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There’s a thread on this forum concerning firing pins, loose firing pin stops, and the potential for AD’s in DW’s because of a “problem” with their design. I’ve read some pretty interesting stuff on this thread, and just thought I’d provide a bit of food for thought, and clear the air a bit.

First, the problem with firing pin stop movement is certainly not at all new, and it isn’t a problem relegated to only Dan Wesson firearms. Loose firing pin stops can be found in 1911’s from essentially any production manufacturer. Some more than others, I suspect.

Second, entrapment (or loss of) the firing pin due to firing pin stop movement can, AND DOES, happen during live-firing of the gun. This isn’t just something that one can make happen during dry-fire, or by messing around with a punch. Likely not the most common of malfunctions, but a real occurrence, nonetheless.

What slow motion video proves is that, when struck by the slide during recoil, the 1911 hammer is forcefully knocked out of contact with the firing pin stop, and back to the cocked position with such force that it can slam into the beavertail grip safety (every wonder why you get those “dimples in the grip safety tunnel, while you can’t make the hammer hit it by manually racking the slide?). This being the case, the firing pin stop is now free to move about during the period of time while the firing pin is in a position forward of the stop. Several variables come into play here in influencing both this dwell time and the amount of forward travel of the pin, including firing pin length, diameter, geometry, and condition; size and condition (lack of burrs, brass shavings, etc.) of the firing pin hole in the slide; compressed length, strength, and condition of the firing pin spring; cleanliness and condition of the firing pin tunnel; and the magnitude of the impact imparted upon the firing pin by the hammer (hopefully), which is, in turn, influenced by mainspring force, etc.. And yes, the firing pin can easily be driven forward well past the limits of the firing pin stop by the impacting hammer.

Now, if the stop is sloppy within its little home in the slide it will try to move in relation to the firing pin, until such time as the firing pin spring thrusts the pin back against the stop. Hopefully, this dwell time will be small, and the stop won’t have had time to shift such that its pin hole is out of alignment with the pin. If this isn’t the case, however, the firing pin stop can shift so as to either entrap the pin forward of its back face, or allow the pin to depart the scene entirely.

Third, the primary problem experienced with stop movement is with downward movement of the stop. If you can picture the gun in recoil, it tends, as a whole, to move upward in relation to its position before firing (the gun “lifts” during recoil). The loose firing pin stop, however, being subjected to Mr. Newton’s laws pf physics, wants to stay where it is; that being DOWNWARD where the gun was originally. Thus, what most often happens with a loose stop and a weak firing pin spring/burred pin hole/cruddy tunnel scenario is that the stop slips downward during the recoil stroke of the slide, and often becomes wedged against the hammer (which is already in the cocked position), thus potentially locking up the gun. This would not be a good thing. Upward movement of the stop has been conjectured in this forum lately. While this could probably happen (what with Mr. Murphy‘s laws), I don’t have much experience with this particular phenomenon, and it seems contrary to the directionality of forces being applied to the stop. Anything is possible, however.

Concerning the gun going full-auto due to a hung firing pin, it is much more likely that the round being fed from a magazine will come into firm contact against the bottom of the protruding firing pin during the feed cycle, thus jamming the gun. In a proper feed cycle (as opposed to a hand-fed round into the chamber), there does not exist enough spare room for the cartridge to feed into the chamber properly, with the protruding firing pin in the way.

Again, the loose firing pin stop problem is not new. IIRC, Col. Cooper wrote of having a tiny screw threaded through the back of the slide on at least one of his 1911’s, which would bear directly against the stop. Further, I know of at least one “big name” smith who used to offer this option on his custom 1911’s. Other ways to secure the stop include the fitting of an oversize stop (best option), or the peening or welding-up of a loose stop (gotta ask myself…WHY?). I’ve even heard of folks using loc-tite to secure the stop (which I’d certainly advise against!).

The bottom line here is that it is important to have a secure (read: non-moving) firing pin stop. At a minimum, a 1911 owner should consider it routine maintenance to ensure that the firing pin stop fits properly and is in good condition, that the firing pin tunnel is kept clean, the pin hole in the slide is kept clean and burr/obstruction free, that the firing pin is the proper unit and that it is in good working condition, and that the firing pin spring is clean and fresh. Take care all. Hope this helps.
 

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Thanks for a bit of perspective and sanity to the current witch hunt that is going on.

This is almost like the old days when everyone was upset about Lew Horton and the RZ's.
 

