12 Best Custom 1911 Handguns – 2024

Nighthawk Custom, a bespoke gun manufacturer with stunning 1911 pistols

Last Updated February 15th 2024

Affiliate disclaimer: We earn a small part of the sale price when you buy through our links. You won’t pay anything extra for products and services, and your purchase helps support the site

Winners at a Glance

Wilson Combat CQB

Wilson Combat CQB

  • Overall Winner
Dan Wesson Specialist

Dan Wesson Specialist

  • Best Tactical Pistol
Smith & Wesson Pro Series

Smith & Wesson Pro Series

  • Best Value
Staccato P

Staccato P

  • Best Double Stack 1911
Nighthawk Custom Boardroom President

Nighthawk Custom Boardroom President

  • Beyond Bespoke
Colt Gold Cup Trophy

Colt Gold Cup Trophy

  • Best Competition Pistol
Rock Island Armory FSHC

Rock Island Armory FSHC

  • Best Low Budget Custom


It’s time for pure 1911 gun porn, with no price ceiling. These are the high-end guns, the best 1911 pistols on the market.

And we’ve also included some budget friendly options, because some of the cheaper guns are almost as good as the unicorns. Or at least as interesting.

So what is the best custom 1911 in 2023? We think it’s still the Wilson Combat CQB Tactical. But it’s close and there are lots of great options and great guns.

Wilson Combat CQB Tactical

1. Wilson Combat CQB Tactical

  • Price: $4,025.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP Auto
  • Barrel length: 5 inch
  • Weight: 2.4lb
  • Capacity: 8+1

Overall Winner

PriceEngineering QualityCapacityPrestige

Pros and Cons


  • Trigger pull is perfect.
  • Image and reputation if stellar.
  • Accuracy is on pint.


  • Requires proper maintenance thanks to tighht tolerances.
  • It’s hella expensive.

This Wilson Combat CQB Tactical is the gold standard for 1911 pistols. It is one of the best selling high end 1911 handguns on the market. And it’s still one of those guns that every enthusiast wants.

This is a traditional 1911, brought right up to date with absolute perfect engineering meaning these feels like a HD version of the old 1911.

A full size carbon steel frame and perfect additions mean this could be your main gun for life. Wilson Combat can maintain your pistol for life and it should feel perfect for decades.

Designed as the ultimate classic 1911 tactical chambered in 45 ACP, the Wilson Combat is smooth and special, from the national match grade barrel to the Starburst grips.

A checkered front and back strap, contoured magwell for slicker reloads and high viz front sights mean this is a battle pistol to its core.

Dan Wesson Specialist, a great handgun

2. Dan Wesson Specialist

  • Price: $1,835.00+
  • Caliber: 9mm/45 ACP
  • Barrel: 5 inch
  • Total: 8.75 inch
  • Capacity: 8+1

A Close Second

PriceEngineering QualityCapacityPrestige

The Dan Wesson Specialist is a 1911 pistol chambered in .45 ACP. It is a forged stainless steel pistol that features a 5″ bull barrel, ambidextrous thumb safety, and flared magwell.

Now the Dan Wesson Specialist is finished in a bead-blasted stainless finish and comes with G10 grips, bull barrel an aggressively checkered front strap and mainspring housing and more.

It’s a top tier tactical pistol that was designed for crack LEOs and comes with an extended magazine release, a flared magwell, simple open sights and a super crisp trigger.

There’s nothing especially groundbreaking, just an exceptional stainless steel frame and slide that is hand fit and then treated to engineering perfection at every stage.

The Dan Wesson Specialist is a well-made, accurate and reliable pistol that is well-suited for self-defense, competition, and target shooting.

You can go a little more hardcore with the Dan Wesson Valor, a semi custom 1911 with race gun touches, or the CZ 75 based Dan Wesson DWX.

We love the Dan Wesson Valor, it’s one of our favorite guns, but the majority seem to favor the Specialist. We like the Bruin Long Slide pistol too with its longer sight radius. As for the Dan Wesson DWX, it’s early days, but they are great guns in the making.

