Most common upgrades for 1911

This is a discussion on Most common upgrades for 1911 within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; After my latest range session (another couple hundred rounds, plus 13 Speed Gold Dots that my gun ate up happily) I've finally come to admit ...

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Thread: Most common upgrades for 1911

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array BAC's Avatar
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    Most common upgrades for 1911

    After my latest range session (another couple hundred rounds, plus 13 Speed Gold Dots that my gun ate up happily) I've finally come to admit to myself that as much as I like a bone-stock 1911, mine can't stay that way. Now that I've shot the medallions off the Pachmayr grips and have been shopping for new grips, I've pretty much determined it's time to make a list of things that ought to be upgraded for concealed carry use.

    Here's what I got so far.

    • Grips: I'm beginning to suspect that the Pachmayr grips are altering how my hand(s) would naturally wrap around the gun's grip. I'm considering inexpensive Ergo XTR or Hogue panels as a stop-gap, but I'm at a loss to do after that.
    • ILS: While I appreciate Springfield Armories' concern for my safety, I don't need the ILS. At all. I'll be removing that soon (which would also give me access to the trigger if I wanted to adjust that), but I'm not sure if I want to keep an arched MSH or get a flush one. Suggestions?
    • Sights: Put simply, they're not very visible and I highly doubt that under stress I'll be able to utilize them very well. I need something a little lower profile but brighter.
    • Thumb Safety: The standard one has a surprisingly sharp edge on the top and bottom and is really good at eating my thumb up. Need something smoother and more thumb-friendly.


    I'm torn on whether or not the slide release/stop is in need of an upgrade; on one hand, I'm worried it'll develop a bad habit (I've always been taught not to use it as a slide release), but on the other hand I'm also concerned about how I'd be able to manipulate the slide if my off-hand were injured.

    With all that out of the way, what are the common upgrades you guys give your 1911s for concealed carry, and why?


    -B

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    VIP Member Array AZ Husker's Avatar
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    My stainless Colt Series 70 repro was set up a lot like your bone-stock gun originally. Dump the Pachs, they're so '70's! I replaced most stock parts with Ed Brown Hardcore stuff, doing a nice trigger job at the same time. Bobtail, golfball front strap/MSH, dimple the right side slide stop, bevel/crown the muzzle, done by Chuck Rogers. Glass bead blast entire gun for a nice, soft matte finish. Sights by Ted Yost, grips by VZ (I love AlumaGrips also). The basic stuff you can do yourself with the Kuhnhausen Shop Manual (book 1).
    Treat me good, I'll treat you better. Treat me bad, I'll treat you worse.

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    I have a Kimber Pro Raptor that I put Larry Davidson Monkey grips on. Bought them from Mil-tac.com. I also took the polymer mainspring housing off and installed a mainspring housing/magwell from Evolution Gun works. I think it really doing this helped the looks and feel of the gun.

    Last edited by dr_cmg; March 13th, 2008 at 01:25 AM. Reason: Fix image.
    Greg


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    Member Array dsonyay's Avatar
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    the last upgrade I did to my Commander model was add a SA XD45 Service.
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    Thumbs up

    Give Brownell's a tinkle. Call them and ask for a 1911 Catalog. They will get one right out to you.
    That will give you some very nice pics of some completed 1911s and the exact parts used to get them to look that way.
    Liberty Over Tyranny Μολὼν λαβέ

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    Member Array prawls's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AZ Husker View Post
    My stainless Colt Series 70 repro was set up a lot like your bone-stock gun originally. Dump the Pachs, they're so '70's! I replaced most stock parts with Ed Brown Hardcore stuff, doing a nice trigger job at the same time. Bobtail, golfball front strap/MSH, dimple the right side slide stop, bevel/crown the muzzle, done by Chuck Rogers. Glass bead blast entire gun for a nice, soft matte finish. Sights by Ted Yost, grips by VZ (I love AlumaGrips also). The basic stuff you can do yourself with the Kuhnhausen Shop Manual (book 1).
    Who's the best person around to do a glass bead blast finish? I would like to do one on my Stainless Mil-spec.

