As many gun owners are quick to remind, 1911s won two World Wars and the fascination with John Browning’s design hasn’t dwindled since Allies meet Axis. If you’re dying to have your own piece of gun history or you just can’t get enough of that 1911 design, let us do the heavy lifting with some solid 1911 recommendations for every budget.
1. Affordable, Under $500
If you’re looking to add a 1911 to your gun cabinet but don’t want to spend all your dough in the process, foreign 1911 makers — like Rock Island Armory, Taurus and American Tactical Imports – are your best bets.
If you’re strapped for cash, the ATI Firepower Xtreme is the most budget-friendly model coming in around $350. Boasting 8+1 rounds of .45 ACP, the ATI 1911 weighs in at 37-ounces with a 5-inch barrel and mahogany grips. ATI doesn’t float your boat?
Try a Rock Island Armory GI Standard, with an MSRP just under $400. The GI Standard comes with a 9mm, 10+1 design. Using wood grips that offset a black, stainless steel frame, the GI Standard weighs in at 39.5-ounces with a 5-inch barrel.
The Taurus 1911 is also an option for cost-conscious consumers, retailing for around $470. The Taurus brings an all back design and 8+1 rounds of .45 ACP. The 1911 boasts a 5-inch barrel and weight at 42-ounces.
2. Middle of the Road, From $500-$1,500
If you can spring a little more cash, there’s more to be had at the mid-range price point, including American made beauties, with Remington, Colt, and Kimber leading the pack.
Coming in with an MSRP of $695 (and real-world prices closer to $530), Auto-Ordnance’s 1911 flaunts a 5-inch barrel and an 8.5-inch overall length with weight sitting around 39-ounces. The .45 ACP chambered handgun ships a matte black finish, wood grips and a 7-round magazine.
Remington’s R1 1911 brings a .45 ACP chambering wrapped in a stainless-steel package. Weighing in at 38.5-ounces with a 5-inch barrel, the R1 offers a capacity of 7+1. Looking for 9mm? Remington offers the R1 in various models, including the 9mm R1 Enhanced. MSRP on the standard R1 comes in at $774, though street prices place it closer to the mid-$550s.
Backed by the Ruger name, the SR1911 delivers options to 1911 fans. With several models skirting around the $800 price range, the SR1911 series offers chamberings in 9mm, 10mm, and .45 ACP. The Standard, Commander, Officer and Target variants all slip in under $1,000 while the Competition series will push you closer to $2,000. Base models come with the classic 1911 fire control, wood grips and a stainless-steel frame.
You can’t mention old-school guns without Colt and the historic company enters the midrange fight with its Competition 1911 series. Boasting an MSRP just under $1,000, the Competition can be found closer to $870 with some digging around. The Competition 1911 offers custom G10 grips and upswept beavertail grip safety and undercut trigger guard along with shooter’s choice of chambering in .45 ACP, 9mm or .38 Super. Available in either black stainless steel or silver, the Colt is sure to turn heads with its sleek design, 8+1 capacity, and 36-ounce weight.
Colt’s Delta Elite has given 10mm 1911 fans a fix since the late 1980s. A recent re-release of the iconic pistol saw the addition of a rail for gunners who prefer laser/light accessories. Opting for a 5-inch barrel on a stainless-steel frame, the Delta Elite serves up composite grips with Delta medallions for a little flair. With a capacity of 8+1, the Delta Elite retails for $1,200.
3. High-End, From $1,600 Up
If mid-range options aren’t doing it for you and you happen to have some cash stashed in a mattress, it’s time to move up to the higher end of the spectrum with some familiar names.
Yet another 10mm design slips onto the list, this time courtesy of Dan Wesson. The Dan Wesson Bruin packs 8+1 rounds of 10mm, opting for a 6.03-inch barrel on a 9.7-inch frame. The pistol provides that standard 1911 look but brings tritium fiber optic sights to the table. Tipping scales at 43.9-ounces, the Bruin was the company’s first long-slide 1911. The Bruin retails for $2,194 though actual prices are closer to $1,600. For a flashier Dan Wesson pistol with a more custom look, check out the .45 ACP chambered 50th Anniversary Series. You won’t be disappointed.
What kind of 1911 list would this be if we didn’t give some love to one of the most iconic 1911 brands on the market – Wilson Combat. Known for its elevated features, the sleek look, and flawless performance, Wilson Combat has steadily churned out custom 1911s since 1971. With models like the CQB Carry, the Wilson Combat team brings both 9mm and .45 ACP options to consumers with a match-grade barrel, skeletonized hammer and trigger, and G10 Starburst Grips. Though some Wilson Combat variants reach upwards of $4,900 if you’re lucky you can nab a used one for under $3,000.
Nighthawk Custom is known for its, well, custom 1911s. Offered in a swath of colors, decked out in a bevy of features and chambered in 9mm, .45 ACP or 10mm, Nighthawk Custom delivers just about anything you can imagine in the way of 1911s; but these beauts come at a price. With MSRPs starting at $3,099 and ending around $8,000, you might want to check your bank account before throwing down.
Got $4.5 million to spare? If so, Cabot has got a deal for you – specifically, the Big Bang Set. Crafted from a pre-historic meteorite sourced from Gibeon, Namibia, the Big Bang Set offers a true, one-of-a-kind 1911. With serial numbers depicting the geographic coordinates where the meteorite landed on Earth, the Big Bang Set introduces two pistols with an “out-of-this-world” look. All components, including the barrel bushing and trigger, were made using the meteorite’s material. The Big Bang Set is expected to go up for auction, but a date hasn’t been specified.