Other pistols you might want to consider include the Dan Wesson ECP carry handgun. Check them out here:

Smith & Wesson Performance Center Pro Series

3. Smith & Wesson Performance Center Pro Series

  • Price: $1,643.99
  • Caliber: 9mm auto
  • Barrel length: 5 inch
  • Weight: 2.56lb
  • Capacity: 10+1

Low Budget Custom Choice

PriceEngineering QualityCapacityPrestige

The Smith & Wesson Performance Center Pro Series is a cut above the standard Smith & Wesson SW1911 that remains one of the best selling pistols in America and a fitting tribute to John Browning.

A hand picked frame and slide are then hand fit by the best engineers in the company. Each pistol is individually tuned and tested to ensure that it meets the highest standards of accuracy and reliability.

The extended beavertail grip safety, scalloped slide serrations, extended magazine release and ambidextrous safety on the frame are all top tier parts and they come with that extra degree of care and attention that goes with a Smith & Wesson Performance Center firearm.

The Pro Series pistols are available in a variety of calibers and configurations, so there is one perfect for every shooter. Whether you are a competitive shooter, a law enforcement officer, or you just like high quality handguns, this is a semi custom gun with a mid range price point.

We like the 10 round single stack 9mm 1911 with 10 rounds of 9mm ammunition in the single stack magazine. It’s one of the best 9mm 1911s on the list.

Staccato P, a great designer 1911

4. Staccato P

  • Price: $2,500.99
  • Caliber: 9mm auto
  • Barrel length: 5 inch
  • Weight: 2.1b
  • Capacity: 17+1

Best Double Stack 1911

PriceEngineering QualityCapacityPrestige

The Staccato P looks like a race gun, but this is a near perfectly honed battle pistol that is approved by over 450 law enforcement agencies. And they might well be the best 1911 pistols in 2023.

Texas Rangers and other elite LEOs carry this double stack 1911 9mm Luger and it is a beautifully handling 1911 with low recoil and massive capacity.

With the advances in 9mm terminal ballistics, this is a compelling package right now.

The Staccato gets the wraparound grips, night sights, flared magwell, lowered and flared ejection port and a hand fitted frame and slide. Now these guns have apparently never failed a police accuracy or durability test, which is about as ringing an endorsement as you’re likely to get.

Now the classic beavertail grip safety has been reduced to a memory bump and the wraparound stippling is different, but it works.

The cycling speed of the Staccato has to be seen to be believed. It comes with a Diamond Like Carbon barrel coat and the Dawson Precision Toolless Full length Guide Rod means you can field strip the gun in moments.

Now this match grade 2011, or double stack 9mm 1911 if you prefer, has won target shooting competitions all round the country. It’s optic ready, so you can put red dot sights up there, and it’s an absolute precision tool with Glock capacity.

You can get a Commander size carry gun. too, of course, and that’s among our top picks on our list of the best 9mm pistols in the 2011 style for sale in 2023.

The Staccato might be the best gun here if you can accept loading the best 1911s with 9mm hollow point ammunition. If not, keep scrolling…

Nighthawk Custom Boardroom President.

5. Nighthawk Custom Boardroom President

  • Price: $4,999.99
  • Caliber: 9mm auto
  • Barrel length: 5 inch
  • Weight: 2.5lb
  • Capacity: 10+1

Beyond Bespoke

PriceEngineering QualityCapacityPrestige

The Nighthawk Custom Boardroom President is a single stack magazine version that remains California compliant. You can order a double stack version, too, but we’ve given a nod to tradition here.

The founder and several key engineers worked down the road at Wilson Combat, and left to produce a higher standard of gun. It sounds bizarre, but it’s true.

Now one master gunsmith oversees the production of each Nighthawk Custom 1911 9mm, 45 ACP, 10mm and more. This semi automatic custom firearm is the Ferrari or Bentley of the gun world and the Boardroom President is the ultimate expression of the brand with no expense spared.

