Best Double Stack 1911: Modernizing the 1911?

by Travis Pike

September 13, 2023

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The 1911 just refuses to die. It’s been at it for well over a century now and remains in production at all levels. Personally, I just don’t get it. Why is such an outdated design so loved? It doesn’t do anything better than a modern pistol, yet it holds half the ammo. I can’t say I understand 1911s, but I do see the appeal of the modern double-stack 1911. Double-stack M1911s at least offer you an excellent trigger and great reset, but twice the ammo. 

There has been a recent boom in double-stack 1911s and 2011s. I’m not sure why, but I’m all about it. Decades after Remington killed Para Ordnance, and the market is hot for the double stack design. There might be some argument that the double-stack magazines killed the svelte nature of the M1911, but I disagree. The extra ammunition is well worth the slightly increased width of the gun. 

SHOT 2023 showed us a pile of new double-stack M1911s, and we’ve gathered the best options from around the market. I aim to encapsulate the entire market and present a variety of options for all budget levels. It’s very easy to recommend nothing but custom shop guns, but there is an issue there. 

There are some fantastic 2011 and double-stack M1911 guns on the market. However, these guns can cost well over five thousand dollars, plus they measure the lead times in months. These high-end shops might not make more than a dozen guns a year. Those are wonderful guns, but I wanted to make a list that was accessible to a wide variety of shooters without a crazy wait time. Hopefully, we have something for everyone here. 

The Difference Between a Double-stack 1911 and a 2011 

The terms double stack 1911 and 2011 get used interchangeably all too often. There is a difference between the two. It also bears mentioning that the term 2011 was a trademarked phrase owned by Staccato. Because of this, you’ll sometimes see guns with 2011 traits that are not called 2011s; they’ll be referred to as “2011 style” or something similar. 

The major difference between a 2011 and a double-stack 1911 is the frame and grip. With a  double stack 1911, the frame and grip are one piece, typically metal. They aren’t much different from the normal M1911, and they just have a fatter bottom. 

A 2011 has a grip and frame that’s a two-piece. The grip attaches to the frame. This allows for a greater degree of customization of the grip, and they can make it smaller, wider, etc. Additionally, the grip portion is typically polymer. Polymer has some bend and give to it, and with that in mind, the bend allows for some active recoil reduction. Most 2011s feature a double-stack magazine, but not all. 

The Staccato R Model is a single-stack design that features a two-piece frame system. However, that is an oddball, and that oddball doesn’t define the genre. 

We are covering both today and have included the two-piece 2011s and the standard double-stack M1911s. 

Gun University’s Choices of the Best Double Stack 1911

Best Double Stack 1911

Best Overall

Staccato P

Staccato P
  • Approved by more than 1,300 law enforcement agencies
  • Customizable
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Springfield Prodigy
  • Optics Ready with AOS
  • Bull Barrel
  • Good grip texture
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Best Glock Magazines

Stealth Arms Platypus

Stealth Arms Platypus
  • Fully customizable
  • Uses Glock 17 mags
  • Smooth shooting
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Nighthawk TRS Commander
  • Hand fit, blended, and tuned everything
  • Black nitride finish
  • Fast shooting
Check Price
Best Competition

Atlas Gunworks Artemis

Atlas Gunworks Artemis
  • Soft Shooting
  • Fixed front sight block
  • Customizable
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BUL Armory SAS II Ultralight
  • Lightweight
  • High capacity for its size
  • Optics ready
Check Price
Rock Island Armory Rock Ultra HC 10mm
  • Classic M1911 styling
  • Affordable
  • Parkerized finish
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Best of Specifications

Below is a table of the specs for best double stack 1911.

Double Stack 1911CaliberCapacityWeight (oz)Barrel Length (in)
Staccato P9mm20+133.04.4
Springfield Prodigy 9mm20+133.05.0
Stealth Arms Platypus 9mm17+132.05.0
Nighthawk TRS Commander 9mm17+136.74.25
Atlas Gunworks Artemis 9mm, 40S&W17+139, 474.6
BUL Armory SAS II Ultralight 9mm16+122.43.25
Rock Island Armory Rock Ultra HC 10mm 10mm16+1405

Best Double Stack 1911

Here is our list for the best double stack 1911

  1. Staccato P
  2. Springfield Prodigy
  3. Stealth Arms Platypus
  4. Nighthawk TRS Commander
  5. Atlas Gunworks Artemis
  6. BUL Armory SAS II Ultralight
  7. Rock Island Armory Rock Ultra HC 10mm

Best Double Stack 1911 – Reviews 

Best Overall Staccato P

Staccato P: Gun University Review

Staccato P

A feature-filled 2011 (double stack 1911) that deserves its excellent reputation.

