How to Field Strip, Clean and Reassemble a Kimber 1911 .45 ACP

Kimber 1911 Field Strip- Disassembly & Reassembly Instructions

This article will show you step-by-step how to disassemble (Field Strip) and reassemble a Kimber Aegis Elite Custom 1911 Semi-Automatic Pistol in .45 ACP.  You will need to know how to perform a 1911 field strip for cleaning purposes. For just the Disassembly, see How to Disassemble a Kimber 1911.

Here is some information on setting up a Homemade Gun Cleaning Station.

Which 1911 models does this Procedure Work For?

This 1911 disassembly and reassembly procedure will work for most, if not all makes and models of 1911 pistols with a 5″ barrel. Some will be referred to as “Government” models.the M1911 pistol is the original designation for the 5″ Government model.

Different Manufacturers may use other names to signify a 5″ full size 1911. For example, Kimber refers to some of their 5″ models as “Custom”, such as Master Carry Custom. The Master Carry Pro will have their 4″ barrel, and the Master Carry Ultra will have a 3″ Barrel.

This 1911 disassembly reassembly field strip procedure will not work for a Kimber model with a “bull barrel”. Most of the 4″ 1911 Models use a different design to lock the barrel to the slide. If you have the 4″ model, see my article Cleaning a Kimber 1911 Pro Carry. or Kimber Pro Carry II Disassembly.

1911 Barrel Bushing on Left Bull Barrel on Right
1911 Barrel Bushing on Left, Bull Barrel on Right

Field stripping is basically removing the slide from the frame, and then removing the recoil spring, guide rod and barrel. Once this is accomplished, these components can then be cleaned and lubed as outlined in my article: Cleaning a Kimber 1911.

The cleaning procedure and products used will certainly work on any 1911, and most other guns as well. Just be aware that if you are going to clean a Glock, Springfield XD series or Smith & Wesson M & P firearm or other gun with “plastic” parts, be sure to use a cleaner designed for that use, such as Birchwood Casey Gun Scrubber Synthetic Safe Cleaner. Some of the more common cleaners are harsh on plastics and polymers.

If this is the first time you are doing this, do not fear! It is not hard if you follow the steps. The next time you do it you will be a pro and will not likely need these instructions. It looks like a lot of steps but I wanted to break it down as far as I could to make it as clear and easy as possible.

1911 Disassembly Tools

You will need a 1911  barrel bushing wrench for this procedure:

1911 Barrel Bushing Removal Wrench
1911 Barrel Bushing Removal Wrench


‏Real Avid Bench Block built-in Barrel wrench
‏Real Avid Smart Bench Block built-in Barrel wrench

or a nifty little product I recently purchased called a Real Avid Smart Bench Block which has a built-in barrel bushing wrench. you can check it out here.

Step by step instructions are below, but you can also watch my videos. The first is for the 1911 Field Strip and the second is the reassembly.

1911 Disassembly Video

Here is the reassembly video:

Step by Step Instructions with Pictures: Disassembly-Field Strip a 1911

Here is the 1911 We are Going to Field Strip
Here is the 1911 We are Going to Field Strip

Here are the steps:

Remove the magazine

Empty the chamber of any rounds

Repeat the last 2 steps. BE SURE THE GUN IS UNLOADED.

Set the gun on a table or bench with the barrel facing up. Wear eye protection in case the recoil spring launches the plug into your face.

Align Barrel Bushing Wrench and Press Down

Line up the barrel bushing wrench with the bushing and apply downward pressure on the plug until you can turn the wrench.

Turn the Wrench clockwise to the 9 o clock Position

Turn the wrench clockwise to the 9 o’clock position.

Release SpringTension Slowly

Carefully and slowly reduce pressure and allow plug to rise as tension is released from the recoil spring. Be careful or the spring will launch the plug across the room. I know this for a fact.

Recoil spring Tension Released

Once the recoil spring is loose, the slide will move easily.

Line Up Notch in Slide with Slide Stop

Line up the notch in the slide with the Slide lock lever as shown.

Push Slide Stop Lever from the other side until it Starts coming Up

Press on the slide Lock lever pin on the opposite side of the gun to start pushing it up enough to grab it.

Pull Slide Stop Lever Out and Put Aside

Remove the slide lock Lever and set it aside.

Slide will Now Come off the Front of the Frame

Remove the slide by pulling it off the front of the frame.

Pull Recoil Spring Out the Front and Remove guide rod

Remove the recoil spring from the slide assembly by pulling it out the front and remove the guide rod as well by pulling it up out the back.

Rotate Barrel Bushing Counter clockwise as Far as It Will Go

Use the barrel bushing wrench and turn the bushing counter-clockwise almost as far as it will go. There is a “key way” that needs to line up with the notch in the slide.

Pull Bushing Out the Front Along the Barrel

Remove the barrel bushing by pulling it out the front. Use the barrel to help push it out if necessary.

Slide the Barrel Out the Front of the Slide

Remove barrel from the front of the slide. You likely will need to flip the barrel lug forward so it will fit.