This super reliable custom 1911 9mm costs a fortune, but the engineering and feel are perfect every step of the way. So in any caliber, these are some of the best 1911s money can buy and they are a dream to shoot.

Colt Gold Cup Trophy

6. Colt Gold Cup Trophy

  • Price: $1,749.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP
  • Barrel length: 5 inch
  • Weight: 2.4lb
  • Capacity: 8+1

Best Competition Pistol

PriceEngineering QualityCapacityPrestige

The Colt Gold Cup Trophy is a Series 70 with a number of competition touches that take this into factory custom guns territory.

We like the more tactical Colt Combat Unit and rail gun Colt Model, but they’re hard to come by these days. The Colt Gold Cup Trophy is freely available and a great gun with adjustable sights and a supremely crisp trigger.

There are excellent gun deals for the Colt Gold Cup Lite, but this Colt model is still our favorite and we think it’s worth the extra money.

Don’t forget the Colt Defender Combat Elite carry gun, which is a nice gun.

Springfield Armory Vickers Tactical Master Class. A custom 1911 with the touch of a master gunsmith.

7. Springfield Armory Vickers Tactical Master Class

  • Price: $2,032.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP
  • Barrel length: 5 inch
  • Weight: 2.5lb
  • Capacity: 8+1

A Legendary 1911

PriceEngineering QualityCapacityPrestige

The Springfield Armory Tactical Vickers Master Class is a .45 ACP 1911 single action pistol designed in collaboration with retired U.S. Army 1st SFOD-Delta combat veteran Larry Vickers. It is a forged, combat-grade pistol built to the specs of a legendary Tier 1 operator.

The Springfied Armory Vickers Tactical Master Class features a forged carbon steel slide and frame for durability, a 5″ match-grade stainless steel barrel for accuracy, a Vickers Elite Battle Sight sight for fast target acquisition, a tritium/luminescent front sight for low-light shooting, .

You also get G10 grip with a woven pattern for a secure hold, a skeletonized trigger for a lighter pull, woven front strap checkering, a checkered mainspring housing and an extended beavertail grip safety for added safety.

The Vickers Tactical Master Class is a premium-grade 1911 pistol that is built for performance. So this handgun is a great choice for anyone who demands the best from their firearm.

Wilson Combat parts and the touch of a master gunsmith combine to elevate this Springfield Armory pistol to custom 1911 levels and far beyond. We also like the titanium firing pin and heavy spring that eliminates the need for a firing pin safety with a traditional firing pin block.

Of course you can spend a lot less and have the entry level Springfied Armory Mil Spec that stars in our cheap 1911 feature. This full size Government model looks the same from a distance, but the budget friendly Springfield Armory Mil Spec is a very different beast.

You can also go for the Springfield Armory Loaded. And even though it is discontinued, you can still find box fresh examples of the Springfield Armory TRP Tactical Response Pistol that is considered one of the finest 1911s of recent times.

If you find one around the $2000 price point, we would honestly go for that FBI Hostage Rescue Team Government model.

The Rock Island Armory Tac Ultra FSHC is just as good as custom guns costing much more.

8. Rock Island Tac Ultra FSHC

  • Price: $808.99
  • Capacity: 17+1
  • Barrel Length: 5”
  • Total: 8.5”
  • Weight: 2.7lb

Best Budget Custom Gun

PriceEngineering QualityCapacityPrestige

It might seem bold of us to put the Rock Island Armory at the head table in such exalted company. But this gun is as feature rich as pistols costing much more on this list.

The Rock Island Tac Ultra FSHC is a double-stack 1911 pistol chambered in 9mm. It is built with 4140 ordnance steel and features a 5″ button rifled barrel, full-length guide rod, full dust cover, and accessory rail.

It also includes a low profile adjustable rear sight, fiber optic front sight, lightweight hammer, and MR3 trigger with overtravel adjustment. The Tac Ultra is finished in a tough parkerized matte and comes with rugged grips.

The Rock Island Armory Tac Ultra FSHC is a versatile and reliable pistol that is well-suited for a variety of uses, including self-defense, competition, and target shooting. It is a great value for the price and is backed by Rock Island Armory’s lifetime warranty.

