1911 Mods that work for YOU.


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Dr.Rob
August 8, 2004, 03:25 PM
After that long and informative thread on 'bells and whistles' I thought a new thread was in order. I have three Colts, none of them are set up the same.

1919 Commercial "Government Model" (pre A-1) Flat MSH, wide checkered hammer, long trigger, small sights. I like the trigger and hammer on this one but the sights are small. The safety works flawlessly with a positive 'click' but the slide stop is a bit skinny to reach without changing my grip. hate the lanyard ring as a fast magazine change will sometimes result in a blood blister on the heel of my left hand.

The pistol feels very 'skinny' compared to my other two, overall re-blue knocked down most of the sharp edges long ago, has nice 'old school' look to it.

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Dr.Rob
August 8, 2004, 03:32 PM
1954 Commander, stock except for replacement grips.

This has a matte finish round top slide with highly polished deep blue sides thats really slick looking. The egdes are still sharp and it has seen some knocks over the years. The is one has bitten be so many times i have permanent scars on the web of my right hand... it's also bitten a few other TFL and THR members over the years. I'm reluctant to make any changes to this pistol though the short, grovved trigger and hammerbite are a pain.

The arched MSH cives me a better grip one handed, the safety and slide stop are stock but are much smaller/thinner than the standard Govt. models.

Dr.Rob
August 8, 2004, 03:55 PM
1991 A1 Colt Upper/ODI Viking lower Seecamp conversion.

This is the only full custom gun I own. The sights are stock but nothing else on the pistol is.

That's a Wilson extended safety and slide stop, and swoopy beavertail that came with the "bump" which I had the 'smith grind off. The trigger is wierd beyond words with a 3.5 lb single action pull, and a 12 lb DA pull. The cool thing though is the trigger is wider than the trigger guard, you literally can't put your finger in the wrong place on the trigger or over squeeze it. (But unlike a trigger shoe it's NOT attached to the trigger unless it's in DA mode) This has an action job, barrel throating, a slightly beveled magazine well and stiff springs. The Houge grips make it easier to hang onto "the machine" but it does make hitting the slide stop difficult. This feels like a BIG pistol compared to my Govt model... and it's more than just the grip. I'd like to shave down the insides of the grips to make them skinnier... or maybe try a different pair someday and cover the frontstrap with skateboard tape. This is definitely a belt gun/range toy and not a CCW piece... quite frankly it's finicky, and it needs a trip back to Milton Morrison for a check-up.

The lower is parkerized stainless and the upper is parkerized carbon steel. I liked the matte tacti-cool look to it, (and I was pretty near out of money at the time to have it polished and blued like my Commander).

I only run McCormick or Colt magazines in it.

Dr.Rob
August 8, 2004, 09:42 PM
So I guess my point is... my NEXT 1911 is going to have:

A long, smooth trigger. Big sights. Skinny grips but maybe finger-grooves up front. Extended slide stop and safety. Beavertail? Not if it has a wide, checkered hammer ala the pre-a1 days.

I think I'd like the whole thing in stainless.

And it needs a little horse prancing on the slide.

Is anything going to change on your next one?

Old Fuff
August 8, 2004, 11:12 PM
I would think that by now you'd be tired of getting bit by the Commander. A slightly modified Government Model grip safety will cure most if not all of it, and unlike a beavertail you don't have to make any alterations to the gun itself. To "bite" the hammer has to have an anvil so it can pinch a fold of your hide between the top of the grip safety, and the bottom of the hammer spur. Eliminate that and you're in business.

Be aware that Colt used wide-spur hammers on 1911-A1 pistols well into World War Two. Those made during the 1920's and forward were slightly shortened, and the end of the spur was rounded. This elininated some of the pinching problem.

1911Tuner
August 9, 2004, 12:21 PM
My mods are so subtle that you'd have to look close to see most of'em.

I lightly recontour the underside of the standard grip safety and melt
the corners just a bit. I do a light bevel on the top right at the sides
near the back. I remove the serrations from the narrow spur hammer
and bevel the edges and rear corner a little. Commander hammers are
lightly beveled on the sides along the rearward curve. The top face of the
hammers are lightly beveled.

On the forward right side of the trigger guard, I "roll" the inside corner just barely to give my finger smooth access.

The rear sight is rounded and smoothed on the corners, and the front sight
is low, wide, and black.

