A Comprehensive Overview of Accuracy X’s Custom 1911s

What does a Custom 1911 mean?

The world “Custom” is thrown around alot these days in the 1911 pistol world. It seems just about every 1911 pistol made these days is coined to be a custom of one kind or another. But what does that phrase really mean? Well I guess that could be subjective depending on who you are asking.

To many, a custom 1911 means one that has some kind of unique external cosmetic feature that makes that 1911 a custom pistol. Being able to choose different finishes and colors of coatings could also be considered by many a custom feature. Or installing a specific set of aftermarket sights on a 1911 could be considered by some as a customization. I think it is fair to say that most custom features have very little to do with performance and usually have to do with looks.

In this article I will attempt to show what “custom” means to us here at Accuracy X, Inc. When we build one of our PRO, PRO PLUS or X Series 1911s there are a multitude of processes and steps that are critical and unique in our custom 1911s. It is this build process that makes Accuracy X 1911s without peer.

100% American made

First at Accuracy X, Inc., we believe in the greatness of America. We believe in the excellence of our workers and our industry. That is why at Accuracy X, Inc. we are a 100% American made, American owned, and American proud. Even the dirt and ore we use in our drop forgings is sourced only from North America.

100% Made in America is important to us and we know it is just as important to our customers. We want our efforts and business to create American jobs, support the American economy and help make America a thriving manufacturing force in the world. We are proud of that, and it is who we are.

Custom 1911 Breakdown

You will never see Accuracy X, Inc. use parts from overseas like many other 1911 manufacturers do. We also will never use cast or MIM parts. All the other 1911 companies can try their best to convince their customers why using cast and MIM parts is smart, it’s the future, etc. etc. The bottom line is they use them because they are cheaper, not because they are better.

At Accuracy X, Inc., we do not use any part based on cost, our only criteria is quality. If it is not in our view the very highest quality then we don’t use it. That is why we have such a high parts cost on our 1911s. In fact Accuracy X, Inc. 1911 parts cost alone, are high enough to buy one of the highest priced 1911s made from other manufacturers.

Lets think about that for a moment, our (Accuracy X, Inc.) parts costs to build one of our 1911s is enough to actually purchase a completed high end model 1911 pistol from other 1911 manufacturers. Our parts cost are high because we use and make only the very highest quality parts. High quality and high end machining and materials simply cost more. But to us it is worth that extra cost to ensure our customers are getting a product that has no rival in quality or performance.

At Accuracy X, Inc., we only have one goal in mind, to make the very best custom 1911 pistols. PERIOD. You simply cannot do that by using low cost (i.e low quality) parts. Many of these companies spend millions upon millions of dollars on advertising campaigns each year. Just count how many full page ads you see in your favorite gun magazines, of this, or that 1911 manufacturer.

Rather than spending tons on advertising, we’d rather use that money making the finest 1911 parts, so our customers end up with a 1911 pistol whose quality and performance are beyond superb. We’d rather our final product be our advertisement, not a one page Ad in some magazine.

Overview of our Custom 1911 Build Process

Custom 1911 Foundation

It Starts with a Strong Foundation

First you must start with a strong foundation, and that is why we use only the finest drop forgings made from the highest grade North American ore. Using the highest grade ore ensures our slides and frames will be made of the highest quality and purest material, giving our 1911s performance advantages unmatched by others.

Unlike the others who use cheaper and less expensive castings and forgings made from lower quality ore, sourced from places like China, India and Korea to save costs. Accuracy X slides and frames, although more costly to make, are stronger and more rigid than others in the industry. The result is finished slides and frames with improved strength characteristics and dimensional integrity.

One practical indicator of this is when we test a 1911 in our mechanical testing fixture. If we test 1911s from other manufacturers, they can have a tendency to pinch or squeeze under the pressure of the inserts holding the frame in place. So we have to be very careful not to over tighten the clamping screws in other manufacturers frames or the triggers will get impinged in the trigger tracks because those frames flex and bend under the pressure. Our Accuracy X frames do not have that tendency.

