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Old 09-21-2009, 06:33 PM   #1
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Default New 1911 Owner... Few questions.

Hey guys! I got a deal on a 1991A1 Compact from a friend, and have a few Q's. I have all sorts of guns, but have never owned a 1911 before. I got a chance to shoot it Saturday and was impressed at how well I did with it for the 1st time out. Normally I am all over the place until I get "comfortable" with how the gun acts, and the 1911 was comfortable from the get-go.

Here are some questions:

1) You can definitely tell the gun has been in a carry holster... is there a way to restore the finish, or has anyone found an alternative coating method besides nickel or hard chrome?

2) Aftermarket trigger/hammer/safety/etc.
What brands are best out of the box, and is installing yourself relatively easy for someone who is fair at taking guns apart?

3) Knowing this gun has been used as a carry piece, and will most likely continue, what upgrades would you recommend, and in what order? I don't care so much about bling, but I do want good functionality.



Thanks in advance! Great Forum!!!

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Old 09-21-2009, 07:37 PM   #2
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I'll stick with the 2nd and 3rd questions.

Not many parts on a 1911 are truly drop-in as most will require fitting. Going slow and being very patient is the key. If not done correctly, the gun can become unsafe, go full-auto, or just become unreliable. I buy 95% of my 1911 stuff from Brownells and have use a lot of Wilson parts - among others.

What upgrades does it need? Does it function well as is?

While I do tinker with mine, I'm still a member of "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" camp...

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Old 09-21-2009, 07:40 PM   #3
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Well, most of my 1911A1 time has been with full size pistols, but just my thoughts=-

Finish- there are a bunch out there. The original "alternative" finish was parkerizing. I prefer carry weapons NOT to be too shiny- but functional. What do you have now? Blued or stainless, or plated?

Add ons- MOST aftermarket hammers etc are NOT drop-in, but require fitting- especially to make them work 100.000000% of the time. 2 things that frequently get the attention of a GOOD pistol smith are (1) the extractor, to provide a more aggressive, positive bite on the cartridge case, (2) the grip safety- if you have meaty hands, an extended beaver-tail on the safety can help prevent being "nipped" by the hammer. A minor task that you can perform yourself may include polishing the feed ramp. I have used dremel with a felt pad and Flitz metal polish, but remember the goal is polishing, NOT removing metal.

Don't know how you feel about lasers, but a set of Crimson Trace grips, while pricy, could be a good investment.

Good luck, enjoy- and of course, your BEST investment might be in some reloading equipment to enable you to shoot more.

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Old 09-21-2009, 08:08 PM   #4
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Well don't know much about finishes, but I am with you on the upgrades. I go more for function rather than bling.

The first thing I got was front finger grips from pearce grips. It adds finger grooves to the front strap of the gun without adding thickness to the sides of the handle. This way you can still use your existing side panel grips. I find it extremely comfortable to handle even one hand.

Second if you do not have fixed sights you might think about putting some on especially if you plan to carry. Possibly night sights, your preference.

Third, I would consider having some spare recoil springs on hand. I think you can get a good set from wolff springs recoil spring, mainspring, and firing pin spring.

I would argue the 1911 is probably one of the most customizable handguns. What you do to it really depends on you. I personally like Wilson Combat Parts, but that's just my opinion. Brownells have all sorts of goodies. I have some things ordered from Clark Customs as well. These are good guys.

One other accessory you might like if you are carrying is a magwell. This prevent you fumbling around trying to get the magazine lined up into the gun.

These are some basic functional accessories that I would start with. but it really is up to you.

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Old 09-21-2009, 08:26 PM   #5
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First, go over to the Introductions section and let us know a little about yourself.

Second, this is your first 1911? Is it a Colt M1991? If so, Colt doesn't make a Compact M1991, only Government and Commander models.

I think we need a little more data to be of real help. (Photos would help! How To Post Pics on FTF << Click Here)

The most important piece of advice you will receive is SLOW DOWN!

Used or not it's new to you. Get to know the weapon before you go making any functional changes. Do yourself a favor and run 500 to 1K rounds down range before you make changes. Appreciate what the manufacture has built and then determine if changes are required.

Refinish is a big step. Many of us find the holstering wear witness marks of an old warrior to enhance the guns look. I assume you checked the control and ignition groups for soundness.

