View Full Version : WTK, how hard is it to build a 1911

Douglas S Graham
September 27, 2013, 11:02
OK, I've built quite a few FALS, AR's are easy. How hard is it to assemble a 1911, comapared to those two?? TIA. Doug.

September 27, 2013, 12:37
OK, I've built quite a few FALS, AR's are easy. How hard is it to assemble a 1911, comapared to those two?? TIA. Doug.

It's like Dabs' underwear. Depends.

Stuff that's "in spec" (shup, GP) will just straight up assemble and work.

If you want a "match" gun or some other custom version, then some hand fitting is going to be required.

None of it is terribly difficult, provided you understand what you are about, and nearly all of it can be done with hand tools--files, stones, abrasive cloth, and the like--and some patience.

Timber Wolf
September 27, 2013, 14:25
Not much to add to sholomo's comments. I have swapped around slides & barrels. Built some from bare frames & slides. I did not find it as hard as FAL building or even AR screwing-together for that matter.

September 27, 2013, 15:24
I find it most @#$% TEDIOUS! But as the fellows above said, depends.

You can assemble a 1911 with drop-in parts quite easily, but if you buy "Match" parts, you will need to do some stoning and filing. OK, a lot of stoning and filing. Got patience?

The last one I built had hand-fitted-everything and while it locks up like a Bank vault and I'm happy with it, I won't be doing another like it. My patience has worn thin these days and my eyes don't allow for much fine work.

There are very accurate 1911's in the marketplace that would be difficult to duplicate for the money building from parts.

September 27, 2013, 19:37
Pretty much what everyone else said. A standard Government model 1911 build is basically just assembling parts, and can be done in half an hour to an hour, depending (there's that word again) on whether you clean and oil the parts before putting them on the gun.

However, when you start building a match grade or custom pistol, unless you really know what you're doing, it's very easy to wind up with an expensive paperweight. Installing custom rear sights usually requires a milling machine, and fitting a match barrel can be a critical step. If it's not done correctly, the gun won't function. Doing a trigger job, it's easy to ruin a sear or hammer if you don't have a stoning fixture to get the angles correct, or a LOT of experience doing 1911 trigger jobs. Installing a match front sight usually requires silver soldering or machining, and if silver soldered, the slide will then need to be reblued or refinished (assuming that it's not stainless). The list goes on, but you get the idea.

Compared to an FAL, assembling a 1911 is a piece of cake. Building one is an entirely different matter.

Douglas S Graham
September 28, 2013, 08:16
Thanks for the replies guys. I think I will stick with buying already assembled guns. I don't need more tools, or expensive fixing either. :biggrin:

September 28, 2013, 17:21
take a look at a "Citadel" ... Armscorp manuf ... same as Rock Island but with a few upgrades, like a lowered and flared ejection port and a little better finish ... I just bought a used one that's had the chit shot out of it ... still nice and tight and shoots very well ...

Forged slide and frame ... mine is the compact with the 3 1/2" barrel ...

I'm impressed ... !!! ... no slop ... !!! ... Colt parts fit like a glove ... slide/frame fit is most excellent ... !!!

perfect for tinkering with and worth the upgrades ...

just my opinion ... not worth much I'm guessing ... :wink:

September 29, 2013, 21:49
Good advice in this thread - I have messed with some 1911's - it's cheaper to just buy a Springer Pro, Ed Brown, Baer, or Night Hawk (all in the sub $3k range unless you get stupid) - if you have deeper pockets there are more options but I can't see spending $6k+ on a 1911...

October 02, 2013, 17:55
If you want a really sweet Ed Brown Kobra at one heck of a price, mine is on Gunbroker. So as not to hi-jack the thread PM or email me if you want details.

October 04, 2013, 00:34
I enjoy the process of fitting parts into an 1911, have done a few, tuning the ejection is one small item that does tell me if someone knew what they were doing, most info you can read up on easily. Enjoy...

October 04, 2013, 11:37
Building a 1911 is an enjoyable hobby.
If you like bulding firearms go for it and take your time and enjoy, if you are trying to save a few bucks buy a factory gun.

October 05, 2013, 15:53
Let me start by saying that if parts are in spec then it is like building an AR. However, if you buy any of the parts from someone like SARCO then expect to have lots of problems. You can build a gun that will be worth as much as a factory build gun from the Philippines for only twice the costs of buying one. But building your own gun is a fun and educational pursuit and I encourage you to do so. If you are building to save money then forget it.