Have you built a 1911? Show and Tell


February 25, 2009, 12:32 AM
I built these two for myself- To my own personal requirements :D

Both are done on Essex receivers with post WWII Colt military contract slides. The barrels are also post war Colt military contract- "C in a square."

The top pistol was built with Wilson Combat small parts and internals and the bottom one is an experiment with Fusion Firearms small parts and internals. So far I have been impressed with Fusion but only have a couple thousand rounds on that pistol. The Fusion parts are not as highly refined as Wilson but they are not as expensive either :rolleyes:

Both have Springfield Armory ILS mainspring housings (I feel I will have more need of a lock than I will have worries about a tactical situation...)

I don't know who made the adjustable trigger on the top one... It is identical to the wide 70 series triggers but only G.I. in width... If anyone knows, please share... I want a few more ;)

A couple of wide spur hammers and Pearce finger groove grips that allow wood panels!

Yes they were built correctly :p I know they are not as flashy as most builds but I am a man of simple tastes-

Everyone share! Lets see, lets listen!


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si vis pacem
February 25, 2009, 05:42 AM
Mercy, those are beautiful 1911s. If you are feeling particularly generous, could you send me a PM on how to get started on building your own (list of parts, necessary tools, instructions, et cetera)? I need a new project!

February 25, 2009, 06:03 AM
PM sent- Keep in mind though that those are not my first builds- I had to learn like everyone else and made my share of mistakes on the early ones.

February 25, 2009, 06:45 AM

Discussed here: 1911 LW Commander gallery (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=234282)


February 25, 2009, 06:49 AM
gotta love the twins :) nice!

February 25, 2009, 07:15 AM
Here is a good website for 1911 noobs:


Go to Care and Use / Reliability secrets

February 25, 2009, 09:54 AM
Yep, about to start a 9mm/38 Super STI build.

Here's the first .45 I did.






It now has a stainless beavertail, commander hammer and non-ambi safety.

February 25, 2009, 01:25 PM
Can you guys give me a ballpark of actual cost vs. expected value of pistol... I'd love to build my own but don't have the tools or anything, if it's not that big of a difference I'd probably just stick with buying factory made but if I can build a $1000 pistol for say $500 then you've got my attention...

February 25, 2009, 03:34 PM
Can I get the pm on parts as well, I have been looking at parts from Mid-way and have thought it would be fun to put one together. How long did it take you and how did you put the finish on?

February 25, 2009, 04:53 PM
It was a while ago so I may accidentally omit a few things...
You will need a small file set, half rounds, triangular, flats... some fine grit sandpapers will help as well. To aid in smooth operation a dremel, polishing wheel, and some flitz will go a long way toward smoothing contact surfaces.

NOTE: It would be easier to build a G I pistol as your first one. the tolerances are not as tight.

NOTE: a little metal removal goes a long way, once its gone you cant get it back... sometimes you can do only a few passes before you need to reassemble to check fit.

Be Patient!

You might look to Essex Arms for a matching slide and frame fit. It is an inexpensive way to practice. Dont waste your money on high end parts until you are confident in what you are doing.

All the parts come pre-finished. be careful to not remove it in areas you don't want it gone. re-finishing is expensive!

Most of the parts you will need are as follows:

For the Slide:
A Slide
Barrel Bushing
Recoil Plug
Recoil Spring
Guide Rod
Link and Link Pin
Firing Pin
Firing Pin Spring
Firing Pin Stop

For the Receiver:
A Receiver
Ejector (sometimes already installed on frame)
Plunger Tube (sometimes installed) need special tool otherwise
Grip Safety
Magazine Release (complete)
Mainspring Housing and its internals
Hammer Strut
Pin Kit
Thumb Safety
Slide Stop
just get yourself a complete spring kit for all of them
grip bushings and screws (sometimes installed)

February 25, 2009, 05:10 PM
cost is hard to quantify... it depends on what kind of deals you seek out... over time someone will invariable low ball a slide on gun broker. last year i bought a colt .22 conversion for $250 "buy it now" the guy had three of them that he sold at that price... they are usually 4-500-

Keep in mind though that cheap parts will be cheap but high quality parts are seldom found cheap... depends how patient you are in the search... you will do your self good by avoiding metal injection molded parts (MIM) stay with investment casting at a minimum and go with machined bar stock whenever you can.

I have seen home built 1911s on gun broker go for around 4-500 dollars... quality unknown...

I bought a home build (essex slide, RIA receiver) on gun broker a few years ago for $125... it was marked as jam prone in the auction- I bought it for parts- a good deal. the small parts were mangled and the throat on the receiver was "bubbaized" but i netted a nice stainless colt "colt .45 Auto" barrel and a nice essex slide- used my .22 conversion on the RIA as the conversion bypasses the receivers throat.

February 25, 2009, 05:23 PM
I actually want to do this too... built my own paintball gun and found that to be a tad too easy so now I want to give the real thing a go.

February 25, 2009, 08:04 PM
For cheap, 1st build, I would recommend a Sarco kit.



They've got different kits available, or bits and pieces.

1911 .45, Auto Builders Kit - All parts (Less Frame). Includes one of our new current manufactured G.I. type slide (unmarked) $210.00


Of for $5 more, you can get same kit with this slide with good sights already installed, looks like an STI Spartan/RIA Tactical doesn't it?

So, for $300-ish total, you can build a basic Rock Island pistol that's worth about that much (not counting time). I'm thinking about doing this again once I finish my 9mm build.

I spend about $450 on my first build, it's not worth that much, but I didn't build mine to sell though. :D

Also, on the gun listed above, I spent a tad bit extra for stainless parts so I wouldn't have to finish it.

February 25, 2009, 11:18 PM

Caspian stainless frames, Colt '70 series slides, mix of Brown, Colt and Wilson parts and Yost retro sights. Did it for fun and don't plan to ever sell them. Probably took around forty hours to put each one together.

And with a couple I have altered.


February 25, 2009, 11:37 PM
Here is one I did for my wife.

oh well picture will not .take

February 25, 2009, 11:45 PM

February 25, 2009, 11:45 PM
This one was about 10 years ago on Caspian components. I particularly like the J. Adams "Defend-Second-Amendment" grips. I got them from him in person at a gun show. I need to take some better pictures of this one now that I have a light box.


February 26, 2009, 04:49 AM
Jungle, those are nice!

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