You could also look at the Rock Island Armory BBR 3.1. That’s an Officer sized CCW with 10 rounds of 45 ACP in the magazine and it’s a packaging marvel and a seriously nice gun. This is a more innovative company than it gets credit for and this high capacity 9mm 1911 is a great example.

We have a soft spot for these Rock Island Armory best budget guns around here and you should check the full line and buy one.

Auto Ordnance 1911 Case Hardened. A stunning 1911 that you can buy today.

9. Auto Ordnance 1911 Case Hardened

  • Price: $1,179.99
  • Caliber: 9mm auto
  • Barrel length: 5 inch
  • Weight: 2.43lb
  • Capacity: 7+1

Best for 50 Cal Conversion

PriceEngineering QualityCapacityPrestige

The Auto Ordnance Case Hardened is a fascinating study in metallurgy, and one of the most interesting handguns here. It is also a solid foundation for a 50 Cal caliber conversion

Auto Ordnance has created a fairly standard 1911, but it has worked the steel and left its efforts on show with the rippled effect to the steel finish.

Now aside from the fancy finish, the Auto Ordnance 1911 has all the hallmarks of an entry level budget gun, with a spur hammer and ridges rather than a checkered front and backstrap.

But the steelwork alone is enough to mark the Auto Ordnance apart, if you’re into that. Unlike this reviewer.

Les BAer custom carry.

10. Les Baer Custom Carry

  • Price: $2,000.00+
  • Caliber: 9mm auto
  • Barrel length: 5 inch
  • Weight: 2.5lb
  • Capacity: 10+1

A Benchmark Custom 1911

PriceEngineering QualityCapacityPrestige

A Les Baer Custom Carry is basically a yardstick for the entire gun industry, an old school gatekeeper. It remains a niche brand with limited sales channels, but that’s a conscious decision to keep Les Baer exclusive.

These Les Baer pistols, custom 1911 handguns of the highest order, could easily be the best 1911 pistols you ever own. The whole line of semi auto custom firearms are worth a look.

The Les Baer Custom Carry comes with a 5 inch barrel, a hand fit frame and slide, lowered and flared ejection port, ambi safety and is finished in a high-gloss blued or stainless finish.

It comes with G10 grip panels and the match barrel and stainless barrel bushing show the kind of obsessive quality control you can feel with each single action trigger pull.

The Custom Carry is a high-quality, custom-built 1911 pistol that is well-suited for self-defense or competition use. It is a lot more expensive than some other 1911 pistols, but it is a great choice for those who demand the best.

We like the Les Baer Black Baer single action pistols, too, with a 4 inch barrel and Commander size frame.

Kimber Gold Combat. One of the finest tactical 1911 pistols on the market. If you see one, buy it.

11. Kimber Gold Combat RL II

  • Price: $2,200.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP Auto
  • Barrel length: 5 inch
  • Weight: 2.37lb
  • Capacity: 8+1

Elite LEO Tactical Pistol

PriceEngineering QualityCapacityPrestige

Kimber has die-hard fans and just as many critics of its production line offerings. But the Kimber Custom shop is a different story. Only a few pistols are made entirely by the custom gunsmiths and the Gold Combat RL II is amazing.

These are the top of the line and the Kimber Custom Gold Combat ii full size pistol is simply the best tactical pistol that Kimber produces.

It’s a great gun with a lifetime warranty that is normally more expensive and is famous for reliability and accuracy. So snap up this top class centerfire pistol shooting experience while you can. They’re getting rarer, but they remain one of the best handguns on this list.

We even like the brass bead sights, rather than modern night sights. Although we might not actually keep them on there, it’s a nice nod to tradition and craftsmanship.

Kimber America can also hook you up with factory custom pistols like the long slide Kimber Super Jagare, Rapide limited edition race guns and Kimber Evo SP Micro 9 that is great for concealed carry. Then there’s the Kimber K6xs DASA stainless special editions DCR, rifles, new things like that…

We also really like the alloy frame Custom Defense Package, the best concealed carry pistol from the Kimber Custom Shop. It’s a great choice for a subcompact 1911.

