As firearms enthusiasts and shooters, it's a challenge to broach the topic of guns without allowing things like personal preference to creep their way in, because, individually speaking, we allow our previous experiences to influence our opinions. The problem is, they're best suited for you, and you alone. (While I admit being partial to certain brands and types of 1911 accessories and parts, my goal is to explain the rationale that led to the decisions, in an effort to help form a similar list of your own.)
By taking an objective look at the vital elements that comprise Ol' Slabsides, the late gun guru/gunwriter, Col. Jeff Copper broke the pistol's most-critical elements down by concluding the only elements a self-defense 1911 needs are good sights, a good trigger and utter reliability. In keeping with the same ballistic-oriented brass-tacks approach, I'll take it one step farther and add since this pistol's purpose is self-defense, only accessories designed to enhance the pistol's specific purpose should be used. But, that's not to say aesthetics shouldn't be a factor. If you want to use a particular pair of grips simply because you think they look cool, that's fine. The mistake comes if you allow the pistol's wow-factor to overshadow its specific purpose. In an effort of narrowing the search to solely mission-specific accessories and parts, I decided to focus primarily on parts designed to enhance the pistol's reliability, accuracy and function, which forced aesthetic elements to take a backseat.
In the next installment I'll begin applying practicality-based criteria when describing the first step in the build process in detail: Fitting the frame and slide.