    I've got a new trigger, wide slide release, wide safety, new match hammer and new high ride beavertail safety on order from Fusion Firearms. I like the arched mainspring on mine which is the only reason I didn't replace it and put in a magwell also. Tempted to bob it, but I have only had the gun for just under a month.
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    Senior Member Array tegemu's Avatar
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    In my view, the best mod for a 1911 is the Bobtail - increased carry comfort, better concealment, comfort and grip when shooting, resulting in better shooting. (I don't know anyone with an angular palm of their hand whereas the Bobtail naturally nestles into the palm of the hand.)
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    Plenty of options for grips, my top three choices are VZ, Davidson's Monkey Grips, and Mil-Tac. Out of those three, I like the VZ 320s better.

    For sights, I also have a top three, Heinie, XS Big Dots, and Novak.

    As for as functional upgrades of parts, that's pretty easy, a quality tool steel slightly elongated thumb safety from Wilson, Ed Brown, or STI and a good beaver tail, adding a good beaver tail means adding a commander hammer. The Beaver tail isn't a must, but I like it. If you're not getting hammer bite, and the gun sits comfortably in your hand, don't put that up as a priority.

    This is very minor, but get some hex head grips screws if you haven't all ready, given that your going to probably end up with a small box full of grip panels like me, your going to tear up the flat head grips screws in no time.

    You all ready mentioned changing the main spring housing to get rid of the ILS, the same thing, buy from a quality manufacturer.

    Other than that, I'd leave it alone.

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    Senior Member Array Cthulhu's Avatar
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    In addition to eliminating hammer bite, a beavertail grip safety can potentially help you get a higher grip on the gun.

    -JT

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    The ambi safety on my S.S. Springfield had some sharp edges. I used a disk sander to make them narrow, especially the safety on the right side. I then polished them up with a gray Scotchbrite wheel on my bench grinder. I took the right side down quite a bit but it's still functional.

    I put Pierce grips on both my 1911s (the other one is a LW Champion). These aren't the best for carry but for range use, they're great and they're reasonably priced.

    Cloudpeak

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    VIP Member Array BAC's Avatar
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    Cool, thanks for the info guys.

    An ambidextrous safety is about as much a tossup for me as an extended slide stop. Then again, a pistol course might change my mind if I'm forced to use my off-hand, but that's a bit down the road.

    I've got some Falcon Industries Ergo grips coming as an inexpensive hold-me-over just to get rid of the Pachmayr grips. I'll see how those go.

    Now I just need to find some nice visible sights. The XS sights look nice, but I'm leaning towards the Novak fiber optic sights because they seem to sit a little lower and are a little brighter (in speed shots, I can't seem to pick up the plain white sights as quick so I tend to do more point shooting than flash sighting or aiming).

    Time to make The List.


    -B

  13. #12
    Member Array Mainspring's Avatar
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    If you're going to carry it I say;

    Bobtail.
    Ed Brown Memory Grove beavertail grip safety.
    Larry Davidson Horned Lizard grips.
    High-cut frontstrap.
    Texture the frontstrap with 25 lpi checkering, or something cool like Chuck Rogers' dimple treatment or something similar.
    I like night sights, and prefer something with a vertical front surface on the rear sight to allow for one handed slide functioning.
    Though I don't have one yet, I think that those big EGW bushing/plug sets look cool, especially if they're melted in. That's on my list.
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    There is no need for an ambidextrous thumb safety unless you're left hand dominant.
    It's a feature that is not worth having on your gun unless you're a lefty.
    Just cross over the rear of your pistol with your support hand thumb and flip the standard safety off.
    If you already have one on your gun...and it works then leave it on there but, I sure would never bother adding one.
    Just my personal opinion on that.
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    Senior Member Array sheepdog's Avatar
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    You might search and read forums a bit before you add an extended slide stop. They can create failure to lock back malfunctions in some guns/magazine combinations. I think there is a reason you don't see many on guns. I've found that the more I shoot 1911s, the more I learn what I want and don't want, even down to things that I used to think were silly details, like a certain brand of beavertail.
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  16. #15
    VIP Member Array AZ Husker's Avatar
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    Remember, it's properly called a Slide STOP, not Slide RELEASE.
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