9 Cheap 1911 Handguns For $500 or Less – Dec 2020

Get the best cheap 1911 handgun for $500 or less. At the USA Gun Shop, we think that's the Springfield Armory Mil-Spec Defender 1911.

$500 1911 Pistols You Can Rely On

Cheap 1911 handguns can turn into your favorite pistol.

That’s because they’re a perversion of everything we know. And they shouldn’t work. But they do…

Instinct tells us that a $500 1911 handgun can’t work, because reasons. Otherwise how could we justify dropping $2,000 as a matter of course?

Cheap Guns That Punch Above Their Weight

Well it turns out there is a small group of cheap 1911s with an absolutely devoted following. These are complete handguns, for $500 or less, and you’ll be amazed at some of the cheap 1911 handguns on offer.

You can also use these for a DIY custom gun. Because there is no heritage to destroy at this price point. Some of these handguns are sold as basic as possible to allow for constant upgrades. That’s the whole point.

So what are the best cheap 1911 handguns for $500 or less?

Best Cheap 1911 Handguns For Sale in 2020

Springfield Armory Mil-Spec Defender 1911. The best cheap 1911 on sale in 2019. Get a Mil-Spec 1911 for $500 with match-grade barrel!

1. Springfield Armory Mil-Spec Defender 1911

  • Price: $499.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP
  • Barrel: 5 inch
  • Total Length: 8.6 inch
  • Weight: 2.4lb

Springfield Armory has hit on a winning recipe with the Defender series of pistols that can now be found in black polymer compact pistol and now 1911 form. Hopefully an AR pistol and Springfield Saint Defender AR-15 is on the way too.

The Springfield Armory Mil-Spec Defender 1911 seems to follow the same basic recipe. It’s a solid frame, with basic as hell accessories you can swap out, or not. Fit night sights or whatever you like to this base model from the 1911 parts bin.

The forged carbon steel frame and slide are the American classic GI configuration.  And it’s good. Really good. The basics are beyond the world of budget 1911s and this is accurate and reliable. Those are good starting points for affordable 1911s.

Match-Grade Barrel And Basic Parts & Accessories

Even the cold hammer forged 5 inch barrel is match-grade, so it’s accurate amd reliable. The ejection port is flared and you get a lot of trickle down tech from Springfield’s more expensive guns. 

For this price range, that’s awesome. It’s a great gun and an even better starter gun for a DIY 1911 build. It’s not quite a bull barrel, but you don’t need that really…

The Range Officer, TRP and more are regular stars in our posts of the best 1911s in higher price ranges, and all the basics are here. That includes those slanted slide serrations, that have proved a success on more expensive 1911 pistols.

The thumb-safety lever is not ambidextrous and you get 3-dot sights, rather than Tritium Luminescent night sights. But you can fit night sights yourself, next month…

Create a Custom 1911 From an American Classic

1911 handgun parts & accessories aren’t exactly thin on the ground. So you can dress up this forged GI frame with a GI style recoil spring as you see fit.

The important thing is the foundations of the house are right. They are with these budget 1911s. This is the bare bones and you can pick up the right 1911 parts at your local gun shop, gun fairs or online gun stores.

The frame is parkerized and the stainless steel slide is Melonite coated, as is the way at Springfield with basically all of its handguns for sale. 

The Springfield Mil-Spec Defender 1911 is a great 1911 at a much higher price. For less than $500, this is the best cheap 1911 handgun for sale in 2020.

Rock Island Armory 1911 Tactical. A blue collar hero of the elite 1911 world and the first 1911 for more people than you know.

2. Rock Island Armory 1911 Tactical

  • Price: $498.99
  • Caliber: .45 ACP
  • Barrel: 5 inch
  • Total: 8.75 inch
  • Weight: 2.49lb
  • Capacity: 8+1

The Rock Island Armory 1911 Tactical basically comes with a patina and that blued finish is almost designed to rub through. Call it a distressed, battle worn finish in the making….

Basically, that’s fine if you just want a .45 Caliber handgun that shoots straight and puts a hole where you’re pointing it. If this is a truck gun, or a general purpose pistol, and you spend exactly zero time posing at the range, the Rock Island is a great handgun.

