Customizing the 1911: detail work, golf ball reverse plug

Details matter, and they often help to distinguish the difference between good and great work.  In this post I’ll be finishing a few details on a custom Colt Series 80 Enhanced Officer’s ACP.

For reference purposes, a schematic of a 1911 pistol can be found here.

Before we get working, take a few minutes to read’s disclaimer:

Warning:  The contents of are produced for informational purposes only and should be performed by competent gunsmiths only. and its authors, do not assume any responsibility, directly or indirectly for the safety of the readers attempting to follow any instructions or perform any of the tasks shown, or the use or misuse of any information contained herein, on this website.

Any modifications made to a firearm should be made by a licensed gunsmith. Failure to do so may void warranties and result in an unsafe firearm and may cause injury or death.

Modifications to a firearm may result in personal injury or death, cause the firearm to not function properly, or malfunction, and cause the firearm to become unsafe.

I ordered the following tools from Brownells to complete this project:


The spring plug on an Officer’s model 1911 typically has a slot that is engaged by a screwdriver as shown above.  Note the slot on this plug isn’t perpendicular.


Flipping the slide over, note the tab on the bottom of the plug which engages a slot.  This means the plug can’t simply be rotated straight.


I secure the plug in a multi-vise and use a small file to straighten out the slot.  I also remove the factory checkering pattern from the end.


The plug is then rested on a parallel in the milling machine vise.


A 3/16″ 2-flute solid carbide end mill is used to cut the golf ball pattern.  Each cut is .015″ deep and spaced .100″ apart. Subsequent rows are staggered .050″ on the x and y axis.


The finished plug looks great.  Note the corrected slot and the newly applied golf ball pattern matching the rest of the pistol.