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Old February 15, 2010, 05:55 PM   #1
jag.a.mohan
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1911 slam-fire -- has it happened to you?

The issue has come up in several threads on 1911 carry condition, and I wanted to get an idea of how common this really is. Here's the question:

Has a 1911 ever "slam-fired" on you? If so, what year/make/model was it? Ammo type? Was the weapon clean or dirty? etc.

Reason I ask: I've had a Kimber Custom II for some time, and I keep it in condition 1. As I was clearing it to inspect it one day, I noticed a small dent on the primer of the chambered round. Apparently, racking the slide gave the firing pin enough inertia to cause this dent, but not enough to detonate the primer. So we're clear, no, I did not lower the lever onto the firing pin at any point.

I realize that this is a normal occurrence but the dent was large enough to worry me a little.
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Old February 15, 2010, 06:15 PM   #2
MythBuster
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I don't think anyone will tell you it happened to them.

But if you are worried replace the firing pin spring.
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Old February 15, 2010, 06:27 PM   #3
jag.a.mohan
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I don't think anyone will tell you it happened to them.
Good point, although I don't think it's something to be ashamed of like accidentally pulling a trigger.

The Kimber is a year old, ~1500 rounds through it, so it shouldn't need any replacements yet.
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Old February 15, 2010, 06:40 PM   #4
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Nope. Never heard of a 1911 going slam fire. Possible, I suppose, but not likely. Mine don't even dent primers.
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Old February 15, 2010, 06:46 PM   #5
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Replace the firing pin spring asap

You have an accident waiting to happen, now if your pointing the gun in a safe direction when your dropping the slide like all the pro's try to do, then all you will have to explain is the loud unexpected noise !

I had a similar situation, on one of my customer 1911's in for some popular mods, I dropped the slide for the first function test I have a habit of doing to
an unknown gun, checked the grip safety, then thumb, and disconnect, then I pulled the slide back and locked it, and about fell down, the firing pin was sticking through the breech face about 1/4 inch and stuck there, if I had a full mag onboard and had did the typical load, I'd of had a machine gun boomer in my hand, not fun, it turned out the firing pin was way out of spec, didn't have the correct taper and possibly too long to boot, wow, I put in a new stock part and spring and never had the problem again. who knows how many times this customer had chambered a round maintained his luck.

The gun in question was a top popular brand from the eighties.

Duane/ USN/Ret
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Old February 15, 2010, 06:57 PM   #6
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now if your pointing the gun in a safe direction when your dropping the slide like all the pro's try to do
I'd say more like "all the people with common sense always do".

Hasn't happened to me but my SA Mil-Spec is still fairly new. SA uses a pretty heavy spring and a titanium pin to avoid this happening.
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Old February 15, 2010, 07:07 PM   #7
jag.a.mohan
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Right, so it's safe to say that the manufacturers try to prevent these types of things from happening. For example, titanium pins, pin interlocks, etc. Still, "stuff" happens like FM from time to time. I figure this forum is the best way to find that one person this has happened to.

As it turns out, another II-series owner has a nearly identical thread on another forum:

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?p=6244668

Without getting all slanderous on Kimber, I wonder if this is more than coincidence.
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Old February 15, 2010, 07:16 PM   #8
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I've owned and fired 1911's for 40 yrs ...and I've never seen it happen..

I just finished a 2 day intensive skills course / for defensive handguns ...and there were only 3 of us out of 16 shooters / using 1911's ... 2 Wilson Combat, 1 Kimber .... Personally, I had no issues ....and the other 2 guys had few, if any, issues ... There were a lot of problems with XD's, a few of the Glocks had broken parts, etc .... maybe some were operator errors, not sure ....

Have your gun checked by a competent gunsmith ...
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Old February 15, 2010, 08:06 PM   #9
jag.a.mohan
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Have your gun checked by a competent gunsmith ...
Might have to, as I'm turning up more issues with the lower-end II-series. Here's a scary one:

http://forums.1911forum.com/showpost...1&postcount=34
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Old February 15, 2010, 08:49 PM   #10
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HMMM,cant imagine an unintentional full auto 1911, clean up on isle 3
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Old February 15, 2010, 09:16 PM   #11
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I've been ejecting previously-chambered rounds every weekend for many years, and have never seen a dimpled primer. One of my guns is a Series 80 Colt, and the S80 system would prevent the firing pin from moving enough to contact the primer when chambering a round. The Kimber firing pin block won't do that, since it's deactivated any time the gun is being held in the hand. Replacing the firing pin spring should fix it.
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Old February 15, 2010, 10:30 PM   #12
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Hasn't happened to me.
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Old February 15, 2010, 10:35 PM   #13
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Not a slam fire but I did have a Kimber go full auto after a bad trigger job. The only slam fire I have had was an AK shooting Wolf ammo. I can't imagine a 1911 having a slam fire. Even if the firing pin spring was absent or very weak I don't think it would fire. The only way I could see it happening is with a high primer.
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Old February 15, 2010, 10:45 PM   #14
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Never had it happen with a 1911, but had a High Standard Model B (internal hammer), that had a broken firing pin. If I put a round in the chamber, and held the slide over the top of the rounds in the mag., (so it would ride over the rounds in the chamber), and let it go, it would "machine gun" about five rounds before stopping. It was a lot of fun to do while waiting for a replacement firing pin to arrive. (I was out in the sand dunes alone so no one need jump on me for unsafe firing at a range.)
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Old February 15, 2010, 11:58 PM   #15
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My baby desert eagle leaves a dent from the firing pin in the primer if I chamber a round and then decock it. I didnt like it when I noticed it but Ive had no problems with it.

