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7 Best 1911 Pistol Reviews of 2021 | Top-Rated Versions of This Legendary Handgun

The classic 1911 has largely remained the same throughout the years. Sure, there have been countless variations of the original. But for the most part, manufacturers haven't strayed too far from the source material.

Of course, as time marches on and new technological advancements are developed, it only makes sense that firearms adopt these modern improvements. As such, we've seen a plethora of 1911 pistols enter the scene, some of which are worth their weight in gold.

As you will soon discover, I've found the best 1911 pistols for you to consider, many of which featuring new upgrades and add-ons.

The Need for Concealed Carry

If you're like most level-headed people today (I know, they seem to be disappearing), you're interested in protecting yourself from the evils of this world. Smart move, considering everything that's taking place - some of which are in our own front yards.

As patriotic Americans, you have the right to arm yourself. And as it stands, there's no better time to do just that. But as with anything else, the options you see before you can be rather dizzying, to say the least. Apart from this review, we give you the best concealed carry handgun post and a best 10mm pistol article, as well.

Top 3 1911 Pistols

1. [Overall Best 1911 Pistol]
Rock Island Armory 1911

rock pistol

Editor's Rating 

5/5

2. [Best for the Money]
Springfield Armory Mil-Spec 

best gun

Editor's Rating 

4.9/5

3. [Best for the Accuracy]
Ruger SR1911

ruger gun

Editor's Rating 

4.8/5

That's why I took it upon myself to help you make sense of everything so you can get the right concealed carry firearm for your needs. Maybe you just want something to pack around incognito while you're away from home.

Or perhaps you would prefer a pistol that doubles as a concealed carry and nightstand guard. Since the 1911 pistols are such a reliable and beloved handgun, I figured there's no better weapon to focus on than it. And with so many options to choose from, I've got plenty to feature here today for your consideration.

Before we take a look at our first candidate, a little history on the 1911 pistols is in order. If you're a seasoned weapon enthusiast, the following won't be anything new to you. But if you're just entering the world of firearms, you will find this quick history lesson to be quite enlightening.

Best 1911 Pistols Option for Concealed Carry

As you can see, the 1911 weapon has a colorful history. It's a pistol that has deservedly been copied, modified, updated, and upgraded many times over. That's why you see so many 1911 pistols from multiple manufacturers.

But wading through all of the 1911 pistol options can be quite the chore. How do you know which ones are worth a closer look? How can you be sure that you aren't spending your hard-earned money on a subpar firearm?

I understand your concerns, and that's why I put together these reviews. Soon, you will know which 1911 pistols are the best of the bunch.

Best 1911 Pistol Reviews

[Overall Best 1911 Pistol] 

1. Rock Island Armory 1911

Ideal for Self-Defense

The Rock Island Armory 1911 is a rough and ready, full-size firearm that is perfect for self-defense.

What I appreciate most about this gun is that it doesn't rely on a lot of flash or bells and whistles to get the job done.

rock pistol

From the word "go," the Armory 1911 shoots like a champ. Its accuracy is deadly precise, giving you a very good chance of hitting your target - in this case, an advancing assailant. When you're on the streets or in your home, you don't always have time to make lining up your shot.

As such, you want a gun that's well-made and capable of hitting what's in front of it. For my money, Rock Island earns it with stellar craftsmanship, simple yet effective construction, and pinpoint accuracy. After all, these are the kind of attributes you want from a concealed carry pistol.

Rock Island Armory 1911 Technical Specifications: 

Caliber

22 Magnum

Action

Single-Action

Capacity

 14+1 Rounds

Barrel Length

5 inches

 Overall Length

8.5 inches

Weight

2.2 pounds (with mag)

Precision Balance

Not only that, but the gun is extremely well-balanced. As I stated, you won't find a lot of features on the Armory 1911 - only what's needed to provide you with a respectable pistol that knows what its purpose is.

The only potential downside I see with this gun is its weight. It clocks in at over 2 pounds, making it a beast of a gun that commands, no, demands respect. As such, you should at least be proficient with handling a pistol of this size before cutting yourself loose and carrying it concealed.

