Building Your Own Handgun from a 1911 Build Kit: Why It Might Be Better

Building Your Own Handgun from a 1911 Build Kit: Why It Might Be Better

May 8th 2024

High gun prices and shortages got you down? Not able to find that 1911 or clone you’ve been wanting to get for a while now?

One solution is to make your own with a 1911 build kit and a frame, or even with a frame blank. It’s not as hard as you think, and there are many other reasons you might want to pursue this route.

Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why this route is appealing to some.

You Learn About How the Gun Works

For better or worse, you can’t put together a functioning 1911 pistol from the frame up without learning a thing or two about how the gun works.

What is a barrel bushing? What about a disconnector? What does the sear do? How does the recoil spring install? How do the slide and barrel align?

All these and other questions will be answered (by necessity) if you go the route of building a 1911 from a build kit.

You’ll Be Better Equipped to Make Repairs in the Future

This brings us to another interesting point. Learning about how all the gun parts work together to result in a functioning handgun will yield the eventual result that you’ll be able to do more on your own in the future.

Specifically, if any when something goes wrong with your pistol, you won’t need to go to the gunsmith, at least for basic fixes. Got a broken firing pin? A fatigued spring? A failed ejector? Making these repairs will be a breeze once you know how to build the whole gun.

You Can Completely Customize the Platform Along the Way

Buying a 1911 is expensive enough. Buying a custom gun? Forget it. You could be looking at a several thousand dollar investment, and who has money for that?

By contrast, gun parts and kits are relatively cheap. If you want a ported or compensator 1911, or one with a fluted barrel, that’s no problem. Want it configured with night sights or attachment points? What about a match-grade barrel? Perhaps you’re interested in adding a heavier guide rod to help fight muzzle flip? Same deal.

When you build the thing yourself, you can make any change you want along the way.

Beat the Shortages and High Prices

For better or worse (probably worse) these high gun prices are likely here to stay, as are the shortages. It’s just not as easy to find what you want as it was just 5 years ago.

Anyway, if you get a kit and some spare parts, you won’t have to wait forever for an FFL to order what you want. You can just get the parts you need and assemble a complete firearm at home.

You May Have Spare Parts at the End of It

If you’re conscientious about how you build the platform or use a build kit and buy custom parts to personalize it along the way, you’ll have spare parts at the end of it.

And you never know where a spare barrel, set of sights, spring or pin will come in handy. Those are parts you’ll want to have around the bench for when you need to make repairs.

No Registration, You Might Not Need an FFL

If you build with a completed 1911 frame, you will need to go through an FFL because the ATF considers the frame a firearm.

But if you build with a frame blank (AKA an 80% frame), as long as you keep the gun for personal use, you can skip that step entirely.

Just take this route with caution as frame blanks have been outlawed by some states and jurisdictions.

This post does not contain legal advice. Consult a lawyer in your area if you have questions about building your own firearm.


                         1911 frame

Build a Collection More Affordably

The price of guns has, collectively, gone through the roof since 2019. That’s not fun for anyone involved in the shooting sports, least of all those who have sizable gun collections, or who are interested in building collections.

Either way, if you get into tinkering and building, you’ll be able to build out a much more complete collection at (usually) a fraction of the cost you’d incur if you solely traded or bought assembled firearms.

With a 1911 Build Kit, It’s Easier Than You Think

There is a certain amount of skill and knowledge needed to complete a functioning handgun, but when you start with a complete 1911 build kit, it’s a lot easier than you think it might be.

First off, some 1911 build kits include literally everything you need minus the frame (for which you need an FFL transfer, anyway, if the frame is complete).

Secondly, there are tons of free resources out there to help you complete the build, and a massive community of 1911 fans that will help you along the way.

That includes us. If you’re thinking about building a 1911 from a kit but don’t know where to start, we’re here to help. Just give us a call.