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cohland

Managing weight of a 9mm 1911 for USPSA Single-Stack Minor

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For anyone contemplating a 9mm 1911 for USPSA Single-Stack, unless you use a gun right out of the box you are likely to encounter the weight limit in the rules ("43 ounces with empty magazine") as you begin to outfit the gun for competition. This is mainly due to the fact that the barrel on the 9mm is heavier than that on the .45ACP: same outside diameter, smaller inside diameter.

One guideline I follow is that I don't make permanent modifications to guns, such as machining. I always want to take the gun back to an as-delivered condition for possible resale, so if I can't make a change by swapping parts, I don't make the change.

The priorities for modifications that I established included the following, of which a few (denoted with a W) will impact weight:

1. Ambidextrous thumb safety (W) (I'm left-handed)

2. Magwell and magazine basepads (W)

3. Reduced-power magazine catch spring

4. Fiber-optic front sight

5. Trigger kit

6. Grips (W) (believe it or not)

7. Full-Length Guide Rod (W)

Using a Springfield RO 9mm as the basis, through trial and error I have found several parts that will help you if you need to reduce the weight of the gun as you improve some of its characteristics:

1. ALUMINUM Dawson ICE Magwell w/No Gap insert (010-082)

2. ALUMINUM Dawson Basepad (002-027) (one for each magazine)

3. ProMag Polymer Tough Grips (310653) from MidwayUSA

By far the biggest impact in terms of weight was the Aluminum Dawson ICE Magwell. With that part in place I had enough weight available that I was able to use a full-length steel guide rod, moving weight forward in the gun a bit. Whether the weight location is important (I do not know), it was nice to be able to finally get a FLGR in the gun and still make the weight limit.

I was surprised to learn how much weight difference rests in the grips, and after going through about five or six sets I finally settled on the ProMag Polymer grips, not because they're pretty, but because they seem to be the lightest grips available.

I'll be interested to hear from others about specific parts they have used to reduce weight.

Chris

Edited by cohland

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The big things in 9mm weight are the guiderod, magwell/MSH and grips. For a magwell your actually better going with the bigger Dawson one vs a solid steel lower profile one like the SA. That said you can't have heavy everywhere. If you want a steel full length guiderod you need to loose it from the back of the gun shock means no steel MSH and possibly lighter grips. If you want the steel MSH your gonna need a GI guiderod or an aluminum one. For grips If you go VZ you may need to loose weight on the grips on the underside but that usually depends on how much weight they left on the pistol frame at the cutout in the side of the grip. The bigges thing is you can have full length guiderod or steel MSH so pick one

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GI recoil assembly, smooth wood Hogue grips (The back is hogged out by Hogue, Thank you very much) with grip tape, EGW MSH/magwell (stainless steel), and Metal Form mags with plastic base. EGW bushing, firing pin stop, and .200" slide stop and Dawson .100" front sight. Gun weighs 41.6 oz with magazine.

Standard recoil assy, wood grips and plastic mag base pad are biggest contributors to low weight, and require no performance compromise.

Gun is a Springfield Stainless Steel Loaded Target 9mm.

Edited by robertg5322

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Tri top it. Gets you over 2 ounces off.

I actually hollowed out the back of grips I liked. Saved half an ounce but I wasn't worried about resale

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Hello: Turn down the barrel or flute it. Briley aluminum guide rod. Techwear magwell with wooden grips. Plastic mainspring housing. Lighten slide. All easy ways to get it lighter. Thanks, Eric

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If money is no object you have many options. If you aren't flush with cash plan accordingly.

I got to 41.6 oz pretty affordably. I could have gone lower by using Dawson's Ice aluminum MSH/magwell but I like the open front of the EGW, and it was only $50.00.

Want a FLGR, you're going to have to lose weight somewhere else. Same with VZ grips. They're sweet but weigh more than wood.

Mags seem like an easy choice, plastic base pads save weight with no performance compromise. And Metal Form mags are what Dawson uses, but if the wrapper says Metal Form they're $24.00 each.