So as you can see by having stronger slides and frames, our 1911s have a more solid foundation to build upon. The superior quality of our slide and frame material also gives us a substantial advantage in the area of slide and frame fit in regards to our stainless slide and frames. Our Accuracy X, Inc. 416R stainless slides and frames do not have a tendency to gall like other manufacturers stainless slides and frames do. The poor quality ore (again, often sourced from places like India, Korea and China) used in those other castings and forgings from other manufacturers, can be very prone to severe galling under match fitted conditions.

Also our prolific use of the highest grade 416R stainless steel gives our 1911s superior corrosion resistance. In inclement weather our customers do not have to worry too much about keeping their 1911 dry in order to prevent rust and other problems caused by moisture.

Using our superb drop forgings, we then machine our slides and frames. We hold the tightest tolerances. Problem areas that are found on the slides and frames of other manufacturers in the industry, are done away with, by using exact precise machining processes.

We machine the slide grooves and frame rails straight and true. Our breech faces are flat and correct. Our slide lugs are perfectly machined being correct and consistent. The trigger tracks in our frames are even and straight. Our finished slides and frames are held to extremely tight tolerances and checked repeatedly throughout the machining process with the latest CMM (Computer Measuring Machines) equipment.

By creating and using our own slides and frames with consistent and accurate dimensional integrity, we control the basic building blocks of our 1911 builds. We do not have to correct and fix any problems with our slide and frames because they are manufactured correctly in the first place. We don’t have to square up the breech face on slides, adjust slide grooves that are not parallel or adjust frame rails that do not match. We don’t need to true up the main bore on the slides so they are actually round, or compensate for improper radial lug placement etc. (these are all problems found in other manufacturers slide and frame components).

At Accuracy X, we control the entire process making the finest slide and frames parts in the industry.

Custom 1911 process

Slide to Frame Fit

Each of our Accuracy X 1911s starts with a match fitted slide and frame. Our definition of “match fit” on the slide and frame means full contact on all bearing surfaces along the entire slide and frame rail and groove surfaces with no slop or unnecessary play or movement. When cycling an Accuracy X 1911, the slide and frame fit is smooth and solid with no excessive play, but still feels buttery smooth. This perfect slide and frame fit helps guarantee a predictable base and foundation for the barrel and bushing and other internal parts later on in the build.

The next critical component is the barrel. Without a high quality and proven barrel it is not possible to achieve the highest levels of accuracy and performance in a 1911 pistol. Again this is an area where Accuracy X, Inc. does not compromise. We use only our highest grade match barrels. In an industry where many companies first concern is the bottom line. Being able to save pennies on a part is enough to persuade them to use the lowest cost component they can find in order to increase their margin. (It is not uncommon for other companies to use barrels that cost as little as $40 in their “custom” high dollar 1911s. These mass produced low cost barrels are also often made overseas).

Custom 1911 Match Barrel Fit

Accuracy X Match Barrel Fit

Every Accuracy X match barrel is accuracy tested and proofed to ensure they are capable of the performance we demand from our 1911 pistols. Having a premium barrel is only part of the equation. It must be fitted and chambered properly to achieve the highest levels of accuracy and performance. Our match fitted barrels consist of the following:

  • A perfectly mated breech face fit with the hood fitted exactly to correct length and width. Indicating from the radial lugs to the surface of the breech face.
  • Outside barrel radial lugs are fitted precisely to the inside of the slide radial lugs, maximizing the radial lug contact fit.
  • Proper match tolerance bushing to slide fit.
  •  Exact match bushing to barrel fit, with optimized bearing surface.
  •  Standing lugs cut to exact dimensions to optimize slide stop pin engagement.
  •  Each match barrel is precision cut to the desired caliber, with a special customspecification Accuracy X reamer.

Custom 1911 Match Barrel Fit 2

We maximize the standing lug contact area where the slide stop pin and standing lugs make contact while the barrel is in full battery. Our heavy duty match grade slide stop pins are machined from solid bar stock and are machined to exacting tolerances holding consistent dimension across the entire pin length. This precision machined surface is then mated perfectly to the contact areas on the standing lugs of the match barrel ensuring full contact during lock up which aids in providing the superb accuracy that Accuracy X custom 1911s are known for.

