 2007
    After reading a million reviews and opinions on this site and others, I am wanting to purchase my first 1911 soon. I will admit that I really know next to nothing about 1911's and have no idea which one would best meet my needs. I would use it as a nightstand gun and to take to the range a couple times a month. I don't really have a set in stone budget but I would like to keep it under $700-750, and hopefully a little bit cheaper than that. I'm not looking for custom gun accuracy or any special bells and whistles, just a basic, possibly upgradeable 1911. Any help and advice would be greatly appreciated.

    Thanks in advance!
  2. 3 gun

    3 gun Active Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    N 041 24.000 W 081 43.000 N.E.Ohio
    I'm sure I'll just be the first to say this. You'll have a hard time beating the value of a SA Loaded 1911. You can find them new for your price and closer to $600 lightly used.
  3. sm

    sm member

    Dec 22, 2002
    Between black coffee, and shiftn' gears
    never mind
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2007
  4. BigO01

    BigO01 Active Member

    Feb 15, 2006
    The best buy in 1911's with a balance in price and quality are Armscor made guns like the Charles Daly's , RIA's and after that the Taurus PT 1911's .

    The problem with the guns that run truest to the JMB design is the sights , it wont be long and you will get a chance to shoot someones gun with decent sights on it . Once that happens you will be thinking of upgrading the sights and the ones that come with front and rear dovetailed sights will be best for this .

    Good sights will run ya $100 and double that if you want night sights later .

    You might as well start with a the most quality at the lowest price you can find , and the above guns meet that yet already come with better sights than the stock ones JMB put on the gun . The Armscor made guns come with Novak style sights and the Taurus with Heinies that look much like the Novaks .

    Now if you wanted to get near $900 or a grand go with a Colt XSE as they can be had with Novaks already .

    For a defensive gun that sits on a nightstand most of those bells and whistles can come in handy .

    Extended controls may get in the way in a holster gun but you wont have that problem and they DO help should a reload be needed like an oversized mag release button or extended slide stop and safety , the Beavertial grip safety will make sure you never have a problem with hammer bite and help to get a consistent grip on the weapon for accurate shooting .
  5. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Mentor

    May 5, 2005
    Garrettsville, Oh.
    My top two reccomendations.

    My first pick would be a Springfield Armory pistol. Good handgun for the money. Their frames are drilled square, so they're easy for a 'smith to work on later, should you wish to upgrade parts. I advocate going the route of a G.I. model. The sights are easily changed to something better (check Kings and Yost/Bonitz) and the handgun is pretty much stock. You decide what you want to change, if anything.

    My second pick would be the Rock Island Armory, Charles Daly or High Standard pistols. I carried a CD for several years before I got the Springfield I wanted built. It ain't pretty, but it works well, is reasonably accurate and has never had a problem with any type or brand of ammo I've fed it.

    If you've got the money, get the Springfield. If it's tight around the holidays, get the RIA/CD/HS (all made by the same company).

    MDW GUNS Member

    Mar 6, 2004
    Maine USA
    The milspec 1911 from Springfield are nice, however, the Taurus PT1911 offers a lot more for a $100 more!
  7. XavierBreath

    XavierBreath Mentor

    Jan 6, 2003
    For a person new to 1911s, I usually recommend a Springfield Mil-Spec or Springfield GI45. I recommend a five inch Government Model. They are cost effective, durable, reliable, and reasonably well fitted and well made. They will last a lifetime, and are an excellent gun to learn the 1911 platform with.

    If a person has a desire to get something "better" then I recommend a Colt NRM Government Model. That's the Colt Series 80 1991, new style with the wood grips and new rollmark. The same durability, reliability and workmanship qualities applies to them. If the Series 80 FPS is a concern to the person, a Series 70 Colt Government Model is the ticket. Colts tend to hold value in the marketplace better, making them a superior long term gun if you ever sell.

    sm speaks wisely. The 1911 is a simple weapon that has been made more complex than it needs to be over the years. Some of the modifications make for easier shooting, others for greater accuracy, others for greater durability. Some of the modifications were made for sheer profit in a competitive market. JMB designed the 1911 for reliability. Reliability is foremost in a defensive weapon. Stick with that, and as you learn the platform, modify the weapon to fit your individual needs. You may find you do not need to modify the weapon at all.

    No matter what, stick with a five inch Government Model. Overall reliability tends to decrease exponentially as the barrel and slide shorten.
  8. rellascout

    rellascout member

    Dec 22, 2004
    Buy a Colt XSE. If you know where to buy them you can get them for $799 shipped to your FFL. It will have everything out of the box that you are looking for.

    The nice thing about the Colt is that if you find you don't like the 1911 platform you can turn around a sell it for $799.
  9. Kevin108

    Kevin108 Member

    Jun 16, 2007
    Portsmouth, VA
    Get something with sights you can see! This negates any of the barebones GI models.
  10. Ethereal

    Ethereal Member

    Mar 21, 2007
    Kent, Washington
    get a Springfield.

