With the build-a-gun market making its way into the realm of handguns, it’s no surprise the 1911 – with its legend and simple design – would be the frontrunner in the game. If you’re like so many and you’ve decided to become an at-home gunsmith, keep reading. Today, we’ve got the 1911 Phantom Jig by Stealth Arms review!
If you’re new to the 1911 build game, here’s the short-and-sweet: Building a 1911 at home means buying a parts kit – slide, barrel, trigger assembly, et cetera – and an 80% finished 1911 frame. The 1911 Jig does the last 20% of machining. It allows you to drill the hammer and barrel seat pinholes, and it includes the tools (a hand plane with two blades) to cut out the frame rails and barrel seat. The whole process is completed by hand, taking around an afternoon (or less, depending on your skill and familiarity).
The 1911 Phantom Jig by Stealth Arms
Simply put, if you want to build a 1911 in an afternoon, then the 1911 Phantom Jig by Stealth Arms is the 80% Jig backed by popular demand. The Phantom Jig is so popular because of its simplicity and precision. The cutting blades’ adjustment knob is simple and includes an easy-to-understand dial.
- (2) side plates
- (1) bladed hand plane, or “cutting car”
- (1) textured cutting handgrip
- (3) drill bits
- (2) Allen keys (for adjustment knob and guide plates)
- (1) Guide Plate Screw
- (2) Drilling alignment pins
- Machining lubricant
The Phantom Jig: A Super-Simple Design
The Phantom Jig itself is rugged, weighted perfectly, and precisely made: Two long side plates and pins include the alignment holes for drilling, with cut-outs for guiding the hand plane and cutting blades. All cutting surfaces and holes are pre-measured on the jig, so all you need to do is check the depths of your cuts (with a micrometer) as you finish the frame rails and barrel seat.
Setting up and Using the Phantom Jig
The Jig sets up quite easily, with the 1911 80% frame resting between both side plates. One set screw sandwiches the two side plates together with the frame inside. Once the frame is secured, all you need to do is drill two holes, make some adjustments to the orientation of the frame inside the jig, and make three cuts. Hand-filing and lapping the slide (also done by hand) may be needed to complete the frame.
The Phantom Jig is intuitive, but easy-to-follow instructions are also included. All the cutting depths you need to measure are in the instructions, and the process of “zeroing” or setting your cutting blades’ starting depths is all explained with simple steps.
Compatibility with 1911 Frames
The Phantom Jig is guaranteed to work with any of Stealth Arms’ own 80%1911 frames and parts kits. Stealth Arms’ frames are all constructed from mil-spec, forged 7075 T6 aluminum, reducing overall weight of the finished gun by approximately 60%.
Stealth Arms also states that the Phantom Jig is compatible with steel 80% 1911 frames, though they strongly advise purchasing a second set of cutting blades to finish the job, as well as numerous hand files for deburring.
How the Phantom Jig Stacks up to Competition
The 80% 1911 market is still heating up, and many manufacturers have yet to develop their own jigs and platforms for the 1911. Nonetheless, the Phantom Jig is a crowd-favorite because of its price tag. It currently holds title as one of (if not the) most affordable 80% 1911 jig available.
Combined with its simplicity and the quality of the finished result, we rate the Phantom Jig highly – of course, that’s why we’re offering it! It’s time to get building. Be sure to check out our Phantom Jig and 80% Frame bundles!