11 Best Colt 1911 Pistols – Sep 2023

What is the best Colt 1911 For Sale in 2020?

Last Updated September 10th 2023

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Champion Colts at a Glance

The Colt Gold Cup is the best Colt 1911 for sale, and that is freely available. But if you spot a Combat Rail, and they’re increasingly rare unicorns, then get that instead.

Colt Gold Cup Trophy

Colt Gold Cup Trophy

  • Overall Winner
Colt Defender

Colt Defender

  • Best for Concealed Carry
Colt Combat Commander

Colt Combat Commander

  • A Great All Rounder
Colt Totus

Colt Totus

  • Best for Bling
Colt Combat Unit

Colt Combat Unit

  • Best Increasingly Rare Treat


The Colt 1911 is the original and still arguably the best. It’s certainly the greatest handgun of the 20th Century.

You might argue that Colt doesn’t make self-loading pistols like they used to in terms of durability. And there’s a sliver of truth to that as the manufacturer has embraced the mass market.

But that means most gun enthusiasts can afford one. That’s good.

1911 Has Made Slow Progress, Until Recently

Colt has also bought just the occasional update to John Moses Browning’s original design to give us new calibers, faster cycling, bigger mags and lightweight carry guns.

Progress has been glacial, but the M1911A1 came with a shorter trigger and cutouts for easier shooting. The biggest design changes have resulted from the civilian market, though, and good old fashioned capitalism.

In the last 20 years, after the military largely abandoned the Colt 1911 pistol, the guns have got smaller, smarter and better engineered. The end result are guns that people trust with their life each and every day, with or without a military seal of approval.

We’ve come a long way from the First World War models. That’s for sure.

So what are the best Colt 1911 pistols in 2023? Here are our picks…

The Gold Cup Trophy. Limited mods for national match competitions turn the standard Colt 1911 into a home defense beast too.

1. Colt Gold Cup Trophy

  • Price: $1,7229.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP Auto/ 9mm Luger
  • Barrel length: 5 inch
  • Total Length: 8.5 inch
  • Weight: 2.38lb
  • Capacity: 8+1 / 9+1

Overall Winner

Price: 3/5 Accuracy: 4.5/5 Reliability: 4/5 Prestige: 4/5

This Colt 1911 Gold Cup Trophy 45 ACP is an exceptional gun that is aimed at shooting sports. But each and every one of the modifications make this gun a mighty appealing nightstand pistol or home defense tool.

The night sights are useful for fast target acquisition in dim light and the Talo magwell helps fast and easy reloads. A lowered and flared port gives you faster cycling and the competition grips are lightweight and consistent.

Lightweight, Match Grade 1911? Shut Up and Take My Money

This is a tighter, lighter version of the 1911 that was built to survive a World War, with a Series 70 firing mechanism and spur-style hammer. We love the brushed stainless steel finish.

A Match barrel is always a good thing. You also get a wide competition trigger with an adjustable rear sight on this semi-auto pistol.

Is it the best 1911? It’s the best one you can freely buy right now for normal mortal money, yes.

Colt Defender 45 ACP for sale. A great concealed carry pistol and possibly the best Subcompact 1911 Officer.

2 Colt Defender Series

  • Price: $1,141.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP/ 9mm Luger
  • Barrel: 3 inch
  • Total Length: 7 inch
  • Weight: 1.6lb
  • Capacity: 7/ 9

The Defender is the best subcompact 1911 in the world. That’s pretty much agreed…

Obviously this is the best concealed carry Colt here. Because this single stack carry gun is really the only one…

It is an amazing gun, though, and you will love it.

Colt Combat Commander for sale now. Get your Colt 1911.

3. Colt Combat Commander

  • Price: $1,063.99
  • Barrel: 4.25 inch
  • Total Length: 7.75 inch
  • Weight: 2.06lb
  • Capacity: 8+1

It isn’t as pretty as some others, but the Combat Commander is perhaps the most versatile Colt 1911 for sale here and remains a best seller.

This classic Colt Series 70 firing system Combat Commander single action handgun has no firing pin safety. The payoff for that is the smoothest trigger in the family. Before you get to the major custom work anyway…

The Novak sites come with a brass bead, rather than a fiber-optic front sight. You’re buying into the narrative with this.

Colt Gold Cup National Match available now. Get the best Colt pistols on sale.

