10 Best 1911 Pistols for $2000 – 45 ACP – 2023

Smith & Wesson Performance Center 1911 for sale - a great custom 45 ACP 1911

The $2000 mark is a real sexy price point. It gives you access to some of the biggest names, the slickest finishes and a gun that could easily last you a lifetime.

So what are the best 1911 pistols for sale under $2000? Here are our top picks.

Colt Gold Cup Trophy 45 ACP - Discount gun sales online. Buy a Colt 1911 that has won shooting competitions across the USA now.

1. Colt Gold Cup Trophy

  • Price: $1,731.99
  • Barrel: 5 inch
  • Total Length: 8.5 inch
  • Weight: 2.38lb
  • Capacity: 8+1
Overall Winner
Price: 5/5 Accuracy: 5/5 Weight: 4/5 Prestige: 4/5
A factory custom race gun with OEM performance parts.

Is the full size Colt Gold Cup Trophy the best 1911 45 in the business? It just might be you know.

Most of the world agrees that the top rated Colt is pretty much the standard for competition shooting. And a lot of people have them at home too.

We like factory custom race guns with just the right amount of performance parts. And this is right on the money.

Fiber optic front sights and Bomar fully adjustable rear sights, a Series 70 Colt Target trigger set and G10 grips all combine to give the Colt a performance advantage that you’ll feel in every pull of the single action trigger.

The extended beavertail grip safety with memory bump just feels right as well.

This is as near as you’ll get to a perfect Colt Series 70 45 1911 at this price point. It’s refined enough for competition, tough enough for the best home defense and good enough for everything.

Get one of the best shooting Colts on the market in 2023.

Dan Wesson Specialist, a great 1911 and maybe the best for $2000. Get yours here.

2. Dan Wesson Specialist

  • Price: $2,039.99+
  • Caliber: 45 ACP
  • Barrel: 5 inch
  • Total Length: 8.75 inch
  • Weight: 2.48lb
Editor’s Choice
Price: 4/5 Accuracy: 5/5 Weight: 3/5 Prestige: 5/5
Stunning designer label battle pistol with match grade foundations.

The Dan Wesson Specialist is the company’s flagship tactical pistol.

Designed specifically for Law Enforcement Officers, this is now one of the best 1911s for home defense and it’s arguably a match for much more expensive custom pistols.

A 1913 Picatinny rail, 25 LPI Front strap checkering, ambidextrous thumb safety, extended magazine release, detachable magwell and undercut trigger guard join a recessed slide stop that allows for the installation of a crimson trace laser grip.

We like the G10 grips and Tritium front and rear night sights it comes with, though. And the stainless steel frame and slide move across each other like silk sheets, while the extended beavertail grip safety and thumb safety feel just as good in its own special way.

There is no firing pin block, so there is no firing pin safety, as with the original design.

The full size Dan Wesson Specialist is available in 45 ACP, and can be chambered in 9mm Luger and 10mm Auto. You can order a Commander version as well if you’re looking for a concealed carry pistol.

CZ ultimately owns it these days. But the name is still basically a guarantee of a near perfectly engineered 1911 45 that is more accurate than most of us will ever be. It is high price, high spec, and one of the finest factory custom pistols you’ll see with a super smooth trigger.

This is right on the $2000 price point cut off, but even the most expensive models are worth every cent. Inevitably, you get excellent customer service too.

Now the Dan Wesson Valor is another winner and you can check out a buyers guide of the Dan Wesson Specialist, DWX and other pistols here.

The best pistol for home defense could well come from the Dan Wesson range.

Rock Island Armory GI  Standard

3. Rock Island Armory GI Standard

  • Price: $461.99
  • Barrel: 5 inch
  • Total Length: 6.5 inch
  • Weight: 2.2lb
  • Capacity: 8+1
Budget Choice
Price: 5/5 Accuracy: 3/5 Weight: 3/5 Prestige: 2/5
The cheapest decent 1911 and a best seller.

Now I know this will be controversial. But this Rock Island Armory GI Standard is a best seller for a reason and this budget friendly 1911 is one of the most popular 1911s on sale in the United States.

Does that make it one of the best? Well kind of, yes.

This is also a solid tribute to the original 1911. There’s a spur hammer, wood grips and classic controls.

There are some concessions to the modern world, like a stainless steel frame, parkerized finish, lowered and flared ejection port and, well, that’s about it. Aside from that this is the classic single stack 1911.

