Quote Originally Posted by FiringDragon View Post
What are the reasons the 1911s are so popular?
They shoot where you point them and make big holes in the target. There's no better trigger on a semi-auto that I've ever found in 30+ years of shooting around the world, and that translates to exceptional and repeatable accuracy. The grip angle, trigger, general mechanicals and operating system have been finely honed to perfection through a century of successful combat experience, then improved by modern manufacturing processes and material innovations. The M1911 is also very concealable, largely because its single-stack frame is so narrow - barely over an inch. It's very comfortable to carry, especially with an alloy frame. M1911's are also very customizable to the users tastes.

Are these benefits true for the 'compact' (carry-non-full-size) versions of the 1911s?
Yes. I have carried a 3" Kimber for over a decade. It shoots everything that I feed it and hits what I aim at. I'm actually a better shot with that pistol than my full-sized at combat ranges. It only weighs 25 oz. with an alloy frame and a stainless steel slide, has the same awesome trigger, and still punches an almost 1/2" hole in the target. It doesn't get any better IMO.

Since 1911s tend to be very expensive, is there a big difference between expensive ones >$1100 and the ones advertized for about $600-$800?
Yes, but requirements are in the wallet of the beholder. You can get good quality M1911 across a wide range of prices, but the features will vary. Night sights, rails, front strap checkering, etc., will add to the price. However, buying from the "bottom" of the product line of any reputable manufacturer will net you a quality self-defense pistol. My 3" M1911 cost me less than $700 11 years ago and has served flawlessly for over a decade. My new 4" CDP II lists for a C-note less than twice that, but has a lot more features. However, I carry both with equal confidence.