Best 1911 Upgrades and Modifications

The 1911 handgun has been one of the most popular for over a century, and for good reason. Powerful, easy to grip, and popular as a day to day carry option, the many models that have been introduced by various manufacturers makes it a perfect choice for any gun enthusiast.

The .380 caliber choices are compact and lightweight for concealed carry options, while larger .45 calibers are more reminiscent of its original design and purpose as a military sidearm. This makes a perfect firearm for upgrades and modifications for a more customized fit and firing feel. Check out our top 1911 upgrade and mod choices to create your perfect handgun for any purpose.

A Quick Look of Our 5 Best 1911 Upgrades and Modifications

Wilson Combat – 1911 Ultralight Match Trigger

Other Triggers to Consider:


Doug Koenig Shooting Sports – 1911 Low Mass Hammer

Other Hammers to Consider:


Wilson Combat Full-length Guide Rod for 1911 Pistol


Truglo Tfo Sight for 1911

Other Sights to Consider:


Guuun 1911 Grips

Other Grips to Consider:

The Popularity of the 1911 Model

The 1911 pistol is made by a variety of manufacturers, each boasting its own set of size and comfort options. Originally designed to carry a .45 ACP cartridge and was a standard issue military sidearm from 1911 to 1985. Various changes through the years have resulted in a modern single action, semi-auto, magazine fed and recoil operated pistol that is highly popular for day to day carry situations, both open and concealed. It is available in just about any calier you desire depending on the make and model, providing options for all carry situations and preferences.

Benefits of Upgrading a 1911

There are a lot of reasons why you might want to upgrade or modify any handgun. Many people think it is only for comfort or ease of carrying situations, but there is so much more to it than that. Effective upgrades can make you a more accurate shooter during competition, or even create a safer shooting experience.

Some upgrades are incredibly easy to install, while others may require a professional. But no matter what you decide upon, it will be worth the effort. Take a look at these popular parts that you may want to customize for your own personal use.

Grips

Grips are super easy to swap out and can change the comfort of your gun when shooting, increase accuracy, provide friction, or help fit your hand for a more custom feel.

Magazine Catch

If releasing your magazine is something that takes more than one try, or isn’t as quick as you would like, you can change out the shape and size with ease. This is especially nice for competitive shooting scenarios.

Sights

Although your 1911 may come with iron sights or even fiber optic ones, you want something you are comfortable with and can easily line up. Sights are incredibly easy to swap out as long as you choose options that are compatible.

Trigger or Trigger Group

The feel of your trigger may not seem like such a big deal, but the length, width, and weight of pull can be a deal breaker for some. Either replace the trigger, or replace the whole group – including trigger springs, sear, and hammer.

Mainspring Housing and Magwells

Change the look or feel with a housing swap, and tighten up the way your magazine fits with a magwell change. These are minor changes and often are more visual in nature, but hey, it’s your weapon- so why not?

Guide Rods

Create a tighter barrel to slide fit with a full-length guide rod. This creates smoother cycling and improves accuracy for many models.

Spring Kits

Springs are dirt cheap and replacing springs in the trigger group and recoil spring can make a budget pistol fire as well as one out of your price range. This helps  the gun cycle better, and is never a bad idea.

Magazines

This is wholly a matter of opinion, but many people feel that factory magazines are often cheap and, in the worst case, junk. After market options are popular for a smoother feed and larger range of capacity.

Ambidextrous Safety

Lefty with a righty gun? Or like to switch it up? Have an ambidextrous safety installed to make your favorite piece more friendly to your grip.

Hammer Upgrades

Upgrade your hammer to something a bit more lightweight or even stylish . Practical AND tactical, this is an affordable upgrade but may require some fitting. Have a smooth do it if you aren’t comfortable installing.

Ejector and Extractors

Get your empties out more quickly and create smoother cycling with a change in your ejector/extractors. You’ll most likely need a gunsmith for this process, but it is well worth the effort.

Best 1911 Upgrades You Need to Take a Look At

The following upgrades are some of the most popular and easiest you can incorporate into your 1911. One thing to always be aware of, however, is the 1911 comes in a huge array of makes and models due to its popularity. Always be sure to look for compatibility and labels pertaining to which 1911 model any aftermarket product is made for before commiting to a purchase (or at least check the exchange and return policies).

