Tricking Out Your GSG 1911 .22

If you read  my review of the GSG 1911 .22, you may be thinking about investing in one. While the GSG a great gun and a lot of fun, like almost any pistol, there ways to make it run even better. Because of its design, there are thousands of standard 1911 parts available to you, but I’ve found a couple of great sources for GSG-specific accessories that will significantly improve pistol’s performance and fun factor . . .

CW Accessories LLC
Chet Whistle is a competitive pistol shooter and the owner of CW Accessories, LLC. Based in Lancaster, Ohio, he and his wife Joni market aftermarket accessories and upgrades for the GSG 1911. 22.  Chet does all of the product design, testing, and evaluation, and Joni handles the orders and shipping. He does not machine his own parts. Rather, he partnered up with a local machinist who does all of the machine work for CWA.

A couple of years ago, Chet replaced his aging Browning Buckmark with a GSG 1911 .22.  He appreciated the overall design and workmanship of the GSG 1911 .22 but also recognized that the guide rod could be improved, and accessories for the gun were lacking.

Most of Chet’s design ideas come from his many years of competition shooting.  His first project was to design a compensator that could give him an edge in open-class pistol matches. Once he settled on a workable design, he had his machinist work up a few prototypes. Once he settled on the best design, his friends started asking him to make them one. On that basis, he knew he had something that was marketable and CW Accessories was born.

Chet next set out to manufacture a base pad extension for the magazine, similar to what is used in competition race guns.  He also designed a heavy duty replacement for the factory guide rod.  Finally, he developed a load assist button.  I’ve had a chance to test all of these products and, as discussed below, I highly recommend them.

More than any other of Chet’s products, the compensators caught my attention for their sheer cool looks. Ever since I saw my first “Pin Master” at Clark’s Gun Shop in Keithville, Louisiana back in 1977, I’ve been a big fan of compensators on pistols.  Aside from their obvious benefit (reduced muzzle flip), there is just something about them that just looks cool. The CWA design is no exception.

CWA’s comps are machined from a single rod of 17-4 stainless steel. Fit and finish are first class. They are available either “in the white” or powder-coated in what I would call “HK black” (those of you with experience with HK MP5s, 91’s, 93’s will understand the reference).  It is not an exact match to the finish on the GSG’s slide. Not that I really care about that, but some folks might.

CWA’s two-port compensator is an impressive hunk of stainless steel, weighing in at 2.5 ounces.  My initial thought that a compensator is not really necessary on a lowly .22 pistol.  However, I was really surprised to find out what a big difference it makes.  It does a very good job of reducing muzzle flip, thereby keeping the GSG’s barrel on target during rapid fire / double taps.

The smaller one-port compensator, shown above, is about 1/3 the size of its big brother. It weighs in at only 1.3 oz.   In my admittedly non-scientific estimation, it probably accomplishes 60-70% of what the larger compensator delivers in terms of reduced muzzle flip.  Although I like the bigger version better, I really can’t put my finger on exactly why.  Fortunately, they are not huge investments so I would recommend running both for a while and seeing which one you like better.

Chet’s made a YouTube video that provides some additional views of the two compensators in action. If for no other reason, watch this video to see Chet bustin’ caps on some bowling pins. After seeing that, I’m pretty sure I would not want to be the guy who gets in a gunfight with Chet.

Whichever version you end up with, you’ll need to use blue Locktite to keep the compensator pointed skyward, as the threads will not necessarily tighten with the vent facing the upward position. For those of you Locktite neophytes, I can tell you from recent bad experience that a little goes a long way, and I would err on the side of using too little if you ever want to get the compensator off again. I used too much and had a devil of a time getting the damn thing off.

Magazine Base Plates.  As I mentioned earlier, the plastic factory base plate is somewhat of an Achilles heel for what’s otherwise a fairly bomb-proof magazine design. CW makes some really nice aluminum replacement base plates. They are precisely machined and hand fitted so they are a real snap to install. I was able to change out four magazines in less than five minutes.

