External Custom Machining Options
There are quite a few external enhancements available for the M-1911 pistol. Below, I'll outline and give a brief description of the most popular options that I offer and what it may do for you, beyond look good.

Flatten and/or Serrate top of the slide
This modification is very attractive cosmetically, but has a very functional purpose. You can do either or both jobs, flatten and serrate. Flattening creates the practical benefit of lowering the mounting surface for the front sight. If you are using a rear sight that has a particularly deep notch or with some combinations of frame, slide and barrels you wind up with a situation where the front sight needs to be so short (to put the shots on target) that the shooter will see the top of the slide in the bottom of the sight picture. If you have your front sight narrowed to see more light on each side of your front sight, this effect is more pronounced.

Machining serrations into the top of the slide is a "mostly cosmetic" job that some shooters use as an aiming aid to help align the sights to target during a high-speed draw. The same shooter is likely to tell you that the serrations reduce glare off of the top of the slide. I offer the serrations in either 30 or 40 lines per inch spacing. I can cut 40 lpi serrations into a flattened slide top or cut 30 or 40 into a round top. If you go any coarser than 30 lpi, you are creating some fairly sharp edges on the top of your slide. I've seen guns with 20 lpi top serrations and thought that clearing a stovepipe jam might be eye opening. There is a limit to how much cutting that you can do to the slide top due to the risk of cutting through into the top locking grooves in the slide. Before the final decision is made as to what combination of flattening and serrating can be done, measurements must be taken to avoid weakening the slide or cutting through into the top lugs.

Hand matting the top radius of the slide
Interesting textures that can reduce glare can be created on the top of the slide by hand matting. It can also be used to give a part a little bit of traction. It is more heavily promoted in some shops than others. Poorly done, it can make your gun look like 40 miles of bad road. It can be used to conceal minor cosmetic defects that would otherwise require welding and machining to correct. It may be necessary to remachine the cocking serrations and should be done before any other machine work is done to the slide.

French Border
The French border is simply a shallow vee shaped cut that runs the length of the slide intersecting the joint of the slide's flat sides to its round top. It must be started and stopped on each side of all cocking serrations or the ejection port, to look right. It makes a nice custom touch, but is one item that I can't find a functional purpose for.

Front Cocking Serrations
Much maligned by 1911 purists for being unattractive, yet touted by competition shooters and those in the military and law enforcement arena as being a mission essential grasping surface for "press checking" one's pistol, front cocking serrations just can't seem to please everybody. The shooter does have mechanical advantage and improved control by grasping the slide just behind the front sight with your palm down, than the same orientation of hand over the rear sight. If your hands are slick with rain, sweat or blood and you've got to quickly cycle your slide to clear a jam or otherwise put the pistol back into operation, you'll find yourself naturally grasping the slide at a point where front cocking serration will do the most good.

There are a number of serration patterns used by different manufacturers. Some use grooves, others use the old GI pattern, others are tilted at the same angle as the grip to the barrel's centerline, some are straight up and down. The most attractive way to machine in front serrations is to do it in a manner that matches the rear serrations. The most attractive front serrations to me are ones that are about 25% shorter, front to back than the rear pattern. You can even start with a bare slide from Caspian with no serrations and we can design your own pattern.

"Ball Cuts"
Ball cuts are made to the front end of the slide to change the size and appearance of the radii on each side of the recoil spring tunnel. This radius is fairly large on current production guns, but was much smaller on very early 1911 pistols. Ball cuts are made by reshaping those radii with a ½" ball nose end mill, while holding the slide upside down. They are purely a styling feature, having no functional purpose, other than a very small weight reduction. They do add a handsome look to the front of the slide.

Blending the Rear of the Slide & Frame
When all changes are final and it's time to do metal prep before finishing, I set up the gun in battery with all the parts installed that are visible on the rear of the slide and frame and blend them together to a seamless flat surface. This is a necessary step before serrating the rear of the slide and sure makes for a more professional looking gun even if you aren't serrating the rear of the slide.

Serrating the rear of the Slide
If you are having a rear sight installed that has a serrated flat rear blade, such as Harrison Design, Bo-Mar or a Heinie, you may want to have the rear of the slide serrated to match. I use 40 lpi to match the Heinie or 50 lpi to match the Harrison Design or Bo-Mar. It makes a nice attractive feature that may reduce glare. It should be done after blending the rear of the slide and the extractor must be fitted to the slide and firing pin stop so it can't clock in its tunnel (which should be done anyway). I can serrate the slide on guns that have a non-serrated rear sight blade, such as the Novak, but I think those guns look better with a plain slide to match.

Carry Bevel or Melt Work
Finally we get to something that is completely practical, smoothing all those sharp corners and rough spots that chew up your hands, holsters and clothing. Almost every gun on the market can benefit from a carry bevel treatment. The treatment can be either a bevel, which leaves a flat surface that bisects a corner or a radius, leaving a rounded over corner. It can vary from making almost no visible change and a slight change in feel, to an extreme "melt" that makes your gun look like a partially dissolved bar of soap. My carry bevels feature flats that are uniform and even, and that are snag free. I work over the whole gun, smoothing corners on everything except checkering, the rear of the front sight and the notch of the rear blade. Everything else that your hands, holster or clothes can come in contact with is worked over and smoothed.

Machine radius or bevel on bottom side corners of slide
This is a step beyond beveling and involves milling either a radius or a 45-degree bevel into the bottom side corners of the slide. It can vary in measure from mild to extreme, only limited by not weakening the slide.

Shorten the slide stop and countersink the hole
Mostly done for cosmetics, this option involves shortening the slide stop pin and re-shaping the radius so that it's slightly below flush with the side of the frame. The hole in the frame is counter sunk to allow room for the finger to still press in on the end of the slide stop pin to disassemble the gun. This option has it's origin as a means of reducing the chance that a right handed shooter can press his index finger against the end of the slide stop pin, making it shift to the left and lock up the slide. Actually, if all the involved parts are in spec, it's next to impossible for this to happen with the slide at rest. Training is a less expensive "solution" to this problem, but for a pure custom touch, it is very cool looking!