Why Are 1911 So Expensive? – A Complete Research 


1911 guns are not like those regular pistols available in the market. Rather each of these guns is specially built and custom fitted as per clients’ requirements.

With highly accurate performance, intense labor of manufacturing, classic design, and mostly due to the nostalgia of this antique piece of art, the 1911 gun remains expensive even after 100 years of production.

Moreover, this gun has some specialty in trigger design and materials, unlike modern plastic-built pistols. But is it worth buying an expensive 1911 pistol? Let’s explore this in detail.

Why Are 1911 So Expensive? [Top 7 Reasons]

1911 guns are considered classic pistols that have a long history of service. That’s why, even after so many days, the gun remains expensive.

The primary reasons behind the high price of 1911 are described below.

1. Production System

The first reason behind the expensive 1911 gun is its production method. This gun is made of complex and small machined parts.

Unlike some modern gun frames which are made of plastic and injection moldings, 1911 needs extensive human labor and time to assemble and finish each gun.

2. Design

Even compared to modern pistols like Glock, which comes with many advanced features, the 1911 design is still on the top.

The thumb safety, accurate grip, and ergonomic design of the trigger make this gun stand out and also increase the price.

3. Manual assembly

Most other available guns are made by advanced manufacturing facilities. But a 1911 gun needs about 20 man-hours of manual hard work to complete. Even the CNC required for machining a 1911 gun is highly expensive too.

4. Materials

1911 pistols are made of forged steel. That’s why it’s not possible to make it from a simple plastic mold.

Moreover, the barrel, trigger, magazine, and grips are specially built to perform longer.

So, eventually, the price rises. Some 1911s contain plastic parts nowadays, offering a cheaper option than premium 1911.

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5. Performance

The accuracy and single-action trigger system makes the shooting experience way better. Also, there’s a facility to customize your desired features and performance as per your requirement. This certainly pushes the price of 1911 up.

6. Brand value

1911 handguns have years of reputation, history, and legacy. From WW1 to these days, thousands of gun lovers have used and collected this pistol as an antique piece.

So, not only the performance or materials, the brand value of this gun is responsible for the expensiveness of this 1911 gun.

7. Supply and demand impact

Another key factor behind the high price of the 1911 gun is its less availability.

People who are passionate about 1911, wait for 5 years or more to get their custom-built 1911.

So, as you see, these guns take too much time to be built and there’s always a high demand for 1911 in the market.

Definitely, due to the basic supply-demand relation, it increases the price of this pistol.

What Makes 1911 So Special Despite Expensive Price Tag?

Despite being so expensive, there are reasons why people still die from the 1911 gun. Though the gun is more than 100 years old, it contains some of the great features which are mentioned below.


1911 guns are highly precise and capable of shooting with top-notch accuracy.

The gun contains only 5-inch and 10-inch dispersion for 25 and 50 yards respectively. This gun is even more accurate than the famous Glock’s modern versions.

Trigger design

The trigger is crisp, easy to pull, and well-designed to perform consistently.

Even a complete beginner can shoot with 1911 without any problem. For more than 100 years, the design is still praised by gun geeks.

Material and craftsmanship

We’ve already discussed how each of the premium 1911 guns is assembled and finished by an expert.

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Many people say it takes almost 20 hours of human labor to complete a 1911 pistol.

Also, the forged steel body is more durable than today’s polymer-based gun frame.

Which Companies Make 1911 Guns?

Though many companies make cheaper 1911 versions of handguns, very few make custom and premium models. Here’re some companies that make expensive 1911 guns.

  • Springfield Armory
  • Ed Brown
  • Dan Wesson
  • Wilson Combat, etc.

Is It Worth Buying An Expensive 1911?

It completely depends on your requirements, affordability, and intention of buying an expensive 1911 handgun.

If you are one of the handgun enthusiasts and have a strong desire to collect this antique gun, there’s no doubt that it’ll be worth every penny.

However, if you’re none of them and are just willing to have a fancy gun, there are a plethora of inexpensive 1911 options too. But those are not well-finished like the premium ones.

The cheaper versions of 1911 generally come with a wooden grip, which is slippery and difficult to hold. Also, the accuracy of the cheaper is not even close to the high-end 1911 pistols.

Since the premium and custom 1911 are unique and specially built, it’s considered a piece of art by firearms enthusiasts. So, collecting a piece of these is definitely worth it.

3 Comparable Alternatives Of Expensive 1911 Handgun

If you’re looking for a .45 ACP except from 1911, here are some available options that you can consider as alternatives to 1911 handguns.

Glock G21

Glock G21 is a modern handgun with advanced features and reliable performance. This full-size gun has 14 bullets capacity in total.

Users suggest using a light for example Streamlight TLR-1 HL for accurate shooting since the gun size is larger comparatively.

Walther PPQ .45 ACP

This gun comes with 12 round bullet capacity and adequate power to serve as a gun for home defense.

The cross-sectional grip provides a firm hold over the gun. Well, the price of this gun may seem a bit higher.

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Sig Sauer P220 Legion

Sig Sauer is a very popular alternative to 1911 that comes with great accuracy, reliability, and long-lasting performance.

The grip design of Legion provides good grip as well as more skin-to-gun contact making it way more comfortable to use.


In forums, online communities, and social media, people have hundreds of questions regarding the highly expensive and historical 1911 pistols. Some of the most asked questions are answered here.

Is 1911 still a good gun?

In terms of usability and design 1911 is not as advanced as some modern available handguns like Glock. But it has an aesthetic value and a long legacy of performance. That’s why 1911 is still special.

How Powerful Is A 1911 Pistol?

A M1911 can fire at a speed of 830 feet per second and the firing range can be around 160 feet. So, of course, the 1911 is a powerful pistol. However, some modern pistols can be more powerful compared to 1911.

How much did a 1911 cost in 1911?

Between 1911 and 1920, the iconic 1911 guns cost something between $14-$20. By considering inflation, on today’s scale, the price will be around $300 to $400.

How many bullets does 1911 hold?

Generally, a 1911 can hold seven rounds of Automatic Colt Pistol (ACP) bullets. But with modern magazines, an extra round can be added to the set. Well, according to some users, the bullet capacity can be extended to 10 rounds by some modifications.

Final words

Undoubtedly, 1911 handguns are one of the finest choices for firearms collectors and enthusiasts.

Furthermore, for beginners, these guns can be extensively easy to handle and shoot.

The accuracy, easy-to-press trigger, unique design, and long-lasting material makes this gun both aesthetically pleasing and high performing.

Along with these, the historical value is the reason behind “Why 1911 guns are so expensive”.

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Ethan Smith is a seasoned marine veteran, professional blogger, witty and edgy writer, and an avid hunter. He spent a great deal of his childhood years around the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest in Arizona. Watching active hunters practise their craft initiated him into the world of hunting and rubrics of outdoor life. He also honed his writing skills by sharing his outdoor experiences with fellow schoolmates through their high school’s magazine. Further along the way, the US Marine Corps got wind of his excellent combination of skills and sought to put them into good use by employing him as a combat correspondent. He now shares his income from this prestigious job with his wife and one kid. Read more >>