Not every manufacturer will back their guns with a lifetime warranty. Rock Island Armory handguns for sale all come with that guarantee from the factory. That’s parent company Armscor in the Philippines, by the way, but it still counts and Rock Island have a solid rep for customer service.

The rear sight is fixed, but they are snag-free. The trigger is a little ornate and never quite looks fitted completely square, but that’s a minor thing. The trigger and hammer are both skeletonized, there’s a guide rod, a Series 70 firing system and firing pin. The color-coded grips are kinda cool too. 

Aside from that the RIA 1911 has a fearsome reputation for reliability and it’s the ideal start for a custom 1911 build on a budget. The Rock Island is not a pretty gun, but it is a good gun.

EAA Girsan MC1911SC Officer for sale. A sub-compact 1911 that's getting a reputation for reliability and accuracy. Buy your 45 ACP carry pistol here.

3. EAA Girsan MC1911SC Officer

  • Price: $479.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP
  • Barrel: 3.4 inch
  • Total Length: 7 inch
  • Capacity: 6+1
  • Weight: 1.6lb

EAA has done great things of late with competition 1911 handguns and 10mm auto handgun specials. But the EAA Girsan MC1911SC Officer is the type of handgun that will sell off the back of their success.

So is this a genuinely solid sub-compact 1911? At this price? There is a ready market for this Officer 1911 carry pistol if it can hang with the competition. The early signs are that it really can.

First and foremost, this gun cycles reliably. That is a big deal for a sub-compact 1911, as many of you will attest to. It took Colt years to get this right. You also get a thumb safety, a beavertail grip safety, stainless steel slide and all the usual 1911 parts & accessories in a compact package.

Now EAA doesn’t make the gun. It’s made by Girsan in Turkey, and imported by EAA. Much like the EAA Tanfoglio target champions are made by the Italian master gunsmiths. 

Girsan might not be in that same league, but EAA has a rep to protect. Theoretically, it can’t import garbage. It’s bad business when the company has invested heavily in its own brand as a purveyor of the world’s finest firearms. Or something…

Girsan Combines Low Prices With Proven Tech Technology

The Turkish firearms manufacturer claims to have perfected the basic technology and mass manufacturing techniques required for an affordable carry pistol. Based on EAA’s other firearms in the portfolio, we’re inclined to believe this hype.

Our favorite 45 ACP Sub-compact 1911 is the Colt Defender. But that costs much more than $500. So, if you’re on a budget and want a 1911 CCW, this might be the best low cost 45 ACP 1911 handgun out there with a decent fit and finish.

Auto Ordnance M1911A1 45 ACP handgun. A classic 1911 handgun for around $500.

4. Auto Ordnance Thompson M1911A1

  • Price: $549.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP Auto
  • Barrel: 5 inch
  • Total: 8.5 inch
  • Weight: 2.44lb
  • Capacity: 7+1

There was a time, way back, when Auto Ordnance was a pretty big deal around here. Like Ron Burgundy, that time has past.

Now Auto Ordnance pumps out nostalgia pieces, like semi-auto Tommy Gun replicas and these old-school full-size 1911s for less than $500. Is this an American classic? Kind of.

The Auto Ordnance Thompson M1911A1 is a Series 80 semi-auto pistol with a single action only operating system.

They aren’t wood grips, they’re simple brown plastic. But you can swap them out for antique mahogany wood grips if that’s what you want. The same goes for the basic fixed front sight and rear sight combo. Apart from that this matt black finish 1911 is a no frills weapon that still somehow manages to retain its rugged elegance.

You can spend more on a hard chrome finish and the fancy touches that separate this gun from more expensive fare. But you can also just buy one of these and shoot it for years, probably without any major trauma.

Taurus PT1911 for sale. One of the best 1911s for $500 or less. But is there a better cheap 1911 for sale? Find out here.

5. Taurus PT1911

  • Price: $499.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP
  • Barrel: 5 inch
  • Total: 8.5 inch
  • Weight: 2.38lb
  • Capacity: 8+1

The Taurus PT1911 is slightly more than $500, but this full-size 1911 comes with some premium features that some folks think justify the extra $50.

