Well, I don't know what the best 1911 for under $850 is, but I can say...
I just bought a Taurus PT 1911 ALR
$799 for a package including 4 8-round mags and a kydex paddle holster designed to fit the rail. This an aluminum rail gun. 5" barrel. 33oz. The price won't seem like a great deal to most of you, but you have to consider it was bought within NYS and includes the extra mags and the holster.
I'll write up a range review in a couple weeks. But for now, the thing that most attracted me to it was how it felt in my hand. I loved the checkering front and back of the grip, and on the grip panels. I loved the beavertail, and how the 3 dot sights just ligned up nicely when I pointed the gun. I also loved the light trigger pull. I also love the overall reduced weight, and increased balance of the gun.
I decided to not worry much about the ILS. I've read that the Taurus hammer (where the lock is) can be replaced. I don't plan on replacing it, but nice to know it can be (based on what I've read, since I don't have any first hand knowledge about it).
I wasn't looking for a rail, but as soon as it was in my hand, and I liked how the gun felt, I started thinking of what I could put on that rail. And instantly figured, hey, let's get the rail
As far as brand name (Taurus). Man, I read up one side and down the other side of the internet. All brands, every single one of them (Colt, Kimber, Springfield, etc), has people posting their bad experiences with lemons. Seems it is just a crap shoot. So figured I take my chances, like you do with any gun, as far as quality and reliability.
I wasn't specifically