My father bought one of these last September. His does not have the front slide serrations. I met him at the range two days after he got it and we shot it along with my Springfield Loaded. At seven yards we were getting one slightly large hole.
I have to agree with everything you say. It would be very difficult to find a better 1911 for less than $900.
I do have a few complaints with it, however:
My Ceiner .22LR conversion slide will not fit. The slide on the DE 1911 is too wide.
Also the Magnum Research magazines seem to be too wide to fit in my springfied. Although maybe they would fit in other 1911's.
Finally, as you mentioned, the sights could be better.
Do you know if the slide has a Novak cut, or would it be a proprietary Magnum Research thing? I want to get my dad a set of night sights for it.