I use a flat mainspring housing, with the serrations or checkered ones
getting a light pass with a scrape to blunt the points. Stocks are standard
checkered wood or hard rubber, with sharp checkering likewise blunted.
If the panels are a little thick, I'll thin them down to about .200 inch thick.

I like a long, smooth trigger, and the ORM Colt plastic triggers are fine.

Standard thumb safeties and slide stops, with a preference for the old
GI-style thumb safety. I also prefer to underspring the slide slightly.

Not very impressive-sounding...is it?:p

Correia
August 9, 2004, 12:37 PM
I require a few things. I need a beavertail. I've got enormous hands and I like to shoot with a high thumbs grip, really high up on the gun. I like an extended safety, which because of my grip, my thumb is planted on top of. It works, and works well, for me.

And I like Ashley Express sights.

Everything else is open to debate. :)

Brian Williams
August 9, 2004, 02:04 PM
I took the sharp edge off the end of the hammer spur on my Sistema about 3/32nds and replaced the front sight with a wide square one, with that I needed to square out the rear notch. That is it.

I was not getting pinched with the hammer and spur but the sharp edge was cutting my hand.

The dinky sights were just too small for my eyes.

That's all Folks.....

R.H. Lee
August 9, 2004, 02:09 PM
I like a flat MSH, long trigger, lowered ejection port, low smooth fixed sights, no front strap checkering and hard (not rubber) grips. I do not like extended mag catches, safeties, mag wells, etc. YMMV. They are nearly infinitely customizable. KISS.

Dave Sample
August 9, 2004, 06:45 PM
I have a drop in grip safety on my Commander that was made for a 5" and it takes the bite out of it. I don't need much for a gun that is carried a lot but hardle ever shot.

http://pic11.picturetrail.com/VOL368/953404/2962084/41375364.jpg

45auto
August 9, 2004, 07:15 PM
I must have a WELL fit, smooth high grip beavertail, extended thumb safety, high grip mods on the frame with a flat MSH and long trigger. All frame areas where my hand contacts are smooth...not sharp.

Various 1911's feel differently to me since I shoot one particular 1911 95% of the time.

That doesn't make my choices in parts and fit "right", it just makes me picky about how I like it. Perhaps if I shot different ones with some regularity, I would be more flexable. ;)

A good trigger, at the least, and better sights are a plus. There are other odds and ends, but all minor. The worst out of the box 1911 trigger I have felt was still better than a Glock and the sights about equal...so everything is relative to the gun style.

This is, assuming, on a "good" 1911 by the way...which we know can't be assumed anymore. :cool:

Barry in IN
August 9, 2004, 08:36 PM
Ya know, since the Tuner Ducktail thread started, I've been thinking.
Yes, I have thought before.
Anyway, I was thinking that of the 1911s I have, and have had; I haven't set any ONE up the way I really want.
So, with that in mind, here's my planned ideal 1911 features (or de-features in some cases), by taking bits and pieces from a few different ones. In no particular order...

*1- Standard 5" barrel. I was a Commander nut. I liked the balance so much better. But in the past year or so, I've gone to the 5".
Fit the bushing so I don't need a wrench.
*2-Sights I can see. To sorta kinda paraphrase Tuner from the Ducktail thread, being able to use the sighs is a luxurious bonus. But, if I get the chance to use them, I want them.
I like the Heinie rear sight, although the one that Yost-Bonitz is making looks good too. I like the idea of being able to work the slide by hooking the rear sight and pulling, so the Novak is out. I stand one on a million odds of needing that, but as before, I want the option.
I like white dot front sights. against a dark background, the white shows up. Against a light background, the black silhouette of the post shows. I used to think a gold bead was the thing, but it changes shape with the light's direction for me.
And, once they're set- weld them.
*3-Standard thumb safety is fine. Not the G.I. type with the "knob" at the fwd end, but the one Colt used for a few decades. An extended will do, but not a wide one. No ambi.
And no sharp serrations on the bottom.
*4-Standard guide rod.
*5-Grip safety. I'll take a beavertail, but would like to experiment with some reduced size ones.
*5A- Commander hammer. The round one, not the "stretched" thing. Hopefully, one without a hole can be found.
*6-Mag well. No "funnel". A bevel doesn't hurt.
*7-Grips. I want to experiment here, too. I like the feel of thin grips I've felt, but don't like the plunger tube left without a lip over it that standard grips have. I've never "lost" a plunger tube, but have had them loosen, so want a safety net.
I like the Browning HiPower grip shape. Since it is smaller at the top, it locks my hand in. I've wondered if tapering a set of 1911 grips so they are thinner towards the top would create a similar effect. I'll try it sometime. But, I'll leave the plunger tube lip at the top.
Checker them all over, but not quite pointed up. They'll wear that way anyway.
Wood's nice, but a synthetic will do, if it's not rubber.
*8-Mainspring housing. This is a tough one. There are things I like about the flat and arched. I'll keep trying them out.
*9-Caliber. 45ACP. Almost forgot that one. It's the reason for me to carry a 1911. Otherwise I'd carry a HiPower all the time.
*10-Finish. Something rust-resistant. Stainless probably. I carry IWB most of the time, so I turn blue guns rusty fast. Too bad, as I really prefer blue.
*11-Trigger. I like long ones. I have short, medium, and long right now, but like the long. I want a solid one- no holes or slots, unless they're internal. No overtravel stop screw either. I break the corner where the finger comes over the face with a needle file and emery cloth. I'd really prefer no serrations on the trigger face, but it's not that important. Make it 4-6 pounds-I'm not picky. But I do want a little takeup.
*12-Checkering, serrations, etc. I've decided I like some front strap checkering, but not pointed up. It lets my hand slide into place, but grips when I squeeze. Mainspring housing-same.
I can happily live without fwd slide serrations.

