If you buy any 1911...and shoot it, chances are you're going to fall in love with it.
That said almost any basic GI-Style 1911 will be reliable, accurate, and usable right out of the box. I have discovered that reliability issues with 1911s arise from adding too much crap. Trying to get the frame fit too tight, a bushing that is too tight, Full Length Guide Rods, etc. The most reliable 1911s I have seen are basics. I'd look at Springfield GIs, Springfield Mil-Specs, Colt Series 70 Repros as my choices for a bare bones. My personal 1911 is a lightly modified Rock Island Armory, but it has a matte blue on it as opposed to bright blue. Also, in 30 or 40 years it will have virtually no collector value, but it will damn sure be worn in, worn out, and well aged.
A basic one will serve you well. Just a warning, once you go 1911, you won't go back.
I am not a student of the 1911, but have owned a few including colt's and springfield armory's pistols. I have owned one in each length, i.e. officer's ACP, Commander and full length variations. At last I checked, there were over a dozen different manufacturers over on the 1911.org forum board and I can only conclude that there is whole new world of options and opinions out there.
Like you, I carry a Glock (M-23) and that says something for my preference for "commander" midlength size framed pistols. I have always opined that full size is great for general shooting and competition and commander size for carry and defensive shooting. Not that 3/4" matters so much in length on a combat pistol.
My first 1911 was a Springfield Armory Mil Spec pistol and it was a delight to shoot and is still considered by some as the best value on the market as well as a great foundation for a custom gun if the fancy strikes you to start tweaking and tuning a pistol. My current flavor in 1911's is the SA GI Champion which is dimensionally similiar to the Colt Commander, but differs in its barrel system and recoil spring set-up.
I would give my nod to the SA full size Mil-Spec for your purposes. However, if I could afford one, I would also say the current Colt Series 70 new production model is worthy of a look.
By the way, I would shoot the heck out of it before leaving it on my mantle! At least your kin will dearly remember and appreciate you for the hard use you employed with it!
Thanks. Keep shooting the data, comments, and suggestion my way. I just got through doing a preliminary search on the Internet of the current Colt Series 70 new production model that carolinaman suggested that I take a look at. Very impressive. Thanks for the suggestion carolinaman! Of course, this is just the start of my investigation.
I'm in the market for a 1911 as well. Why don't you go check out the new Taurus PT1911 and let me know what you think?
Seriously, I'm looking at those and the Kimber milspec.
However, whatever comes along at the right price first wins. I don't care if it's not reliable; I can fix almost anything (I have a Taurus 92 shooting sub-2" groups @ 25yds) and it will be very reliable when I'm done, and I'll have learned something.
Stick with the original. The newer Colt 1991A1 is not very plentiful on the commercial market, but is a vast improvement over Colt's offerings of the last 15 to 20 years. Not terribly expensive, about $630 for a full sized blued model w/rosewood grip panels. Like I say, the brand new 1911's and 1991's series 70 and series 80 are a bit difficult to find, but quality and reliablity are exceptional!!! Every bit as good if not better than the Kimbers I've handled and fired. In fact thanks to Kimber and that importer of South American made pistols (Springfield Armory), Colt has realized the competition and offers far better pistols than they had on the commercial market in the 1980's and early to mid 1990's. In .45 ACP it's always best to go with a full sized 5" barrel gun. That is the barrel that the 230gr .45 ACP was designed to deliver full performance with. The 45 just isn't very efficient with shorter barrels, and performance drops of very sharply with a short barrel.
I have a Colt MKIV Series 70 (original) and love it. If cost is not a big factor I'd go that way. The new issue series 70's are good guns, as well.
Dollar value wise the Springfield Mil-Spec is a dandy. Mine has run flawlessley and is incredible accurate.
Heck, buy both!
The Colt I bought is the basic O1991 model. It's a plain jane Series 80. I chose the 80 over the 70 because of the sights. I can't handle those miniscule sights on the originals. The series 80 has larger three-dot sights. My pistol shoots very well and has never jammed. I carry 230gr Gold Dots in it. Mine came with a nice set of rosewood grips like in this stock photo. The trigger pull is quite decent.
I thanked you fellows in a new thread, but in case you missed it let me thank you again for your input.
I bought a new production Colt 1911 GM Series 70 three or four weeks ago. So far I am super satisfied with it. Only shot it one time. I ran out of ammo, and none of the places in my town had any in stock so I had to order. It is in, but heck it is light freezing rain, 28 degrees, and heavy overcast here at this time so I am not going out in my woods (my shooting range) to shoot. When I do get around to shooting some more, I will give a report to Ya'll.