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  • Shootability A-
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics A-
  • Accuracy A
  • Value B+

Our Grade

A-

Reader’s Grade

A+

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Staccato P Specs

  • Caliber 9mm
  • Capacity 20+1
  • Weight 33 oz
  • Barrel Length 4.4 in

Staccato P Review

Staccato owns the trademark to the 2011, so you can bet they produce one of the best on the market. The Staccato P series are not just 1911-like designs that hold a lot of 9mm. They are very modern pistols that pack the features you expect from modern tactical designs. The Staccato P series are the flagship designs in the Staccato lineup and are absolutely awesome pistols. 

Staccato’s P Series pistols hold 17 rounds in their flush-fitting magazines and are capable of holding 20 rounds in a slightly extended magazine. The P series has a 4.4-inch barrel that keeps them handy and lighter than a standard 1911. The Staccato has a rail system that makes mounting a light easy, and of course, you can always get an optics-ready option. If you don’t go optics, you have tons of choices when it comes to iron sights, including some of the top dogs in the iron sights game. 

The P series polymer grip design helps reduce recoil by introducing some flex into the system. It’s truly revolutionary what a little polymer can do. The Staccato P series 2011s are very soft shooting guns with minimal muzzle rise and a smooth recoil impulse. This pistol is almost like cheating, and it’s a ton of fun. 

Over a thousand law enforcement agencies have approved the P series for duty carry. It’s also the choice of the US Marshal’s SOG Team and the Texas Rangers. The Staccato P Series is well suited for competition shooting, as well as home defense and maybe even concealed carry with the right belt and holster.

Read our full length review on the Staccato P

Staccato P Pros and Cons

  • Soft and Smooth Shooting
  • Very Accurate
  • Reliable
  • Expensive

Staccato P Deals

Best Budget Springfield Prodigy

Springfield Prodigy Review

Springfield Prodigy

The Springfield Prodigy is an excellent double-stack 9mm 1911 with many performance upgrades straight from the factory.

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  • Shootability A+
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Accuracy A+
  • Value A

Our Grade

A+

Reader’s Grade

A

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Springfield Prodigy Specs

  • Caliber 9mm
  • Capacity 20+1
  • Weight 33 oz
  • Barrel Length 5 in

Springfield Prodigy Review

Springfield Armory releasing a 2011-like platform wasn’t on my bingo card, but it was a welcome addition to the lineup. While this isn’t a budget gun by any means, it is an affordable 2011-like platform. At around 1,500 dollars, the Prodigy is a happy middle ground between features and price. The Prodigy comes in two configurations that offer you a five-inch barrel and a 4.25-inch barrel. One maximizes control and accuracy. The other focuses on handiness and practical carry. 

Both come adorned with many modern features. This includes a Picatinny rail for lights and lasers, and it’s an optics-ready design that uses the Agency Arms AOS plates. It’s one of the few guns that comes with suppressor height sights installed, which makes it capable of co-witnessing. Heck, Springfield even sells them with optics if you want a complete package right out of the gate, although the Springfield Armory optics are not our favorite. 

Capacities include a flush-fitting 17-round magazine and a slightly extended 20-rounder; Springfield also makes a massive 26-rounder, just in case you need it. The Prodigy comes with bull barrels, ambidextrous safeties, and a slip polymer grip design that eats up recoil. The early models did have some problems, but Springfield Armory seemed to fix those issues. 

Springfield Prodigy might not be as nice as some of the higher-end guns, but it’s a solid way to get into the world of 2011s. It’s a class of gun you can trust for self-defense purposes and competition if you so choose. At the same time, it won’t break the bank. Go check out our full review of the gun.

Springfield Prodigy Pros and Cons

  • Excellent Accuracy
  • Optics Ready
  • Suppressor Height Sights
  • Early Models Had Issues

Springfield Prodigy Deals

Best Glock Magazines Stealth Arms Platypus

Stealth Arms Platypus Featured Image

Stealth Arms Platypus

A fully customizable double stack 1911 that uses Glock 17 magazines.

