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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
Disclaimer, Some of these pictures are quite old and the quality sucks! Damn flip phones.

My favorite 1911 is my first 1911. Back sometime in the late 1990's I turned 21 years old. Shortly afterwards I purchased my first hangun, a Springfield Armory 1911 Mil-spec. When I went to the gun store, I didn't know what I was even interested in. All I knew was that I could now purchase a handgun and by golly I was going to do just that. I remember looking at every gun in the display case and slowly handling each one of them for what was probably close to 2 hours. After much deliberation, I had narrowed my search down to this Springfield Armory Mil-spec and an EAA Witness 9mm. Not knowing really anything at the time about either, I opted for the 1911 because the employee behind the counter gave me a brief history of the gun and how it had served with the US military since 1911. Had he not told me, I may have ended up with a CZ clone as my first pistol .
Air gun Trigger Gun barrel Revolver Gun accessory

I took my new parkerized 1911 home and began a lengthy project of researching everything I could about this pistol. I was single at the time and lived a pretty simple life with not many bills to pay. As a result I began shooting this gun every single chance I could. I lived out in the country on a large farm and ample opportunities to shoot on private property with the only expense being ammunition. I was buying ammunition by the 500 round case every month and shooting it all up. Not saving my brass I might add, which really sucks since I started reloading about 12 years later. A year or two goes by and I decided it was time to buy another 1911. So I purchased a Kimber Custom II. Happy with the Kimber's more modern features, I decided the Springer could also benefit from some modifications. A combination of being a stubborn young kid in his early twenties, the unwillingness to pay a gunsmith to modify my gun and the excitement of getting to know the internals of a 1911 a little better led me to become a hillbilly table top (or sometimes even just sitting on the floor in front of my TV) gunsmith. First order of business was a tactical light! I became a member of TOS starting in 2001 and they introduced me to the Dawson Precision light speed rail system that same year.
Digital camera Camera Reflex camera Point-and-shoot camera Material property

For the next several months, I began collecting all the parts of my "dream build" Then one night while watching Tales of the Gun on the History Channel and drinking Bourbon until I was quite buzzed, I stood up and said, F#@K IT, I am drilling the holes for that Dawson Rail right here right now. So I grabbed an old 120 volt drill and some bits and I free hand drilled it while pinching it between my legs like a vice. LOL! Believe it or not, it actually worked out quite well and the rail installation went on solid and straight. Marveling in my new found "skill" I figured may as well stake that tritium front sight and drift in the matching rear. No brass punch, no padded vise, just brute force and ignorance along with a mayhew steel punch and Vaughn hammer. Not bad, I thought to myself as I poured another glass of Bourbon and drank it neat. Hey, I am a little dizzy, but I bet i could pull that rat tail GS off and do a little frame mods on the Benchgrinder. YIKES! Yes I really did take my frame out and free hand ground on it until the new beaver tail GS I bought would fit. Some Black grips and 10 round mags,and I was feeling pretty damn tactical! Months went buy and several thousand more rounds went down the pipe. Buying 500 round cases of 45ACP wouldn't quite get me to the end of the month anymore, so I started buying two cases a month for a while. It was about then that I decided the arched mainspring housing and short trigger had to go.
Air gun Trigger Gun barrel Gun accessory Recreation

It was also at this time that she got Wilson Combat ignition parts along with a Smith and Alexander MSH with magwell and 3 hole trigger. The earlier extended slide stop that I had installed was replaced with a normal length Wilson part. By now, I had learned that this part was a "Slide Stop", NOT a "Slide Release". When I wasn't shooting this gun, I was carrying it concealed. (Without the Light Mounted) I had over 10,000 rounds through this thing already when I began training at the local public range located at the County Sheriffs office. I was very comfortable with my gun, but not yet satisfied with the build.
Air gun Trigger Revolver Gun barrel Gun accessory
Air gun Trigger Revolver Gun barrel Gun accessory

I tried different grips, fitted different ambi safeties, fitted different beavertails. Tried every brand magazine I could purchase, every type of ammo from mild lead semi wadcutters, to +P hollowpoints, no matter what I fed this gun, it just flat would run and run and run without malfunction! In fact, I have neve changed or adjusted the extractor to this day some 30,000+ rounds later. (At least not that I can remember anyhow.) Sure I bought more and more 1911's along the way, I think by 2008-2010 somewhere in there, I probably had 6 or 7 of them in my safe. But this was the one that I carried and this was the one I experimented with.

Time went on and several thousand more rounds went down range, I had settled on some plain wood grips that better matched the mag funnel. It was around this time that I fell in love with the woman who would later be my wife.
Air gun Trigger Wood Gun barrel Gun accessory

Air gun Trigger Wood Gun barrel Gun accessory


Money became much more important and the days of buying 1000 rounds of .45 every month were coming to an end. I was going to be getting married and needed to be a bit more responsible with the cash flow. In fact a lot of my 1911's ended up being sold off to buy a house for my bride and I to start a family. However, my first Springfield was not on the ticket. It remained in its holster on my side everyday no matter where I went.

