1911 Style and Sizing FAQ

We regularly get asked if a particular set of grips will fit a particular gun.

Usually this is because of the countless models of 1911 that have been manufactured by various companies over the years; will grips that fit a Springfield 1911 fit a Ruger 1911 or a Rock Island 1911 or a Kimber 1911?

Luckily the answer is yes.

The vast majority of manufacturers over the years have stuck to the measurements of the original Colt Government M1911 created for the US Military by John Browning in (you guessed it!) 1911.

However there are a few key variations that have been introduced since then so if you're new to the subject, it might be worth reading the information below to be sure of ordering the right set for your gun.

If you're still not sure which grips will work for you then please do reach out to us through the "Contact Us" page. We're always happy to help.


1 - What size 1911 do I have?

The two most common 1911 sizes are Full Size (also called Commander or Government Size) and Compact Size (also called Officer Size).

There are a few easy ways to tell which you have;

Full Size 1911s typically have a 5 inch barrel and the holes for the grip screws are always 3 1/16 inches apart.

Compact 1911s typically have a 3 or 3.5 inch barrel and the holes for the grip screws are 2 11/16 inches apart.

The screw hole difference is big enough that you should be able to tell which size you have by taking a rough measurement with a ruler or tape measure. Measure the distance between the centers of the two screws.

Is it a little more than 3 inches? Yes? Full size gun.

A little more than 2.5 inches? Compact.


2 - What's all this 1911 Magwell, Round Heel stuff about?

There are a few different common 1911 grip outline variations.



Magwell refers to grips that are cut flush with the base of the gun. Magwell grips have no taper at the base of the grip and no cut-out to access the pin at the base of gun's handle. These grips are fitted to 1911s that have a Magwell base installed, this is done to make it easier to remove and install magazines while shooting. This is usually a modification done by the owner, very few manufactures sell 1911s with a Magwell base preinstalled. Therefore, it's quite unlikely you have a Magwell base on your 1911 without knowing about it.

Bobtail - Round Butt - Round Heel

There are a lot of different names for Round Heel style guns but it's actually a very simple idea. It just means the base of the guns handle in rounded (or sloped) toward the magazine (see diagram above). This is simply a matter of comfort and so a matter of personal preference.

Luckily there is a consensus among manufactures about the dimensions the slope should be, so most Round Heel 1911 grips are interchangeable.


3 - Does caliber effect the grip size I need?


.22, .380, 9mm, 10mm, .40 S&W or plain old .45ACP, a 1911 is a 1911 regardless of it's dietary preferences.


4 - Do I need an ambi-cut?

Ambi-cut grips are grips designed to accommodate an ambidextrous satiety catch.

The old-school 1911s had a single safety catch placed on the left side of the gun where it could be comfortably reached with the thumb when the gun was being held in a persons right hand.

In recent years manufacturers have been installing safety catch levers on both sides of the gun to make their guns more comfortable for left handed shooters.

There has also been a trend for enlarged safety levers that are easier to use than the original design.

All of our 1911 grips are designed with this in mind and are compatible with almost all Ambidextrous safety designs.

However if you have an older Taurus or Rock Island 1911 you may wish to contact us before purchase to check. We can always provide an additional cut out if necessary.


5 - Magazine cut? Thumb relief?

These terms refer to a small oval indentation made to the left grip to make accessing the magazine release button easier. For people with smaller hands this can make the gun much more comfortable to use. We offer this as an option on many of our 1911 grips, this is also an option on our custom grips.


If you have any additional questions then feel free to get in touch through the "Contact Us" page. We're always happy to help.