The 1911 is a storied pistol that has been one of the most popular firearms in the U.S. for several decades. Initially used in WWII, the 1911 has come a long way. Modern variants are exceptional performers, filling the role as accurate competition pistols as well as reliable self-defense weapons

    The 1911 is most famously chambered in .45 ACP. However, there are several other varieties, with 9mm options becoming increasingly popular recently. Despite this, the stopping power, accuracy, and tradition of a 1911 .45 means it is still the most sought-after firearm of this type

    The following list reviews some of the best 1911 .45 pistols available today.

    Best 1911 .45 Reviews

    Editor’s Choice: Smith & Wesson SW1911TA E-Series Tactical

    Smith & Wesson SW1911TA E-Series Tactical Accessory Rail
    • Exceptional value for money
    • Solid build and resistant to corrosion
    • Competition-grade pistol

    Top 11 Best 1911 .45 Reviews

    1. Smith & Wesson SW1911TA E-Series Tactical Accessory Rail: Best 1911 .45 Overall

    Smith & Wesson SW1911TA E-Series Tactical Accessory Rail

    Why you’ll love this:

    This isn’t a cheap 1911, but it won’t break the bank. It’s an exceptional pistol that suits a variety of situations. Whether you use it as a carry, a home-defense option, or as a range shooter, this is the best 1911 .45 ACP on the market.

    What We Liked

    • Picatinny rail for accessories and modifications
    • Versatile firearm, suitable for concealed carrying
    • Beautiful finish, including fish-scale serrations

    What We Didn’t Like

    • One of the heaviest pistols on our list

    Although aesthetics shouldn’t necessarily be prioritized when it comes to firearms, it’s hard to ignore this Smith and Wesson’s beauty. It isn’t as flashy as some custom pistols at a glance, but it contains some intricately designed details upon closer inspection. 

    The slide features a fish-scale pattern. These are different from the usual serrations but look and feel great. The laminate wood grips are even more ornate. They combine a matching fish-scale pattern with more traditional diamond checkering to give a very slick finish. 

    An excellent addition to this pistol is that the ejection port contains a scooped cutout at the front to aid with the ejection of a range of load varieties. The magazine release button is easy to reach whether you’re right- or left-handed. 

    The single-action trigger is crisp and smooth and breaks consistently at around 4 to 4.5 pounds. The E-Series also comes with an adjustable overtravel stop screw, enabling you to adapt the trigger should you need to.

    As a weighty firearm, the Smith and Wesson handles recoil very well. If you’re happy to shoot a 40-ounce pistol, you should have no problems hitting your target. 

    2. Rock Island M1911-A1 Tactical .45 ACP Pistol: Best 1911 .45 for the Money

    Rock Island M1911-A1 Tactical .45 ACP Pistol

    Why you’ll love this:

    While the Rock Island doesn’t have the precision accuracy of a Smith & Wesson E-Series Tactical, it offers plenty of great features for the price.

    What We Liked

    • Excellent value for money
    • Low-recoil pistol
    • Overtravel adjustable trigger

    What We Didn’t Like

    • One of the heavier 1911s on list

    An unfortunate reality of purchasing an in-demand model of pistol like a 1911 is that they don’t come cheap. You can easily spend thousands of dollars on a mass-produced firearm. 

    If you’re looking for a reliable gun with plenty of features that won’t demand you to empty your bank account, the Rock Island M1911-A1 Tactical is a fantastic option. It is a no-frills, hard-hitting .45 caliber pistol that you can depend on

    Although it doesn’t come with as many standout features as some of the 1911s on our list, the Picatinny rail means that you can add accessories as you please. This is excellent for anyone who enjoys using red-dot sights or lasers. 

    The 5” barrel and dovetail sights allow for accurate shooting. Chambered in .45 ACP, the Rock Island offers plenty of stopping power. It is ideally suited as a self-defense weapon, but the accuracy levels ensure you’ll have lots of fun on the range. 

