Function / Safety Testing a 1911 Pattern Pistol

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    1. #1
      VAMarine's Avatar
      Join Date
      Dec 2008

      Function / Safety Testing a 1911 Pattern Pistol

      If you want to properly function check your 1911:

      Safety/Function Checking a 1911 By D. Kamm

      Safety Checking a 1911

      Keep in mind that the Series II Kimbers operate like a Series 80 gun regarding the firing pin stop. Many manufactures such as Para Ordnance, Sig Sauer, Remington (Not Remington UMC) and others use the Colt style firing pin mechanism, refer to your users manual (if you do not have one, check your manufactures website) and look at the parts list.

      Springfield Armory 1911s are kind of an odd duck as they may or may not have "Series 80" hammers which allow them to fall when the half cock test is performed. Springfield Armory uses an "inertia firing pin safety" which consists of a lightweight firing pin and a heavier firing pin spring. The hammer falling from half cock when the trigger is pulled is not an issue on MODERN Springfield Armory 1911 pistols, if you have an older Springfield gun (1985ish to 1990) you may want to call Springfield Customer Service and ask

      Kimber Series II Firing Pin Safety

      Colt Series 80 Firing Pin Safety.

    2. #2
      rex is offline
      Senior Member
      Join Date
      Jan 2012
      Good post,the second one gets into the firing pin block but I'd like to add on that.

      Holding the hammer back and the trigger to push on the firing pin can be awkward at best so here's an easy way for the lever systems.With the slide in battery pull the trigger and hold it there,then rack the slide.The hammer will stay cocked but as long as you hold the trigger back the disconnector can't reset.Easy peasy.

      The comments about an adjustable trigger are true,setting up minimum overtravel can cause the pin to doink the block and peen it.While adding in more overtravel can prevent it,it really isn't the right cure.The firing pin block should be disengaged when the pretravel is taken up and the sear is beginning to move,the little movement of the sear escaping is inconsiquental unless the block is being disengaged way too early-which I haven't run into yet.

      There are 2 cures for this.The elcheapo way is to heat the trigger lever (not the plunger lever) and slightly bend it to begin lift earlier.The proper way is replace the plunger lever.Colt used to make 4 levers,but now there is only the standard lever they use in all but the Gold Cup,and the Gold Cup lever that provides earlier lift.The GC lever is the cure and they only cost $5,and a few bucks for a new plunger (or block).Don't bother cleaning up the burrs on the plunger,it's a cheap part so throw it away.It is not unusual for a Colt to be out of time,it's been a known problem since they stopped making the other 2 levers.Normally,with the slide off,the plunger lever will stick above the frame right around .100" when the trigger and disconnector are on the sear ready to move it.

      The modified Swartz system in Kimbers have been known to be out of time,but not as bad as Colt.I'm unaware of anything but the original rod length so the only cure for this is to have a good welder tig a drop of weld on top and refit it.

      Replacing triggers is quite common on 1911s and seems easy,and is if you know what's going on.Some know that a few makes of triggers have longer bows than spec,and that could cause more lift of the lever system if you think about it.Don't take this approach.While it could cure your lift problem,alot of times it causes reset problems and hammer drop.The reason is the longer bow encroaches on the pretravel space and decreases it.While it sounds nice to limit pretravel,you need to have a minimum of about .060" for safe operation.Your sear feet and disconnector paddle can be thinned (and they should be equalized in thickness from side to side if they aren't) but that really isn't the proper way to do it.Occasionally even the back of the trigger's bow needs to be thinned to get proper pretravel without thinning the disconnector and sear feet too thin.

      Hope this can help someone.

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