If the M1911 is a fossil, it is a living one. Like the M1 Garand and the SKS, it is doing just fine, and it’s considerably older than both.
Recoil-operated, powerful, ergonomic, and made of iron (sometimes literally) the M1911 is probably the most infamous handgun ever developed. It refuses to go away, and we (as we’re sure our customers would agree) can’t say we’re unhappy about that.
Now, the M1911 is a bare-bones pistol platform. It doesn’t accept attachments and upgrades as readily as an AR-15 or a modern desktop computer, but its performance can be improved with a little ingenuity and some creativity. Here are our top-of-the-line, best-of-the-best 1911 accessories, and upgrades.
No one hates the ergonomics of a 1911, but they can be improved to better fit the size and shape of your hands, improving comfort, confidence, and mitigating potential issues like limp-wristing. Plus, grips are a great way to give your pistol a bit more personality.
If you keep your handgun for self-defense, then understandably you need to be prepared; things that go bump in the night occur in the dark, and there are plenty of easy-to-install, intuitive-to-use, glowing night sights that require no power to operate.
●A laser sight
A great option for reflexive shooting is a laser sight. Most laser sights mount underneath or at the front of the trigger guard, but some 1911 laser sights mount under the slide at the read, near the grips. This makes them easy to operate and keeps your trigger guard clear for the mounting of another highly valuable 1911 accessory - a pistol light.
●A pistol light
Weapons mounted lights are some of the most practical, vital accessories out there. You might even say that without a WML, you’re not even really prepared for the worst.
Here’s the great thing. You can easily and affordably pick up a pistol light for your 1911 and still equip your pistol with multiple redundant failsafe options like the laser light and night sights mentioned above since they all mount to different parts of the gun.
●A match-grade barrel
To be fair, the only people who really will need such a high-quality barrel for their M1911 pistols are competitive shooters. Most of us will never put enough rounds downrange to warrant that kind of boost in accuracy. All the same, if you want match-quality performance, you’ll need match-quality 1911 parts.
●A better recoil spring
Here’s something literally anyone can appreciate: a better recoil spring. Since the 1911 is recoil-operated, a strong, reliable spring is the key to cycling and resetting. Old springs are prone to deformation and fatigue, but a new spring can potentially bring a lagging action back to life, especially when paired with a recoil spring guide.
●A recoil spring guide
A quality recoil spring will support and guide your recoil spring, prevent it from kinking and premature fatigue. These guides are some of the best-kept secrets to extending the life of a recoil spring and improving the consistency, speed, and reliability of cycling.
●A comfortable holster
A comfortable holster that makes carrying easy, safe and practical is absolutely vital to practical, responsible carry. Whether concealed or open carry works best for you is up to you (and applicable legal circumstances) but comfort and safety are two vital features.
Since the 1911 is fairly heavy and fairly large (regardless of model) many prefer to carry in a classic leather shoulder gun holster. However, there are plenty of comfortable, practical hip holsters and even modern synthetic holsters for 1911s that balance weight manageably and offer great retention and security.
●A cleaning kit and a dedicated pistol cleaning rod
It’s not an exciting 1911 accessory by any stretch, but you absolutely don’t want to be without a cleaning kit and a dedicated, one-piece pistol cleaning rod. Keeping your pistol clean is one of the most important things you can do to extend its lifespan and ensure continued operability down the line.
As for a one piece rod, they’re easier to use, stronger, and more reliable than the several-piece rods for rifles and shotguns that thread together.
●Extended mag release
If you just don’t like the ergs of your factory mag release, upgrade it with an extended mag release. Most shooters might never notice the difference, but for competitive shooters that are scored on speed and efficiency, every single millisecond counts.
●A match trigger
We love the factory triggers on most 1911s; who doesn’t? They’re one-piece, are typically crisp and sensitive, and break cleanly. They also aren’t mushy, don’t overtravel, and only travel along one axis, encouraging confidence.
All the same, if you don’t like the trigger that came with your 1911, swap it out with a drop-in trigger or a more sensitive, lighter model that you think you might like better.
●A magazine with a removable buttplate
Don’t just get one magazine, get several, see which ones feed most reliably and smoothly, and then stock up. You never know when you’ll need a new or a spare mag so it’s always best to be prepared with extras.
Also, stay away from magazines that are hard to take care of if you can help it. Specifically, look for a mag with a removable buttplate so you can take it apart, clean it and replace parts if necessary. Being able to service your mags thoroughly will drastically improve their lifespan.
●A muzzle brake
You read that right. While muzzle brakes are typically associated with sporting rifles and mitigating recoil from .50 cal and larger rifles, you actually can add them to pistols, including to some 1911s.
And here’s the great thing - you might even want to. Sure, it will significantly raise the report of your 1911, but what it will also do is manage recoil and muzzle jump, which will help keep your sights trained on target, potentially enabling faster, more accurate follow-up shots.
Your Source for 1911 Accessories and Parts for Upgrades
Interested in upgrading your 1911 with some of these practical and ergonomic 1911 accessories? Take a look through our collection via the previous link and get in touch with us at 610-250-3960 if you have any questions. Our firearms experts would be happy to help.