The Model of 1911 is the prototypical American semi-automatic handgun and, as such, ownership of at least one example is perhaps required of all American gun owners. Colt is the iconoclastic M1911 maker.
As a complete novice to pistol ownership -- and gun ownership for that matter -- I spent a long time researching my options. I researched as many different 1911 style models as possible, from Kimber to Ed Brown, Springfield to Smith and Wesson, Para Ordnance to Wilson Combat. I decided to start at the beginning with a basic Colt.
When I held my first Colt O1991 (the M1911 design with an added firing pin defeat to prevent accidental discharge if dropped) I knew I was on the right track. It fit my hands well and felt comfortable, like it had always belonged there. It had a solid, weighty feel, and the movement of the slide was as smooth as a Barry White ballad. Fit and finish were excellent. The slide to frame fit -- a contentious issue surrounding 1911 lore -- was quite good, although not as tight as some other brands. The manufacture, however, was as precise as some models costing three times as much.
While I contemplated the more customized versions of the M1911, I realized starting with the Colt O1991 offered a blank canvas. I could leave it in its original configuration and enjoy the classic lines or I could have my own modifications performed. After nearly a year of ownership I chose the latter, performed by Colt's more than capable Custom Gunsmiths.
My Colt O1991 is a beautiful and comfortable handgun that has been absolutely reliable. It is a wonderful choice for a first or only M1911, and judging by my particular example, the quality and reliability is such that it may become your grandchild's first M1911 as well. I am more than satisfied with the Colt O1991 and have absolutely no regrets about my purchase. I recommend it highly.
If you purchase the Colt O1991 and are not satisfied, you are likely a Commie who hates Barry White.
Crystal Lake, IL