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5 Must-Have Upgrades for your 1911 Build

Posted by 80-lower on Nov 1st 2019

The 1911 is a handgun universally recognized as one of the greatest firearms ever made. It helped win wars, save lives, and earn troops medals with accounts of heroism and sheer legend. But for all its archaic perfection, the venerable 1911 could stand to use a few upgrades. Keep reading to find the quickest and most effective ways to make your already-good 1911 truly perfect. Below you’ll find the 3 must-have upgrades for your 1911 build kit!

  1.     Get Your 1911 Some Better Sights

The 1911’s basic open-leaf sights are adequate for basic accuracy, but they leave much to be desired. Any half-decent 1911 should be an accurate shooter to 50 yards but getting there means improving your sight picture.

There are a few ways to go about this, but we recommend two categories: Fiber optics or ghost ring sights. A set of fiber optic sights will provide a clearer, more precise sight alignment in day and nighttime settings. Ghost ring sights are perfect for achieving a quick, intuitive sight picture while on the move, making them perfect for self-defense and competition shooting.

If neither sound enticing, some basic adjustable should be strongly considered. With the right adjustment precision and discipline, you can easily make tight shot groups at 50 yards or further.

  1.     Upgrade Your 1911’s Barrel

The 1911’s barrel can be removed and reinstalled with no hand tools, in under two minutes. With barrels hitting the market that provide 1 MOA of accuracy at 50 yards, it makes perfect sense to upgrade your 1911’s barrel.

Match-grade, stainless barrels can be had for under $250. Barrels of this build quality are manufactured from certified 416R stainless and they’re heat-treated to a hardness rating of 40-42 HRC. Cut broach rifling in a barrel like this ensures perfect lands and grooves, turning your piece into a laser-precise 1911.

  1.     Consider a Drop-in 1911 Trigger

Most stock 1911 triggers break with a little extra travel and effort, with average trigger pulls varying in 4.5 to 5.5 pounds of pull weight. Your 1911 will benefit immensely from an upgraded drop-in trigger. Competition-spec triggers can be had for under $200.

A drop-in upgrade like this will often reduce pull weight by half or more, and it’ll eliminate any creep, take-up, or over-travel present in your original trigger. They install quite easily, often taking a few minutes with basic hand tools. To be sure, this is one of the most effective modifications you can make to your 1911.

  1.     Get a Drop-in 1911 Beavertail Safety

The 1911 has an unfortunate reputation for biting its owners, quite literally. Slide bite on the 1911 can be uncomfortable if not debilitating, killing your precision and the overall fun of shooting. A drop-in beavertail safety will protect your hand and promote a perfect grip, while eliminating slide bite.

  1.     Upgrade Your 1911’s Grips

The 1911’s single-stack configuration makes it a slim, ergonomic piece but factory grips can leave much to be desired. A set of wider or grooved grips will provide better control when drawing and acquiring your sight picture and they’ll help reduce felt recoil.

DISCLAIMER: If you are new to the world of DIY gun building, you likely have a lot of questions and rightfully so. It’s an area that has a lot of questions that, without the correct answers, could have some serious implications. At, we are by no means providing this content on our website to serve as legal advice or legal counsel. We encourage each and every builder to perform their own research around their respective State laws as well as educating themselves on the Federal laws. When performing your own research, please be sure that you are getting your information from a reliable source.