Colt 1911 Field Strip

The 1911 is a handgun that is truly timeless: It is an option today that many people still regard as the pinnacle of what a handgun can be. After 100 years, the pistol is still going strong with no indication of falling out of favor. So by viewer request we break one down to show you guys what makes it tick!

Thanks to our sponsor Ventura Munitions. Without them TFBTV Would not be possible.

The full transcript …

– Hey guys, this is Alex C. with TFBTV, and today we’re going to field strip a Colt 1911.

I’m not quite sure why, but this has actually been requested by quite a few people.

So, I thought I would just accommodate that request.

This is a Colt Series 80, also called a 1991, sometimes.

The main difference being that they have a firing pin block.

I wish I had a Series 70, but Series 80 shoot, still, very well.

So, the first thing we’re gonna do, actually, is remove the magazine.

And while we’re doing that we might as well make sure it’s unloaded by doing a little chamber check.

A little public service announcement, you’re gonna want to do that with every firearm when you’re taking it apart for cleaning or doing a field strip.

As you can see, this one is definitely clear.

And you want to do that because to undo the bushing in the front, or to start the disassembly process, you press this button and rotate the bushing.

And it is under spring pressure, so make sure that it doesn’t pop out across the room.

However, it’s unlikely as it is retained.

The next step’s gonna be all about that little disassembly notch I just pointed out.

Pull it back, so that the slide stop is aligned with that, and press the slide stop out from the other side.

Now, set that aside for safe keeping.

Then you’re free to pull the slide right off the gun and separate the lower, or well, the receiver frame from the slide.

Now, next up, you’re gonna rotate off the doodad on the front of the recoil spring.

Pull off the spring and the guide rod from the rear.

Set that aside.

Now, you can rotate the bushing the opposite direction, and pull it out from the gun.

After you set that aside, you are then free to remove the barrel from the front.

All in all, not too hard to field strip.

Little harder than your run of the mill Glock or other modern, short recoil operated gun.

You can see, here are the major components.

A few more than you would have on a Glock or an M & P, or a Smith and Wesson, or anything like that, but all not too hard once you get the hang of it.

Just don’t lose the bushing or the slide stop or anything like that.

Anyways I’m Alex C. with TFBTV.

Big thanks to Ventura Ammunitions for making our videos possible.

We hope you enjoyed this field strip, and we hope to see you next week.

Hey guys, it’s Alex, again, with TFBTV.

Hope you enjoyed that video.

If you did, we’ve actually just launched a Patreon Page.

If you could consider donating a dollar or two a month, it would really help us out and allow us to continue doing this.

And, we like doing it, and we hope you enjoy watching the videos.

Until next time.



Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • Nicks87

    “The pinnacle of what a handgun can be” Oh my lord, that made me laugh so hard I almost injured myself.

    • Phil White

      There you go again:-)

    • Which is why I preceeded that with “that many people still regard as”.

      We all know those guys.

      • BearSlayer338

        I don’t think the 1911 is the best pistol ever made,but mine have been just as reliable and accurate as my H&K’s and Sigs.That said it is probably the last gun I’d use as a conceal carry weapon,sure its thin for what it is but is also pretty heavy. I know the Colt Defender is only 25oz but my Sig P938 with a 7 round mag and one in the chamber of +P 9mm weighs less and is easier to carry because my P938 is smaller in all dimensions than a 3″-3.5″ barreled 1911.

        I think the 1911 makes a better range gun and home defense gun than an EDC. Take a note this a coming from a guy who’s first gun was a 1911,I went into the shooting sport as a guy who thought the 1911 was best handgun ever made I was 18 then and didn’t know as much then,I’m 23 now and with plenty of carrying experience and much more firearms knowledge than when I was 18,I still enjoy 1911’s but I’ll never carry one unless they make one that weighs less than 20oz,I’ve come to realize that for me smaller and lighter guns work better.(carry wise)

        • SP mclaughlin

          One thing to regard is that the tilting barrel mechanism of the 1911 is used in your Glocks and SIGS and HundKayes.

