Best 1911 under $2K? - 1911Forum
Advertise Here
Forum   Reviews   Rules   Legal   Site Supporters & Donations   Advertise

Go Back   1911Forum > >


Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 08-06-2002, 11:20 AM
Fliedout Fliedout is offline
Join Date: Mar 2002
Posts: 265
Best 1911 under $2K?

I'm in the market for a full-size for personal defense and need to keep the cost under $2K. I'd appreciate any recommendations.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2002, 03:03 PM
Electric_Armadillo Electric_Armadillo is offline
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 691
Valtro 1998A1 - if you live in the states. Retails about for about $1200. Do a search for Valtro on this forum, it has been written about quite a few times. The person to contact is John Jardine at (510) 489-8477. Website is
Its a traditional 1911 style handgun. Options include night sights, strong side only safety, and stainless. You may even have the option of fixed sights. Won Best Buy from Gun Tests magazine.

HK USP series - Good guns out of the box, good accuracy and reliability. Accessory rail allows for the addition of nifty gadgets. Not very concealable since its a double-stack, and the 10 round mags may have breakage issues. Retails between $800 - $1000 depending on type.

There are other good guns out there, but these are the two I have tried and don't hesitate to recommend.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-06-2002, 05:12 PM
Deang Deang is offline
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 364
Two of the best in the market today are the Kimbers(several models to choose from) and the Springfield's Fully Loaded 1911's. Both come good to go right out of the box. Both deliver more then combat accurate performance and years of heavy service life. Both brands start in the mid $500's and go up to a grand or so. And with all the money you save, you have enough left over to take a professional self defensive class too. Best of both worlds.

Good shooting,

Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2002, 05:18 PM
BGPD's Avatar
BGPD BGPD is offline
Join Date: Aug 2001
Posts: 1,016
Have a Robar Custom, Gunsite Springfield Armory, 2 Wilsons, 2Baers and several stock 1911's. IMHO the Thunder Ranch Special wins hands down and is what I carry now.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2002, 06:12 PM
9423692 9423692 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: California
Posts: 133
I vote for Valtro

I also vote for the Valtro. Own one for 2 months and in love with it. Before Valtro, I had a Springfield, and only knew Les Baer as the premium buy. My friend STORNGLY pushed me for the Valtro, and I bought it in doubt. Now, I am the happiest 1911 owner and forgot all about Les baer. I like the customer service by John Jardine. The pistol is fully warranted. If you should have any problem (most likely not), just pick up the phone and call John. I shoot my Valtro side-by-side with Springfield, Kimber and Les Baer, and I like the tightness and smoothness on the Valtro. (the more it breaks in, the better it gets) Les Baer is a bit better than SA and Kimber. I love all the details of my Valtro. John installed a new front sight and new strong side safety for me. All I need to do is to feed good ammos to it. Works like a dream. Can't beat the value. If you can find a Valtro, grap it before any other lucky guy. I bought mine the first day it appeared on the store shelf.

The most fun thing for me to do in the range: when I hear a person wants to buy a Kimber or some other BIG name brand, I invite him/her to come in to my range, load 5 rounds in the Valtro and hand it over. My biggest pleasure is to see the person's face after that 5 rounds.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2002, 06:24 PM
9423692 9423692 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: California
Posts: 133
One more point on Valtro

For got to mention what John Jardine told me to do about Valtro: ( I met him in person to learn some tips on 1911s yesterday)

1. Minimal care,
2. decent quality ammo,
3. don't forget some oil and grease,
4. Shoot more

John told me that Valtro is built with premier parts while some areas of frame and slide are thicker than the original spec to stand abuse. He invited me to try to give my Valtro the toughest work out I can afford, and test it myslef to see how much abuse it could take. Anything (other than ammo related) fails, he will either repair or replace for no charge immediately. Talk about warranty.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-07-2002, 07:07 PM
Don45cal Don45cal is offline
Join Date: Apr 2002
Posts: 115

