The 1911 pistol is an iconic handgun that has been beloved by generations of gun owners.
It was designed by John Moses Browning and is well known for its accuracy, low recoil, and high versatility.
The 1911 is commonly used for target shooting, hunting, and self-defense, and its popularity has endured due to its military use and aesthetically pleasing design. It is also a popular platform for customization, allowing users to customize their gun to their specific needs.
The 1911 is an American icon and has been used in several wars, making it an enduring symbol of power and military strength. But what is the best 1911? Let’s dive in.
Our Picks of Best 1911 Pistols
In no particular order here are some of the best 1911 pistols on the market today.
Auto Ordnance 1911
The Auto Ordnance 1911 pistol is a single-action-only pistol chambered in 45 ACP and features a 7+1 round capacity.
It has a 4.25 inch barrel and an overall length of 8.5 inches, weighing in at 39 ounces.
It also has a thumb safety and a grip safety, which are both designed to physically block the hammer from falling or the trigger from being pulled.
The Auto Ordnance 1911 is known for its quality construction and is one of the most affordable options for a 1911. It is a faithful reproduction of the famous M1911A1 from the 1920s, and is also available in 9mm.
Springfield Armory 1911 DS Prodigy
The Springfield Armory 1911 DS Prodigy is an ideal choice for anyone looking for a high-performance 1911-style pistol.
Its double stack 9mm design allows it to have a high capacity of up to 20+1 rounds, perfect for range use or competition shooting. Many don’t consider a double stack a “true” 1911, but this one is true to form with a solid single-piece frame. If you want to know the true difference between 1911 and 2011 we have an entire article explaining 1911 vs 2011.
The 4.25″ match-grade bull barrel provides excellent accuracy and recoil control, while the Agency Optic System (AOS) allows you to upgrade your 1911 with modern optics.
Additionally, the Prodigy is reasonably priced and comes with both 17-round and 20-round magazines right out of the box. Thus, it can easily serve both range use and competition shooting needs.
It’s no wonder why the Springfield Armory 1911 DS Prodigy is so popular among 1911 enthusiasts – it truly is a dream to shoot!
Springfield 1911 Emissary
The Springfield 1911 Emissary 4.25″ .45 ACP Pistol is an excellent choice for shooters who want a more modern 1911.
It is a reliable, accurate and comfortable-to-shoot gun that comes with modern features such as a 4.25″ forged stainless steel bull barrel, flat top slide serrations, flat-faced trigger, and premium sights.
The bull barrel increases accuracy, while the serrations reduce glare and give a more professional look.
The flat-faced trigger provides a smooth and consistent pull, while the Tritium front sight and tactical rack U-Notch rear sight give fast target engagements.
Additionally, its VZ Grips Thin-Line G10 provides enhanced control and comfort.
All these features combine to make the Springfield 1911 Emissary 4.25″ .45 ACP Pistol a great choice for shooters who want a modern 1911.
Springfield 1911 Defender
The Springfield 1911 Defender is an excellent choice for a 1911 pistol due to its combination of modern and classic features.
It is chambered in 45 ACP and includes a parkerized forged carbon steel slide and frame for enhanced durability, as well as a stainless steel match-grade barrel with fixed 3-dot combat sights.
This provides an excellent sight radius for enhanced precision and accuracy. Additionally, the Springfield Armory Ronin series guns use a hot salt-blued forged slide and a lightweight satin Cerakote-finished forged alloy frame.
It has an original 7-round magazine backed by Springfield Armory’s lifetime warranty.
The Springfield 1911 Defender is a high-quality firearm at a great price point that makes it a good choice for 1911 pistol enthusiasts.
The Kimber Warrior is an exceptional 1911 pistol that is well-suited for personal defense and open carry. It features a Flat Dark Earth, Desert, and black finish and is renowned for its high-end quality.
It also features a 5-inch barrel, a total length of 8.5 inches, and a weight of 2.2 lbs.
The Warrior has an extended beavertail, match-grade trigger, and single-side extended safety, making it a great option for personal protection. Moreover, it comes with illuminated sights, which ensure accuracy in low-light situations, and a light rail allowing any light or laser accessories to be mounted.
