2) Where did the 1911 get its name?
A: The M1911 pistol was officially adopted by the U.S. Army in the year 1911.
3) What company originally manufactured the 1911?
A: Colt produced the original M1911 pistol. Demand for the pistol in WWI led to production of the pistol by Springfield Armory also. Demand further increased in WWII and other companies including Remington Rand, Ithaca Gun Company, Union Switch & Signal, Singer and Rock Island Arsenal produced the 1911.
4) What was the original caliber that the 1911 was chambered for?
A: The 1911 was originally chambered in a fairly new caliber, the .45 ACP (Automatic Colt Pistol). Experience in fighting the Moro guerrillas during the Philippine-American war convinced the department of the Army that a caliber larger than .38 was required to provide adequate stopping power. A cartridge of .45 caliber was settled on and developed for an auto-loading pistol.
6) I have heard of a 1911 Commander model. What is that?
A: The original M1911 had a 5 inch barrel and was called the Government Model. A shorter, lighter version of the 1911 that had a 4.25 inch barrel and an aluminum frame was introduced in 1951 to meet the Army’s request for a lighter pistol to be issued to officers. The Commander was originally chambered in 9mm Luger and retained the same grip frame dimensions of the Government Model. The Officer’s Model was later introduced and incorporated a 3.5 inch barrel with a shorter grip frame.
7) I have a .45 1911. Can I convert it to another caliber?
A: There are conversion kits available to convert your .45 1911 to shoot .22LR ammunition. These kits can run anywhere from $250-$600 but will save a lot of money over time by shooting the less expensive .22LR round. The 1911 is not easily converted from one centerfire caliber to another.
8 ) I bought a Springfield Armory 1911A1. It is a very basic model. What parts are available to customize it?
A: There are literally hundreds of aftermarket replacement parts available for the 1911. Some of these can be installed at home by the owner but many will require fitting by a gunsmith. Some of the more common modifications are the installation of an extended thumb safety, beavertail grip safety, better sights (fixed or adjustable), match barrel bushing, match trigger, match barrel, Commander style hammer and upgraded grip panels. Many gunsmiths have made their reputation and their living by customizing the 1911 pistol.
9) I have a Llama .45. Is this a 1911 and are the parts interchangeable?
A: The Llama .45 is very similar in appearance to the 1911 but is not a true 1911. Most of the parts are not interchangeable between the two models.
10) My 1911 came with a 7 round magazine. Is there a flush fit magazine that holds more than 7 rounds?
A: Yes. Several companies like Wilson Combat and Chip McCormick offer 8 round magazines that fit flush with the bottom of the grip.
11) I have larger hands and my 1911 grip seems a bit small. Is there a way to make the grip fill my hand better?
A: Yes. There are several styles of grips that wrap around the front of the grip frame and will provide a larger gripping surface. Many of these are made from rubber but there are some that are a combination of wood and rubber and others that are all wood. Hogue and Pearce are two companies that manufacture this style of grip.
12) How can I mount a scope to my 1911?
A: There are several ways to mount a scope on a 1911. The easiest and least expensive method is the grip panel mount. This mount replaces the right grip panel and provides a rail to attach a scope or red dot sight to. This mount will not be as stable as some though because it is attached only with the two grip screws. Another style mount uses the rear sight cut for a mounting point but this is limited to smaller red dot sight sights. B Square makes a mount that attaches to the frame and uses the slide stop hole as an attachment point. The first three mounts mentioned do not require any gunsmithing. The best, and most expensive, method is to have either the slide or the frame drilled and tapped by a competent gunsmith. These mounts are very secure and will accept both red dot sights and scopes.
13) The sights on my 1911 are small and difficult to see. What can I do to help this?
A: The only fix is to replace the sights. There are many aftermarket sights (fixed and adjustable) available for the 1911. Some require no gunsmithing while others will require special tools or machining to install.
14) I am having difficulty getting the barrel bushing to turn in my 1911. Is there a tool that can help me do this?
A: Yes. Several companies make a wrench specifically designed to remove and install the barrel bushing. These wrenches can be made of polymer or steel and both will get the job done. The obvious advantage to polymer is that it is non-marring.
15) I have seen many replacement parts advertised as “drop in”. What does this mean and will they fit all 1911’s?
A: A “drop in” part is supposed to fit in most 1911’s without gunsmithing. While this can be the case with many guns, especially mil-spec guns, tolerances on other guns may still require some fitting to install the part. Many of today’s current production 1911’s are no longer built to the original military specifications in an attempt to improve accuracy and provide a custom look.
16) Will the grips for a Government Model work on a Commander and Officer’s Model?
A: The Government Model grips will fit the Commander but the Officer’s Model has a shorter grip frame that requires shorter grip panels. The grip screw spacing is also closer on the Officer’s Model.
The mission of Cheaper Than Dirt!’s blog, “The Shooter’s Log,” is to provide information—not opinions—to our customers and the shooting community. We want you, our readers, to be able to make informed decisions. The information provided here does not represent the views of Cheaper Than Dirt!