Injuries From Clearing 1911 Style Pistols

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    1. #1
      Member rgrundy's Avatar
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      Injuries From Clearing 1911 Style Pistols

      I haven't seen this discussed here yet but there have been several well documented cases of injuries associated with clearing a loaded round from 1911 style pistols ( This was in USPSA's Front Sight magazine ) and it could happen with others too we assume. From what has been determined the round does not clear the front of the ejection port and then drops out from under the extractor and then the ejector slams into the primer setting it off. This usually, but not always, happens when the shooter is trying to catch the ejected round by placing his hand over the ejection port as the slide is forcefully cycled back and trips the round back into the port. It has also been associated with rounds loaded long and flat nosed bullets that can catch the front of the port and not slide off. I had a round hang in the ejection port recently with a long loaded flat point bullet and you could plainly see where the front of the port caught it and the ejector hit the back of the case near the primer. Thank God it didn't hit the primer! Time for some re-training so I don't have to have brass removed from my hand. Gently working the slide and dumping the loaded round on the ground is best.

    2. #2
      Member rgrundy's Avatar
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      Here's a video demonstrating what can happen. The problems according to the article in Front Sight were with the 40 S&W cartridge which is a smaller head dimension and may be able to move more easily in the way of the ejector.

      1911 Primer Detonation While Unloading - YouTube

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      That's really interesting. I hadn't come across it before. It's also a good reminder of the importance of using eye protection.

    4. #4
      Senior Member TedDeBearFrmHell's Avatar
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      if something bad is going to happen when you do something, its just my opinion that you shouldnt do that thing.

    5. #5
      Member rgrundy's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by TedDeBearFrmHell View Post
      if something bad is going to happen when you do something, its just my opinion that you shouldnt do that thing.
      It just recently happened at several matches. One guy lost half a front tooth and the other had brass blown into his hand. So the problem has been studied and our behavior is being corrected. Old habits die hard though.

    6. #6
      Junior Member Cobra64's Avatar
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      It seems to me that the situation could occur in other platforms besides the 1911, and that the gentleman in the video could have benefited from a training class.

      Though this video deals with clearing malfunctions, it also illustrates dealing with hot rounds.

    7. #7
      rex
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      This has been happening for 30 some years.The 1911 was designed for the 45,when you change things other issues can pop up .This was found out shortening the barrel and slide to a certain point and needed to be corrected,smaller cases is where this becomes an issue most because the ejector had to be moved in and/or extended.A ball 45 will eject from any spec 1911,but other shape bullets and OALs from original design pose a problem some times,that's where the clearance cut in the front of the port came from.

      I only have use for the 45 for the most part and I catch the round all the time if I'm not near the bed or couch.To hell with bending over to get it,I drop the mag and slowly let the ejector roll it out of the extractor into my hand with the gun on it's right side.If it's a setup that likes to wedge in,stop shy of the bullet hitting the slide and poke your finger on top of the head to push it down out of the extractor.Awekward until you do it a few times but it's better than beating the crap out of the bullet nose and risking an AD.

    8. #8
      Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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      I can't answer for the manufacturers of "the other" 1911s, but in the Colt's Government Model .45, the ejector is a rectangular piece of steel with no projections which stick out of it. Some people even cut a small bevel into the top corner of its front edge.
      In almost every case, if you trap a .45 ACP cartridge between the slide and the ejector, the primer will not be dimpled. The primer is slightly inset (if the case was loaded correctly) and the square corner of the ejector doesn't touch it.

      However, some people use a non-standard ejector, which is supposed to make ejection more positive, and that can cause problems.
      I have seen Colt's 1911s using ejectors with protrusions sticking out of their upper front corners. I believe that these ejectors originally were made for the 9mm version of the 1911, or maybe for the Super .38, but they are incorrect when used with the .45 cartridge. It may be that these ejectors-with-prongs are also used with .40 versions.
      In any case, I believe that the accidental discharge of which we speak may be caused by these ejectors, when its prong, which protrudes a goodly amount, contacts a cartridge's primer. The prong is small enough to fit within the face of a standard large-pistol primer, and its corner could make firing contact with a small-pistol primer.

