How to fit a barrel

Contributed by DremelSmith

Whether it be because you bought a match fit barrel or just due to tolerance stacking, occasionally you’ll need to hand fit a barrel to a slide and frame.

For tools you’ll need a safe edge file. I use nicholson Swiss files in #00 and #6. You’ll also need a vise and either soft jaws or leather scraps to hold the barrel. Always go slow and make sure your file stays flat against the surface you’re filing. The safe edge is essential so that you don’t remove material from areas you don’t want to.


First part you’ll want to fit is the back of the barrel hood. Remove material equally from each side.

Once the back of the hood can be forced into the slide, switch to the #6 file and continue removing material until it’s a nice snug fit that pops in with finger pressure.



Now you’ll need to fit the length of the barrel hood to fit into the ejection port. For a variety of reasons, mainly not wanting to mess up the headspace, I recommend removing the material from the front of the hood, not the back.



Same as before, once you can force it switch to the finer file and finish fitting until light finger pressure pushes it into place



You‘re now done fitting it to the slide, time to fit it to the frame. You’ll notice that the locking lug on the barrel hits cross bar on the locking block.



File down the foot of the locking lug, go slowly, test fit frequently. Too loose and the barrel can drop down, causing early unlocking and poor accuracy.



Once done the locking block should slide over the barrel’s locking lug with no more resistance than can be overcome with light finger pressure.


Congratulations! You’ve just finished fitting your barrel to your pistol.


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