    I'd stay away from the RIA, Cd's, or the Taurus 1911's. It sounds like you want your first 1911 to be a good foundation without breaking the bank. Get yourself either a GI or Milspec Springfield for around $500, get to know the thing, and if you want to later on you've got yourself an excellent base gun for a custom shooter. Companies like Yost-Bonitz, Cylinder&Slide, Novak, and Heinie all use Springfield GI's as their base guns on custom orders. They are built to spec and give them the best platform to work up from.
  11. sb350hp

    sb350hp New Member

    Feb 26, 2007
    TAURUS PT1911. Best gun for the money. Read the reviews of actual owners and you will learn the most if not all of the bashing that goes on in regards to this gun are from those that "have a friend whose buddy had one and it was junk".

    The ones that forked over the 450 to 650 (price has increased becuase of demand!!!) have found this gun to be very very good. Mine puts groups consistanly inside 3" at 12 yds and under 2" at 7 yds off hand. Latest outing at 7 yds all but 1 rd are intersected with a previous shot. If I could get me stinkin computer to read the camera's smart card I would inlcude pic's.
  12. strat81

    strat81 Senior Member

    Oct 6, 2006
    I just answered this very question. For me, the contenders were the Springfield Mil-Spec, Rock Island Tactical, Taurus PT 1911, and STI Spartan.

    I put a deposit on the Spartan this past Tuesday. The fiber optic front and adjustable rear were big points for me. Very good reviews that I've seen and no horror stories.

    I didn't want a blued gun, so that ruled Taurus out. They've been selling the blued model hand over fist, so they're in no rush to get the stainless out.

    So between the SA and the STI, it was more of an emotional decision.

    I don't think you'll go wrong with any of the four I mentioned. If it matters to you, all four are made overseas: Taurus and SA in Brazil, Rock Island and STI in the Philippines. The STI has its final QC check done in Texas, and the internals are STI (USA-made) parts.
  13. jahwarrior

    jahwarrior Participating Member

    Apr 9, 2007
    Dickson City, PA
    i'd get the taurus. i wanted a 1911 for awhile, after shooting my dad's colt. my boss has the taurus, and let me shoot it. i bought it the next week, and only paid $550 for it brand new, as opposed to $800 for a colt. it shoots great, or rather, i shoot great with it: 3" groups at 20 yards. well, that's good for me.
  14. DC3-CVN-72

    DC3-CVN-72 Member

    Nov 18, 2006
    Burbank Illinois
    I would go with a Loaded 1911-A-1 .45 ACP. from SPRINGFEILD ARMORY. Best bang for your buck, plus the life-time warrenty can't be beat. My next stop would be at COLT for a NRM Government model.:)
  15. Hunter0924

    Hunter0924 Active Member

    Jun 8, 2007
    North Carolina
    Colt 1991 would get you a nice well built pistol using quality materials within your budget not to mention it is a Colt.
  16. Vito_Corleone

    Vito_Corleone New Member

    Sep 22, 2007
    My PT1911 is fantastic. I considered a SA GI, but for a little more, I got the PT1911 and couldn't be happier.
  17. Daryl Licht

    Daryl Licht New Member

    Dec 25, 2002
    All good suggestions here. I'll have to put in my $.02 for the Springfield Mil Spec. It does have some features such as a lowered and flared ejection port and better sights. It's also available in stainless, which I would wholeheartedly recommend.

    The Armscor pistols are good as well. I have the RIA GI model, the only shortcoming is the sights, although with sufficient practice they are servicable as is.

    If you have an opportunity to try a few different models it would be worthwhile to do so. There are so many options as far as triggers, hammers, grip safeties, thumb safeties, etc. that you might as well get what you want the first time. I agree with those here who say that the basic pistol is fine just as JMB designed it. It may be for you as well, but it's too easy to buy a pistol off the shelf with whatever custom features you'd like than to find you want some upgrades and end up spending a lot of money customizing a base gun.

    Then again, who stops with just one?
  18. dmazur

    dmazur Senior Member

    Apr 28, 2007
    Pacific NW
    +1 for Colt 1991. I added different springs, full-length guide rod, changed trigger, polished hammer and sear and it's fantastic. (Plus I learned a lot about a 1911 that I would have been afraid to do to a $2000 Wilson.)
  19. LeonCarr

    LeonCarr Senior Member

    Mar 20, 2003
    At The Range
    If I were a 1911 guy, I would pick either the single stack 5" Para or the STI Spartan.

    Just my .02,
  20. the pistolero

    the pistolero Active Member

    Apr 14, 2006
    Beaumont-Port Arthur, Texas
    My very first 1911 was a Springfield GI. If I had it to do over again I might have gotten the milspec for the better sights, but I can work with the low-profile GI sights. Whereas with the Taurus 1911, notwithstanding the great deal it might be, the Heinie straight eights would be the first thing to be replaced. Maybe the only thing. I can't speak for the Taurus, but I do wholeheartedly and without reservation recommend the Springfield. The GI or Mil-Spec would both be great candidates for upgrades, or the Loaded if you want it with the bells & whistles from the factory. I got my parkerized Loaded for $760 and change out the door; a stainless would have run a little more, but I personally find the parked finish quite appealing.

    That's a right good question, Daryl Licht. :D :D

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