Aside from that, I'm quite pleased with the Armory 1911. It performs remarkably well and is made to the highest standard. This is one firearm that you're not going to have to worry about breaking down in a few years. With regular upkeep and maintenance, you should be able to look forward to this gun lasting you a lifetime.

Price-wise, it's a little up there. But considering how incredibly well-made it is, I'd say it's worth the price of admission. And when it comes to protecting your home and your loved ones, no price is out of the question.

Pros

  • Full-size firearm that is perfect for self-defense
  • It doesn't rely on a lot of flash or bells and whistles to get the job done
  • The gun is extremely well-balanced
  •  It is made to the highest standard

Cons

  • A bit on the pricey side

[Best for the Money] 

2. Springfield Armory Mil-Spec

Quality Through and Through

Springfield Armory is another solid gun manufacturer that you can always trust to deliver a quality weapon.

And in the case of the Mil-Spec, you're getting a classic update to the original 1911 that would do John Moses Browning proud.

best gun

It's a very nice-looking pistol that is sure to impress anyone who spends the money to invest in it. At 39 ounces, it maintains the same weight you'll see in many other 1911 models. As such, it doesn't have any advantages over others in terms of using it as a concealed carry pistol.

You're going to see this as a recurring theme among the best 1911 pistols. Due to the fact that they are mimicking the design of the original, you won't find much deviation in terms of weight and measurements. That said, there are some exceptions that you might want to consider over another for concealed carry.

Springfield Armory Mil-Spec Technical Specifications: 

Caliber

45 ACP

Action

Semi-Auto

Capacity

6 Rounds

Barrel Length

5 inches

 Overall Length

8.6 inches

Weight

39 ounces

A Straight Shooter

So, design and style aside, what kind of gun are you getting with Springfield Armory's version of the classic 1911? I’ll tell you this: it's likely to prove itself as a worthwhile experience for anyone who decides to drop their money on it.

From the moment you get this gun in your hands, you can tell there's something special about it. Springfield Armory made sure to use durable stainless steel in the construction of this gun, which means you're investing in a pistol that's built to last.

You can get a variation of the Mil-Spec that features a parkerized finish for added protection. As such, you can confidently take your pistol out in the elements without fear of rain, snow, dirt, or debris damaging your weapon.

I'm really fond of the sturdy build quality of this gun. From top to bottom, it's clear that Springfield Armory was on a mission to produce a pistol with longevity. No parts of it feel cheap or like they were an afterthought.

As you will read in some of the other guns reviewed here, not all of them come with excellent craftsmanship. Although nicely machined, some are missing the tight construction you want to see in all firearms.

Lasting Impressions

Thankfully, Springfield Armory nailed it here, delivering a worthy successor to the original Browning design. It's got all the right moves in all the right places. Sure, you might spend a little more on this 1911 compared to some of the others out there. But you can bet your bottom dollar that Springfield Armory's version will serve you well.

This carries over to shooting, as well. When firing the Mil-Spec, you're met with a smooth and clean experience that just feels right. Every component; every action of this gun performs at a high level, ensuring that you're getting a reliable piece of equipment that won't let you down.

The cost of the Mil-Spec is about the same as Rock Island's Armory 1911. That is to say that you're going to spend a little more to get a quality firearm, but that the price is worth it for a gun that is made to stand the test of time. With the right care, there's no reason that the Mil-Spec won't last a lifetime.

Pros

  • When firing the Mil-Spec, you're met with a smooth and clean experience that just feels right
  • It has a sturdy build quality
  • No parts of it feel cheap or like they were an afterthought
  • Great for a concealed carry

Cons

  • I did not find any

[Best for the Accuracy] 

3. Ruger SR1911

Ruger Craftsmanship

I personally carry a Ruger LCP, so I'm pretty fond of the company as a whole. The Ruger SR1911 is another one of the manufacturer's many good entries into the gun market. But that's not to say that this gun is perfect.

On the contrary, there are some aspects I'd like to see fixed. 

ruger gun

But I included it due to its exceptional accuracy and lasting qualities. You see, Ruger typically makes its guns using the highest quality components and materials, and the SR1911 is no different.