1. Wilson Combat – 1911 Ultralight Match Trigger

1. Wilson Combat - 1911 Ultralight Match Trigger
  • Aluminum shoe
  • Stainless steel stirrup
  • Natural finish
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This is the same trigger used in the Manufacturer’s custom 1911 builds, and provides an incredibly lightweight, smooth, and crisp let off that is considered comfortable for any size finger. Perfect for both competition and tactical advantages, it is machined from high grade aluminum alloy and weighs only 0.2 ounces.

The skeletonized style helps keep this weight down and provides a curved, long-shoe face for a unique profile. It also is available in a solid design in various lengths and a flat face for preference and feel. Well-defined serrations define the face for finger contact, and the radiused edges are comfortable against your skin.

Why You Might Consider This:

When a dependable, aftermarket trigger is something you require, this is a great choice. Custom quality, the various styles and lengths provides your choices for your specific needs.

Pros

  • Good range of lengths for finger sizes
    Solid and your finger won’t slip
    Comfortable, dependable pull each and every time

Cons

  • Although easy to install, may need some minor fitting

Other Triggers to Consider:

Nighthawk Custom – 1911 Drop-in Trigger Unit : When you want to replace the entire trigger unit, this custom quality option is your best best. Complete with a hammer, hammer strut, sear, disconnector, and sear spring, this is an all-in-one drop in option that makes modification a cinch.

Nighthawk Custom – 1911 Drop-in Trigger Unit
  • Fits most quality in spec 1911's and 2011's
  • Trigger pull: 3 3/4 - 4 lb (will vary based on your mainspring weight)
  • 100 round break-in period
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Greider Precision – 1911 V-series Match Trigger : This is a budget friendly match trigger option that delivers on quality and dependability. Offered in various lengths and styles, it is designed to help minimize drag and reduce pull weight for a lightning fast return.

Greider Precision – 1911 V-series Match Trigger
  • Bow - 400 Series S, polished finish
  • Shoe - Aluminum, silver
  • Long - 2¼ (5.7cm) long
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2. Doug Koenig Shooting Sports – 1911 Low Mass Hammer

Doug Koenig Shooting Sports – 1911 Low Mass Hammer
  • Tool steel, in-the-white, machined
  • Premium Match - .3 oz. (9g) wt.
  • Standard - .5 oz. (14g) wt.
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Created with competitive shooting in mind, this is a great option for anyone who enjoys pinking or friendly speed rounds. Lightweight and machine skeletonized from steel without sacrificing durability, this hammer only weights 0.5 ounces and provides a “commander-style” match and standard concealed-carry profile.

With narrowed sides for clearance, this is not a hammer you ever have to worry about hanging up. With minimal over-cock, this product helps speed up ignition, is incredibly consistent to use, and the design is made for a quick and fast installation that shouldn’t even require a fitting.

Why You Might Consider This:

You don’t need to be a competition shooter to recognize the value of this hammer. The weight and style alone is worth considering for carrying purposes, as well as aesthetics.

Pros

  • Very cool looking
  • Easy to install
  • Creates an awesome trigger pull

Cons

  • Higher end of the price scale

Other Hammers to Consider:

Wilson Combat – 1911 Ultralight Hammer : Created for an incredibly lightweight feel and faster locktime, the serrated combat style spur provides a dependable thumb grip.z

Wilson Combat – 1911 Ultralight Hammer
  • Stainless steel (S/S) or A-2 steel
  • Heat treated to Rc 48-52
  • Fits Series 70 and 80. Minor fitting required
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3. Wilson Combat Full-length Guide Rod for 1911 Pistol

Wilson Combat Full-length Guide Rod for 1911 Pistol
  • Material: Steel
  • Color: Silver
  • For Use With: 1911 Pistol
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Create smoother cycling and improve accuracy with a Wilson Combat full-length guide rod. 1911 models benefit greatly from anything that replaces springs, and this conversion kit is no exception.

Replace the stock plug with reliable reverse plug and single 24# spring for an amazing return. Always be sure to match your guide rod kit with your 1911 make and model as this particular version is designed to fit Colt Officers Model or Para Ordnance P12 with slight modifications.

Why You Might Consider This:

A full-length guide rod and spring replacements are excellent upgrades for a 1911. This particular firearm benefits from regular spring replacement.

