Monday, November 8, 2010


Everybody who owns and operates an M1911 should know and understand how to strip it down to it's basic groups:

This is as far as I go in the field. I can disassemble further, of course; the firing pin / extractor group, mainspring group, and trigger group - but this is not necessary for daily cleaning, or basic problem solving.

Yesterday, a question came up, so I took the opportunity to create a post and share the knowledge with all:

The 1911 is my favorite of all handguns - my question is how to disassemble the mags for cleaning. I have some original Colt mags that I have no idea how to remove the floor plates. Can't find any cathes, latches or buttons. I haven't had any success with simply trying to slide it open, either; this will surely damage it.


"Original" Colt mags have their floorplates welded to the tube.

Yes, that's a six round magazine - I carry a compact Model 1911 - S.L.

Stick a few rounds into the magazine, and then run a pin through the holes in the magazine tube to hold the spring down.

Remove the rounds and the follower should fall out the top too. Carefully remove the pin, and the spring will come free:

The spring and follower will come out now. Re-assembly's the reverse - about the only zinger is to watch the orientation of the spring v.s. the follower.

Use a tool like I did to drive the spring back down so you can pin it when trying to re-assemble the magazine, and then just drop the follower in and release the pin.

Remember: There are no stupid questions, only the ones which are never asked.

"Oh yeah? Well if that's the case, how come the Professor can make a radio out of a coconut, but can't he fix a hole in a boat?"

Let me re-phrase that. Sometimes there ARE stupid questions, but questions about guns, gun safety, and marksmanshp do not fall into that category.




  1. When I was a Ranger Instructor (RI) I heard a fellow RI tell a student "there no such thing as a stupid question, but some questions are better left un-ask, and that was a question better left un-ask".

  2. Tripp builds his Cobra mags (Better than any others IMHO) that hold 7 for Officer/Commander/Compact.

    Welded or Removable base, depending on your tastes.

    Other "name people" mags are close, but they don't have a steel insert where the followers hit the slide lock, meaning I've never seen a Tripp follower fail, but I've seen (INSERT FAVORITE MORE KNOWN SPENDY MAG NAME HERE) fail more than once.

    Good dude and good magazines.

  3. Took me time to read all the comments, but I really enjoyed the article.audemars piguet watches

  4. I had to replace the recoil spring in my wad gun (1911) yesterday mid-match because the old one had taken a "set" and just wasn't putting the new round all the way in. Knowing the drill from lots of cleanings, the replacement took about one minute to install.
    The breakdown and reassembly you have provided is definitely something every 1911 owner should know.

  5. But I would add, in step 5, to keep your hand over (or under, depending on how you hold the gun) the space between slide and frame because, when you slide them apart, the recoil spring and especially the recoil spring plug are gonna go flying.

  6. If you have a barrel bushing push the muzzel down on the wrench and turn the pistol and lift up. No flying parts.
    Mags- I use a carpenters pencil, push the follower to the bottom, pin it, clean/oil the tube, pencil down, pull pin, ease up, done.
    Unless a mag is full of mud why take it apart? ['cept to change springs every ten years]

  7. Don't even need to change 'em - I got a pair of 7-round Colt magazines out of an arms room sometime in the 80's . . . they probably date back to World War II, or at least Korea . . . I was having problems with failure to feed, so I just disassembled the mag's, stretched out the springs real good a couple times (just like we used to do with our M16 mags), re-assembled and whaddya know they shoot good as new.


  8. Being knowledgeable on every detail of your firearm goes a long way in making sure that everything is up to par in terms of performance. Man, watching guys like you taking care of their guns amazes me to no end, also, when I saw my friend field stripping some of his arms at his basement, and the sight of him carefully checking everything while cleaning the parts like a watch repairman started my fascination for guns.