Well, It's Done.

This is a discussion on Well, It's Done. within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; From the outset, my "No nonsense carry pistol" was to be based on the MEU 1911 pistol in use by the Marines and SOCOM. I ...

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Thread: Well, It's Done.

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array Joshua M. Smith's Avatar
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    Well, It's Done.

    From the outset, my "No nonsense carry pistol" was to be based on the MEU 1911 pistol in use by the Marines and SOCOM. I figured I'd delete what I didn't need or want, add what I did want, substitute what I had to, and call it good.

    I started with a Rock Island Armory pistol, new in box. After firing it and bloodying my hand, I figured I needed to take a look at the specs for the MEU, custom built at Quantico, and get started.

    Here are the MEU's specifications set forth by the military, and my answer to it:

    match quality 5" barrel - The one that came with the gun with the RIA is very accurate as is. I didn't feel this was necessary.

    Novak LoMount Sights - Maybe eventually. My shooting style, however, is point shooting, at most indexing the sights at close range. If further out, I want the precision of small sights, thus the milspec sights are staying for now. To those who say that you can't see small sights under stress, I can and have.

    lowered and flared ejection port - RIA was already equipped

    heavy recoil spring - I have an 18.5lb Wilson I may drop back in, but the 16lb is doing fine, and recoil is not as prevalent with the 16#. I figure that if I replace the 16# every 3,000 rounds or so, I should be fine.

    standard recoil spring guide - I agree! No FLGR here!

    trigger job - done, but to make it heavier, not lighter. RIA had it at around 3 pounds. I wanted five more.

    ambidextrous thumb safety - Yup, but while they use King's, I've had a hard time finding one of these. Everyone's sold out of King's and Kimber, and the waiting list is longer than I want to wait. The price has gone up too, due to demand.

    "beavertail" grip safety - Done. I'm using the same one they are, and Ed Brown without the memory bump. I am given to understand that the next generation of SOCOM 1911s will have the speed bump, but I prefer not to have it.

    checkered flat mainspring housing with lanyard loop - I've got no use for a lanyard loop, and the MSH is lined instead of checkered. I cannot tell any difference in my grip, and I prefer the straight vertical lines.

    beveled magazine well - It's there.

    Wilson Combat eight–round magazine - I have seven round Wilson #47s. The reason for this is that, from what I'm hearing, the #47D they use is only loaded to seven rounds for reliability's sake.

    Pachmayr wrap–around grips - I equipped with these and like them. The nice, shiny Corian grips I had on there before looked nice and functioned well when my hands were wet, but when they were dry or dusty, keeping a firm grip was hard. The only PITA was relieving them for the Swenson style thumb safety.

    Lightweight trigger - I have one, I tried it, and I just like the feel of the original trigger better, so it stayed.

    Here's what I ended up with:


    This thing shoots wonderfully.

    I really like the way it feels now. The hammer and grips were the finishing touches, and I have a member of one of these several forums I'm on to thank for it.


    This blends in well with the rest of my carry equipment. Everything is utilitarian and not designed to be pretty.

    At the range, it performs. The heavier trigger is not a hindrance due to its crisp break. I fired 85 rounds to ensure sear/hammer engagement, and I did much better than with the 3.5# trigger pull.

    I might eventually bring it down to 5lbs with a lighter trigger and hammer spring (and a correspondingly heavier recoil spring) but I just don't see the need, right now.

    Unless I find a huge flaw, it's done. I'm very satisfied with it, and no longer feel the need to improve its handling for me.

    Josh <><

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  3. #2
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    Looks good Josh.
    "Just blame Sixto"

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    Senior Member Array Joshua M. Smith's Avatar
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    The hell it does. It's an ugly pistol :D

    See, besides the hammer bite thing, what got me thinking on this and the reason I adopted the military specs for this thing, was my dog.

    She's a mix between a Yellow or Golden retriever and either timber wolf or husky (we've had some wolves and hybrids show up around here, and this not being wolf country, it confounds us as to where they came from.) Last time I was camping, I was at Salamonie Reservoir. Since she's still I a pup (about a year and huge) and learning to hunt, I decided to take her down to the lake and get her used to the water. I waded out and realized that I had really done nothing to my pistol to prepare it for water, or mud, or anything I might encounter. I stopped with the water lapping at the pistol's muzzle.

    I keep a cleaning kit in my ruck sack, so I cleaned it well afterward. But still... it wasn't ready for muddy reservoir water.

    I camp, fish, and hunt a lot, and while my old carry piece, a Taurus PT92, was equipped by me over the years to run fine even though it was full of grit, the RIA still had vulnerable parts, the grips especially.

    Instead of doing a lot of experimenting with the 1911 like I had with the Taurus, I decided to look at what the Marines and SOCOM were using. I figured they had solved most of the problems associated with the elements and gunk, and it seems they had.