Custom 1911 Barrel

Barrel crowning. An improperly crowned barrel or one that is damaged can cause extreme variations in shot to shot performance. That is why we also crown our match barrels to shallow angles. This ensures a crisp and unmolested finish on the last surface the bullet touches as it leaves the barrel. By using using a shallow angle we leave enough material to help protect that part of the barrel from damage and deformation, from impacts to that area.

The current trend to do steep angled crowns and “funnel” type crowns are not functional in our opinion. Most of those type cuts remove far too much metal toward the edge of the barrel thinning it. Making it far too susceptible to bending and dinging if impacted sharply in that area. Some folks think those funnel crowns look cool, but at Accuracy X we see it as a problem waiting to happen. At Accuracy X we do not follow cosmetic trends. We believe when it comes to performance, form follows function.

All of these fitted areas, when done the Accuracy X way, ensure a rock solid, repeatable and durable barrel fit that allows our Accuracy X 1911s to perform at accuracy levels far beyond others in the industry.

There are two things any novice notices when they pick up a pistol, the quality of the slide and frame fit and the quality of the trigger. Just like our slide and frame fits, the triggers on our Accuracy X 1911s, are individually fitted to the trigger tracks on each Accuracy X frame. Ensuring no extraneous movement or play during the trigger pull. When you pick up one of our 1911s and you grasp the trigger between your thumb and finger and wiggle it, it feels solid. The only movement you will feel is if you pull the trigger straight back along the ways of the trigger tracks. There is no rattling, excessive sloppiness or play often felt in 1911s made by others.

Trigger Setup

We also hand stone and tune the entire ignition system including the trigger, hammer hooks, sear angles and disconnector. We smooth and polish the mating surfaces between those parts. We adjust, polish and modify the sear spring and tune the trigger pull to the customers specifications. All of this takes considerable time to do, but it is the only way to ensure a world class trigger on one of our custom 1911s. Considering that many of our customers are in fact world class competition shooters (we have several customers who are members of the USA Olympic Pistol Team) our triggers must be absolutely perfect.

It’s all in the Timing

Another critical aspect of an Accuracy X 1911 build, is setting the correct timing for the pistol to ensure that all the parts work in concert and interact properly and at the right times. Every Accuracy X custom 1911 is tuned to have perfect timing during the firing process. This perfect collaboration between the slide, barrel, link, frame and slide stop pin ensures all parts make contact and release perfectly and at the proper times during the firing process. Thus giving longevity and perfect performance to the weapon system over the longest period of operation.

Other manufacturers can use links that are too short in order to get their 1911s to come out of lock up easier. It is easier to do that than to take the time and effort needed to properly set up all the critical components and have them timed perfectly. A short link can make a 1911 run. But it also puts undo stress on that part. The short stroke prevents the vertical impact surface area on the frame from absorbing the energy during the firing cycle. This will eventually lead to broken links.

When a customer sends their 1911 back to get it repaired companies will often just put that same short link back in the firearm and return it to the customer. This is a fast and short term fix. Because if that repaired pistol is fired much at all, the new link will simply break again. This cycle can repeat over and over again. We had a customers who had the link in their custom 1911 replaced over three times. Each time the gun was returned from that manufacturer to the customer with the exact same link size installed as before with no other modifications. Of course after the customer shot the 1911 a while the new link broke again. After the fourth time they ordered a PRO PLUS Series 1911 from us. No more broken links.

Custom 1911 Breakdown 2

It is much cheaper for companies to treat the symptom, than correct the actual problem. Which is incorrect timing. Setting the correct timing for a 1911 is a delicate balance that takes knowledge, experience and time to do correctly. But unfortunately many companies today are driven by the bottom line. Getting quick fixes done on warranty work is the priority. Not necessarily actually correcting what is wrong with the 1911.

At Accuracy X, we ensure the loads and stresses subjected on the parts during the firing sequence are done exactly as the firearm has been designed. Short links prevent the vertical impact surface from properly doing it’s job. Long links can cause excessive radial lug wear on the barrel and slide. But if the timing on the 1911 is set up correctly as we do here at Accuracy X, the 1911 will function correctly and flawlessly for tens of thousands upon tens of thousands of rounds, if not hundreds of thousands of rounds.

