How to Replace 1911 Grips

By Yamil Sued
Posted in #Skills
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How to Replace 1911 Grips

April 29th, 2019

4:35 runtime

In today’s article, Yamil Sued shows us how to replace 1911 grips. This is a simple upgrade that can give your Springfield Armory pistol a custom feel. With a quality set of aftermarket products, you can select the desired thickness of your replacement parts, opting for thin grips or something a bit meatier to fill large hands. In this video, Yamil replaces the original grips on his .45 1911 with a custom set from VZ Grips.

how to replace 1911 grips
Springfield Armory includes some of the best 1911 grips in the world. Even so, there may be a reason why you would like to change them out.

Hello, fellow 1911 enthusiasts! Today, we’re going to walk through a simple yet rewarding task: replacing the grips on your beloved 1911 pistol. Whether you’re looking to refresh an old pair or customize your firearm with a new aesthetic, changing the grips is a straightforward process that any owner can accomplish. Let’s get started!

Safety Precautions When Swapping Grips

Safety always comes first. While keeping the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, ensure your 1911 is unloaded and the magazine is removed. Visually check the chamber to make sure you have not left a round in the gun after the magazine is out.

safely clearing a 1911 prior to swapping the grips
Prior to changing the grips on your 1911, ensure the gun is unloaded and the chamber is empty.

I also recommend feeling the chamber with a finger to make sure you aren’t missing a live round in a shadow.

Tools and Materials Needed to Change Grips

Gathering your tools and new grips beforehand will make the process smooth and enjoyable. You’ll need a flat grind screwdriver to avoid damaging the gun’s screws. I recommend a gunsmithing screwdriver set from somewhere like Brownells or Midway USA.

gunsmithing screwdriver set for 1911 pistols
A proper gunsmithing screwdriver set for 1911 pistols like this one from Brownells helps you avoid damage to your gun’s finish and stripped screws.

I also recommend using a work mat or soft towel to work on. This will help prevent any marring of the finish on your 1911.

You will also need a set of replacement grips. When selecting grips, consider both the material and the design that will best suit your needs. Finally, I like to have a clean workspace that is well-lit to help keep me organized.

Removing the Factory Standard Grips

With your 1911 securely placed on your workbench or desktop, let’s begin by removing the old grips.

removing factory grip screws
The author shows where the factory grip screws on the 1911 are located using his Springfield Armory pistol.

Using a correctly sized screwdriver, gently unscrew the grip screws. Keep the screws as you will need them to install the new grips.

factory grip screw locations
Each 1911 grip panel has two screws. They are located in the spots indicated by the arrows above.

Once the screws are removed, carefully lift the old grips away from the pistol frame. Be mindful to avoid scratching the frame or disrupting any internal components.

Installing the New Grips on Your Gun

Now, align your new grips with the screw holes on the pistol frame. Place them gently, ensuring they sit flush against the frame. You want to make sure everything aligns correctly prior to screwing them into place.

fitting custom 1911 grips to the pistol
Before inserting the screws, dry fit the new grips to the 1911 pistol. If everything fits, then insert the screws and tighten them.

When everything is fitted, insert and tighten the grip screws. Make sure the screws are snug but not overtightened to avoid damaging the new grips or the screw threads. VZ Grips includes O-rings that you slip over the screw to help prevent damaging the grip bushing.

installing new 1911 grips
The author tightens the screws on his new VZ Grips. The company includes O-rings to allow you to tighten the screws while minimizing the possibility of stripping them.

Hold your 1911 and feel the new grips, ensuring they are stable and comfortable in your hand.

Maintenance and Care for 1911 Grips

To keep your grips looking great and feeling like new, regularly inspect them for any wear and ensure the screws remain tight. Wipe down the grips with a clean cloth after use to help keep them clean and preserve any finishes or engravings. Some materials, like G-10 laminate, naturally resist wear and oils.

Custom Grip Options

The world of 1911 customization is vast and exciting. From various grip materials like wood, G10, or rubber to personalized engravings, there are countless ways to make your 1911 uniquely yours. Explore different designs and materials that not only enhance the aesthetic but also improve functionality and comfort.

Troubleshooting Common Issues

If you encounter loose grips, check the tightness of the screws and ensure the grips are properly aligned.

Stripped screw holes can be a bit tricky but can often be resolved with a Helicoil insert. However, I recommend going to a professional gunsmith if things have gotten this far.

Final Thoughts and Additional Resources

Congratulations! You’ve successfully replaced your 1911 grips, giving it a fresh look and feel. This simple customization is a testament to the versatility and user-friendly design of the 1911. Always remember to handle and modify your firearms with the utmost safety and in compliance with all local laws and regulations.

vz grips installed on springfield 1911
The final result: perfectly fitting VZ Grips on the author’s Springfield Armory 1911 pistol.

For further customization ideas and tips, check out online forums and communities of 1911 enthusiasts. Trusted suppliers and additional reading materials can offer a wealth of information and products to enhance your 1911 experience.

This guide is meant to assist you in a safe and legal customization of your firearm. Always prioritize safety and legal adherence, and if you ever feel unsure, seek professional assistance for modifying your firearm.

Thank you for joining me in this straightforward guide on replacing 1911 grips. Happy shooting, and remember: safety, responsibility, and respect are the hallmarks of a true firearms enthusiast!

Last update: October 4, 2023

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Springfield Armory® recommends you seek qualified and competent training from a certified instructor prior to handling any firearm and be sure to read your owner’s manual. These articles and videos are considered to be suggestions and not recommendations from Springfield Armory. The views and opinions expressed on this website are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of Springfield Armory.

Product prices mentioned in articles and videos are current as of the date of publication.

Yamil Sued

Yamil Sued

Yamil is a graduate of the prestigious Brooks Institute of Photographic Arts and Sciences in Santa Barbara, CA with a Major in Illustration Photography and Color Technology with over 34 years of professional experience. Yamil started his professional relationship with the Shooting Industry in 1995 and has since worked with companies like Springfield Armory, S&W, Glock, FNH USA, Remington, Bushmaster, Bushnell, Leupold, Aimpoint, PWS, Vortex Optics, Cor-Bon Ammunition, ERGO Grips, AmeriGlo Sights, Krause Publications, Comp Tac Victory Gear, The Beta Company, IDPA, MGM Targets, Rainier Ballistics, Rock Castle Shooting Center, SIG Sauer and was a Staff Photographer for Cabela’s in Sidney, NE. Yamil is also a Writer and Photographer for Guns & Ammo, Guns & Ammo SIP's and Gun Digest.

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