1911 80% Tactical Machining Build, Part 1: Intro

Follow me as I complete my Tactical Machining 1911 80% build project!

I make it easy to follow so you can make your own 1911 at home.

I start off with how to get the “paperweights” and jigs.  Then I go over my tooling setup and parts list.  Then finally I dive into actually getting the receiver to 100% and assembling/fitting the rest of the 1911.  Disclaimer of course.

Tactical Machining 1911 80% and Parts Kit
Tactical Machining 1911 80% and Parts Kit

Edit: Just finished my TM build (still need the sights).

Completed Tactical Machining 1911, minus sights
Completed Tactical Machining 1911, minus sights

Finding a 1911 80%

First, you’ve got to actually get the 80% and the jig which allows you to easily finish the receiver.

I was lucky and got their first batch of 80%-ers in June 2014.  Their jigs just came out July and I was able to snag one with the help of a Chrome extension called Page Monitor.

Just choose the 80% Page page, set the refresh rate to whatever, and choose some sort of notification of when the page changes.

Edit (Jan 27, 2016): TM still has some trouble keeping their 80%-ers in stock, but good news is that there’s a lot more providers now.  I’ve only done my project with Tactical Machining’s but here are other potentials.  There are slight differences in what you have to do to get it to 100%, but my guide should still be very useful.

Update: 1911 80% Shootout: Stealth Arms vs 1911 Builders vs Tactical Machining

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


  1. What an impressive finish on this 1911. I really appreciate your sharing your experience with us. You have answered a lot of questions I have had. I hope I can turn out something that is close to as nice as your pistol looks.

    Thanks again,


  2. can you post 360 degree pictures of the 1911? mainly the back face, is it smooth or is there slide over hang (back face of the slide hangs over rear of the frame)? did you have to blend the slide to the frame?


    1. Hi Chris, mine has some minor overhang (.04″). I had it looked over and test-fired by a gunsmith who said it was merely cosmetic. I’m going to just leave it and not blend since it doesn’t bother me. I’ll post up more pics after I put on the sights.

      If yours is not flush, I’d have it looked over by a smith (which is a good idea at the end to do anyway).

      1. Did u get the pistol sse’d (single shot exemption)?
        If so what was the procedure you went thru? my local gunsmith said he won’t touch/test my finished TM 80% 1911, now 100% complete 1911, without it being registered

        1. Hi Chris, I’m in CA so I went with the SSE route when building (longer barrel, overall length, etc). I also stamped in a serial so my smith would look at it. Just search/post on Calguns since I’m not the expert in this area.

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