The 1911 is a classic firearm. Designed by John Browning for Colt and adopted by the U.S. military just before World War I, it has remained a weapon of choice not only for many military personnel and police officers, but a growing number of concealed carry permit holders around the country as well.
The 1911 went through slight changes during it’s early years, as battlefield testing showed where improvements could be made. With these changes came new designations, like 1911-A1, but the “1911” moniker never left.
Once Colt’s patents on the weapon expired and other companies began making the gun, a large number options began to be introduced, but these were options in size, weight, sight configuration, materials used, etc., not in the basic look and design of the weapon.
Now, made with lighter metals and, in some cases, polymer, 1911s can be very comfortable to carry concealed. Moreover, because they shoot the .45 round, they are very effective as man stoppers in a self-defense situation.
Three great 1911s for your consideration are the Kimber Pro Carry II 1911, the Kimber Ultra Carry II 1911, and the Smith & Wesson Gunsite 1911.
First the Kimber Pro Carry II.
When you pick up a Kimber, you know it. You can literally feel the quality, and when you lift the weapon up and take aim–even when handling it in a gun store–you can feel how incredibly balanced it is. Kimbers are also very durable, and because they run a bit higher in price than average 1911s, they prove the old adage that you get what you pay for.
With the Pro Carry II, you get a 1911 that’s reduced in size (4 inch barrel) and weight (28 ounces empty), and which is deadly accurate.
Because of its accuracy, the Pro Carry II is fun to shoot. And .45 ammunition, although more expensive than 9mm, is still relatively cheap if you buy full metal jacket target ammo.
My experience has been that the Pro Carry II is an easy gun for anyone to shoot well–with practice of course–whether they are a gun novice or an experienced shooter. The gun is built in a way that keeps recoil manageable and that helps make the ever-important second shot easier to take accurately.
The Ultra Carry II brings all the features of Pro Carry II together in a smaller, lighter package. It’s barrel is an inch shorter–3 inches–and it weighs slightly less at 25 ounces.
Although the gun is smaller and lighter, you still get the same number of rounds, 7.
Like the larger Pro Carry II, this gun is extremely accurate. A good friend of mine in Houston who is an gun enthusiast first-class, has carried one on his hip or concealed under his shirt for years and won’t even consider carrying a different weapon.
One thing I can say for either Kimber–I’d bet my life on them.
Finally, the Smith & Wesson Gunsite 1911.
How good is this gun? Well, let me put it this way–it’s heavier than either Kimber (it weighs 28 ounces), it’s longer than either Kimber (it’s barrel length is 4.25 inches), it has old fashioned wooden grips whereas the Kimbers have sleek black synthetic ones, and it is not even in production any longer–yet I have included it in my list of three 1911s for your consideration.
Why? Because this particular 1911 is so accurate, so easy to shoot, and so reliable that if I have a friend who is shopping for their first 1911, I tell them to look for a used Smith & Wesson Gunsite 1911 while they are looking at new guns from other companies.
This gun is absolutely reliable, extremely accurate, and still light enough that you can carry it concealed under a jacket or coat with no problem.
An important note on any of the three 1911s I’ve reviewed here: these guns are more expensive than other handguns I’ve covered in past reviews. You’ll be in the $1100.00 to $1400.00 price range when you go to buy one (with current demand, the prices may be higher).
But here’s the good news: No matter which of the three you get, you’re buying something that will last a lifetime.