It’s 2023, and we are still talking about and producing the famed M1911. 1911 was the year the gun was adopted by the United States Army, and the gun has staying power.
Why is it so popular? The gun excels with excellent ergonomics, a great trigger, excellent sights, and tons of custom options. And it’s not limited to an 8-round magazine, either. Luckily, there is an entire world of double-stack M1911s and 2011-type handguns out there.
At first glance, they all seem quite expensive, but you’ve come to the right place! Today, we are tackling budget-friendly 2011s and double-stack M1911s.
Understanding Budget 2011 and Double Stack M1911 Pistols
First, we should address the elephant in the room. Staccato owns the term “2011” and it arguably applies to their designs in terms of marketing and pistol designations. There is also a difference between a double-stack M1911 and a 2011 design. A 2011 uses a two-piece grip and frame system. A double-stack M1911 uses a single-piece grip frame.
The terms are often used interchangeably, and I wouldn’t blame anyone for not knowing the difference. Today, we are digging out the best budget 2011-style pistols as well as the best budget M1911s, but honestly, the double-stack M1911 really rules the roost as far as budget pistols go.
What exactly does “budget” mean in this category? You won’t find one of these guns for $300, that’s for sure. This article aims to provide budget 2011 options that cost less than two grand. That seems like a high budget, but these styles of pistols eat it up quickly.
The Rock Island Armory TAC Ultra FS HC Series
Rock Island Armory makes the most affordable double-stack M1911 option. These guns retail for less than a thousand dollars. RIA makes them in an absolute ton of calibers. This includes the classic 45 ACP and popular calibers like 9mm. You’ll also find 10mm examples and even RIA’s own oddball 22 TCM round.
The TAC Ultra FS HC series has a mouthful of a name, but it describes the gun well. HC is for high capacity. FS means it’s full-sized, and TAC means it comes with a rail.
Rock Island Armory provides an affordable, double-stack M1911 with tons of little bells and whistles. We get big sights, a great trigger, and ambidextrous safeties.
The multitude of calibers makes it easy to get the gun you need. We can also find a smattering of different models with threaded barrels, extended slides, big mag wells, adjustable sights, and more. The TAC Ultra FS HC series offers options for competition and home defense. They are a bit big for concealed carry, but a big enough jacket hides everything, right? At less than a thousand dollars, it’s an easy way to dig your toe into the fat-bottom budget 2011 and double-stack M1911 world.
Girsan Witness 2311
If you had asked who Girsan was in 2021, I would have shrugged. If you asked me now, I’d point to their Hi-Power clones and, of course, the Witness 2311. The Witness 2311 starts at $999 and is a true 2011 design. This makes it the most affordable budget 2011 out there. While it starts at $999, the guns can get a little more expensive as you add options. It seems like the most expensive model is $1,029 for the 10mm optics-ready option.
Yep, 10mm is an option, as is 9mm and 45 ACP. The Witness 2311 comes in either five-inch barrels or 4.25-inch barrels, and optics-ready is an option, but not present on all guns.
These guns do have a rail system for all your lights, lasers, and cup holders. That’s not all! There is an aggressive magwell, an ambidextrous safety, a huge beavertail, and a skeletonized hammer and trigger.
The Girsan Witness 2311 won’t break the bank and does give you a home defense or competition-ready option. You still get the great M1191 ergonomics, trigger, and accuracy without spending a couple of paychecks worth of cash.
Bul Armory SAS II
Bul Armory is not a budget company by any means. Their 2011 frames and designs range anywhere from five grand to the much-budget friendlier Bul Armory SAS II. At around $1,400, the SAS II occupies the interesting role of subcompact 2011. This pistol has a 3.25-inch barrel, and Bul Armory designed the gun for everyday use and concealed carry.
The SAS II bills itself as ultralight, and at 1.4 pounds, it’s certainly on the lighter side of the 2011 world. The Bul Armory SAS II is a 9mm 2011 and holds 16 rounds.
The SAS II comes red dot-ready with a Shield RMSc footprint. We also get a short rail for adding a light or laser. It’s certainly dressed to the nines and has a unique style that’s attractive and impressive.
The Bul Armory SAS II has very little recoil and a flat shooting nature. It’s super easy to control, and the aggressive grips likely help with that. The accuracy is impressive, and the stock adjustable sights are very nice. Overall, for less than $1500, the Bul Armory SAS II is one of the best EDC options on the market.
The Springfield Prodigy was a big surprise and a big hit with the 2011 market. It’s a true 2011 style design and comes in both 4.25 and 5-inch options. The Prodigy packs a ton of awesome features. It’s got a rail and is optic-ready, but it also comes with awesome suppressor height sights, aggressive slide serrations, a great grip design, and more.
The Prodigy handles well and delivers outstanding accuracy. The thick bull barrels certainly aid in helping you shoot straight, and so does the light and crisp trigger. The 2011 design and the hefty weight of the gun keep recoil quite low.
The gun handles like a dream, and unlike a lot of 2011 designs, the Prodigy is easy to find. A lot of budget-grade 2011s are imported, which takes time and effort and often results in a batch approach to finding the guns. The Prodigy is consistently available and easy to find. Admittedly, the price of about $1,500 makes it one of the more expensive budget 2011 pistols.
The S&W CSX
I love to include a wild card on my lists, and the Smith &Wesson CSX certainly meets the wild card option. It’s a micro-compact 9mm with a 1911 layout. In the gun’s grip sits a ten-round magazine that is basically a double stack. It’s admittedly a mix of single and double-stack that creates an uber-thin magazine and, therefore, an uber-thin grip.
The CSX is small enough to drop into your pocket and nearly disappear. It’s designed for concealed carry and gives you ten rounds of 9mm on tap in a very small platform. The gun keeps the single action trigger, the frame safety, and the fired design. It’s got nice big sights and a few polymer inserts to increase your grip on the gun.
The CSX is just big enough to fill your hand but still easy to drop in your waistband. It’s a double-stack M1911 and not a 2011, but it’s the cheapest gun on this list. The CSX retails for less than $550. It’s a deep concealment option and still meets our requirements.
Cashing Checks and Emptying Magazines
A budget 2001 or budget double stack M1911 allows you to save a little more money for ammo! Who doesn’t like to save a little cash? The 2011 genre is largely occupied by guns that cost several thousand dollars. Getting into that realm of firearms requires a serious commitment…most of the time. The small but growing genre of budget 2011 and double-stack M1911s are making getting into that market a hell of a lot easier.