12 Cheap 1911 Handguns For $500 – 2023

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.

Winners at a Glance

The RIA GI Standard is the best 1911 for $500 these days, but there are choices.

Rock Island Armory GI Standard

Rock Island Armory GI Standard

  • Overall Winner
Best Price
SDS Imports 1911A1

SDS Imports 1911A1

  • Consistently Cheap Gun That Works
Best Price
Rock Island BBR 3.1

Rock Island BBR 3.1

  • Best Double Stack 45 for CCW
Best Price


  • Best 1911/Striker Fire crossover.
Best Price
Springfield Armory Mil Spec

Springfield Armory Mil Spec

  • Worth a Little More
Best Price


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 guns with an absolutely devoted following. These are complete handguns, for $500 or less OK some are creeping towards $600. But come on…

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

So what is the best Cheap 1911 in 2023?

Rock Island Armory GI Standard. Possibly the cheapest 1911 that you should consider buying.

1. Rock Island Armory GI Standard

  • Price: $430.00
  • Caliber: .45 ACP
  • Barrel: 5 inch
  • Weight: 2.56lb
  • Capacity: 8+1

The Rock Island Armory GI Standard has been a star on this list for some time. It’s kind of the definitive cheap 1911 pistol.

RIA handguns are basic as hell, to look at, but nobody cares. It’s a .45 Caliber handgun that shoots straight and comes with a rubbed through patina on that parkerized finish. It is a truck gun, or a general purpose pistol, and spends exactly zero time posing at the range.

The base model was always a great handgun for the money with the best budget bare bones approach. But RIA has evolved beyond this too, and doesn’t just offer the best 1911 pistol options in this price range chambered in the 45 ACP cartridge.

Now it offers real innovation, together with build quality.

Tac Ultra 9mm: A Lot More For a Little More

If you don’t mind spending a little money and want the top 9mm 1911 that about $850 can buy, then check out the Tac Ultra FSHC double stack 1911s.

High capacity 9mm 1911s are basically the biggest leap forward in decades and we like the concept. We also like the execution in the Tac Ultra double stack 1911.

You can also get cheaper single stack 9mm pistols, and you can see the full line here and it’s hard to beat the prices on offer there on guns for sale.

SDS Imports 1911A1 Service Model on sale now. A budget 1911 that faithfully recreates the classic Colt.

2. SDS Imports 1911A1 Service Model

  • Price: $299.99+
  • Caliber: 45 ACP
  • Barrel Length: 5 inch
  • Capacity: 8+1
  • Weight: 2.3lb

SDS has concentrated on the price point and found a faithful reproduction of the original design 1911, courtesy of Tisas Zig in Turkey.

Cute touches include a cerakote finish and black checkered grips as an option, instead of the classic blued frame and fixed sights. And a chrome plated barrel.

Beyond that it’s a straight reproduction of the gun you know and love with a Series 70 firing mechanism. There isn’t much more to say, apart from that, again, we like the price of these guns that are basically a rebranded Tisas 1911A1.

Rock Island Armory BBR 3.10. A double stack 45 ACP carry gun with 10 rounds.

3. Rock Island Armory BBR 3.10

  • Price: $599.99
  • Barrel: 3.1″
  • Total Length: 6.8″
  • Weight: 2lb
  • Capacity: 10+1 Rounds

This is not just cheap, the Rock Island Armory BBR is the best affordable double stack subcompact 1911 with 10 rounds of 45 ACP crammed inside that fat handle. That is a revolution…

Of course reliability is something that will have to be proven. So you might need to oil these guns and send 1000 trouble free rounds down range before you trust it with your life. And also get used to the felt recoil and get a secure grip on the necessarily fatter handle.

But that’s happening, right now. People love the RIA BBR3.10, they have done the torture testing and they do trust it as a daily driver. That could be you, with 10+1 rounds of 230 grain, Pretty sweet huh?

It sounds too good to be true, but these new guns are here and you can buy these double stack 1911s today.

The EAA Girsan MC1911S Government Tactical 1911 pistol for around $500. A cheap 1911 you actually want to shoot.

4. EAA Girsan MC1911 Government

  • Price: $600.00
  • Barrel: 5 inch
  • Weight: 2.55lb
  • Capacity: 8+1

This full size Girsan MC1911 Government comes in around $600 and you can sometimes get a compensator in with that pretty dramatic deal.

The Girsan MC1911S Government 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 with this Girsan MC1911S. The low-slung Picatinny rail offers a mounting point for a light or laser if the Novak sights don’t do it for you and you get black checkered grips.

