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slide release without any ammo in the mag

5321 Views 49 Replies 35 Participants Last post by  thegreyman
Can somebody please tell me why it is bad for a slide to be released on an empty mag? I have always heard that this was bad for a pistol, but nobody seems to be able to give me much of a reason for it. Thanks
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If you mean on an empty chamber then I can give you a reason. From what I understand the extractor can impact the rim of the barrel and if done enough times can break the extractor. I have heard it can also adversly effect your trigger pull. A few times will not hurt but I would not make it a habit. Hope that helps :]

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To add further, when the slide comes forward on a round, stripping it from the mag, it is "controlled" by the drag of the round being stripped, and chambered. It "cushions" the impact of the slide closing.

This also provide some support to the extractor tip, so it's not likely to be damaged.

Also, with guns that have had Trigger Work done, it prevents the sear/disconnector from taking a beating. The impact creates harmonics that could cause sear bounce. This can be terminal for maintaining a nice crisp, glass like trigger in a gun that's had an excellent trigger done.
ah I see what you mean. Does the act of stripping a round really provide that much "cushion"?
Wouldn't the round be behind the extractor? Wouldn't this still cause it to come to rest in the same position as without a round in the chamber?
thanks again guys
A 1911 will slam forward without a magazine present. Whether or not its extracting a round.
Not exactly sure what either ahenry or 225 is trying to say...

The movement of the slide does "slow", although not perceptibly to you or I when a round is picked up from the mag. You should never close the slide on an empty chamber, or on a round that has been hand chambered.

Damage can result from repeated use.
Haven't heard that one before, even the one about dry firing with no round in the chamber, we do both, a lot every day, and haven't seen an extractor break or a firing pin break. I am not saying it can never happen, but we put the guns thru a lot before they are fired and don't see what you are talking about...

This is a good topic, and I've been wondering about it myself. I just bought a 1991A1, and the factory owner's manual says to release the slide on an empty chamber as part of a function check after re-assembly.

I can find the page number if anyone wants to go and look it up.

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Thanks for the "colt" answer mark. I have heard that letting the slide slam home on an empty chamber (no round in the mag) it can damage it. I could never really figure out why so I thought I would ask the "panal of experts" *grin* Nice to know that it really doesn't matter
This may well be one of those Questions With No Answer. I am not aware of any danger to the extractor from this practice, though another practice, single loading by placing a round directly in the chamber and slamming the slide on it, will definitely be very rough on the extractor.

As for the sear/hammer engagement surfaces, they will be subjected to far greater shock if the slide is allowed to run forward without chambering a round. The side is quite appreciably slowed by stripping and chambering a round, as another poster mentioned. The heavier the slide, and the stronger the recoil spring, the harder the hit. There is a reason Colt suggests this as a function check. The hammer will bounce on impact, and if the hammer/sear engagement surfaces are worn, the hammer may fall to half cock. On a GI spec trigger job, this test shouldn't hurt anything, but don't expect a shooter with a nice 2 lb. IPSC trigger job not to cringe when you do that to his or her gun.

Of course this is all my opinion. If you do have a nifty trigger job, check with your smith on proper handling procedures.

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Springfield recommends that you NOT do it. I did, before I read the booklet, which is just like a guy, and felt stupid.
I don't use maps or ask directions, either.
Can somebody please tell me why it is bad for a slide to be released on an empty mag? I have always heard that this was bad for a pistol, but nobody seems to be able to give me much of a reason for it. Thanks
Yah, thats no good!

This topic will show a real difference of opinion on this.
My belief is that generally it is not good practice to repeatedly drop the slide on an empty chamber, particularly on 1911's. Abuse of the sear & wear on the slide stop are excelerated. Other pistol designs may not be as vulnerable, but in general I personally frown on the practice.
That being said...
Occasionally for function testing or in competition post stage unload & show clear is fine IMHO.
I dunno, take the cartilage out of your knees and jump off a platform.
Why is it a good idea to not slam your car door as hard as you possibly can every time you close it?
I dunno, take the cartilage out of your knees and jump off a platform.
Why is it a good idea to not slam your car door as hard as you possibly can every time you close it?
^^This :biglaugh:
It's designed to fire ammunition.
But the 'slam' is a valid test for hammer follow and I do it on a function check. Obviously I completely understand the mechanical and aesthetic reasons for not letting the slide slam without loading and I don't do this often.
Disclaimer: I'm not a gunsmith, I have no exceptional knowledge apart from reading books, instructional materials online & experience striping, cleaning,replacing parts & doing my own trigger jobs on other platforms (not 1911).

I've racked the slide hundreds of times & practiced dry firing, loaded a round manually & released the slide to battery prior to inserting a full magazine & fired thousands of rounds through my Glock 23, S&W Shield, Desert Eagle Pistol 9mm (early baby eagle) with no appreciable negative effects that I can see when I completely strip the guns. This may be bad practice, I just haven't/can't see the negative effects.

If I'm correct (& I already acknowledg I may be completely wrong, see disclaimer), and there are no appreciable negative effects on these other platforms, what is different, & dare I say, so much more delicate about a 1911 that this platform can't handle these practices?
Some of it is gun etiquette. If it is your gun then whatever. It is yours. If a friend shows you his and I will us a 1911 as an example as we on this forum then I would not "drop the slide". Maybe you could if you asked him/her first, but I generally would not. You also ask if it is O.K. to dry fire it or pull the trigger on an empty chamber. Don't do this and you will be labeled a jerk and not invited back most of the time. Also treat your gun very well when showing it to others for obvious reasons.

When I go out and shoot with somebody I sort of know but have not shot with before I take along RIAs and Ruger SR1911s in 1911 land. Maybe I will shoot with them again and maybe not. A time to meet new friends and forge new relationships. I still have one jerk that calls me and asks me when do we want to go shooting again. I think 3014 might be a nice year.
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