          • BearSlayer338

            Yeah I know,I’m not saying the 1911 didn’t change things overall I’m just saying there are better carry options these days that are lighter weight and hold just as many rounds or more. I don’t own Glocks and I never would,they have a decent trigger but the lack of a manual safety would prevent me from carrying one,especial since flicking a 1911 style safety down has become muscle memory,to the point that I due it every-time I draw my pistols.(they all have 1911 like safeties which are IMO the safety to have)

        • Bill

          I’ve carried a 1911 on and off in plainclothes for about 30 years. When I don’t it ‘s because some administrator complains about it. With a good holster and belt it’s eminently concealable. The ONLY issue I’ve has is that the hammer will wear through the linings on jackets. A tailor or seamstress can sew in a reinforcement, or you can take the easy way out and put in some duct tape.

          A lighter, smaller gun is certainly easier to carry, but the point of carrying a gin is to fight with it, and I’m certainly faster and more accurate with one of my 1911s than my Beretta Nano, S&W 642 or Keltic P3AT

          • Excellent comment Bill.

      • Nicks87

        The definition of pinnacle is the highest point of development or achievement. If “many people” regard the 1911 as the pinnacle of what a handgun can be then those people are totally clueless. It’s like saying, “my 1909 Ford model T gets me to work and back so there is no reason to buy a brand new Ford Explorer”. There’s nothing wrong with owning a model T (1911) for nostalgia purposes or if you are a collector but you buy a new car because it offers so much more.

    • mosinman

      the funny thing is that little quote could be the view point of the average H&K and Glock fanboy

    • I knew you would be here soon:-)

      • There’s one in every crowd Phil. Thanks for your hard work at TFB, and a Merry Christmas to you and your staff.

  • Derp

    You could also use the alternative method, similar to a modern pistol. Just be sure to wrap your fingers under the slide to retain the recoil spring. No need to fight the bushing. To each his own.

  • De Facto

    Always nice to field strip a good looking gun.

    Love my 1911 for its looks, the way it feels in my hand, and it’s history.

    Wouldn’t bet my life on it if I had any other standard handgun available.

    It’s a great piece, but they are range toys. I do appreciate that they teach me how to clear a variety of malfunctions though.

    • charlesrhamilton

      Do you also consider an M2 to be a range toy? 🙂

      • De Facto

        Haha, no. I wouldn’t mind using one in that manner though ;D

        I should probably add that I hope the 1911’s the CMP will be selling in the near future will restore some of the legendary reliability of the platform. I’ve just had no positive reliability experiences with 1911’s from Remington, Rock Island Armory, and Taurus (yeah I know the Taurus isn’t a surprise xD )

        • Uniform223

          I have you tried Springfields and Colts? Yeah they’re pricey but from what i’ve heard, read, seen, and experienced they are the best. I have a used Colt 1911A1 Gov’t Model and that thing hasn’t failed on me since. I’d shoot it on the range and would have no problem using it to defend my home, self, or to take it into battle.

          • I never had a problem with my Kimber or Springfield A1’s. My first A1, which I purchased while in the Navy at Key West in 1958 was a Remington Rand. Yes, I’m an old fart.

  • Uniform223
    • Don Ward

      I think the proper term is functionally obsolete.

      • Uniform223

        ????

        It still goes bang. Its ergonomics is still very much copied/emulated by so many modern handguns. Many handguns have a dropping barrel during their operation. It’s stock trigger puts most if not all stock triggers to shame.

        A very well known 1911 individual with years and years of experience both operationally (military) and civilian said, “by today’s standards it requires a more dialed in end user to keep it running”.

        • Cymond

          “by today’s standards …”
          In other words, it takes more work to keep it running as well as a modern pistol out of the box. Yes, it still works, but something can be obsolete while still continuing to serve .

          One of our computers is 8 years old and still running Windows XP. Are you going to say that it’s not obsolete, either?

        • Don Ward

          No. No. You misunderstand the term “functionally obsolete”.

    • Nicks87

      I love it when people post these pics with no context. I highly doubt this guy ever used his 1911 in combat. In my experience in the military and as a civilian working overseas, the 1911s you see in combat zones are usually just for show. It’s more like: “look at me, I’m not carrying an M9 like the rest of the grunts, I’m a special snowflake.”

      • Uniform223
        • milesfortis

          Nicks has several times displayed the ‘sour grapes’ syndrome:
          The old story of the fox who couldn’t reach the grapes, so as he walked off said “Well they were probably sour anyway.”