Essentially the Taurus is a clone of the US Military 1911 and was announced in 2005. It has evolved little since then, but the Brazilian budget 1911 has a solid market share.

Novak sights join a hammer forged barrel and stainless steel slide. It’s all ordnance-grade steel, the blued finish is well done and you get touches like a lowered and flared ejection port and magwell, and skeletonized trigger. They do look like premium gun touches.

Get some G10 grips, upgrade your 1911 pistol as you go and this could turn this full size pistol into a nice project.

Not everybody loves Taurus 1911 reliability, including the South American law enforcement officers that often opt for revolvers instead. But put 1000 rounds downrange and you’ll probably be able to trust your Taurus when it counts.

A plastic 1911? yes you can buy a polymer 1911 thanks to EAA and Tanfoglio.

6. EAA Tanfoglio Witness Commander 1911 Polymer

  • Price: $555.99
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Barrel Length: 4.125 inch
  • Total Length: 8 inch
  • Capacity: 10+1
  • Weight: 1.8lb

Update: The price has spiked to the point of no return for a $500 1911s list, but we’re keeping it in for now because this polymer 1911 is different…

The Tanfoglio Witness Commander 1911 Polymer is a plastic 1911 that is half a pound lighter than a steel-framed Commander. Then you see the price and this is all win.

It’s a 9mm plastic 1911 that is different to almost everything else out there in the defensive carry pistol class. You might not see polymer frame 1911s in the local gun store yet, this is niche firearm, but you will soon.

A plastic 1911 might go against the grain. But you’re cool with polymer Glocks firing the same ammo. So it was a matter of time before we got a polymer 1911 for sale. And the really good news is it’s from one of the world’s best gunsmiths.

EAA features heavily on this list, because it isn’t a manufacturer. EAA imports a number of different firearms manufacturers’ guns to the United States. Tanfoglio is the runaway success story so far.

A Polymer 1911? Why Not?

This polymer frame gun is an enigma, just because it’s a combination of technology that we haven’t seen much of yet. But plastics are the future, they’re already at work in most CCW holsters and a plastic 1911 was just a matter of time we guess.

In many ways it’s the best tactical 1911 here, purely due to the lower weight and Commander size barrel for accuracy and reliability. You could have these in your gun safes all over your house and sleep well at night.

You get an extended beavertail grip safety, thumb safety, stainless steel slide, a skeletonized hammer and a flat mainspring housing. You also get a gun that will accept pretty much all standardized 1911 parts & accessories. This could be the start of a real interesting custom 1911.

Fixed rear sights are low profile for a quick draw and the compact barrel means this could be a potent carry pistol. At 1.8lb it’s a lightweight 1911 and the gun is just 1.27 inches wide too.

A Lightweight 1911 For CCW

So the EAA Tanfoglio Witness Commander 1911 Polymer is easy to conceal, light and yet comes with all the benefits of a 1911. It’s an interesting defensive carry proposition, a unique gun and one that will be joining the collection soon if only for the novelty factor.

Look closer on the stainless steel slide and you’ll see premium touches like a beveled and enlarged ejection port. The fixed sights are low drag and the extended beavertail grip safety helps position your hand high up the grip.

This is one of the most interesting budget 1911s here and we think it’s going to be a sales sensation for the best online gunbrokers in the United States. Affordable 19ss just got better…

Metro Arms American Classic 1911 for sale. A budget 1911 full size pistol based on the classic American service handgun.

7. Metro Arms American Classic 1911

  • Price: $509.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP
  • Barrel Length: 4.3 inch
  • Total: 8.5 inch
  • Weight: 2.2lb

The Metro Arms American Classic 1911 is a base model interpretation of the classic Commander size American military 1911 pistol. It’s as basic as cheap 1911s get, but it’s also effective.

Metro Arms hasn’t reinvented the wheel, but it has squeezed a few premium touches into a budget 1911. At just 2.2lbn it’s a lightweight 1911 too and the 4.3 inch barrel lends itself to concealment.

This is a viable carry gun and the low-profile Novak-style sights, 4140 steel frame, skeletal combat hammer and hardwood grips are all pretty sweet.