Nearly every part of this gun screams excellence, from its killer design to its incredible accuracy. I say nearly because I'm not the biggest fan of the trigger. The trigger pull is fine, mind you. It's the way that the trigger feels. You don't necessarily need a lot of pressure to fire off a round, but the trigger itself has a soft quality to it that has just a bit too much give for my liking.

Ruger SR1911 Technical Specifications: 

Caliber

45 Auto 

Action

 Double-Action

Capacity

8+1 Rounds

Barrel Length

5 inches

 Overall Length

8.67 inches

Weight

39 ounces

Deadly Accurate

It's only after shooting it and seeing how remarkably accurate it is that you begin to fully appreciate this pistol. I'd like to think that I have plenty of experience firing handguns. I feel like I'm proficient with the gun that I regularly carry.

So after spending some time with this one, I realized that I needed more time with this gun than most others. It took me quite a while to get acclimated to shooting this gun. And a large part of that is due to the trigger and the way it responds to being pressed.

However, once I did finally get comfortable with it, I was blown away by my shooting experience. The Ruger SR1911 delivers incredible precision that is unmatched by many other guns that I've tried.

If Looks Could Kill

Not only that, but this is one sweet-looking pistol. If you're the type who appreciates the classic style of firearms, such as those from years ago, I think you're really going to like what Ruger offers here. This is a vintage pistol that has all of the hallmarks of an antique handgun.

But when you finally get it in your hands, you will see that it's been upgraded to include the modern advancements that make today's guns so reliable. It's a work of art that deserves praise and is a testament to Ruger's ability to produce high-quality guns.

Admittedly, I'd like to see the trigger get some improvements to get rid of the spongy feel it delivers. But other than that, you can look forward to an accurate shooter that ensures you're going to hit your targets.

And when it comes to protecting yourself, whether on the streets or in your home, accuracy and reliability are exactly what you want to see from a firearm. The SR1911 has a great weight to it and it just feels right in your hands.

Pros

  • It is extremely accurate
  • The gun is made using the highest quality components and materials
  • The gun is extremely well-balanced
  • The SR1911 has a great weight to it and it just feels right in your hands

Cons

  •  The trigger itself has a soft quality

A Classic Update

The Auto-Ordnance model is one of the most affordable 1911s you'll find, but don't let that deter you from giving it a look.

In an age when you can pick up an AR-15 for less than $450, it's not surprising, then, that you can get 1911 for around the same.

auto 1911

The original 1911 weapon was designed way back in 1907. But that's not what the Auto-Ordnance 1911 mimicks. Rather, it is based on the follow-up to the original 1911, which appeared several years later in 1924. Gun enthusiasts will recognize that date as to when the historically famous M1911A1 burst onto the scene.

The M1911A1 is well-known as the firearm that was predominately used during the Second World War, as well as in Korea and Vietnam. So with the Auto-Ordnance 1911, you're getting a nice update on an old favorite.

Auto-Ordnance 1911 Technical Specifications: 

Caliber

45 ACP

Action

Single-Action-Only

Capacity

7+1 Rounds

Barrel Length

4.25 inches

 Overall Length

8.5 inches

Weight

39 ounces

The company also sells what is an otherwise identical variation of its 1911 pistol, chambered in 9mm. However, the only chambering you could find for 1911 weapons back in the 1920s was 45 ACP. So naturally, that's what we're looking at here.

It's interesting to note that the 45 ACP cartridge was originally developed by Mr. Browning himself. And it was done so in conjunction with the 1911 weapon. Because the United States military wanted a large pistol cartridge that had a heavy bullet, that's precisely what Mr. Browning made for them.

Auto-Ordnance's 1911 is equipped with a 7-round magazine. It's a single-action-only pistol, meaning that unless you have the hammer cocked, this gun won't fire. And if the hammer is down, you won't be able to use the manual thumb safety located on the left side of the frame.

The thumb safety serves to physically block the hammer from falling whenever it is engaged. And then aside from thumb safety, there's the grip safety. This is the pivoting lever located underneath your hand when holding 1911. As such, all you need to do to deactivate the grip safety is take a firing grip. The grip safety is designed to physically block the trigger from being pulled.