          That Marine carrying a M45 is a member of MARSOC and I guarantee could outshoot Nicks shooting his most favorite Glock any day of the week.

          • Uniform223
          • milesfortis

            Interesting, almost NSFW (not that “I” care, I’m retired).

          • Nicks87

            Interesting, I didn’t know bulls**t artist was a career field you could retire from.

          • Nicks87

            Hey Miles, did you come here to make a fool of yourself again? Better quit while you are ahead. My scorn for 1911s and Marines runs deep.

          • milesfortis

            Project much about foolery?
            You ought to look in a mirror as your rants have all the indications you once assessed for some special operation unit and got ‘deselected’.
            Seems that anything to do in that area tweaks that little guy deep down in your psyche.
            Oh, BTW, more than one Marine has assessed and been selected for a very special mission unit other than MARSOC. I’ve met them. Very good people.
            So you keep complaining about guns and people you have personal problems with all day long and I’ll merrily shoot my Glocks, Rugers, assorted 1911s, Berettas, XDs, and other pistolas,… just because.

          • Nicks87

            No, I left the military because I wanted to return to the Midwest and start a family. I wasn’t “deselected”. My problem with Marines stems from having arrested quite a few of them during my time spent in federal LE. It seems Marines either go one of two ways. They are either really high speed and successful or they are total s**t bags. Not much middle ground in “the corps”.

        • Nicks87

          I had no problem carrying an M9 or M11. They both work great and have higher capacities than the 1911, which I think is more important than the myth of the .45s stopping power.

          • Uniform223

            this tired old argument again?

          • Nicks87

            It keeps getting repeated because ignorant ass people believe that a 100 year old pistol design is the “pinnacle of what a handgun can be.”

          • Uniform223

            I never said it was pinnacle (but it is a damn good design). The argument about capacity over “stopping power”. I was pointing out your…

            “have higher capacities than the 1911, which I think is more important than the myth of the .45s stopping power”

            To me that is incredibly trivial. 9mm vs .45cal. 5.56 vs 7.62.

          • Nicks87

            I know you didn’t say it, I was quoting the article. Nor was I trying to start a debate. IMO there is no debate.

  • MR

    Thanks. I haven’t added a 1911 to my collection, yet, and I was feeling woefully ignorant for not knowing how to field strip one. This alleviates at least some of that feeling.

  • charlesrhamilton

    That was the easy part. Now show the newbs how to line up the toggle link and install the slide stop without scratching the frame.

    • MR

      Meh… scratches add character.

  • MR

    The Colt website has a “buy it now” button under a couple of the Series 70 models. Not terribly priced, either. Just saying…

    • MR

      Checked again, and it’s not a great price, but… at least it’s under a grand.

  • Cymond

    I’ve owned guns for a few years, and never hesitated to try to field strip a gun. A few like the Ruger Mk3 have required instructions, but most are fairly straight forward.

    However, the first time I disassembled a 1911, I had to look it up. I’ve never found modern handgun that uses that same, weird barrel bushing.

    • Uniform223

      “I’ve never found modern handgun that uses that same, weird barrel bushing.”

      Do you know WHY its called the 1911?

      • Cymond

        Yes, yes, I know. Perhaps to phrase it better, I’m not aware of any other pistols that use that weird bushing, aside from 1911 clones and copies.

        The 1911 is common in the US, but I look at that bushing as being just about as weird as a lot of the stuff on the Forgotten Weapons channel.

  • Keith B

    “The Doo Dad” on the front of the recoil spring, really????? It’s call
    the “Recoil Spring PLUG” and it’s NOT a “button”!! I’m seriously
    guessing from this absurd field strip, that you’re clueless on a full
    cleaning tear down which includes the the mainspring housing, hammer,
    hammer strut, sear, sear spring, trigger, safety, pins, and disconnector
    ….. ALL of which get fouled with gun power and grit and are necessary
    to tear down to and clean.

  • Sean

    For almost of us, this like an instruction video on how to breath, or go to the bathroom.

    • JK

      Or how to grammar…

  • To all the great commenters and staff on TFB, I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Of all the sites that I check into; this is my favorite.