Ideas on customizing a 1911

This is a discussion on Ideas on customizing a 1911 within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have a SA Mil-Spec 1911. It's a 5" and has been a good weapon. Occassionally the slide won't lock to the rear, even with ...

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Thread: Ideas on customizing a 1911

  1. #1
    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    Ideas on customizing a 1911

    I have a SA Mil-Spec 1911. It's a 5" and has been a good weapon. Occassionally the slide won't lock to the rear, even with Wilson Magazines, however, that's not the question.

    I'd like to have some custom work done but I don't know what I want

    We'll, I know a few things....I do want a flat mainspring housing to make the grip smaller. I'd like the beavertail safety and a different hammer and I want checkering on the frontstrap and rear and better sights. But that's all external for the most part. So I guess I know what I want to some degree but I'm not sure what I want on the inside. If I can improve the accuracy a little that would be great. But beyond that I don't want to replace parts that won't make a noticeable difference in operation or accuracy.

    I was hoping some of you could recommend a short list of items you'd recommend in order to get what I've listed plus some better accuracy for a moderate price. I can't afford to go all out but would like to make it a better weapon. I'm also thinking that I'll have to have some different finish added after I'm done to cover what having work done does to the finish. I'd like to keep the weapon all black.

    I've looked at SA Armory's custom shop price list and it seems like I could buy a new gun with most of what I want for what I think it would cost me. Looks pricey to me...

    So if you can recommend some modest items and the priority you'd place on doing them, and even suggest some good sources to have the work done, I'd appreciate it very much!

    Thanks!

    Gideon

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  3. #2
    Administrative Ban Array Bruces45's Avatar
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    Is this going to be a carry gun or a range gun?

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    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    It'll be more range than carry but I am going to carry it during cold months and fishing, etc where it's easier to wear a heavier cover garment. I'm contemplating purchasing a SA Micro Compact for easier carry...

    Thanks
    Gideon

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    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    If its a Range you could always get a trigger job ..


    You can fit the Mainspringhousing yourself and i would go with one with a big magwell..

    Rest of the stuff ya might want to leave tot he gunsmith ..

    Also might want them to throat the barrel depending on how it is theres a whole bunch of things you can have done only thing stopping you is how much $$$$$$$ ya wanna spend

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    Senior Member Array jdsumner's Avatar
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    1) Good, visible sights.
    2) Crisp trigger.
    3) Bevel sharp edges.
    4) Any internal work ONLY IF NEEDED! Maybe a light throat and ramp polish.

    Dan

  7. #6
    Administrative Ban Array Bruces45's Avatar
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    Usualy the ramps and throats on the Mil-Specs are great right out of the box. here is a pic of the throat on my Mil-Spec


    If it is going to be a range gun, I would have a good trigger job done(if your going to a flat mainspring housing I would go with a long trigger instead of the short one), have the clearences tightened up, especialy barrel lug and slide lug area, a hand fitted bushing, and dare I say it...... a FLGR.
    As far as the outside add on's they are up to you and what your preferences are. I would defently go with a upswept beaver tail grip safety, defently better sights as the factory ones are better than the tiny GI ones, but leave a lot to be desired. I personaly like a extended thumb safety as I find the original a little small(YMMV), get rid of the stock hammer, or have it bobed.

    If you are wanting to make this into a real shooter, and don't have the skills to do it yourself you may want to sell it and up grade to a SA Loaded as you will have as much money or more wraped up in the mil-spec when finished, especialy if you want to have it all refinished when done.

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    I think a new gun would be more affordable for enhanced performance.

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    "... We have long maintained that the only accessories that a 1911 needs are a trigger you can manage, sights that you can see, and a dehorning job. That still goes."
    ... Jeff Cooper
    I tend to agree with the good Colonel.
    "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

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    Member Array Zach S's Avatar
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    The plans for my Mil Spec include a dovetailed front night site, Yost retro (or comparable) rear, beavertail, new barrel bushing, sear, disconnector, hammer, and a triggerjob (around 4.25 lbs). It will also be refinished in Rogaurd or Cobra Coat before I hang a Surefire 610R on it to screw the finish up... If I ever take the Title II plunge I'll get a threaded barrel for it.

    Currently, it wear Kimber rubber grips, has a long trigger (out of a colt), a Chip McCormick thumbsafety, and a flat MSH from Les Baer.

