1911 Disassembly

Field Strip

Start by ejecting the magazine (not shown) and locking the slide back. Keep the gun pointed in a safe direction with your finger off the trigger during this entire operation.

Check the chamber to ensure there are no rounds left in the gun.

Looks like we're safe to proceed! Or are we?

Make sure to actually check the chamber and visually or tactilely confirm that there is no round in there. Even though I would have a hard time blowing my kneecap off with an empty casing, complacency or routine can make missing a live round possible. The best advice I ever heard about clearing a gun was to assume that you've missed something.

When you're sure the chamber is clear and all ammunition has been removed from the room, let the slide forward and engage the thumb safety.

Removing the bushing can be done one of two ways. Using a bushing wrench is required if you have a very tightly fitted match bushing or if you're afraid of messing up your pretty nail polish. (To be fair, using a bushing wrench makes bushing removal really easy.)

The slightly manlier method is to press the recoil spring plug in with one hand and rotate the bushing with the other. However you do it, rotate the bushing 90 degrees clockwise as viewed looking at the muzzle.

The last paragraph would probably have been a good point to mention that the recoil spring plug is under immense pressure and will launch itself out if you don't keep it under control. With the bushing twisted clear, carefully let the plug out.

Remove the plug from the spring and disengage the safety.

Push the slide back until the round cutout is aligned with the raised top section of the slide stop. You can't remove the slide stop until the slide stop takedown notch is in the right place.

Push the slidestop out from the right side of the gun.

Continue by pulling it out of the left side of the gun.

Remove the slide stop and set it aside.

Invert the 1911 and pull the frame off the slide. Holding the gun upside down prevents the link, recoil spring, or recoil spring guide rod from interfering in this process.

Your involvement with the frame is now complete, as far as field-stripping is concerned.

However, you still need to remove the barrel from the slide. Remove the recoil spring, then twist the bushing counter-clockwise from where it was moved for removal...

...to its farthest right extent. This will line up the tab inside the bushing with the recoil spring cutout.

Now just push the barrel out and the bushing will come with it.

This is as far as you need to go for ordinary cleaning. Every thousand rounds or so, though, it's probably a good idea to reduce the gun to its constituent tiny components for a comprehensive cleaning and relubrication. To see how to do so, continue on to the next page.