Friday, March 18, 2016

Speaking of Grip Safety

The one 1911 safety check people miss...

And this can be a flaw even on new guns.  Caused by lots of things.  Lockwork engagement is one cause, but there can be others.  Sear spring?  Trigger bow?  Lots of things.

Other causes... tirgger work by someone that doesn't know what they are doing. Especially trying to lighten the trigger pull.

When someone hands you a gun to inspect and is proud of the 3 pound trigger pull, definitely check this.  And do this when inspecting a pistol for purchase or if you checking in guns for a shooting competition.

Anyway, do this procedure with your cleared of all possibility of ammo 1911 pistol.

  • Empty gun. 
  • Rack the slide. 
  • Grip the gun normally, and pull the trigger. 
  • Don't release the grip safety or trigger, keep them depressed. 
  • Rack the slide.  You can't just thumb back the hammer, you want the disconnector to do its job.
  •  Ok you now have a hammer back, and everything is squeezed down still.  With out un-depressing the trigger, release the grip safety. 
  • Now watch that grip safety and let the trigger up. 
  • The grip safety should click to reset and return to position. 

If is stays depressed that is a bad thing.  Something is kinda holding it, no?  It could go off relatively easily now with a bump or jar.

That's an unsafe gun.  Stop shooting it.  Get it fixed. 

Could be as simple a fix as swapping out the sear spring.  Could be smoothing a hook out of the grip safety.  Could need a trigger job.  You could send this gun back to Springfield or Sig or Smith or what have you, have them look at it, perform said trigger job, and they could send it back to you with the safety flaw intact.  Be careful.

When can this bump or jar occur with you releasing the trigger/grip out of order?  When you fumble a gun and drop it, say in an action shooting competition?  Yeah, that would be bad.  All those spectator watching you shoot for time.  Well except that one that caught your bullet in her eye after you tripped and dropped it.
[I am sure I went over this before, but it bears repeating.  It took me a few tries to internalize it myself.]

Another tip.  Never ever ever drop the slide with the slide release on a pistol with out a magazine in it.  I know you do it.  I used to do it.  It's like standard procedure in a gun shop!  Stop doing it.  It can, over time, or maybe just the third time it happens, mung up your sear real ugly. 


B said...

Why does dropping the slide without a magazine damage the sear? I assume you are talking 1911's here, and I just don't see how. I'm no expert, but fully understand the sequence of event and the interaction of parts.

Please explain.

New Jovian Thunderbolt said...

Dropping the slide with no catrdidge in the magazine is a much rougher procedure. CLANK! When you think about it that peeling off a round to chamber really slows down the mechanism.

But when you CLANK it the sear and hammer hooks slam together. You wouldn't take your sear out and bang on the edge with a hammer would you?

During firing the sear and hammer meet relatively gently, as you can see in the animation

Yes, this is for 1911. It may be an issue with other models, but I don't know those.

Will said...

On one gunskool class, my Officers Model failed a safety test. Thumb safety on, depress grip safety, press trigger. Release trigger, keeping grip down, and take thumb safety off. Hammer fell! WTF?!

Switch to backup gun.

Thinking about it during the classroom session, I decided that I must have swapped parts between the Officers Models when I was doing maintenance prior to traveling. Took them apart at the range and swapped the parts, and they then both worked fine. I think it was the thumb safeties (ambi), but might have been the sears. (at least 10yrs ago, details are fuzzy now)

I started putting the serial # on parts after that.