I'm going to go out on a limb here and actually try to ANSWER some of the OPs questions instead of just stating what I carry and like....
This one isn't too hard, choose a reputable manufacturer that carries a lifetime warranty, if you're new to the 1911, buy new, not used, it gets hard to tell what is original and what is not on many used 1911s, and you just might not know what a home gunsmith can or can't do....how do you separate treasure from trash?
Looking at the factors you have listed:I know that there are 1911 pistols with 3 inch, 4 inch , and 5 inch barrels available. Which length is the best choice for a balance of reliability, accuracy, proper ballistics performance, and concealment?
- Ballistics performance
A 5" gun will have the most accuracy and ballistic performance, but the least amount of concealment.
A 4" will have better accuracy and performance than a 3" gun, and is moderately easier to conceal.
A 3" Has the least amount of accuracy and terminal performance of the sizes, but generally is the easiest of the 3 to conceal.
Now looking at my statements, please understand that concealing a 5" gun is not a hard thing to do, as you can see above, a great number of members here (myself included) do it every day, as a matter of fact I'm doing it right now.
So to answer your question, a new in the box, 4"-4.25" 1911 will most likely be the balance of what you desire without being currently familiar with the 1911.
The Commander sized guns are the happy man in the middle so to speak, they are not as long as the 5" so they will clear the holster more quickly, and still offer more recoil absorbing mass, while still maintaining a longer barrel and sight radius.
So here's where it gets tricky, the hardest thing to conceal on any gun, is the grip area of the firearm.
While the smaller Officers size gun have a shorter grip to ease concealment, you're cutting your slide mass, sight radius, and barrel length.
While some have no problem concealing the grip (see my bit on the 5" guns) some do.
So if you want the benefits of a Commander sized gun (4"-4.25"), but also want the benefits of an Officer's size gun (3") you need to get a gun with the Commander length slide and barrel, but has the officers size frame like the Colt CCO, and the Kimber Compact. There are other makers of this style 1911, but I'm not going to list them all for you.
I carry a Les Baer Thunder Ranch Special in a Milt Sparks Versa Max II.