Finding the best 1911 Barrel may be a challenge. That's because there are so many of them available on the market.
But there are a select few that can be considered the best available. With that said, we'll be reviewing five of the top 1911 barrels.
Each has its own unique features along with its own set of pros and cons. One of these may even be one that you'll want to own.
Comparison of the Best 1911 Barrels
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Benefits of Investing in a Quality 1911 Barrel
Investing in a quality 1911 barrel has its advantages and benefits. However, you’ll need to consider some of the advantages of a good quality product. Here are some things to consider before making your final decision:
It’s no surprise that owners want their guns to be accurate. If you choose to invest in a quality 1911 barrel, you’ll enjoy the great advantage of having a more accurate gun.
Some factory 1911 barrels may not last as long as you would like. That’s why it is important to invest in a better quality ioption. You should find one that is made from a sturdy enough material that would make it easy to clean and less prone to long term damage.
Does It Work Well With Most Bullets?
In the past, some 1911 barrels have worked well with hollow points. Over time, some don’t feed hollow points as smoothly as they did long ago. A great product should be one that will work smoothly with most bullets, including lead bullets.
What Makes a Great 1911 Barrel?
This is a question that most 1911 owners ask a lot. What are some of the aspects that make a 1911 great compared to some of the others on the market? Here are some of the things that might factor into what would make one stand out:
A Perfect Fit
Obviously, a great 1911 barrel has to be one that fits your gun perfectly. It doesn’t matter if it’s easy to install or if it needs to be installed professionally by a gunsmith, if it can fit your gun perfectly, then chances are it will stand the test of time and usage when compared to cheaper models.
Sometimes, finding the best 1911 barrel might be a financial challenge. But just because you’re on a budget, doesn’t mean you have to find a cheap one that will end up only lasting a short time. So, find the best option you can afford, in terms of quality. The last thing you want is to shell out more money each time your device fails.
Sometimes, you’ll have to consider the length as one of the major factors in your decision. Typically, the shorter the length, the quicker you can get a shot off. This is an important thing to remember if you’re intending to use your 1911 for home defense purposes. A shorter barrel might also be ideal if you’re using your gun for competition purposes. Other than that, the length of a 1911 will determine the feet per second of every round you shoot off.
Review of the Best 1911 Barrels
The following are five of the best 1911 barrels that are currently on the market right now. As you go through each one, be sure take note of some of the unique features of each one. Of course, they do come with their own set of pros and cons. If one of these sticks out, feel free to do more extensive research on them.
Sig Sauer .45ACP Threaded Barrel
The first product we will review is the Sig Sauer .45ACP Threaded Barrel. If you want a product that would make a great replacement or upgrade from your current model, then you should give the Sig Sauer an extra look.
This is a threaded barrel that is chambered in .45ACP that gives the ability to attach a suppressor or a muzzle device. This also has a knurled thread cap is used to protect the end when no other attachments are added.
This is perfect for anyone who owns a .45 caliber 1911.
Sig Sauer has long been a reliable brand for gun owners and enthusiasts. Even though it would match perfectly with Sig Sauer 1911s, it can also work well with other .45 1911 models as well.
If you want better accuracy for your .45 and want a drop-in barrel for easy installation, the Sig Sauer will probably be your best bet.
Best For The Money:
Kart Precision Barrel Kit
As always, it’s important to include an option or two that is affordable to those who are on a budget while looking for a barrel. One of the best options for the money is the Kart Precision Barrel Kit.
Here is why it is the best you can possibly afford: first, it is crafted from 4150 ordnance steel, making it very durable. This is also available in three different lengths, five inches, six inches, and the Commander, that is measured at 4.25 inches.
This is best used if you’re a competitive shooter or if you’re using your 1911 for target practice or home defense. If you’re looking for a replacement and don’t want to spend a lot of money, the Kart Precision might be the best choice for you.
Sure, there may be some good quality barrels that you can get on a budget. But the Kart Precision Barrel is considered the best of the bunch. Replacing your factory device with this will help improve your accuracy considerably.
At the same time, it will even straighten out any feed issues that you might have now. So, if you’re dealing with either issue or both, get the Kart Precision Barrel.
Best 6-inch Barrel:
Nowlin - 45ACP Gunsmith Barrel 6" Non-Ramped
Next, we take a look at the Nowlin. This is currently the best six-inch 1911 barrel on the market. This is a triple heat-treated, high-quality, super match-grade barrel that is designed to give your 1911 the best accuracy possible.
This also has groove and bore tolerances that hold to an amazing .0002” by ECM (or electro-discharge cathode machining). The Nowlin has a unique, pre-cut design of the top lugs. In order to achieve maximum lug engagement, it may only require minor fitting.