The ambidextrous thumb safety, extended beavertail safety, flat mainspring housing and other parts look good. And this is a basic 1911 with decent polymer grips that you don’t have to upgrade. Just shoot this Government Model 1911. Then in a few years, maybe buy another one.

You can also buy the Girsan MC1911sc Officer model if you want subcompact 1911 concealed carry pistol options. It’s an interesting comparison for some of the other guns on this list and the much more expensive Colt Defender.

Smith & Wesson CSX. A hybrid 1911, buy yours today

5. Smith & Wesson CSX

  • Price: $549.99
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Barrel: 3.1 inch
  • Weight:1.2lb
  • Capacity: 10+1

The Smith and Wesson CSX isn’t a true 1911 and is basically a hybrid of an old school 1911 and striker fired pistol with a black polymer frame.

But is this just a forward thinking 1911? Maybe, and it is cheap.

This micro compact 9mm pistol is pretty much the only one with a hammer fired action. It comes with a thumb safety, but it also gets a trigger safety.

Purists won’t love it, but this is a real convenient carry pistol with most of the 1911 features that you really want.

We like it, although we prefer the S&W M&P 9mm striker fired pistol options for a daily carry if we’re honest.

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

6. Taurus PT-1911

  • Price: $561.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP
  • Barrel: 5 inch
  • Weight: 2.38lb
  • Capacity: 8+1

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

Essentially the Taurus PT1911 is a clone of the US Military 1911 with a 5 inch barrel and was announced in 2005. It has evolved little since then, but the Brazilian budget 1911 has a solid market share in this price range.

Novak sights join a high quality hammer forged barrel and stainless slide. It’s all ordnance-grade stainless steel, the matte blued finish is well done and you get touches like a lowered and flared ejection port and magwell, and skeletonized trigger. We like the black checkered grips and simple but upgradeable front sight too.

They do look like premium gun touches.

Get some G10 grips, a new ambidextrous thumb safety, maybe an extended slide stop and fiber optic front sight, upgrade your 1911 pistol as you go and this could turn this 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.

Sig P938. An affordable micro compact 9mm semi-auto pistol.

7. Sig Sauer P938

  • Price: $611.99
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Barrel: 3 inch
  • Weight: 1lb
  • Capacity: 6+1

This diminutive Sig P938 just about slips into the micro-compact class.. There it offers a different hammer fired approach and metal construction in a sea of polymer pistols.

Now this is pure entry level gun at a great price. You can spend around $800 on your Sig P938 semi auto pistol pretty easily and more if you really try with the most ornate stainless steel slide and frame finish.Or a gray cerakote slide, or blued & walnut grip finishes.

You only get 6+1 rounds, but this is a slimline 1911 that is very easy to conceal and has more than enough ammunition for most defensive encounters. Use the right hollow points and it’s enough in any case.

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!

8. Springfield Armory Mil-Spec Defender Series

  • Price: $629.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP
  • Barrel: 5 inch
  • Total Length: 8.6 inch
  • Weight: 2.4lb

The Illinois company 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.

Now it’s down the list at the moment due to the savage price rise. Do you remember when this was launched as a $499 handgun? Pepperidge Farm remembers….

The forged carbon steel frame and slide are the 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 and we like the beavertail safety here.

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. Right down to the full length guide rod and slide serrations.

For this price range, that’s awesome. It’s a great gun and an even better starter gun for a DIY 1911 build.

The Springfield Loaded 1911 is a great 1911 at a much higher price.

For less than $500, this Springfield 1911 Mil Spec Defender is the one you wanted for home defense. At $640+, it’s still pretty close.

Kimber Micro 9 ESV - Competition tuned 9mm carry handgun

9. Kimber Micro 9

  • Price: $617.99
  • Caliber: 9mm Luger
  • Barrel: 3.15 inch
  • Capacity: 7+1
  • Weight: 1.7lb

The Kimber Micro 9 is another non purist’s 1911, because there is no grip safety and that’s just the start if we’re honest.

But we’ve pretty much decided it doesn’t matter here and this is a carry friendly 1911 style pistol for around $600 that slips into your pocket.

And that’s a good thing.

Now the budget friendly Micro 9 does not enjoy the same cast iron reputation for reliability that you get with the Kimber Ultra Carry 1911 from the Custom Shop. But then this small pistol is much, much cheaper and comes with a quality fit and finish…

You can spend a lot more. This is the base version with a stainless steel finish, but you should check out the more expensive alternatives here with slide cuts and custom touches.

Iver Johnson Eagle Series 70 handgun, buy a discount 1911 that performs.

10. Iver Johnson Eagle Series 70

  • Price: $741.66
  • Caliber: 45 ACP
  • Barrel: 5 inch
  • Weight: 2.6lb
  • Capacity: 7+1

Iver Johnson makes cost effective pistols that are slightly better than the absolute standard fare.

