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By Matija on Jan 10, 2022

The Best 1911

The Best 1911
As the old saying goes: God created men equal. Colonel Colt made them equal.
 
If we had to add something to the saying it would be: God created men equal. Colonel Colt made them equal. John Moses Browning made them better.
 
There are a few guns that are legendary like the 1911, a gun that confirms the if it's not broken don't fix it logic. Still, there are a lot of differences between models, so it's hard to pick the best 1911 for a list. But fortune favors the brave, so we did just that for you!
 
#1 Rock Island Armory 1911
 
The Rock Island Armory 1911 are known for being economical, reliable, and functional.  For less than $500 you can purchase one.
 
They are offered in full size and compact or single stack only (no double stack).   They come with a wide range of finishes and styles.  If you like to customize your own, then the RIA 1911 is an excellent starting point as they are easy to strip for external upgrades.
 
Just like the RIA full size, the RIA compact features an alloy frame and forged slide.
 
However, you can tell by looking at them they are quite different pistols.
 
RIA Compact vs Fullsize
 
The compact is a very nice concealable pistol that will easily fit in your pocket or purse.  It has only three safeties, as opposed to the full size’s five.
 
The first is a thumb safety on the frame that locks both the slide and trigger.  The second is a grip safety that prevents it from firing if there isn’t pressure on the grip (which can also be deactivated).
 
The third and final safety lever works like all 1911 standard safeties.  The slide cannot be pulled back if the hammer is cocked, which prevents dry fire accidents.
 
The full size has an additional thumb safety on the grip that locks the trigger, but it’s not recommended to use this for pocket carry.
 
RIA Compact vs Fullsize
 
Out of curiosity I also shot them at 25 m and found the compact was a bit more accurate at that distance.
 
They both were capable of shooting 1” groups from 7 yards (21 feet), which is considered excellent for such a short barrel length.  I believe most people would find them equally accurate as there isn’t much difference in their size, weight, and balance.
 
However, the design of the compact’s slide seems to reduce muzzle flip.  I think this is due to the shorter height and less material in front of the ejection port.  It certainly helps with faster follow up shots than its full size counterpart.

#2 Remington R1
 
They also cost between $500 and $800 depending on options.
 
Just like with other pistols in that category, you can find them in a wide range of finishes and styles. We chose the R1 because it’s only available in full size, but will make a nice affordable alternative to the RIA compact if you feel like taking out multiple targets at up to 50 meters.
 
It is worth to mention Remington specifically usedforged steel components and provide longevity of more than 100,000 rounds.
 
We prefer the R1 over their 1911 R1 Enhanced as the latter only has a steel guide rod and uses plastic parts where all of the weight is concentrated (hammer and sear).  
 
The extra weight on those components increases wear on them and reduces accuracy.
 
It’s also available in two finishes, matte blue and satin nickel:
 
They both come with Novak-style adjustable three-dot sights which are very nice for a stock pistol at this price point.
 
It’s also very customizable and has an accessory rail for lasers or lights.

#3 Ruger SR1911
 
The SR1911 is the budget version of Ruger’s Stainless steel model.
 
It features a thinner frame and slide, rounded grip frame corners, commander style hammer, and lightweight skeletonized trigger.  This results in a very nice trigger pull of 4lb/3kg according to my Lyman digital scale.
 
However, it only has a 3” barrel and doesn’t have 1911 target sights.  The front sight is black while the rear is two dots.
 
It also comes with Novak style adjustable three-dot sights that are very nice for this price point, but there isn’t much light around them for low light shooting.
 
The fit and finish are both very good, with no sharp edges or blemishes.  It also has a matte stainless steel finish that looks great.
 
They only offer the SR1911 in full size at this time, but it would be nice if they offered one like their SR40c (reviewed here ). This model is specifically designed for concealed carry and has a 3.5” barrel just like the SR1911.

#4 Springfield Armory EMP 3″ in 9mm
 
The EMP is a very popular concealed carry pistol.  It’s shorter than the 1911 and has been built from the ground up to conceal in an inside-the-waistband holster, but still feels like a full size 1911 when you shoot it.
 
It comes with an aluminum alloy frame and stainless steel 3” barrel.
 
