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The 1911 pistol has remained a popular target and concealed carry pistol since its debut more than a century ago. Timeless, rock-solid, and reliable, these handguns provide unparalleled stopping power when paired with .45 ACP rounds. Thanks to its excellent design, the colt 1911 pistol lends itself to unlimited customization without compromising its reliable dependability.
In-addition to the 1911 being a pistol that is designed to last limitless generations of use, it is also one of the most ergonomic and user-friendly designs. The 1911’s frame and grip angle were specifically designed for a humans hand and natural pointing angle when raising the pistol into sighting position for a shot. This comfortable and natural design makes the 1911 feel like an extension of a person’s natural shooting and pointing position. These legendary design attributes have not been repeated with any other styles of pistol frames. For most users, after shooting a 1911 pistol with its natural pointing ergonomics and excellent trigger control, all other pistol frames feel “blocky”, and/or uncomfortable to use.
Many gun enthusiasts prefer to build their own 1911 pistols from the ground up using parts and 1911 kits. While most 1911 build kits come with plenty of refinements and accessories, many lack the central piece – the 1911 frame. Read on to understand why you need a 1911 frame and where you can get 1911 frame on sale online and have it shipped to your location.
What are 1911 Frames?
A 1911 frame is the part of a firearm that fits into your hand and houses the gun’s trigger mechanism, ignition parts and several other critical parts such as the slide stop and magazine catch. In the Colt 1911, the frame comprises of the trigger, sear, disconnector, hammer, hammer strut, Mainspring housing assembly, magazine catch assembly, plunger tube, plunger tube plunger assembly, slide stop, grip screw bushings, grip screws, thumb safety, grip safety, grips and various retaining pins for the hammer, sear, and mainspring housing. The 1911 frame is the base of the 1911 frame or “lower-assembly” which houses and supports the trigger/ignition, the plunger tube assembly, the thumb safety, grips safety, and magazine catch assembly which retains the magazine that is inserted into the frame’s “Mag-well” area.
Since completed 1911 frames must contain a serial number and are the primary structural components of 1911 pistols, the ATF classifies them as firearms. That means you’ll need a federal firearms license to drop-ship your 1911 frame to for pick-up and registration. All other parts needed to build your 1911 are not regulated and can be shipped directly to your home or business.
When building a custom pistol, you’ll need to buy a 1911 frame separately. Your choice of proper 1911 frame size and options will influence the end results when building a custom handgun. The frame choice affects parts compatibility as 1911 frames come in basically three different sizes. The base 1911 frame sizes are the officers, the commander and the full size known as the “Government” frame. In-addition there are many variants and options for frames to consider such as front-strap texture, tactical versions, monolithic dustcovers, barrel ramp cuts, carry cut mainspring housing options, and recessed slide stop pin holes and more. The type of frame and options you purchase determines the build kit or parts kit you’ll need to create a pistol that suits your application.
What are the types of 1911 Frames& Sizes?
Initially, the 1911 pistol frame was only available in one size, but currently, you can have your pick from a choice of three frames. The type of 1911 frame you choose significantly affects the size of your handgun.
1911 Government Frame
It’s the original, full-sized frame was designed by John Moses Browning in approximately 1905 and adopted for production through Colt for the USA Army in 1911. It maintained the same design used during WWII, and up even till today. It sports a 5-inch barrel and an overall length of 8.25 inches. It’s compatible with a concealed 7 or 8-round magazine. A 1911 government frame is about 1 inch wide at the slide and 1.2 inches at the grip, with a height of 5.5 inches. A fully assembled 1911 pistol with a government steel frame weighs 2.4 pounds. Traditionally, 1911 pistols chambered .45 ACP, but they’re currently available in various other calibers, chamberings and configurations.
1911 Commander Frame
The 1911 Commander frame still has the same gripping size, grips and magazines as the government frame size, but has a shorter dustcover and rail system to accommodate the shorter commander length slide assembly. The commander versions are very popular for carry, backpacking and hiking applications. The commander size was developed in 1950 and is still one of the world’s most popular pistols. The frame features a 4.25-inch barrel, just 0.75 inches shorter than a government frame. Short and compact, the 1911 commander frame is a popular choice for a concealed carry gun.
1911 Officer Frame
This sub-compact variant is the smallest of the 1911 frames. It features a 3.5-inch barrel, but some variants feature an even shorter barrel at 3.0” or still some will also use a commander top-end with this size frame to build what is referred to as the CCO model. The 1911 officer frame was introduced in 1970 and uses a magazine with 6 to 8 rounds depending on cartridge size. This size frame is very popular for concealed carry and defensive applications.
