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Old January 12, 2021, 05:28 PM   #1
dahermit
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External 1911 extractor.

Having recently watched 8 of the 9 (I own 1-8, the 9th is on its way via NetFlix) in the series of Tom Selleck's Jesse Stone character and his gun-handling. His character's gun being a Smith & Wesson SW1911 (Gunsite) - .45 ACP which incorporates an "external" extractor rather than the G.I. extractor with its internal tunnel, has pique my interest. All my 1911's have had the Browning designed internal extractors.

The S&W .45's "external" extractor, begs the question: Is an external extractor better, an improvement or is it just an ingenious solution to a non-existent problem. My first .45 ACP, a Colt Government Series 70 Mark IV, had the standard extractor and was a issue until my local gunsmith told me how to put more tension in it by bending. But, to be perfectly honest, in my misspent youth, I may have caused the problem by ignorantly dropping the slide on a round in the chamber (I did not know any better at the time). So, in my case, I cannot state that the gun came with too little extractor tension.

So to the point, how frequently are extractors found with too little tension? Is the S&W "external" extractor a better idea/improvement? What has your experience been?
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Old January 12, 2021, 05:45 PM   #2
Jim Watson
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The external extractor is an improvement for the manufacturer. Assuming the dimensions are right, it only requires assembly, no need and no capability for adjustment.

I presume the Army liked the internal extractor because it was one part instead of 3.

Mr Browning had been designing guns with external extractors for some years before the Army project came along.
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Old January 12, 2021, 05:47 PM   #3
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Like just about everything today, the external 1911 extractor is designed to cost less for the manufacturer, while, hopefully, providing at least the level of performance of the original design.
The advantage, if any, is that the external design requires no adjustment if it has been properly designed and executed. If the spring is creating too little tension, then a stiffer spring should be an easy fix (if S&W offers a selection of springs, and if not . . .).
The greatest disadvantage, in my mind, is the proprietary design, which applies to all external 1911 extractors; you can't just order a "1911" extractor.
I think Kimber was the first manufacturer to offer an external extractor, and a gunsmith said he had experience with six distinct versions, after which they dropped the external and went back to the original design.
SIG and S&W appear to be doing well with their designs.
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Old January 12, 2021, 05:54 PM   #4
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Hi dahermit,

Sig's external extractors have performed flawlessly for me; however, I do not own a Sig 1911.

My bet would be quality of handgun will determine flawless operation of extractor, internal or external.
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Old January 12, 2021, 07:27 PM   #5
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With the exception of my Colt "Gold Cup" 1911, all of my other centerfire pistols have external extractors, including the SIG 1911, 226 and 227 models; the CZ 85 and 75 models; all of my Smith & Wesson "Third Generation" models, the Smith & Wesson models 52 and 945; the HK USP 40 and the Beretta model 92. I've yet to have a problem with any of them (I've been lucky) and my opinion is, as regards to functioning properly, there's little if any difference in terms of where the extractors are located.
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Old January 13, 2021, 12:56 AM   #6
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I owned a Kimber with an external extractor and it never functioned correctly. They went back to an internal extractor. I have had a Sig 1911 with an external extractor and it works fine. As RickB noted, an external extractor is the industry standard and I like my 1911s that don’t need proprietary parts
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Old January 13, 2021, 07:50 AM   #7
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I've owned a S&W 1911 with the external extractor and have zero problems with it over probably the last 20 years. I would not hesitate to buy another with the same extractor.
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Old January 13, 2021, 09:42 AM   #8
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I have 1911s with both. The only thing I will say is that the one time I had to replace an external extractor, it was a "drop in, no fuss, no muss, no fit, no adjust" proposition. Of the internal extractors I have had to replace over the last 3 decades...at least half of them had to be adjusted and tweaked a bit.

Of course, one unit is not what I would call statistically significant...I could have got lucky...so I still "allow for the possibility" that I will have to do some sort of adjustment on the next external extractor I replace.

On the other hand...I fully expect to HAVE TO tweak any internal extractor I have to replace. In fact, any 1911 I shoot in competition, I already have an extractor and barrel bushing ready to go in a spare parts bag for that gun in case I have to replace one or the other during a match.

Now, if someone is itching to have an argument...bring up the full length guide rod in a 1911 argument.

Last edited by Frisco; January 13, 2021 at 10:10 AM.
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Old January 13, 2021, 09:49 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frisco View Post
I have 1911s with both. The only thing I will say is that the one time I had to replace an external extractor, it was a "drop in, no fuss, no muss, no fit, no adjust" proposition. Of the internal extractors I have had to replace over the last 3 decades...at least half of them had to be adjusted and tweaked a bit.

Of course, one unit is not what I would call statistically significant...I could have got lucky...so I still "allow for the possibility" that I will have to do some sort of adjustment on the next external extractor I replace.

On the other hand...I fully expect to HAVE TO tweak any internal extractor I have to replace. In fact, any 1911 I shoot in competition, I already have an extractor and bushing ready to go in a spare parts bag for that gun in case I have to replace it during a match.

