The Best 1911 Pistols of all Time

The  M1911 is a world-class handgun, instantly recognizable around the world. The reliable, proven design hasn’t changed much since it was introduced by Browning, simply because no modification was necessary. Recently, however, demand has arisen for new features and new calibers, making this pistol accessible to a larger market of gun owners and shooters. 

At this point in time, the variety of 1911s in the market is so wide that it becomes difficult to choose between such a diverse selection. No matter what your budget, there is a 1911 made to suit your needs. 

Regardless of whether you are a new gun owner, looking for your first solid purchase, or a high spender looking for a quality pistol, the 1911 has options for you, and this list will help you decide which one to purchase, and join the club of high-quality, authentic and prestigious handguns. 

#1 Springfield MC Loaded Operator

This Springfield pistol is built on a full-size steel frame. Some prominent visible features include a characteristic two-tone black and olive green matte finish, an extended ambidextrous thumb safety as well as a beavertail grip safety, and a lightweight delta hammer. An extended trigger provides ease of handling, and a five inch stainless steel match grade barrel plus a forged steel slide with slanted serrations on the front and rear guarantee reliable operation. The three-dot Trijicon night sights are perfect for low-visibility shooting.

The ejection port is lowered and flared and has a standard guide rod to ensure a seated fit for the magazine. In most retail stores, it goes for $1,000.

#2 Springfield Mil-Spec 1911

This beautiful 5″ piece comes in stainless steel or parkerized finishes. It features 3 Dot combat sights.

The SA Mil-Spec comes with an original 1911 short trigger and an old-fashioned, army style thumb and grip safety, as well as the original hammer.
The beveled 7-round magazine assists in quick and smooth loading and unloading.

The performance and accuracy of this gun are impressive, but the gun does not come with some of the standard features that other 1911s in this article typically have, such as the beavertail grip safety.

If you’re looking for an upgrade over the cheaper 1911s, this is a good mid-range product.

#3 Colt Combat Elite

Colt is a well-known brand name for firearms, and they have earned it. Their name stands for quality, craftsmanship, durability, and dependability, and their guns live up to their reputation. Colt weapons are suitable for shooting but also highly valued by collectors – these are some words associated with Colt. Whether you are a shooter or a collector, this gem will not disappoint.

Some of the well-known features are the two-tone, half-checkered, and half-smooth rosewood grips with the Colt-embossed logo. The lesser-known features include an upswept, beavertail grip safety and palm swell, and a single-safety side lock for safe handling and ease of use. The receiver, slide, and barrel are all forged in solid steel, for durability that can’t be beat.

The Combat Elite comes with the Novak low sight, which is one of the best in the industry. The rear sight does not trap shadows, offering crisp and clear sight picture. The front sight is a bold post with accuracy dots that are easy to frame on target. In addition, it features an upgraded hammer and front and rear slide serrations. The Colt Combat Elite usually goes for around $1,000.

#4 Wilson Combat CQB

The Wilson Combat CQB Tactical LE is built for speed, accuracy and power. It is a full-sized firearm with a stainless steel frame and all carbon-steel construction. The integral light rail, beavertail grip safety, thumb safety, crisp trigger pull, G10 diagonal flat-bottom grips, and five inch carbon steel slide all combine together to make this a smooth and easy weapon in the hands of an experienced shooter. The battle sight with fiber optic front sight makes it extremely accurate.

Additional, optional features include a surefire weapon light. Install the hand-fitted match-grade barrel with bushing and single-side tactical safety to give it that extra personality. This pistol is more expensive than other 1911-equivalent models covered in this article and can cost $3000.

#5 Kimber Rimfire Target

This small handgun is very affordable and yet great for first time owners, or even novice target shooting practitioners.

The Rimfire Target 1911 chamber is designated for high velocity ammunition. These gun chambers are made to the same specifications as their centerfire counterparts, so you can get a conversion kit to modify this gun for centerfire primers. The total size is just over five inches high and the weight is extremely light with the magazine empty. The ten-round magazine doesn’t contribute much weight when loaded, and the gun is almost nine inches long from tip to grip.

