Filing front sights.
Q I have a 1911 and have done or had other people do a fair amount of work on it. Recently a good friend who is a machinist milled the slide and installed an adjustable rear sight as well as a dovetailedfront sight blade. The machine work was great and I am delighted with the way my 1911 looks. My problem is sighting the pistol in. Before I go out to the range and start filing on the front sight, I thought I had best ask you how you go about it. I would hate to ruin the front sight by taking off too much metal.
A Filing in a front sight is not or should not be a problem. Make sure you have ammo of the type you plan on shooting most. Remember, different bullet weights and velocities will impact at different points on the target. Also, decide upon the range at which you'll sight the pistol in. I almost always sight my handguns in at 25 yards.
You'll need a sandbag or two on which to rest the pistol as well as a good, sharp, clean cutting, 8-inch smooth cut flat file and a file card or cleaner. You may also need a brass drift punch and hammer to adjust the windage of the dovetail front sight.
Begin by bottoming out the rear sight and then counting the clicks until you have reached the maximum elevation. Divide that by two and count down that number of clicks. You now have the rear sight centered in terms of elevation. Use the same procedure for your rear sight windage adjustment.
You should put lots of paper on the target frame above and below your bullseye target. Using the sandbag rest, fire three shots at the target bull. More often than not, your front sight being so tall the shots will impact well below the target. Now it's just a matter of filing the front sight down to bring the shot group up and on to the target. After each filing, be sure to check the target by firing three more rounds. You just repeat the process until you have the pistol sighted in. Generally that's all it'll take.