    Weighing 43.2 ounces, this is one of the heaviest 1911s we’ve reviewed. It contains a full-length guide rod and frame dust cover, giving it added heft. While this is problematic for some, the added weight is welcome to those looking to minimize recoil

    This has been a popular pistol for several years and has been used for a variety of purposes. As a tried-and-tested weapon, it won’t steer you wrong. As one of the cheapest guns on our list, it is great value for money.

    3. Dan Wesson ECO: Best 1911 .45 for Concealed Carry

    Dan Wesson ECO

    Why you’ll love this:

    This is the best compact 1911 .45 on our list. If you need a fast, accurate, and hard-hitting concealed carry, this is our clear pick.

    What We Liked

    • G10 grips offer superior control
    • Lightweight and compact design
    • Excellent concealed carry option
    • Highly effective unique recoil system

    What We Didn’t Like

    • Prone to jamming if not maintained diligently

    People frequently look to 1911s to fulfill the role of a concealed carry. Even the more compact designs are powerful and accurate. Since pistols are designed for short-range combat, the compact style 1911 provides enough force that you won’t be outgunned

    The Dan Wesson ECO (Everyday Carry Officer) is a sub-compact pistol that comes in either a 9mm or .45 ACP option. The latter is our pick as the best concealed carry 1911 on the market

    One of the most notable features of the ECO is the match-grade bull-barrel. It comes with a target crown instead of a bushing, making it more compact and straightforward to disassemble

    A real selling point of the ECO is the G10 composite grips. Not only do they look good, but they offer superior functionality. The gritty and rigid textures grip your hand comfortably and are very durable. Some gun owners opt for pistols that are exclusively suited to G10s. 

    Shooters will be fond of the Novak-style sights. There is a front tritium night sight and a rear sight that holds a tritium vial below the notch. They combine nicely to offer great visibility. For a compact pistol, good sights contribute massively to accuracy.

    The key for any Dan Wesson ECO owner is to take care of the gun. If it isn’t maintained adequately, it can be prone to jamming. 

    4. Auto Ordnance M1911A1: Best 1911 .45 ACP Pistol under $1,000

    Auto Ordnance M1911A1

    Why you’ll love this:

    This working relic is ideally suited to someone who wants to experience a firearm from a previous era. At a low price point, it also works well as a self-defense pistol.

    What We Liked

    • Usable relic pistol
    • U.S.- emblazoned grip panels
    • Accurate over short distances

    What We Didn’t Like

    • Very heavy gun
    • Lacks many modern features

    The Auto Ordnance M1911A1 is an homage to the WWII 1911A1 pistol. You can get plenty of use out of it without worrying about damaging an actual war relic. Although it doesn’t offer much oomph in terms of aesthetics, it is a classically designed piece that looks authentic. 

    This firearm is all about reliability. The frame and slide are both machined from steel castings. As an ode to a classic weapon, don’t expect the M1911A1 to come with a host of modern features. While it is designed with strong ergonomics, it lacks a flared magwell, target sights, or forward cocking serrations. 

    Instead of nuance, you can look to the low-profile fixed combat sights, a short, serrated trigger, a snug barrel bushing fit, and arched mainspring housing to give a controllable, dependable, and powerful pistol. A nice touch of this model is that the diamond pattern wood grip panels are adorned with a U.S. print.

    It is surprisingly accurate, particularly from 10 yards. The recoil doesn’t overwhelm, and the trigger, while heavy, is crisp and smooth.

    As the most unique 1911 on our list, this is a dream gun for firearms enthusiasts who love historical pieces. It is a throwback to an important era and a lot of fun to shoot.

    5. Colt 1911 Competition Series 70: Best 1911 .45 for Large Capacity

    Colt 1911 Competition Series 70

    Why you’ll love it:

    Who doesn’t want a durable, light, and highly accurate pistol with huge carrying capacity? For 1911 excellence at a fantastic price point, the Colt Competition Series 70 is a great option. 

    What we liked

    • Excellent build quality via stainless steel
    • Novak adjustable fiber optic sights for precision shooting
    • 8 + 1 capacity
    • Series 70 firing system for clean trigger pull

    What we didn’t like

    • May require minor adjustments from factory

    The Colt 1911 Competition Series 70 is a precision pistol that is purpose-built for combat and competition. This pistol was introduced specifically so that competitors could buy a 1911 off the shelf without having to add tons of accessories and modifications. 

