1911 Rail mod


February 12, 2007, 03:12 PM
I've seen some newer 1911s with rail under the dustcover.

Would it be possible to retrofit one to an older frame? Would welding or mechanical attachment be better?

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February 12, 2007, 04:25 PM
Mechanical and bonding! Dawson all the way - today there is much more concern about the heat affected zone and silver solder which might flow into the joint would be my choice of methods if I got a choice. But I just trust Dawson and live with the non-standard rail.

February 12, 2007, 05:07 PM
Where on their site would I find that?

February 12, 2007, 05:49 PM
Seeing it's you I will ignore polite conventions and tout the single best source of information on this specific topic - which is on another forum:


Dawson Light Speed Rail

Around 2001, pistol builder and IPSC Grand Master Dave Dawson released the Dawson Tactical Advantage, a single stack 1911 built with input from the folks at the SureFire Institute. One of the unique features on the gun was the Dawson "Light Speed" rail, which was designed to be less bulky than the bolt on rails of the day. The rail was subsequently adopted on the issue pistols of the now-defunct MCSOCOM DET-1, and the Dawson Rail performed as promised. I like the idea of silver soldering, brazing, or JB Welding the rail onto the dustcover for extra strength, but the performance of the rails on the military pistols (which were simply screwed in place) suggests that it is overkill. The Dawson Light Speed Rail is my preferred light rail setup, and I have four of them.

PROS: Low profile light rail has negligible weight and bulk; fits in many standard holsters, including the Safariland 6280/6004, Blade Tech Kydex, and Heinie DOJ holsters by Lou Alessi. Adapters are available for the excellent SureFire Military Light, Nitrolon Series, and X200 (what else is there?) The rail can be retrofitted onto standard 1911s.

CONS: Requires drilling/tapping of a standard dust cover; not user installable. Adapters only available for SureFire lights.
Tim Lau of 10-8 much much more material on site.

For Dawson see:

Light Rail/DP/For X200 Colt, DP, Kimber, Para Ordnance, STI 1911/Nitrolon, Blue
Light Rail/DP/For X200 Colt, DP, Kimber, Para Ordnance, STI 1911/Nitrolon, Blue
Price: $49.50
Quantity: 023-001 - $49.50 - Item:023-001

Requires Adapter For Specific Sure Fire Weapon Light

Light Speed Rail. A Compact Rail Mounting System for Surefire Weapons Light. Used by Elite Military Forces. Versatile, Locks Light Permanent or Quick Release. This new and innovative approach to weapons light mounting requires no bulky brackets to get in your way, and it is SUPER FAST! Positive locking adapter slides into the Surefire weapons light via our fast on/off design! Made from high strength steel and available in Tactical Black or Stainless Steel. Requires Adapter For Specific Light. Surefire Weapons Light sold separately. Call us for Surefire Pricing. Kimber/ 1911/ Para, Blue, Rail Only.
Labor: http://www.dawsonprecision.com/ProductDetail.jsp?LISTID=1C90000-1093364740

Light Rail/DP/For All Labor, Plus S&H/Drill, Tap and Install
Light Rail/DP/For All Labor, Plus S&H/Drill, Tap and Install
Price: $45.00
Quantity: 023-011 - $45.00 - Item:023-011

Light Speed Rail. [repeats as above]....Call us for Surefire Pricing. DP Installation (Drill, Tap, and Install Rail).

February 12, 2007, 06:18 PM
Dang, and here I am trying to figure out the best/easiest way to get rid of the accursed rails on model that don't offer the gun without it.

February 12, 2007, 07:43 PM
Thanks for the links, and Plink, I can grind the rail off for you and do a very neat job without affecting temper, if you're in my area.

February 12, 2007, 07:59 PM
The 10-8 site has extended discussions of add-on rails on other threads. I'd probably go Novack if I wanted a 1913 Picatinny spec rail

I've seen blank filler screws for a Wilson with a Wilson screw on rail so the pistol can be used both ways - Wilson just reorganized and I have no idea what is currently available from them either with a new pistol or after market.

Relatively new on the market is this one from

Secure, Drill & Tap Retrofit For Fast On/Off Light Deployment

Easily retrofit 1911 Auto frames to accept the Surefire X200 Weapon Light. Single, all-steel or lightweight aluminum rail allows easy drill and tap installation on the dust cover of most 1911 Auto frames. Beveled forward edge helps locate the light on the rail for fast, push-button installation and removal. Kit includes aluminum adapters that convert either the Surefire X200A or X200B Weapon Light for attachment to the light rail.

SPECS: Rail - Steel, blue, matte finish or aluminum, black, matte finish. 2” (5.1cm) long, ” (12.7mm) wide. Adapter - Aluminum, black, matte finish. 1” (3.8mm) long, 7⁄16" (11mm) wide. Installation requires drilling and tapping dust cover. Includes screws, hex wrench, and instructions.
in stock at Brownells - reported to be much like the Dawson but with just slightly easier on/off the adapter for the light and available in aluminum

Clark Myers
"Great. Glad to help. My basic service fee is two hundred credits. Cash or account?"

February 12, 2007, 09:22 PM
Clark: How about an invite to my next Schuetzenboomenvigger, with several dozen guns, dead animal flesh, and beer afterwards?

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