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Old 07-27-2005, 01:56 PM   #1
Join Date: Feb 2005
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Drifting rear sight on 1911A1

How difficult is installing a new drop in rear sight on a 1911?
No milling required, uses existing dovetail cut, etc.

I have read not to attempt this without the "official" 1911 gunsmith padded block vise clamp gizmo thing as it may damage the slide to frame fit. Is this all talk to keep the gunsmith in business?

I consider myself a pretty good tinker and have done a fair amount of home 'smithing. Is this a job for the pros?
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Old 07-27-2005, 02:55 PM   #2
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Most "improved" rear sights need new front sights too and if it doesn't already have a dovetail front that can be a big hassle.

If you have good non-marring punches (nylon preferably) and a good vise the rear is generally not too hard. My practice was to put a couple of layers of masking tape on each side and then lead or leather padding on the vise jaws. If the vise does not have smooth jaw blocks don't use it. Those nice rubber vise pads are great but may not give enough support.

Sometimes you will have to do some filing and the best idea is to work on the sight itself since they are much cheaper than slides. Take your time.
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Old 09-27-2005, 02:46 PM   #3
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Drifting sight

Charley didn't mention this, so I'll kick it in. The 1911 sight dovetail is (ususally) slightly tapered left to right while looking at the slide from the rear. Drive the old sight out right to left.
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Old 09-27-2005, 06:52 PM   #4
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You've got that backward.

You drive the sight from LEFT to RIGHT as looking at it from the rear.
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Old 12-28-2005, 04:45 AM   #5
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Standard rear dovetail on a 1911, looking from the rear of the gun, goes on left to right, off right to left.

Be careful that any rear you buy is correctly-cut for a standard dovetail, alot of the new replacement rears are cut for the Novak dovetail which is different.
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