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dpcdivr, Thanks for the post. And yes you are right about the full auto with the pin out. There is not enouph room. And Yes again, tight firing pin stop is the best and we are keeping an eye on that.

Thanks again,
Bob
DWF
:) :)
 

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Dave:

As said above, glad you are here to inject some sanity into this issue. I will listen to you.

Art
 

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So in the end, with this sanity spread forth, and an agreement from DW that a FP stop should not move, what will DW do for pistols already out in the field?
 

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Gend

If i read and think I understood Bob S's post in the other thread correctly DW does not think this is an issue ??..well at least not one that is happening often nor do they think it will. Therefore they will most likely do nothing for the pistols in the field.

Dpcdivr.. thanks for the explanation.. i learned something new today... that's good. I know if my FP stop get's loose for some reason to replace it..

Peter.. hmm i think i'll disagree with you :) i don't think anyone was 'witch' hunting here on this forum (well maybe on the other forum where this came from). i think folks that are not quite as knowledgeable as yourself wanted the manufacturer to check out a suspected problem..which if proven true could have serious overtones.... they did and have responded.. which to me is still pretty incredible that the CEO hops onto a forum to answer questions...

Hope everyone excepts the answer..

Jeff.


PS: of course i could be totally wrong and everyone will be mad..
:eek:
 

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Well said dpcdvr.

Just one more panic attack for a non issue. Routine maint.

Bob
 

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Peter M. Eick said:
Thanks for a bit of perspective and sanity to the current witch hunt that is going on.

This is almost like the old days when everyone was upset about Lew Horton and the RZ's.
No witch-hunt Peter......Just people who are interested in the safe and reliable function of their 1911s.

Dpc has given an excellent summary of the issue. His presentation is somewhat different than what has come from DW. Now that we're aware of the problems that can result from a too loose FP stop, we can make our own decisions about what needs to be done.

Regards,
Sam
 

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Ok Ok, so maybe it was not a witch hunt. I will admit that maybe that was the wrong choice of words on this topic.

So now my soap box if I may.

Bob built us a nice reasonable priced 10mm 1911 format gun in the RZ. One could argue that it was expensive if you bought it direct from DW, but heck that was my choice. Now, when plunked a grand down on a custom gun I did not expect to get the same quality and level of fitting that I did when I bought my Les Baer 10mm for about 2x the price.

I look at my loose Colt and then my tight Baer's. DW is right in the middle of the price and the overall fit and finish and tightness. Now give DW the credit they deserve. The RZ is accurate and so far has taken all of the 10mm ammo I cared to blast down it. Once my early issues were fixed it has been a champ. DW is cranking out a more accurate gun then one would expect for the money. The flip side to this is they are not making a custom one at a time gun like other ones.

This is why I get in a huff about it when some folks start beating up on Bob about what DW has done. It seems to me that they expect perfection but they want to pay chump change and this really galls me a lot. I deal with this to much a work, everyone wants your services but no one is willing to give you a charge code.


Ok so the firing pin is a bit loose. It is no looser then my colt. If I want it tighter I can put in an aftermarket.

Ok, so the grips drip black die everytime I clean it. Yes it is a pain, but I will replace them on my next grips order.

Ok, so the laser work is wearing off the barrel and mags. Oh well, I guess that is the price you pay for laser over engraving.



I will now step off my soap box and accept my lashes having said my piece.
 

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Peter......

For the price, it would be hard to buy a better pistol than the Patriot or the Razorback. No...I don't look at it as trying to get something for nothing.....I look at it as making a great product even better. Added to their fine product is DW's desire to offer us 1911 fans innovation and variety. That's pretty amazing for a new company.

Just remember.....True 1911 fans are very picky and demanding when it comes to their favorite handgun design. On the reverse side of the coin, our demanding nature and high expectations can make a better company and product for those who want to listen to their customers.

Regards,
Sam
 

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Sam,

I like your attitude about the problem. You are a true 1911 fan and yes true believers tend to be very picky about the quality and details of the item.

I think you hit the nail on the head when you said:

"can make a better company and product for those who want to listen to their customers."

My point of the soap box was to approach the problem a little more like helpful concerned and supportive customers then sharks at a feeding frenzy.
 

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I have which is a question that may be stupid. On these stops
that are real loose could you cut a pcs of shim stock to fit under
the stop to tighten it up or isn't there enough room? Of course
this would be a temperary fix.
 
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