But this is 130 year old technology with modern manufacturing, and the end result is a reliable and soid pistol that costs less than $500. It isn’t the most accurate gun here and the slide action isn’t the smoothest, but it’s the cheapest by a mile.

You can get a Rock Island Armory 1911 GI Midsize Commander and subcompact 1911 Officer size at a great price. And you can opt for 9mm Luger if you want an extra round and less recoil.

Double Stack Rock Island Pistols Are Next Gen

We also love the Rock Island double stack 1911s in 45 ACP, 10mm and chambered in 9mm.

They include the officer sized Rock Island Armory BBR 3.1 with a double stack magazine and 10 rounds of 45 ACP. If you’re looking for a left field option for a concealed carry pistol then that smaller Rock Island is an excellent choice.

You want a bigger gun, then the Rock Island Armory Tac Ultra is an interesting choice,. You can get 16 rounds of 10mm in one mag, too, which is kind of wild.

If they were totally reliable and just a touch more accurate, those game changing Rock Island pistols would be winners here. And they’re a great choice these days.

Smith and Wesson SW1911 Performance Center. A great 1911 for concealed carry and general use.

4. Smith & Wesson Performance Center SW1911

  • Price: $1,758.99
  • Barrel: 4.25 inch barrel
  • Weight: 1.85lb
  • Capacity: 8+1
Price: 3/5 Accuracy: 4/5 Weight: 5/5 Prestige: 3.5/5

This is basically a factory custom 1911, built to the best carry gun specification, that hasn’t been sent off to a third party tuner along with a blank check.

S&W Performance Center engineers are effectively the skunkworks. So they have a big budget, and intimate knowledge of the best-selling base firearms from the original design phase.

Essentially they are providing the finishing touches to the iconic Smith and Wesson E Series SW1911, for those that want to pay for them.

The results speak for themselves with one of the best 1911 pistol options out there. Pull the single action trigger and you’ll feel the difference over the standard S&W E Series.

Ported Slide Cuts Weight and Looks Cool

The three slide ports look the absolute business and they probably do confer a small performance advantage. There’s a throated barrel, a precision crowned muzzle, a polished feed ramp, a spherical barrel bushing and a skeletonized trigger to complete the lightweight look.

An ambidextrous safety, and an extended beavertail grip safety, together with the bobbed hammer and two tone finish, complete the PC experience. Well that and the lifetime warranty for the major structural components of your Smith & Wesson.

And simple dot sights or adjustable sights you can upgrade along with the recoil spring, full length guide rod and more.

Kimber Pro Carry handgun. Get yours here.

5. Kimber Pro Carry

  • Price: $827.99
  • Barrel: 4 inch
  • Weight: 1.75lb
  • Capacity: 7+1
Concealed carry that goes the extra mile.
Price: 4/5 Accuracy: 5/5 Weight: 5/5 Prestige: 4/5

The Kimber Pro Carry II isn’t the company best concealed carry handgun. That honor goes to the Kimber Custom Defense Package subcompact, but this is arguably a better all-rounder.

Here you get a Commander frame pistol with a 4 inch barrel and some finishing touches like a hand fit slide and frame. It’s an aluminum alloy frame by the way, a match grade barrel and a compact beavertail, which helps keep the weight of this carry gun down.

There’s a two tone gun available, but the Kimber Stainless Pro Carry with low drag 3 dot combat sights or fiber optic front and rear sight, is a nice looking gun you might want to consider instead.

You can also go for the Kimber Aegis, which is another well dressed gun that has an even greater visual impact. Other Kimber compact models, including the Kimber Ultra Compact CDP, should be here. But you know, we have to make choices.

You can also opt for modern Kimber custom guns with plates for red dot sights and slide cuts.

Springfield 1911 Loaded. A great value 1911 for $1000 that comes with most of the features of a more expensive firearm.

6. Springfield Loaded Operator

  • Price: $988.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP Auto
  • Barrel: 5 inch barrel
  • Total Length: 8.6 inch
  • Weight: 2.5lb
  • Capacity: 7+1
Solid mainstream brand, like the Ford of 1911s
Price: 4/5 Accuracy: 4/5 Weight: 3/5 Prestige: 2.5/5

The Springfield Loaded Operator is a relative budget offering in this company. But it is 95% of the pistol for 50% of the cost in many cases. In others, it’s better than that.