    9. #9
      rex
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      Yes,that's right or all but the origin of the extended one.The 45 isn't as prone to it as bad as the smaller diameter rounds.I can't recall hearing of a 45 or a short 9 do it,but the Super (and 9x23's I think) are known to have.

      GMs don't need or use one and unless the new Colts use it for marketing hype,I never saw one come with one either.Early SAs could have one in it,I had one in a new early Defender model.

      I thought the extended first appeared on the Commander or maybe Officers but I can't recall that far back.It may have started with the Super but it's no longer than a 45 really.The shorties are where they are really needed to overcome their problem.The shorter the top end gets,the less space and time there is to complete the cycle and being properly sprung is a bit more critical than a fullsize.Since there's less time to operate and function the extended will get that case out earlier so the feeding cycle isn't hindered.It's basically like running powderpuff loads in a setup for hot ammo,you're shortstoking getting stoppages.

      Be careful with these things,it's not something that happens alot but when a few conditions are met it can.I never understood shooting the chambered round up hard and catching it beyond the cool factor,I don't think a live round is what you want to be getting aggressive with.If anyone has one of these that like to wedge a round,a simple clearance cut on the inside front of the port will cure it.Unless it is a round that I don't want to change,a simple bullet and/or OAL change can cure it alot of the time.

    10. #10
      Member rgrundy's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Cobra64 View Post
      It seems to me that the situation could occur in other platforms besides the 1911, and that the gentleman in the video could have benefited from a training class.

      Though this video deals with clearing malfunctions, it also illustrates dealing with hot rounds.
      At 2:57 in the video Clint does exactly what has caused the detonations and injuries. Hand over the ejection port and forcefully racks the slide. So what don't you understand? The others made comments that were instructive and showed a great deal of knowledge. You appear to be just another guy that has enough money to own a gun and a computer.

    11. #11
      Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by rgrundy View Post
      ...You appear to be just another guy that has enough money to own a gun and a computer.
      In order for there to be a dialog, and the learning that follows, the participants have to debate politely.
      Your comment is an ad hominem attack, which is, I believe, both rather impolite and also dismissive.

      I am not a Moderator here, but I am an experienced Moderator on a couple of other forums.
      Were I a Moderator here, your comment would've resulted in a warning.

    12. #12
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      Many thanks for the video link. I have been handling 1911s for 40 years and never thought this a posibility until tonight.
      tc

    13. #13
      rex
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      It isn't if you aren't a mall ninja wannabe.A 1911 is one of the safest pistols around if you know it,don't screw with what you don't understand,and learn it's manual of arms.It's the first pistol I'll grab,but a USP is just a plastic framed version with a better mag release and less maintanance.

      PS. You've handled them almost as long as I've been alive,you've had it figured out and ignore the macho,hip,cool factor crap.I just turned 12

    14. #14
      Senior Member Steve M1911A1's Avatar
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      Jeeze—you really are a junior member!

      Well, you beat me: I started shooting at age 16, because of the laws where I lived. I didn't even touch a loaded pistol until I was 19.

    15. #15
      Supporting Member - Legally Armed Scooter Trash scooter's Avatar
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      Quote Originally Posted by Steve M1911A1 View Post
      Jeeze—you really are a junior member!

      Well, you beat me: I started shooting at age 16, because of the laws where I lived. I didn't even touch a loaded pistol until I was 19.
      Holy crap...19 ??
      I started with a Colt frontier scout 22 at 5 yrs old and graduated to the 1911 45 when I was 15.( I just realized thats 40 yrs,damn Im getting old)
      Last edited by scooter; 02-29-2012 at 12:20 AM. Reason: Updated

    16. #16
      Senior Member TedDeBearFrmHell's Avatar
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      shot my first pistol was a .22 hi-standard at 8, later that same year, shot a marlin 30-30.... also got my first minibike..... what a year !

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