View Full Version : How to convert 1911 38super to 9mm?

05-05-2009, 5:27 PM
I have a Springfield Armory 1911 chambered for 38 Super. What would I need to do to convert it over to a 9mm?

05-05-2009, 6:03 PM
A 9mm barrel, magazines. I did the same change over two years ago, great gun.

05-05-2009, 6:16 PM
If your 1911 has a ramped barrel, the conversion barrel also needs to be ramped with the same style of ramp. I think the SA uses a Wilson/Nowlin style ramp.

05-05-2009, 6:24 PM
If Springfield makes a 9mm barrel with the shorter chamber, that should be good enough to cycle the action and reload for the next shot...

05-05-2009, 6:28 PM
I've got a ramped barrel...
So it just a matter of a barrel swap out! Cool!
I'm assuming I need a new bushing too?

05-05-2009, 6:36 PM
Anyone happen to have a link to a good 9mm 5" barrel that is the easiest to fit?

05-05-2009, 7:07 PM
Do you have an idea on what's needed to be done to fit a 1911 barrel? Are you after match grade accuracy or just something that will put the bullet in the general direction where it's pointed? Not trying to sound like a know it all, but I don't want to see you kicking yourself because a $150+ barrel is ruined.

Here are websites to start with.



I'll post more later.

05-05-2009, 7:10 PM
You may not need new mags. The only difference between 38 Super mags and 9mm mags, is the small spacer in the back of the mags. Which pops out. Try your 38 super mags with 9mm round, they just might work.

05-05-2009, 7:29 PM
Anywork need to be done to breech face or extractor?

05-05-2009, 8:06 PM
Anywork need to be done to breech face or extractor?

No, they are the same.

05-05-2009, 8:12 PM
Thanks - Now to look for a barrel -

No, they are the same.

05-05-2009, 8:30 PM
Anywork need to be done to breech face or extractor?

If you really are decided to tackle this, welcome to the 1911 kitchen table gunsmithing.

38 Super rim is a little bigger than 9mm rim so if you have a loose extractor for 38 super it will be super loose for the 9mm rim. You won't have to buy another extractor, just need to tune it.

You can get away using 38 super magazines with 9mm if you long load your rounds. Shooting short loaded 9mm rounds using 38 super mags may result in rounds popping out prematurely causing jams.

If you do get a 9mm barrel the pre-fit should have a proper length chamber cut from the factory, most custom gunsmith fit barrels have the chambers cut short and a finishing reamer is required.

Depending on the tolerances of your slide/frame fit the pre-fit barrels may need bottom lug shaved a little. Make sure you use the correct size round file, and cut the feet square or your barrel will twist causing bad accuracy.

05-06-2009, 12:32 PM
I'm just the opposite of the OP. I want to change my 9mm to a 38 Super! :) I'm told just a barrel and magazine change.

Will he need to change the recoil spring, too? I was under the impression that 38 Super recoil is higher and that a 9mm may not cycle the slide.

05-07-2009, 7:01 PM
I just want a plinker and am not really looking for Match grade results.

RogueSniper - I'm in the East Bay. We should swap barrel, bushing and springs! ;)

05-07-2009, 7:10 PM
I've built a couple of 9mms from .38 Supers. My first was a Para Ord in .38 Super. I changed out the barrel and bushing. It may or may not be necessary to change the bushing. I like to fit the barrel to a bushing, so that's what I did.

I changed out the extractor and the ejector. It didn't run quite right with the Super parts. You may get away with it.

I use my Super mags as is. One mag doesn't feed factory 9mm that well. The others do. I may get an Arredondo mag spacer and 9mm follower later.

Another gun I built from RemSport parts. Frame, slide, and barrel are 9mm. Everything went together well. I use Wilson 10-round 38 super mags. They all feed factory 9mm hardball.

05-07-2009, 11:39 PM
If you aren't looking for super accuracy try shooting your 9mm in the super barrel. It will index off of the extractor just like JMB designed the 38 stupido.

Changing the barrel is of course better but the other way should work just clean and inspect your barrel a little more intently.