Gun Review: Stealth Arms Phantom 1911 Jig Part 1

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Stealth Arms sent me one of their Phantom Jigs for completing their 80% 1911 frames. They sent me a test frame, regular 1911 frame and their railed frame. I have never completed an 80% frame let alone a 1911. So I thought this would be a fantastic experience.

The Stealth Arms Phantom Jig comes with all you need to complete their 80% 1911 frame. You do need to provide your own drill press and vice though.

The Phantom Jig Kit consist of two plates and a car for cutting. The kit also includes drill bits and pins for the jig.

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The cutting car is basically a machined plane that you use to cut the slide rails and barrel seat out of the frame.

 

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Here is a stock photo of the cutting car cutting the slide rail into the left side of the frame.

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The test frame was provided so I could familiarize myself with the Jig and car operations. However due to the anodizing on the frame and the tight tolerances of the jig pins, I could not use the test frame. So I used the regular 1911 frame as by guinea pig.

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I used a drill press at Techshop in Pittsburgh, PA. As I was helping a friend out who has a membership there. The jig assembled rather easily but be careful about the pins. The tolerance is extremely tight. I have to admit, I was a little bit overwhelmed by the instructions. But once I started completing the frame, it became a lot easier once I understood what I was doing and how little work there actually was.

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I used the drill bits provided and drilled out the required holes into each side of the frame.

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I did have a slight issue when drilling the sear pin hole. I snapped the drill bit. I had already drilled out the sear pin hole on the left side and was drilling the hole out on the right side. At first the drill bit would not bite into the metal. So I slowly applied more pressure. Soon it was too much and the bit broke. I was able to punch the broken bit out and find a replacement drill bit of the same size at Techshop.

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Next up was cutting the slide rails. I used the provided spacer block and wedged it into the bottom part of the jig so I could clamp down on the jig with a vice. The spacer block prevents the jig from deforming. I installed the handle and adjustment knob onto the car. Once I found the point where the cutting bit touched the frame, I marked that position with a sharpie. I rotated the knob 1.9 revolutions in 1/2 step increments between cutting runs. Taking a little bit of metal off at a time.

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Below you can see the cutting bit protruding out of the car.

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Next I repeated the step on the other side of the frame.

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Once the slide rails are cut, I can swap the handle and adjustment knob to the secondary position on the cutting car so I can cut the barrel seat. The cutting car fits onto the slide rails to cut the barrel seat. So if you did not cut the slide rails properly, the cutting car cannot slide onto the rails.

Cutting the barrel seat is a similar process to cutting the slide rails. I set the adjustment knob but I have to rotate it 2.4 revolutions for the barrel seat.

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Here is a demo video from Stealth Arms.

Here is the completed 1911 frame.

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Other than a couple of hiccups, which were caused by me, the completion of a 1911 80% frame was a lot easier than I had expected. My only advice is to go slowly and check everything. Check to make sure the cutting car is positioned properly on the jig when cutting the slide rails. Measure twice cut once. Next up I will get the remaining parts to build my 1911 into a complete firearm and test fire it.



Nicholas C

Co-Founder of KRISSTALK forums, an owner’s support group and all things KRISS Vector related. Nick found his passion through competitive shooting while living in NY. He participates in USPSA and 3Gun. He loves all things that shoots and flashlights. Really really bright flashlights.

Any questions please email him at nicholas.c@staff.thefirearmblog.com


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  • WFDT

    Always, always lube your bits when pushing them into a hole.

    • Joseph Smith

      Timeless advice!

      • Phillip Cooper

        Also helpful when dealing with tools and machinery!

        • DIR911911 .

          one of these comments, is not like the others (to the sesame street song)

    • nova3930

      That and make sure you have quality drill bits. I’ve broken and/or untwisted far more cheap foreign made drill bits than quality US made bits, to the point I’ve saved money over the long haul buying more expensive US made bits….

      • BryanS

        And for small holes, long drill bits suck. A centering bit and then a shorter one would go a long way if you plan on making more than one.

  • Will P.

    Awesome review. I have been looking at one of these very hard, but need a couple buddies to go in with me for the price. Btw what is the difference in the “test frame”? I saw them listed on thier site and was wondering are they made of poly or something or are they just blems?

    • Nicholas Chen

      As far as I can tell they are blems. They have warnings to not assemble or fire a test frame. They are made of aluminum.

      • Will P.

        Arn’t all thier 80% frames aluminum? I wonder what would make them any different really? Either way, the test frames are never in stock when I check them lol.

      • Pbrown

        The test frames I have the magwell is unfinished, the finish is blemished, and they drilled a hole through the dust cover

  • USMC03Vet

    What the hell is this sorcerery?

    • DIR911911 .

      just enough to make me think it’d be easier to just drop by the gun show and pay a couple more bucks for a finished frame.

  • AK

    No sorcery here, it really works! I finished a gov alloy frame and it came out better than I expected fit perfectly tight in a brand new high quality slide. In the middle of a steel frame cmndr right now but chipped the cutter and waiting on a new one to finish the last rail. Be warned, building 1911s can get expensive real fast.

  • Anonymous

    Very nice indeed.

    Will there be a part 2 of this article, showing building the frame up, fitting parts, etc.? Will we at least get to see whether an out-of-the-box slide, manufactured to nominally correct standard dimensions, will fit onto the frame?

  • The Brigadier

    Now that you have the finished frame, there are some good small used cnc machines that will recreate that frame for you precisely. You have to have a manufacturers license to make them for sale, but they would make some very fine Christmas gifts.