Custom 1911 pistols, custom revolvers and more are all on the table with Kimber.

Cabot guns Apocalypse - The ultimate 1911? It just might be you know.

12. Cabot Guns Apocalypse

  • Price: $7,895.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP Auto
  • Barrel length: 5 inch
  • Weight: 2.37lb
  • Capacity: 8+1

Ultimate Custom 1911

PriceEngineering QualityCapacityPrestige

Cabot Guns have long been known as the Rolls-Royce of custom 1911s and the Cabot Guns Apocalypse is billed as the ultimate combination of function and finesse.

These are beyond custom, Special Editions and limited edition runs. This is a boutique manufacturer with a massive waiting list that can charge what they want.

This optics ready pistol is designed for the best red dot sights and comes with front and rear slide serrations, checkered front and backstraps, ambidextrous thumb safety and many more performance features. But you can’t justify price points like these with specific features.

No this is simply the price of the best materials, engineered to perfection. And the heritage of a company that has produced guns costing millions of dollars from precious metals and meteorites. This is the basic John Moses Browning design taken to a near irrational extreme.

If you can’t afford the full size Apocalypse, the Cabot Guns Rebellion with a 4 inch barrel is arguably the best concealed carry gun and a relative bargain, at just $4,950…

Sig STX 1911 on sale now

13. Sig Sauer STX

  • Price: $1,173.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP Auto
  • Barrel length: 5 inch
  • Weight: 2.6lb
  • Capacity: 8+1

The Sig Sauer STX is hardly the ultimate custom 1911, but any stretch of the imagination.

But it is arguably the best budget 1911 at this particular price point. The Sig Sauer STX is a great price, although there are cheaper 1911s, this is arguably the best bang for your buck.

You get a speed hump beavertail grip, national match cold hammer forged barrel, a dehorned frame and slide and a flat top. When you hear all these performance features, it goes beyond a reasonable price and becomes a great price.

The Sig Sauer STX is a quality gun and is easily one of the best 1911 pistols at this, or higher price points.

With 8 rounds of 45 ACP 230gr hollow point ammo, this is a winner. And we could easily include the Sig 1911 rail gun in that category as well. So you might want to include one or both in your gun safes.

Get a Sig Sauer P365 carry gun while you’re at it, too.

Where to Buy Ammo

If you want 45 ACP ammo, 9mm ammo, 10 mm ammo or more, you’re normally going to end up back at the same places. Here are our top picks for ammo stores in 2023.

Where to get Custom Pistol Parts

You don’t want to use cheap parts with these guns. Only the best custom pistol parts & accessories belong on these pistols, custom revolvers and more.

You can get a new stainless steel slide, ambi safety,

All rights reserved. For full details of the terms of service and the privacy policy, contact us at the main email address on the About Us page, leave your email address and customer service will get back to you.

For info, warranty registration, your local dealer locator, to find dealers, product search handguns, rifles etc, try the manufacturer’s homepage.

If you’re looking for California compliant, Massachusetts compliant, New York compliant, New Jersey compliant or you want to buy in another tricky State, then maybe find dealers locally, or go to the homepage for the dealer locator.

California has weird rules, like warnings about chemicals that could cause birth defects or other reproductive harm. I mean these are pistols & revolvers, so the harm is more or less instant. But still California is concerned with birth defects or other reproductive harm. Go figure…

Now skip to content.


  • Nick Hall

    Nick is a lifelong gun enthusiast who has a simple mission. He wants to find the best deals for guns online and help you make the best choices with weapons your life may depend on one day.Nick won a minor league shooting competition at the age of 11 and it all went from there. Now he runs one of the biggest firearms websites on the net and his work has featured in Playboy US, Tatler Asia, Forbes and a whole host of national magazines and websites.

    View all posts

1 thought on “12 Best Custom 1911 Handguns – 2024”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Scroll to Top