Best Inexpensive 1911?

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Nov 28, 2003
Tampa Bay area
What would you'll consider to be the overall best inexpensive 1911? I prefer the plain Jane mil-spec looking 1911s over the ones with extended beavertails, fancy grip safeties, rails, ect...

I've owned 2 SA Mil-Specs in the past (one park, one SS), and both had reliability issues so I'm a bit leery of giving SA another shot.

I've read a few rather positve reviews on AO's 1911s, but I've also read a number of folk's complaints of the front sights coming loose or falling off. I did handle one not too long ago and it looked nice, but the thumb safety was very mushy and didn't click positively in place.

I've read many glowing reports on the RIA 1911s, and that's kind of the way I'm leaning. I like the looks of their parkerized GI 1911. Can anyone here tell what is the relationship between Rock Island Armory and Armscor? Are they affliated? Is RIA a subsidiary of Armscor, or are they two different companies with different products?

I'm also aware that High Standard is now producing an inexpensive Mil-Spec 1911. Anyone here have any experience with the High Standard model? How would you'll rate/compare this model against the RIA 1911? I also understand that the RIA frames are cast (I don't really have any problems with that, having a late production Hi-Power Capitan that I cherish), are the HS frames also cast?

I'm probably going to buy either a RIA or High Standard 1911 on GB today, so you'lls input/opinions/experiences with either would be greatly appreciated.

Oh, please don't suggest the Sistema 1911, the days of the affordable, nice looking refurbs seems to have sadly passed....:(

....And don't even get me started on our government banning those "evil" Norinco 1911s, yet has seemingly little problem with lead laced toys or killer pet food.... :banghead:


ria from 1st hand exp is a good product for the price, amoung my freinds and range people have only seen 1 go back and that was 2 years ago -good luck
There's a website called THE SITE that is devoted to 1911s. they just posted a really good review of RIAs 1911. As mentioned it is an armscor product. I own one & I'm totally satisfied W/ it. If you're looking for an inexpensive 1911 I recomend it.
I still think the SA G.I. or Milspec is still the best. If it doesn't run, SA will make it right.
i have a RIA that right out of the box has been great.Got it several years ago from AIM,not the milspec but lightly mod with beavertail and tactical sights.Barrel to slide,tight.Slide to receiver even better.Cost $349.I sent a Colt Gold Match back that was a mess of machining marks,couldnt run a mag through without jammimg,so its all a roll of the dice.
I think the High Standard M1911A1 is also an Armscor product from the Phillipines.
I am extremely pleased with my Rock Island for it's price, although, I am looking into Taurus' hotrodded 1911 for my next one.
I understand you had issues with your SA's. My experience with the Customer Service at Springfield is excellent. I had a issue with a GI model. SA paid for shipping both ways. Did WAY more than necessary to resolve issue. When it was returned I had no additional issues.

I have read some good things on the RIA. I just have issues with a cast frame. I know that good and bad castings exist. But given a choice I will take forged. If this is a gun you plan on shooting as is, then it sounds like it will work for it's intended purpose.

Good luck on your future purchase.

IF you wanted to spend just a little more and are OK with Armscor then look at the STI Spartan.
If you but an STI Spartan for a few bucks more, STI will back it up.
I know several guys that are pounding Spartans in USPSA single stack division and they seem to be holding up.
I am thinking about getting into a 1911, so I have been reading a ton of info. right here on THR, punch Rock Island Arms or 1911 in the search function. Like I said , a ton of info. This is a great place! Good Luck.
Rock Islands are a great value. I have one in .38 Super and it has far exceeded my expectations for what I paid for a new pistol ($305.00 plus shipping of $15.00 plus FFL fee of $20.00).

I have heard nothing but great things about customer service. Even read about a RIA that someone ruined the frame with a Dremel and the entire pistol was replaced FREE. Holy moly!!

Get one.
Where did you find the super for $305? The cheapest I've found so far is $329...

I know you said no Sistema's, but I got this one just the way it looks for $375.00. I thouht it was a damn good deal!!! All new guts as well!!!


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Rock Island is all that is left after the eliminations - I think. I have a PT1911 100% happy customer and over 2500rnds in the last year most of them my reloads. Although it has all the mods you don't prefer.
The Spartan is getting some very good reviews and I know STI has great customer service if you ever need it.
Armscor makes the Rock Island, Charles Daley, and High Standard 1911s. They also make the frame, slide, and barrel for the STI Spartan. I believe the U.S. company that distributes the Rock Island is also owned by the family that owns Armscor.
Thanks to all for the helpful replies.

I just bought a GI RIA 1911 on GB using the "Buy It Now" for $360 with free shipping. :D

Hey, if anyone here knows about the HK4 or Beretta Roma Model 90 I posted a thread with some questions about them in this section also this morning. So far only crickets chirping.... Hard to imagine that 1911s are that much more popular than long discontinued .32 autos.... ;)

Again, thanks.


United Sporting Arms, I think they are in Louisiville KY. They had a "Buy it Now" feature on Gunbroker for a limited time. Sarco has the best price now.

Couple of things:

One, Armscor does NOT manufacture the Charles Daly any longer. Stopped that association mid-2007.

Two, Armscor manufactures the frames for STI. I do not know who does STI's slides.

Three, RIAs are good, entry level guns. They are made on old Colt 70-series machines. The biggest complaint I've seen is FRTB which seem to be fixed with a Wolf spring kit.

Shoot it, enjoy it, and give it a little luv'n and it'll do the same for you!

Wrong Quoheleth !!

Armscor does indeed still make the Charles Daly 1911's .

There were posts stating they didn't yet after I personally called Daly and was told they did still get their parts and guns from Armscor I posted this in an open forum on .

It took awhile but Ivan from Armscor finally admitted that yes indeed they still sold to Charles Daly and he has yet to retract that admission .

If you don't believe me call Daly yourself they have an 800 number .

1-866-325-9486 for Sales change last 4 digits to 9782 for the service department .
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