Lastly, the Kimber Warrior is extremely accurate, making it a great choice for competitions. All in all, the Kimber Warrior is an excellent 1911 pistol that is suitable for a wide range of uses.
The Ruger 1911 is a well-crafted firearm, designed with the most exacting attention to detail. It boasts a stainless steel frame, slide, and barrel, drift-adjustable Novak 3-Dot sights, staked plunger tube, oversized beavertail, skeletonized trigger with overtravel adjustment, and 8-round magazine.
The gun is built to be durable and reliable, withstanding wear and tear from frequent use. The SR1911 is also lightweight and accurate, with some loads producing sub-3” groups at 25 yards off a sandbag.
The gun is also aesthetically pleasing and is available in several finishes, including a matte stainless finish, a bi-tone model, and hardwood grips.
The SR1911 is an excellent value, providing shooters with a quality 1911 at an affordable price.
Additionally, the Ruger 1911 is backed by the company’s customer service and lifetime warranty.
Smith & Wesson 1911SC
The Smith & Wesson 1911SC is an excellent choice for those looking for a mid-sized carry 1911.
It features a scandium alloy frame, which is incredibly light and resilient, making it ideal for concealed carry applications.
Additionally, it is equipped with tritium night sights, unique fish scale front and rear slide serrations, checkered front and backstraps, ambidextrous thumb safety, and a rounded butt for added concealability.
The commander-length barrel also provides a balance between concealability and accuracy.
The pistol is covered with a durable matte black finish and backed by an impressive warranty. All of these features make the Smith & Wesson 1911SC an ideal choice for those wanting a 1911 pistol from a household name in firearms.
Rock Island 1911 GI Standard
The Rock Island 1911 GI Standard FS 9mm Pistol is a classic post-World War 1 1911-style gun that is perfect for shooters who want an affordable 1911 chambered in 9mm.
It features a slick, minimalist design with low profile sights and a smooth frame and slide for a no-snag draw.
It has a beautiful non-reflective parkerized finish and a classic smooth wood grip. It has a 5” barrel and a crisp factory 4 to 6-pound trigger for increased accuracy.
This gun also has a beveled magazine that holds seven rounds, as well as a 3 Dot combat sight for greater accuracy.
This 1911 is 8.56” long and weighs 2.47lbs. Rock Island Armory’s G.I. Standard series is an excellent gun for anyone looking for an affordable 1911 with classic features and is one of the best budget 1911’s.
The Rock Island is one of the best 45 ACP pistols for the price.
Sig Sauer STX
The Sig Sauer STX is an excellent choice for a 1911 pistol due to its performance and durable design.
For starters, it has a 5-inch barrel, 8.7-inch total length and 2.6lb weight, offering a great balance between size and weight.
In addition, the STX is crafted with a checkered front and back strap, ambidextrous thumb safety and a Nitron stainless steel slide, ensuring a solid and secure grip.
The adjustable combat night sights offer improved accuracy, while the custom burled maple grips improve comfort.
On top of that, Sig Sauer’s solid engineering and quality control make the STX an ideal choice for patriotic home defense.
Finally, with its reasonable price tag, the Sig Sauer STX is an excellent choice for anyone looking for an efficient and reliable 1911 pistol.
Wilson Combat CQB
The Wilson Combat CQB is a high-end 1911 that offers a variety of features and benefits.
It features a light mount frame, a massive cone barrel, and a combat matte black finish with no glare.
The trigger works crisply and clean and is available in .45 (8 rounds), 10mm, 9mm (10 rounds), and .38 super. It has aggressive grips, fiber optic sights, and a light rail for easy accessorizing.
Additionally, its lightweight and compact design makes it perfect for carrying and home defense.
The CQB Tactical LE also features a Trijicon SOCOM RMR, making it optics-ready right out of the box.
Finally, its top-tier quality and craftsmanship ensure its durability and accuracy, making it an excellent choice for any shooter and is one of the best high end 1911s.
Colt 1911 Government
The Colt 1911 Government is an outstanding choice for a 1911 pistol because it is one of the true classic designs of the original M1911 with a few modern upgrades, making it reliable and more user-friendly.
