OK, so I'll stick in my .02 on this.
There are two schools of thought here:
1. Buy the most expensive, highest rated gun you can afford (even if you can't afford it). No question, you will get one of the top tier 1911's (Y'all know the names here).
2. Get a more reasonably priced gun for now, and then trade up later.
May I suggest a third alternative? How about a high quality, reasonably priced gun that will fit your needs?
Here are my two Rock Island 45's; a compact model and a full sized model:
Both guns were reasonably priced (under 400 for the compact, under 500 for the 2tone), both are solid, dependable, shoot every time and shoot where you point them.
The compact is in a Parkerized finish which will help resist rusting and corrosion from humid conditions.