Customizing Your 1911 Video

Hey, fellows, this is edge4006 here doing a video on customizing a 1911. There’s a lot of options in 1911s when you’re looking at the market right now, really, really good deals on some foreign 1911s, some coming out of Turkey. The Philippine 1911 for the most part have turned out to be pretty good.

Then you have your still American-made 1911s by Cole, Kimber, Smith & Wesson, I think all Sigs are now made in Exeter, New Hampshire as well, and then you got a lot of the custom groups like Ed Brown, Wilson Combat and Les Baer and so on.

When I first got this 1911, my first, what I wanted to do was to get one and to customize it myself. Now, you know, I’ve kind of received some ribbing, criticism from my friends, you know, telling me we should have just bought a Kimber from the get-go.

The reason I wanted to do this on an inexpensive platform, 1911, is I wanted to be able to make sure it wasn’t going to cost me a lot to learn. So with all the modifications I did to this particular 1911, eh, it’s come up a little bit of price from about the $500 mark from when I bought it, but I’ve had fun doing a lot of these mods myself and learning how to do them and learning from some mistakes as well.

This particular 1911 I got here, representation, is a Citadel from Arms Corp. Some people compare them to RIA’s. They’re different companies, but Arms Corp. is the parent company. This is a full-size 1911 government issue, size 1911, 5 inch barrel. Pretty much… I mean these guns come pretty stock when you get them… or not stock, sorry, come pretty… come with a good amount of accessories when you first buy them.

For instance, the beaver tail is on them, commander hammer or skeleton hammer, whatever you want to call it. The newer models now do have an adjustable trigger with cut-outs on it. Those are neat. When I got it, this one did not come with that. Front and back cocking serrations. It did come with a little bit of a beveled mag well initially, as well as ambidextrous controls for the thumb safety and also flare ejection port.

Those are a lot of things you did not see on the first Philippine guns that hit the market initially. They were mainly key-eye models, so this one is a step up from that. I took it to the next level by doing a couple of things.

First, of course, I had to get grips. First thing I bought, some BZ Operator 2 grips that I got with a thumb cut-out there. These I believe are in the Desert Sand, I believe what it is. Desert… I forgot what the color was, but it’s a real popular color grip and style.

I did have to shave them down a little bit, take the edge off, because when you do carry this gun, these are great, but they’re wicked sharp, and so I did have to take just a slight edge off them to be able to conceal carry this as well as I do on the Cajun.

One of the other things I also added was sort of a Wilson Combat front checkering strip, and what this does is it’s a little, little piece, a little strip of real fine metal, thin metal, sheet metal that goes between these two grips when you set them up, kind of like some people get the little knuckle pads for your hand.

They’ll put them between a pair of grips they like as well. Same concept but with little bit of… with checkering. This is a Wilson Combat part that I got from Wilson Combat.

I redid all the guts internally. All the springs are redone, and all the pins are redone, Wilson Combat. I just got a deal on that package. I said what they hay, why not. I heard of a lot of guys that do that, or the big 1911er guys, that’s the first thing they do any gun they get. They redo it with Wilson Combat parts.

I also did put a main spring housing and mag well. This is from Fusion Firearms. I got this off eBay. Got a really good deal. This guy makes awesome stuff. It has come discolored for in time because I shoot this gun quite a bit. When I go to the range, it’s always going with me, but that’s expected. I mean it’s fine. You could touch it up if you don’t… it’s a shooter, so I really… it doesn’t bother me.

The other thing, one of the first things I did as far as like really, really customizing it where you have to kind of learn, where you’re going to learn, you’re going to waste a part or two to learn, was the bushing.

This bushing right here… let me try to get to the right light… it is not… this is a aftermarket that I put on there. What I like about it, it’s chamfered. Could see the edges, and these come oversized when you buy them. Bought this from Brownell’s. Believe this is a EGW, I believe, part.

