View Full Version : 1911: Lowering Hammer Damage Sear?

Gregory Gauvin
November 3, 2009, 02:02 PM
The manual for my new Kimber says that lowering the hammer slowly with your thumb can damage/mar the sear tip. It is recommended that you always dry fire the weapon to lower the hammer.

I have not heard of this before. Is it true that sear damage can occur by slowly lowering the hammer?

I can only assume that you can damage the sear tip if you consistently clip the tip of the sear against the half cock notch (begin to lower the hammer with out the trigger fully depressed), or try and pull the trigger while on half cock.

I slowly thumb lowered the hammer to the half cock notch to make sure it caught - now I'm worried that I marred the sear. I can only assume that Kimber uses razor edged angles. Will doing this once cause damage or does it take several attempts before you risk messing up the sear?

After all, the half cock notch is there for a reason. Should your pistol fall to half cock due to some malfunction someday, will that one time catch ruin your sear (providing, you don't have a broken sear to begin with)?

November 3, 2009, 02:07 PM
A properly set-up 1911 will suffer no damage from lowering the hammer manually, so long as the trigger is held fully to the rear until the sear passes the half-cock notch.

November 3, 2009, 02:40 PM
The problem is if you screw up lowering the hammer, you can damage the sear. Holding the trigger to the rear while lowering the hammer ensures that the hammer notches clear the sear nose. If you fumble it, and drop the half-cock notch on the sear, you can diminish the quality of the fit of the hammer and sear. You aren't going to break the gun, but it's one of those things that you should avoid if you can. You never want to intentionally use the half-cock notch for anything. It's not a safety "position", it's a means of catching the hammer before it can fall and contribute to a negligent or accidental discharge. The half-cock position also negates the inertial firing pin "safety" and the protection that the grip safety provides for a fully cocked hammer. I have accidentally dropped the half-cock on the sear more than a few times over the years, an it serves to remind me that there's no reason to lower the hammer on a 1911; if it's loaded, apply the safety and if it's empty, pull the trigger.

November 3, 2009, 02:46 PM
lowering the hammer slowly with your thumb can damage/mar the sear tip.

That's a first for me. I just checked it, and it does say that. Probably to keep from damaging MIM parts. :D

Gregory Gauvin
November 4, 2009, 10:24 PM
Those dang MIM parts, right? I wonder if lowering to the half cock that one time ruined my sear angle. With my luck, probably.

With this being said...wouldn't it be true that thumbing the hammer back without depressing the trigger would rub the sear against the hammer and wear it out?

So, if thumb cocking or decocking without fully depressing the trigger and letting the sear rub against the hammer will cause premature wear of the sear, how many times must this be done (providing you don't let it slam on the half cock notch) before you ruin your trigger job? Will it take only a few times? Or years?

So, are the spurs on the hammer just for looks?

November 4, 2009, 11:36 PM
Gregory, since that's the first time I've seen that I'm wondering if it is a response to complaints to Kimber.

I was joking about the MIM parts (Though we all know Kimbers have a lot of MIM compared to other brands) but maybe therein lies the reason? If the hammer in a Kimber is MIM, when most makers only use it for less demanding uses, that would explain it.
I'm not one of the guys who bash Kimber, I have one I like a lot, but I'll never buy another one since learning about the high % of MIM in them. Mine is a range gun so it doesn't bother me too much, if it was my defense gun I'd swap out the hammer and any other MIM parts. Hmm, it does sound like I'm bashing Kimber! :o