How difficult is it to replace a rear sight on a 1911? Do I need to take it to a qualified gunsmith to preform this task.
I am lookng at a 1911 with a illuminated rear site and would rather have the standard military one. Any info would help.
Replacement isn't difficult, you just need to take precautions to not mar the slide.
This is assuming the current sight doesn't have any kind of locking screw and no one used Loctite on it.
Note that removal may damage the luminous tubes in the sight.
Remove the slide from the frame and use tape to cover everything but the actual rear sight area. This is to prevent marring the finish.
Lay the slide on a firm bench covered with a thin towel to further eliminate any possibility of damage.
If needed have a buddy help hold it steady.
The bench MUST be firm enough not to allow bouncing around. If needed, you can do it on a concrete floor, but make sure you use enough tape to prevent any chance of damaging or marring the slide.
Use a brass or hard nylon drift to simply drive the sight out from the LEFT side of the slide (as you'd sight through the sights).
A sight drift is nothing more than a large brass or nylon punch. I use pieces of brass bar stock.
When I say "drive" I don't mean to just wail away with a hammer.
Most sights will drift out with only moderate tapping.
When driving the sight out, be careful it doesn't start to tip or turn slightly in the dovetail. If it does, tap it back straight.
Make sure to keep the drift on the sight and keep it as low on the sight as possible, but not so low you're contacting the slide itself.
Once the old sight is out, clean the slide dovetail with a toothbrush and apply a coat of lubricant to the dovetail and the sight.
Start the new sight in the dovetail with your fingers, making sure it's right way around.
This will also give you a feel for how tight it's going to be.
Drive the sight into the dovetail from RIGHT to left, being careful the sight doesn't tip or turn slightly in the dovetail.
Drive it in until the witness marks like up, then test fire to determine if it needs to be moved to sight in.
If the drift left brass marks on the sight, use a copper removing bore solvent to remove the marks.