View Full Version : Chambering a round--proper/improper way?

January 27, 2000, 04:52 PM
Recently I had an action job done on my HiPower and when I picked it up, I locked back the slide and was about to release it (the magazine was empty) when the gunsmith told me to not let the slide slam on an empty magazine, but to slow the slide's closing by "riding" it with my free hand. I normally do this, so it didn't take me by surprise.

What did take me by surprise is his next recommendation. When dropping the slide on a charged magazine, he says I should keep the trigger DEPRESSED. (I don't think my finger knows how to get in the trigger guard without my eyes focused on a target.) The gunsmith says to not do this will cause excess wear on the sear which, over time, will produce a malfunction. He told me that the sear takes a pounding when the slide is dropped, but by keeping the trigger depressed, the sear does not get the pounding and escapes the wear.

This gunsmith enjoys a good reputation and has many years in the business, so I do pay attention to his advice.

Any thoughts or comments?


"Suppose you are an idiot. And suppose you are a member of congress.
But I repeat myself."
-- Mark Twain

January 27, 2000, 05:06 PM
Boy, you've opened a can of worms now......

I use the method your gunsmith told you. That's the way I was taught by a fairly famous 1911 shooter. In essence, your are mimicking the same action that occurs when you fire the gun, so why not now? This way, the hammer cannot follow. Personally, I would much rather RO someone that does this, especially on the light trigger pulls that are the norm now.

That's my story and I'm sticking to it.


James K
January 27, 2000, 06:07 PM
That is an old saw for dealing with a too-light pull on the M1911/A1 type. A BHP doesn't work that way, and the trigger inertia cannot cause the gun to fall off full cock. If the gun comes off full cock when the slide is let slam forward, the sear or hammer is defective, period.

As for the idea that the hammer will come down too hard on the sear, I would not want to take my gun to a smith who fed me that. What does he think happens when the gun is fired? The slide bounces off the frame and moves forward much faster and harder than it ever does under spring tension alone.

It never ceases to amaze me how many people claim to be gunsmiths and work on other people's guns and have not the foggiest idea how guns work.


January 27, 2000, 06:21 PM
<<If the gun comes off full cock when the slide is let slam forward, the sear or hammer is defective, period>>

I was talking 1911's, sorry. If you mean with the trigger held back, I agree that SOMETHING is wrong, but it could be something other than defective parts. If you mean with the trigger released, I would have to disagree with that. The hammer following to half cock with the trigger depressed can be something as simple as sear spring tension.

Again, keeping your finger on the trigger while loading is mimicking the firing action, so why wouldn't you do it? You are actually doing something that the gun was not designed to do by NOT depressing it, aren't you? The disconnector keeps everything apart. Can you get your finger off the trigger before the gun cycles?

<<It never ceases to amaze me how many people claim to be gunsmiths and work on other people's guns and have not the foggiest idea how guns work. >>

You took the words right out of my mouth.


January 27, 2000, 07:51 PM
NEVER have your finger any where near the trigger when you cock ANY gun. This is what I have practiced since my first shot 35 years ago. I have two 1911s and never put my finger in the guard until I am ready to shoot (20,000 rounds later). If it screws up the sear eventually, replace it. Don't take a chance on shooting yourself or others.

Paul B.
January 29, 2000, 03:34 PM
If it mimics the same action as firing ti, why not do it? Because, and I have seen it happen, if your finger relaxes it's tension on the trigger, even slightly, the gun will fire.
There is a better way, which I will try to explain.
With the slide locked back, place the thumb of your right hand on the hammer, so as to hold it back. Release the slide, while holding the hammer, thus preventing it from following. it's a bit awkward at first, but you get used to it.
It's also a heck of a lot safer.
Paul B.

James K
January 29, 2000, 07:30 PM
Here's what happens when the slide is released to chamber the first round or on an empty chamber.

When the slide goes forward, it is stopped abruptly by the barrel skirt striking the slide stop. In the 1911 design, the trigger is free floating. When the barrel impacts the slide stop, it drives the entire frame forward. The free-floating trigger tends to stay where it is, so it moves back relative to the frame. If the sear/hammer engagement is too light or the sear spring is weak, the trigger actually "pulls itself" and releases the sear. Usually, the sear will reset before the hammer reaches half cock. If it doesn't (weak spring or defective sear/hammer), the gun fires.

That is why light triggers (plastic or aluminum) are often used with worked over sears and sear notches.

There are various solutions, including light triggers, holding the trigger, and holding the hammer. But a properly set up pistol with the minimum allowable match pull should be OK without special handling.

The idea that the slide going forward when chambering the first round drops the hammer on the sear harder than when the gun is fired is absurd.

One fellow claimed his gunsmith told him the sear didn't touch the hammer until the trigger was released to fire the next round. When he asked the gunsmith what held the hammer cocked, the "smith" called him a "wise a--" and told him to go to h---.