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Now, when you go to customize any gun, you’re going to go about it with certain goals in mind. The “work” goals and the “play” goals.

If you’re starting with a quality piece like the Kimber M1911, you have a ton of options in both categories.

Do you want to improve performance? Recoil management? What if you just want to sling around a freakin’ cool-looking handgun?

Let’s take a look at the top 5 ways to customize your 1911 (for both work and play).

1. Performance

With a Kimber, you’ve already got a pretty good little gun for accurate and precise shooting. However, there are always things that can be done to get you that extra half-inch.


Sighting systems are one of the easiest ways to improve accuracy. If you’re thinking you’ll be using your Kimber M1911 for home defense, you’ll definitely want to get night sights in case of home invasions.

There are a ton of quality night sights out there, but one of my favorites for a streamlined upgrade is the Trijicon HD Night Sight. It’s great for quick target acquisition.

Another great option for picking up targets quickly is the XS Big DotThey give you a great sight picture by lighting up the rear “V” with a big front night sight.

You can’t go wrong with a classic pairing of adjustable rear sights and fiber-optic fronts. The options here are endless, so pick your favorite duo and get to plinking.


While this Kimber comes with a decent trigger, if you’re looking to cut out creep and lighten the trigger pull, you’ll want a trigger upgrade.

My all-time favorite trigger package is the Wilson Ultralight Match, it pulls smooth as butter. You’ve got a couple options as far as looks here, either finished with bluing or stainless steel.

XS Sights for 1911

2. Handling

You can get all the performance upgrades in the world to improve accuracy, but if your gun isn’t gonna go “bang” when you need it to, then you’re in deep water. Here are some ideas that will help take your 1911 to the next level in reliability:

Mag Release

When you’re in a stressful situation, the last thing you want to worry about is a magazine catching in the well. With an extended release like this EGW, you’ll get reliable feeding every time.

Extended Slide Release

This upgrade is a super easy swap-out that makes all the difference when you want quick reloading capabilities. You can’t go wrong with a model like this Wilson.


One of the less-than-great features of your 1911 out of the box is the magazine it’s shipped with. After replacing my standard mags with these sweet Chip McCormicks, I never looked back. They feed without a hitch and will take a lot of wear.

Grip and Thumb Safety

For a more confident shot under high-stress situations, my go-to upgrade is the thumb and grip safety. Wilson, again, has lots of options that work great including ambidextrous thumb safeties.

I’ve been really happy with just my plain-Jane version though, plus this great grip safety.

The style of beavertail you throw on is totally up to you and how you like the feel. With a new beavertail, however, you’ll also need a hammer upgrade…


Like this! Most commander-style hammers work great, but my choice for comfort and durability is the WIlson Bullet Proof Ultralight.

Chip McCormick 1911 Mag

3. Recoil

This last category of “work” upgrades that will take your 1911’s performance to the next level is recoil management. To knock off a ton of kick-back, try these two upgrades:

Full-Length Guide Rod

While they aren’t fun to take apart, a full-length guide rod is going to give your handgun that extra weight on the front to minimize muzzle flip.

For the best fit, you’ll want to go straight to the source and grab a Kimber guide rod.


Replacing the springs can do so much for overall performance, but especially recoil. You’ll get better cycling and this upgrade is one of the cheapest and most effective ways to fine-tune your gun.

That being said, LET A PROFESSIONAL REPLACE THEM! Otherwise, your cheap DIY upgrade could make your Kimber unreliable. I’d recommend this complete spring kit.

Full-Length Guide Rod for Kimber M1911

4. Looks

The upgrades above are awesome for making your Kimber M1911 its best when it comes to accuracy, reliability and handling, but let’s be honest… you also want your handgun to look BA.  

These upgrades are totally based on your preference, but here are some visual tweaks that I think just look sweet.


For an extremely corrosion-resistant finish, one of my favorites is the Robar NP3. This is definitely something you’ll want done at a custom shop.

A slightly more practical option is to get your handgun Cerakoted. There are tons of color options and it makes your gun more resistant to corrosion as well.

Wilson Combat Hammer

5. Fun!

I think one of the coolest upgrades I made to my Kimber M1911 was getting a match barrel. I didn’t need the extra accuracy, but it sure was a blast plinking soda cans downrange.

Plus, they just look cool! Mine is a custom job from my local gunsmith, but you can get some great match barrels in stainless or chrome-moly that are either supported or unsupported. I like the bushing models, but that’s totally up to you.

Storm Lake 1911 Match Barrel

Conclusion: Customizing Your Kimber M1911

So, whether you’re in the upgrade zone for better shooting or just to have a great time building on an already great gun, check out these ideas for some classic customizations.

How did you customize your Kimber M1911? Let us know in the comments section below!

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