View Full Version : swapping out 1911 grip bushings?

June 22, 2012, 02:13 PM
Hey all,

I am installing some VZ slim grips to a 1911 and need to install the slim grip bushings? It doesn't seem overly hard to me but I want to be sure I am not missing something. I have the bushing screwdriver. So just go slow? My only concern would be somehow damaging the threads on the frame.

If it feels to daunting I'll just take it to the smith, but this was just something I figured I would try myself.

Just wanted to get some opinions while I wait for the grips to get here.

Willie Sutton
June 22, 2012, 02:48 PM
The bushings are normally staked into place on the rear of the bushing, using a special tool that allows you to use a hammer to upset the portion of the bushing that protrudes into the mag well area of the frame after installation. You might find it takes a bit of muscle to remove the old bushings but damaging the frame is not at all likely. The new bushings just need to be threaded in, and I would use loctite to hold them in place if you do not have a staking tool. The worst thing that can happen is that when you remove the grip screw you unscrew the busing from the frame as opposed to the screw from the bushing. No biggie. I am sure that lots of .45's do not have their bushings held in by other than torque.



James K
June 22, 2012, 07:55 PM
The bushings should be staked (and are on GI guns) but most clone makers don't seem to want to bother, so they just screw them in. That is why in so many cases, the bushing comes out instead of the grip screw and everyone rants about the "poor design."

In fact the reason for the bushings (and the reason the Army insisted on them for the M9) is that if a grip screw gets cross threaded, the bushing can be replaced and the frame is not ruined as it is on the Spanish and some other pistols where the grip screws thread into the frame directly.


June 24, 2012, 06:01 PM
The main problem I have seen when removing grip bushings (staked or not) is that some of them are made from such soft steel the head will tear off even if you use a proper bushing driver. When I worked in a gun shop people would bring in guns they had tried to remove a bushing on with a big screwdriver. Sometimes it was pretty ugly.

G. Freeman
July 5, 2012, 01:54 PM
If your grip bushings are staked and you try to remove the bushing you have a high possibility of stripping your frame threads. If it is not staked, usually they are loctited in so a little bit of heat from a torch will help loosen it up a bit.

If it's staked, I recommend not changing your grip bushings.

James K
July 5, 2012, 09:27 PM
You pretty well have to do something to fit those slim grips, but another option is grinding down the bushings, leaving them in place. Cutting a new slot is a good idea, just in case you should ever want to take them out.


July 7, 2012, 04:17 PM
Staking is a process to permanently fasten a part,the front sight
and plunger tube are also staked.A decision to to remove a staked
on part should take into account sacrificing it if you are not
comfortable doing that then other options should be explored.
Mr Browning designed the grips to be screwed on to the frame
and this is quite sound,when you have millions of screwed on
parts crossthreading is inevitable.The grip screws are 50p and
all needs to be done to keep them secure in the frame is tap the
female threads with a slow lead,no bushings no trouble.

Jolly Rogers
July 8, 2012, 12:33 PM
Not sure you are advocating a 1911 to not have grip bushings?
If so I suggest you head over to the SIG forum and see if anyone has stripped out the grip screw holes in the frame on their P238 and what has to happen to fix it.
I'll deal with a difficult bushing anytime.


July 8, 2012, 08:44 PM
Sure am advocating that.Nothing new under the Sun and like someone
just wrote Star 1911's don't have grip bushings,those are l.e.o issue
over there good pistols.Let's say you are inserting a screw and you feel it
crossthreading you back it out run a tap thru and no harm done.May be
you push a little too hard and there is some damage,here is where H limits
come in rethread with a higher PD tap and you may or may not need a
larger screw but you are good to go.Or-no grip screw is gonna defeat you and you destroy the threads,a larger drill and tap set will do it.All stock no
special tools.Removing the grips is not needed to strip 1911's unless you
are installing battery operated or designer grips(!)seriously I have grips
with bushings permanently married to the screws I take them off and put
them on and don't even think about it.Life is too short.