Shipping a 1911 for sights?


July 18, 2008, 07:53 PM
Has anybody here shipped a 1911 slide to Novak or a similar outfit to have sights installed?

I'm considering it, but kinda wondering about the fact that they dont guarantee accuracy, according to their website. I could ship the whole gun, in which case they'd test fire and guarantee point of aim is point of impact, but the shipping fee is ridiculous (about $80).

I would have a local 'smith do it for me, but the one I normally go to didnt seem too enthusiastic about cutting dovetails (mine is a Springfield GI, with the plain-jane GI sights).

What do yall think?

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July 18, 2008, 09:01 PM
Send in the slide. You or your smith can adjust as needed, but leave the cutting to someone who is comfortable with it.

July 18, 2008, 09:32 PM
Novak makes the dovetail cuts perpendicular to the slide,
and they should know the correct hight front sight - the rear
* assume you're getting the rear adjustable, is adjustable for
windage by loosening a set screw, then the elevation is micro
click by screwdriver. Doing this you need to get the adjustable
for just a few bucks more and be done with it.

Send in the slide.

worth what you paid for it...

I have a S&W 1911 Fixed low-mount Novak - I should have
gotten the adj. rear for $48 more at the time was the
difference live and learn.


July 18, 2008, 10:29 PM
Fixed low-mount Novak

Hmm... thats what I was planning to get.

With adjustable sights on a pistol, how do you sight them in accurately? Off of a sandbag?

July 18, 2008, 11:08 PM
If you're doing this to a carry gun, reconsider adjustable sights. They are easier to break and to knock out of alignment. A fixed sight on a 1911 is plenty if you aren't shooting bullseye competitions. Ship it out, if it needs adjusted, it usually is as simple to drift the sights after loosening the allen head set screw if it has one.

July 18, 2008, 11:49 PM
Yes, it will be for a carry gun.

Do yall recommend the LoMount Carry or the Dovetail Carry sights? The LoMount appear to require a proprietary rear dovetail size, whereas the Dovetail Carry appear to mount in the original GI rear dovetail.

July 18, 2008, 11:54 PM
I've got fixed Novaks on a couple of guns - 1911s and BHPs, and they work just fine. For a carry gun, you don't really need adjustable sights. JHMO.

All mine shoot to point of aim, or close enough, that it's not worth worrying about.

Jim Watson
July 18, 2008, 11:54 PM
Novak makes the Concealed Carry rear sight that fits the GI dovetail. You will still need a proper height front sight which can be staked in or a simple straight dovetail cut.
See also the Yobo Retro rear sight likewise, or the King's Hardball or Tappan sights.
Or Mepro or Trijicon night sights.

I refuse to spend a hundred bucks to have my slide milled for a proprietary FIXED sight, there are too many choices that don't require it.

July 19, 2008, 12:38 AM
Go ahead and get fixed sights for a Carry 1911, shoot it and adjust,
you should be able to drift the rear for windage and eyeball
according to whether you shoot 230 gr. or 185 gr. bullet weights.


July 19, 2008, 12:54 AM
The Novak LoMount rear is a pretty common sight cut. Its the same sight used on Smith 1911s and Springfields Loaded model.

Its common enough that Heinie, Yobo and 10-8 also make their sight to fit that cut.

the fixed sights from Novak, Heinie, Yobo and 10-8 are some of the best. Any would be a good choice.

Tom Fury
July 19, 2008, 06:12 AM
There are other operations not having to do with sight installation that affect that; slide to frame fit, barrel bushing slide fit, and your technique.

I recommend the lo mount sights; no, not every gunsmith is comfortable doing the lo mount cut; if they screw up at all, they've ruined your slide which is expensive. Best left to experts as mentioned. You will not like the appearance of the dove tail sight, and it offers no improvement over stock sights.

Best reason to go this route is the front sight; dovetail front is better than staked on IMO; have had several staked on sights simply come loose. Novak is very meticulous about getting sight height right (couldn't do that again if I tried...).

Didn't notice if you had SA GI or Mil-spec. I can understand wanting to change the smaller sights on the GI; but as you've noticed it might be easy to replace the rear with even a stock larger Colt or SA/MS rear, but then you have to do the front; and I would rather have a dovetailed front, at least.

It's worth having a Brownells catalogue; you will find that several parts sellers have already thought out the correct height front problem, and their input might be helpful in planning your best solution. Someone mentioned Heinie sights; I've had a couple of guns done with those and like them as well. There are also more recent entrants to this game I haven't tried yet, and I like the option some present of being able to hook the rear sight on a hard surface to rack the slide one handed.

My best advice tho, is just send them the slide, ask for lo mounts and dovetail front. You will also be beginning a relationship with one of the best Smith's around; they'll take care of you and work with you to get it right.

Cheers, TF

The Lone Haranguer
July 19, 2008, 08:51 AM
There should be no problem with just sending the slide. On the Novak sights I am familiar with, the rear sight can be moved from side to side to adjust windage after loosening a set screw. The staff should know what sight heights to use and how to machine the slide for the rear sight. (They'd better.;))

Speaking of which, be sure you are going to like them, because mounting the rear sight truly low requires machining a step off the rear of the slide as well as a new dovetail, which is irreversible.

July 19, 2008, 11:03 AM
I'd opt for the "Extreme Duty" adjustable IIWY. It has the same contours as the fixed Novaks and is said to be dang near as indestructable.

It requires only one additional machine cut and should simplify things considerably if you experiment with different bullet weights and/or velocities.

I have two 1911's with standard Novaks and am wrangling to raise the funding for the 'upgrade'. While they are perfectly regulated for most standard pressure 230 gr. loads, I've had to change my practice and training reloads for economy (and to accomodate advancing arthritis in my wrists and hands) by standardizing on a single 200 gr. LSWC load for all my .45 ACPs.

I'd really appreciate being able to dispence with the Kentucky Elevation and connect right where I'm looking on plates and paper, for my ego's sake if nothing else.

I'd also like to be able to easily and cheaply regulate them for 185 gr. JHPs as carry loads, should that become necessary.

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