Money not spent on fluff or weight loss can be redirected to performance issues like an EGW angle bored bushing and EGW .200" slide stop (both take a bunch of the slop from the rattle-trap Springfield Loaded frame to slide fit and made my gun noticeably more accurate.

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I switched grips on both my 9mm and 40 1911's to make weight for nationals. Magpul 1911 grips w/ some skate tape are super light. This change let me keep the steel MSH on the 9mm and add a full length tungsten guide rod to the 40. Both weigh 42-42.5 oz. with Tripp cobra mags.

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Stock STI Trojan 9mm comes with steel FLGR and flat topped slide as standard.

Added VZ slim Operator grips and steel slim S&A mag well.

Comes in at 42.7 oz with Chip mags, 42.5oz with Wilson mag.

Only thing I don't have is an ambi safety added, but can easily do that by either losing weight off the grips or changing the FLGR to a GI set-up.

Mick

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Necro-post revival.

 

Does it matter if not all your magazines will make weight with the gun?  I've got a few ETMs that bring me to 42.75oz.  Then some ETM-Vickers (solid tubes) with Dawson pads that take it to 43.25oz.  

 

I will game it if I can, mostly to save buying more stuff.

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7 hours ago, IronicTwitch said:

Necro-post revival.

 

Does it matter if not all your magazines will make weight with the gun?  I've got a few ETMs that bring me to 42.75oz.  Then some ETM-Vickers (solid tubes) with Dawson pads that take it to 43.25oz.  

 

I will game it if I can, mostly to save buying more stuff.

The problem comes in with do YOU really want to do this?

The 2nd problem comes in with a lot of chrono RO's will ask for a mag off you belt/bag, lots of times they don't but I have seen it happen often enough to have all my gear stowed away!

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13 hours ago, IronicTwitch said:

Does it matter if not all your magazines will make weight with the gun?  I've got a few ETMs that bring me to 42.75oz.  Then some ETM-Vickers (solid tubes) with Dawson pads that take it to 43.25oz.  

 

realistically..... you can get away with using one magazine that makes weight. All the rules say is it makes weight with 'a magazine'.

 

However, I brought this question up with 4 certified Rangemasters at an area match, and their hive-mind concluded that any magazine used in the match may be weighed with the gun, so effectively you would be cheating and hoping you didn't get caught. I put an aluminum MSH on my PM9 instead, and stopped worrying about it.

it's sort of like using higher-powered rounds for chrono. You can do it, and probably get away with it almost all the time, but it's still cheating, so don't do it.

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Thanks for the feedback.  I think the aluminum MSH will be the right option.  Cheaper than more mags I don't need.  Keeps the full length guide rod (cause 9mm is such a handful in a 43oz gun ?).

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if you dryfire alot (and even if you don't), I put some moly grease on the mainspring and cap so they don't wear the mainspring housing excessively. On one of my guns, the mainspring cap was fairly sharp-edged too, so i sanded it down to smooth it off. I had an episode where i couldn't get the mainspring out easily because the cap had worn a little ledge at the top of the MSH, so even after taking the pin out, it was hanging up. No probs since i put some marine axle grease on it.

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My Trojan 9mm cuts it close. GI rod, Ed Brown magwell, VZ grips, Dawson mag and basepad.d08f4b7c341aae16ab7963a8bd5b2267.jpg

Sent from my SM-G930V using Tapatalk

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On 12/28/2017 at 10:34 AM, motosapiens said:

if you dryfire alot (and even if you don't), I put some moly grease on the mainspring and cap so they don't wear the mainspring housing excessively. On one of my guns, the mainspring cap was fairly sharp-edged too, so i sanded it down to smooth it off. I had an episode where i couldn't get the mainspring out easily because the cap had worn a little ledge at the top of the MSH, so even after taking the pin out, it was hanging up. No probs since i put some marine axle grease on it.