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics A
  • Accuracy A
  • Value B

Our Grade

A-

Reader’s Grade

A+

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Stealth Arms Platypus Specs

  • Caliber 9mm
  • Capacity 17+1
  • Weight 32 oz
  • Barrel Length 5 in

Stealth Arms Platypus Review

The Stealth Arms Platypus is a double-stack 1911, like no other. Not only does it have a great name, but it has a brilliant solution to double-stack 1911 magazines that often cost anywhere from 50 to 70 dollars. How much does a Glock 17 magazine cost? An OEM option retails for 25 bucks or so. Stealth Arms decided to make their double-stack 1911 utilize Glock 17 magazines. They’re reliable, cheaper, and hold 17 rounds, with access to 21, 24, and 33-round options and even the Magpul D50 drum. 

In addition, the Stealth Arms Platypus still gives you those M1911 ergonomics. The grip angle remains the same, but does still have that trace of Glock blockiness. If we get past that, the Platypus offers you an all-1911-style firearm. One of the big things about the Platypus is that you can customize it from the factory to get whatever set of features you could ever want. 

Optics ready? Go for it. Need a rail? Great, pick it. You can pick different barrel lengths, your trigger, sights, a mag funnel, safety, and so much more. You can build out your own Platypus to make it entirely yours. The custom option shop is also a ton of fun to use, and you get wild with it if you so choose. 

Blasting away with the Platypus is a ton of fun. It’s smooth shooting, easy handling, and a real tack driver. The ergonomics are exactly what you expect from a 1911, and as always, you get one of the best triggers out there. With that in mind, the Platypus isn’t cheap, and with every extra feature, you are adding some cost to the build. It’s also about a 14-week wait time, which leads makes it far from an impulse purchase. 

Stealth Arms Platypus Pros and Cons

  • Ultra Customizable
  • Cheap magazines
  • Reliable Action
  • Long Lead Time

Stealth Arms Platypus Deals

Best High End Nighthawk TRS Commander

Nighthawk TRS Commander Featured Image

Nighthawk TRS Commander

A top of the line double stack 1911 with a Commander size frame and many upgrades.

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  • Shootability A+
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics A
  • Accuracy A+
  • Value C

Our Grade

A-

Reader’s Grade

TBD

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Nighthawk TRS Commander Specs

  • Caliber 9mm
  • Capacity 17+1
  • Weight 36.7 oz
  • Barrel Length 4.25 in

Nighthawk TRS Commander Review

Nighthawk is one of the premier custom 1911 shops in the United States. For decades they’ve been producing some outstanding firearms, and it’s not a big surprise they went the double-stack 1911 route. If you’re not a 1911 fan, then you might not know what Commander means. Commander is the shorter slide and barrel combination that results in a 4.25-inch barrel and slide. 

The Nighthawk TRS Commander is a double-stack 1911, and it comes with many surprising features from an old-school company like Nighthawk. The standard model isn’t optics-ready, but for an additional fee, they can make it optics-ready. This includes a full-length dust cover that is railed for your high-speed accessories. The monolithic slide and hefty full-length dust cover keep the gun controllable and easy to handle. The gun handles easily and makes shooting fast addictive and pretty damn easy. 

The TRS Commander is a 9mm gun that uses 17-round magazines so you can shoot fast and straight without running out of ammo too quickly. The TRS Commander features a Nighthawk trigger job that delivers. It’s incredibly smooth and downright addictive to pull. The TRS Commander gets the full custom treatment, and it shows. Every control clicks and pops just perfectly and engages with ease. 

The TRS Commander is dehorned, trimmed, and smoothed out. It might be a little hefty, but it’s still designed to be carried. It’s smaller than most and offers a smooth draw, with little risk of snagging on anything. Anything with the words Nighthawk stamped on it is bound to be a bit pricey for carry, but a free market can make all things possible. 

Nighthawk TRS Commander Pros and Cons

  • Easy to Shoot
  • Railed For Accessories
  • Excellent Ergonomics
  • Optics Ready Isn’t Standard

Nighthawk TRS Commander Deals

Best Competition Atlas Gunworks Artemis

Atlas Gunworks Artemis Featured Image

Atlas Gunworks Artemis

A customizable, race ready double stack 1911 available in 9mm or 40S&W that a fixed front sight block.

