A Nurse with a Gun

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

My Colt Compact

One of my favorite 1911 style pistols is a Colt M1991A1 Compact that I modified for carry. As an unmodified pistol it had an uncanny accuracy despite it's short sight radius. Click to enlargeAll the work I performed on it was done to enhance the shootability, reliability and durability of an already accurate firearm.

The Colt Compact is the bare bones parkerized version of the Colt Officer's ACP. As with most of the 1911s that I have modified for my own use, I installed an Ed Brown grip safety and an Ed Brown tactical thumb safety. I kept the Colt hammer, sear and disconnect. The trigger, though, was swapped out for a Dlask magnesium and titanium unit. I fitted a Ted Yost retro rear sight into the slide and had a dentist friend fill the original front sight recess with a bit of gold. The Colt slide stop and the barrel that held the pistol's accuracy were retained.

But wait...... There is one modification I forgot to mention, the one most people are interested in. The Colt Compact and Officer's ACP both suffer from a reputation of a recoil plug that depends on a small lug that fits in the dustcover for retention. Click to enlargeThe barrel bushing is a thin unit, and through the rigors of prolong use, the lug on the recoil plug has been known to shear off. When that occurs, the plug and recoil spring are launched down range, and the gun becomes an amusing club. I wasn't going to have that on a carry gun.

To rectify the problem, I ordered a reverse recoil plug from Clark Custom for $20. This plug has a lug that fits in the original recess, but more importantly, it has a flange that goes around it's rear that prevents it from ever breaking. The Clark reverse plug is a solidly over-engineered chunk of steel, and only a glimpse makes even the most skeptical shooter realize it isn't going anywhere. It uses the original recoil springs and guide, and requires minimal fitting to the pistol.

With the big chunk of Clark steel up front, the thin Colt Compact bushing was looking pretty anemic. I started to shop around, and finally decided on an EGW Melt bushing to replace it. Click to enlargeFor $22.50, the EGW Melt bushing is another hefty piece of steel. It is designed to extend to the edges of the slide to prevent a seamless blend on the muzzle of the pistol if it is radically dehorned, or "melted." along with the EGW bushing, I ordered the bushing wrench necessary to turn it. The bushing required fitting to both the slide and the barrel, but the specs were so close that I was able to achieve a close tolerance fit with emery cloth and a bit of oil and elbow grease. The bushing extends out past the barrel's crown a bit, effectively protecting it. Between the Clark reverse plug and the EGW bushing, the pistol has all the reliability of a ball peen hammer,

I gave the pistol a subtle dehorning, and I took my new carry pistol to a pro for refinishing. I wanted a tough finish, but also one that was dark and nondescript. I chose a teflon coating with a black slide over an olive drab receiver. Finally, Pearce rubber double diamond grips and a Wilson Combat magazine with a low profile base pad rounded out the package for a durable, reliable and accurate carry gun.

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Anonymous Steve said...

Nice job.

I have what appears to be that same trigger on a Series 70 that I picked up used.

4:39 PM  
Blogger carl said...

Xavier, you have a lot of really nice pistols, but it is my opinion that this 1991a1 Compact is the coolest one that you own. Thank you for doing a write up on this pistol.

6:02 PM  
Blogger aepilot_jim said...

I can sum that up in one word...


9:49 PM  
Blogger Evan said...

A beautiful gun! Pics like these remind me of why I'll probably own a 1911 one day.

11:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Reliable as a ball peen hammer. I like that.

3:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have got to start shooting my .45 more. I haven't fired my 1991A1 Commander in more than a year, since it put it in the hidden safe under the floor. I'll have to remedy that soon.

St Paul

10:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

one of a kind,,
Remington Rand Model 1911 .45 ACP manufactured in 1493 and has been re-armored since.
5 inch barrel and fixed sights. plastic checkered grip panels lanyard loop.

8:50 AM  
Blogger Terry said...

I don't much care for compact 1911's but thats nice work.

1:32 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

beautiful gun!

7:09 PM  
Blogger B Johns said...

I bought a Colt 1991a1 used and had problems with it jamming. Took it to a friend of mine who is much more knowledgable than me. Here are his comments. Someone "recut" the barrel ramp improperly. One problem is
that the cut is canted, but the biggest problem is that it
extends too far forward where the top of the ramp meets
the bottom of the chamber wall. When over-ramping is
excessive, as in this case, too much supporting chamber
wall is lost, and depending on the degree it is dangerous
since it can lead to a burst cartridge case wall with the explosive
force blasting down the loaded magazine well. Any ideas on what to do or where to turn?

6:44 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

B Johns..... Bad news. You can have the ramp rewelded and recut by a shop such as clarks. The cost will be more than a new frame. You can have a ramp insert placed. Same thing regarding the cost. You can have a ramped barrel installed. This may be the best option, since you would at least benefit from the ramped barrel.

Sorry to be the bad news messenger.


8:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Xavier, I just purchased a Colt Officers MK IV ser 80. I plan on doing the Clark Reverse Plug and EGW bushing. Thank you for posting all this BTW.
How has this system worked out for you any issues or failures to feed.
Did you ever consider the single wolf spring?

11:59 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

The system has worked very well. Of course, there will always be the question of whether or not the preventitive modification was necessary.

I have not tried the Wolff single spring, but with the next spring change, I just might!

11:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Respectfully submitted:

The possessive of its is "its". The dog wagged its tail. By contrast, "it's" is a contraction, meaning "it is". These are very distracting.

6:02 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Anon, sorry it is so distracting to you. It is a common error of mine.


11:35 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have to agree with you, the 1991 "compact" is a suprisingly accurate pistol. I got mine used for $399. I was allowed to test fire the gun before buying, the price caught my eye, but the accuracy sold the gun, everyone that shoots it loves it. It's my only compact pistol, all my pistols up 'til then were Govt. models.

11:35 PM  
Blogger Bruce said...

Very nice gun! Do most parts for the 1911 models work for the M1991A1? I have one and want to do some similar mods but just don't want to pourhcase the wrong parts.

2:38 PM  
Blogger Bruce said...

Very nice gun! Do most 1911 parts fit the M1991A1? I have one as well and want to do similar mods but just dont want to order the wrong parts - thanks!!

2:40 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Bruce, Yes.

4:54 PM  
Blogger Nekator said...

Dude, recently got my gun parkerized (manganese phosphating) but the EGW metl barrel bushing doesn't seem to take on the black fisnih... Any tip on how to solve this (other than "get a new bushing")? Best regards... So nice to see the gun I hold dear (Colt M1991A1 Compact) with its very own web page. Keep the good work up! Best regards.

11:18 PM  
Anonymous chris said...

i have a m1991a1 compact where can i get parts for it

3:41 PM  

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