A Positive Experience

So, with all that said, how does the gun handle? Like other Auto-Ordnance firearms, its 1911 is a winner. The quality of the construction is excellent through and through. In short, it's a very well-machined pistol.

And firing it is even better. For a gun in this price range, you're getting a heck of a bargain. The accuracy of this 1911 model is most impressive, providing you with a stable and precise shooting experience.

At 39 ounces, it maintains the same weight as some of the other best 1911s. Over the years, I've shot my fair share of 1911s. And I'm pleased to report that this one is definitely one of the best 1911s I've ever fired. It ranks right up there with your everyday Smith & Wesson or Ruger.

From slide to frame, I will say that there is some movement that I'd rather not see on guns of this caliber. However, I couldn't find this to cause any issues with shooting, and believe me, I looked. As I already mentioned, the steel frame is machined very well. But because of that, I guess I expected stellar craftsmanship throughout the pistol.

If you're like me, these little things tend to irritate more than they probably should. In the end, though, the Auto-Ordnance 1911 is a fine example of a modern update on an old classic. The pistol handles really well and has a superb balance to it.

As you can see from its ranking, I'm still rather fond of this 1911. I think AO did a remarkable job resurrecting one of the most popular guns of all time. The modern updates are only there to serve as a way to ensure the longevity of the pistol.

Everything else harkens back to the original really well. For that, I'm quite thankful for the effort AO put into this handgun. Is it the absolute best 1911 you can buy? Definitely not. But for the price and the incredible accuracy it provides, I'd say it's most certainly worth the price of admission.

Pros

  • The Auto-Ordnance model is one of the most affordable 1911s you'll find
  • It's a single-action-only pistol, meaning that unless you have the hammer cocked, this gun won't fire
  • Aside from thumb safety, there's the grip safety
  • The quality of the construction is excellent through and through

Cons

  • I did not find any

A Worthy Successor

No, that's not a typo. This is the "1991" version of the classic 1911. It is called such because Colt decided to make some upgrades back in 1991, giving 1911 a facelift of sorts over the original design.

Thankfully, the changes that Colt made don't take away anything from the original. Quite the opposite, in fact.

best colt gun

The little adjustments Colt made serve to give 1991 all of the upgrades a modern gun owner could want.

A lot of the time, when a gun company makes upgrades to an existing firearm, they can get carried away with the changes. When this happens, the people who appreciate the original have plenty to say about the changes that took place. I'm happy to see that isn't really the case here.

Colt 1991 Government Technical Specifications: 

Caliber

45 ACP

Action

Single-Action-Only

Capacity

7+1 Rounds

Barrel Length

5 inches

 Overall Length

8.5 inches

Weight

35 ounces

It's worth pointing out that the trigger,  recoil spring system, and mainspring housing are all original-style parts. Most gun enthusiasts agree that these components don't need any changes anyway, so it's nice to see that Colt left them alone.

Excellent Upgrades

The upgrades that are present are subtle, to be sure. However, they are also meaningful. For example, three-dot sights have been added to this upgraded gun. As such, they are a lot easier to use compared to the standard, GI-style sights found on the original.

What's more, you also get a lowered and flared ejection port. This addition increases reliability significantly over the original 1911 design, allowing you to eject a live round much more easily. All of these little additions come together to deliver a worthy update over the original 1911. Colt definitely deserves praise for not getting carried away and adding unnecessary features and add-ons.

What's here works well and are welcome changes. Did they absolutely need to take place? No, but I for one am glad that they did. They really make this modern 1911 stand out from the crowd, cementing this gun's place in history as an upgrade that's well-received.

As a Series 80 style pistol, it comes equipped with a solid barrel bushing, as well as a firing pin safety. By adding these additions, it's true that 1991 is a bit different from the original. However, they serve to make this gun much safer, too.

So if you're looking for your very first pistol, whether for self-defense, plinking, or other reasons, you can trust that you're investing in a safe and reliable handgun that will stand the test of time.

Pros

  • The trigger,  recoil spring system, and mainspring housing are all original-style parts
  •  Three-dot sights have been added to this upgraded gun
  • It comes equipped with a solid barrel bushing, as well as a firing pin safety
  • Great gun for self-defense

Cons

  • I did not find any

A Quality Upgrade

If you're the type of person who prefers the finer things in life, you're going to want to check out Colt's 1911 M45A1.