    Although Colt has targeted competitors with this model, it works effectively as a self-defense weapon. It boasts plenty of features that allow it to stand out on the range as well as in combat. 

    The Colt Competition combines a Novak-style rear sight and a Novak fiber optic front sight. The rear sight is fixed, but if you are savvy, it can be laterally adjusted using a screw. Although they are simple, these Novak sights provide a familiar picture for 1911 users and are very effective in acquiring targets quickly.

    The renowned National Match Barrel and 3-hole aluminium single-action trigger allow for tremendous accuracy. The clean and crisp trigger breaks between 4.5 and 6 pounds. Users have reported little-to-no overtravel. With an 8 +1 round capacity, this model rivals many 9mm single-stack everyday carry options. 

    Due to the Colt Dual Spring Recoil System, this gun gives very little recoil and muzzle flip. Follow-up shots almost gravitate back toward the original target. This pistol offers tremendous value for money whether you’re a seasoned shooter or a budding competitor.

    6. SIG Sauer 1911 Fastback Emperor Scorpion: Best 1911 .45 for Everyday Use

    SIG Sauer 1911 Fastback Emperor Scorpion

    Why you’ll love it:

    This pistol presents value for money as an EDC or your self-defense go-to. It is a durable firearm designed for long-range targets.

    What we liked

    • Precision accuracy at range
    • Reliable to feed, fire, and eject
    • Can be used as a concealed carry
    • Durable PVD coated finish

    What we didn’t like

    • May be too heavy for some

    When you need a quality firearm, SIG Sauer is one of the leading names in the industry. Introducing its 1911 model in 2004, SIG Sauer has quickly become one of the most popular brands on the 1911 market. Named after the biggest scorpion on Earth, this SIG Sauer 1911 brings an element of nastiness that its moniker suggests. It is a Commander-sized piece with a 4.2” barrel and a full-frame

    The Emperor Scorpion is made from durable PVD coated stainless steel, giving it solidity and weight (35 ounces). It has a tight slide-to-frame fit and feels great in your hand as you grasp the dark Piranha textured G10 magwell grips. 

    This 1911 has a very light trigger pull, with users reporting to average a squeeze break of around 3 pounds. As you might expect, the SIG is deadly accurate at a typical combat range. It holds control during rapid fire, and the trigger action is clean with a quick reset.

    While pistol discharges typically occur within 20 feet of a target, the SIG is capable of retaining accuracy on a 10” steel plate up to 50 yards without issue. 

    There’s no doubt that this firearm is designed for combat. It is meant to be shot frequently. Whether you want to nail target after target on the range or keep this gun for self-defense, it won’t let you down. 

    While there is very little wrong with this pistol, it is heavy and powerful. While a heavy firearm is a characteristic that many people seek, it may equally be too much to handle for others.

    7. Metro Arms American Classic II: Best 1911 .45 under $600

    Metro Arms American Classic II

    Why you’ll love it:

    You must accept some drawbacks when you have a tight budget. However, this 1911 is capable of serving you as a home defense or EDC weapon if you don’t have much to spend.

    What we liked

    • Very low price point
    • Good build quality
    • Recoil can be controlled easily
    • Accurate at short-range

    What we didn’t like

    • Not manufactured in the USA
    • Thick hardwood grips

    The Metro Arms American Classic II is a budget representation of a classic GI 1911 pistol. Although it is not American-made, due to the low-cost manufacturing available in the Philippines, you can get a very solid firearm for well under $600. It looks, feels, and shoots very well for a cheaper weapon.

    The American Classic II has a lot to like. The Novak-style sights are the preferred iron sights for 1911s. Both sights are dovetailed, and the 3-dot front sight allows for fast target acquisition. The rear sight is a shallow V-shape that pairs up nicely.

    While the hardwood, fish-scale patterned grips look great, they lack somewhat in terms of functionality. They are quite thick and don’t contain a thumb cutout for the magazine release. Users must alter their grip to set it off. 