4. Colt Gold Cup National Match

  • Price: $1,402.99
  • Barrel: 5 inch
  • Total Length: 8.5 inch
  • Weight: 2.4lb
  • Capacity: 8+1

This Gold Cup National Match model has been with us since the 1950s and has evolved into a model line in its own right that can suit your budget and skill level.

This is cheaper than the stainless model thanks to the blued finish. You can still adjust the trigger pull, the Bomar sights and you get a Colt competition barrel, obviously…

Replace the sights and you’re well on your way to a classic tactical pistol. Keep it like this and you have one of the best 1911 pistols for a near entry level price. Target sights help too.

Colt has been making 1911s for more than 100 years, and this Colt 1911 Competition might be the pinnacle.

Colt Talo Eli Whitney. A special edition Colt Series 70 that pays tribute

5. Colt Talo Eli Whitney

  • Price: $2,009.99
  • Barrel: 5 inch
  • Total Length: 8.5 inch
  • Weight: 2.2lb
  • Capacity: 8+1

Talo has produced this Series 70 Limited Edition to pay tribute to the great American inventor Eli Whitney.

Now Talo has been in bed with Colt since the early 90s. It was the time of Miami Vice, the Wolf of Wall Street, WWE’s Attitude era and fancy 1911 Talo special Edition Colts with big price tags.

It’s a proud tradition that continues to this day.

Now the Eli Whitney Talo Limited Edition is a Colt Competition Series 70 Government at heart.

All Talo had to do was choose the G10 grips, VZ Disruptive Hyene Burl, if you want the specifics. And the Novak adjustable rear sights and fiber optic sights at the front.

Add some front strap checkering on the mainspring housing, and an undercut trigger guard, and Talo’s Colt 1911 45 ACP is definitely better.

The Wiley Clapp models are great too and in this price range, we could even call it good value.

Colt Combat Elite 9mm Government Model for sale. Is this the best Colt Combat Elite pistol in the family? We think so.

6. Colt Combat Elite Government Model

  • Price: $1,428.99
  • Barrel: 5 inch
  • Total Length: 8.5″
  • Weight: 2.3lb
  • Capacity: 8+1 rounds

This pistol bridges the gap between custom guns and mainstream production line fare with a high-end two tone finish and lots of parts that could easily be aftermarket, but aren’t.

The brushed stainless steel and contrasting matte black coating work wonders on the Combat Elite. Look close and you’ll see that black PVD covers every contour, curve and exposed edge on one of the best 1911s on the market.

You get a simple low drag Novak style rear sight, checkered front strap, G10 grips and lots more performance features on this high quality semi auto pistol.

This Combat Elite is a custom 1911, or Colt M1991 if we’re being pedantic. The price works when it’s this much pistol and the smaller version is a great carry gun in Commander form and this is a stylish pistol.

We haven’t seen the Officer sized version for sale in a long time, but that is an awesome concealed carry gun if you can find one.

The Colt 1911 Totus is an art piece, as much as an everyday carry. Get yours here.

7. Colt 1911 Totus

  • Prices: $3,060.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP
  • Barre length: 5 inch barrel
  • Total: 8
  • Weight: 2.37lb
  • Capacity: 8+1

It would take a brave soul to carry the Colt Totus on the daily. But really this is an ornamental pistol for people that just love custom shop guns.

This is 1 of 500 special pistols produced to commemorate stuff and it is officially called Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It is fun, and it’s still a perfectly functional Colt underneath.

Even though it looks like a South American gangster’s movie gun, there are things like a hand fitted frame and slide that suggest it should be a subtle improvement over a standard model Colt series pistol.

Custom Shop guns are sometimes an acquired taste and this is definitely one of those times. But check out these other high end Colts.

Colt Lightweight Commander. One of the best 1911 pistols you will see.

8. Colt Lightweight Commander

  • Price: $1,823.99
  • Caliber: 9mm
  • Barrel: 4.3 inch
  • Weight: 1.7lb
  • Capacity: 9+1

There’s a Lightweight Commander that is essentially the Combat model built on an aluminum frame, not steel.

Aside from the frame, this is largely the same gun on the surface with the same dramatically oversized beavertail grip safety. But it is significantly lighter and that makes it a great concealed carry pistol. Kind of.

Look out for the Wiley Clapp Commander 45 ACP too.