Last edited by Don45cal; 01-11-2003 at 07:12 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2002, 10:26 AM
ajp3jeh ajp3jeh is offline
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Central Mississippi
Posts: 162
When I took GunSites' 250, I was really impressed with how their school pistols performed. Several folks with non-GunSite pistols had reliability problems but the basic GunSite Pistols chugged through the class without a problem - and at the time, the basic pistol ran ~$1000 - you can buy two.
AKA John E. Hearne

"Shoot deliberately." - Wyatt Earp
A 9mm may expand but a 45 never shrinks. - Promoting realism and excellence in combative shooting.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2002, 10:41 AM
buzz_knox buzz_knox is offline
Join Date: May 2000
Location: Knoxville, TN
Posts: 940
My main problem with getting a Valtro is that I have no idea where to find one.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2002, 11:53 AM
LB1911 LB1911 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2001
Age: 45
Posts: 749
BUY A TRS if you want the best deal pound for pound, feature for feature. The Les Baer TRS is just a bang up gun...

Buy a Valtro if you want to put money into a foreign company.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2002, 02:23 PM
9423692 9423692 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: California
Posts: 133
To many of you, I was being biased toward one brand name of 1911. I have good reasons: I can only afford to own one 1911 .45, and Valtro was the available on the shelf, and John lives 30 minutes away. I can't afford a Les Baer now, and I can't afford to spend $35 alone on shipping a Les Baer to get repair and wait one month before I get it back. I need fast return so I can use it every weekend. Valtro is one that suits my need.

However, although Valtro is known as an Italian brand. I think only the major components such as slide and frame and few others are made in Italy, and John uses premium "made-in USA" parts for the rest of Valtro. He then hand-fitted everything together. Since he is a one-man operation, the saving from advertising and extra staff makes Valtro using better parts and being cheaper. This is my understanding. Valtro is not always available to the entire US market, but you can contact John and see what he can do for you.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2002, 05:00 PM
UdontnoME UdontnoME is offline
Join Date: Jul 2001
Location: Ground Zero, USA
Posts: 1,324
Wilson CQB 5" or Compact. I and several of my friends own them, they are outstanding guns.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-08-2002, 09:10 PM
kanak kanak is offline
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Hawaii
Posts: 213
I would HIGHLY recommend seeing Marty at
He was a smith at wilson combat and has worked for a bunch of different companies. He could put together a package that will be below $2k with all the reliablity, accuracy and guarantees that you'd expect from a custom. Check him out!
Reply With Quote
Old 08-10-2002, 11:04 AM
level level is offline
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: usa
Posts: 690
I picked up a Colt series 70 - very lightly used, and gave it to Jim Garthwaite to turn into a serious carry gun, with a total of $1200.00 in the gun its hard to beat, contains no MIM parts & runs great. take care.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2002, 10:30 AM
Billy Ray Billy Ray is offline
Join Date: Jan 2001
Location: Texas, USA
Posts: 731
The best rock solid 1911 out of the box for under $2,000 is, without a doubt, a Wilson CQB. While I do not own one of these fine pistols, a good friend of mine has two and a third on order. In the past year, he has put ~26,000 through his 5" CQB. I own a custom Colt and a custom SA. My next pistol will likelybe a CQB.

For just under $2,000 you can get a CQB and have the MIM parts replaced (by Wilson).

Billy Ray
Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2002, 10:51 AM
David Blinder's Avatar
David Blinder David Blinder is offline
Super Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Houston, TX, USA
Posts: 1,456
Moved to General.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2002, 11:17 AM
LB1911 LB1911 is offline
Join Date: Nov 2001
Age: 45
Posts: 749
Buy a 2k gun and get parts replaced?

Am I missing something here?
Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2002, 11:51 AM
GrandmasterB's Avatar
GrandmasterB GrandmasterB is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Fort Worth, TX, USA
Posts: 1,998
Fliedout --

You are going to get answers all over the place here. But, they will likely fall into three primary categories:

1. Buying a $500 to $600 gun and then having a gunsmith perform an additional $1000 - $1500 worth of work

2. Buying a semi-custom gun from one of the big makers [Wilson, Les Baer, Ed Brown, Valtro (not big but should be included) or even high end Kimbers or Springfields or Colt Custom Shop]

3. Working with a gunsmith and having a piece built from the ground up, just the way you want it.

Choice #1 and #3 are similar. With #1, you are likely to replace almost every part in the gun you buy except the frame and slide and a few minor parts like grip screw bushings and plunger spring, etc. #1 can work out a little cheaper than choice #3, but it really depends on what you want. But, you really need to know what you want. If you are new to 1911's or not very well read about different parts, haven't shot lots of different 1911's, know what feels good in your hand, know what sights look good to your eyes, etc., then this may not be the choice for you.