It’s a single-stack in 9mm with only a seven round magazine capacity, but that’s good enough for self defense.  This makes it easy to conceal and carry.  It also reduces muzzle flip and helps you get back on target faster than a double-stack .45acp.
 
The frame of  the EMP is more rounded and doesn’t have sharp edges or corners.
 
Like other 1911s, it has a bigger grip than most subcompact pistols so you can control the recoil better during rapid fire.
 
The three-dot sights are adjustable for windage which comes in handy if you are at the range shooting targets 50+ meters.
 
It’s a great looking pistol with a matte black finish and very smooth .
 
The recoil is less than you would expect from a 1911 in this category as it has an aluminum frame, but there isn’t any plastic below the slide aside from the grips.  The grip panels are checkered G-10 laminate panels.  This provides grip without sticking to your hand like rubber grips, but still helps with recoil control.
 
They also offer the EMP 4” which is great if you prefer a .45acp or if that fits better for you since it has more of an effect on muzzle flip than the difference between 3” and 5”.

#5 Metro Arms American Classic II 1911
 
Metro Arms is a small gun company that I wasn’t familiar with until they sent the American Classic II for our review.
 
The 3” barrel also has adjustable Novak style rear sight and fiber optic front sight, which is great if you are at a range shooting targets 50+ meters.  It looks very similar to a traditional 1911 and has a 7+1 magazine capacity.
 
So we headed to the range and shot it for ourselves:
 
It’s also very customizable and can be ordered with many different aftermarket parts like triggers, sights, and more.
 
The finish is satin nickel which gives it a unique look on top of being functional. It comes with single-dots, but you can upgrade to night sights if necessary.
 
It also has a solid metal guide rod which makes it easier to rack the slide than with most plastic guide rods.
 
This model comes in both 3” and 4” lengths , so if you prefer .45acp or prefer 4” there is  a model for you.
 
Conclusion
 
If you're looking for a concealed carry 1911 then these are all great options.  They can range from $700 all the way up to $2000+ but still offer accuracy, reliability, and good ergonomics. Scroll down to find the best deals on 1911s that GunCritic has found. If you click each link you'll also find real reviews from real people!
 
 
 
 
Rock Island Armory M1911 CS FDE
1. Rock Island Armory M1911 CS FDE
Guncritic Certified 97%

$452.89

As a single action handgun, the Rock Island Armory M1911 CS FDE .45 ACP Pistol boasts a 7+1 capacity. The steel frame, which is treated with an FDE Cerakote finish, is equipped with rubber grips, Novak-style fixed sights and an MR3 trigger with overtravel screw.

Rock Island Armory M1911-A1 Tactical II
2. Rock Island Armory M1911-A1 Tactical II
Guncritic Certified 96%

$529.99

Featuring a parkerized steel frame, the Rock Island Armory M1911-A1 .40 S&W Pistol also includes G10 grips and an extended beavertail. The pistol has a single-action design with an 8+1 ammo capacity, a frame-mounted safety and fixed sights. Rock Island 51486 M1911-A1 Tactical II .45ACP 5" G10 Grips Fiber Optic Adjustable Sights The Rock Ultra FS has a 5" button rifled barrel supported by a full length guide rod. The smooth-angled, snag-free style allows for quick draw in fast need situations. Includes a low profile adjustable rear sight and high visibility fiber optic front sight. Also includes skeletonized hammer and trigger with adjustable over travel stop and ambidextrous safety. It's finished with a tough parkerized matte coating and comes with battle ready G10 tactical grips.

Rock Island Armory 1911 Pro Match
3. Rock Island Armory 1911 Pro Match
Guncritic Certified 93%

$952.38

The Match is a target grade pistol chambered in .45acp and equipped with adjustable rear sights and fiber-optic front sights. Inside its fully parkerized finish lies an 8 round magazine. On the outside of the pistol is an extended beavertail resulting in increased safety and accuracy.