It features a lowered and flared ejection port, which increases reliability and allows you to more easily eject a live round.
It also has three-dot sights that are easier to use than standard GI-style sights and a solid barrel bushing, which makes it a great choice for competitive shooting.
Additionally, the recoil spring system and mainswept housing are all original-style parts, so the gun retains its original charm and handling characteristics.
Finally, the elegant checkered rosewood grips on the solid carbon steel frame make the Government a truly beautiful gun to both look at and fire.
All in all, the Colt 1911 Government is a great choice for anyone looking for a classic 1911 pistol.
The Taurus 1911 is a great option for an affordable, accurate, and reliable handgun.
It is manufactured in Brazil, with a dovetail sight, lowered and flared ejection and 5″ barrel, making it well-suited for accuracy.
It is also hammer forged and hand-fitted, allowing for high-quality parts. This gun also features an ambidextrous safety, Taurus’ special system on the hammer that disables the gun, two magazines, and a bushing wrench, making it highly safe and reliable.
Additionally, many models adjustable front and rear sights, a matte black carbon steel slide, black checkered polymer grip, and a blued steel frame.
It comes with a lifetime warranty and is available from Palmetto State Armory. With all these features and benefits, the Taurus 1911 makes a great choice for those looking for a premium 1911 at an affordable price. Taurus makes some of the best cheap 1911s for the money.
Springfield Vickers 1911
The Springfield Vickers 1911 is a semi-custom and combat-oriented firearm designed by Delta Force veteran Larry Vickers and Springfield Armory.
It features a Wilson Combat hammer and safety, Vickers Elite Battle Sights for quick and easy alignment, woven front strap checkering for a firm grip, and G10 grips for a secure hold.
The trigger is smooth and light for a crisp trigger pull, and the rear sight is a Vickers Elite blacked-out sight. Additionally, it has a tritium front sight for visibility in day and night conditions.
This 1911 has an amazing level of craftsmanship, and it is suitable for both experienced and beginner shooters.
Dan Wesson Specialist
The Dan Wesson Specialist is a modernized version of the classic 1911 pistol designed by Dan Wesson.
It was designed in response to a police department’s request for a more modern and capable 1911 pistol to replace their aging service pistols. The Specialist features an ambi safety, a massive beavertail, a magwell for quick reloads, Novak-style sights, enhanced slide serrations, mainspring housing checkering, and a tactical rail for accessories.
It is available in various calibers, such as the powerful 10mm. The Specialist is a reliable, ergonomic and accurate pistol, with a good value for the money.
What to consider when buying a 1911
The 1911 pistol offers three different action options: single-action, double-action, and double-action/single-action.
Single-action is the most common option and is found on most 1911s. With this action, the hammer must be cocked manually before each shot and the trigger performs the same function each time it is pulled.
Double-action pistols allow the hammer to be both cocked and released by pulling the trigger. This is a more convenient option, as the gun is ready to fire with just one pull of the trigger, but it also reduces accuracy since the trigger pull varies each time.
Double-action/single-action (DA/SA) pistols are a combination of both modes. The first shot is double-action, but the subsequent shots are single-action. This allows the user to fire quickly and with the first shot, and then finely adjust their aim for subsequent shots.
When choosing a 1911 pistol caliber, there are several factors to consider.
First and foremost, accuracy is a key factor in any handgun, so the caliber should be chosen according to the desired accuracy of the shooter. The longer barrel of a full-size 1911 helps stabilize the bullet, making it capable of making well-aimed shots at close range and even up to 100 yards with enough practice.
The trigger of a 1911 is also a key factor, as they often come with excellent triggers right out of the box. The light, crisp, and tactile reset of a 1911 trigger makes shooting more enjoyable and can also contribute to accuracy.
When it comes to defensive use, the original caliber of the 1911, .45 ACP, is still a viable choice thanks to its stopping power.
While it may have less capacity than 9mm, the large hollow point rounds can help end conflicts quickly. There are also other calibers available for the 1911, such as 9mm and .22LR, that offer different advantages in certain situations.
