Greetings! Before we get started with this article, I wanted to write a few words to introduce myself. My name is Joe Chambers. I own a custom 1911 pistol shop in Nebraska called Chambers Custom LLc. (CCP). I’ve been building 1911 style pistols for a decade now, which really isn’t long if you love what you do, and I certainly do love building guns! I’ve been very blessed to have had my guns in a couple of publications. Over the years I have worked hard to keep my builds unique and interesting. Hopefully you enjoy the articles put forth and will find them helpful if not humorous.

So, let’s talk about the bits and pieces of 1911 pistols.

One of the most popular questions I see asked on internet forums and social media groups that center around the 1911 style pistol is, “What parts should I replace on the new XXXX brand 1911 pistol I just bought?”.

This is a very subjective question that has thousands of answers. My simple answer to that one question is usually, “Buy ammo, shoot it until something breaks, and then replace what breaks”. Unfortunately many of us live in a mindset that if it can be improved upon immediately then it should. There is nothing wrong with that mindset!

The problem sets in when you realize that most standard 1911 pistol types have at least 52 parts. This doesn’t include the pistols with series 80 or Swartz system parts in them or the magazine. So where DO you start?

And here we go down a rabbit hole.

One of the typical answers you will see is people advising to replace any part that is MIM, or metal injection molded. While it is true that many of these parts can and do break, I’ve also seen many of them go tens of thousands of rounds with zero issues. Nonetheless, I don’t know a single custom builder that will use MIM parts in a true custom 1911.

MIM parts are typically the smaller bits and pieces like the hammer, sear, disconnector, grip safety, thumb safety, mainspring housing, mag catch, ejector and slide stop. These are all parts that can be easily replaced with limited knowledge and tools if a person so desires.