What is the best 1911 pistol? Well, I want to know too! The thing is, there are a lot of 1911 variants out there. The simple reason for that is that the 1911 is such an iconic gun!
The 1911 started life in the late 1890s when the US military was looking for a new firearm that was self-loading. The legendary John Browning designed a handgun for the Colt Manufacturing Company, which tested in trials and subsequently formally adopted by the US Army in 1911. That is actually why the gun us known as the 1911….as it was the year it was adopted by the US Army and given the designation of M1911. The gun was later also adopted by the US Navy and US Marine Corp in 1913.
Since then, the M1911 was the US Military handgun of choice. The M1911 served during numerous wars, which included WW1, WW2, Korean War and the Vietnam War. It was even used by some units during Operation Desert Storm, Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom. It was only in 1985 that the M1911 was replaced by the Beretta M9. I don’t know about you, but that is a pretty impressive service record!
The Top Contenders For Best 1911 Pistol
Now that we had our brief, but interesting history lesson about the 1911, we can look into which pistols are the best 1911 pistols!
Many folks will tell you that the best 1911 pistols are made by Wilson Combat…but you are going to have to pay a lot of money as they are definitely not cheap weapons!
Wilson Combat manufactures custom pistols from their location in Berryville, Arkansas. They actually specialize in the manufacturing and customization of M1911A1s.
Wilson Combat started life as “Wilson’s Gun Shop” in 1977, when Bill Wilson started his gunsmith business at the back of his family’s jewellery store. They went on to buy “Scattergun Technologies” in 2000 to start marketing shotguns under Wilson Combat Scattergun Technologies. Wilson’s handguns have a quality guarantee of 1 in (25 mm) groups at 25 yd (23 m).
If you want to buy a gun from Wilson Combat, the first choice will probably be the Bill Wilson Carry. It is a pistol for which Bill Wilson dictated the specifications himself, with the idea that it should be a good gun for concealed carry.
The pistol is based on the Wilson Combat CQB Compact with some custom upgrades. The upgrades include a slide that has has carry cuts to narrow the muzzle. The frame of the pistol also has the round butt modification, which makes for a more more comfortable carry and a minimized print. The slide stop post has been recessed and the hole chamfered to allow you to be able to use the Crimson Trace laser grips
You can see a practical review of the Wilson Combat CQB in the video below:
Rock Island Armory 1911 Series Pistols
The Rock Island Armory (RIA) 1911 series of pistols are recoil operated semi-automatic, single-action pistols. The RIA pistols are a manufactured in the Philippines and distributed in the US market by Armscor from Pahrump, Nevada.
The RIA pistols are usually more geared toward budget prices in the 1911 market. So if you want an entry level 1911, the RIA might be the best 1911 pistol choice for you. They are of course not all just cheap entry level guns, with the RIA Tactical, Compact, and Match models offering extra semi-custom high end features.
For example, the RIA Compact has a hammer that is skeletonized and a beavertail grip safety. The RIA Tactical offers a hammer and trigger that is target-grade as well as enhanced contrast combat sights and an ambidextrous safety.
HICKOK45 does another great review of the RIA 1911 Tactical in the video below:
Les Baer 1911 Pistols
Les Baer 1911 pistols are manufactured by Les Baer Custom Inc in Hillsdale, Illinois. The company was started by gunsmith Les Baer, Sr. in 1991.
Interestingly, Les Baer and Smith & Wesson are the only manufacturers that are authorized to to use and display Clint Smith’s Thunder Ranch logo. Les Baer offers a product line of pistols and rifles that makes use of that name. Clint Smith himself said that the reason that he gave Les Baer permission to use the name and logo due to Les Baer guns’ outstanding accuracy and reliability.
Les Baer pistols come with a guarantee of at least 3″ accuracy at 50 yards. Many models are available at an extra cost with a guarantee of 1.5″ at the same distance.
If you want the best 1911 pistol for self defense, the Ultimate Tactical Carry 5″ Model might be the solution. It is a .45 ACP caliber gun that feature a 5-inch National Match Barrel with Stainless Match Bushing and a Baer National Match Steel Frame. Some other features that you might like include Deluxe Slim Line Grips, dovetail front sight and LBC Deluxe Fixed Combat rear sight, Baer Aluminum Match Trigger, rounded for tactical use, Beveled Mag Well, 30 LPI Frontstrap, 20 LPI MSH, and a blued finish.
Check out a video review of the Les Baer UTC below:
What Do You Think – What Is The Best 1911 Pistol?
What do you think the is best 1911 pistol? There are many variants of the 1911 that it is difficult to point to one pistol as being the best 1911 pistol. What are your thougts on 1911 pistols like the Kimber, Smith & Wesson and Colt Rail Gun options? If you have any thoughts on the subject, please share it in the comments section below!