A very important segment of Accuracy X customers are competition shooters. These are shooters who order bullets by the tens of thousands of rounds. These customers shoot so many rounds, that a 1911 with improperly adjusted timing would simply break and not function in a short amount of time. In fact Accuracy X, has very few customers who purchase our 1911s simply so it can be a “Safe Queen”. Our customers use our 1911s, and they use them hard! Our customers love our superb PRO, PRO PLUS and X Series 1911s because they have proven to be utterly reliable and dependable round after round, match after match, year after year,championship after championship.

Reliability Testing

Once we have put together the major components of one of our 1911s we then begin our testing process. We test feeding to make sure it is reliable and smooth. We adjust and fit several things to make sure this is the case. We spend a great deal of time prepping the breech face and tuning the extractor. This is a critical part in the feeding and extraction process during the firing cycle.

We shape the extractor hook in a particular way to allow for just the right amount of contact as the next round in the firing sequence is sliding up the breech face of the slide. Once the round is perched on the breech face we ensure the proper amount of tension is applied to the case of the round. This ensures there is no interference with the loading, firing and extraction processes.

We also shape and tune the ejector to make sure the spent and ejected cases are directed exactly where they are suppose to go. This is to prevent stove pipe or trapped spent cases fouling the firing process. We also tune our magazines to make sure they work exactly as they are intended to.

Unfortunately it is a myth that 1911 pistols cannot be made to run reliably. The reason that opinion exist is very few people either know how, or take the time to, properly build and set up a 1911 so it can run as it was intended to do. The truth of the matter is a properly built 1911 is one of the most reliable pistols ever made.

Glock has a reputation for always being reliable, and they are in fact a very reliable handgun. But 1911s properly built can work and run just as reliably. A well built 1911 can be super reliable while being far, FAR, more accurate than a Glock or the other synthetic, plastic guns that are so popular today.

We have videos showing our 1911s feeding empty shell cases out of a magazine. Thats right, no bullet in the case, just an empty shell case right out of the magazine. One right after another until the magazine is empty.

I wouldn’t advise trying that with one of the plastic wonder guns of today. If the barrel, ramp and frame are aligned and fitted properly the 1911 loads and feeds just fine. Unfortunately there are other companies who basically accept reliability issues because they assembly pistol so quickly to reach production numbers, fine tuning these critical areas slows them down and hurts their production goals of getting orders out the doors. Then they let their warranty departments deal with getting their 1911s to run properly. Their reasoning being, not every customer will take the time and energy required to send the handgun back to them for repairs.

At Accuracy X, Inc. our goal is to have ZERO returns. We would much rather take the time up front even if it cost us profit, to ensure we are building and delivering the absolute finest, most accurate and reliable 1911s made.

One area that Accuracy X does not have control over is if our customers shoot reloaded ammunition. Improperly reloaded ammunition will cause function and reliability problems. The best analogy for this is, a Ferrari is not going to run very well on cheap or poorly refined gasoline.. Why would someone expect a finely crafted and tuned 1911 to run flawlessly on improperly sized and poorly loaded ammo? Glocks will not shoot improperly loaded ammo any better than a 1911 does. High primers and ammo that has been loaded too long or too short will cause problems in any firearm.

Essentially 100% of the calls we get from customers regarding function or reliability issues, turns out to be a reloading problem on their end. We at Accuracy X do our best to offer support and advice to help our customers with the reloading process. Done properly reloaded ammo is just as reliable and can be more accurate than most factory loaded munitions.

At Accuracy X, Inc, we know 1911s are not only “the” classic semi-auto handgun, but when they are built right, they are as reliable as a steel anvil and as accurate as a rifle.

Custom 1911 Accuracy Test

Turning Doubters into Believers

As an example, in the early days of Accuracy X, Inc. I went to a friend of mine. He has quite a following online. He’s been there and done that. He was a Navy Seal for many years and private contractor for many years after that. Now he is a top tier trainer who is in very high demand. In short he is bad dude. I went to him and told him I wanted to build a 1911 and have him test and evaluate it for us. The first thing he did was laugh and say “ Steve, I don’t think that is a very good idea. Dude, I’m one of the greatest known 1911 haters on the planet. I have never seen a 1911 that would run or shoot well.”

