What procedures do you use when evaluating a 1911 at your local gun shop? Besides the standard fit and finish, tool marks, burrs, etc. what is considered acceptable - racking the slide, dry firing, etc?
Depending on where you live and the gun store you go to, some stores will let you rack the slide and maybe dry fire it but don't be surprised if the store will not let you field strip the gun. Also keep in mind that unless the store you buy it from is a warranty station, they can't do anything for you when ity comes to getting it fixed.
First thing I check for is slide/dust cover rubbing. That really annoys me.
Second thing I do is go over the exterior for cosmetic anomalies, like funky-looking trigger guards and slide serrations that don't match from side to side. Only THEN do I pay attention to slide/frame fit, trigger pull, etc.....
It's amazing, but you buy a SIG, Glock, or Beretta and they are all cosmetically perfect. Buy a 1911 sight unseen and you're likely to get a one-of-a-kind.
I check the obvious things like cosmetics or for replaced parts first. Then I move to check that the operation of the safeties is proper.
No disassembly? Then no sale. Anymore, if I can't shoot it (also volunteer to clean it if no sale after firing) I'm not much interested unless the seller offers some warranty return agreement if pistol does not function as described.
Once disassembled, check bore and chamber and frame/slide for contact evidence. Check barrel/bushing fit. Check link and pin. Check slide recesses and breech face for excessive wear (some bozos use steel case ammo, y'know). Check appearance of extractor.
Somewhere I have a document that goes into much better detail on 1911 inspection prior to sale. Then again, I probably tossed it.
No dry firing? No problem. I put my left thumb in front of the hammer with some very light pressure on the face of the hammer and then slowly squeeze the trigger. To me this gives a really good feel about the hammer sear mating (i.e. crispness). Even more so than actually dry firing.
I also check the barrel fit. With the slide closed, press down on the rear of the barrel hood. Check for any movement. There shouldn't be any in a properly fitted barrel. Also, rub your fingers across the muzzle and see if the front of the barrel or the bushing has any movement when the slide is closed. Try to wiggle it and see what happens. Again, these should be nice and tight for an accurate gun.
I agree with the slide racking, dry-firing and disassembly recommendations too.