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The two easiest ways to change the fit and feel of a 1911 in your hand is to be able to change the trigger and the mainspring housing. Those two changes along with the grip angle and the options available in grip thickness and texture are a couple of the reasons the 1911 stays at the top of the heap as a personal defensive tool.

One of the most simple tasks to master is changing the mainspring housing but it isn't obvious. Fitting one correctly is even less so and more often simply ignored.

Pictured here are several of the many grip textures available but there are others.

Here are the standard flat (original to the 1911) and arched. (1911A1 style with an original lanyard loop) There are other after market designs that can be any combination of the two.

The basic parts and how they are arranged inside the housing.

There are many ways to take the mainspring housing apart. I just force the housing against a mainspring push pin punch (Brownell's again) held at solar plexus height on my chest and then take the retaining pin out with a tiny punch and finger tips.

Another option is hold the housing in a vice and get the same effect both on take down and reassembly.

Details will always mean the difference between a finished job and just changing the parts.

This is the beginning, a stock gun and new main spring housing, this one wave textured. The outside edges of the mainspring housing clearly sits above the frame and frame over laps the mainsping housing on the bottom, heel of the grip. Both need some effort and a good eye to be blended correctly. I use a combination of hand and power tools before I do a final bead blast or polished finish.

Blending a mainspring housing to the frame is part of building a custom gun. This one is almost finished to my satisfaction. The idea in my mind is to make the gun seamless and rounded in the grip area. This is a tiny part of that effort. This a stainless Colt and a 30lpi machine checkered main being blended to a beavertail with an enlarged pad, which also gets blended.

The finished product with a BCP grip safety shown in the collapsed position, and a Brown serrated main on an older Colt Combat Elite I just finished. If you note the detail in both pictures the mainspring housing is also blended into the beavertail, with no pad, while in this collapsed position. I find the effect most pleasing to my hand in the presentation grip.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Dane Burns on 2002-04-06 22:03 ]</font>
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