Choice #2 is a very popular choice for those more new to the 1911. And there are some very nice guns to be had in the $1500 to $2000 range. Which is the best? That depends. What do you want to use the gun for? Range work? CCW? IDPA? IPSC? Bullseye competition? You said personal defense but will you ever branch out into any of these or other areas? All of these (and other uses too) can affect your decision making. There are features that you may want on the gun because of your intended use.

For me, in the $2000 range, I cannot fathom going with a choice other than #3. Because I have a few 1911's and have shot many, I know what I want. I also have built one of my own from the ground up and feel very comfortable with parts and features that work for me. Since I am picky and money doesn't grow on trees at my house , if I had $2000 I would want it exactly my way and would not settle for a feature that I wasn't 100% satisfied with.

Best of luck to you in whatever you decide.
Romans 5:8
Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2002, 01:25 PM
CastleBravo CastleBravo is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Nov 2000
Posts: 2,985
"Best" and "best value" aren't the same thing. Since the question asks what the best is, the answer is easy: a pistolsmith-customized 1911.

Wilson Combat, Les Baer, etc., make nice guns, but they aren't custom-made guns. Don't be fooled into thinking a CQB or TR Special is equivalent in quality to what a pistolsmith can deliver. They aren't. They are more convenient (generally alot less waiting), maybe cheaper (depends on the model), and functionally similar (most of the time), but the quality isn't as good.

A small illustration in the difference in detail work between a ~$1,800 CQB and a ~$1,800 customized Colt... compare how well the beavertail grip safties are fitted on each gun:

The amount of skilled labor hours spent hand finishing the things isn't the same as a pistolsmith does, otherwise you'd have to wait longer and the whole point of the limited-production guns that Wilson and Baer make would be lost.

There is no free ride here. I can conveniently buy a Wilson Combat at the corner gun store, and Baers and Ed Browns at the gun show, because they produce fixed models in (relatively) large volumes. And I'm getting a good value; the guns ARE better than a high-volume production gun. But I'm also paying for convenience. I can give about the same amout of money to a pistolsmith as I'd spend on a CQB (just under $1,800 last I checked) and get something better, but I'm going to have to wait ALOT longer to get it... instead of a 5 minute drive it will take months.

If you need a really good 1911 more proptly than a custom pistolsmith can deliver it, I'd suggest Ed Brown or Dawson Precision as the best choices.

Last edited by CastleBravo; 08-14-2002 at 01:32 PM.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2002, 01:37 PM
9423692 9423692 is offline
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: California
Posts: 133
Here is an interesting one

I was looking for a custom built 1911 earlier, and I came across the following: In "Combat Handguns" September Issue, they introduced a Recon Frame Caspian 1911 .45. You can attach a M6 light to it. Very fun to play with. It was built by a pistolsmith who work closely with Caspian. his name is Herb Germain. This particular one cost $1500. Guranteed sub 3" at 50 yds, too. It sounds like a real good deal and Mr. Germain can do it for you in two weeks time. Check it out. A Fully-Custom 1911 is the best. But you have to know what you want first.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2002, 02:42 PM
The Chief The Chief is offline
Join Date: Apr 2000
Location: Oregon
Age: 66
Posts: 480
How about 3 Colt Government xse's and 1000 rounds of ammo?
You can't beat that combo! Or you could buy `1 Les Baer 5".

"If it ain't a COLT, it's just a copy!"

Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2002, 02:52 PM
cratz2's Avatar
cratz2 cratz2 is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Central IN
Age: 44
Posts: 2,165
While I currently own 9 1911s, none of them cost me more than $700. I have handled many of the top brands and have had the fortune to be able to shoot about 8 guns in the over to considerably over $1000 range.