Zeke Menuar
August 9, 2004, 11:17 PM
My LW Commander came with pretty good aftermarket sights, two piece guide rod, Kings Gun Works ambi-safety. I shortened the (insert expletive here) extended safety levers.

Everything else here on the gun I added:
Ed Brown Wedge mainspring housing
Videki Trigger
McCormick Hammer
Wilson drop-in beavertail safety
Wilson sear
18lb mainspring
Plastic mag funnel. The Ed Brown funnel is too heavy and cumbersome for carry use.
Pierce fingergroove insert
Super light mag release spring. Males it easier for a lefty to drop mags.
A very accurate comfortable gun.
http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v145/ZekeMenuar1/Commander_9.jpg


ZM

Darkside
August 10, 2004, 02:50 AM
Zeke, Did you do the undercut of the trigger gaurd? I thought I was the only one who liked that Mod.

The two most inportant mods on the 1911 for me are,

#1 Beavertail/commander hammer because they just go together. I shoot with a VERY high grip, that coupled with very "meaty" hands makes it more enjoyable to shoot. Having blood dripping into my holster got old a long time ago.

#2 BIG SIGHTS, I want smooth Novak style night sights. I respect the people who want to work the slide using the sights on their leg. But in a gunfight I will work the slide with my teeth if I have to. Hopefully I will be carrying it more than using it to fight off BGs' and If it digs into my side with every twist, chances are I won't carry it.

Now I will describe the 1911 I am building.

I started with a used blued Colt Ser 80 5" that already had a beavertail/commander hammer and lightweight trigger installed.

1. Exsisting beavertail was replaced with one that has the "speed bump" from Wilson.

2. Elongated the hole in the commander hammer(cause I like that look)

3. Replaced the plastic mainspring housing with a Wilson flat checkered(left the points sharp)

4. Replaced the mag release with a Wilson extended version.

5. Fit a Wilson Low-pro extended thumb safety. Kind of think I should have gone with the ambi, since every once in a while I like to shoot weak hand only.

6. Stippled the front strap, I want a pistol to grab ME. But couldn't afford to have it checkered right now.

7. Double diamond, dark rosewood grips with beveled base.

8. Beveled mag well. I don't like the extra bulk and weight of the funnels.

9. Slight rounding of sharp edges.

10. Ceramic coated in satin black. Inside coated with "perminent slicky stuff"

Hey look, I have made MY ten commandments for MY 1911 :D

Darkside

stealthmode
August 10, 2004, 03:16 AM
on my SA mil spec i just put on the hogue finger groove grips on and it feels so much better than the plastic stock grips and when i sweat (which is alot) i dont have to keep wiping my hands every other round. i dont think i will do any other mods until something goes wrong its already a good shooter and works fine for me.

Zeke Menuar
August 10, 2004, 06:52 PM
Darkside

I did not do the undercut. The gun is a LW Commander. The frame was cut that way from the factory.

ZM

Darkside
August 11, 2004, 09:14 AM
Zeke, Thanks, I had a ser 70 LW Commander for a short time and it was not undercut. I didn't know they were like that now.

Darkside

Andrew Wyatt
August 11, 2004, 11:49 AM
swenson ambi safety, flat MSH, short trigger, thin smooth grips. If the frame is undercut, i can go bigger on the grip panels.