To which I told him I already knew that, and that was exactly why I wanted him to test and evaluate one of our Accuracy X 1911s. I told him I believed he hated the 1911 because he had never been able to shoot one that was built correctly. So he agreed, and took me up on my challenge.

He had one stipulation, the 1911 had to be chambered in 9mm. Which leads us to the next urban myth. That a 1911 simply cannot run reliable in 9mm.

So we built the 1911 in 9mm for my friend and I drove to Virginia Beach to deliver it to him. He asked me to show him how I wanted him to take it apart, to clean it, etc. I told him all I wanted him to do was keep a little oil on the pistol and shoot it, and shoot it hard. After several thousands of rounds, shooting every type of ammo he could get his hands on, our 1911 pistol had zero failures of any kind. He also said it was by far the most accurate pistol he had ever shot. In fact he even completed one of their rifle carbine qualifiers using this 1911.

In this particular carbine test you start engaging targets out at 100 yards. That’s right, hitting targets at rifle distances with an Accuracy X 1911!

This king of 1911 haters had just aced the carbine rifle qual test and did it using one of our 1911s.

It was ironic, but he was stand a up guy, and he admitted our Accuracy X Custom 1911 had shown him he had been wrong about the 1911 platform. In fact not only could a 1911 be bullet proof reliable, it also could be more accurate than any handgun he had ever seen. His only grievance was he didn’t like the weight of the pistol. He was used to the lighter plastic pistols he trained with.

Accuracy Testing

Once we have done the bench tests for functioning, we then begin our live fire testing. We test our 1911s several times throughout the build. The first live fire test is to test the feeding and reliability of the firearm. Most times we get it right the first time out, but occasionally we need to adjust the extractor tension or make other small adjustments. That is why we do the live fire testing, so we can identify any problems that may exist.

Once we have proven the 1911 runs reliably we then begin our accuracy testing. As our numerous testing videos will attest, we take our accuracy guarantees VERY seriously here at Accuracy X, Inc. We don’t want our customers to have to “trust’ our test targets or accuracy promises. We prefer to prove our accuracy claims to our customers and the public.

As far as I am aware, Accuracy X, Inc. is still the only company who does testing videos, capturing and letting our customers see our entire testing process. Oh, there are lots and LOTS of companies that will send a test target along with their 1911 to the customer. But the customer has no way to verify if the test target that came with their 1911 was shot at the correct distance, or if it was even shot out of their 1911. Also, many companies simply use a bore laser sighter now. Using that to “sight” in their 1911s, therefore bypassing having to do any live firing of the pistols at all. Those companies don’t want to spend the money on ammo or pay for the time it takes to actually live fire a 1911. Unbelieveable, but true.

https://www.youtube.com/user/AccuracyXtv

At Accuracy X, Inc. we understand that our customers need to have the peace of mind that their PRO, PRO PLUS or X Series custom 1911 pistols are as accurate as we say they are. That is why we routinely post videos showing us testing our 1911s at 25, 50 and e ven 100 yards . We do not edit or cut the videos in any way and our customers get to see the entire testing process from beginning to end. We even employ multiple cameras having one at the firing line and one at the target so our customers can watch the testing process from both ends at the same time. THAT is full transparency to our customers.

That is why the greatest competitive shooters in the sport choose Accuracy X. That is why those who must have the very best choose Accuracy X. Because we tell the truth about our 1911s performance and we openly and freely demonstrate the truth of our testing practices. Our customers don’t have to “trust” that we told them the truth about how accurate their Accuracy X 1911 is. All anyone has to do is watch our testing videos, and then compare that with anything from elsewhere in 1911 marketplace.

We work very hard and are very proud of how Accuracy X 1911s perform. Accuracy X 1911s are the most accurate 1911s and we enjoy letting the world see that level of performance through our testing videos.

X Series Custom 1911

Blending phase

Once our 1911s have completed the accuracy test phase, we then begin the final portion of our building process which is the blending and finish steps.

When I started Accuracy X, Inc. years ago, I always said there is no reason an accurate 1911 shouldn’t be beautiful also. And that is why we take great pains to blend and match the surfaces of all the parts on our custom 1911s. We blend the parts to flow with the contours of surfaces and minimize any gaps and seams between parts. We hand dress our checkering to ensure a crisp and tactile surface allowing for a positive grip in all shooting conditions.