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  • Shootability A+
  • Reliability A+
  • Ergonomics A+
  • Accuracy A+
  • Value C

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

F-

Based on 1 Reviews

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Atlas Gunworks Artemis Specs

  • Caliber 9mm, 40S&W
  • Capacity 17+1
  • Weight 39 oz, 47 oz
  • Barrel Length 4.6 in

Atlas Gunworks Artemis Review

Atlas Gunworks is an if-you-know-you-know gun company. They aren’t a common household name, but they should be. Their guns are beautiful, extremely well-made, double-stack 1911 designs. They designed their guns for a variety of purposes, including carry, duty, and competition. Today’s pick, the Artemis, is a pure competition gun. It’s a double-stack M1911 designed to fit into the IPSC box and to provide extreme performance. 

The Artemis comes in both 9mm and 40 S&W for minor and major power shooters. The gun uses the Alpha grip design, which allows for interchangeable grips to allow the gun to fit your hand with ease. It’s a different degree of customization than most double-stack M1911s. The double undercut allows for a high grip that remains comfy. Atlas also trimmed the ambidextrous safety a good bit to allow it to fit a wider variety of hands. 

What’s neat is the sight block system they’ve implemented into the Artemis. The sight block is just that, a block that holds the front sight in place. It’s separate from the reciprocating slide and remains motionless as the slides moves. This does two things. First, it allows you to very easily track your front sight between shots. Second, it acts as a counterweight to recoil and makes life a little easier when shooting fast. The sight block makes it the same size as a government profile M1911. 

The Artemis is one of the smoothest shooting guns out there. It eats up recoil and handles like a dream. A good shooter will see a major difference between the Artemis and a standard production gun. I’m not even that good of a shooter, but I can feel and see the difference. The incredibly light and smooth trigger will certainly be noticed and appreciated. 

Like every modern handgun, there is an RDS option to fit a red dot, which includes an RMR or SRO footprint. The gun also has a rail, although you can order a rail-free Artemis if you so choose. Additionally, the gun has adjustable sights if you are shooting iron sights. To finish it all off, we get a nice tac magwell for quick reloads. 

Atlas Gunworks Artemis Pros and Cons

  • Smooth Shooting
  • Accurate
  • Reliable
  • Modular
  • Expensive

Atlas Gunworks Artemis Deals

Product 6 BUL Armory SAS II Ultralight

BUL Armory SAS II Ultralight Featured Image

BUL Armory SAS II Ultralight

A small double stack 1911 available in 9mm that is optics ready.

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability B
  • Ergonomics A
  • Accuracy B
  • Value B

Our Grade

B+

Reader’s Grade

A+

Based on 1 Reviews

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BUL Armory SAS II Ultralight Specs

  • Caliber 9mm
  • Capacity 16+1
  • Weight 22.4 oz
  • Barrel Length 3.25 in

BUL Armory SAS II Ultralight Review

So far, we’ve covered a lot of fairly large guns. M1911s aren’t small guns, and double-stack M1911s aren’t small, either. Before we depart, let’s mention one of the smallest double 1911 options. The BUL Armory SAS II Ultralight is a tiny little fella. It’s got a 3.25-inch barrel and comes in at that Officer sized setup. The difference is that fat bottom packs a 16-round magazine. It’s a 9mm option, and they designed it for concealed carry. 

The gun is still thick but weighs a little under 22 ounces. An aluminum frame helps keep the weight down, and they even flute the barrel, which is a nice touch. The BUL Armory SAS II Ultralight packs a nice punch and does make use of a 2011-like design with black polymer grips. The BUL Armory SAS II Ultralight is a very modern carry pistol. 

The SAS II features a rail for small lights and lasers. It’s also optics-ready and sports a Shield RMSc cut, which is universal amongst subcompact red dot optics. It’s ready for accessorization! The little gun has a trigger guard undercut for a nice high grip, as well as a big beavertail. The combination of the two allows you to grip higher on the gun and improve your control. It’s a fairly smooth shooter for such a small gun. 

The BUL Armory SAS II Ultralight is quite reliable. It does feature a huge ejection port to ensure the case clears when the slide reciprocates. BUL Armory does state the gun works best with 124-grain loads, which isn’t a surprise to experienced small 1911 shooters. These guns are inherently picky. I haven’t had that issue, but if I carried this gun, it would be with 124-grain ammo only, just in case. 

