Making A TactiCool Colt Gold Cup


The iconic Colt Gold Cup 1911 turned into a tactical sidearm with
“all business” features combined with match-grade accuracy.

Tacticool Gold Cup. The thirst for tactical guns can never be quenched these days. I got a project from Jess Hancock of Wichita Guns for a custom overhaul. The Gold Cup is one of Colt’s hallmark models — I remember a police academy instructor telling me a Gold Cup would be his first choice in a 1911. But, it has limits for customizing. The frame front strap is serrated at the factory, the trigger is wide, there is a raised ribbon at the top of the slide, and the pistol features a unique Elliason rear sight. This was going to be like painting a landscape with three colors. I decided to go all in on a tactical build: 180 degrees from how it was designed or left the factory.

The finished custom extractor, which does not make contact with the
cartridge case in a .45 ACP 1911, allows proper function and accuracy.

It Begins...

Given the limits of my paint pallet, I began with barreling, a Kart National Match hand fit with an EGW thick flange bushing. Next, all the internals were replaced with fresh bar stock pieces from Extreme Engineering. The hammer was a large ring style that I checkered at 20 LPI for easy cocking. The grip safety was a bobbed version we custom contour. My son Nick added stippling to the front strap picture framing around factory serrations. (The front strap was too thin to checker.) He also stippled the trigger guard and flat mainspring housing. I customized an EGW ambi thumb safety with a shorter paddle on the right side. Next, the sights: a custom 24k gold line up front — gold does not tarnish. The rear Elliason blade was serrating it 70 LPI. I rounded the corners of the sight to prevent snagging during a draw. The finish is matte Du-Lite black oxide on the lower frame and a light polish on the slide flats. The trigger was tuned to a crisp 4-lb. break. I like how it handles — the wide trigger shoe and stippled trigger guard make it great for a two-hand hold grip. Double diamond VZ grips with silver Colt medallions finish off the makeover.

A Harrison Design extractor blank and jig being used to create the proper length part for a 1911 pistol.

Points On A Curve

The arched mainspring housing on Colt 1911s has been around since WWII. They were initially made with a cross-checkered diamond pattern or with vertical serrations. Finding a checkered arched mainspring housing was hard but finding one with sharp points was impossible. Because the arch is a compound curve, it’s almost impossible to hand checker. On the parts market were cast pieces, but casting does not produce sharp edges or points. So, like many pistolsmiths, I had to “chase” all the checked lines with a single-point file. That took about an hour.

Now with multi-axis CNC (computerized numerical control) machines, Evolution Gun Works has tackled the issue with a new 25 LPI arched housing in either blue or stainless. The points are perfect. As with most things produced with CNC, the lines, slots and pinhole locations are spot on. A huge time saver and an excellent option for the 1911 crowd.

The new EGW (Evolution Gun Works) fully machined arched mainspring housing for the 1911.

Make It Custom

When it’s got to fit right and function flawlessly, make it custom. This is the case for a client who had a 1911 in which off-the-shelf extractors were too long. The length of his factory extractor allowed the nose or hook end to contact the .45 ACP shell case while in battery. That can impede both function and accuracy. The gap from the breech face to the hook face should be 0.075″, plus or minus 0.010 of an inch. The solution for this project was to make an extractor of the proper length. John Harrison, the owner of Harrison Design, offers the right stuff with an extractor with no firing plate slot and a jig to hold the extractor while cutting a new slot. I took the extractor blank and placed it in the slide, measuring with a gauge the 0.075″ distance from the face. Then I marked the slot location. Next, I placed the extractor blank in the jig and mill vise. Using a 1/16″ endmill, I cut the slot to 0.095″ wide for a snug fit in the firing pin plate. The rear end of the extractor was trimmed flush to the slide. Last, I test-fired the new extractor to verify feed and extraction during shooting.
And that’s how you make a Tacticool Gold Cup.

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