The 1033 Law Enforcement Support Office (LESO) Military Surplus Property Program is a federally run program under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Defense that allows law enforcement agencies from around the country to receive excess military property.  There are various USGI weapon available to agencies in this program including M-16A1 rifles, M-14 rifles and surplus USGI 1911A1 pistols that have been arsenal refurbished and placed in long-term storage.  These pistols make outstanding duty pistols for law enforcement agencies on a tight budget.  A few modifications can turn these old warhorses into modern fighting pistols.

At the recent International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA) conference, pistolsmith and law enforcement trainer/armorer Drake Oldham of Drake’s Gun Works took a pre-1945 USGI service pistol and with the aid of his expertise and few Wilson parts he turned one into an up-to-date duty gun using basic techniques any police armorer could executeHere is Drake’s writeup of the event.  You can reach Drake at

 1911 Armorers Course from the ILEETA 2012 Conference

One of the Agency’s in attendance, the Arkansas State Parks, recently acquired 100 of the surplus 1911’s from the LESO program. Wilson Combat supplied several enhanced parts to be fitted during the course.

The parts included a 7 round magazine (47C-HV), a thumb safety (6BN), a spring set (316G), a drop in grip safety (429BG), a sear and hammer (455B / 314C), and some Ultima Lube-II (577-2).Drake’s Gun Works supplied a set of Wilson Combat Nite Eyes Sights (367T) along with the required milling for the front sight.

The sights were installed the week prior to the course and provided a much improved sight picture over the standard sights. The hammer and sear dropped in without fitting and yielded a rolling trigger pull of 5 pounds.

The grip safety required fitting both for release of the trigger bow and overall travel of the trigger bow. This grip safety eliminates the concern of hammer bite for those of us with meaty hands.

The thumb safety required some effort, as the shaft was larger than the hole in the frame. A little shoe shining and some JB compound solved the fit problem. A slight bevel was cut on the left side of the hole for the thumb safety shaft to allow the part to sit flush on the frame. The safety snapped on and off positively with no over travel in the off position.

 The end result was a pistol that was ready for Duty. This old 1911 felt good in the hand with the benefit of improved operating controls and high visibility sights. Myexperience with these surplus pistols has been positive, and I haven’t found one yet that didn’t function reliably.

The Wilson parts and a few hours at the bench made a great pistol even better.

Here is a before and after pic of The 1911A1 in question.  Some Wilson parts, a skilled hand and new grips!