Tamara
August 12, 2004, 10:28 PM
Look and guess. ;)

http://www.thehighroad.org/attachment.php?s=&postid=1178248

NMshooter
August 13, 2004, 02:20 PM
Got to have decent sights. Three dot night sights. Other than that, standard controls are OK, the only mandatory item is a standard slide stop. I do not like extended slide stops. Everything dehorned is nice, I do not like sharp edges either. Never could decide whether a flat MSH or an arched one was better for me, so I stick with whatever it comes with. Oh, and no extended slide stops.:p

Black Snowman
August 13, 2004, 02:51 PM
Arched mainspring housing, preferably with vertical serrations. Other than that I'm pretty flexible. Long trigger doesn't hurt. 10mm or .45 Super a big plus.

I just have the Delta Elite for now. Debating on picking up a Narinco at a local shop but have other projects I'd like to put the money toward first.

http://home.kc.rr.com/bsmith1952/img/Guns/DEliteProtectiveGearLScloseSmall.jpg

spacemanspiff
August 13, 2004, 03:45 PM
tamara, has anyone ever proposed to you solely because of your 1911 collection?

Slimjim
August 13, 2004, 04:00 PM
I think Tamara needs a OD springfield to round out the 1911 collection.

Darkside
August 13, 2004, 04:03 PM
Maybe that is what the empty space in the upper and lower left corner is for. one 5" and one commander in OD.

:D

Darkside

Tamara
August 13, 2004, 04:08 PM
I've already got enough Springfields. The two empty spaces are probably for a Wilson CQB or a custom 2011 in 9x25, and a custom 5" gun with an Officer's-length grip. :)

Ala Dan
August 13, 2004, 04:10 PM
Well Dr. let's see:

I've owned several standard Colt Government models, one steel
Colt Combat Commander, one Colt Lightweight Commander, 2X
Colt Cup National Match'es, one Colt Combat Elite; and currently
a Springfield "GI version" WW-II Mil Spec. Oops! I forget one, a
80's series stainless Colt Officers Model ACP.

The Colt Elliason sights on the Gold Cups were great, but weak.
Out of the Colt's, I was most impressed with the Combat Elite.
This 80's series masterpiece was a winner! But, I'm also very
impressed with the Spingfield; as it is very nicely made, as the
fit and parkerized finish are surperb.

To sum up, I don't guess I've had a really bad 1911. Prior to
this new Springer, the last 1911 I owned was the Officers Model
ACP sometime in the late 80's or early 90's.

Best Wishes,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member

jaysouth
August 13, 2004, 10:57 PM
Darkside


What is a "Wilson low-pro extended thumb safety"? I can't find anything like that on their web site or Brownells.

Thanks

Jay

NMshooter
August 14, 2004, 01:57 PM
So, Tamara, you looking for an "OSI" special, huh? (AFOSI used to issue, a long time ago, M1911A1 with the grip cut down to "Officers" size so they would conceal easier in a vertical shoulder holster.)

Darkside
August 16, 2004, 02:05 AM
Jaysouth, I don't remember the exact name Wilson calls it, might be called "tactical carry extended thumb saftey" or sumpin, sumpin like that.

I can check the catalog if you want the correct name?

It is just their low profile thumb safety, the shelf is not very wide. Works great for me.

Darkside

Zach S
August 16, 2004, 06:14 PM
Hmmm, long trigger (colt's plastic triggers are fine), standard slide stop, flat MSH, and rubber grips from Kimber or Pearce. Beavertails, smooth triggers, extended safeties (Kimber's are about the widest I can stand) are a nice additions, but not required.

Darkside, I'm sure you got the first word right. Wilson uses the word tactical more than Blackhawk.

Darkside
August 17, 2004, 02:55 AM
Zach S, Boy you arn't kidding.:D The saftey is the extended "Tactical" :D

Here is a picture of the Beast.

Darkside

wildehond
August 17, 2004, 07:03 AM
Some of Tuner's Slurry and lost of ammo.:)
Maybe an extended trigger.

wildehond

rick_reno
August 17, 2004, 10:44 AM
ZEKE
My LW Commander came with pretty good aftermarket sights, two piece guide rod, Kings Gun Works ambi-safety. I shortened the (insert expletive here) extended safety levers.

Zeke,

I've got that gun - did that Wilson Drop in Beavertail really "drop in"? I've wanted to replace mine, I can't shoot the thing with the grip safety that it came with.

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