It's easily one of the best 1911 pistols on the market today, providing you with an excellent shooting experience and stellar build quality throughout.

colt nr2

A Quality Upgrade

If you're the type of person who prefers the finer things in life, you're going to want to check out Colt's 1911 M45A1. It's easily one of the best 1911 pistols on the market today, providing you with an excellent shooting experience and stellar build quality throughout.

Its price range is a bit more expensive than other 1911 updates I've seen, but don't let that stop you from giving it some serious consideration. 

The M45A1 is made from forged stainless steel, which is just like Colt's Rail Gun.

The M45A1's receiver, slide, barrel, and slide stop all go through a forging process that is designed to make the steel stronger and more durable. The barrel is match-grade, while the finishing spec sports a non-reflective surface and is made up of standard military colors.

Colt 1911 M45A1 Technical Specifications: 

Caliber

45 ACP

Action

Single-Action-Only

Capacity

7+1 Rounds

Barrel Length

5 inches

 Overall Length

8.5 inches

Weight

 2.8 pounds

As such, the M45A1 stainless steel weapon boasts a Cerakote finish (desert tan) over markings that serve to indicate the end user. It's an attractive-looking gun, to be sure. I'm rather fond of the design choice colt went with here, and it pays off handsomely.

You're getting a unique 1911 with stylistic decisions that aren't often seen among 1911 variations. If you're looking to add a gun to your arsenal that your friends aren't likely to have, the M45A1 is just the gun for you. It's a rarety and one that comes with a higher price point as a result.

Comfy Shooting Experience

When holding the M45A1, I'm happy to say that it felt comfortable. The rail gives it a bit more weight than other 1911 models. You're also getting an ambidextrous safety, which again, I'm happy to say worked crisply any time I used it with either shooting hand.

The M45A1 also sports a beavertail grip safety. this features a prominent bump that serves to assure you that the safety can be employed while lowering the centerline of the bore ever so slightly. This also helps to protect your hand, which is a nice addition to see.

Although premium materials and components were used in the manufacturing of this gun, it isn't overly heavy. Sure, it's heavier than a lot of other 1911 pistols, but it carries its weight well and feels great when you're holding it.

Nice Grips

Another big plus is the grips. Colt when with a gritty texture here, and boy, does it feel nice. At no time did I ever feel like I was going to lose my hold of the pistol. Even when firing, I always felt like I had a secure grip on the M45A1. This is a key factor to point out for all of you reading this who are looking for a solid self-defense pistol.

Although it might be out of your price range at the moment, you'd do well to save up and spend your money on this gun rather than save money and get a gun you end up not liking. Colt knows its guns, and it shows here with the M45A1. This is a well-designed, well-thought-out, and well-executed piece of machinery.

Unlike other pistols I've shot in the past, this 1911 proved to be highly responsive and accurate. I had a great time firing off rounds, and a large part of that goes to the smooth operation of Colt's gun. Over the years, I've been unfortunate enough to try out some stinkers. But that's the case here at all.

Pure Excellence

The brains at Colt clearly took their time to deliver a pistol that screams excellence. From slide to frame, you're getting a killer pistol, in more ways than one. I will say that the grips do feel a bit thicker than other 1911s I've tried.

As such, those with smaller hands might be turned off by the experience. I mean, overall, I'm very pleased with the shooting experience that this gun provides. It's deadly accurate and a pleasure to use. I could see it going over really well as a self-defense pistol.

And thanks to being chambered in 45 ACP, it will make an excellent gun for home defense, as well. The trigger pull on this baby is but a mere 4.5 to 6 pounds. As such, even newcomers should comfortable shooting it.

I'll be the first to admit that the price point is really high. But Colt isn't selling just any 1911 variation here. You're getting one of the finest pistols that I feel is available on the market today. It's jam-packed with quality components and reflects as much in its ability to hit targets.

It's because of that you should seriously consider making it your self-defense companion. Sure, it's a bit heavy. But you can be certain that you will have ample protection from attackers on the street or intruders in your home.