    The trigger breaks between 4 and 5 pounds and is curved with 3 holes cut into it. The trigger face is polished. Depending on your preference, you may prefer a serrated or more textured variant. 

    Manufactured in steel, this is another heavy pistol (37.28 ounces). This aids with accuracy and performance as it manages recoil quite well. Unfortunately, the grips lack quality and so it doesn’t feel as snug in your hand as you may like. However, at such a low price, this may be a compromise you are willing to make for a 1911-style .45. 

    8. Springfield Armory Stainless Steel Mil-Spec 1911: Best 1911 .45 for Home Defense

    Springfield Armory Stainless Steel Mil-Spec 1911

    Why you’ll love it:

    Due to the size and weight of this 1911, it won’t suit everyone as a carry firearm. However, it is an ideal home-defense option that you can rely on.

    What we liked

    • 5” match-grade barrel
    • Full-size frame
    • Arched mainspring housing
    • Fixed steel 3-dot combat sights
    • Short military combat trigger

    What we didn’t like

    • Users may prefer skeleton hammer to the spur

    Springfield Armory has managed to take every great aspect of a traditional 1911 and put its own spin on it. The Stainless Steel Mil-Spec is a thing of beauty, combining classic features with intricate design and modern capabilities. 

    This pistol is worth the investment on aesthetics alone. The stainless steel frame immediately catches the eye with the bead-blasted matte finish giving the piece lots of character. The cocobolo wooden grips provide the perfect complement, demonstrating GI style checkering and the proud Springfield Armory Crossed Cannon emblem.

    One of the greatest things about this pistol is its build quality. It is built on a forged frame and slide, something that Springfield Armory products are renowned for. The full-length 5” match-grade barrel features slanted serrations along the slide. The Mil-Spec contains an arched mainspring housing.

    Another unique feature of the Mil-Spec is the short military-style trigger. It offers good balance to the weapon and pulls sharply. The serrated face gives control and comfort, so you don’t need to worry about your finger slipping. 

    Iron sight fans enjoy the fixed steel combat sights on this pistol. The 3 white dots allow you to channel light optimally and present an excellent picture. This is a very enjoyable gun to shoot. 

    The Mil-Spec is a powerful pistol, but the recoil is controllable. However, it may be a lot to handle for a beginner.

    9. Colt XSE Series Government .45 ACP: Best 1911 .45 for Durability

    Colt XSE Series Government .45 ACP

    Why you’ll love it:

    This is a good all-around option that you can enjoy for years of shooting. However, it is probably best suited to a beginner gun owner for self-defense.

    What we liked

    • Tight slide-to-frame fit
    • Smooth design with minimal sharp edges
    • Doesn’t require long break-in period
    • Ambidextrous safety lock
    • Novak low mount carry sights

    What we didn’t like

    • Plastic mainspring housing

    It’s no surprise that multiple Colt pistols make an appearance on our list. As one of the premier pistol manufacturers in the US, Colt produces some of the finest 1911s on the market. The XSE Series is another example of a versatile, high-performance pistol that offers users a pure shot

    Visually, it is quite subtle. It doesn’t contain many frills or intricate design aspects. However, this stripped look is one that appeals to many gun enthusiasts, particularly when it comes to 1911s. What it lacks in style, this Colt makes up for in performance and features.

    The XSE Series contains plenty of characteristics that shooters desire. As standard, this model comes with an extended ambidextrous safety lock, a lowered and flared ejection port, a full-length guide rod, Colt upswept beavertail grip safety, front and rear slide serrations, and a 3-hole aluminum trigger. It is truly versatile and suited to shooters of all abilities, from beginners to veterans.

    This firearm is extremely accurate, particularly at distances up to 20 feet. As a welcome trait, you can expect the Colt to fire consistently right out of the box. The vast majority of owners report few malfunctions, meaning this is a very reliable piece. The lowered and flared ejection port helps tremendously with this. 

    Most 1911 enthusiasts are familiar with the Novak-style sights on the XSE Series. Although they are standard on modern pistols, there is no doubting their effectiveness: Target acquisition is fast. 

