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Discussion Starter #1
I recently competed in my first ever match and did surprising well with my "out of the box" Colt. It is a series 80, 45acp, fixed sights, only a $700 gun.

I enjoyed the event and plan to do more, as well as IDPA. My question is this:

I read about the modifications available to 1911s and wonder about thier practicality. How much improvement can one really expect? Is there really a percievable difference, or are these the kinds of things that "enthusiasts" just like to do?

Secondly, assuming there is merit to these improvements, should I just purchase another gun better suited for these games? My Colt was intended as a "nightstand" gun. It has laser grips.
Thanks,
Jay
 

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Depends upon the classification

in which you want to compete. Read the rules carefully. USPSA is introducing a "provisional" class 1/1/06 - Single Stack Class. Many of us 1911 shooters are looking forward to competing among our own kind. The stock 1911 fits in the CDP (custome defensive pistol ) class in IDPA and the same gun will make up the new USPSA class.

The only modifications you can make are: iron sights of your choice, trigger tweaking, add a magwell, but no change that will increase the outside dimensions of the pistol beyong the dimensions of the "box", or in the case of the IDPA increases the weight of the gun beyond that allowed.

Your laser grip can't be used in the "stock" classes.
 

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I often shoot IPSC (USPSA, Limited 10 division) with a pretty stock M1991A1. I also often shoot with a very trick longslide. If you are looking for "must-have" mods or additions to your gun, the only ones that are going to be of much use would be a magwell funnel, for more consistent reloads, and perhaps a full-length guide rod, to add a little recoil-resisting weight out front. I prefer "better" sights than what come on the stock Colt, but I shot the '04 IDPA season with stock '91A1 sights (rear dots removed, and notch deepened so entire front sight is visible), and they are OK. If you have a XSE, with dovetail front sight, you might try a fiber-optic front. I have sights from Dawson and EGW, and prefer them to all-black. They glow in surprisingly dim light, so have "night stand" value, too. Some people like an extended or enlarged mag release button, but I found that it only caused me to miss the button on my other guns.
Most people prefer the feel of the gun when run with light recoil springs. It reduces muzzle flip, and if you are loading "major", then a lighter spring is fine. I use a 14# on my 6" .45, but a 12# would probably allow for faster follow-up shots, if the gun still runs well.
 

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Discussion Starter #4
OK. How does the magwell work? Is it a seperate piece that attaches to the bottom of the grip (and if so, doesn't that increase the overall size of the gun?), or does the additon of a magwell require re-machining of the grip? I assume the purpose is to create a funnel to facilitate the entry of the mag. Is that correct?

Sights: Mine are fixed. They seem to be as accurate as I am. If fixed sights are accurate, what's the purpose of adjustable sights? Obviously my laser is for the "night stand" function of the pistol. I am uncertain how laser grips are perceived by purists, but I must say they allow for incredably fast target reaquisition when firing multiple shots (what fun!)

What is a trigger job? How does it help?

My instinct tells me to continue competing with my current Colt and consider a more tricked out gun down the road, rather than modifying the Colt.

Jay
 

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The most common mag well funnel is the Smith-Alexander which is made in one piece with a replacement mainspring housing. It adds about a quarter inch to the butt of the gun and noticeably speeds up reloads. No effect on use as a house gun or duty weapon, the added protrusion might or might not show in concealed carry.

There is nothing wrong with fixed sights if they are zeroed on target for your most common ammunition at a typical range. Adjustables are of most use for shooting at multiple known ranges like for bullseye competition or if you use several different loads for some reason. A lot of us want more highly visible sights whether fixed or adjustable for faster sight and target alignment. The "fibre optic" front sight is popular these days.

A "trigger job" usually includes reducing the weight of pull from the factory level of 5-7 pounds to 4 pounds or less. I run at 3 3/4 lbs but some of the hotshots set them as light as they will mechanically operate, maybe 2 pounds. A proper trigger job usually includes reducing the "takeup" or trigger movement before the trigger starts to move the sear out of the hammer hooks, and also reduces the "backlash" which is movement of the trigger after the hammer is dropping. All that aids you in breaking the shot on demand with the least disturbance of aim.

But if you are happy with your gun as is, shoot it that way. Just leave the laser turned off, it is not allowed in the rules.
 

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Jim Watson said:
A "trigger job" usually includes reducing the weight of pull from the factory level of 5-7 pounds to 4 pounds or less. I run at 3 3/4 lbs but some of the hotshots set them as light as they will mechanically operate, maybe 2 pounds.
Many top shooters are running their 1911 triggers at less than 1 pound these days. With the high-quality parts on the market, anybody with a stoning jig and a reasonable degree of competence can make a totally reliable 2-pound trigger on a 1911 every time. We're talking about competition-only triggers on competition-only guns, though, and these should only be in the hands of experienced and skilled (those two qualities don't always go together, by the way) shooters.
 

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For me, the #1 gotta have mod on ANY 1911 type pistol( competition or carry) is a beavertail grip safety. A clean, crisp, consistent trigger release is #2.
 
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