Hand-Picked Daily GUN DEALS, and Exclusive Coupons Codes >>>
We select and review products independently. When you buy through links on our site, we may earn a commission, which help support our testing. Learn more.

1911 80% Tactical Machining Build, Part 4: Basic Fitting

1911 barrel bushing to slide fitting, trigger fitting, and beavertail safety fitting.


    My parts list in Part 3 of this guide minimizes the necessary fitting of parts to the frame and each other, but there’s still a lot to do for a 80% 1911 project.  I’ve gone ahead and done all the fitting possible while I wait for my Tactical Machining 1911 80% Jig.

    For more help, I’d check out the book & DVD I listed.  Disclaimer again.

    Barrel Bushing to Slide Fit

    I started blogging after I did this, so some of the pictures are “after” pictures.  My apologies!

    The combo of a pre-fit Lake Storm barrel and my Fusion Firearms slide was perfect.  The barrel fit so exactly that I was actually kind of scared something was over-sized, but I just had to get it in the exact angle.

    1911 Storm Lake Barrel Fitting
    1911 Storm Lake Barrel Fitting

    The barrel bushing was already pre-fit snugly to the barrel so all I had to do was see if the bushing fit into the slide.  It wasn’t going in easily so I just kept at it for 5-10 minutes until the entire bushing could go down.  I didn’t want to file/sand anything unless I had to.

    Locking the bushing looked like it needed some filing.  I double-checked by turning by hand as much as possible.  There were some shiny parts on the bushing which told me one part was too thick.  I then used some Sharpie (or Dykem) to see where the color wore off.

    1911 Barrel Bushing Fitting
    1911 Barrel Bushing Fitting

    I used one of my flat files and went at both sides a little, then repeated the Sharpie procedure.  This went on for about 30 minutes.  You can see by my handiwork I didn’t exactly keep everything level.  The next time I would probably vise the bushing.

    Completed 1911 Barrel Fitting
    Completed 1911 Barrel Fitting

    Trigger Fitting

    Edit: Article on Installing and Fitting 1911 Triggers.

    The Wilson Ultralight Match Trigger was not going in so I did the Sharpie method and ended up filing a decent amount off the top and bottom, and a little off the sides.  From the videos, you could also possibly see some resistance from the trigger bow.  I also sanded the inside of the frame a little since it looked like there were some sharp burrs.

    1911 Trigger Fitting
    1911 Trigger Fitting

    The trigger fits very snugly now and doesn’t seem to have any drag.  I finished with increasing sandpaper grit to smooth out all the trigger surfaces I filed.  There are still some minor streaks that mark up the trigger but I’ll deal with any final finishing after I know the pistol works.

    Completed 1911 Trigger Fitting
    Completed 1911 Trigger Fitting

    Beavertail Fitting

    I originally got a Wilson Drop-In Beavertail but it left a quarter-inch gap on the TM 1911 80%.  I exchanged it for a regular Wilson Beavertail which fits well enough to not need filing for proper function.  But a properly blended beavertail is really one of the marks of a custom 1911.  I’ll leave it until I get the jig and make the frame 100% first…just in case.

    1911 Beavertail Fitting Top
    1911 Beavertail Fitting Top
    1911 Beavertail Fitting Bottom
    1911 Beavertail Fitting Bottom

    Next Lesson

    Part 1: Intro (Finding the 80%)

    Part 2: Tools

    Part 3: Parts List

    Part 4: Basic Fitting

    Part 5: Cutting the Slide Rail

    Part 6: Barrel Seating

    Part 7: Hammer & Sear Pin Holes

    Part 8: Fitting the Slide

    Part 9: Assembly & Fitting

    Part 10: GunKote Application

    Learning Resources

    The Best Gun Deals, Coupons and Finds

    Subscribe to Pew Pew Tactical's sales and deals email.

    2 Leave a Reply

    • Commenter Avatar

      Hi did u go with the Ed Brown Grip Safety? I read your article it said u went with a Wilson but that doesn't look like a Wilson. I just bought a Smith & Alexander 250 Grip Safety n it won't work, either My Tactical Machining Frame or gripSafe is out of spec

      April 13, 2015 2:00 am
      • Commenter Avatar
        Eric Hung

        Hi, thanks for your question. Looking again at my current setup it does look like I went with the Ed Brown safety since it has the "speed bumps" at the bottom. I did have to fit it to the frame with a good amount of grinding on the bottom and even a little on the side. I'm thinking yours needs to be fitted as well. Only the "drop in" beavertails don't need fitting, but they will likely leave some extra space that will work fine but will look a little odd.

        April 13, 2015 3:14 pm
    Join the community! Log in
    Please provide a valid email address.
    Password is required.
    Please provide a valid display name.
    Please provide a valid email address.
    The password should contain at least 8 characters with at least one number or special character.
    Please accept in order to continue.
    Trouble logging in?
    Type your email address and we’ll send you a link to reset your password.
    Please provide a valid email.
    Type your new password and hit button below to confirm it.
    Field is required.
    Account already exists
    We already have an account registered for email address () which is linked to your Facebook account.
    To log in type your Pew Pew Meter password below.
    Field is required.
    Account already exists
    We noticed that you have previously logged in with your Account which is linked to the same email address () - we can link both of your accounts together.
    In order to link your accounts, hit button below and log in to your Account with the same email as above.

    Account in Pew Pew Tactical means more.

    Login or create a free account to get the following
    Access and save hundreds of reviews, gun guides, and articles!
    Find the best daily deals on guns, gear, and ammo
    Manage your newsletter subscriptions and comments
    pew pew tactical logo

    new here?

    Personalize your experience.
    Select what level shooter you are!

    pew pew tactical logo

    level up your gun knowledge

    Thanks! We'll send you the latest guides and training tips geared towards your level.

    pew pew tactical logo


    You'll now receive newsletters of our best articles on techniques, guns & gear.

    $47 value

    yours free!

    targets targets

    practice targets

    printer icon printable

    our 9 favorite targets and drills


    practice targets

    printer icon printable

    enter your email to download

    We'll only use the information provided according to our privacy policy.

    success icon

    Ready to Download

    Click below to begin your download

    download pdf