We have been singing this gun’s praises for years with our buyers guide. It is a Ford in a world of Porsches and Ferraris, but the fact it can hang at all means it’s at least a Mustang of a semi automatic pistol.

There are also high end touches like a titanium pin that is lighter, but also comes without a firing pin block safety.

This is a performance bargain with low drag sights,, G10 grips ambidextrous safety and a matte stainless steel finish that belies its budget price range. John Moses Browning would approve of this full size 1911 with a mid-range price tag.

Ruger SR1911 is a great 45 1911 that you should really add to your collection.

7. Ruger SR1911 Standard Model

  • Price: $949.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP Auto
  • Barrel Length: 5 inch
  • Total Length: 8.67 inch
  • Weight: 2.5lb
  • Capacity: 8+1

Ruger is an iconic brand in its own right and the budget friendly Ruger SR1911 Standard Model is also one of our favorite 1911s under $1000 . There are better pistols, though, including competition spec 1911 models that are truly sexy.

The Ruger SR1911 Standard 45 and the Ruger Target seem to be available, but you will struggle to source a Competition with the upgraded steel slide and frame, skeletonized trigger and more.

Let me know where if you find one. The standard guns are pretty great, too, if you’re looking for a 45 that will truly see some action at the range or the real world. In this price range, this might be the best 1911 pistol.

They aren’t easy to find at the moment, but check them out anyway and you might get lucky and find a semi custom Doug Koenig race gun with night sights.

And there’s a high quality long slide Target version out there, with a long sight picture.

The budget friendly Springfield Mil-Spec. A great gun if you want to scratch the 1911 itch on a budget. Get the best cheap 1911 here.

8. Springfield Mil Spec

  • Price: $648.99
  • Cal: .45
  • Barrel Length: 5 inch
  • Total: 8.5 inch
  • Weight: 2.2lb
  • Magazine capacity: 8+1

The Springfield Mil Spec used to be our favorite 1911 for $500 and topped the charts in our cheap 1911s piece for a looooong time.

It has crept up in price, but the Springfield Armory Mil Spec is still a good gun that’s worth it at $650. In fact this is still a performance bargain and one of the best pistols for the money.

So if you want a cheap 1911 with an extended beavertail, we still think this is one of those hidden gun deals you’re looking for. They’re great pistols for the money and the Springfield Armory Mil Spec is arguably the best bang for your buck.

By the way, check out the full review Springfield Armory EMP, the Ronin EMP and double stack Springfield Prodigy 9mm pistols, if you’re looking for a 9mm 1911. You can also get an extended magazine for the Springfield Prodigy with 26 rounds, which is basically insane.

You can add night sights, new grips, turn this into the best 1911 pistol here over time if you want.

Sig Sauer STX handgun. A solid 1911 that doesn't cost the Earth. Get yours today.

9. Sig Sauer STX

  • Regular Price: $1,259.99
  • Pistol Caliber: 45 ACP Auto
  • Steel Slide: 5 inch
  • Total: 8.7 inch
  • Weight: 2.6lb

Sig produces a series of solid, affordable handguns based on this stainless steel Sig Sauer STX foundation.

Now there are better on this list if you want that last nth degree of accuracy. There is no match bull barrel here, or titanium guide rod, or billet steel frame washed down with unicorn’s tears.

This is mid-range, basic engineering, done well, with a skeletonized trigger and full length guide rod. It’s fine for a patriotic home defense pistol then. You can also go for the Sig Sauer 1911 TACOPS with a threaded barrel.

Colt Combat Unit 45 ACP. This is the genre defining 1911 and it's in stock again. Get yours today.

10. Colt Combat Unit

  • Price: $1,857.00
  • Caliber: 45 ACP
  • Barrel: 5 inch
  • Total Length: 8.6 inch
A potential winner, if it was available.
Price: 4/5 Accuracy: 5/5 Weight: 3/5 Prestige: 4/5 Availability: 1/5

On another day the Combat Rail Gun would be your outright winner. Perhaps it should be. This is certainly the better all-rounder and one of the top 1911s in the world going back to the First World War.

That would certainly be the safe option, but then we like to spring the odd surprise and availability is an issue for this Colt Combat Unit right now as well. It isn’t always on the shelf.

Finding the best 1911 pistol has been a big enough ordeal to cost it the win. But it’s still a work of art down to the grip panels and is the highest quality pistol you or I will ever need.

