As one who sells, shoots and get to listen to all of the complaints from working retail I can say the following from a buyer, user, and retailer's perspective.
If you are unsure of what you want get a basic package Springfield or Kimber.
Not the custom from either production 1911 line.
The basic package. From that you have a mark or an idea to find out what you want. Then either trade the basic package or sell it to fund the higher end gun.
There is no perfect gun. Remember that.
I just bought a Springfield Loaded 1911 Stainless full size 9mm. For the money the gun is worth every cent. It is a good value, but it is no custom, semi-custom or what ever you want to call it.
I am totally spoiled rotten by the custom guns that have passed through my retail operation. I can see mill marks, loose fitting, plastic mainspring housing and triggers, burrs and a host of other cost cutting errors.
Do your research but you get exactly what you pay for front end or back end. You will hear that again.
I shoot a Wilson Combat 1996A2 that is a dream in comparison (lowest cost Wilson). I also have a full size Wilson CQB that will fire anything and in any position you try it. I took a couple of buckets of magazines loaded with all of the 1/2 trade boxes of ammo and plenty of my super dirty junk reloads to test the gun. (weak hand, strong hand, one hand, side ways, upside down). Gun ran like a charm with out cleaning either.
The feel, and notice the word feel, is so much different in a production gun and a custom or hand built gun.
I fully think the one man shop is the way to go but remember the time frame, credibility of the shop, will it be there tomorrow, the reputation of the builder, The one man shop is the way to get exactly what you want. I have had three very costly disasters with the one man shops. I have had two pure pleasures with two other small shops. So choose wisely. Notice my tag line about do your research but you get what you pay for front end or back end.
Many folks will say you pay for a name. Well the name is earned for some reason. A good gunsmith or gun shop does not earn a reputation and a following by selling garbage and $#!+ service. Keep this in mind. Check with owners of the guns built by the smith or the shop. If there are complaints be sure to seperate the whining from an actual gun problem. Working retail from the seller's point of view well over 95% of the complaints are actually user problems and not gun problems.
Small example: I have had folks forget to peel the red/orange warning label off of the Ruger pistol magazine and wonder why the gun jammed. DUH. Yes, this kind of user error is much more common the one realizes and also happens with the custom gun as many buyer will believe the gun makes up for operator headspace and timing error. No buyer wants to admit the buyer goofed, it is a matter or pride I guess.
I retail the Wilson Combat and they are an excellent value. I use the word value as best price more often than not gets you what you pay for. I retail the Ed Brown line and those are great also.
I also am working a deal with Dane Burns on several other projects.
All of the above earned their reputation from something all of them did.
Can there be an occasional goof. Of course, we all have a bad day but how the gun problem is dealt with is key.
Sorry to ramble but I have a tendency to do that.