What can we honestly say about the M1911 that hasn’t already been said somewhere by someone else? To call it a great pistol would be almost an insulting, embarrassing understatement. Its design has widely influenced pistol designs that followed and it has spawned countless variants. The bread and butter of some firearms manufacturers are actually in 1911 lookalikes. Let it just be said that it is one of the most popular pistols ever developed, and leave it at that.
Its consistent popularity over the last hundred years or so had kept parts and accessories for the M1911 in high demand. Some enterprising shooters have even taken it upon themselves to build their own - but what comes with a 1911 build kit, and what else do you need to finish the project?
What Does It Come with?
For the purposes of illustration, we’ll focus on an “all parts” 1911 build kit such as our “1911 .45 Cal All Parts Builders Kit. These 1911 build kits contain nearly everything you need to create your own 1911 at home, which you may be able to do, legally.
The ATF has specified that it is legal for non-prohibited persons to create firearms at home for personal use from an unserialized blank, without the need for a background check, serialization, or registration. (State and local laws vary. This is not legal counsel. Seek your own legal counsel if you wish to proceed with such a project).
However, since completed frames and receivers are regulated by the ATF as the actual “firearm.” It’s not legal to sell a 1911 build kit with a finished 1911 frame (the frame is the component of 1911 that is analogous to the receiver in other firearms). Therefore, most “complete” 1911 build kits are sold without a frame, requiring the creator to either purchase a finished, compatible frame (requiring a background check through an FFL) or an 80% frame that can be machined and finished at home (potentially without the need for an FFL, serialization or a background check).
Our “all parts” 1911 build kit contains the following, among other parts:
●5” .45 cal barrel
●Barrel bushing, link, and link pin
●.45 cal extractor
●.45 cal firing pin, spring, and stop
●Recoil spring, guide, and plug
●Military-style .45 cal slide and stop
●7 round ACP magazine
In addition to these 1911 parts, these build kits contain all parts in the 1911 except for the frame. If you get a kit like this, that’s the only other thing you’ll need to buy - so, let’s cover some additional details.
What Else Do You Need?
If you buy a 1911 build kit like our “all parts” kit, the only other part you will need to get to complete the kit is a standard M1911A1 Government frame. This detail is important because the M1911 was originally created in three different sizes, and the frames are not interchangeable. In other words, you need the frame that matches the gun - if you have any questions, you can call us.
If all you need is a frame, you have two main choices:
-Purchase a completed frame: You can buy a completed frame that has already been serialized. Like the purchase of any firearm, this will require you to undergo a background check through an FFL.
-Complete your frame from an 80% frame: You may also have the option of purchasing what is known as an 80% lower and completing the frame yourself with a jig kit. However, it is important to note that this is not legal in some jurisdictions. Be sure of all state and local laws and consult a legal representative if necessary to ensure you are in compliance before you purchase or complete an 80% frame for a 1911.
It may also be the case the that kit you bought to complete your 1911 was not an “all parts” kit, in which case it might be missing any of various components. Some kits are missing magazines or handle grips whereas others are considered “frame kits” and do not contain barrels, slides, bushings, recoil springs, or guides.
Again, it will vary according to the 1911 build kit you purchase. If you have any questions, you can always call us for more information.
So, Why a 1911 Build Kit?
The question may now become one of why you wish to pursue the project of completing a 1911 with a build kit, and there are many good reasons for that.
●To become more familiar with the inner workings of the gun: It’s impossible to create your own 1911 without becoming intimately acquainted with the internal operations of the firearm. You wouldn’t even be able to assemble it otherwise; it’s quite an educational process.
●To make customizations or personalizations during the process: Whether you want to swap out sights on your slide or add a stronger recoil string, building your own 1911 will allow you to do so fairly easily.
●To ensure that you always have spare parts on hand: Some of you may be looking for a 1911 parts kit not so that you can build your own 1911, but so you can stockpile a reserve of parts. Since some build kits come with literally everything but the frame, if something on your current 1911 breaks, you’ll have at least one of them in reserve.
●As a form of enjoyable recreation: Some people like working with their hands, and to mechanically inclined individuals, assembling a complex semi-automatic handgun is a zen-like experience.
●To solve the problem of scarcity: If you didn’t notice, gun shops are literally struggling to keep pace with demand. If you can’t find the 1911 you want at any of your local shops, building your own might solve the problem outright.
Contact Us If You Still Have Questions
Whether you’re actually ready right now to purchase a 1911 pistol build kit and get started on your project or you’d like to consult us for our professional opinions, feel free to reach out to us at 610-250-3960 and we’d be more than happy to help you out.
*Note: Nothing in this post can be construed as legal advice. Purchase, possession, and alteration of firearm receiver blanks are not legal in all jurisdictions. Always consult a legal professional regarding any questions you have before proceeding.