    10. Kimber Warrior SOC .45 ACP 1911: Best 1911 .45 for Accessorizing

    Kimber Warrior SOC .45 ACP 1911

    Why you’ll love it:

    This is a reliable and durable gun that anyone gun owner will love. However, it is best suited to a gun enthusiast that wants to accessorize their 1911

    What we liked

    • Comes with Crimson Trace Rail Master laser unit
    • Designed for combat
    • Enabled for sound suppressor
    • Includes tactical wedge
    • Match-grade trigger

    What we didn’t like

    • Features may overwhelm beginner shooter

    The Kimber Warrior SOC is an elite pistol based on the Kimber Interim Close Quarter Battle (ICQB) model used in combat by U.S. Marines. While they aren’t identical, they share the same basic specifications, ensuring you’re dealing with a quality 1911

    The Warrior SOC contains everything you could ask for in a modern pistol, including an ambidextrous thumb safety, G10 grip panels, a Picatinny rail for modifications, Kimber Tactical Wedge night sights, and a lanyard ring equipped mainspring housing. 

    The slide and frame are smooth and rounded for a snag-free carry. There are no sharp edges or points, making it an ideal carry weapon. As with most 1911s, it holsters perfectly and can be drawn with ease. 

    As a tactical-based weapon, this Warrior comes with some special features. The tactical wedge tritium night sights make it suitable for fitting a suppressor. The Picatinny rail ensures you can modify and add accessories as you please. One of the greatest aspects of the Warrior SOC is that it comes with a Crimson Trace Rail Master laser unit. 

    If match-grade triggers are one of your requirements, you can expect a consistent trigger break between 4 and 5 pounds

    It is a very accurate fire on the range. You can get plenty of accuracy at distance and a fast but pinpointed fire rate. The lasers allow for accuracy in dark or visually tricky scenarios. 

    11. Colt 1911 M45A1 .45ACP Rail Gun: Best 1911 .45 for Combat

    Colt 1911 M45A1 .45ACP Rail Gun

    Why you’ll love it:

    This is the perfect 1911 for a collector or someone looking for a highly reliable combat-ready pistol.

    What we liked

    • Military-grade weapon
    • Extremely reliable for feeding, firing, reloading, and ejecting
    • Picatinny rail for lasers, lights, and sights
    • Novak-style Trijicon night sights

    What we didn’t like

    • Very heavy pistol

    The Colt M45A1 is a military-grade 1911. It was originally designed as a sidearm for Special Operations units in the US military. Although this Close Quarters Battle Pistol (CQBP) is available to civilians, it is identical to the Marine Corps model.

    This is a very popular firearm for gun enthusiasts and collectors. Due to its military use, the M45A1 is built for combat and to stand the test of time (made from forged steel). You won’t find a 1911 that outdoes this one in terms of quality.

    The Trijicon night sights contain 3 glowing green dots, which are effective in acquiring targets in low-light. At night, they can be activated via an attachable flashlight or another form of artificial light. 

    If you need more than an iron sight, the Picatinny rail can be used to install lasers, lights, or red-dot optics. Due to its customizability, many owners enjoy using the M45A1 as a target pistol. 

    As a war-ready firearm, this 1911 shoots very accurately. Due to its weight, balance, and dual recoil spring system, it handles consistently and reliably. However, if you’re not used to using a heavy pistol (2.8 pounds), it may take some getting used to.

    This is about as reliable a pistol as you will find. If you have the money and interest, it is a worthy investment no matter what you intend to use it for.

    Best 1911 .45 Overall: Smith & Wesson SW1911TA E-Series Tactical

    Smith & Wesson SW1911TA E-Series Tactical Accessory Rail

    When it comes down to a self-defense situation or a fun range session, you want a .45 in your holster. It has the power, precision, and reliability to protect you and your family and to provide hours of practice at the range. 

    Of all available 1911 .45s on the market, the Smith & Wesson E-Series Tactical stands out from the crowd. It is superior to every firearm within its price range and can compete with the best competition pistols available. Don’t hesitate to pull the trigger on the Smith & Wesson SW1911TA E-Series Tactical today.

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