Given that this is a longer option, the smooth bore helps boost the velocity of your bullets. The edge is angled on the driving band so it increases gas seal for reduced fouling with all types of bullets.
This also ensures that the barrel will continue to last you a long time. The rifling of the Nowlin is ultra-smooth, uniform, and precise. In order to achieve headspace, it will require reaming.
What really makes this stand out is the way tit was heat-treated. For it to be heat-treated three times, you'll know that this is the most durable and strongest on the market. So, if you're looking for that "last barrel you'll ever buy for a while" type, get the Nowlin.
Best 9mm Barrel:
Ed Brown - 1911 Drop-in Match Barrels 9mm
For 1911 owners, one of the brands that they trust the most is Ed Brown. This is an ideal option if you’re looking to convert your gun to a 9mm. According to one reviewer on the Brownells site, he converted his .38 super to a 9mm on his Series 80 Colt 1911. This is a drop-in barrel, which means the installation won’t be a major pain.
It is CNC machined with dimensions that are oversized to ensure secure lockup and a “match quality” drop-in fit. The Ed Brown has a machined stainless steel bar stock that is treated to protect against heat and is cryo stress relieved to ensure that the product lives a long life and greatly helps with overall accuracy.
The precise, broach cut rifling provides outstanding accuracy with bullets of all types (including lead). The kit includes a pre-fit, bushing, link and pin and a match-grade barrel for quick installation.
Once again, we come across a product that might be the strongest, most durable barrel on the market. If you place durability high on your list of priorities, you'll probably love the Ed Brown. This also might be your best choice if you're looking for one that is easy to install.
Some minor fitting may be possible, but usually, you can simply install it in just 15 minutes and then take it out on the range.
Best 10mm Barrel:
Nowlin - 10mm Barrel 6" Ramped
For our last barrel for review, we revisit the Nowlin brand. This item has a stainless steel bushing with a link and pin for easy installation. Little to no fitting will be required. This also features a pre-fitted hood, top lugs, and bottom feet that give a very close fit and better accuracy for most 1911s.
It's always a convenience to have a barrel that will take little time to install. The Nowlin will probably be your favorite if you want something that's not only easy to install but can fit your 1911 perfectly. A perfect fit plus increased accuracy is what a gun owner wants in a barrel. If that's what you want, get the Nowlin.
How to Fit a 1911 Barrel
Fitting a 1911 barrel can be a challenge. But with clear instructions, you can make it easy just by following along. Here are the steps you’ll need to take to fit a barrel on your 1911:
- Slip the barrel into the slide and check the hood sides. Each side should be clear the lower locking lugs are true up and down.
- Next, check the length. You should trial assemble the barrel to see if it will fit up into the slide locking recesses. If it won’t, remove a small amount of length.
- Now, install the barrel with the link, link pin, and bushing, then trial assemble slide, barrel, and frame. If it properly fits, it will hit hard on the back of the hood. It will also hit hard on the lower locking lugs and evenly on each side of the top locking grooves. It should not touch any place else, except for the bushing. At this point, you should be able to press the gun in the locked position with only thumb pressure. It will have minimal, if any, movement in any direction.
- The barrel is locked at zero at the lower locking lug. Further movement will wedge everything in position, except the link, when the gun is locked. You’ll notice a flat between the slide stop pin lower locking area and the front radius on the lower locking lugs. The measurement for proper operation should be .030. It can be increased to .060 to help the slide be more flush with the rear of the frame. If you want this, remove the metal from the rear of the locking lug with a 3/16” rat tail file or a milling machine. This will allow the stop pin to lock the barrel slightly further to the rear. If the .030” is increased, the link pin hole will most likely open up to prevent binding.
- Once you’re satisfied with the fit, slide, and frame assembly, install the link and the link pin and check for link pin interference. If you have the slide upside down in your hand and the barrel installed, you can still be able to move the link slightly while the slide stop is pressed to the rear. If not, you’ll need to open the slide top pin hole in the link slightly on the bottom side.
- Finally, you’ll want to finish the chamber with a .45 ACP finish reamer to 0.898” or up to 0.910” measured from the end of the hood. This may not be needed if a small amount of hood material was removed during the initial fitting. You’ll also need to finish with a 9mm reamer to 0.754” to 0.776” measured from the end of the hood. Then, use a .38 Super finish reamer to .890” to .900”.
For more details and visual guidance, check the following video:
Finding the best 1911 barrel doesn’t have to be difficult. You should find one that fits your gun perfectly and will also help improve your accuracy and your overall shot. Remember to do your due diligence if one product sticks out as a possible favorite. You shouldn’t make a decision based on a whim. Research forums and if possible, any additional product reviews that tie into the barrel you’re considering to buy.