July 23, 2013
The addition of Picatinny rails are part of the modern makeover for John Browning's classic Model 1911.
The presence of a rail really comes down to the intended application for each individual 1911 operator — whether it be for duty, everyday carry, personal defense or part of a collection. Picatinny rails essentially bring the Model 1911 into the realm of modern firearms. Attaching weapon-mounted lights and lasers to the old workhorse improves its versatility in several environments.
As the Picatinny-railed Colt M45A1 CQBP joins the U.S. Marine Corps on the 21st century battlefield, it appears 1911 rail guns are here to stay. Choose the modernized classic that's right for you with this list of the best 1911 rail guns at every price point. Then, make sure you check out the full debate about 1911 rail guns.
Rock Island Armory Tactical VZ Grip
The Rock Island Armory Tactical VZ Grip
is a baseline 1911 that comes out of the box with some great options for the price. Complete with a TruGlo
front sight, ambidextrous safety and VZ Grips
, this is a practical choice that won't break the bank. This pistol could serve as a reasonable starting point for someone to learn the 1911 platform without going overboard.
ATI Thunderbolt Enhanced
brings its Thunderbolt Enhanced
model to market at under [imo-slideshow gallery= 54],000. In addition to a picatinny rail, this 1911 comes with an adjustable target trigger, ambidextrous safety and ported barrel. An adjustable rear sight mounted to the dual-serrated 4140 steel slide makes this a good option for target shooting and plinking.
SIG Sauer Nitron Rail
Folks looking for a few more options in a hand-fitted 1911 should check out the SIG Sauer Nitron Rail
. This pistol sports premium internal parts such as a match grade barrel and trigger. Novak
night sights ride atop a patented Nitron-finished slide, allowing shooters to stay on target in low-light conditions. This 1911 stands apart from others with its wood grips, as well as checkering on the front strap and mainspring housing. SIG Sauer is known for producing quality guns for law enforcement applications, and this pistol is no exception.
Price: [imo-slideshow gallery= 54],142
Smith & Wesson E-Series 1911TA
Smith & Wesson's
tradition of crafting high-quality, American-made guns continues with its E-Series SW1911TA
. A unique chainmail pattern serrates each side of the stainless steel slide, while flat-top serrations separate the front and rear tritium night sights. Checkering on the front and back straps are on point with that of premium-quality 1911s. Another value-added feature is Smith & Wesson's lifetime service policy, which will keep your gun running long after you've put it through its paces.
Price: [imo-slideshow gallery= 54],319
Built specifically for tactical operations and combat, the Kimber Warrior
comes with some unique features not found on most Kimber 1911s. For instance, the low-profile tactical wedge night sights, ambidextrous safety and KimPro frame finish give this pistol an advantage for practical applications. This service gun also has frame checkering, G10
grips and a built-in lanyard loop to ensure weapon retention. Look to the Warrior as an all-purpose weapon that's a step up from its TLE/RL II
Price: [imo-slideshow gallery= 54],512
Dan Wesson Specialist
Oftentimes overshadowed by big name brands, Dan Wesson
makes some of the highest quality, hand-fitted 1911s for the price. Their small shop in upstate New York gives each gun a personal attention to detail that's normally found only among more high-end manufacturers. The Dan Wesson Specialist
has premium forged steel parts, and a matte black duty finish that can really take a beating before showing any wear. It also features a unique set of vertical two-dot, dual-colored tritium night sights for fast sight acquisition in all lighting conditions.
Price: [imo-slideshow gallery= 54],870
Springfield TRP Light Rail
The Springfield Armory TRP Light Rail
comes packed with desirable features for the price. Originally designed around the same specifications as Springfield's FBI-contract 1911, the TRP offers similar performance for the civilian market.
Price: [imo-slideshow gallery= 54],867
Colt Marine Pistol
The only difference between the new military-issued Colt M45A1
and the civilian model — known as the Colt Marine Pistol
— is the serial numbers and U.S. Property roll marks. The design of this close quarters battle pistol was adopted by the USMC in July 2012 and will be issued to the most elite Marines in service.
Price: [imo-slideshow gallery= 54],999
Les Baer Ultimate Recon
Its rounded corners and hand fitting make the Les Baer Ultimate Recon
an excellent option for a tactical carry gun. The quality many have come to expect from Les Baer is paired with a number of standard features, including a Streamlight TLR-1
attached to the integral picatinny rail. Its fine details include a beveled magazine well, checkered slide stop and flared ejection port.
Price: gallery= 54,370
Wilson Combat CQB Tactical LE
For over 30 years, the name Wilson Combat
has been synonymous with the highest quality 1911s on the market. The company's experienced master pistolsmiths hand-tune each CQB Tactical LE
to the highest tolerances for advanced SWAT and military special operation applications.