Here at GunsAmerica, we have been running a number of reviews for some super nice, high end 1911s lately. There is something to say about the fancy pants custom and semi-custom steel frames. But there is also something to say about the other end of the spectrum, the el cheapo 1911s. Love or hate the John Browning design, you can not dismiss its history and longevity. Ones that are made right just flat out work, and you don’t have to spend $2,000 plus to get one that is made right.
When I thought up this 1911 piece I was going to pick 5 that come in under $500 bucks. I can’t find 5 that are under that mark. Even in today’s buyer’s market due to some slower sales, the bottom end 1911s have stayed around the same price or even gone up a little bit.
This is one that can be found for right at $500 for the base model. These are some nice 1911s that are made in the Philippines. These are not only well made, but they are pretty slick looking as well. They all come with a skeletonized hammer, beaver tail grip safety and a Novak-style rear sight. These and a few other features that we just don’t see very often on an entry level priced 1911, or any other pistol for that matter. We did a full review of one this summer that you can check out here
. I ran a few mags through the review gun we had and can say it was a fine shooter for any price.
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The good folks at Springfield have been making some nice 1911s since the 1970s right here in the US. They used to have what they called the G.I. model that sold for under $500. This was a no thrills parkerized 1911 that was very close to what was issued to the G.I.s during WWII. They have discontinued that line over the past few year but have the Mil-Spec model filling its role. The Mil-Spec is a bit more (around $600-650) but it also nicer with a few extras over the old G.I. The Mil-Spec has a wider and lower ejection port and bigger sights. You can find my full review of a Mil-Spec here.
Pistola Sistema Colt Calibre: The Argentinian Colt
These are not new guns like some of the others on this list. But they are probably the coolest, at least story and history wise. Argentina contracted with Colt to produce 1911s under license. Production started in 1927 and went to around 1960. These pistols were made on equipment purchased from Colt. Colt engineers and employees traveled to Argentina to set up the factory and train the workers. The parts are interchangeable with Colt produced guns. Are these Colt made 1911s? No, but they are about as close as you can get and can be found for a fraction of the cost. Prices on these have gone up over the last few years. Not too long ago rough looking pistols could be found for under $400, but they were still in fully functional condition. They are still out there for around $500 and up, all depending on condition.
Yep, Cimarron. The same folks that are known for Cowboy Action shooting revolvers also have a line of 1911s. These are for the Wild Bunch shooting matches that is a break off of from the SASS competitions. It gets its name for the Wild Bunch movie and uses 1911s. The Cimarron is not our typical budget 1911. For one, it is a 1911 and not an A1. No cut away behind the trigger on the frame here. They are offered in Parkerized, blued and nickle finishes. I have one of these in for review and will say it is a very nice bare-bones 1911 that is pretty close to the ones made around 1918. It is not a perfect copy, but for around $500 it gets pretty close. These are made by Armscor in the Philippines.
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Speaking of Armsco,r the Rock Island name is one that almost always comes up in conversation about budget 1911s. There is a reason for that, they are great shooting guns regardless of price. These are also made in the Philippines by Armscor. They offer a plethora of 1911s from budget guns to some pretty fancy target and carry models. The Rock Island GI Standard can usually be found for under or right at $500. My experiences with Rock Island and Armscor have all been positive. Their customer service was great on a review gun that had a faulty grip safety. They fixed the issue and had it back to me in just over a week.
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