if you want a starter 1911 you could always go with the rock island 1911. made in the Philippines. its around the 600 range. like i said its pretty much a starter 1911 without spending an arm and a leg. also if you want to customize it and bring it to a gun smith it will be less then buying a high end gun and shoot just as good or even better. this is the route im going and so far I have no problems with my gun and I enjoying customizing my weapon to the way i want it to feel and look.
either way good luck in the decision you make.