Differences between 1911 and 1911A1

Discussion in 'The 1911 Forum' started by Jackman, Nov 13, 2012.

  1. Jackman

    Jackman Member

    Jan 12, 2008
    What are the differences between 1911 and 1911A1 ? anyone have some pics to add?

    Here is my 1913 issue 1911,,,,,

  2. Alpo

    Alpo Well-Known Member

    Feb 3, 2007
    NW Florida
    They learned a few things, during the war.

    They found that, with point shooting, the 1911 shot a little low for most people. They changed the mainspring housing from flat to arched, which made the gun point higher when you held it.

    They found that some folks had trouble reaching the trigger. They changed the length of the trigger, making it shorter, and they machined little notches into the frame, on both sides, behind the trigger, so short fingers could get in easier.

    They found that the hammer spur would often pinch a layer of flesh between the back of the spur and the top of the grip safety, so they shortened the spur slightly and lengthened the grip safety, slightly.

    The biggest VISIBLE difference is the notches behind the trigger guard. Everything else is replaceable. You can put a 1911 trigger on an A1, and vice-versa. Same with flat and arched mainspring housings, hammers and grip safeties.

    Attached Files:

  3. myfriendis410

    myfriendis410 Member

    Mar 30, 2011
    Lompoc California
    The primary difference between them is the A1 has an arched mainspring housing.
  4. Country101

    Country101 Well-Known Member

    Feb 28, 2004
    NW AR
    Good info. I just always figured it was an abbreviated term that didnt have any meaning as far as differances.
  5. ka64

    ka64 Well-Known Member

    One says A1.........
  6. hogger129

    hogger129 Well-Known Member

    Nov 29, 2009
    The A1 was a series of modifications that the US Army submitted to Colt. Arched housing, the recessions around the trigger, the hammer spur and sights are slightly different, short trigger.
  7. Deacon_Man

    Deacon_Man Active Member

    Feb 23, 2010
    Weatherford Texas
    Good information Guys, thank you.
  8. Jackman

    Jackman Member

    Jan 12, 2008
    Thanks all and a big thanks to Alpo, nothing better than a good pic to show the details :cool:
  9. 1LoneWolf75

    1LoneWolf75 Active Member

    Apr 29, 2012
    Farson WY
  10. Archie

    Archie Active Member

    One other distinction: The sights.

    The 1911 rear sight had a very tiny 'U' shaped notch, and the front sight was narrower than the 1911A1 (not sure of actual dimensions, but fairly subtle).

    The 1911A1 (the 'A1' in military speak in those days meant 'alteration one') had a subtly wider front sight and was squared flat on top, rather than almost a point, and the rear sight notch was slightly wider and deeper and was square on the bottom.

    However, one does occasionally find a G. I. pistol with a 1911A1 frame and a 1911 slide with the original sights. These are presumed to be arsenal rebuilds.

    I believe it was at the 1911A1 introduction the pistols went from a polished blue finish to the more familiar, more durable and cheaper parkerized finish. The finish change may predate the 1911A1; no doubt one of our more studied brethren will correct me.
  11. magazine release and cut out wall for the extractor,trigger, main spring housing. What they should have changed was the beaver tail safety or as they say no extended grip safety.
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2013
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