Based on my experiences, in the under $2,000 category between Wilson, Baer and Brown, I would have to recommend the Brown. I'd be glad to have a Wilson or Baer in by collection, but the Browns that I've handled (and the one that I've shot) was just a bit better than the Baers and Wilsons in the fit and finish department. At $2,000, this is important to me. I have a $660 Springfield that is 100% reliable, far more accurate than I am and is fitted better than it's price should allow it to be. For three times that price, the gun better be flawless in ever way.

Having said that, I think the STI Trojan, Wilson KZ45 or a used Baer are among the best values going in high quality 1911s right now. I would put Rock River Arms right there if you can find one used but their one year or longer wait times is a stumbling block for most. Not me.

Or you could try and seek out one of the very newest Springfield Armory Loadeds. They will have the traditional front strap, checkered mainspring housing, Torx grips screws (not Allen screws) and the cocking serrations will be more Colt-like than Kimber-like. I am 100% happy with mine and just sought out one to match in 9mm (to be converted to 9x23). For the $660 I paid, I absolutely cannot imagine a better value in a 1911 legally obtained. Period.
Reply With Quote
Old 08-14-2002, 09:33 PM
WESHOOT2 WESHOOT2 is offline
Senior Member
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Vermont (Caspian country)
Age: 62
Posts: 15,321
$2,000 1911 (getting off cheap)

First, forget Kimber, Springfield, Wilson (or Herb).

Second, decide HOW you'll be using your gun.

Third, decide what's NICE vs what's NECESSARY.

Then, after checking here , start thinking "Briley, Baer, Brown, Burns, Robar, Hamilton, Krebs, Stroud, Vandenberg, Yanek, or George Smith at EGW.

Then send your money to Mr. Smith, and wait (patiently) for your EGW 1911.
You can't spend too much......................
"all my ammo is mostly-retired factory ammo"
Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2002, 08:24 AM
Wheel Gun Wheel Gun is offline
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Cordova, SC
Posts: 253
5 Springfield Mil-Specs

Seriously, for PD I really think you can get what you need for MUCH less than $2000.00.

If I were going to spend that much money on a 1911, it would be a >90% early-production Colt 1911 (flat MS housing, longer trigger, no scalloping, etc). In fact, for $2000.00 I think I could get 2 of them .

Why? 'cuz they're just cool!
Reply With Quote
Old 08-15-2002, 12:12 PM
OKC .45 ACP OKC .45 ACP is offline
Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: OKC, OK
Posts: 230
Here's my ranking...

I have owned all of these, and shot >2000 rounds (emphasis on the > sign) through all of them:

1. Les Baer TRS
2. Ed Brown Kobra
3. Wilson Combat Protector
4. Kimber Pro Carry

That does it for the under 2K crowd. For the over 2K crowd I have two guns by Larry Vickers. They beat everything above by a wide margin.

Pluses of the TRS: accuracy, reliability, shoots to POA. Designed by the genius of Clint Smith.

Pluses of the Brown: reliability, snake scales, accuracy, WOW factor

Pluses of the Wilson: ran with *MOST* ammo, accurate

Pluses of the Kimber: reliable until extractor tension crapped out, that's about it.

Vickers: Outstanding finish and detail, extensive tedious hand workmanship, mechanical perfection in function. The gun's not tight like a Baer, but will outshoot it hands down, and is made exactly the way I wanted it. Larry builds serious fighting handguns. His work is simply awesome.

Guns I would trust my life to: TRS, Kobra, and of course the Vickers that I carry.

Asbestos suit on....

NRA, Life Member
"Strength and Honor"
Reply With Quote


Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:00 PM.

NOTICE TO USERS OF THIS SITE: By continuing to use this site, you certify that you have read and agree to abide by the Legal Terms of Use. All information, data, text or other materials ("Content") posted to this site by any users are the sole responsibility of those users. 1911Forum does not guarantee the accuracy, integrity, or quality of such Content.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Search Engine Optimisation provided by DragonByte SEO (Lite) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2017 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright 2015, LLC. All Rights Reserved