Colt 1911A1: how to disassemble and reassemble without damaging it

Everything has been said on it: that picking it up feels like shaking hands with an old friend, that it is old but reliable; according to Jeff Cooper, the guru of defensive shooting, the 1911 was the only possible option.

Whether you like it or not, the Colt 1911/1911A1 was the US Army issue pistol from 1911 to 1985 and from its design originated a family of guns that are still suitable today for military, civilian and sports purposes.

Ex-military versions are coveted collector's items that can reach very high prices. Few other guns can be considered more classic than the Colt 1911 because if it is true that other service guns such as the Luger, the Walther P38 or the Webley revolvers occupy a place in the collective imagination of gun enthusiasts, at the technical level they had no successors, while the Colt 1911 platform, developed by John Moses Browning, is alive and well, and in constant evolution. 

Disassembling and reassembling the Colt 1911A1

In this short video we will see how to disassembly and reassembly a 1911A1 pistol, the revised and amended version of the original design, produced since 1924. The most striking modification that allows to distinguish ha 1911A1 from the 1911 is the main spring housing, that in A1 pistols is arched while in the earlier model is straight.

The Bunker Gunstore gunshop in Milan provided three war-production 1911A1s, respectively a 1943-dated Colt, a 1945 Ithaca Gun Co. and a 1944 Remington Rand. 

Although it is a relatively easy gun to strip and reassemble, the 1911 requires some attention because it hides two traps to the enthusiast, one in the disassembly phase and the other in the reassembly phase. The first one is the tension of the recoil spring, that if not kept under control tends to "shoot out" its plug, with the risk of hard research or – worse - to get it in your face

Detail on the "idiot mark" on the Ithaca pistol.
Detail of the "idiot mark" on the Remington and Ithaca pistols.
Detail on the "idiot mark" on the Remington  pistol
The mark is caused by the slide stop lever scratching the frame.

The second trap is the one that gave rise to the contemptuous "idiot mark" (or "idiot scratch") term, that is the half-circle scratch on the frame (in serious cases also extending to the slide)  that can be produced if you incorrectly re-insert the slide stop lever.

Beyond self-esteem, the idiot scratch should be avoided at all costs because it lowers the value of the gun, so it is imperative to learn how to reassemble a 1911 so that this never happens. In fact, as you'll see in the video, there's nothing complicated about it. Now we just have to thank Massimo Di Martino of the Bunker Gunstore gunshop in Milan for making available three beautiful guns and his experience as a gunsmith.

Enjoy the video.

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