Pros

  • It's easily one of the best 1911 pistols on the market
  • The M45A1 is made from forged stainless steel
  • Comfy Shooting Experience
  • Even when firing, I always felt like I had a secure grip on the M45A1

Cons

  • A bit pricey

Sticker Shock

If you thought the Colt 1911 M45A1 was expensive, you ain't seen nothin' yet.

Welcome to the most expensive 1911 pistol on this list.

The Wilson Combat CQB is hands-down one of the best 1911 pistols that money can buy.

great handle

And the money you will spend if you want to add this pistol to your arsenal. I have to say, due to the high cost of this pistol, there's a niche market for it, for sure. With the Colt 1911 M45A1, yeah, I can see someone saving up their money to get that gun.

But the Wilson Combat CQB? Not so much. Whereas the Colt 1911 M45A1 can cost upwards of $1,700, depending on where you buy it, the Wilson Combat 1911 can cost three times that much. Yikes! Unfortunately, the best 1911 pistols sometimes cost a lot of money. And the case of the Wilson Combat, you might need to take out a second mortgage if you absolutely must have this gun.

Wilson Combat 1911 Technical Specifications: 

Caliber

9MM Luger

Action

Single-Action-Only

Capacity

10+1 Rounds

Barrel Length

5 inches

Overall Length

8.7 inches

Weight

46.6 ounces

A Stunning Pistol

From the moment you lay your eyes on this pistol, it's clear that there's something different about it when compared to other 1911 pistols. It sports a flashy, attractive design that isn't often seen on handguns. And I have to admit, it suits the 1911 body really well.

If you're into rare and unique firearms, you're going to love what Wilson Combat brings to the table. From top to bottom, you're getting a pistol that is unlike anything you've probably ever seen. And we're just talking about its looks.

When it comes to the rest of this gun, you can bank on investing in a pistol that will serve you well for years to come. Every part is meticulously put together to bring you a durable, tough, and solid firearm inside and out.

Long-Lasting Performance

Because the build quality is so high, you better believe that you can put this gun through its paces and never experience a single hiccup. That's the makings of a heavyweight firearm. I shot round after round through the Wilson Combat and never had an issue.

So, how did it shoot? Like a champ. when firing this pistol, you can clearly tell that you've got a 1911 weapon in your hands. but more importantly, you can tell that modern updates are present - updates that complement the 1911 model really well.

Maybe even perfectly. Accuracy is off the charts, reflecting the stellar craftsmanship that went into crafting this gun. There are no noticeable movements during shooting, either. Everything maintains its positioning as it's supposed to.

Excellent Delivery

The secure shooting experience accommodates you well. And thanks to the precision firing capabilities of this 1911, you can trust that you're going to hit your targets if push comes to shove. If you've got the money to spend and are in need of a reliable self-defense pistol, the Wilson Combat is a worthy successor to the original - and then some.

Yes, it's going to be out of most people's price range. But then again, you're looking at what is quite possibly the best 1911 remake of all time. Now, I will say that there are some aspects that aren't going to sit well with everybody.

Possible Downsides

For one, it's an incredibly heavy pistol, even by 1911 standards. It weighs in at just a fuzz under 3 pounds, making it the heaviest pistol I reviewed. This isn't necessarily a bad thing depending on who you are. But if you're a brand new shooter who has yet to get acclimated to shooting pistols in general, you're probably going to hate all of that extra weight.

The other possible downside depending on your needs is that it fires 9mm rounds. If you were hoping to invest in something more powerful, you're going to be out of luck, at least with this particular model.

If you're going to be dropping this much dough on a pistol, you had better be darn well sure that you want a 9mm pistol. Elsewise, you are going to be sorely disappointed with the delivery of this pistol and mad at yourself for spending so much money.

In terms of comfort and safety, I couldn't find anything other than the additional weight that would cause someone to balk at this pistol. Like the original 1911, the Wilson Combat CQB is a masterpiece through and through. The grip feels like a dream and provides you with excellent control over the gun when shooting and handling.

And although it's "only" a 9mm, it will make a fine pistol for home defense. When it comes to protecting yourself on the streets with this pistol, I do have some reservations. The most notable one is the massive weight of this thing.