Finally, the history of the 1911 is also an important factor to consider. Knowing that the same design has helped American servicemen protect themselves and make it home from various wars and conflicts is a powerful thing.
The iconic design of the 1911 and its mystique from movies and video games only adds to the appeal of this classic firearm.
The barrel length of a 1911 pistol is an important factor to consider when selecting one. A longer barrel provides greater accuracy, as the longer barrel allows for a longer sight radius and more balance.
On the other hand, a shorter barrel is easier to conceal and may be more suitable for close-quarters combat.
Likewise, a smaller frame can be easier to wield and more comfortable to carry.
Depending on the user’s needs, either a full size or compact 1911 may be best.
Ultimately, the barrel length and size of a 1911 are both important factors that should be considered when purchasing one.
When buying a 1911 pistol, there are several sights to consider but iron 1911 sights are often very similar
The 1911 is renowned for its accuracy, making it ideal for target shooting and hunting. Additionally, the 1911 is a popular platform for customization, so look for aftermarket parts, such as sites that meet your needs.
You should determine whether you prefer an original M1911 or an M1911A1 configuration.
The M1911 has a long trigger and a full trigger guard, while the M1911A1 has a short trigger and a relieved trigger guard for better control.
Second, if you are interested in customization, you should look for aftermarket parts to upgrade the pistol. For example, Kimber offers a custom, v-cut trigger which reduces weight and lightens the perceived pull. You should also consider whether you need a firing pin safety, which is commonly found on commercial models and the Colt 1991 Government. Finally, you should look for three-dot sights, which provide better accuracy and faster target acquisition, as well as a lowered and flared ejection port for greater reliability.
Ultimately, when purchasing a 1911 pistol trigger, it is important to consider all of these factors in order to make the best decision for your needs.
When choosing a 1911 pistol frame material, there are several factors to consider.
The most common materials used in 1911 frames are steel and aluminum. Steel is typically seen as the more reliable and durable material, as it can withstand a greater amount of wear and tear.
Additionally, steel frames are often heavier than aluminum frames, providing increased recoil control and accuracy.
However, aluminum frames are usually lighter and more affordable than their steel counterparts, making them an attractive option for those on a budget.
Aluminum frames are easier to customize, as the material can be easily machined for custom parts and finishes.
Steel frames, on the other hand, require special tools and expertise to customize and are not as easily altered.
Ultimately, the choice between steel and aluminum frames will depend on the user’s needs and preferences.
Whether they are looking for a more durable frame, more customization options, or a lighter, more affordable frame, both materials have their advantages and disadvantages that should be weighed when making the decision.
The 1911 pistol has a number of different grip options available, each offering unique advantages and features. There are four main types of 1911 pistol grips: standard, slim, skeletonized, and ambidextrous.
When purchasing a 1911 pistol grip, it is important to consider the size of your hands, how much recoil you’ll be dealing with, and the level of customization you’re looking for.
Standard 1911 pistol grips are the traditional choice, featuring a full-coverage, one-piece design. These grips provide the most control over the firearm and are typically made of wood or a polymer material. They are usually the most comfortable but can be heavier than other types of grips.
Slim 1911 pistol grips are a more lightweight and streamlined version of the standard grip. They feature a thinner profile and offer less coverage, making them ideal for shooters with smaller hands. Slim grips also reduce felt recoil and can be customized with engravings or other aesthetic treatments.
Skeletonized 1911 pistol grips are made with large cutouts to reduce weight and provide a distinctive look. The cutouts also provide greater access to the controls of the pistol, making them easier to manipulate. These grips are the lightest option, but provide the least amount of control.
Ambidextrous 1911 pistol grips are designed for right- and left-handed shooters. They feature a slightly longer backstrap and an extended beavertail, allowing them to be held in either hand. These grips offer the same level of control as standard grips, but are heavier and more expensive.
When selecting a 1911 pistol grip, it’s important to consider the size of your hands, the amount of recoil you’ll be dealing with, and the level of customization you desire.
The right grip can make a big difference in your shooting performance and comfort.
Weight and Size
There are several weight and size considerations to take into account.
1911’s are available in a variety of sizes and weights, ranging from the full-size to the more compact version.
