Well my favorite is the Glock 35. Can be shot in USPSA Production, Limited 10 and Limited. IDPA SSP and ESP.
If you must have a 1911 then I would take a hard look at the BUL imported by www.charlesdaly.com. The .40 Government Model can be had for $600.
I guess a Para is OK. I don't care for them.
I suggest any base 1911 (Kimber, Colt, Springfield), bought used, and sent to a highly competent gunsmith (like EGW) for 'tuning' to your preferences.
If you as yet have no preferences then simply buy a new Kimber and go shootin'!
When you get some preferences then you can 'improve' it.
I believe this advice is sound and in your best interests.
I have a Kimber Custom Target Stainless in .40 thats great for IDPA/ESP and IPSC/L10. Price wise it would be real close to a $1000 for the gun and a whole rig ( mags, holster, mag pouches). Maybe a little more. You might be able to save a $100-200 if you went with Springfield. It would be alot easier if you just got a .45.
Theres also the Glock 35 which would save you some $ and be a great start. I have a Glock 34 I use in Production/SSP and if you don't reload you might want to consider it. You'll save lots of $ buying factory 9mm.
the biggest question to ask is what "class" do you want to shoot in IDPA or USPSA ??
I shot my Glock 23 in both competitions although i would probably suggest the glock 35 or 34 as the more versitle weapons, and can be used in many different classes, components are easy to come by and they don't break the bank while buying them. And they are becoming very popular in both competitions.
1911 wise, well you could check out the Dan Wesson lineup, good weapons for a good price, although you may wish to change out some of the small parts.. though their 2004 lineup will have better small parts in them.
I was using the Glock for IDPA SSP, and my DW 1911 for L-10 in USPSA.. have seriously considered going to either the glock 34 or 35 this year..
PS: my friend just bought a Dawson-Jarret in .40.. very very nice.. Just at $1000.00.
Thank you for all of the information. I looked at the Dawson/Jarret Para. I have two questions. Would the Dawson Jarret be legal for IDPA? I didnt think a magwell would be allowed. Also If I did use a Glock I would want a aftermarket barrel, would this be allowed in IDPA?