    Still, I left things a bit looser than they seem to have done - no accurizing job and not much fitted - nothing that didn't need to be. Just the safeties.

    And it's a butt ugly gun, but it works much better in crap than the finest gun I ever owned, an S&W M19-3 Combat Masterpiece, could have ever done.

    I figure there's purty, and there's what works. They're not always mutually exclusive, but are most of the time.

    Just my take on things.

    Josh <><

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    Distinguished Member Array mavrik46's Avatar
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    Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, and that is a good looking 1911. Looks good and if it functions as stated, you done good. Very good.
    Greg


    It's not what you go thru in life, but how well you go thru it.

  6. #5
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    I like the way it looks, about how much did that all run if you dont mind me asking.
    Fortes Fortuna Juvat

    Former, USMC 0311, OIF/OEF vet
    NRA Pistol/Rifle/Shotgun/Reloading Instructor, RSO, Ohio CHL Instructor

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    Ex Member Array Ram Rod's Avatar
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    Looks good! I'm going to ask about two things here. Why is the hammer scratched on the side? Is the extractor interfering? Second--no NM bushing? I also wouldn't mind knowing the basics of making the trigger pull heavier on that bad boy. I've built a custom out of a Norinco back when--yeah-still wish I had it in a way, every now and then.

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    VIP Member Array SammyIamToday's Avatar
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    You upped the trigger to 8lbs? Heresy. :p
    ...He suggested that "every American citizen" should own a rifle and train with it on firing ranges "at every courthouse." -Chesty Puller

  9. #8
    Senior Member Array Joshua M. Smith's Avatar
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    Why is the hammer scratched on the side? Is the extractor interfering?
    The hammer is used - it was sent to me as a gift - and after I tested it for function, I installed it permanently. I thought about buffing out the marks, but didn't see the point. It'll be covered permanently in powder grime soon enough! I don't know what what was going on with the previous gun. It doesn't look like it was installed for too long though as there is no wear other than those marks.

    Second--no NM bushing?
    I can put holes in pop cans at 50 yards with the stock setup. I just didn't see the need for a match bushing.

    I also wouldn't mind knowing the basics of making the trigger pull heavier on that bad boy.
    First, stock sear engagement. The hammer hooks should be .020" to .030" deep. I prefer .030", and anything under .020" starts to make me nervous for carry. Deepen them by filing 90 degrees to the hooks. Do not change the hook geometry, and don't file unless they're out of spec.

    After making sure the hammer hooks are in spec and the sear engages the hammer at the proper angle (a jig from Brownell's is best for this), the second easiest thing to do is bend the sear/hammer spring. That's the finger to the left of the disconnector finger. It usually has a little hook on the tip. Bend it in, or get a heavier leaf. I have a Wilson leaf sitting in my parts bin that would probably take two pounds off of the pull. Just don't wanna! :)

    Third, get a Wolff main (hammer) spring. I think you can order heavier ones through them - I got a heavy one through Wilson. If it's too heavy, it won't hurt to lose some coils - the main spring has always been extremely strong in the 1911, stronger than need be.

    On the other hand, if you want to make the pull lighter, chop coils off the main spring until it lightens primer strikes. I wouldn't remove more than three however.

    Then, bend the sear spring back, or better yet, buy a new, light one.

    Finally, take the hammer hooks down to .020", no further or you risk doubling. Best to do this with a jig so you don't change the angles.

    This will give you a race gun, not a carry gun.

    Short answer to make the pull heavier: Heavy mainspring, heavy sear spring with the left finger bent in, and .030" 90* hammer hooks.

    Be aware that if you change the main spring to a heavier one, you may have to go lighter on the recoil spring. Conversely, if you chop coils or go to a lighter main spring, be prepared to go to a heavier recoil spring. There's a delicate balance there that, if shot too much with it out of whack, could damage your pistol.

    I hope I explained things OK there.

    Josh <><
    Last edited by Joshua M. Smith; July 6th, 2008 at 12:15 AM. Reason: "hood geometry" should have been "hook geometry."

  10. #9
    Senior Member Array Joshua M. Smith's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by SammyIamToday View Post
    You upped the trigger to 8lbs? Heresy. :p
    Yup, but that's OK. So says my old Model 19-3 Combat Masterpiece I wish I still had.

    Honestly, it breaks so smoothly that it feels like 5lbs. I only know its true weight due to the fact that I put it on an old gauge I had laying around.

    Josh <><

  11. #10
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    Turned out quite well.