I prefer the larger version of the two as the extra length makes it really easy to load, especially if you are running one of those mainspring housings with the enlarged mag well attached.  At 18 bucks a pop, they may seem a bit pricey at first. But, when you actually hold one in your hand and see the amount of work that went into it, you wonder how Chet can make them for so cheap. The bottom line: these base plates are “must have” items if you are going to any rapid reload drills or other training that involves dropping the empty magazine on the ground. All of my GSG 1911 .22 mags now sport them.

Guide rod, washer, and spring. CWA also manufactures a heavy-duty full-length guide rod replacement for the factory part.  The CWA guide rod is made out of 17-4 stainless steel and 6061 Aluminum. It’s also .010 inch larger in diameter and 5/8 inch longer than factory rod and comes with new washer. In the photo above, you can see the difference between the CWA unit and the factory version. The CWA guide rod is confidence inspiring and seems to be a no-brainer for any GSG 1911 .22 owner. I’ve fired over 1000 rounds with the CWA guide rod in place without any issues.

Loader Assist Button (“LAB”). As I mentioned earlier, the GSG 1911 .22 magazines are a breeze to load as compared to some of the other brands such as Ruger, Browning, or Beretta.  Having said that, after loading a few hundred rounds a day, having a loader assist button like the one can be pretty handy.

It consists of a round aluminum disk that’s about the diameter of a nickel with a small metal roll pin running through its center. To use the LAB, you will need to drill a small (1/8 inch diameter) hole through the plastic follower in each magazine. Insert the LAB in the hole, pull down the follower and drop the bullets in one by one.  It’s that simple. With a few minutes of practice, this device will speed up your re-loads and save the tips of your fingers and/or fingernails from the discomfort of loading mags.

TROS MD-22 Rimfire Suppressor & Gemtech 1911-22 Adapter (1/2 to 28)

Probably the best thing about a .22LR is that you can shoot it on a relatively small property without driving your neighbor nuts, especially if you have a suppressor. In fact, suppressors and .22LR go together like a hot model and a Wicked Weasel bikini.

Suppressors for .22LR do a wonderful job of dissipating virtually all of the audible report when the gun is fired. In fact, depending on conditions and type of weapon used, the sound of the bullet striking the target will sometimes be the loudest sound you will hear.  And .22LR suppressors are generally more economical than centerfire pistol and rifle cans: a high-quality unit can be had for as little as $300 (+ $200 ATF Tax).

Those of you living in the Portland Oregon metro region have an excellent local source for your suppressor needs: Mark McWillis and Mat Brady run a small manufacturing firm named “The Riddle of Steel,” or “TROS” for short. Mark spent his formative years working at the Benchmade Knife factory in Oregon City, Oregon and discovered he had a talent for machining. TROS now manufactures a variety of innovative products, including a full line of suppressors.

I’ve used a MD-22 TROS suppressor extensively with the GSG 1911 .22 and the two worked well together. Sound suppression was satisfying and POI shift was negligible. The particular MD-22 I used had been in service for about 6-7 years and has had over 10,000 rounds fired through it without any issues of any kind.

Earlier I said the GSG 1911 .22 was “almost” suppressor ready. What I meant by “almost” was this:  you are going to have to buy a thread adapter if you plan on shooting the GSG 1911 .22 with a suppressor.  This small device screws onto the end of the barrel and allows you to use a standard screw-on suppressor. Although there are some cheaper alternatives out there including one made by GSG, I went with the Gemtech adapter because I trust their workmanship, quality, and fine customer service.

They did not disappoint. Workmanship, fit and finish were first class. The Gemtech adapter is blued in a color that closely matches the GSG barrel. Gemtech includes a nicely knurled thread protector which you’ll want to use store the pistol and when you fire the pistol without the suppressor in place.

Again, the GSG 1911 gives you the ability to take advantage of most of the universe of standard 1911 parts on the market. These accessories are designed specifically for this gun, though, and really add to its function and fun.