1911 grip safety replacement


January 11, 2008, 12:03 PM

I'd like to replace the stock grip safety on my Kimber (govt. size) with either an Ed Brown or Wilson "bump" safety. Wilson advertises their safety as "drop-in" which probably still requires a little work. Brownell's has the part I want, but how much, if any, actual fitting is required?

On the same gun, I also want to add an ambidextrous thumb safety. Any special fitting required for that (other than relieving the stock for the safety "tab" to fit under it)?


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January 11, 2008, 08:12 PM
You can most likely fit the grip safety yourself. Normally, about all that's required is to make certain that the grip safety doesn't interfere with back of the trigger bow. You may need to file a little on the bottom edge of the protrusion on the grip safety to allow for proper movement of the trigger.

The thumb safety is another matter entirely. I recommend that you have a gunsmith who is very familiar with the 1911 fit a new thumb safety. It takes very little metal removal to render the safety inoperative.

January 12, 2008, 11:50 AM
Thanks, nicholst55

I figured it would be the other way around; the grip safety would require extra care and the thumb safety would just drop into place. The thumb safety on my Springfield sure comes apart quite easily.

January 12, 2008, 01:54 PM
When you consider the grip safety you will have to remain in the bounds of what radius the gun is cut too, unless you plan to change that.

The Kimber has a .250 radius cut on it now, so if you install one with the same cut (the Ed Brown) it will be very close to a proper fit, however. The Ed Brown will require fitting - file work - to the tang area at the back of the frame because it allowes for a higher hold. This means you will have to refinish the gun - unless it is stainless.

The thumb safety will require fitting, unless you are really lucky. It is very simple to do and you should be able to find a tutoral on this board or 1911forum.com.

Good luck and have fun with your project. If you were located in Western WA I would be glad to help, loan of tools etc and ccould even help refinish.

Edit... Also check out Blindhogg.com great stuff there

January 17, 2008, 06:12 PM
I recently tried fitting a grip safety and failed. I couldn't see in there well enough and kept filing off of the front of it when the problem was it didn't fit into the frame well at the rear of the pistol. By the time I figured that out I had filed too much off the front.

I decided that I should have removed all internals except the trigger and looked down into the pistol from the top so I could SEE it's interaction with the trigger. I haven't ordered another one yet. It was a Wilson Combat drop in

As for thumb safeties, I have had better luck with those. Take the grip safety off and you can see exactly where you need to file it. You have to be VERY careful not to remove too much, though. If you do it will fail the "click test" and be no good. I did that once,too.


There's a sticky here or on the Glocktalk or M1911 board for the thumb safety, I think.

February 6, 2009, 08:19 PM
I just screwed up a $60 wilson combat ambi-safety. I had it fitting nice and worked great. I assembled the gun dry fired it a few times put it away.....

then tonight when I got home, I was feeling cocky about my smithing skills and took the safety back out to try to make it a little smoother. Put it back together, dry fired and crap. It fires with safety off, but with safety on the hammer moves 2mm under trigger pull, which means the sear will wear out at some point if I dont replace it. So I ordered another.

February 6, 2009, 08:59 PM
I ruined up TWO of those on my Rock Island. Worse yet, when I was putting a stock grip safety on, I forgot to unload the gun before testing it. The grip safety worked, but I still put 4 holes in my right leg. :banghead:

I gave up on Wilson grips. I love their sears, though.

February 7, 2009, 11:31 AM
The grip safety worked, but I still put 4 holes in my right leg.

LOL! Darwin.....you lie!!

Almost all drop in parts will need some fitting so learn all you can before going for it and be prepared to mess up. It's not the end of the world and the cost is small if you compare it to the cost of the ammo you gleefully blast downrange every chance you get.

ALWAYS test your result and be sure it's working correctly before any ammo is put in the gun.

February 7, 2009, 11:58 AM
I lie about what? The holes in my leg? Check the first link in my signature.

March 24, 2009, 07:48 PM

Get well. Be safe.

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