It’s a 100-year old design. It needs tools to disassemble. It has unreliable magazines. It is finicky about ammo. And, as a single-action pistol, it is unsafe for 95% of its users to carry.100 years old? Ok as if age really meant anything. In general a gun being in use 100 years after it was designed is proof of value not proof it is rubbish. I am reminded of one of my first blog posts back in 2004.
Tools to disassemble? No it doesn't. Field stripping most 1911s requires no tools. Detail stripping the 1911 can be done with tools the gun itself provides during the process. It is possible to screw this up with some manufacturers full length guide rods, etc.
Unreliable magazines? There are 100 years of mags out there for the 1911. Some of them are bound to suck. Any gun can have unreliable mags and any automatic will be unreliable with a bag magazine including Glocks and Sigs.
Finicky about ammo? Maybe. The original wasn't designed to feed hollowpoints. You need a 1911 with a modern feed ramp geometry that fixes this. The original had a steel frame and so making the feedramp integral to the frame isn't a problem. If you buy one with a softer aluminum frame, get a ramped barrel so the feedramp is still steel. But I've met a lot of modern guns that still prefer one brand of hollowpoint to another.
The last bit about safety is crap. I would gladly take the 1911 with it's many redundant external safeties to the Glock with it's single non-redundant trigger safety. Yes you have to train with the 1911. But you have to train with everything so that 1911 is not special. The 1911 also has a great consistent trigger almost entirely because it is single-action.
Why does a reliable 1911 cost so much, and need so much gunsmithing?Because it was designed before CNC machining became the dominant firearms technology. You can still get good cheap 1911s (~$400), they just have to come from cheaper labor countries like the Philippines or China. And they largely won't be target guns, they'll be ordnance grade guns.
The very expensive 1911s are because of people wanting everything. With cars you can have only have two items from this list: acceleration, handling, low cost. With guns the list is different but the concept is the same: accuracy, reliability, low cost. If you tighten up the tolerances to get accuracy, you lose most of the clearances required for reliability. Which means you need someone who knows what they're doing to keep both so you're paying for their expertise. For ordnance grade guns, you're typical getting reliability and service level accuracy for not much money.