What is the best Colt 1911 For Sale in 2022? The Colt Delta Elite 10mm pistol is right up there. Get your Colt handgun online right now.

9. Colt Delta Elite 10mm

  • Price: $1,638.99
  • Caliber: 10mm
  • Barrel: 5
  • Total Length: 8.5″
  • Weight: 2.19lb
  • Capacity: 8+1 rounds

10mm Auto really is the Spinal Tap of the firearms industry. Whatever you’ve got, 10mm is that little bit louder and stronger. So it’s better right?

This is a Series 80 that has been with since the late 80s and it has evolved slightly, but not much. The lowered and flared ejection port, composite grips and classic upswept beavertail grip safety were all good for personal defense.

It’s a purist’s 10mm handgun with the classic dual spring recoil system. You can see plenty more of the best 10mm pistols on this list, but this gun still stands tall in all the gun reviews.

Colt Combat Unit for sale. These are hard to find right now. Get your Colt pistol today.

10. Colt Combat Unit

  • Prices: $1,499.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP/ 9mm Luger
  • Barrel: 5 inch barrel
  • Total Length: 8.6
  • Capacity: 8/ 9

The CCU is the tactical pistol and carry gun that is the right option for 90% of you. Yes, for almost everyone, this is the Colt 1911 pistol starter kit.

US Marines and Special Forces trainers had significant input into a gun that still turned out remarkably like a big slab of traditional 45 ACP Colt.

So why is it down here? Availability is hit and miss and has been more miss for a while.

But the Talo magwell, low drag Novak sights front and rear and the Picatinny rail mean this is a flexible weapon. With a Decobond coat, the Combat Unit Rail is the official service pistol of the US Marines, even though lots of them carry the best Glocks now.

It’s the practical big 1911 for home defense, lives in gun safes around the land, and should shoot straight and true much longer than we do. They are great guns, some of the best 1911 pistols on the market today.

When they are actually on sale, that is…

Colt Special Combat Government. A custom gun with a big price tag and an even bigger reputation.

11. Colt Special Combat Carry

  • Prices: $1,092.22
  • Caliber: 45 ACP
  • Barre length: 5 inch barrel
  • Total: 8
  • Weight: 2.37lb
  • Capacity: 8+1

The Colt Special Combat Carry is a another match grade pistol you might consider if you want a more tactical finish and you like classic models.

It’s expensive and custom, but then it’s another one to consider if you have about $2,000 burning hole in your pocket. And you can find one.

The high quality Colt Special Combat Carry isn’t easy to locate right now though. It’s the same deal with the Colt Special Combat semi auto pistol.

Now the only problem is we haven’t seen them in a long time, but they are still highly prized.

Parts and Accessories

Colts are popular guns, so there are plenty of parts, upgrades, accessories, all that jazz. So if you want to sell your Colt and you need to spruce it up, or you just want to keep your baby fresh, this is the place.

Get a new thumb safety, a flat mainspring housing, the best red dot sights and other stuff…

We got range gear, accessories, lots of things.

Where to Buy Colt Handgun, Pistol Parts & Accessories

Colt pistols and revolvers are an institution and you can buy a ton of official and third party parts and accessories, whatever barrel you have.

Colt Single Action Army

Don’t Forget Colt Revolvers

The Colt Single Action Army, Colt Anaconda and Colt King Cobra are waiting for you if you love a wheelgun.

But the classic Colt Single Action Army is a world away from these 1911 handguns. Also known as the Peacemaker, the Colt Single Action Army made Samuel Colt famous and deserves its own spot. But not here, not now…

Competition For the Top Colt Pistols

The Colt 1911 45 ACP is the flagbearer for the 1911 world, but there’s some serious competition out there. From the established players like Kimber, Smith & Wesson and Springfield Armory through to newcomers like Dan Wesson, there are lots of choices in the modern world.

So who are the real Colt rivals? Read on….

45 ACP 1911 from Kimber, the Rapide Black Ice. A collector's edition

Colt vs Kimber: Battle of the Titans

Colt and Kimber have been locked in a bloody war for decades. Luckily they both make guns…

Kimber is a constant thorn when it comes to the best 45 1911s for $2000 competition, and the best 1911s under $1000, now we think about it. Pretty much all pistols, revolvers, everything really.