Metro Arms has made a name for itself with budget 1911s and the user reviews all seem favorable. It’s certainly a Rock Island alternative, if you like budget guns or you’re shopping for a home defense handgun and don’t want to spend the Earth.

ATI Firepower Xtreme Titan 1911 Concealed Carry pistol. Just $399.99 at the USA Gun Shop for a 45 ACP carry 1911.

8. ATI Firepower Xtreme Titan 1911

  • Price: $429.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP
  • Barrel: 3.1 inch
  • Total Length: 6.93 inch
  • Capacity: 7+1

A cheap sub-compact 1911 for concealed carry? Are we high? No, as it turns out. You can get a reliable concealed carry 1911 45 ACP these days and it comes from ATI Firepower.

Now this company has some bold claims going on. It has plastic AR-15 rifles, but it also has a solid track record producing continuation firearms like the Sig Sauer Mosquito 22 LR pistol.

This Officer sized 1911 is basic, with textured mahogany grips, and when did that become a negative?

A parkerized finish is the norm here and there is not much else in the way of luxuries. But all the important stuff is here and this carry gun actually looks decent. 

The grip safety joins forces with a frame-mounted thumb safety. Speaking of the frame. It’s hardened 4140 forged steel. It’s good enough.

Cycling can be an issue for some sub-compact 1911s, but read the user reviews of this cheap handgun. They love this cheap 1911 for less than $400, which slips into your waistband and goes bang every time. The slide, recoil spring and more all seem up to the task.

The Girsan makes a slightly more compelling case and is only $100 more. But if the sticker price on your cheap 1911 concealed carry is the number one priority, this might be your next semi auto handgun…

The EAA Girsan MC1911S Government Tactical 1911 pistol for less than $5600. A cheap 1911 you actually want to shoot.

9. EAA Girsan MC1911S Government

  • Price: $449.99
  • Barrel: 5 inch
  • Total: 8.6 inch
  • Weight: 2.55lb
  • Capacity: 8+1

If it weren’t for the RIA’s track record, this EAA Girsan MC1911S Government model could easily have featured much higher up this list. As with all European American Armory weapons, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed with this tactical 1911.

The EAA Girsan MC1911S Government model stays fairly faithful to the original GI Government Model 1911, from the trigger to the arched mainspring housing. This is a classic 1911, without the classic 1911 price tag.

You do get premium touches, like the three-hole skeletonized trigger and skeletonized hammer. The low-slung Picatinny rail offers a mounting point for a light or lazer too.

The ambidextrous thumb safety and other parts look good and this is a basic full-size 1911 that you don’t have to upgrade. Just shoot this Government Model 1911. Then in a few years, maybe buy another one.

Ready to Spend a Little More on Your 1911?

Make no mistake, $500 is scraping the bottom of the barrel when it comes to 1911 prices. If you spend just a little more, you can get a jump in quality.

The Ruger SR1911, Smith & Wesson SW1911 and Springfield Armory Range Officer are waiting for you if you have just a couple of hundred bucks more. Magnum Research make some great mid-range 1911s and Sig has a healthy presence in the $1000 price range too.

They are great guns and the Ruger SR1911 in particular has become part of 1911 folklore at this price point. You get into a world of hard chrome and brushed stainless steel, too. Rather than staid blued and matte black finish guns.

The Springfield Range Officer is one of many guns to adopt an aluminum alloy frame for weight saving. it also has the fiber optic front sight and a host of other premium 1911 touches. Smith & Wesson Performance Center is waiting for you if you really want a custom gun too.

So if you have seen the $500 1911s, and want something just different, then check out these features. We have more expensive 1911 handguns, custom 1911 pistols and even some fancy Dan Wesson handguns and Wilson Combat pistols for sale.

Where to Buy Used Pistols Online

There is a solid selection of used pistols from the likes of Para Ordnance and much more exotic fare from Colt, Kimber and more. Shopping for used guns is more complicated, but you can unearth an absolute bargain if you know where to look.

Buy used guns online here:

Guns.com – Awesome selection of collectible and vintage firearms.

One Response

  1. Robert November 10, 2020

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