The race gun won the day, but this is the best option for the trenches. It’s the actual everyday shooter thanks to slightly beefier construction, the Picatinny rail and combat sights.

Standard Issue For Just About Everyone

This top quality Colt Combat EDC is an institution with special forces teams around the world. Most have made the jump to polymer pistols now, including the United States Marine Corps.

But these are listed as standard equipment for an insane number of elite military and law enforcement agencies. There is always a good reason for that and the gun reviews will tell you why the Colt Combat Unit is a potential legend in the making.

If we could find one for sale, for like months, this would be right at the top. If you spot one, buy it.

Honorable Mentions

We wanted to include the Colt Defender, but you know we’ve got so many Colts here already that we just don’t think it’s that important. So if you’re wondering where is the goddamn Colt Defender? That’s what happened…

We also liked the Magnum Research Desert Eagle Undercover and were seriously considering the government size Magnum Research Desert Eagle, too. But then the list was too long and so it is what it is.

The likes of the Metro Arms American Classic could be here, and some people think it should be. But then we could make a better case for all those other guns that got cut.

In the grand scheme of things, the Metro Arms American Classic is a nothing burger of a budget gun. If you really miss it then head to our budget 1911s list here.

Want to Spend a Little More?

Just a little more than $2000 gets you into serious full custom guns and you can start shopping for some serious guns like…

Wilson Combat CQB 45 ACP.
1. Wilson Combat CQB Tactical
  • Price: $3,515.00+

Wilson Combat makes some of the best 1911 pistol options if money just isn’t a problem for you. The Wilson Combat CQB Tactical is a brilliant handgun, arguably the best gun here, and we just wish it was even close to the $2000 cutoff we arbitrarily chose for this list.

Everything, from the recoil spring to the ambidextrous thumb safety and super crisp trigger. are nigh on perfect with the Wilson Combat CQB Tactical.

When they are brand new the slide is super tight and you’ll need the break-in period to get it running super smooth. When it does, that frame and slide feel smoother than ice on ice.

You get lifetime care that is more or less a lifetime warranty for the elite.

Wilson Combat can also offer a great choice of 9mm 1911s, check the full range of Wilson Combat pistols here.

Then there are Les Baer handguns like the Les Baer Premier Custom II and optic ready Black Baer. Seriously, the Les Baer Premier Custom with its match grade bull barrel and stainless steel frame and slide, as well as a flat mainspring housing, remains the best shooting benchmark to this day for plenty of folks.

The Springfield Vickers Tactical Master Class is another top end pistol that really looks like a Springfield Tactical Response Pistol TRP operator with some add on parts like an extended magazine release from Wilson Combat, hand fitted by Larry Vickers’ engineers. It’s kind of overblown honestly, and we’re not sure a few aftermarket parts are worth all the money.

But the Springfield Vickers Tactical Master Class is still a custom built 1911 that has made an impression on us with its shooting performance over thousands of rounds.

What is the best Colt 1911 For Sale in 2022? Maybe this Colt Delta Elite 10mm. Get yours here.
What About a 10mm Pistol?

There are some really cool pistols chambered in 10mm that are serving as hunting handguns and they’re also reappearing in the real world as bear defense and even home handguns. The reason is simple, this overengineered full size 45 ACP pistol is reliable, accurate and powerful.

A long time ago the FBI began to doubt the best 9mm pistols after the infamous Dade shootout that remains some of the biggest gun news ever.

The Colt Delta Elite 10mm was the gun that emerged from that particular epiphany as the new active duty carry. You can still buy that same Colt Delta Elite today, and they’re some of the best handguns out there.

The long slide Kimber Super Jagare is another excellent gun you might want to consider, especially if you’re looking for a hunting handgun that comes with the best red dots and quality parts. As the best 10mm pistols go, this one is truly special.

Buy Gun Accessories, And Other Stuff

If you can’t quite afford the sweet trigger pull of a Wilson Combat CQB Tactical, but you really want to look like you can, then you can buy Wilson Combat parts. You can get that classic Starburst grip, an ambi safety and just about every other major part.

It’s an expensive way to build a gun if you use them throughout. But the odd part can make the world of difference to an otherwise best budget 1911 build.

Check out these parts, barrels, pistols, revolvers and other options:

Where to Buy 45 ACP Ammo

If you’re buying 45 ACP, 9mm ammo hollow points or other handgun ammo, shotgun ammo, or more, you’re going to end up back at the same places.

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