    Here are the actual specifactions for NSN100S-O1-370-7353, according to Pat Rogers;

    Primary function: Modified .45 caliber pistol
    Builder: Specially trained armorers at the Rifle Team Equipment (RTE) Shop, MCB Quantico, Virginia
    Length: 8.625 inches (21.91 centimeters)
    Length of barrel: 5.03 inches (12.78 centimeters)
    Weight:
    Magazine empty: 2.5 pounds (1.14 kilograms)
    Magazine loaded: 3.0 pounds (1.36 kilograms)
    Bore diameter: .45 caliber
    Maximum effective range: 164 feet (50 meters) for specially-trained user
    Muzzle velocity: 830 feet/252 meters/second
    Magazine capacity: 7 rounds
    Unit Replacement Cost: $600

    Features: This weapon is a modified M1911A1 .45 caliber pistol sometimes referred to as "near match" or "combat accuratized." The MEU(SOC) Pistol is the designated "backup weapon" of Marines armed with the 9mm MP5-N Close Quarters Battle weapon. The M1911A1 was chosen for this role (and its modifications generated) because of its inherent reliability and lethality, and because the MEU(SOC) modifications make the M1911A1 design more "user friendly."

    The unique characteristics of the MEU(SOC) pistol are: commercial/competition grade ambidextrous safety, precision barrel, precise trigger, and rubber coated grips, rounded hammer spur, high profile combat sights, and an extra-wide grip safety for increased comfort and controllability (which aids in a quick follow-up second shot). The issue magazines are replaced with stainless steel competition-grade magazines with rounded plastic follower and extended floor plate.

    Description of Modifications: "The MEU(SOC) pistol starts out as a stripped government contract M1911A1 frame, as manufactured up until 1945 or so. The frame is inspected, and the feed ramp polished and throated. The entire weapon is dehorned. All internal parts are replaced with current commercial items. King's Gun Works supplies the beaver-tail grip safety and an ambidextrous thumb safety. This last piece is often thought of as a superfluous device, added on as a derigueur item on hordes of IPSC pistols. Here it has some usefulness. The pistol must fit any operator in the platoon, whether he is right or "wrong" hand dominant. Future rebuild pistols will have a "memory bump" on the grip safety. Currently, many operators are unable to depress the grip safety when having their thumb (properly) on top of the thumb safety. Some, understanding that your priority safety rests between your ears, have taped this useless grip "safety" closed. This is now forbidden, and will continue to present problems until the rebuild pistols are brought on line. Videcki aluminum Match triggers are installed, and tuned to a pull of between 4-5 pounds. Colt Commander hammers replace the standard spur hammer.

    Slides are commercial contract. Initially, one vendor supplied all of the slides, but after the initial purchase problems developed. Caspian and Springfield Inc. currently supply all of the slides. The new rebuilds will have forward slide serrations to enhance chambered round verification (the oh so important press check).

    Barrels are provided by Bar-Sto. The barrel bushings are form King's Gun Works. The front sight is also form King's Gun Works and is staked on. While many have shunned this method of front sight installation, preferring instead to dovetail it in, the Marine Corps has apparently got this procedure down right. I cannot ever recall seeing a front sight come off of the pistol.

    The high profile rear sight is custom made at the RTE shop. This is an excellent unit, providing a good sight picture. It is secured to the slide by a hex head screw. The ejection port is lowered and scalloped to improve ejection. A fiber recoil buffer is installed. This controversial device is both cursed and praised. There is no doubt that the buffer absorbs some of the battering, but they do deteriorate, and debris can insinuate itself into the nether regions of the pistol. This does no appear to be a problem in the Marine Corps, as weapons maintenance takes on almost religious proportions.

    Flat mainspring housings are used, and as these are working guns, a lanyard loop is added. The lanyard themselves are made by the operators. A commercial telephone cord, the snap hook from an issue lanyard, and cable ties work out nicely. Pachmayer rubber grip panels finish out the package. Once used on a lot of 1911's, these are now considered to be somewhat Jurassic by some operators. There is no checkering on the MEU(SOC) pistol. This may be contrary to the exhortations of legions of pistolsmiths, writers, and wannabe commandos who insist that without such checkering the pistol will just slide and jump around in one's hand when they are wet, bloody, etc." -- Patrick A. Rogers, Tactical Shooter Magazine, June 1999
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Diligentia Vis Celeritas"

    "There is very little new, and the forgotten is constantly being rediscovered."
    ~ Tiger McKee

  12. #11
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    Nothing butt ugly to me. Looks darn fine. Shoot, makes me even look a little harder at the 1911!
    "The heart of the wise inclines to the right, but the heart of the fool to the left." Eccl. 10:2

  13. #12
    Senior Member Array Joshua M. Smith's Avatar
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    You know, the only thing I don't like about this pistol is the top of the right grip panel. Those grips are rubber, and the right side safety, being a Swenson style STI, rests on top of that rubber with my thumb on top of the safety.

    That's torquing the joint a bit too much I think. It'll hold, but it would be far better to hunt down a King's or Kimber. Either has a notch for a special hammer pin, and rides on same. It's likely that's why the military chose them - no relieved grips or having to worry about the height or rigidity of the grip panels...

    Josh <><

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