For the money, its hard to beat the Springfield Armory Mil-Spec guns.
Not the “loaded” guns but the plain vanilla guns. They need very little to be fully ready to run.
After that, personally its gonna say Colt on the side. Snobbish perhaps but the Colts have fewer MIM parts than any other production gun today for the money and hold together.
Plus they hold their value,
Used to be, your hi end smiths refused to work on the cheap 1911s, funny part, they still do. Why? simple, you drop more money in labor and parts making the cheap ones right than you do buying a good one to start.
So, say $1000 to play with, for me its the temporarily discontinued GI Mil-Spec from Springer. @$675.00
Add a good barrel, @$150.
Replace the arched mainspring housing with the flat model, add a long trigger, junk the MIM sear and disconnector, a heavier recoil spring and get a couple of good magazines. @$125.
That leaves $50 for ammo and I’ll install better sights later. The hammer I’ll just bob off a bit so it doesn’t chew on me.
All that to make a working gun better?
Ya, and to make sure it keeps working and so it fits me right.
Taurus? Mixed opinions, seen too many that were junk from the factory, literally sent half a shipment back for various defects during the unboxing inspection.
One of my customers runs a Taurus, but it is mostly Colt inside after a rebuild. Its still sloppy but it doesn’t fail anymore.
If theres places I won’t cheap out its firearms and boots. Doing so with either can get you killed.