It is perhaps one of the most iconic firearms in human history. It features a look with sharp edges and sleek, clean lines, giving it a classic silhouette. The gun itself has been around for a long time and it was a smashing success. 

But one major reason why people love it is because of how easy it is to use. The trigger keeps your sight in line as you are putting down lead. It delivers accuracy and quality that no other handguns at the time can match. It is dependable and powerful, and even the military used it.

Since its debut, many firearm manufacturers have tried to manufacture their own 1911s and there are plenty of those out there. A lot of them are expensive because they are not your typical polymer-framed, striker-fired pistols you usually see from the likes of Glock or Sig Sauer. One major reason why 1911s are expensive is that they use metal forging instead of sheet metal parts or plastic.

That said, you can still find affordable 1911s. I am speaking in relative terms here since many of those cheap 1911s are still expensive compared to other pistols. But if you ask me, it is worth investing in a 1911. It is a must-have in your collection.

With this in mind, I have here a list of 5 1911s that go under $1,000.

1. The Kimber Aegis Elite Ultra Compact 1911

As the name suggests, the Kimber Aegis Elite Ultra Compact 1911 is made for concealed carry applications. It only weighs around 25 ounces, which makes it the lightest pistol on the list. It also features a sleek design so that carrying it on your person is more comfortable. You get a 3-inch barrel as well as a thin profile that completes the setup. The spurless hammer also prevents snags.

The frame is well-rounded, especially where the trigger guard and front strap meet. That way, you can maintain a high grip when you are shooting for better accuracy. The thumb safety is also shrunk for the purpose of concealed carry, but you can still manipulate it easily. On the top, you get fiber optic sights. Red at the front and green at the back.

Despite being ultra-compact, the gun does not kick much at all. Even many inexperienced shooters and ladies can shoot it with ease. It is accurate up to 10 – 15 yards, which is more than enough for a self-defense pistol. The trigger also has a short reset, allowing you to put down accurate follow-up shots rapidly. Unfortunately, you only have 8 shots in the magazine, and buying any extra will be expensive.

Kimber Aegis Elite Ultra Compact 1911

2. The Springfield Armory 1911 Loaded

The 1911 Loaded from Springfield Armory features a stainless steel barrel and a flat mainspring housing. This one doesn’t have sharp edges. The front and rear sights are dovetail-mounted and you get three-dot tritium inserts. The hammer is Delta lightweight from Springfield Armory themselves and it is spurless, meaning that you do not have to worry about it pinching your hand. What completes the sleek and professional look is the matte black finish as well as the checkered cocobolo wood with the Springfield emblem on the grip panels.

Springfield Armory uses a two-piece guide rod recoil system which is quite new for 1911 designs. These rods enhance the accuracy but you will need an Allen wrench for disassembly. You also get an Internal Locking System to prevent accidental discharges.


The 1911 Loaded is a bit heavier compared to other 1911s on the list, weighing in at 37 ounces when empty. Still, it is still quite comfortable to use. You can be shooting this thing for hours at the range and you would not get tired of it. This model allows you to shoot rapidly, making it best for race shooting. The sights will not bounce off of the target and you can continue pinging with barely any recoil. The only thing I would change about the sight is to make the rear a little wider for a better view, but I might just be nitpicking at this point.

3. The Springfield Armory 1911 Range Officer Champion

Arguably the coolest 1911 on the list in terms of aesthetics thanks to the glossy cocobolo hardwood stocks and the intricate design on them, not to mention the curved handle and trigger. The frame is lightweight aluminum alloy which makes the gun a little easier to handle. Though the 1911 Range Officer Champion is a full-frame pistol, it comes with a four-inch barrel that has that nice balance in your hand when you are shooting it.

This model also has a corrosion-resistant coating. This maintains the pristine look even after extensive use. The little serrations on the slide give your hands some extra purchase and cut down on reloading time. They also make the gun more streamlined as well. You get 7 .45 ACP rounds in the magazine, which is not a lot to work with and it also requires some work if you want to field strip it using the guide rod.


The slide is fitted tightly to the frame, meaning that it will not wiggle sideways and affect accuracy. You get a red fiber optic front sight and a white dot for the rear sight. The hammer and the trigger are skeletonized, which helps reduce the heft of the pistol further.

If you want a pistol that can do the job without breaking the bank, look no further than this. It is also a good option for beginners as well.

4. The Smith & Wesson 1911 E-Series

Smith & Wesson is known for making quality firearms, so it makes sense that they would want a piece of that 1911 pie. They rolled out their 1911s but many gun enthusiasts pointed out a few problems and suggested some improvements. Would you know it, they listened and pushed out the E-Series.

What is different about these 1911s is that they no longer have the firing pin safety. Rather, they use a titanium pin and firing pin spring. The E-Series is a modern take on classic pistol design. They changed the shape of the ejection port to enhance reliability and decrease brass denting. The trigger design is also changed to allow for better consistency when firing.

You also get a round-butt frame. The bottom corner is rounded to prevent snag when you are whipping it out and also helps conceal the gun when you are carrying it. Then again, even though the 1911 E-Series is easier to conceal with its rounded edges, you probably do not want to because of the beautiful matte black finish as well as the unique fish scale serrations. The E-Series is built on an aluminum alloy frame paired with a stainless-steel slide. Owners of this pistol said that it can be fed a variety of ammo such as hollow points and hardball. One notable downside is the thumb safety which might feel a bit spongy at first, but your mileage may vary. However, a gunsmith can fix that.


The Smith & Wesson 1911 E-Series is best suited for competition shooting as it is dead accurate up to 40 feet. Beyond that, you can try using rest to keep your sights accurate.

5. Colt 1911 Competition SS

I have to put this on the list first because Colt was the first manufacturer to start making 1911s. The design was sold to them, so it makes sense that their design is at the top. They had plenty of time to perfect their design and the Colt 1911 Competition SS is indeed top-notch. It was only during the First World War that Colt started to hand out the design to other companies when they could not keep up with the demand. So, what can you expect from the Competition SS?

For one, it can be had in either 9 mm or .45 ACP. Both of these cartridges are the best options for self-defense and both variants come with a 5-inch twist stainless steel barrel. The only difference between the two variants comes down to the capacity. The 9 mm gives you 9 rounds in the magazine and the .45 ACP one only has 8.

The Competition SS comes with a Dual Spring Recoil System which reduces recoil after every shot, meaning that you can put down fast and accurate follow-up shots as needed and extended shooting will not strain your wrists and arms. You also get an adjustable Novak rear sight and a Novak Blue Fiber Optic front sight. Blue might not be your choice of color when red and orange are the go-to color for optics, but it is a conscious decision from Colt. It matches the blue patterns on the scalloped G10 grips, giving your pistol that modern and sleek aesthetics

Other than that, you get a thumb safety on the left side, a carbon steel frame with a beavertail grip safety as well as an undercut trigger guard, and an aluminum single-action trigger to complete the package. Overall, the gun sits comfortably in the hand, and shooting it is such a pleasure that it should be a sin. It is perfect for competitive shooters and beginners alike as you can start using it straight out of the box without further calibration.


These are my picks for 1911s under $1,000 which I think are worth every penny. Of course, you do not have to agree with everything I say and if you have any other suggestions, we would love to hear from you. If you happen to own any of these beautiful pieces, tell us about your experience in the comment section below.

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