The old parkerizing was looking pretty rough and i actually polished a bunch of the parts and tried cold bluing them myself to give it a bit of protection from CCW duty. Regretfully, I don't seem to have pictures of that period of time, maybe because i was embarrassed as to how that looked. But regardless, there finally came a day when I decided that the next series of upgrades were going to be performed by an actual gunsmith and not me at the kitchen table.
Air gun Trigger Gun barrel Wood Gun accessory


I sent her in to a local smith and had a Wilson Combat front dovetail cut into the slide, a set of tritium Wilson Combat combat pyamid sights installed, the front strap checkered at 30lpi and the gun Cerakoted in green. I can't remember which green, this was back when Cerakote was still a pretty new thing. Not sure why, but a pair of rubber Colt grips found their way on at that time too. Maybe because I thought they looked better with the green than the wood did, I honestly don't remember. Life was good, the family was good and I found myself able to shoot more often again.
Air gun Trigger Gun barrel Revolver Gun accessory


It wasn't long after the refinish that Glocks made their way into my life. My wife was packing a Glock and I thought, maybe I should to. However, never did the Glocks unsurp this 1911. I still carried her everyday and any Glock carried was in addition to my Springer. This went on for several years and the finish started to wear off the gun
Air gun Trigger Revolver Wood Gun barrel


Before long I realized that not only was the finish showing some good wear, but so was the barrel fit and bushing fit. Keep in mind, this thing had been used and abused and shot in the high 20,000 round count by now, in fact closer to 30,000. It was at this time that I decided it was time to fit a new barrel and bushing. Not wanting to rush or settle for just a drop in piece, I actually did a bunch of research and ended up learning how barrels are fit and how lugs are cut and so on. But i didn't want to pull my gun out of CCW service so i came up with this silly plan....

To Be contiuned in next post..
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 · (Edited)
I actually built up a second slide assembly with used and surplus parts to run on my gun until I finished with the new barrel.
Revolver Air gun Trigger Plant Wood
Air gun Trigger Wood Gun barrel Everyday carry


Also the old incandescent Surefire P light got replaced with a Surefire x300 Ultra. Finally after properly fitting my new Stormlake barrel and bushing, the original top end was put back on the gun complete with a new Wilson Combat HD bright orange tritium front sight.
Sewing machine Wood Sewing machine feet Trigger Household appliance accessory



This gun now has a cumulative total of well over 30,000 maybe closer to 40,000 rounds now. It is more accurate then ever, it's utterly reliable, (even with the original extractor) and rides on my hip every single day of the week!
Insect Arthropod Liver Wood Fawn

Air gun Wood Trigger Cannon Machine gun

Air gun Trigger Yellow Wood Gun barrel


And though she may not be pretty, she is pretty damn special to me. If guns could talk, it would have more stories to tell than I could ever write down here about its last 20+ years of service. And although I have had and still do have lots of other 1911's over the years, it is this one, the first one I ever bought that means the most to me.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
What was your first 1911?

Any stories you wish to share?
 

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Springfield Mil Specs have led many a young man down the 1911 rabbit hole.
I can relate to that. Great write up OP. I still wish I wouldn’t have traded my buddy the milspec that got started on 1911s. My favorite part was the reliability.
 

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Great story, really cool you saved pictures of the changes.

I don't have any cool stories with my guns, I tend not to keep them long when I was in my 20s.
 

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Great story! My 2nd 1911 is a Mil-Spec that I got a few years ago. It’s part of my carry rotation, and I find myself carrying it more and more.
 

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That is an excellent article Dieselman!

My first 1911 was issued to me in Okinawa. I wasn't a gun guy then so I haven't a clue as to it's manufacture. The first that I owned was a stainless Para-Ordnance P14-45. It was a POS and nearly put me off of 1911s. I either sold it or traded it in. I really don't remember. But I do know that my next 1911 was a Springfield Mil-Spec. It was an excellent pistol. I had to sell it to pay a bill. (College days and poor money management) When I was able, I bought another Mil-Spec and I have had one or another Springfield 1911 ever since.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
I have been kicking around the idea of having it hard chromed. Or maybe some other type of refinish that holds up better than the Cerakote. Not really sure what my options are.
 

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Liquored up gun smiffing for the win. :cool:
 
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The last thing you should do is coat it and ruin that beautiful finish! You have a lot invested in that piece.

Great post too.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
The last thing you should do is coat it and ruin that beautiful finish! You have a lot invested in that piece.

Great post too.
You may be right. Those scars have history. Maybe I will just leave it alone.
 

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Love it - great post!
 

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This makes me wish I would have had a pictorial history documenting my 870 evolutions....great post!
 
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