BUL Armory SAS II Ultralight Pros and Cons

  • Compact
  • Lightweight
  • Optics Ready
  • Easy Shooting
  • Ammo Picky

BUL Armory SAS II Ultralight Deals

Best 10mm Rock Island Armory Rock Ultra HC 10mm 

Rock Island Armory Rock Ultra HC 10mm Featured Image

Rock Island Armory Rock Ultra HC 10mm 

A double stack 1911 in 10mm that has the styling of the original M1911.

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  • Shootability A
  • Reliability A
  • Ergonomics B
  • Accuracy A
  • Value A+

Our Grade

A

Reader’s Grade

B+

Based on 4 Reviews

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Rock Island Armory Rock Ultra HC 10mm Specs

  • Caliber 10mm
  • Capacity 16+1
  • Weight 40 oz
  • Barrel Length 5 in

Rock Island Armory Rock Ultra HC 10mm Review

Rock Island Armory doesn’t seem to know what brevity means. This gun is officially known as the Rock Island Armory Rock Ultra HC 10mm. That’s a mouthful, and because I appreciate brevity, let’s call it the Rock Ultra. I love the 10mm, and this was my first double stack 1911. It’s also likely one of the most affordable double-stack 1911s on the market. The RIA Rock Ultra packs 16 rounds of 10mm in its massive mag, and no, it’s no compact gun. 

This beastly gun packs 16 rounds of powerful 10mm. That’s a lot of power in one gun. It’s perfect for bear defense and human defense if needed. It’s big for carry, but it works well for home defense. This is one of the simpler double-stack M1911s, and it lacks a rail and optics-ready capability. The adjustable sights are fantastic, and the front sight is a nice high-visibility design. The weapon is quite accurate and is a real tack driver for the fairly affordable price point. 

The Rock Ultra is big, with a wide grip, and that really helps eat the recoil from a 10mm. It’s one of the softer shooting 10mm guns out there. Its beavertail is fairly long for a nice high grip on the gun. The RIA Rock Ultra allows you to get into both the powerhouse of 10mm and the double stack 1911 world without breaking a thousand dollars. The RIA double-stack 1911s are about as affordable as they get without sacrificing quality. 

Rock Island Armory Rock Ultra HC 10mm Pros and Cons

  • Affordable
  • Low Recoil
  • Accurate
  • Lacks Modern Features

Rock Island Armory Rock Ultra HC 10mm Deals

Why A Double Stack M1911?

That’s a great question. I’m sure you’ve seen the price points of some of these guns and walked away thinking that an 800-dollar pistol is a cheap double-stack M1911. Finding one for less than a grand is rare, and it might be tough to justify. How do we justify the double-stack M1911 versus a modern polymer pistol? A Glock 17 costs about 500ish bucks and offers similar capacity and function. 

The desire comes from the enjoyment of the M1911 platform and its advantages. There is a reason they are priced high. These guns are tough to produce and require skilled machine work to create a functional and reliable pistol. That craftsmanship often explains the price. 

The reason people love the double stack M1911 is the same reason they love the original. Its single action-only trigger is light and crisp with a very positive reset. The guns most often run smoothly and are quite accurate in the hands of competent shooters. Accurate and smooth shooting guns are easy to control and allow the end user to put lead on target over and over with little issue. The fat bottom M1911 can do the same thing but allows you to do it longer with the double-stack magazine sizes. 

It bears mentioning that the M1911 is a great platform for customization and gunsmithing. There is only so much you can do to customize a Glock, but a M1911 is like a blank canvas. That’s another reason these guns are so expensive. Not only are they hard to make, but the owners love the custom designs and unique touches different companies use to produce semi-custom factory guns. 

We know that cheaper double-stack 1911s can be produced, but they are rarely as popular as you’d imagine. People like the custom features. 

Double-stack M1911s aren’t for everyone, admittedly. If you aren’t a fan of the inherent traits of the M1911, then the double-stack models might not be worth the squeeze to you. If you do like the M9111, then the double-stack variants at least allow you to bring it up to modern capacity. 

What do you think about M1911s? What about double-stack M1911s? Does anyone miss Para ordnance? Let us know below! 

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About Travis Pike

Travis is a former United States Marine Corps Infantryman and currently a firearms writer, instructor, and works in Emergency Management.

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