Remington 1911 R1
4. Remington 1911 R1
Guncritic Certified 94%

$950.00

The accuracy and reliability that have made the 1911 an American icon now shine brighter than ever. Features include a crisp trigger, dovetailed front and rear sights, precision-machined slide and frame, and available fine-checkered American walnut grips. The new Model 1911 R1 is truly the finest blend of exacting craftsmanship and out-of-box performance available today. Every element is produced with ultra-tight tolerances on equipment representing the height of modern technology. The result is a sweet-shooting advancement of a legendary design were more than proud to put our name on.

Remington 1911 R1 Carry Commander
5. Remington 1911 R1 Carry Commander
Guncritic Certified 90%

$820.99

The accuracy and reliability that have made the 1911 an American icon now shine brighter than ever. Features include a crisp trigger, dovetailed front and rear sights, precision-machined slide and frame, and available fine-checkered American walnut grips. The new Model 1911 R1 is truly the finest blend of exacting craftsmanship and out-of-box performance available today. Every element is produced with ultra-tight tolerances on equipment representing the height of modern technology. The result is a sweet-shooting advancement of a legendary design were more than proud to put our name on.

Ruger SR1911
6. Ruger SR1911
Guncritic Certified 97%

$1,095.45

The Ruger SR1911 is a classically styled pistol designed with modern manufacturing advances. Their precision CNC-controlled machining process results in s superior slide-to-frame fit and smooth slide travel. Positive barrel lock-up allows for superior accuracy out of the box. The lightweight, aluminum, skeletonized trigger features an adjustable over-travel stop and provides a very crisp, light trigger pull with a quick positive reset and has a skeletonized hammer and titanium firing pin for faster lock time. Its extended thumb safety and slide stop lever for improved, positive manipulation. These accept standard, aftermarket 1911 parts and accessories and includes one 8-round and one 7-round stainless steel magazine. Specifications: Weight: 39oz # of Mags: 2 Overall Length: 8.67" Additional Info: Oversized Beavertail Grip Safety Additional Info: Skeletonized Trigger & Hammer Additional Info: Rear Slide Serrations

Springfield Armory 1911 EMP
7. Springfield Armory 1911 EMP
Guncritic Certified 96%

$1.00

Get a good look at a whole new class of pistol---the short action 1911. This Springfield Armory 9MM Enhanced Micro pistol is the first production 1911 made from the ground up to shoot 9MM cartridges. The result? The smallest most concealable 1911 you can buy. As one of the most trusted pistols of it's kind, the Springfield 1911 Champion Operator Semi Auto Pistols are great choice for personal protection.

Bersa MetroArms SPVS9BC SPS 1911 Short Slide 21+1 9mm 5"
8. Bersa MetroArms SPVS9BC SPS 1911 Short Slide 21+1 9mm 5"
Guncritic Certified 0%

$1,295.00

The SPS Vista short is a 9mm single action with barrel length of 5" and overall length of 9.82 . Height is 7.85" with the weight of 41.62 ounces. Frame is made of 4140 Steel, slide is made of 4140 hammer forged steel. Featuring a scope mount, flared and lowered ejection port, standard slide stop, enhanced beavertail grip safety, skeletal hammer, light weight polymer trigger, wide rear slide serrations and checkered front strap serration. Also featuring ambidextrous thumb safety, ramped match grade threaded barrel and glass filled nylon polymer grips. Comes in a black chrome finish.   Specifications: Type: Pistol Action: Single Caliber: 9mm Barrel Length: 5" Capacity: 21+1 Safety: Ambidextrous Thumb Grips: Nylon Sights: Weight: 7.85 oz Frame Finish: Chrome

Bersa MetroArms SPVL38SBC SPS 1911 Long Slide 21+1 38SUP 5.5"
9. Bersa MetroArms SPVL38SBC SPS 1911 Long Slide 21+1 38SUP 5.5"
Guncritic Certified 50%

$1,865.79

Frame :4140 Steel Slide :4140 Hammer Forged Steel Front Sight :Dovetail Fiber Optic Rear Sight :Bomar-Type Adjustable Ejection Port :Lowered and Flared Serrations :Wide Rear Grip :Glass Filled Polymer Magazine :Doublestack and Wide Magwell Trigger :Light Weight Polymer Features a Scope Mount *C-MORE Optical Sight not included REQUIRES AMMUNITION WITH A POWER FACTOR OF 160 OR HIGHER