The smaller, compact models are often easier to carry and are great for concealed carry, while the full-size models offer better accuracy, a higher capacity, and more recoil absorption.
Modern 1911s come with lightweight aluminum alloy frames and even polymer frames, offering an even lighter option for those wanting to carry.
Ultimately, it comes down to what you need the pistol for and your preference for size, weight, and recoil.
When buying a 1911 pistol, there are several important safety considerations to take into account.
Firstly, the 1911 pistol has an external safety that must be engaged/disengaged each time the gun is handled.
Secondly, the pistol also contains a grip safety at the back-rear end that needs to be lowered to shoot.
If you are unfamiliar with 1911’s be prepared to get used to shooting a gun with a thumb and grip safety.
1911 pistol magazines vary wildly, but one of the most important factors to consider is their magazine capacity.
The original 1911 pistol had a total capacity of nine rounds, including one in the chamber. While this was a significant improvement over the five rounds typically carried in a revolver, in 2022 it falls short of the 17-to-30-round magazines available for Glocks.
The higher mag capacity offered by modern weapons can provide a great advantage in defensive situations, especially when compared to the 1911’s limited capacity.
Furthermore, the 1911 pistol’s design quirks can also play a role in how many rounds it can store. As some of the feed ramps are too short, many hollow-point rounds cannot be used, which can further limit the mag capacity.
This is why it is important to research the ammunition sensitivity of the particular 1911 model that you are looking to purchase in order to ensure that it is able to reliably feed the type of ammunition you plan to use.
In the end, while the 1911 pistol is still a popular choice among many, its limited magazine capacity should be taken into consideration when making a purchase.
With the advances in modern weapons, the 1911’s mag capacity is a major factor to consider, as it may not provide enough rounds in a defensive situation.
The 1911 pistol has two different hammer types available: the standard spur hammer and the combat-style hammer.
The standard spur hammer is the traditional hammer found on most 1911 models and is usually slightly rounded at the top.
This type of hammer offers a smooth and consistent pull, making it ideal for target shooting.
The combat-style hammer, commonly found on tactical and concealed carry models, is more angular, offering more control and faster engagement.
This type of hammer is typically preferred for defensive situations. Both types of hammers are designed to ensure reliable shooting with a 1911 pistol.
The mainspring housing is a critical component of any 1911 pistol, and it is important for buyers to understand its importance when selecting the right model for their needs. The mainspring housing helps to absorb the shock of firing, making the gun more comfortable to fire and reducing felt recoil.
It also helps to reduce the size of the trigger guard and improve ergonomics, allowing for a better grip and trigger control.
Furthermore, an arched mainspring housing can help to reduce the likelihood of slide bite, which can be a painful and dangerous issue for inexperienced shooters.
All of these factors make the mainspring housing an important consideration for any 1911 pistol purchase.
What makes 1911 pistols so popular?
The 1911 pistol is an iconic firearm, beloved by generations of gun owners.
Its aesthetically pleasing design, accuracy, and low recoil make it the perfect choice for a handgun, whether it be for target shooting, hunting, self-defense, or customization.
With its proven track record and highly ergonomic build, the 1911 is a go-to choice for anyone looking for an all-around reliable firearm.
Additionally, its robust construction, simplistic design, and versatility have made it a favorite amongst the military and law enforcement for over a century.
All these factors make the 1911 pistol one of the most popular sidearms of all time.
If the 1911 isn’t your jam maybe take a look at the Beretta M9A4, which is similar but has a different feature set.
What are the different calibers available for 1911 pistols?
The 1911 pistol is a classic handgun choice, and it has been produced in a variety of calibers to suit different needs.
The three most common calibers are the .45 ACP, 9mm, and 10mm. The .45 ACP is the original caliber of the 1911, and it has the classic experience and a capable, common round.
The 10mm has more power and range than the .45 ACP, reaching a force of 41 Magnum, and it shoots flat at long distances.
The 9mm is an extremely smooth shooting round that is well balanced, especially with compact 1911s.
Outside of the three main calibers, there are a variety of other calibers available for 1911s.
