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Discussion Starter #1
Hi Guys,

This is going to be a long post, and for that, I apologize. Please bear with me.

I’ve been doing some research into the “WHY” it is not accepted practice to drop the slide on an empty chamber. In particular, the “damage” , it is claimed, can be cause to the sear especially on guns that have had a trigger job. Please, don’t get me wrong. I’m not advocating dropping the slide on an empty chamber. I feel, whether right or wrong, it’s just putting unwarranted wear and tear on the gun. However, occasionally, it needs to be done to check everything is working properly.

My understanding on the sequence of events is as follows, and please, any of you professional armorers and smiths, if there is a fault in my understanding, I would be grateful if you could clarify my reasoning. I’m on a learning expedition here.

Given:
A perfectly serviceable 1911, clean, cocked and UNLOCKED.

In this static state, the disconnector’s mating face is in contact with the rear of the trigger. The disconnector’s other vertical mating face is in contact with it’s opposite mating face of the sear. The sear is holding the hammer in the cocked position.

When the trigger is pulled, it pushes the disconnector, which in turn pushes the sear to the breaking point, the hammer falls and the gun goes bang. At this point, the trigger, disconnector and sear are all operating as one. Now, the slide begins it rearward travel, and at about 1/16 inch of travel, it depresses the disconnector’s pin, and disengages the disconnector from the sear. The spring tension on the sear begins to move the sear back toward engagement with the hammer hooks. The slide continues rearward, cocking the hammer, the sear engages the hooks, and the slide returns to battery. At return to battery, the slide has disengaged the disconnector pin, and the disconnector would, if possible, return to it’s ready position. However, at this point (trigger is still being pulled), the horizontal surface of the disconnector is in contact with it’s horizontal mating surface of the sear. As the trigger is released, the disconnector follows the trigger forward until the end of the surfaces are reached and the disconnector pops up and re-engages the sear, ready for the next trigger pull. When the disconnector pops up is the position where the trigger is reset.

Now, lets load a mag and release the slide lock to strip a round from the mag, and the slide goes to battery. Everything stated above is still true except, since the trigger is not being pulled, the disconnector is STILL disengaged from the sear by the slide still pushing down on the disconnector pin. When the slide reaches battery, it disengages the pin and the disconnector pops up into it’s ready position. However, instead of it being held in the disengaged position by the horizontal surfaces, it is being held disengaged by the pin contacting the slide. This is also true if the slide is being dropped upon an empty chamber.

In either case, when the slide bottoms out in battery, it’s inertia is transmitted to the frame, which has a tendency to move the frame forward. The sear, due to it’s greater mass being below it’s locating pin, will give the sear the tendency to stay where it is, and the combination of forces will try to disengage the sear from the hammer hooks.

Now, if I am correct in the way the system works, could someone explain to me how any of this can lead to damage of the sear/hammer relationship? If I’m not correct, please point out where I am wrong, and how this damage can occur.

Please, I’m not looking for an “it’s accepted practice” comments. I’m looking for the “WHY” it is accepted practice pertaining to the sear/hammer relationship.

And Guys, anyone commenting on this one is going beyond what would be deemed reasonable, and what one would normally be expect, and I thank you for your efforts and thoughts.

Be Safe,

Chris
 

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Dropping the slide on an empty chamber does not damage your hammer/sear realtionship per se.

In guns with finely tuned trigger pulls with reduced engagement, dropping the slide can sometimes cause the sear to creep off the hooks due to trigger bounce and can cause the hammer to drop to half-cock. That will damage your sear surface and require a gunsmiths attention if it happens more than a few times.

If your gun is out of spec it could cause it to go bang.

If you have a gun that does not currently follow, no amount of dropping the slide will cause it to follow. It is not necessarily good for the barrel/slide/frame fit however and therefore should be minimized.
 

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I disagree.

If dropping the slide causes the hammer to follow, it is not "finely tuned", it is poorly tuned.

Hammers shouldn't follow. Ever.

The rest is arm waving.
 

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Jammer Six said:
If dropping the slide causes the hammer to follow, it is not "finely tuned", it is poorly tuned.

Hammers shouldn't follow. Ever.
Correcta-mundo.
 

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Discussion Starter #6
Kinda What I Thought

Even from the limited responses, it leads me to believe my thinking is correct. If we are correct, then where did this "wives tale" come from?

I have to agree. If a finely tuned trigger job allows the sear to creep on the hooks, then it is poorly tuned. After all, checking whether the hammer follows is one of the checks we all do periodically. I fail to see why, if I had a special trigger job, this check should ever be a problem. On the contrary, it should prove whether the job I have is a good (finely) tuned one or not.

Thanks Guys for your thoughts.

Be Safe,

Chris

PS. I am also looking forward to the reopening of the reloading bench.
 

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I have to agree. If a finely tuned trigger job allows the sear to creep on the hooks, then it is poorly tuned
yes and no.
You can have a perfect "trigger job" done with a lightweight trigger that will follow if you replace the lightweight trigger with a heavier trigger.

Many high-end IPSC raceguns have great triggers that are under 2lbs that will last forever, but if you change their lightweight 10# recoil spring to a heavier one, say 16-18 lbs, the hammer will often follow due to excess inertia.
Is that the fault of the builder? Would you consider the trigger to be poorly tuned?

So, when assessing a trigger job, even the best 1911 trigger has to live under certain parameters to be safe. If some or one of the variables change, so can the trigger.

Hammers shouldn't follow. Ever.
I agree. This is about why the follow, not why they shouldn't.
 

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Dropping the slide on an empty chamber is a no-no, not because it can damage your sear, but because it can cause damage and battering to your slide stop pin. When the slide goes forward with a loaded mag and strips the first round out of the magazine, that slows the slide down just enough to limit the battering. But when the slide goes forward and doesn't strip any round it continues at full force and slams into the slide stop pin. That pin is tough but is small and wasn't meant to take that kind of abuse. The barrel hood can also wear and cause peening where it makes contact with the slide.
 

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Well, okay...

Except that the slide doesn't touch the slide stop pin. Ever.

I think you mean the barrel slams into the slide stop pin.
 
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