Installing Slim Grip Bushing on a Wilson 1911


January 17, 2012, 05:20 PM
I need to change the grips on my Wilson CQB Elite from standard grips to slim grips. (I have a large hand with short fingers).

I tried to remove the Wilson's grip bushing screws by trying to just unscrewing them, but they didn't budge.

A call to a Wilson-Combat Customer Rep told me that if I removed the grip bushing's, it would null/void the warranty... that I should send the gun into them. Note: I'm not to concerned about the warranty.

My questions are:
1. Is there a way to remove these grip bushings w/o sending it back to them? (I'm assuming they're red loctite in or ???) Plus, There's not a local gunsmith in my area with a good 1911's reputation to do the work.

2. Is there another fix that I'm not aware of? (Like grinding down the bushing's head?)

My background:
I'm not a gunsmith but I really like working on 1911's and I want to learn more. I took an armorer's 1911 class a few years back and found it fascinating. I was able to successfully fit and install a short trigger into one of my 1911's and I replaced the bushing grip screws to slim ones, on a Colt 1911 (after the armorer's class) and more recently on a Nighthawk T3.

I'm stuck on the Wilson though and any help would be appreciated.

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January 17, 2012, 05:32 PM
I don't know what Wilson does, but on a proper 1911 build, I would expect the bushings to be staked in the frame with a bushing staking tool. And maybe lock-tight too.

Bushing Staking Tool:

Bushing screwdriver:

See this from Mr. Wilson his self.

I'd just file off the bushing so they are short enough to fit the slim grips.
Do not take off more then necessary, as you want the screws to bottom in the grips, not on the bushings.

If they do that?
They will gall & seize to the bushings, and you won't have to ask how to get them to come out of the frame!

You will have to ask how to get the screw & bushing out of the grip!


January 17, 2012, 06:07 PM

I not that familiar with staking a bushing screw and/or the term.

If the bushing screws are staked in how does one remove them? Is there a special tool for removal?

I have a Wheeler 89 piece tool kit and a bushing screwdriver is not part of it. Would an over sized screw driver that fits the bushing slot work perfectly, be OK?

January 17, 2012, 08:14 PM
If you looked at the staking tool link I posted, you would see a scalloped pointy end thing on a handle.

You stick that up through the frame, center it on the back of the bushing, and whack it with a punch through the other side bushing.
That "stakes", or flairs the inside edge of the bushing so it can't come unscrewed.

But not so much you can't take it back out if you have too.

The special screwdriver tip surrounds the end of the bushing so the slot can't wallow out and the screwdriver slip off.
If you use a standard screwdriver and it slips?

The next tool you need will be a pair of vice-grip pliers.

Again, if I were you?
I'd leave them be and file the ends off to fit the slim grips.


January 17, 2012, 09:54 PM
I ordered the bushing screwdriver bits from Brownell's and Wilson-Combat 1911 "how to" DVDs.

Also, I talked again to a Wilson customer service member and he recommended getting the screwdriver bit mentioned.... He said to use a hair dryer on the screws before attempting to remove them.

After reading all that I could find thus far on removal of the bushing screws, I'm still not sure about removing them if they are staked and what would be the negative consequences.

January 17, 2012, 10:00 PM
At the worst?

You will strip the threads in the frame, and have to send it back to Wilson for voided warrenty repair.

Just file the damn things off to fit the grips like I said.

That is all the "thin grip" bushings are anyway, for the most part.


January 17, 2012, 10:22 PM
"Just file the damn things off to fit the grips like I said."

HEHE, funny. OK, got it.

January 17, 2012, 10:31 PM
When someone with almost 30,000 posts on this forum tells me how to do something, I don't make him tell me three times... :neener:

As far as galling goes...anti-seize. Available at NAPA auto parts (Fel-Pro C-5A).

January 21, 2012, 04:37 PM
I doubt that Wilson stakes their bushings but you can check, look at the backside of the bushing if it is staked you will see 3 or 4 points where it is staked. There is a tool for removing the staked portion I think Brownells has it. Don't try to unscrew staked in bushing because you will probably strip the frame threads.

More likely it is red locktite holding it, a hair dryer is unlikely to get hot enough to loosen red. A soldering iron held to to the bushing should do it or careful work with a propane torch.

The short bushings are tricky to screw in straight, make sure the threads start straight. Save your old bushings so when you get disgusted with the thin grips not staying tight or the thin area around the bushing hole cracking you can go back to regular grips. As you can tell I'm not much of a fan of thin 1911 grips.

January 29, 2012, 07:09 PM

RCModel and All

Thank you all for your response.

Second. To take a file to the bushings of a $3000 1911 as RCM suggested, was something that I had to wrestle with for a while then I decided that RCM's idea was a pretty good one, since it made sense.

The grip bushings were staked in (I'm still not sure how someone would removed them from the grip frame, RCM?) so I took a file to the bushings and also to the grey grip screws. Going slowly with the file removing a little material at a time (while listening to 'Fibber McGee and Molly' old time radio), the whole job came out very successfully.

Anyway, I wanted to thank you all for responding. The 1911 is quite usable now that it fits my hand.

January 29, 2012, 07:37 PM
All's well that ends well!

I'm sure glad I didn't have to buy you a new Wilson frame because I gave you some bum advice!!! :D

Removing staked in bushings is best done with one of them Brownell's screwdriver bit's I linked earlier.
Or a pair of vice-grips.

It is a risk you have to take that the stake won't bugger up the threads.

Usually though, the only time it is ever necessary to remove them is if they already seized to a grip screw and came out already.
Or, you are stripping a frame for polishing & re-bluing.

The rest of the time, a file fits them to whatever grips need fitting around my place.

BTW: once the bushing are shortened, be sure you check the screws and make sure they don't project too far into the magazine well and rub on the magazine.

If they do?
Get out that file again and shorten them!


February 1, 2012, 01:16 PM
"Because I gave you some bum information." HA ! rc, you're like me my friend, really gotta way with words! I'll bet you had this poor guy shuddering when he read that part. LOL Seriously AUProspector, this guy knows his way around firearms! I've read many items he's posted, he won't tell you wrong, might take the looooong way around, but won't mislead you!

Now I know why I keep coming back to THR, guys like rc make it enjoyable and worthwhile!

February 2, 2012, 12:02 AM

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