The 1911 is now 104 years old. Firearms have changed over those years and yet the 1911 still remains relevant. I know some of you will say that it is not relevant and at best it is an historic relic that does deserve some respect, but has no place as an EDC. I am not of that camp–I carry a 1911 as an EDC. But I don’t carry one that looks like it came off of John Mosses’ work bench. Over those 104 years there have been some great and simple modifications to the original design that makes for a better EDC.
The mods below are noting drastic. I am not talking about bushingless barrels, barrels with feed ramps or other major design changes to the original. In my opinion, and that is what this is, a 1911 made to the original specs is a hell of a lot more reliable than one that isn’t. I am talking long term reliability. A well cared for and maintained 1911 will last 104+ years and keep on trucking. Take a look at this one I reviewed a while back that was made in 1913. Is it ideal for EDC? Nope, but the same basic design can be with a few simple changes.
The checkered walnut grips on the original Colts are good looking. They are classic but they do not give the best grip and that is what grips are supposed to do. There are a plethora of different grips and textures on the market today. This “mod” is a simple as turning a couple of screws. That is after you pick out what you want. If you want an easy way to fit that 1911 to your specific needs, this is the first thing you should do.
The grip surface is not just on the grips. Add some fine checkering to the front strap and you have… well, better grip. This isn’t one of those mods you do yourself. But the difference will be easily felt. Checkering helps keep the gun from shifting in your hand during recoil.
This is one of the biggest improvements that have been made to the 1911. The ones of the originals were tiny. Now for an EDC you don’t want big square sights that will snag on your clothing. But you do want ones that are big enough to get on target fast if you ever have to use them. I also like to take them one step further and use combat sights that have a shelf to help you rack the slide one handed, just in case.
On an EDC 1911, I like a pretty big beaver tail on the grip safety. It does help keep the hammer from getting hung up when drawn from concealment. It also protects the hammer too. While we are on the subject of the grip safety, a “bump” or protrusion at the bottom does help to make sure it is depressed. These two simple mods protect your hand and ensure that the gun will function as intended (which means safe when it should be safe, and ready when you grip it).
The slide lock and thumb safety on the originals are adequate. I say they are adequate because they do work and are not too hard to use. Larger ones do have their place on an EDC pistol, but not too big as they can get hung up when drawn from concealment. I am personally not a fan of the ambidextrous safety but that is personal preference. Like everything in this article. Take a look in the picture below. From left to right: a Dan Wesson, a Metro Arms, a Springfield Armory, and another Dan Wesson. If you like to drop the slide with your thumb, I’d suggest a big wide slide catch.
So there you have 5 small changes to the basic 1911 that can make for a better EDC pistol. And they’re all on the outside. There’s a lot more to discuss once we get under the hood. What do you look for on a 1911 as a carry piece?