The frame and slide are both composed light-weight aluminum, while the barrel is solid, machined steel.

This is an appropriate pistol for younger, first time users and the cost is typically under $1,000 in most stores and catalogs.

#6 Smith & Wesson Tactical Accessory Rail

Smith and Wesson is yet another fine and well-known brand that is known for producing quality firearms, and their Tactical Accessory Rail Pistol offers superior precision and accuracy.

Their catalog offers a wide selection of 1911’s, like the Pro Series and Performance Centerline of 1911 pistols. These are manufactured and sold with a many options for materials and finishes. Each handgun has its own unique features to suit your needs.

The Rail Pistol has a five-inch barrel and single-action trigger. It also loads a single stack magazine. It also has the Tritium night sights for shooting in low-visibility scenarios.

The magazine loads eight rounds, and the gun is made from a steel frame and sides.
Loaded or unloaded, this pistol is extremely light-weight, perfect for first time users or female shooters.

The cost can run higher than $1,000, depending on the place of purchase.

#7 Auto Ordnance 1911

If you will settle for nothing less than American, the AO 1911A1 is the most patriotic domestically-made gun in its class. Best value for the money, AO’s BKO model excels at trigger compression and doesn’t stutter. After a short period to get used to the gun, the AO 1911A1 will give you incomparable accuracy.

Be sure to give it enough range practice, and good maintenance is always a good habit. Lubricate long bearing-bearing surfaces and expect some minor malfunctions until the weapon is well-used.

This version of the 1911 is as close as it gets to the original model.

This gun is for the collector and shooter who wants an authentic weapon and is willing to give it the attention, maintenance, and practice it needs.

#8 Remington 1911 R1

Remington is another well-known and trusted name, not only for guns but also for other quality merchandise, and this pistol is made with the precision you have come to expect with the name.

The standard features include a stainless steel barrel and bushing, five-inch barrel, and a machined stainless steel slide and frame. For comfort and ease of operation, it sports a beavertail grip safety, premium grip side panels with a serrated slide and a wide serrated slide that allows for a quick and solid grasp when shooting or racking a round. It has the standard rear sight and front sights (two dots in the rear, and one in the front). The Remington R1 also has a flat mainspring housing, a solid aluminum trigger with a secure 3 1/2 – 5-pound pull, a beveled magazine well, and comes with two seven-round magazines.

In most places of purchase, this pistol costs $800.

#9 Taurus PT1911

As with other Taurus-made firearms such as the PT92 or the Model G3C, Taurus 1911 is an affordable gun for first-time or budget buyers. It is manufactured in Brazil and hand-fitted for accuracy. It comes with a dovetail sight, lowered and flared ejection and has a 5″ barrel.

The beautiful feature on this piece is that it is hammer forged, as verified by checking the serial numbers on the parts. A good crisp short trigger keeps muzzle focus where it should stay.

This particular piece has upgraded safety features, such as the ambidextrous safety and Taurus’ special system on the hammer that prevents the gun from firing. It comes with two magazines and a bushing wrench in most places of purchase.

#10 Para Ordnance GI Expert

This gun is highly recommended as a great gun for a beginner, advertised to work flawlessly straight out of the box without requiring initial maintenance or modifications.

It is ideal for self-defense for a first-time gun owner, and also a great choice to take to your first shooting competition.

The most helpful feature of this gun in the green fiber optic front which gives an accurate target picture and helps the shooter quickly switch between targets.

The two eight rounds magazines keep you loaded and ready, while the skeletonized trigger is crisp and precise, giving you more control on the gun.
The grip is made from polymers, which some might consider inferior to other materials and look cheaper, but this has no impact on the superb performance.

#11 Colt XSE

Good Colt features with a few extras, such as white dot sights and a lowered ejection port for extra reliability. The recoil spring system gives it reliable operation, and the long trigger and flat mainspring housing are Colt trademarks.

The grip consists of a checkered rosewood on a solid carbon steel frame, combining aesthetics and functionality. The trigger is somewhat stiff and this pistol requires a bit of finger strength to fire effectively.

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Written by Sgt. Gunner

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