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Old February 21, 2013, 02:09 PM   #1
FLChinook
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My Kimber Compact's slide is too stiff for my wife..

The great news is my wife has decided to shoot and has already qualified/applied for her concealed carry permit. The bad news is she has done all her shooting to date with my Kimber Compact .45 and while she has gotten by, she just has too much trouble working the slide to be comfortable with it.

I'm basically a S&W revolver guy and could supply her with a plethora of those but she wants an auto. My only other viable auto is a Walther PPK .32 and she really can't work that little slide.

The Kimber slide is getting a little hard for me too (getting old is such a pain); I'm thinking of calling Kimber to ask if a lighter spring is possible. But assuming it's not....

what auto has the best combination of easy slide, compactness and general ease of use?
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Old February 21, 2013, 04:43 PM   #2
Gaerek
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My one big complaint with Kimber is their stiff slides. I don't have a whole lot of 1911 experience (except with a couple brands) but the Sig 1911's have much lighter springs. Most new guns, the slide will be tough to operate. They tend to get looser after shooting. Kimbers are some of the worst I've personally seen, and almost anything will else will have a slide that's easier to operate.
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Old February 21, 2013, 04:50 PM   #3
ScottRiqui
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Could it be her technique? The "Cornered Cat" website has a good article on "working smarter, not harder" when it comes to working the slide on a semi-automatic.
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Old February 21, 2013, 07:03 PM   #4
FLChinook
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Quote:
The "Cornered Cat" website has a good article on "working smarter, not harder" when it comes to working the slide on a semi-automatic.
Thanks. That was a good point-to. It may help on the Kimber but I'm afraid the Walther is a lost cause for her. The safety gouges into the grip and the slide length behind the port is very short.
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Old February 21, 2013, 08:37 PM   #5
Ozzieman
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My wife bought a Glock 26 and had the same problem and now I carry it.
I have a Kimber Royal Carry which is slightly shorter than a commander length. I think part of your problem is not the stiff slide but the heavy spring that the shorter 1911’s need. You would probably start battering the frame if you went to lighter springs.
Take the gun apart and without the barrel or spring put the slide on and see if it’s really that stiff. I think you’ll find that it’s the spring and not just the slide.
I agree with Scott R, A woman can operate any slide on a 1911 if she does it in the right manner. Do a Google search on proper slide operation for the 1911 and you’ll see many suggestions. The following is a good one.
http://www.shootingillustrated.com/i...-manipulation/
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Old February 21, 2013, 09:31 PM   #6
jmstr
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The problem with a weaker spring is that it will change the timing of the pistol. The spring weight slows the slide motion and all parts are timed to work with those weights. If you go from the 22lb [or is it 24?] Kimber compact recoil spring to a 18 or 16lb spring, the slide may move so fast that it causes more feeding/ejection issues.

And, it is more likely to cause a harsher perceived recoil due to the speed the slide is moving at, before it slams to a stop and moves forward.

And it can speed up the wear on the slide/frame/slide stop/etc, due to the increased velocity of the slide. I've heard of more slide stop problems with underweighted recoil springs and full-strength ammo.

Those who use lower-powered springs usually are combining them with reduced power loads, to maintain the same timing.


As for another semi-auto: I don't have any suggestions. Compact handguns generally have stiffer recoil springs as the spring has to arrest motion in a shorter distance. I have a Kimber Compact II and am familiar with the spring weight. I sold my Kahr K9 for financial reasons, but I'll tell you this: the K9 made the Compact feel like a full-sized 1911 by comparison. In other words, the K9 is MUCH stiffer than the Compact 1911 I have. Just like my Compact 1911 is stiffer than my full-sized 1911.

I've found older friends who have the same problem you are describing. I recommended a revolver. They tried a few and found the DA trigger pull to be too stiff also [SP101, GP100, Rossi 851, S&W 586]. The 5-shot LCR from Ruger was manageable, but barely.

So, moving to a revolver may not solve the problems: but just change which one is the problem.

Good luck!

Last edited by jmstr; February 21, 2013 at 09:36 PM.
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Old February 21, 2013, 09:37 PM   #7
FLChinook
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My wife just finished an excellent handgun class (Pistol Pack'en Mama's) with about 20 women. She was the only woman with a 1911. Some had revolvers but most had Glocks. The way she described it, the women using Glocks had almost no trouble working their slides. Maybe they were all full size Glocks and not compacts...
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Old February 21, 2013, 10:03 PM   #8
jmstr
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Cool!

My friend had almost no problem racking the slide on a G19, but the smaller one [no clue what the smaller glock is, but there is one] was too tough for her. The G17 size was even easier.

My S&W M&P9c was tougher for her to rack the slide on than the G19, but the G19 is a little longer.

My advice to my friend was a G19 and a LOT of training, as the trigger pull was still tough for her on the LCR [which was lighter/smoother than on S&W Bodyguard].
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Old February 21, 2013, 10:17 PM   #9
RoyP
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One thing my wife found that helps when she's at the range is shooting gloves. I know she can't wear them all the time but they help when she's practicing. the gloves give you a better grip without having to squeeze the slide so hard when she's pulling it back.

as far as compact pistols the wife has an original kahr k9 she has no problem racking the slide. it was her second pistol she got when she first got her permit. I think she's had the k9 close to 10 years now.
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Old February 21, 2013, 11:07 PM   #10
orionengnr
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First, is she cocking the hammer first? That will make racking the slide easier.

Second, yes, you can buy different weight recoil springs--Wolff sells them in (IIRC) one-pound increments. You can also buy a "calibration pack" which will have five or so springs, each in different weight. http://www.gunsprings.com/

You may have to juggle your carry ammo to match a lighter spring. You can also look into using a square-cut FPS with the light spring, and perhaps be able to use your current ammo.

Lots of options--don't give up.
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Old February 22, 2013, 12:03 AM   #11
chris in va
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I know, CZ's don't have as much slide purchase, but they use mild recoil springs and are quite easy to rack.
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Old February 22, 2013, 12:39 AM   #12
DATL
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I ran into this problem with a few different firearms for my wife too. I have thus far just stuck to hammerless revolvers for her.
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Old February 22, 2013, 11:24 AM   #13
hesitantly
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Find a Sig P938 and have her try that. I'm almost sure she'll be able to rack it with two fingers; it's very easy - especially so for a pocket sized. Great little pistol. The only problem I've had with mine is that it once pinched the web of my right hand when I put the (ambi) safety on.
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Old February 22, 2013, 09:29 PM   #14
FLChinook
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Hopefully, this won't start a firestorm... everyone seems to like, and defend like a junkyard bulldog, their own gun...

but can anyone who has used both the Glock 19 and S&W M&P 9mm comment on the relative ease of slide racking? Nothing else; just which is easier to rack the slide..

Both are the same caliber and approximately the same size so both "should" have about the same slide spring stiffness...
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