1911 Fully Field Stripped

You have now field stripped your 1911.

Now you can clean and lubricate each component.

Reassembly Steps with Pictures: 1911 5″ Government Pistol

Slide the Barrel all the Way into the Slide

Place the slide upside down on your bench and slide the barrel  into the slide.


Line up the Notch in the Barrel Bushing

Line up the barrel bushing as shown and press it into place firmly against the front of the slide.


Using the barrel bushing wrench, turn the bushing clockwise to the 9 o’clock position.

Place the Guide Rod on Top of the Barrel

Lay the slide on the bench upside down and place the guide rod on top of the barrel as shown.

Slide the Smaller End of the Recoil Spring onto the Guide Rod

Slide the tighter, smaller end of the recoil spring onto the guide rod and seat it firmly.

Make sure the Barrel Lug is Perpendicular to the Slide

While holding the barrel and guide rod in place, turn the slide sideways as shown and be sure the barrel lug is perpendicular to the barrel.

Slide the Assembly Into the Frame until The Barrel Lug Lines Up with the Hole in the Frame

Slide the assembly onto the rails of the frame until the barrel lug is lined up with the hole in the frame.

Insert slide Stop Pin

Insert the slide stop pin through the hole in the frame and line up the notch in the slide with the square hole in the frame as shown.

Line up the slide stop Lever with the Hole

Line up the slide stop lever with the hole.

** Be careful here. If you do not line things up as shown, you may scratch your gun when pressing the lever into place.

Press the lever into the frame

Press the lever into place by applying even pressure to both ends of the lever.

Move the slide forward all the Way and lock the Safety

Once in place, move the slide all the way forward and lock it there with the safety lever.

Place the Gun on the Bench Pointing Up

Place the gun on the bench facing up.

Place the plug on the end of the Recoil spring

Place the plug on the end of the recoil spring.

Line up the wrench with the barrel bushing and press down on the plug

Line up the wrench with the barrel bushing and press down on the plug until the wrench is flush with the muzzle.

Turn the wrench counter clockwise to the 6 oclock position.

Maintaining downward pressure, turn the wrench counter clockwise to the 6 o’clock position.

Make sure the barrel bushing is properly lined up with the plug

Congratulations! You’re done reassembling your 1911!

Final Steps

Now work the slide back and forth with your support hand to make sure it feels right and to help the lubricant move into all the moving parts. Then wipe any excess lube off of the gun with a rag or paper towel.

Now be sure to perform a 1911 function and safety check.

If you have some dummy rounds or snap caps, you can use these to test the proper ejection of your firearm without using live ammunition.

You have successfully field stripped and reassembled your 1911. If your gun does not have a barrel bushing, please see Cleaning a Kimber 1911 Pro Carry for instructions on the disassembly on a Kimber with a bull barrel.


12 thoughts on “How to Field Strip, Clean and Reassemble a Kimber 1911 .45 ACP”

  1. Hi, thanks for showing how to reassemble this nice looking Kimber 1911.

    When I watch you it doesn’t look that hard but there are still a lot of steps. I think safety is important and cleaning and reassembling and cleaning one’s gun is an important part of the safety measures when handling guns.

    It’s great how smooth all the parts come together in this precision weapon.

    • Stefan, thanks for checking out my article on field stripping a Kimber 1911! I am a big fan of Kimber as they do make a fine weapon. I have had a Kimber Pro Carry for years and it has been through a ton of training and been beat up a bit and still functions flawlessly!


  2. Stripping and reassembling has always been a hassle for me. But your post is quite explanatory enough but one question is  how do I remove the recoil spring? I didn’t get that part well?! It took me months before I could even try stripping not to talk of reassembling a pistol. I get really scared. Thanks for this post.

    Have a nice day

    • Salim, thanks for reading my post on Field Stripping a 1911! The recoil spring will just pull right off the guide rod either before of after you remove the slide from the frame. I will clarify that in the article. Thanks for pointing out that it is not clear!


  3. Thank you for this informative and step by step post about the Kimber 1911 assemblage. You really explained it in simple terms and and the images really compliment the points and procedure you mentioned above. I will surely share this post with those who will find it more helpful. Thank you.

  4. I was always intrigued by guns, I really love reading this, so informative and fun! You explained everything so thoroughly, even a dummy like me would understand with no problem. Thanks for this great article with amazing tips! I might buy one soon. Wish me luck!

    I am going to share this with my friends too, just in case.

  5. I must say that this article is very helpful and informative. Some people say that it is pretty easy to reassemble a pistol, especially this one but I found it to be a little difficult for me. You helped me a lot and I will definitely bookmark you as I can’t wait to see more of your topics.

    • Daniel, thanks for reading and leaving a comment on my Field stripping a 1911 article. I was apprehensive the first time I had to disassemble my new 1911 for cleaning, afraid I would not get it back together correctly! However, I had a gun dealer show me how to do it and then I was fine. It is not nearly as hard as it looks once you do it yourself.



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