At almost three pounds, I can't imagine anyone being able to holster this pistol comfortably, let alone carry it around all day on their person. This is especially true for beginners who are still learning the ropes.

But aside from that, you can look forward to a stellar piece of machinery that will last for years to come while continuing to perform at the highest level.

Pros

  •  Accuracy is off the charts
  • A Stunning Pistol
  • And thanks to the precision firing capabilities of this 1911, you can trust that you're going to hit your targets
  • It sports a flashy, attractive design that isn't often seen on handguns

Cons

  • At almost three pounds, I can't imagine anyone being able to holster this pistol comfortably, let alone carry it around all day on their person

The 1911's Backstory

The 1911 pistols were designed in 1907, earning their place in history as a weapon that's older than cars (the Model T Ford wasn't introduced until the following year). As such, 1911 pistols will forever go down as a pivotal entry in our Nation's history.

Although designed in 1907, 1911 pistols weren't unleashed on the American public until 1912. The 1911 guns were designed by famous gunmaker, John Moses Browning, who created the 1911 weapon specifically for our young military.

Since 1911's weapon inception, it has been copied countless times the world over, making it one of the most popular pistols of all time. In what can only be seen as a testament the 1911's craftsmanship and reliability, the pistol is still widely-used to this day.

When it comes to accuracy, durability, and longevity, few do it better than the historic 1911. As such, very few changes to Browning's masterpiece have been made over the years. Quite simply, there just isn't much that needed to be made better. As the adage goes, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."

clean your handgun

1911: A Closer Look

I felt it necessary to take a peek inside 1911 to give you a better understanding of what makes it so great. It's largely well-known that Mr. Browning was a mastermind of firearms, and 1911 reflects as much perfectly.

The 1911's weapon’s basic principle is its recoil operation. The way these works is by expanding combustion gases to serve to force the bullet down the gun's barrel. And in doing so, they provide reverse momentum to the slide and barrel.

Firing Cycle

During this part of the firing cycle, both the slide and barrel become locked together. Therefore, after the bullet leaves the barrel, both the slide and barrel continue moving rearward for a very short distance.

When this happens, a link serves to pivot down the rear of the barrel, so as to move out of locking recesses located in the slide. Thus, the barrel is effectively stopped. This is done by the aforementioned link making contact against the frame with the lower barrel lugs.

As the slide maintains its rearward projection, a special claw extractor is designed to pull the spent casing from the firing chamber. Then, an ejector strikes against the rear of the case, thereby pivoting it out - and away - from the weapon via the ejection port.

a lot of guns

Feeding and Reset

The slide then stops its rearward motion. As such, the recoil spring propels it forward again so as to strip a fresh cartridge from the magazine, thus feeding it into the firing chamber. As the slide reaches its forward end of travel, it locks itself into the barrel. At this point, the 1911 weapon is ready to fire once again.

Unless, of course, it's the last round in the magazine and the last round fired. If this is the case, the slide will lock in its rearward position. A common action among handguns, this lets the shooter know that they need to reload.

At this point, you would eject the empty mag and insert a loaded one. Once the full magazine is in place, you can either pull the slide back slightly and then release it, or you can push down on the gun's slide stop. In doing so, you will allow the slide to release from its forward position, which is held in place under spring pressure.

Field Stripping and Gun Components

Other than grip screws, there aren't any type of fasteners in the 1911 design. The gun's main components are held in place by force from the mainspring. You can fieldstrip the 1911 weapon by partially retracting its slide and removing the slide stop.

You would then need to remove the barrel bushing. If you want to completely disassemble and reassemble the 1911 weapon, you'll need to manually remove several components and use tools to accomplish doing so.

As per the military mandate, the 1911 weapon is equipped with both manual safety and grip safety. Moreover, you will find standards on all M1911A1 models a manual safety, grip safety, slide stop, sear disconnect, and half-cock position.

Modifications

Over the years, there have been several companies that have equipped the 1911 weapon with a firing pin block safety. The Colt 80 Series, for example, has a trigger-operated firing pin block safety, while many other manufacturers use a Swartz firing-pin safety (operated by the grip safety).

man pointing a gun

The basic design of the 1911weapon  has been offered commercially for quite some time. And as such, it's been adopted and used by other militaries around the world. In addition to the basic design model, other variations have been offered, as well. These models include 45 ACP, 9mm Steyr, 9×19mm Parabellum, 38 Super, 7.65mm Parabellum, 400 Corbon, as well as others.

