Replacing 1911 grips question.


January 24, 2006, 01:47 AM
Hi everyone, long-time lurker, recent registree, first post. Great forum, civil and informative, glad to be a member. Anyhow, here's my question. Please bear in mind that I lack mechanical skills and don't have much in the way of tools. :rolleyes:

I'm looking for the most foolproof way to replace the grips on a 1911. Specifically, I have a Springfield G.I. .45, and I'd like to replace the (in my opinion slightly goofy) stock grips with something else - cocobolo, micarta, or original USGI plastic. Having looked into this a bit, I'm a little scared of stripping the bushing holes in the frame and needing the services of a gunsmith. I posted a similar question at the 1911 forum awhile ago, and got some helpful responses, but I didn't ask about how to avoid stripping the bushing threads in the pistol's frame. Or is that even a danger? See? I need advice from the experienced. :confused: I don't mind buying a few tools/adhesives to do the job properly, but I don't have the money or space for a drill press or 5-axis CNC machine. :D

In other words, what tools do I need, and how can I avoid screwing it up and if I do screw it up, what's the worst-case repair scenario? Thanks for any replies! :)

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January 24, 2006, 02:23 AM
A good right sized screw driver and a new pair of grips.
1. Remove grip screws.
2. Remove grips.
3. Replace grip screws.

It is really that easy. I have had some bushings come out, but rarely. If they do, just vice grip the old bushing, take the screw off of it, then replace the bushing with a new one from Brownell's, or Midway or somwhere like that. They do make a grip bushing remover and they are handy to have, but if you are putting in a new one and just use a large screw driver with some blue loctite, then let it setup overnight, you will be fine. Just remember when putting the grip screws back in, don't really crank them down. Just nice and snug will do it.


January 24, 2006, 02:42 AM
Thanks deezulsmoke, just what I was looking for, excellent explanation, I think I get it. Thanks! :)

January 24, 2006, 02:50 AM

January 24, 2006, 02:57 AM
get the cocobolo grips, they look sweet. your gun is blued and they will set it of really nice...welcome to thr. colts are nice, i have one too and i'll never sell it.

Ala Dan
January 24, 2006, 03:06 AM
I have experienced the bushing problem myself with a Springfield WW-II G.I.
replica. My fix wasn't that easy, as I had to employ the services of a very
qualified gunsmith. He ended up having to replace all of the bushings, and
installing oversize grip screws. My total tally was too the tune of $45.00.

January 24, 2006, 03:12 AM
If I were buying 1911 grips tomorrow, I'd go with this guy:

He makes "stag" grips from shed elk antler for $50, and they look outstanding. I'd spring for these, but I bought bone grips from Spresser Knifeworks back when I first bought my Sistema Colt.

I actually did have trouble changing grips on my Sistema, because the importer had re-parkerized the pistol, and somehow gooed the bushing and screw together. We ended up having to cut the cheap rubber grips off the pistol in order to get at the bushing with vice-grips, but no big loss.

But that was a pretty anomalous case. Yours case should be solvable with just a properly-fitting screwdriver.

Anyone out there have Antler Crafts grips?


January 24, 2006, 08:44 AM
If you don't already have one, you should buy a good hollow-ground screwdriver. Most screwdrivers are flat ground which means the blade is tapered in thickness. A hollow ground blade is equal thickness and will hlp prevent messing up the grip screws.
Also, if you're going to put on some thin grips, you'll need to change out the grip screw bushings. Again, use a hollow-ground screwdriver. You should also be aware that some manufacturers use locktite on the bushings so you'll have to heat them before trying to remove them.

1911 guy
January 24, 2006, 10:41 AM
Go to any sports goods store or gunshop and buy a set of screwdrivers. Actually, it's usually one driver and a set of bits. Screws on firearms are not tapered, just like Harrydog said. The easiest way to bugger up your pistol is to not have the right tools. Grip screws can be tricky with a non-fitting driver. Save yourself the cussing and buy a set. B-Square, Brownells, etc. all make sets with driver bits and punches.

Working Man
January 24, 2006, 10:55 AM
You may want to look at these too.

January 24, 2006, 10:57 AM Nice grips for a really good price. These are all cosmetic seconds. Mark

January 24, 2006, 11:17 AM
Check out CDNNinvestments for some good cheap grips. I bought a set of slim-line Coco-bolo for my Dan Wesson. They are real sharp looking and feel great. I like a thinner grip myself.

January 24, 2006, 11:58 AM
Wow, thanks for all the info and suggestions, some beautiful grips there! So, the #3 Magna-Tip set from Brownell's, seen on this page,
would be a good set that should cover my needs? What sizes are the screw and bushing bits, if anyone knows? I suppose I ought to get some spare screws/bushings, too, just in case. And then a nice barrel bushing, slide stop, and extractor. And a few more 1911s. I guess there's no end to this... :D Thanks again! :)

January 24, 2006, 03:28 PM
The Magna-Tip set would be a very good choice.
This, would also be a good choice that would cover most needs and could be kept in a range bag.

January 24, 2006, 03:50 PM
I believe more grip bushings are stripped by people trying to tighten the grip screws. Rather than applying lots of torque to grip screws, just snug the grips down.

If you use a material like micarta or ivory for grips, the grip screws have a tendency to loosen during firing. I use some #60 O-rings as washers on the grip screws to eliminate this issue.

January 24, 2006, 06:44 PM
A good right sized screw driver and a new pair of grips.
1. Remove grip screws.
2. Remove grips.
3. Replace grip screws.


1. Remove grip screws.
2. Remove grips.
3. Install new grips.
4. Replace grip screws.

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