  11. #10
    Senior Member Array BlueLion's Avatar
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    Before, you do anything send it back to Springfield to have the slide not locking problem fixed. This should be done free. Then think about making any changes. I to have a milspec and the only change I made was hogue grips. However, I plan on switching them out, but if you make changes make sure it is a good customizer. I do think that a milspec is fine out of the box and choose not to mess around with it. Thats just my 2cents.
    Listen, Think and React.....Nuff Said.....

  12. #11
    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    Thanks for the good info. Based on what I've heard hear, I'm thinking I'll stay on the modest side of all this. So I'm planning to first, replace the mainspring housing with a flat checkered unit to improve the grip for me.

    I've read that I'll need to replace the internal workings of the MSH on this SA Mil-Spec. Can anyone recommend a precise parts list and perhaps even a source?

    I have good instructions in my owners manuel on how to remove the MSH, but I'm not sure about the parts inside. I've been trying to find a good site or something on line that shows it, but no dice.

    Then my next step will be to checker the front strap, better sights, beavertail, different hammer, and to get an extended thumb safety to make it a bit easier to work mine. That'll probably be it except I would expect I'd need to get the gun refinished as I'm assuming the checkering messes up the finish alot.

    One of you suggested I send the gun back for the slide not locking back once in a while. It's minor, but I think I'll do that at some point when I can afford to also have the checkering, hammer, safety and beavertail installed.

    I appreciate all the input.

    One last thing, I've absolutely fallen in love with the micro compact SA .45's. They make one in a Bi-tone and I've handled it and had to confess my lust after I was done!

    I've read alot here about some of the issues with 3" .45's and some have strong thoughts about carrying a 1911 for self defense. Am I really better to steer clear of this? Not to change direction on this thread but I'd love to order a micro compact that's loaded and use it for a primary carry weapon...

    thanks for taking the time!

    God bless and Merry Christmans

  13. #12
    VIP Member Array Redneck Repairs's Avatar
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    GAWD I LOVE 1911S oO( they and ar-15s are the Black Barbi dolls for big boys , just so much chit ya can dress em up in LOL ) that being said and outa my system now on to the mainspring housing , after you remove the housing from the pistol , look close to the top of it on the inside surface ( as it was mounted ) you will note a round headed pin , corrispondingly you will note a smaller area on the outside surface where the pin comes thro , take a screwdriver or similar object and depress the plunger that the pin retians from the top , press out the pin with a small screwdriver or punch , and CAREFULLY release tension on the plunger ( it is under pressure and will fly off to parts unkown if carelessly handled ) then remove the plunger assembly and put it in your new flat housing by reversing the steps . as for small 1911s i have seen a mixed track record for relyablilty usualy Colt officers model and larger are pretty good but some folks i know dont feel anything smaller than the commander size is suitable for social work my only advise on customisation is ask yourself one question before any change , " How will this change benifit my pistols ability to preform the role i have chosen for it " if the answer is i dont know or it wont then dont bolt more crap on the gun spend the $$ on practrice ammo instead < soapbox off > LOL and Best of luck with your 1911

  14. #13
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    I've read that I'll need to replace the internal workings of the MSH on this SA Mil-Spec. Can anyone recommend a precise parts list and perhaps even a source?
    That's not exactly correct, you can use the stock internals in your replacement MSH. If you go with the conventional internals, you'll need to change the hammer strut. Been there, done that.
    "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

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    Senior Member Array David III's Avatar
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    If your Springfield has the lock built in to the mainspring housing, then it will not have a mainspring cap pin at all. What I did was buy a 1911 pin kit for an Officers model Colt and then used the mainspring cap and cap pin for my replacement mainspring housing. I didn't have to change the hammer strut.
    I never had a feeding problem with my little Springfield. Sold it to get a Colt Officer's (only because I like the horse on the side, nothing wrong with the Springfield at all). Carried and shot that Officers gun, another one, and now carry a Colt Defender (newest style, made this year). One of the Officers guns will not feed hollow points, and I've never tried to make it do so, therefore not sure of the problem.
    The little Defender runs the best of all of them. I've heard many, many stories about 3" guns that don't work. Guess I got lucky.

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    Duh, you're correct David

    I typed that backwards, you can't use a Colt length hammer strut with the S.A. ILS components. But, the S.A. hammer strut and conventional cap & spring will lighten your hammer strike, try the pencil test.

    I changed all the internals on my GI.

    "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

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