Want some instant gratification, get a new set of grips. An aesthetic change only and the gun instantly becomes you. Besides its a right of passage for us 1911 owners. You are required to start a grip drawer and begin to fill it with those emote-o-buys that we just got to have!

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Old 09-22-2009, 03:22 AM   #6
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Thanks for the replies guys. I'll try to answer some questions you have asked.

1) It has Hogue grips on it now... They suck. I like the rubber feel, but they are a bit large IMO.

2) Forgive my ignorance, but it is a 1991A1 compact. I have no clue if it is am M or not. It does have the "old" rolled staming on the slide though.

3) It is Parkerized. I have seen some other 1911's that have a OD green finish. It might be cool to have the body done in green and leave the slide "weathered"

4) I hate the plastic trigger.... It looks like ass and I don't much care for the feel.


The gun functions well now, but then again, I only have limited experience with other 1911's. It feels like it could be "tightened up" a bit... I know that is very objective, but it does not feel as tight as say a Glock or Steyr while cycling through rounds, but it is not as "sloppy"as a Ruger....Clear as mud???


Thanks for the advice..... Off to the Newbie thread.

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Old 09-22-2009, 11:13 AM   #7
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I'm going to echo Cane on this one (us old folks stick together) and recommend taking it slow. Next we need to see pix of the gun so we know what you actually have. Grips are a cheap & easy way to change the personality of your gun. Look thru this thread for some fine examples...

http://www.firearmstalk.com/forums/f57/how-about-nice-grips-thread-10387/

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Old 09-22-2009, 11:19 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timbeaux38 View Post
Hey guys! I got a deal on a 1991A1 Compact from a friend, and have a few Q's. I have all sorts of guns, but have never owned a 1911 before. I got a chance to shoot it Saturday and was impressed at how well I did with it for the 1st time out. Normally I am all over the place until I get "comfortable" with how the gun acts, and the 1911 was comfortable from the get-go.

Here are some questions:

1) You can definitely tell the gun has been in a carry holster... is there a way to restore the finish, or has anyone found an alternative coating method besides nickel or hard chrome?

2) Aftermarket trigger/hammer/safety/etc.
What brands are best out of the box, and is installing yourself relatively easy for someone who is fair at taking guns apart?

3) Knowing this gun has been used as a carry piece, and will most likely continue, what upgrades would you recommend, and in what order? I don't care so much about bling, but I do want good functionality.



Thanks in advance! Great Forum!!!
First of all - keep it clean enough to eat off of. And like Cane said, practice with it, get good with it. It applies to anything. Practice makes perfect. Would love to see some pics when you can post them. Later.
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Old 09-23-2009, 05:52 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by canebrake View Post

Second, this is your first 1911? Is it a Colt M1991? If so, Colt doesn't make a Compact M1991, only Government and Commander models.
Colt DID make a compact 1991, notice the gun was bought used, not new.
Here is my 1991 officers size compact with my 1991 G.I.

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Old 09-23-2009, 03:20 PM   #10
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I'm not going to add much to what the guys already said, use it for a while before you start tinkering with it. Some modifications will require a bit of gunsmithing, which might mean that you'll be separated from your weapon for a while (I hate waiting for gunsmiths!!!), unless you can do it yourself. It would be better to know exactly what you want to change and then have all the work done at once.

With that said, I HATE plastic on 1911s on the two I bought new (Para 14-45 and Colt 1991A1) I knew I wanted to get rid of the plastic triggers and mainspring housings from day one. Safeties and slide releases were fine, so I didn't mess with them. I got Wilson triggers from Brownells and, as per Cane's recommendation, I got the mainspring housings (with mag-guides) from Smith & Alexander. It's a great company, since I'm a clueless beginner I called them to get some help installing a magazine release and the guy walked me through the whole process. Fantastic customer service. Smith & Alexander - "The Mag-Guide People"

For gorgeous quality grips, look no further than our very own Sarge, he does some beautiful work. The Finer Grain and Sarge's Grips

Another thing I would add to a carry piece are night sights, a nice set of low profile Novaks would do the trick.

If I were you, I'd wait until all the mods are done before thinking about a new finish, since (depending on what you do) it might need refinishing once the gunsmith is done with it. Robar's Roguard would be my choice: Roguard Firearms Finish

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