Mid Range Production For lack of a better term, that’s what I’ll call this group of enhanced 1911s in the $1000-$1300 range. At this price range, I will be discussing six guns, one stand out model, one classic model, one lightweight carry model, one bobtailed model, and two low end models that are priced higher due to some additional features and cosmetics. Colt Gold Cup Trophy We’ll start the category off with a classic, in the Colt Gold Cup Trophy. Mine is the stainless model. The Gold Cup is a completely different pistol from the other pistols in this grouping. Its an old school 1911 without all the modern features so common today. The Gold Cup was one of the first enhanced models to hit the market in the late 50’s. As I stated, it lacks modern enhancements, such as an extended safety, beavertail, memory pad, or a high hand grip. One trademark of the Colt Gold Cup is the wide trigger that is nearly the same width as the trigger guard. This gives the pistol a unique feel. As I mentioned, mine is the “Trophy” model, which Colt began to produce in the late 90’s. Its all stainless, with a three hole trigger and skeletonized hammer, which the older Gold Cup National Match doesn’t have. It also features wrap around grips to secure your hands to an otherwise smooth front strap. Roll markings are a bit cratered, which is common for newer production Colts, but are otherwise tastefully done. In typical Colt fashion, its got a loose slide to frame fit. Regardless, of the exact model in question, the Gold Cup is a well built pistol that’s been around for ages. I bring this 1911 to the range often and its been perfectly reliable in close to 2000 rounds. This 1911 utilizes Colt's Series 80 firing pin safety. Unloaded weight: 39.0oz Slide: Forged stainless steel Frame: Forged stainless steel Country of origin: United States Approximate 2010 street price: $1000 http://coltsmfg.com/products-c5-q54-COLT_PISTOLS.aspx# STI Trojan Next up is, by far, my favorite 1911 in this category, the STI Trojan. It’s got the smoothest controls, the best trigger, and, frankly, just the best build quality of any I’ve experienced at its price. The Trojan’s frame is cast and offers a very high grip, due to the cut out under the trigger guard. The front strap uses the popular chain link pattern for a secure grip. Though it works well for me, I do prefer checkering. The slide serrations are large and a bit unsightly, but very easy to grip. The trigger and mainspring housing are plastic, which is a downside to an otherwise excellent pistol. Mine has a few options, such as hard chrome, an ambi safety, and a red fiber optic front sight. This 1911 is a pleasure to shoot at the range and does everything exceptionally well. The cocobolo grips with the logo are a nice touch. Keep in mind that the Trojan comes standard with thin grips, but mine has the ambi option, so standard thickness grips had to be used. Roll markings are large with the left side sporting a horse that looks to have been drawn by a preschooler. Fortunately, new production Trojans have this design omitted. If you want the best $1000 1911 on the market, look no further. I’ve been pushing this 1911 on potential buyers for years now and will continue to do so. This 1911 uses no firing pin safety. Unloaded weight: 38.8oz Slide: Forged carbon steel Frame: Cast carbon steel Country of origin: United States Approximate 2010 street price: $1050 http://stiguns.com/guns/Trojan5.0/Trojan50.php Para 1911 Limited Para's 1911 Limited is in this price range, which is basically Para's top of the line single stack 1911. As I mentioned before, I'm not a huge fan of Para. This “flagship” model uses a cast slide and frame, a plastic trigger and mainspring housing, and a slide serration/finish combination so slippery that its nearly impossible to rack without cocking the hammer first. This gun has four different tones to the finish. The slide is "sterling" and black, while the frame is stainless. The controls are then done in satin steel. Its looks decent at first glance, but it is an odd combination. The guide rod is full length and an ambi safety is standard. The grips are nicely done checkered double diamond cocobolo, but with an unnecessary gold Para logo on them. Gold lettering was a mistake, in my opinion, especially considering the gun already shows four colors. I also feel an $1100 1911 should have some sort of front strap treatment, but this is as smooth as a baby’s rear. The one thing I do really like about this pistol are the sights. Here we have large Bo-Mar style rear target sights, with a bright red fiber optic front. They're virtually identical to the sights on my STI Trojan and Springfield TGO1 and I love them. Unfortunately, great sights can't rescue an $1100 Para from being a poor value. At the range, this 1911 does perform well enough, though I have fewer than 1000 rounds through mine. This gun features Para’s “Power Extractor”, which is an enlarged extractor said to enhance reliability. Gimmicky items like that don’t usually impress me, but so far, so good. This 1911 utilizes a series 80 style firing pin safety. Unloaded weight: 38.6oz Slide: Cast stainless steel Frame: Cast stainless steel Country of origin: Canada Approximate 2010 street price: $1100 http://www.paraord.com/new/product.php Kimber Pro CDP II The next 1911 I'm going to speak about in the mid range production category is my trusty Kimber Pro CDP II. This is the only aluminum framed 1911 I own and I bought it as a carry gun years ago. The stainless slide is slightly melted and finished in satin silver. The gun features neatly done 30lpi checkering on the front strap and trigger guard, an ambi safety, night sights, and a 4" bull barrel. The mainspring housing is, disappointingly, plastic, which just should not be present on an $1100 1911. I've been carrying this gun for quite a while now and it has never let me down. I've got about 1500 rounds through it at this point. I'm a fan of bull barrels and find this gun very accurate for a 4" production 1911. The grips are nicely checkered double diamond rosewood. In typical Kimber fashion, the roll marking is done well, with Kimber Custom Shop on the left and the model name written in small letters on the right. As with all three of my Kimbers, this model is a series II model, which incorporates the firing pin safety. I’m not a huge fan of aluminum 1911s, but I do find them convenient for daily carry. This 1911 utilizes the Swartz firing pin safety. Unloaded weight: 29.0oz Slide: Forged stainless steel Frame: Aluminum Country of origin: United States Approximate 2010 street price: $1100 http://www.kimberamerica.com/products/pistols/cdp/pro_cdp_II/ Dan Wesson CBOB I’m going to include my Dan Wesson CBOB in this category. When I bought mine in 2007, it was priced just under $1000. The CBOB was basically discontinued for 2010, but used examples have risen in cost at an outrageous rate. I believe they command at least $1200 nowadays in new condition. The CBOB is a very tight, well-fitted commander. Many of the parts are Ed Brown and its got the looks to match its impressive performance. The stainless finish is well done, the trigger is crisp, and the cocobolo grips are beautiful. The checkering is 25lpi and while its not nearly as nicely done as some more expensive models, it gives a firm grip to the shooter. The CBOB uses a cast frame and comes standard with night sights. The bobtail itself is an Ed Brown part and not for everyone. However, I love the look and the way they handle. This model is still the least expensive bobtailed 1911 on the market, as far as I know. As with all Dan Wesson 1911s, the CBOB is a great looking, great shooting gun. This pistol was a terrific value just a couple years ago, nowadays its priced more appropriately. There are no MIM parts to speak of. In 2010, the CBOB has morphed into the Valor-based VBOB and uses a forged frame. At the range, this 1911 was overly tight at first, but settled in nicely and is now a superb shooter. This 1911 uses no firing pin safety. Unloaded weight: 35.8oz Slide: Forged stainless steel Frame: Cast stainless steel Country of origin: United States Approximate 2010 street price: $1200 http://www.cz-usa.com/product_detail.php?id=66 Wanna kill these ads? We can help!