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1911 IDPA/USPSA upgrades?


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I have a Springfield Range Officer 1911 in 9mm that I purchased a little while ago. I have been shooting it stock, but not in IDPA or USPSA, since I have my Glock 34 for that. Though I'm looking to start. I used it for a couple of matches and I have a pretty good idea on what I would like on/in it but am pretty stumped on a couple of things, admitting I know more about my glocks (which isn't hard), than my 1911.

The list I have complied so far is...

VZ grips

Extended Mag Release

Full length Guide Rod

Mag well

F/O front sight

Serriations (Though not a necessity, I have a buddy who can do them for me)


Thoughts? Opinions? Comments?

The main thing I need help on is the springs, and seeing if I'm on the right path. I don't know what to even look for when dealing with springs, what to fiddle with or what to get too fiddle with...I would love to do this myself because I love tinkering with things (That's where I found what I like in my glock, odd combinations of this and that. Which work for me), but I know this is complete different than my Glock.

When finished I will be shooting this in IDPA ESP and USPSA Single Stack.

Thanks in advance!

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You have a 9mm. The walls of the barrel are thicker than those of a 45 and thus weigh more. Most everything in your list adds weight, you might skip the full length guide rod to start and be selective about what magwell you use. Will VZ hollow out the back of their grips? G10 weighs more than wood.

You should be be able to put together the type of gun you're thinking about, just keep weight in mind. 43 oz with an empty mag is maximum for USPSA.

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i just looked... I didn't realize that it is 41oz as it stands now. Has VZ done anything like that before to anyone's grips?

I don't know the weights of anything, that I am looking at... Probably should take look!

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That will put you over. A friend of mine just went through that process with a 9mm RO. In the end he had a smith open up the "windows" in the frame underneath the grips on a mill. That, with some consideration to weight making parts choices, got him under the ceiling.

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I thought max weight for ESP and CDP is now 43 oz with an unloaded mag inserted.

But PatJone's comment about 9mm 1911's weighing more than their .45 brethren is spot on. Back when CDP was 41 oz, I had to use an aluminum MSH and magwell to get under that weight. Now that both divisions are 43 oz, its a little easier to make weight.

Re your questions,

IDPA has a restriction on how big your extended mag catch can be. However, Dawson Precision makes an IDPA legal Posilock mag catch which I believe to be a great part.

Grips are a personal thing. Get what you like the looks of and go from there. The last pair of Larry Davidsons I bought I asked him to hog out the backs to make them lighter. I also asked for the thumb area on the left panel be relieved to help reach the mag catch.

For IDPA I like the Smith and Alexander magwell/MSH. You can get one in aluminum to save weight. I can't recall the exact difference in weight but I want to say it about 1.5 oz.

Personally I like fiber optic front sights, but know some that do not. .100" wide is my preference, but that also depends on how wide the rear sight's notch is.

As far as serrations on the front strap, I have grip tape on most of my 1911's. Cut them big enough so they extend underneath the grip panels and you hardly ever have to worry about it peeling off.

Springs depends on your load. I like an 18 lb mainspring and 10 lb recoil spring for most 9mm loads. Some like 11's, others like a little lighter. You kind of have to test them for yourself to see what you like/shoot well with.

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My 9mm Trojan is 42.9oz with a steel S&A magwell, GI guide rod, and slim VZ grips. Should have gotten the aluminum magwell, but didn't know they made one when I got mine. Grip (skateboard) tape works great for the front strap and I love Dawson FO sights.

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Got a Loaded 9mm.

With GI recoil plug, EGW magwell, Hogue wood grips with sandpaper on them and Metalform mags, it comes in at 41.6 oz. Metalform mags have plastic bases, Dawson Precision uses Metalform tubes with their aluminum base. They're a bit heavier, not sure exactly how much as I got the Metalforms, they work, hold 10 rounds, and reload easily, so I felt no need to experiment.

9 lb recoil spring, 17lb mainspring, 100% reliable.

Switched to STI trigger, SA trigger overtravel screw kept coming loose and the trigger rattled around in it's track. Kimber safeties (I like their retention mechanism for the right side of the gun lever), a .1" front sight and Cylinder and Slide sear, sear spring, hammer, disconnector kit tweaked to give a 2.1lb trigger.

It's a nice gun now, SA ignition parts leave a lot to be desired. The frame to slide fit is loose, the thing rattles if I don't use grease on the rails (and even with grease it rattles after shooting), but it's still surprisingly accurate. I also rounded the ears of the rear sight, why they leave them so sharp is beyond me.

I think the biggest obstacle to making weight is that two piece guide rod SA seems to love. If you can bring yourself to keeping the GI recoil plug (there's no advantage to either FLGR or GI setup from what I've read) and you go with either the Smith & Alexander or Dawson aluminum MSH/Magwell, you give yourself some room to use VZ grips. I like the smooth wood Hogue units with sandpaper on them, also on the front strap, but that's me. I like VZ grips, but $20.00 for the wood beats $60.00 for VZ, with the same tactile advantage.

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Everyone has different "needs" but I would keep it simple for that gun.

S&A AL magwell

Dawson FO front sight (95 or 100)

Skate tape on the frontstrap

Grips of your choice. VZ is not the end all, be all. Try some others.

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