Rental guns aren't always the best kept, just because they cleaned it doesn't mean that the internals are in good order. bad mag springs, improper ejector tension etc can all lead to malfunctions.
Regarding your interest in other 9mm 1911s, are you dead set on a double stack? Para is pretty much the only one making a sub $1k double stack 9mm unless one of the other importers recently came out with one. You can get a Taurus 1911 in 9mm for $600 or less, there's also some models from Rock Island Armory that may fit your specs if you're wiling to go single stack.