As far as a 1911, never seen that happen before.
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Old February 16, 2010, 01:42 AM   #16
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Take a look at the spring

The firing pin spring should be longer than the firing pin. In other words, when installed on the pin, the spring should stick out past the end of the pin. If it doesn't, replace it at once, before any more ammo gets chambered!!!

I have seen an apparent slamfire once. Gun was a Colt Govt Model, the ammo was Super Vel, and the year was 1973. It was my Dad's gun, in his hands, and I'm pretty confident he did not pull the trigge. I have that gun now, it still has the same springs, and has always worked perfectly, before, and since that single incident.

Best guess we could come up with was a high primer. Super Vel, at that time was a new company, and its quite possible that was a bad round.

If your gun is dimpling the primer of a chambered round, the first thing is to check and probably replace the firing pin spring. Also make sure the tunnel is clean, a bit of debris in the firing pin tunnel might have caused the pin to stick, protruding enough to dimple the primer. But the most likely cause is a worn/weak spring. Also make sure you get the spring on the pin the right way. One end of the spring is slightly smaller, so it grips the pin. A twisting motion is needed to get the spring seated. If it just slips on, and fall off when you point it down, its not on the right way.
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Old February 16, 2010, 01:47 AM   #17
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lame llama...

i had a 1972 llama .45 that used to do that or so i think it did... but i definitively got rid of it...
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Old February 16, 2010, 06:40 AM   #18
jag.a.mohan
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Thanks for all the replies.

I removed the pin, and the spring seems to be in factory condition, with almost zero fouling inside the tunnel. The spring was installed correctly (grips the pin at the rear base) and extends past the front of the pin a full centimeter. Without measuring the wear on the spring with a scale, everything appears to be in excellent condition.

Well... springs are cheap. I'll get a replacement and see how many dents I can produce at the range.
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Old February 16, 2010, 08:54 AM   #19
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I won't flame (I think most 1911 owners would agree that there are drawbacks to the 100-year-old design), but understanding that modern revisions have mitigated most of the risks, I would hate to see this thread turn into the classic 1911 debate. The 1911 camp will be around forever, so I'd like to gather as much first-hand experience of these occurrences if possible. Hope that keeps this thread on track, but thanks for the insight.
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Old February 16, 2010, 02:34 PM   #20
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Nope. Never heard of a 1911 going slam fire.
I'm in the same boat. Never heard of a 1911 doing it. My SKS on the other hand, that was scary. If my 1911 ever did it, I'd need new shorts.
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Old February 16, 2010, 02:52 PM   #21
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I have never seen a 1911 slamfire, and it seems to me the closing distance is too short to build up enough momentum in the firing pin to do so. A pistol dropping on the muzzle from a height is a different story but that is not really a "slam fire" which is defined as firing due to the bolt/slide closing after firing.

One of the major reasons today for a 1911 firing when dropped on the muzzle is the prevalence of full length recoil spring guides. On the original gun, the muzzle will move back, almost always absorbing enough energy to prevent firing; but with a full length guide, the guide prevents sllide movement and the energy is not absorbed so there is more likelihood of the firing pin moving forward.

I fail to see how a stuck forward firing pin could slam fire. It would jam the gun by preventing the next round from feeding, but to slam fire would require chambering the round manually, then releasing the slide, all without noticing the stuck firing pin.

In my experience, what is described as a slam fire is more often than not caused by the hammer falling and for some reason not being caught by the half cock or safety shelf. In one case I know of, a "gunsmith" was so frustrated by his knife like sear edges being damaged by the half cock notch, that he ground it off. Needless to say, one of his masterpieces went full auto, and he was "persuaded" to take up another line of work.

Jim
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Old February 16, 2010, 02:57 PM   #22
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slam fire

Never happened to me nor have I ever heard of it happening.
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Old February 16, 2010, 04:35 PM   #23
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I have never heard of it. In theory I guess it would be possible if the firing pin spring was weak however even then I don't think it would have enough force behind it, to suffiently strick the primer. I have heard of an SKS doing it but it requires the firing pin to be stuck in the firing position and I can tell you that the 1911 will lock up in this condition. ( personl experience).

I have had a firing pin on one of my 1911's get struck in the forward firing position and the next round gets hung up on the firing pin and the ejector causing a 3 point jam.
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Old February 19, 2010, 08:38 PM   #24
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What?

How can a 1911 slam fire? I've never heard of such a thing
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Old February 20, 2010, 08:33 AM   #25
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I would look into a wolf spring kit from Midway or Brownell's, if the firing pin spring is weak perhaps the recoil spring isn't what it should be either.
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