They cover oversized initially, and you have to fit them, and that’s a fun part because you literally got to grab that sucker and grab a file and just one stroke at a time, one direction, and just keep going in a circle all the way around it until you fit it to the right diameter of your slide.

That was one I ruined one, had to buy another one. There you go. You got to learn. Another part, thumb safety. When you learn to fit a thumb safety, I ruined a really good one and then I seen some that are drop-in. You got to be careful with those, too, because they drop in but you got to make sure they’re fully functional.

You got to test them out and go to the range and make sure to test them out there, that they’re operational, and not just assume because they fit, they’re working. So I had to learn, and then it’s funny because then it like finally popped out, I go this is what I screwed up on, and then it is clear as day to me now how to fit a thumb safety.

Another thing that I learned, one of the other things, about buying a part is if you bought a part you think is going to work out, it’s going to be awesome. I bought a thumb safety that was oversized. It looks cool when you put it on the gun, and it feels cool with your thumb, but it’s not very cool when you’re trying to use it on a holster, find a holster that works with it, it’s not digging into you. It’s so wide that it’s popping in your side.

Again, each one of those thumb safeties are like 30 bucks. I ruined one, and then the second one I fitted. I got it to work, but it didn’t… it was just too large. I couldn’t use it unless I just turned this into some range game completely, and I still use it to carry on occasion.

So what’s one of the other things we did here? I also replaced a guide rod cap as well to match the bushing, so that’s another you got customized. One of the biggest things I did was the trigger. The trigger came with it initially is a good trigger. Nothing wrong with it, but what it did do is it did have a little slop on it, and it wasn’t adjustable.

A friend of mine sent me a trigger because this one came out of a Sig Sauer Scorpion. He didn’t care for the block-face trigger, kind of like that, and he sent it to me. I had to fit it. That was another one. Learning to fit triggers are fun. Fit it, take your time with it, a little at a time and then got it to work, got it to work.

The trigger is excellent on this gun now the way I have it set. See that? See the take up on it? Very little. Reset. There you go. Next to nothing take up. A little bit there and click. Awesome. That was a fun one to install and all in all, it’s an excellent gun. It’s completely reliable. I’ve put at least over a thousand rounds through it, if not more, and completely reliable.

The main reason I wanted to do, kind of wrapping it up here, is because I wanted to say when people say well, you know, buy a Kimber, buy this gun, this a good project, and I learned a lot from this gun, and it’s still working. I didn’t break it.

Moreover, I didn’t mess it up that bad, and now it’s exactly the way I like it. Yeah, the only thing else I would want are some better sights. These are factory sights. I got to look into getting some. They’re a little different cut on the top of the slide from any other Novak-style sights out there, but I’ll figure that one out.

I wanted to do this again. I showed that you can have a lot of fun fixing your 1911 up, and doing it slowly, it’s a project. You got money for the grips, then you add them, save up a little more, get money for that customized main screen, mag well and so on and so on.

You can have a lot of fun doing it. You just got to have patience more than anything. That’s the thing I noticed, and that’s one of the things I like about working on guns is it’s taught me… I was not a very patient person by nature, but learning to work on guns has taught me to be patient and to wait. That applies in other things in life, too, as well.

The last thing I want to go over with is magazines. When you get your inexpensive magazines here… these are the ones that came with it, two of them at least. These are basically Mec-Gar… or not Mec-Gar, AK mags. I would definitely recommend going into something like a Chip McCormick. These are the first… these are the mags I upgraded to. I bought these for range, pair of Ordinance seven-rounders. These are eight-rounders from Ak Mag.

These are Chip McCormick power mags. These are definitely solid, great magazines. They are not terribly expensive. You can find them on the $30 price mark, you look hard enough. Then the best mags I have are the Tripp Research Cobra mags. These are the ones that I currently carry in them. I switch on and off between these and the Chip McCormicks, but mainly I carry the Tripp Research Cobra mags.

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Again, thanks a lot. Edge4006 signing out. Fight the good fight, man, and keep your boots tied, brother.