Rock Island Armory 1911 drop-in beavertail safety


July 25, 2009, 09:41 PM
I recently bought an RIA 1911A1 standard G.I. package. I would like to install a drop-in beavertail safety, but I am being told that I will have to replace the hammer with a commander style, which may include replacing the sear. Does anyone have any experience with this type of mod? does the drop-in beavertail live up to its name? If I replace the hammer, will I need to replace the sear at the same time? I am looking at Wilson combat parts for all three, less than a hundred bucks in parts. If the parts will go in easily, I will likely just do it myself.

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July 25, 2009, 10:15 PM
Depends on what you're expecting from a "drop-in beavertail safety". One that "drops-in" probably won't impress you much. I put this one from Kings on my RIA GI, and I hated it. Yes, you have to change or modify the hammer if you change the grip safety.

I had two RIA GI's, so I bought the beavertail, hammer and trigger for the RIA Tactical model from Advanced Tactical and set out to make my own Tactical. Fitting that beavertail required a LOT of grinding, filing and sanding to get it right and tight, and that required a lot of patience. Here's the mods compared to a stock RIA GI, you can see how much steel had to come off the rear "horns" on the frame.

In these "raw" photos, you can see I left a little steel on the bottom of the horns, they don't quite match the radius of the safety. I left that extra so the gunsmith that did the bluing could do the final contouring before polishing.

Then I had Novak sights installed and the gun was polished and blued.

So, yes, it can be done, and by an amatuer. Won't cost much if you finish it yourself. My bluing job was $250, but I had my heart set on that finish. So the cost can vary wildly.

Bottom line - buy a new Rock Island Armory Tactical model! You'll be much happier, and a man's just gotta have at least two 1911's!

July 26, 2009, 01:38 AM
wilson combat has what you want for the drop-in beavertail. while you are at it get their value-line hammer and presto you are in business.

July 26, 2009, 03:11 AM
If you are on a budget you can Bob the spur on a standard hammer to fit. I've done this on a couple projects. FWIW 2RCo sells Beavertail Grip Safeties. I also sell commander style hammers but prefer to give a word of advice or two along with them, so I generally only offer them at Gunshows I am actually at.


July 27, 2009, 01:03 PM
Thanks for the info and pics. My main questions are:

Do I really need to replace the sear and hammer as a pair, or is it just a matter of preference?
If I get the "drop-in" beavertail that has the extended radius on it, is there very much smithing involved?

My understanding, is that the odds of a true "drop in" are slim to none. A local gunsmith recommended the hammer/sear pairing to help reduce amount of smithing needed. One way or the other, I plan on doing it, I just would like to know how much money to expect to drop on it.

Also, for those who responded, how do you feel about your RIA overall?

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