Picked up a Springfield 1911 mil-spec a couple days ago. I knew going in that I would be upgrading certain components but I was wondering what suggestions for upgrades you guys would suggest.
From practice I already know I want an extended thumb mag release, and also a longer/wider thumb safety, have suggestions on types/brands/styles? Any other upgrades I should look into?
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If this is your first 1911 I would shoot at least 600 rounds out of it before making any changes with perhaps the exception of sights. There are whole catalogues of junk to hang from the 1911 platform; my advice is to be choosy. The gadget de jour generally winds up in the junk drawer of the gun room. The KISS principal really applies to SD/Combat guns. Remember you are not building a game gun.
I carry a 1911 everyday, for myself starting with a milspec gun I'd go the following in about the order presented.
1, Magazines - As mentioned above ditch the factory mags that came with the gun and buy Wilson 8 round, McCormick or Trip magazines. I like Wilson mags, but that is just me.
1, Sights, fixed non adjustable, solid 3 dot system- To go with fixed sights you'll need to decide what weight of bullet you'll carry. I use 230 gr only. Any decent smith will be able to set your sights to point of impact at a specified range (I use 25 yards). Fixed sights are also considerably more durable than adjustable sights and are less prone to damage or being knocked out of alignment.
2, Grips – Change to what you like, slimmer, thicker, wood or carbon fiber. I like checkered walnut. In fact my carry gun wears a set of old Series 70 Gold Cup grips(I like the old Rampant Colt logo in gold). To each his own.
3 , Main Spring Housing - Your milspec should have come with an arched mainspring housing. I personally find the flat mainspring to have more natural point. )If your natural point of aim is abnormally high with the arched mainspring housing, I would change this immediately)
3, Trigger Length. - I would change the trigger to a long or medium length trigger if the short milspec trigger does not suit you. (Again shoot it 500 rounds first)
4, Trigger Job – If you change the trigger length, have the smith do a trigger job. 4 to 5 pounds for a SD/ Combat gun is fine. The key here is crisp and clean, with the reset smooth so you can feel it under your index finger. (Keep in mind a bad trigger in a 1911 is better than the best trigger in any of the striker or DA guns out there, so I would not get too wrapped around the axle over a super trigger job you are not building a bulleye gun.)
5, Reliability work – Ramp / Throat work if needed. Run 600 or 700 rounds through the gun first. Or the easiest solution is to just feed it a steady diet of ball ammo, ball works fine for SD work.
6, Bushing/Barrels Accuracy Work – Neat to do but not required for a SD/combat gun. Your milspec should shoot 4 inch groups at 25 yards which is more than sufficient for SD work, and truth be known, better than most folks can shoot at 25.
Beavertail, Extended Safety – Nice to have but not necessary on a carry gun.
Not to do’s
1, Extended Mag Release button – You don’t need it, it is far to easy to inadvertently drop the mag unintentionally. They belong on game guns not serious SD/combat guns.
2, Extended Slide Stop/Release – They do not belong on carry guns.
Just my opinion, but I have carried the 1911 for well over 30 years.