Material Selection for a 1911 Frame
Depending on your desires and application, 1911 frames are manufactured from carbon steel, stainless steel and aluminum alloy. Depending on your application you can select the material that best suits your needs. Before choosing a 1911 frame you should think of your application, and the final finishing you want for your completed pistol. Certain materials will not compatible with some finishing applications so you will want to consider this. Fusion firearms offers several instructional videos on material selection and what you should take into consideration when starting your 1911 build. Carbon steel frames are the
most popular and widely used and most all modern-day finishes can be applied. Stainless steel frames are also, popular and many like the stainless steel look. As for the aluminum frames, these are a great light-weight option and very popular for concealed carry due to their light-weight nature. Aluminum will have some limitations on finishing applications, but this should not stop you when considering a lightweight 1911 build project. There are still many suitable finishes. In-addition, Fusion Firearms recommends that the aluminum 1911 frame be upgraded and cut for a ramped barrel. This will insure you will have no feed-ramp erosion issues and this will give you more reliable feeding and longevity to the assembly.
How to Choose the Best 1911 Frame series, 70 Series or 80 Series?
There are many manufactures of 1911 frames. Fusion Firearms manufacture traditional and more modern designed 1911 frames, but we still use a 100% Colt-compatible design process in every model. Why is this very important, well many companies make variants of the 1911 frame that are not compatible with standard 1911 Colt compatible parts. Meaning, if you are trying to use a frame that is not Colt compatible you will be limited on the parts you can use and this leads to being backed into a corner with bastard or non-compatible parts. This also leads to massive problem down the road in maintaining your pistol and being able to upgrade it as you see fit.
There are 2 basic original designs of the 1911 frame, the 70 Series and the 80 Series. The 70 series being the more traditional and most popular of the two. The 80 Series frame is deigned to house linkage that will actuate a plunger (firing pin block) in the slide. Most shooter do not care for this and due to the extra linkage parts you will generally encounter an inferior trigger pull and feel of the pistol. Most 1911 builders, if they are using an 80 Series frame will scrap these parts and use a filler-plate to basically transform the pistol back to a 70 series style.
How to Choose the Best 1911 Frame?
Dozens of companies make the Colt 1911 style pistols today, creating dozens of variants and giving rising to limitless options. Having endless options can make choosing the best 1911 frames quite challenging. Start by considering your specific needs, skills, and budget. You can go as barebones or high-end as you wish when building a custom 1911 pistol. You can find excellent 1911 frames at all budget points from Fusion Firearms.
Do you want an entry-level shooter or a refined piece of weaponry? A no-frills 1911 pistol has lower features and refinements. High-end refinements may include, ramp barrel cuts, front-strap texturing, tactical rails, .25 radius beavertail grip safety cut, and the list goes on. Your gunsmithing skills are another primary consideration when buying a 1911 frame. If your skills are up to par and you have the proper equipment and tooling, you can purchase a 1911 80% frame and try your hand at completed many machining operations yourself. If you want optional machining and assembly procedures completed before you receive your frame; Fusion Firearms can also help you with a multitude of upgrades such as barrel ramp cuts, carry-cut mainspring housing machining, installation and blending, plunger tube assembly installation and more. These items can be all completed by Fusion Firearms before shipment of your 1911 frame for your “Dream build”.
Build Your Custom 1911 Today!
Since the ATF considers the 100% completely machined 1911 frame a firearm, you’ll need to buy it separately when you wish to build a custom 1911 handgun. The procedure for this is simple, you purchase the frame from as you would any other part but when ready to be shipped, we will ship to an FFL Dealer of your choice for your pick-up and registration. At Fusion Firearms, we stock a diverse collection of 1911 steel frames – in many materials and in popular sizes such as the government, commander, and officer frames. We also carry an extensive collection of professional gunsmithing grade parts and build kits to equip a stunning 1911 pistol. In-Addition Fusion Firearms has listed on its website a great selection of “How-To” videos to help you assemble a custom 1911 quickly and efficiently. Since Fusion Firearms is federally licensed to manufacture and sell firearms worldwide, we can ship anywhere in the USA. We can ship your complete or 80% steel 1911 government frames anywhere in the county that it is legal. We ship all gun frames and build kits following federal shipping reg regulations. Browse our diverse 1911 frames and build kits, and we’ll ship them to your location within the USA. Get your 1911 frame and build kits today!