How to Properly Lubricate a 1911 Pistol for Optimal Performance
How to lube 1911 Pistols
The proper 1911 lubrication is arguably the most important thing you can do to keep the pistol running properly. A clean and properly oiled 1911 will provide years of trouble free service!
These fine pistols need to be properly maintained in order to function reliably. 1911 guns, especially the more expensive models tend to have tight tolerances for smooth performance. This tighter fitment requires there to be less friction between moving parts, and this means a high quality lubricant.
Lubrication is not the only maintenance you will need to perform on your 1911. You will also need to replace the recoil spring from time to time depending on how many rounds you put through it. Keeping the gun clean, especially after a day at the range is also required for optimal performance.
Check out these books on the 1911. How to disassemble, clean and maintain 1911 pistols.
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When you are oiling your 1911, it is important to use the right amount of lubricant. Too little lubricant could cause the gun to malfunction, or it may work for a short period before it starts to lock up and cause issues. Conversely, if you use too much, dirt and grime will tend to stick to the gun and it will quickly build up and start to “gum up” the moving parts, also causing malfunctions. Try to adhere to the following tutorial, as it was taken from a Kimber 1911 user manual and adapted for this article and the 1911 lubrication video.
The Best 1911 Lubricant
There are lots of quality lubricants available, and most any gun oil will do the job. You will want to avoid gun grease as this is thick and will attract a lot of dust and dirt. Some greases will become gummy after a while if not completely removed on a regular basis, potentially causing friction and malfunctions in your 1911 pistol.
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I would also avoid very light lubricants such as WD-40 (this is really not a lubricant, although it works great for household applications but it will not last long in a gun).
I can recommend a few different brands of gun oil that I have used over the years. When I went to training class in the Nevada Desert, I found that Slip 2000 EWL 30 worked very well. This is a heavy-duty, thicker oil that really stays in place during the extra rigorous training environment. We were shooting 400-600 rounds per day. Each night, as I cleaned and re-lubed the gun, I noticed that it was still lubricated very well and I am sure I could have skipped the cleaning and it would still function well.
There are other Gun oils available but I recently started using Original Gun Oil after a friend told me that he cleans his gun IN THE HOUSE (I used to have to clean mine in the garage due to the smell of solvents and oils) because Original Gun Oil is non-scented and non-toxic. You can use it to clean, protect and lubricate the gun, so it is the only cleaning product you need for the gun.
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Here is a video I made using ONLY Original Gun Oil to clean and lube my Kimber Pro Carry II 1911.
1911 Lubrication Diagram
Rather than a diagram, I have taken close-up photos of the parts of the 1911 pistol that need to be lubricated. These lubrication points are the recommended by various manufacturers, and since most 1911 firearms are built basically the same, this will apply to most of the 1911 pistols currently in circulation.
the first thing you will need to do is Field strip and clean your 1911. This just means to take it apart so we can get to all the points that need cleaning and lubrication. While it is apart, be sure to inspect it for wear or anything that looks broken or otherwise damaged.
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Here are articles that will help you with the disassembly if you are not familiar with the process:
Once you are done with the cleaning process, it is time to apply lubrication. Here are the steps:
Starting with the barrel, apply 3 drops to the outside and spread it all over the exterior of the barrel. Be sure to cover the Barrel Hood with oil. Then apply one drop to the barrel link pin.
Next, place 2 drops on the guide rod assembly and spread one around the surface of the exposed guide rod.
Next we want to lubricate the frame of the 1911. First, apply 2 or 3 drops to each side on the rails where the slide moves back and forth:
Now apply one drop each to the disconnector and hammer pivot:
Next, Lubricate the slide in the following locations:
Also, lube the slot on both sides with a few drops. A total of 3 drops per side of the slide is sufficient:
Now you are ready to reassemble your gun. If you need help with this part, see the videos below for step-by-step instructions on the lubrication and reassembly of a 1911:
1911 lubrication and reassembly video
1911 re-assembly video for 1911 Government 5″ barrel models with barrel bushing
Anytime you take your1911 apart and put it back together, you should conduct a function and safety check. Go to this article to walk you through it:
That’s it, your 1911 pistol is now properly lubricated and ready to go to the range or into your concealed carry holster!