John Moses Browning designed his classic and legendary Model 1911 government issue without the one thing that many modern handgunners salivate over– the underbarrel accessory rail. In his defense, a hundred years ago there just wasn’t that a whole lot of lasers, tactical gun lights, and other devices on the market. Nevertheless, things have changed and today ‘railguns’ make up a huge part of the modern longslide offerings with Taurus, Springfield, SIG, and even Colt, keeper of the flame, marketing versions high and proud.
However, what do you do if you have an older model 1911 without a rail?
We are glad you asked.
It seems that in the past decade or so there have been a number of aftermarket accessory makers who have decided to answer this question for us, so let us look at what’s out there.
These rails from Israeli maker CAA Tactical fit under the dustcover of your typical 1911. Set up to clamp onto the trigger guard area and tightened by a setscrew arrangement, they provide a somewhat stable platform for mounting a light/laser. The quality of these pieces is nice as they are CNC machined from aviation grade aluminum and only add about 1.4-ounces to the overall weight of the platform. Cost-wise, you would be good to shop around on these as they run from $60-$100 in a sampling of vendors we checked.
There seems to be a number of imitators on this system with almost identical offerings out there by EMA and the infamous Chinese-based NcStar brand among others for a little less scratch. For the money, the knock off, at $25-ish sounds like a great investment but has decidedly mixed reviews.
Another company with Israeli ties is Recover Tactical, and they have a pretty innovative way of putting a rail on your 1911. The Recover system is an all-polymer grip and rail system that replaces your standard grip plates and attaches to the frame as one unit with a series of four screws to give you a 1.77-inch Picatinny rail. New on the market, there is a lot of buzz about these kits out there right now and one of the neater things about them is the fact that they come in several color choices. Since you have a lot of polymer involved, they only weigh about 2.3-ounces, but when you consider the fact that you lose the current grips on your 1911 in exchange, this is negligible.
Designed by Tamir Porat, the ideaman behind the IWI Tavor, these are currently at $49.
For those who want some name recognition, the folks over at Surefire have their MR07 adapter mount. This aftermarket kit attaches semi-permanently to the bottom of your 1911’s frame by replacing your gun’s standard slide stop with a modified slide stop and pin assembly machined from pre-hardened chrome-molybdenum steel that is part of the rail system. This goes a long way to eliminate the possibility of the rail working loose as on trigger-mounted units. It is also slimline, which makes a big difference.
However, its also about $120 and only is advertised to work with Surefire’s own X Series WeaponLights.
For the budget conscious out there, there is Railtac’s 1911 system that runs about $40-ish. This small 1.5-inch long strip of Picatinny is made from 6061 aluminum and promises some very easy installation. In fact, it is taped on. Now don’t get us wrong, there is no duct tape or gorilla glue here, it uses 3M VHB alloy adhesive tape, which is also used in the aerospace, construction, and automotive industries as a permanent replacement for rivets and mechanical fasteners.
Did we mention its only $40?
Of course, the above is just a sampling of what’s out there, and the final choice is up to you.
Then again, you can always just have one 1911 railgun and one au natural. It’s about as good as an excuse as any to own two of em.