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1911 Frame for Sale - Things You Should Know for Finding One

Posted by Jordan Vinroe on Dec 9, 2019

Nostalgia may be one of the biggest selling points these days for the 1911 frame for sale. Known by many nicknames, the M1911 pistol has been continuously serving the United States Armed Forces for over 100 years, making it one of the longest running firearms in U.S. military history. Its 100-year-old frame may seem out of date, but with enough gunsmith knowledge, the 1911’s utility can still be maximized, even with its inherent flaws. There are a few things you need to know when you commit to  build your own 1911 pistol from a kit.

Build your own 1911 pistol from a kit

About The 1911

When searching for a  1911 frame for sale, there are a few facts you may not know about this classic:

  • The concept for drop-in parts in many modern pistol designs, began with the 1911. The dimensions of the pistol were revamped allowing complete interchangeability of parts, regardless of contractor. This developed a set of standard gauges that would be used to check nearly every part of the gun on a pass or fail basis.
  • The 1911 has a unique trigger system. The trigger slides into the frame instead of hinging on a single point like a lever, resulting in a consistent and easy to use trigger pull every time.
  • A 1911 frame for sale is a military contract design. It is one of the most replicated handguns available today. Technically, any pistol with improved features is a 1911 clone or variant.
  • The 1911 comes in a variety of calibers due to the fact that the gun has become a shared platform.

There is no shortage of companies that make a 1911 pistol. With diversified features and configurations, there is a 1911 to suit anyone’s needs. Which frame you choose will be based on different needs, but two factors that come into play when shopping for a  1911 frame for sale are:

  • How much you’re willing to spend - you do not want to sacrifice quality for a dollar amount.
  • What you are going to use your pistol for - if you are interested in concealed carry, the size of your frame matters.

The Frame

When deciding to build your own 1911 pistol kit, the frame is a major component and will be included in a quality complete kit. The frame is the gun’s skeleton. It outlines the general shape of the pistol and designates where the rest of the pieces will go when building the gun. The frame may affect what kind of grip you can place, the type of slide and barrels you can mount, and the gun’s overall weight. When buying a 1911 frame for sale, weight should be taken into account. Since most 1911’s are made from steel, a completed pistol can be a lot of weight to carry on your hip all day. Although more related to the barrel, the frame can also affect the caliber of ammunition that can be chambered.

Kinds Of Frames

There was a time when only one size frame was available for 1911. Today, when you build your own 1911 pistol kit, your frame will be available in one of these sizes:

  • Government frame (full-sized)
  • Commander frame (compact)
  • Officer frame (subcompact)

The  Government frame is a full-sized pistol frame. This 1911 frame for sale has a barrel length reaching 5”, giving the gun an overall length of 8 ¼”. With a height of approximately 5 ½”, the width is typically 1” at the slide and 1 ½” at the grip.

Originating from the Colt Commander of 1950, the Commander frame is equivalent to a “compact” model. The descriptive “compact” is used loosely, as a true Commander frame has only ¾” shaved off the barrel and slide, making it just barely shorter than the length of the Government frame. This frame is very popular and preferred for concealed carry.

Considered a subcompact, the Officer frame has a standard barrel length of 3 ½” on most manufactured models. As most officer model 1911 frames for sale have a height of 4.8 inches or less, you will notice that the grip is shorter on this frame. However, if a 3 ½” barrel is too long for you, there are shorter barrel lengths available as well.

Build vs. Kit

There are two ways to obtain a 1911 with no paperwork.

  1. You can build it piece by piece, by first buying an 80% 1911 frame for sale (a frame blank). Then you will need to buy the correct slide and a parts kit. With some gunsmith abilities and proper tools, you will be able to legally assemble your 1911 in your garage.
  2. You can also use a build your own 1911 pistol build kit. A complete build kit will have everything required for the project - minus the tools. Buying a kit can also better guarantee that all your parts will work together without issue. This can be especially important if you are completing a 1911 Commander frame, or any other gun chambered in 9mm instead of .45 ACP.

Staring down the barrel of a pistol

What To Expect In A Build Kit

When looking at 1911 frames for sale, you will find one in a complete build kit. Every quality kit will have these necessary components:

  • Frame
  • Slide - this lines up the next round in the chamber. It also dumps the casing on the ground. It is critical that your slide fits onto your frame well, so it won’t jam or fail when you need it most.
  • Barrel - a quality barrel is needed for accuracy and velocity. The caliber of bullets will be determined by the barrel.

Compromise Elsewhere

When buying a 1911 frame for sale, quality matters. Whether you build your pistol from a kit or from scratch, always order your parts through a  reputable dealer. If you have any questions, ask a professional.