Look out for the Kimber Gold custom shop handgun, Kimber TLE and the Kimber Ultra Carry CDP and Pro Carry guns.

If you want the race gun look then the Kimber Rapide with its front strap checkering, full length guide rod and ported slide is waiting for you.

There are more, obviously, and you can see those on our list of the best Kimber 1911s for sale in 2023.

Dan Wesson Valor, one of the best new breed of 1911 pistols

Colt vs Dan Wesson: Factory Custom 1911 Battle

Dan Wesson’s great grandfather was the Wesson in Smith and Wesson, so it’s fair to say the firearms industry runs in the blood.

You’d really have to put Dan Wesson up there with Wilson Combat, Les Baer and the very finest from the Colt Custom Shop and Kimber’s finest bespoke handguns. In this price range, Dan Wessons could be better though.

Other Dan Wessons include the DWX, Specialist Valor and Bruin.

Wilson Combat EDC X9 - An amazing handgun for sale

Colt vs Wilson Combat

Only the most expensive Colt pistols can go to war with a Wilson Combat CQB Elite. For the most part these guns live in entirely different worlds.

A full size Wilson Combat CQB Elite costs more than $4,000, and that is the flagship 45 1911. You can pretty much buy two top tier Colts for that money, so why would you buy the Wilson Combat?

Your gun should last you a lifetime, and it as the warranty for the hand fitted stainless steel frame and slide to back that up. The price range is a bitter pill, but nice things cost money and these are some of the best 1911 pistols in the world…

The deep dive is here:

Les Baer Custom 1911 pistols

Colt vs Les Baer

Comparing a Les Baer 1911 to a production line Colt is like pitching a Pagani against a basic Porsche. You wouldn’t expect the full review to go the Porsche’s way. So don’t do that.

The Les Baer 1911 and the finest Colt custom guns, though, now that’s a fair fight.

We like the high price, high spec Les Baer 1911 Black Baer hunting pistol, and the Les Baer Premier II model as well, which is the high end flagship. John Browning would love this.

Customer Ruger SR1911. A beautiful 1911 Government.

Ruger SR1911 vs 1911 Colt

The Ruger SR1911 ranges from a budget 1911 in Officer sized with a Crimson Trace through to a full custom long slide target pistol in 10mm Auto. That is winning friends in handgun hunting circles.

You can also get Koenig custom parts on your 1911 and get a Ruger SR1911 Competition model straight off the shelf.

Smith & Wesson SW1911 Performance Center. A rival for the best Colt has to offer. Get yours here.

S&W SW1911 vs Colt

Smith & Wesson is another brand with a 1911 in every class, from the no frills SW1911 through to the iconic ported slide of the Smith & Wesson SW1911 Performance Center.

Sig Sauer Emperor Scorpion. A fashion gun that can easily hold its own with the likes of the Combat Elite

Sig Sauer vs Colt

Now Sig Sauer isn’t the same force it once was when it comes to 1911 pistols and it can only really pick a fight with Colt in the mid-range.

The Sig Sauer Emperor Scorpion and the Sig Sauer STX are pretty much all it has to offer of note in the 1911 field right now. Well that and the Sig Sauer Target.

Rock Island Armory Ultra HS FS, a double stack mag 1911 with 14+1 rounds of 45 ACP.

Rock Island Armory Offers a Budget Double Stack

Rock Island currently offers two double stack 45 ACP handguns for around $600.

The full size handguns come in a single stack 45 ACP or you can opt for the double stack 9mm with an insane amount of ammo.

Buy the 9mm Rock Island Armory Tac Ultra and you’ll get 16 rounds of ammo in that big mag.

The smaller Rock Island Armory BBR3.1 is a concealed carry gun with 10 rounds of 45 ACP and a proper extended beavertail grip safety.

Again that’s huge and offers a technical advantage, not just a cheaper gun with a price that’s hard to beat. These Rock Island Armory pistols are great guns nowadays, and they are worth another look.

Check out the best Glock in 2023 while you’re here!

Red Dots for 1911 Pistols

It’s easier than you think to install the best red dot sights on a 1911 with a dovetail mounting plate. With that, you can have red dot sights on your gun in a minute and you know it’s going to improve your shooting.


  1. Donn Sottolano April 12, 2020
    • Nick April 12, 2020
  2. Pingback: Airsoft Colt - $95.80 - USA Gun Shop May 9, 2020

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