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Commander size slide

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by M2HMGHB, May 6, 2004.

  1. M2HMGHB

    M2HMGHB Well-Known Member

    Was wondering if you could buy a commander size slide for a full size 1911, specificly a Springfield 1911 mil-spec made in 2001. The reason I'm asking is that I sometimes dont like the full 5 inch barrel on the 1911 but the frame and all the parts are great, the trigger is where I like it and is nice and smooth. I was wondering how much of a hassle and prices and what parts are needed to do this. Thanks all.

    Edited to add, I saw an add in Shotgun News for detective slide kits for Browning High Power pistols, where supposedly all you do is replace the slide with theirs, thats about what I'm looking for but I'd be willing do it myself.
  2. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

    Commander Slide

    Howdy Ma Deuce,

    The COmmander slide will physically mate to a 5-inch frame, assuming compatible dimensions in the rails, and it will function...after a fashion.
    Gettin it to run right usually takes a little re-engineering, though.

    The GM frame rails are .90-.100 inch longer than the Commander's, and
    the slide travel is also reduced by that amount. When you try to mate
    the short top end to the GM frame, you lose about .150 inch of travel,
    and that can bring on some problems.

    You'll need an extended ejector, and you'll have to play with the length
    a little to find the sweet spot that will eject the brass in the right direction
    and still allow live-round ejection. You'll probably also have to open up
    the front of the port to allow you to leave enough length on the ejector
    to do both.

    You can recover a little of the lost slide travel by reducing the thickness of the recoil spring guide rod head...but there's a limit of about .045 inch
    reduction before the slide hits the frame rails instead of the head when it recoils. (Lathe required)

    The other route is to send the frame to be altered...which is the right way,
    but a little expensive unless you plan to turn the gun into a Commander,
    AND...you figure that it's worth the cost. Unless you happen to have a
    Commander top-end and a GM frame lyin' around not earnin' their keep,
    it's probably cheaper and simpler to just buy a Commander.

    To make it look right, you'll also have to shorten the dust cover to line
    up with the contour of the Commander slide at the front...at which point,
    the gun won't work with a 5-inch top-end any more because the recoil
    spring will be exposed.

    I've done the swap a few times when I've had a decent frame but no slide...and a decent Commander slide but no frame.

    Hope this helps!

  3. M2HMGHB

    M2HMGHB Well-Known Member

    Much obliged Tuner. Looks like I'll just have to find a commander then.
  4. stans

    stans Well-Known Member

    Listen to 1911Tuner, my experience has been the same. A few years ago Essex and maybe Caspian made some cast steel Commander length slides with short recoil spring tunnels. These were specifically designed for Government model frames. I have not actually used one of these, so I can't speak for the quality or the durability. I would expect you would have to trim the recoil spring plug to match the shorter plug tunnel on the slide.
  5. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    My FLG does the old Sheldon Bobcat treatment, as was done to get a short steel gun before the Combat Commander came out. He cuts a G.M. barrel and slide off to 4.25" so as to maintain the full slide travel of a 1911. This requires turning the front locking lug off the barrel, shortening the bushing, and building a recoil spring column to use a Glock flatwire recoil spring, plus resetting the front sight. It ain't cheap. They shoot well but I don't see where they are better than a well set up Commander.

    Caspian will sell you a 4.5" G.M. slide; intended for a comp gun with protruding recoil spring plug and standard recoil spring, but it would work as a short 1911 top end. A lot of work and money to save half an inch.
  6. Dave Sample

    Dave Sample member

    Jim has a great FGS at his beck and call. Tuner is right on also. It is a very poor thing to do to either the upper or the lower. There is also no known advantage to having an all steel Commander that I have ever seen. The 7/8th of an inch on the slide does not create a problem for most Pistoleros that I know. The Commander advantage is in the LW Lower End, not the length of the slide. I have tried many times to make a great two top 1911 and have never been happy with any of them. Most ranges frown on switching gun parts on the line and I always had the wrong top end with me. I wouldn't bother with this plan. LW Colt Commanders are on the hip of every pal I have left. None of them carry an all steel one. They are too heavy for us O.F's. Of course, Tuner is young enough to still carry a 5 inch! Good Man! You have asked a question that many would like to ask, so be proud of yourself and enjoy the answers you have been given. LW Commanders are a fun tweak to make reliable, but it can be done.

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