This is a budget friendly series 70 semi-auto pistol with a polished bull barrel and some other premium touches that don’t belong in this price bracket. Other premium touches include a hand fitted frame and slide to make sure the tolerances work well from the off.

It also comes with a beavertail grip safety, adjustable sight and a memory bump that looks pretty slick together with the double diamond rosewood grips.

You get walnut grips, adjustable white dot sights and a bobbed hammer with this single stack mag. It might not win any design awards, but the Iver Johnson is definitely good value for money.

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

11. Auto Ordnance Thompson M1911A1

  • Price: $711.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP Auto
  • Barrel: 5 inch
  • Total: 8.5 inch
  • Weight: 2.44lb
  • Capacity: 7+1

There was a time, way back, when this company was a pretty big deal around here. Like Ron Burgundy, that time has passed.

Now it pumps out nostalgia pieces, like semi-automatic Tommy Gun replicas and these old-school full-size 1911s for less than $600, normally.

The M1911A1 is a Series 80 semi-automatic pistol with a single action only operating system and basic fixed rear sight.

You can spend more on a hard chrome finish and the fancy touches that separate this full size pistol from more expensive fare. But you can also just buy one of these affordable 1911s and shoot it for years, probably without any major trauma.

The only problem is it is Ruger SR1911 money now, and that seems a safer bet.

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

12. Metro Arms American Classic 1911

  • Price: $590.99
  • Caliber: 45 ACP
  • Barrel Length: 4.3 inch
  • Total: 8.5 inch
  • Weight: 2.2lb

The American Classic 1911 semi-auto pistol is a base model interpretation of the classic American military 1911 pistol.

It hasn’t reinvented the wheel, but it has squeezed a few premium gun features into a budget 1911. At just 2.2lbn it’s also a lightweight 1911.

This is a viable carry gun thanks to low-profile Novak-style sights, 4140 steel frame, skeletal combat hammer, basic trigger guard and wood grips with an extended beavertail grip safety and thumb operated manual safety.

Metro has made a name for itself with the best budget 1911s and the user reviews all seem impressed with the build quality and price tag of this single action handgun.

At this price point, though, we think there are better options like the Ruger SR1911.

Where to Buy Ammo For Your 1911

When you shop for guns, ammo, parts… you often end up back at the same places. But we do have the odd great choice for guns/ammo prices. As you have seen…

So if you have a 9mm pistol or the classic 45 ACP then either way you need to stock up on a wide variety of hollow point ammunition in 45 ACP, 40 S&W, rimfire ammo, fulll power 10mm loads, 45 Long Colt ammo and more.

These are our favorite suppliers at the moment:

1911 Parts & Accessories

The old saying goes buy cheap, buy twice, and you’ll definitely need to upgrade and replace more parts on a cheaper gun. That’s just the way it goes.

You might want an ambdextrousi safety, night sights, a better barrel or to switch out a tang style hammer or a new recoil spring and G10 grip panels. That’s before we start on the best concealed carry holsters and concealed carry insurance,

So check out Primary Arms and Brownells for the best selection of gun parts & accessories, gun cleaning kits, G10 grips and more.

Want to Spend More on Your 1911?

Colt Combat Unit

Don’t Forget Colt and Kimber Custom

Colt and Kimber are legends for a reason and both have massive model lines that should suit almost everybody.

Kimber has the Gold Combat, National Match for long range shooting and the flamboyant Super Jagare. Don’t forget the Kimnber Aegis Elite custom, too. The Kimber Custom shop, in particular, produces some stunning guns. Look at the top Kimber pistols here.

Colt, meanwhile, has the Colt Government Gold Cup Trophy, the hard to find matte black finish CCU Combat pistol and a whole host of other options. They include the best 10mm Auto, the Colt Delta Elite, which is one of the best 1911 pistols of all time.

Read more about the leading Colt 1911 handguns, get a buyer’s guide and order a gun here.And remember to check out the Magnum Research G Series and other rivals.

What About Something Even More Expensive?

Dan Wesson and more are waiting at the real top end with the latest great carry guns and the best 1911 pistols for sale.

Together with the custom shop offerings from the big guns that really deserve red dots up top. Or a laser down below on the Picatinny rail for super accurate shooting.

So if you have seen the $600 1911s, and want something just different in your gun safes, then check out these features.

We have more expensive 1911 handguns, custom 1911 pistols. They include Nighthawk Custom and Wilson Combat pistols for shooting like a Lord with thumb safeties, trigger and hammer forged by the dwarves themselves. Possibly….

One Response

  1. Robert November 10, 2020

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