Which 1911 Is Right for You?

All right; you've seen what kind of options you have when deciding on which 1911 to invest in. Before you make a decision, there a few things you need to consider to ensure that you don't end up spending money on the wrong gun.

For starters, where are you in terms of experience and proficiency? If you're just getting started in the world of firearms, you're likely going to want to steer clear of pistols like the Wilson combat CQB and Colt M45A1. Why? Because they are heavier than most other 1911 models out there and will only serve to interfere with your shooting experience.

Most beginners will first want to get proficient with a pistol they are comfortable with. And I can tell you from my own personal experience that a heavy gun that you aren't used to will probably give you fits. I recommend beginning on a lightweight model and working your way up from there. And that's if you ever feel like you have to work up to a heavier pistol.

I've found that most people are happy with the gun that they start out on. They often find that they are plenty comfortable using the firearm that they trained with and don't necessarily need to upgrade to anything else.

man shooting with a gun

I know I was that way. Heck, I've had the same concealed carry pistol for more than a decade now and it's still going strong. I'm so comfortable with it that I can't imagine switching to anything else when it works as well as it does.

That's not to say that there aren't other guns I'd like to have. I've invested in others just to have them, but I always come back to my Ruger. It works as well as the day I bought it and I see no reason to change anything.

Choosing the Right Firearm

If you're wanting to get a gun for personal defense, again, I think a lighter model will serve you better than a heavier one. The reason for this is simple. You're likely going to be packing that gun around on your person all day long. Although a couple of pounds doesn't sound like a lot a first, you'd be surprised how quickly those couple of measly little pounds adds up over the course of the day.

As such, you're going to feel those two pounds if you aren't used to carrying a gun on your person. Stick with something that's easier for you to manage and you will appreciate going that route.

For self-defense, the 1911 weapon is an excellent gun model to start out with. But you want to make sure that you don't invest in the wrong one. Any of the 1911s reviewed here today will serve you well as a personal defense weapon. On average, they are accurate, reliable, and well-made.

Holding a gun

When it comes to defending yourself or those you love, clearly you want a pistol that you can trust to hit its targets if necessary. That said, you also want to make sure that you are proficient with whatever gun you ultimately invest in.

Proficiency Matters

No matter how well-made a gun is or how precise it is, all of that goes down the drain if you don't know how to handle it. Consider this: you could have the most expensive and highest-quality pencil in the world. But you can't just hand it to anyone and expect them to draw a work of art.

There first needs to be training and experience to get to the point where you can control and manage a firearm. To ensure this, you are going to want to spend plenty of time at the range honing your skills. and if you don't have any skills, that's what classes are for.

My point is, you aren't without options and assistance to help guide you in using your firearm. but it's imperative that you take advantage of any help available. Failure to do so will likely result in a bad experience if you are ever forced to defend yourself.

Many people have accidentally shot themselves because they didn't take the time to get proficient with their firearms. You can effectively avoid this by heeding my advice as detailed above. In doing so, you stand a much better chance of overcoming any nerves present during an attack.

check out the best first handgun

This is key, as everyone experiences their nerves spiking when something like a break-in or attack occurs. But here's the thing. Someone who isn't acclimated to their weapon will undoubtedly succumb to their nerves.

Conversely, someone who has gone through training and feels both comfortable and confident with their firearm will be able to better manage their nerves, thus utilizing their weapon much more efficiently and safely.

As you can see, you need to do your homework and follow through with the training that is required to handle a firearm correctly. But in doing so, you can look forward to a safe and enjoyable shooting experience.

Wrap Up

I hope you found these reviews helpful in finding the best 1911 pistol. While it's true that there are indeed a lot of options to choose from, I tried my best to narrow down the most likely candidates for personal defense.

The guns you see here today are easily the best of the best, delivering stellar quality and optimal performance. Like most people, you want a gun that you can trust to withstand plenty of use and have your back when you need it. That's exactly what you can expect from the entries above.