I ordered a Guarder Metal Slide and Frame for Tokyo Marui MEU with TRP Markings through work. This is my first complete aftermarket 1911 metal frame installation project. I’ve retrofitted entire 1911 GBB’s into new OEM slides and frames before, and even slides and frames from other gun manufacturers (not to mention doing the same job on a few Marui/KJ/Prime P226N and countless TM/PGC/Guarder Glocks) But… I just wasn’t prepared for the headaches (plural, not singular) resulting from trying to put this one together.
Though it may look and feel nice now, it turned out that the lower didn’t fit together nearly as well as I thought it should. With hours of sanding, polishing, testing and repeating that process, I think I have finally worked it all out. Read on for my thoughts on this process.
Guarder’s 1911 frames have this modification as something that needs to be done: filing down of the edge of the leaf spring. No big deal… yet.
Next comes the slightly bigger issue: Guarder mainspring housing does not exactly fit the Guarder frame. MSH in real 1911’s is generally a relatively simple-to-install part. This was not something to be solved by tapping it in with a mallet, either. Very frustrating. And I haven’t even gotten to the best part yet.
Even with minor filing done on the inside of the frame, the MSH was still a tight fit – so tight that I couldn’t removed it unless I pried it out. In combination with my frustration-fueled carelessness at this point in time, this resulted in one lovely, deep scratch down the back strap area of the frame… my fault. After more and more filing, it finally fit in a manner that I could get the housing out when I needed to.
Guarder recommends filing down the disconnector if the user has “problems with fast shooting.” Turns out that this problem was so bad with my frame that I couldn’t even squeeze off a shot without modifying the disconnector. After removing much more material than I though was necessary, my disconnector now travels more freely. Honestly, I don’t understand why Guarder could not just manufacture their frame to Tokyo Marui spec for this area – I understand that their kit requires modifications to the blowback unit in the slide, as this allows Guarder to do a simpler machining job to cut their production costs. Could that be it?
However, it turns out that this wasn’t the only problem I would encounter that would prevent my 1911 from shooting at all. Much to my dismay, I discovered a very small ridge running across the area that the disconnector is supposed to glide against on the inside of the frame. This ridge was only discovered after coating my disconnector in blue paint marker, assembling my entire lower, and repeatedly depressing the trigger until the paint marker started to rub off on the offending area.
See? Look where the blue paint marker has rubbed off against the side of the frame…
No, you’re not seeing things. Yes, that line is a tiny step.
I almost couldn’t believe it, so I had to check it repeatedly to be sure. Now, I’m sure.
Buffing out this area seems to have now allowed my disconnector to slide freely inside the Guarder frame… finally. Thanks to Jasper or “Kampfer” for letting me use his buffing kit and his Dremel at work, or else I would have never gotten this done with the tools I own.
Now that the lower half of my Tokyo Marui MEU is finally up and running, I’m not even going to bother attempting to the slide unless my plastic one breaks. I’m concerned that the slide may have just as many fitment issues that Guarder neglects to advertise as the frame did. Considering how 1911 slide/barrel lugs have a tendency to wear out, I’ll just wait until I can purchase a barrel design that doesn’t tilt and wear out the lugs (e.g. the one that Illusion Kinectics offers).
Was this worth it? Even though I got a good deal on it – thanks to Jasper’s business connection with Guarder, the time and stress required just to work through all the headaches of installing the frame alone was probably not worth it.