These include the 357 SIG, 9mm Dillon, 38 Super, and more common rounds such as the 380 ACP and 40 S&W.
Even a 22 LR 1911 is available, like the Browning 1911 Black Label. Although it is not a true 1911 with a recoil-operated design, but rather a blowback-operated design.
When deciding what caliber to get a 1911 in, it is important to consider what the intended use will be.
For hunting, the 10mm is a great choice. For shooting on a budget, the 9mm is a great choice due to its affordability and pleasant shooting experience.
For those who need lots of knockdown power, the original .45 ACP caliber offers plenty of options.
What are the main features of 1911 pistols?
The 1911 pistol is renowned for its accuracy, low recoil, and reliable design. It is also prized for its customization options, allowing users to tailor their gun to their specific needs.
The 1911 has an ergonomic design, with easily accessible and easy-to-reach controls and a comfortable grip angle.
The trigger is crisp with a short travel and a great reset. Most 1911s also are single-action, meaning that it requires only a light pull of the trigger and is extremely accurate.
What are the best 1911 pistols for self-defense?
When it comes to self-defense, the 1911 pistol is an excellent choice. With its proven reliability and accuracy, you can trust that your shots will hit their intended targets.
For these reasons, it is important to do your research and find the best 1911 pistol for your needs.
Comparing the top 1911 pistols, you want to look for features such as a lightweight frame, accurate firing capability, and reliability.
The Wilson Combat 1911 is an excellent choice, as it is a remake of the original and boasts precision firing capabilities. It is, however, on the pricey side and may not fit everyone’s budget.
Other top contenders include the Springfield Armory 1911, the Ruger 1911, the Colt 1911, and the Smith & Wesson 1911.
All of these pistols are reliable, accurate, and well-made. When choosing the best 1911 for self-defense, be sure to take into account your budget, shooting experience, and size needs.
What is the best trigger for a 1911 pistol?
When it comes to selecting the best trigger for a 1911 pistol, the choice boils down to the quality of the product, personal preference and the purpose for which the firearm will be used.
While the 1911 model pistol is evergreen and reliable, it does have certain design flaws, such as the grip safety at the back-rear end, that have not been addressed in over a century of use.
For those looking to spend between $1000 and $3000 on their 1911, high-end manufacturers like Ed Brown, STI, Dan Wesson, Les Baer and Wilson Combat are all reliable and offer custom-built options.
Mid-range makers such as Kimber, Springfield Armory, Para Ordinance, Smith & Wesson, and Sig Sauer are also good options.
For those looking for a budget-friendly option, the v-cut trigger from Kimber is an excellent choice, as it reduces weight and lightens the perceived pull.
Ultimately, finding the best trigger for a 1911 pistol will come down to personal preference, however, with the right information and careful consideration it is possible to find the perfect trigger for any shooter.
What are the best accessories for 1911 pistols?
When looking for the best accessories for your 1911 pistol, there are a few key features to look for.
Consider a tactical rail so you can attach accessories like lasers, flashlights, and more.
Sights should be easy to acquire and be rock solid during use.
Other features worth considering are aftermarket parts and custom finishes to tailor the gun to your specific needs, a lowered and flared ejection port for faster and more accurate ejection of empty cartridges, and a high-quality light if you plan to use the pistol for home defense or law enforcement.
All of these features will ensure you get the most out of your 1911 pistol and make it truly unique.
How accurate are 1911 pistols?
The 1911 pistol is an iconic and beloved firearm, known for its accuracy and low recoil. With its reliable and aesthetically pleasing design, it is the perfect choice for target shooting, hunting, and self-defense.
The 1911 is incredibly accurate and can make awesome groups at close range and can make aimed shots, with a lot of practice, out to 100 yards. This is impressive for a design of its age.
The 1911 is also well-balanced and has a great weight to it, making it comfortable to shoot. Additionally, it has a crisp trigger with short travel and an excellent reset. All these features contribute to the 1911’s accuracy.
In comparison to other handguns on the market, the 1911 can hold its own. It is still a popular choice due to its proven track record and the ability to customize it to a user’s specific needs.
While it may take some time to get used to shooting the 1911, the level of accuracy it offers is worth it.