Pros

  • Easy installation
  • Excellent return
  • Reliable and delivers what is says

Cons

  • May not be able to find for all models

4. Truglo Tfo Sight for 1911

Truglo Tfo Sight for 1911
  • Material: Tritium/Fiber Optic Front and Rear, Steel Frame
  • Finish: Fortress
  • For Use With: 1911 5 Government 9mm/.40 S&W with Novak LoMount Cut 270 Front /450 Rear Handgun
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When it comes to fiber optic sights that deliver in any type of lighting (or lack of) situation, TRUGLO brand keeps delivering. Available in just about any 1911 make and model you can think of (always cross reference your gun for the perfect fit), these provide a consistently bright, and easy to dial in option for easy target acquisition.

Made from a combination of tritium and fiber optics, you can even choose from color combinations for both front and back sights. Mounted in a steel frame, these fit perfectly into your firearm to replace factory iron sights and are sold both separately and as a pair.

Why You Might Consider This:

TRUGLO sights are perfect for anyone wanting a bright target acquisition both in the bright of day, or at night. Not many brands can stand up against their quality.

Pros

  • Long lasting and never dulls
  • The concealed fiber cannot be seen by a target
  • Snag-resistant

Cons

  • Might not interchange well with other brands

Other Sights to Consider:

Crimson Trace 1911 Government/commander Lasergrip : When it comes to laser sights, the Crimson Trace lasergrip cannot be beat. Created to light up with a natural firing grip, it is basically created to work as part of your firearm rather than an addition to your firearm. Available in red and green.

Crimson Trace 1911 Government Lasergrip
  • G10 side panels with a rubber activation button
  • Standard to Crimson Trace® Lasergrips
  • Fit seamlessly to John Browning's classic 1911 design
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PSA 1911 Novak© Cut Sight Set : When looking to upgrade your factory iron sights, or replace a fiber optic, consider this quality sight set drilled specifically Novack low mount dovetail dimensions.

PSA 1911 Novak© Cut Sight Set
  • PSA 1911 Novak© Cut Sight Set (front and rear)
  • Rear Sight: Not drilled for tritium
  • Front Sight: Serrated Ranp, Black face, Not drilled for tritium
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5. Guuun 1911 Grips

Guuun 1911 Grips G10 Full Size 1911 Grip Ambi Safety Cut Big Scoop Sunburst Texture
  • Full Size - These grips fit most Full Size Government and Commander size 1911 pistols
  • Made to last - CNC machined from strong durable non slippery G10
  • Aggressive - Sunburst texture provides a secure grip regardless of sweaty, greasy, or gloved hands
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Made from durable, non-slip G10, the GUUUN 1911 grip offers are pretty incredible in their color and texture variety. The aggressive sunburst texture is created to help you keep a sturdy grip no matter the weather or circumstances, and even works great with gloves.

Cut for ambi safeties, they have a beveled bottom as well for precise size control. Be sure to match the grips with the make and model of your weapon to ensure the perfect fit. Full size, slim grips, and compact options exist in just about every color and texture pattern.

Why You Might Consider This:

If you are looking to replace your plastic grips and want a dependable, stylish choice- these might be it.

Pros

  • Great value and great options
  • Easy to install, slight fittings may be required
  • Not overly aggressive

Cons

  • Light sanding of parts may be needed to avoid ‘floating’

Other Grips to Consider:

Cool Hand 1911 Full Size High Polished Wood Grips : These high polished wood grips come in various color stains to provide you the texture and style you desire. Smooth cut and ambi safety cut, these are the solution to ditching a highly textured grip.

Cool Hand 1911 Full Size High Polished Wood Grips
  • Free Screws: 4 screws, 4 o rings,T10 Torx keys included
  • Material: Wood
  • These grips fit most 1911 Full Size (Government) on the market
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Tek_Tactical 1911 Grips Nickel Plated Grips : Tek_Tactical specializes in custom designed, nickel plated grips. Their stylistic designs reflect military branches, cultural reflections, and modern designs to provide you a wholly unique addition to your firearm.

Tek_Tactical 1911 Grips Nickel Plated Grips 1911
  • 1911 Grips Nickel Plated
  • Full Size Grips Punisher
  • Ambi Safety Cut Grips
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Conclusion

It doesn’t take much to upgrade and mod out your favorite 1911. No matter whether you are looking to enhance accuracy and comfort, or simply want it to look even more awesome than it already does, the options we’ve highlighted above are all worth taking a closer look at.

Be sure to match makes and models to each product for the perfect fit, and follow manufacturers instructions for installing and use to get the most out of each.

Let us know your favorite upgrades below, and, as always, please share.

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