Springer Mods

In an email from Reader Ranger:

“You mentioned your ‘modified’ Mil-Spec Springfield 1911A1. Are you referring to the stock changes Springfield makes, such as the lowered and flared ejection port, etc or did you have aftermarket work done? It does look like you have custom grips.
“BTW, I find Springfield 1911A1’s great unless you’re willing to pay nose bleed prices for a Les Bauer or equivalent. I’ve used the Springfield lifetime warranty twice with my 1911A1’s (visualize the low brow pickup truck bumper sticker of Calvin but instead of some NASCAR idiot think Kimber). Springfield’s don’t have the ridiculous firing pin safeties and instead uses a stronger firing pin spring coupled with a lighter titanium firing pin.
“Also it looks like you’re using Wilson Combat magazines. Kudo’s on that!
IMHO, from the side view, you have the GI sights and I would suggest at some point swapping them out for Novak style tritium night sights. Just saying more than 50% of shooting occur after dark, and as I get older a bright green front sight dot is comforting.”

Here are the pre- and post-modified pics:

My modifications to the stock Springfield G.I. 1911 were as follows:

  • lowered ejection port (the G.I. ejection port is too small to accommodate the many different types of .45 ACP ammo I use)
  • beavertail grip safety and bobbed hammer (because I had become heartily sick of the standard 1911 “hammer-bite”)
  • the wood grips are made from some endangered tree found in Hawaii (no idea what species;  I bought them at a gun show on looks alone)

…and that’s about it.  I use Chip McCormick PowerMags exclusively, not the Wilson Combat type because the tolerances of the Wilson are a little tight for my Springfield’s mag well.

I’ve toyed with putting Novak sights (or similar) on the thing, but frankly, the gunsmithing cost is prohibitive.  I’d rather just keep anointing the little white dots on the existing sights with florescent paint as it wears off.

When I bought my 1911, Springfield hadn’t yet made the “Loaded” model, which is basically what mine is (except for the sights).

Other considerations:

I don’t care for the rough feel of stippled or ribbed grips and frontstraps because after I’ve shot more than a hundred rounds, my skin gets chafed and irritated.  My hands don’t perspire — never have — so smooth grips never feel slippery in my hands when I’m shooting.  I also don’t care for the “extruded” grip safeties that seem to be all the rage nowadays because if you grip the gun firmly — as God and John Moses Browning decreed — the grip safety will always disengage.  The extrusion, when practicing quick draws, can catch on the web of my thumb and forefinger and once again, that gets irritating after a few hundred rounds’ practice.

The G.I.’s issue trigger is outstanding — it wasn’t at first, but after a few hundred rounds it settled into its current state of perfection.  Nobody, after firing my 1911, has ever had anything other than praise for the trigger, so I feel no need to change it.

There it is:  Kim’s 1911.  My idea of a perfect self-defense pistol.


  1. Reader Ranger has the perfect self defense full sized 1911.
    Here’s my idea of the perfect concealment 1911 design.
    Start with a 9mm Springfield Armory Range Officer Compact, Aluminum officers model frame
    with 4″ Commander sized slide / barrel. Fitted with Tritium night sights AND Crimson trace green
    laser. Hammer & sear replaced with Cylinder & Slide CNC non MIM parts. Wilson Rogers magazines stuffed full of +P Gold dots of course. 8 +1 for the concealment mag, 9 in the back up mag. The 9mm is for arthritic hands which make practice with a .45 painful. (Regular practice IS a requirement.)
    Pistol is stone cold reliable with well over 1000 rds fired. It rides in a Dragon Leatherworks Fugly IWB holster. Funny name for an outstanding holster.

  2. I’m a fan of Springfield’s customer service, based on their excellent work on my bowling pin gun I bought. After too many rounds of too-hot ammo, I broke it, and they fixed it.

    So when I decided to go a striker-fired 9mm for CCW, I really, really wanted to like the XDM. I rented one, and a Glock, and an H&K VP9, and I dry-fired the S&W. I went home with the VP9, in spite of it being the most expensive of the bunch.

    Anyway, the Springfield pin gun, with factory comp, great sights, factory beavertail, is a great thing that nowadays just sits in the safe. I suppose it’s time to at least plink with it.

  3. For a great, economical sight solution, take a look at http://www.nitesiters.com. They make stick-on dots to apply to your sights.

    I have also used little ruby sequins from Hobby Lobby. Sounds gay, I know, but they really pickup the light for old eyes. Not great at night, though.

  4. Too bad you weren’t still in SA when Griffon was making 1911s,Kim. I got one (they were imported back in the late ’80’s IIRC for about a year) and boy-howdy did they know what they were doing with JMB’s pride and joy; just about every mod including a skel trig and hammer, beavertail, Tritium sights and some trigger work. Mine currently has a threaded barrel with an adapter for my YHM Cobra. Serious fun gun.

  5. Got my first introduction to the 1911 in the U.S. Army Small Arms Repair School at Aberdeen Proving Grounds in 1974. Have been a fan ever since. Spent many seasons shooting one in bullseye competition.
    Escaped the tyranny of Kalifornia for Texas about four years ago, and went shopping for a Range Officer. After handling several, I bought one that was fit together particularly well. It is wonderfully accurate. This was also my first purchase as a Texas resident. No 10-day wait! Felt like coming up for air.

    As much as I drool over gorgeous wood, my palms do sweat, so I installed my usual Hogue rubber finger grove grips. Along about age 40, I got wrinkley enough to start getting hammer bite, so it’s either wear gloves with a standard 1911A1, or the extended beavertail.

    I only have one gripe with this pistol. When I got it home and was able to examine it closely, there seemed to be a rough spot about half way when cycling the slide. Now I am all for keeping slides and frames as matched pairs during manufacture. However, the way Springfield did that with this pistol was to stamp the last four digits of the serial number right on the track where the disconnector nose runs. Fortunately, I have a set of stones and was able to smooth it out.

    Even so, I really like this pistol. I bought it primarily for recreation, but also as one that can be used as a spare backup.

  6. Looks like mine. I did the Commander hammer and extended beavertail. The only difference is with my grips – I found a custom set with a Celtic cross. I have been known to shoot it with Mec-Gar magazines – surprisingly they work well with all sorts of loads and at the time I bought them they were cheaper than McCormicks. The Mil Spec was my duty pistol for a couple of years and I never had any problems with it. A couple of years ago I went to an XD-9 because this arthritic old guy just couldn’t handle the recoil and weight of a 1911. The Springer 1911 still lives in my night stand loaded with Hornady Critical Duty. As long as I don’t have to shoot a 250 round qualification I’m okay with it.

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