A finished Accuracy X custom 1911 is a graceful combination of flats, curves and lines all working together to create the most beautiful 1911 firearm. Most of this blending and finishing is done by hand with files and sanding paper. It is a time consuming process, but one the is necessary to achieve the level of absolute perfection that is required to meet our incredibly high standards here at Accuracy X, Inc.

Custom 1911 Accuracy Test 2

Final Finishes

Once we have the blending complete we then apply the finish that our customers desire for their build. We offer three types of finishes for our custom 1911 pistols. First is our satin stainless finish which is achieved using a proprietary blast media that peens the surface and delivers a durable, beautiful frosted satin non-glare finish.

Second, we offer our in house Cerakote finishes which are extremely durable and attractive. Cerakote is a superb finish when applied correctly as the manufacturer recommends. Accuracy X, Inc. is a certified Cerakote applicator and we see more and more of our customers choosing this option if they prefer a 1911 with something other than with our satin stainless finish.

Our final finish option is our X Armor finish which is our premium finish. It is an extremely hard finish that is rated at 90 Rockwell. It comes in BlackOut, Ghost Grey and Sterling Silver colors. This finish also provides for the option of our ultra high polish on the flats of the frame and slides. This creates a mirror finish that is on par with an R1 polish. Many of our X Series customers choose the ultra high polish option with the X Armor color finish, delivering a true investment, presentation grade 1911 that is worthy of being included in one’s estate as an heirloom.

Custom 1911 X Series

Once one of our custom 1911s has been built, tested and completed it then goes into either one of our padded logo soft cases or if it is an X Series it goes into a custom hand crafted hardwood presentation case. All of our custom 1911s come with two tuned magazines (many high end custom 1911 companies only provide one magazine with their 1911s). Our Multi-Sight and SLOT Sight optioned 1911s come with the correct modules and tools and all our bushing barreled 1911s come with a bushing wrench.

Each of our 1911s comes with a data book and a test target that shows how their Accuracy X, Inc. 1911 tested from our mechanical testing fixture. Every firearm made at Accuracy X, is personally tested by me. As the president of the company I feel it is my duty and responsibility to verify the quality and performance of every firearm we build.

Multi-Sight and SLOT Sight. Innovations that are game changers.

In addition to the superb quality of our parts, the precision of our 1911 building methods and the unequaled accuracy performance of our pistols, Accuracy X has also brought game changing innovation to the 1911 platform. With our patent pending innovations like the Multi-Sight, SLOT Sight and 360 Match Barrel, Accuracy X has brought a level of diversity never before seen on any other pistol, much less the 1911 handgun.

Accuracy X Multi-Sight

It is now possible to buy one of our Accuracy X 1911s with our Multi-Sight and SLOT Sight system. This system allows you to quickly convert that one 1911 into many different shooting configurations. Such as, a tactical sights setup, adjustable target sights setup, co-witness reflex sights setup. Short and long picatinny rails can also be installed to allow for the attachment of red dot or scope sights. It is truly a universal system that allows one of our 1911s to do any type of job.

You no longer have to buy multiple pistols for the different types of shooting you do. No longer will you need a defense pistol, a target pistol, a hunting pistol, a tactical pistol etc. The Multi-Sight and SLOT Sight system allow just one of our 1911s to do all of those jobs. That bring tremendous value and savings to our customers. It is like buying 6 custom 1911s for the price of just one. This is another example of why Accuracy X, Inc. is a leader in the custom 1911 pistol world.

Why Choose Accuracy X

At Accuracy X, Inc. we understand our custom 1911s are not something one purchases on a whim. After all each of our 1911s are made to order and they take a long time to build and complete. Our customers are demanding and they don’t compromise, and we like it that way. Accuracy X customers tend to be people who have decided that at least once in their lifetime, they are going to get the very best of something that they are passionate about. No compromises, no shortcuts, no settling for something less. They are looking for something beyond excellent.

When someone decides excellent isn’t good enough anymore, they choose Accuracy X, Inc.

Custom 1911