For a $500 Compact, your choices are Rock Island, Rock Island, and Rock Island, go up another $150 and you can get into used Colts and Kimbers.Whats your alls opinion on the best compact carry 1911 for around $500. This would have to be quality, warranty, looks, and handleing.
I’m not even a 1911 guy and I know that a .380 1911 is sacrilege!Since you only specify 1911 style, and do not specify caliber, you might consider the new SIG P238, 1911 style in .380 ACP (SA, although no grip safety). Prices for these are right around $500.
Fitting will be required, even the parts labeled "Drop in" usually take some fitting and then it would have to be finishedMost people don't mention it, but there is the "kit" gun that can be built from parts. Buy a frame thru a FFL and then pick up the remainder of the parts on your own. You could probably build something for $500 if you avoid high end components.