Changing sights on a GI 1911? How do I?


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bob barker
August 2, 2012, 10:00 PM
I have a RIA GI 1911. I love the gun, but would like to upgrade the sights. Is this possible? Do I just need a sight pusher tool, or do I need to take it to a gunsmith?

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rcmodel
August 2, 2012, 10:05 PM
Best take it or send the slide to a gunsmith who is equipped to do that sort of thing.

You might have noticed your rear sight is dovetail mounted.
A sight pusher could be used for that.

You might also notice your front sight isn't.
It is a tenon type sight staked in a square hole in the slide.

Any better rear sight will be a higher rear sight.
So you have to change to a higher front sight to match it.

rc

bob barker
August 2, 2012, 10:10 PM
Best take it or send the slide to a gunsmith who is equipped to do that sort of thing.

You might have noticed your rear sight is dovetail mounted.
A sight pusher could be used for that.

You might also notice your front sight isn't.
It is a tenon type sight staked in a square hole in the slide.

Any better rear sight will be a higher rear sight.
So you have to change to a higher front sight to match it.

rc
Thanks! Any idea what I should pay a gunsmith to do this?I only have $400 in the gun, I don't want $200 in the sights.

rcmodel
August 2, 2012, 10:35 PM
Well, you better learn to like what you got them.

Done right, with great sights will cost you $115 + the sight cost.

http://www.novaksights.com/products/sights/index.html#instoption

rc

bob barker
August 2, 2012, 10:48 PM
Well, you better learn to like what you got them.

Done right, with great sights will cost you $115 + the sight cost.

http://www.novaksights.com/products/sights/index.html#instoption

rc
Ouch! $115 to install, and $85 in the sights..

The GI sights aren't that bad..

wally
August 2, 2012, 11:00 PM
Before you give up, check out Brownell's for a front sight staking tool.

Its not really hard to do, the rear you can do with a brass punch and a small hammer.

Another option in the ~$200 price range is a Burris FastFire sight and their 1911 "GI" mounting plate that replaces the rear sight.

Skylerbone
August 3, 2012, 01:55 AM
Little things like sights are the reason I recommend 1911 buyers beware. Far too many realize too late that an STI Spartan with its excellent internals and great sights would have been a great choice.

You might consider painting your front sight for better visibility, a $4 improvement that may work for you. There may also be a local smith who could stake a new front sight for you. If he is not familiar with the process don't let him near it.

Fishslayer
August 3, 2012, 02:52 AM
Little things like sights are the reason I recommend 1911 buyers beware. Far too many realize too late that an STI Spartan with its excellent internals and great sights would have been a great choice.


Ditto the RIA Tactical. For an extra $50-$60 you get all the upgrades most people would have done...

...that would cost a LOT more than $50-$60 to have done. ;)

bob barker
August 3, 2012, 09:03 AM
Ditto the RIA Tactical. For an extra $50-$60 you get all the upgrades most people would have done...

...that would cost a LOT more than $50-$60 to have done. ;)
I'm kicking myself for not getting the tactical!

gym
August 4, 2012, 12:02 PM
Since it's not an expensive pistol, I would try it myself. That's how I learn. Start looking at utube videos on "how to". Once you feel confident then go ahead and make sure you have all the tools needed, and give it a shot. It may be very easy if you are handy to begin with. I did my first Glock at the Gym, because I couldn't wait to get home. They still are on that golck 30. And they were perfectlly set the first time.!5 yrs ago.
I made a jig from a 2x4 to hold the slide. And a hammer with a drift punch. the Glock has a set srew "hex" in the front. You will need to push out the front stake. or drill it out if that won't work.Just go a size under with the drill bit, but first try to push it out, it should come out easily, also if you have a drill press you can just push it out with another pin or a bit used upside down. Some guys just tap it out and slice off the stake pin, or you could get lucky and pull it out. If you get the front sight off the rest is easy.It's not rocket science, and it's good to start doing this stuff yourself, you will feel like you accomplished something.
If you are just not handy nor good with tools at all, then stay away, you will fxxxup the gun banhing away at it. Utube will show you just about any mods you want to make.

JTQ
August 4, 2012, 05:44 PM
Skylerbone wrote,
Little things like sights are the reason I recommend 1911 buyers beware. Far too many realize too late that an STI Spartan with its excellent internals and great sights would have been a great choice.
I agree, but tend to recommend the other way and recommend against adjustable sights unless you buying your 1911 solely for target shooting. In addition to the STI Spartan lots of folks recommend the Springfield Range Officer that also comes with adjustable sights. What those new to 1911 don't generally realize, even after staring at these pistols for hours, is the sight cut for adjustables is usually quite different than those for fixed sights. If you buy a 1911 with adjustable sights and decide you want fixed sights there are very few options. While our OP may not be interested in forking over the cash for new sights for his GI, he does have a world of options available.

Skylerbone
August 4, 2012, 06:12 PM
I don't have a problem carrying with an adjustable rear sight just as my father did for nearly 30 years on his revolvers, more robust than most believe. The STI rear leaf offers about as much surface for emergency cocking as a GI and while not ideal can work. Plenty of people carry a Spartan or RO daily without snag issues or broken sights.

For the LPA rear Harrison Custom makes several excellent replacements as do Dawson and Champion. There may not be hundreds of options but those available are some of the best available.

bob barker
August 5, 2012, 11:54 AM
I agree, but tend to recommend the other way and recommend against adjustable sights unless you buying your 1911 solely for target shooting. In addition to the STI Spartan lots of folks recommend the Springfield Range Officer that also comes with adjustable sights. What those new to 1911 don't generally realize, even after staring at these pistols for hours, is the sight cut for adjustables is usually quite different than those for fixed sights. If you buy a 1911 with adjustable sights and decide you want fixed sights there are very few options. While our OP may not be interested in forking over the cash for new sights for his GI, he does have a world of options available.
I have 8 1911s, Colts, Kimbers and Springfields. I wanted one in 9mm, so I picked this one up cheap. I just don't want to put a lot money in it. I think I'll try to do the sites myself.

rcmodel
August 5, 2012, 01:19 PM
Just be aware that keeping a bigger/taller/heavier staked tenon front sight on is problematic at best.

We staked and silver soldered them on at 5th. Army AMU because they would always wind up on the ground with the empty brass sooner or later if we didn't.

That's why everyone uses dovetailed front sights now.

rc

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