Three years ago, in the Spring of 2003
, Springfield began producing a pistol that 1911 shooters had craved for a long time. It was a basic, no frills GI styled 1911 with a forged frame and slide.
Right out of the gate Springfield had a potential winner. If priced right, and if reliable, it would fill a void that no other pistol occupied. Like many eager 1911 shooters, I pre-ordered mine. When it arrived, it came with black plastic grips in an olive drab cardboard box. It was one of the first 300 pistols. It had a GI style ejection port, Springfield's ILS system, a teardrop thumb safety, vertical slide serrations, and a standard trigger. It also had a parkerized barrel with a loaded chamber indicator, and the older blocky Springfield front strap. For $400, it was a deal. I took it home.
I had long wanted a real M1911A1, but with the prices they command, and the history they represent, I just could not justify buying a nice one to shoot. I resolved to make the new Springfield pistol a representation of a GI gun.
I began to search and scrounge for parts. I ordered a stamped GI trigger from Numrich
I found an arched and serrated mainspring housing with a lanyard loop on ebay, along with some double diamond walnut grips. I ordered some genuine GI grips from Simpson's Ltd
, but I preferred the walnut. Next, I ordered a checkered slide stop and magazine catch from Brownells
. The wide spur hammer and GI thumb safety came out of a box of take-off parts. I kept the Springfield grip safety. It is a bit bigger than a GI unit, but it effectively keeps the hammer from biting my hand. I slicked up the action, and purchased a couple of GI magazines at the next gun show.
After 600 rounds or so, the pistol began to have an occasional problem chambering the last round in a magazine. I replaced the recoil spring with a 18.5 pound Wolff spring, and the pistol has cycled fine ever since. My home brew GI pistol is not meant to fool people into thinking it is an actual GI gun. It is meant to simulate a pistol that is much like the guns carried into combat in the past century. Like those pistols, it is not a tack driver, but it does bring a smile to my face each time I shoot it. That's good enough for me.
Labels: 1911's, Springfield