I use our Forum sponsor's Slide Glide on my mainsprings (the light one).  Works great and keeps me buying the stuff...:cheers:

 

Other places to save weight:  look for a brand whose frame mimics the original Colt in the grip frame area...with the full cut-outs.  Use a grip safety that has the contouring cuts on the sides like an STI's.  Use a plastic (if you can find one...I bought ten on eBay and have not changed out or seen any appreciable wear on the one I'm using since I put it in when I built the gun...and put on a CP buff just for peace of mind but it doesn't even look like I needed to) STANDARD length guide rod.  Use a thin flange bushing, and cut off as much from the other end as you feel comfortable with...you only really need about a 1/4" of skirt.  Use a Commander size spring guide plug with the hole in the end for a FGR.  If you don't need the fancy high fiber optic front and bulky adjustable rear, go to lower profile fixed.  You need ambi's use the tactical profile ones.  If you have to machine: the slide can lose a lot of metal, but so can the frame.  If your front strap isn't checkered, have it done and the trigger guard undercut and contoured.  Mill or Dremel out the grip frame under the stocks like the original Colt (go to Caspian's site and look at their "classic" frame if you don't know what I mean).  If you're going minor, consider contouring your barrel like the old Springfield Armory ones, or even going to a pencil barrel profile (like the original 9mm Commander barrels) with a custom bored thin flange bushing from EGW.  Bevel the pin side hole for your slide stop and then cut the slide stop off flush with the frame.  Have your barrel crowned with a deep, flush with the bushing bevel like Wilson does theirs.  Have your gun "melted," will save some weight and also make it feel more comfortable...might even make it slicker out of your holster.  Are you feeling rich?  Use one of Caspian's titanium frames in your next build.

 

Finally, if you're good enough or want an even tougher challenge...build your gun in Commander length.  You can really push the rules if you do that since the 'bull barrel" length is only .05 inches shorter than a standard commander barrel.  Use a railed government length frame, cut a government slide to proper length and you can go bull barrel with a full length guide rod with pretty much no worries on weight...and can still use all the other weight saving stuff above if you need to.

Edited by gino_aki
typos, added content

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My Springfield 9mm RO is currently at 40.3 with the aluminum housing and magwell and FO front sight.  I am using Magpul grips which seem very light.

I like the idea of a FLGR and it would seem that I can spend some weight on that.  Which one do you recommend?

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If you can find a tungsten one piece go with that, however some of them were brittle and would break...other than that any of the one piece ones from EGW or Wilson should work.

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10 hours ago, Steve O'Connell said:

My Springfield 9mm RO is currently at 40.3 with the aluminum housing and magwell and FO front sight.  I am using Magpul grips which seem very light.

I like the idea of a FLGR and it would seem that I can spend some weight on that.  Which one do you recommend?

I got the full guide rod from Wilson.  Really runs smooth with regular recoil springs.  I did have to file and fit the angle.

 

I tried the Wilson flat recoil guide rod and springs, but the flat springs are noisy and the 13# was too much for my 130pf loads.  I couldn't find another option for lower flat recoil spring weight.

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Oh, and for those looking at aluminum vs steel main spring housings. The aluminum is about 1oz less so big savings there if you want to run a full length guide rod.

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6 minutes ago, IronicTwitch said:

I got the full guide rod from Wilson.  Really runs smooth with regular recoil springs.  I did have to file and fit the angle.

 

I tried the Wilson flat recoil guide rod and springs, but the flat springs are noisy and the 13# was too much for my 130pf loads.  I couldn't find another option for lower flat recoil spring weight.

You can use Glock recoil springs for your flatwire Wilson guide rod. Opens up more options. A little oil or grease helps with the sound.

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10 hours ago, IsaacB said:

You can use Glock recoil springs for your flatwire Wilson guide rod. Opens up more options. A little oil or grease helps with the sound.

Thanks!  I'll check those out.

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My PM 9 makes weight easy 

 

and my 

 

Trogan could stand to gain a few 

46B973EE-A51D-499F-B261-555D8F6948AF.jpeg

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