Now, if someone is itching to have an argument...bring up the full length guide rod in a 1911 argument.
What internal extractor, bushing are you talking about? Do you mean the firing pin stop?
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Old January 13, 2021, 10:02 AM   #10
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Originally Posted by dahermit View Post
What internal extractor, bushing are you talking about? Do you mean the firing pin stop?
The barrel bushing. If you've ever launched a busted barrel bushing downrange in the middle of a string of fire, you'll be happy you have a spare fitted to that gun in the spare parts bag.
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Old January 13, 2021, 12:33 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Frisco View Post
The barrel bushing. If you've ever launched a busted barrel bushing downrange in the middle of a string of fire, you'll be happy you have a spare fitted to that gun in the spare parts bag.
I was confused...I assumed that the topic was limited to a discussion on the merits of extractors.
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Old January 13, 2021, 12:48 PM   #12
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^^^^^
Come on, you've been here long enough to know that sometimes threads wander a "little" off course!
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Old January 13, 2021, 02:28 PM   #13
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Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize that I wasn't allowed to identify other potential issues and remedies with parts that may or may not be fitted on a 1911.

I will in future consult with you before I post. Cool? Cool.
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Old January 13, 2021, 02:42 PM   #14
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The kewl guys guns don't have bushings, either.
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Old January 13, 2021, 03:17 PM   #15
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My bushings are loose . . . Are; how many bushings does your 1911 have?
Four. Grip screw bushings.
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Old January 13, 2021, 03:55 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frisco View Post
Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize that I wasn't allowed to identify other potential issues and remedies with parts that may or may not be fitted on a 1911.

I will in future consult with you before I post. Cool? Cool.
Calm yourself down...I was just confused when you jumped from extractor to bushing.
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Old January 13, 2021, 03:57 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by HighValleyRanch View Post
^^^^^
Come on, you've been here long enough to know that sometimes threads wander a "little" off course!
And I am likely the worst offender...I just though that there might be a bushing I did not know about.
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Old January 13, 2021, 07:17 PM   #18
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1911's have internal extractors.
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Old January 13, 2021, 07:34 PM   #19
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An advantage of the external pivoting 1911 extractor (powered by a spring under its tail), versus the internal extractor (which is itself a spring)? The internal extractor has to be adjusted to the correct tension, and that tension can be changed and thrown off (reduced) by something as simple as letting the slide run forward over the rim of a chambered round. Maybe not once, or twice, etc, but bending it outward by having it cam out and around a chambered round can "adjust" the tension the wrong way.

When S&W introduced the external extractor to their regular cataloged SW1911's (after the SW1911 line was shifted over to the regular factory from originally being a PC produced gun), they used the .40 extractor from their 3rd gen guns. It differed from their other 3rd gen extractors because of an added cut behind the hook.

Here's some new 3rd gen extractors. The wide pair on the left are for .45's; the pair in the middle are for .40's and the original SW1911; the 3 on the right are for 9's.


Here's a closer look at a 3rd gen .40/SW1911 .45 (left) and a 9 (right).


You can see the one of the left has a more rounded bevel on the bottom of the hook (left side, as in the pic), and it has an extra machined bevel cut behind the rear of the hook, which is lacking in the 9/.45 extractors. We were told that this extra rounding and bevel cut was to enhance feeding with the faster cycling .40 round.

Now, just to show how the engineers were continually revising things, here's a pic of 4 of the 3rd gen .40/SW1911. 45 extractors. If you look close, you can see that while all 4 of them have the small extra cut behind the hook (and behind where the case rim would be held), 1 of them lacks the rounded bottom edge behind the hook, as well as on the bottom of the edge of the actual hook. I'm guessing that this is an older 3rd gen .40 extractor I ordered many years ago, and the other 3 with the more rounded spots are newer revisions.



When I got the armorer manual for the standard SW1911's I called and ordered a factory SW1911 extractor Bar gauge. It was the same type of double-ended Go/No-Go gauge used to file/fit the extractor adjustment pads in the 3rd gen guns, but specifically made to check the dimensions of the extractor fit in the SW1911 slide, in case filing/fitting was needed.

The standard SW1911 extractor spring was the same Standard spring used in some of the later production 3rd gen guns, and there was also a Heavier than Standard spring available, if necessary. (just like were available for armorers to adjust extractor tension of 3rd gen guns.) The extractor spring tension is checked with the same Wagner Force Dial gauge that S&W 3rd gen pistol armorers used, and the recommended tension range was listed at 4-7lbs at the moment of deflection (.010" movement, basically meaning when you can see/feel it first begin to move when pulling on the extractor hook with the gauge tool).

I was also told that the new manufacturing tolerances of the slides were quickly making the need for the extractor Bar gauge probably only useful for confirming proper fit. I was told the newer extractors were usually dropping into the newer slides and being within the proper spec. (This soon followed with the M&P pistols, BTW, as in subsequent M&P armorer recert classes we were told we no longer needed to buy extractor Bar gauges for the .40/.357 guns, and they never even got around to making them for armorers for the 9/.45 M&P's, as they weren't necessary.)

Now, to my knowledge they discontinued the factory armorer classes for the SW1911 because the 1911 wasn't a mainstream LE/Gov weapon, and I don't think they ever got around to even offering one for the Enhanced models, either. The E-series got the taller .45 extractors formerly used in the other PC .45's (like the 945's), which necessitated a different (wider and lower) machining cut for the extractor recess on the slide, and I was told they had different extractor pins. I never got around to ordering a SW1911E model, so I didn't keep up on them.

Bottom line, for me? I learned how to adjust the internal extractor for Colts in my Colt armorer class, and I own 4 Colts at the moment, so I can keep them adjusted as necessary. I only have the single SW1911 (a SW1911SC 5"), and if I ever need to replace the extractor, I have the parts and the tools (or, I could call S&W and have it repaired under warranty, with free shipping ).

I tend to think that when done right, the external pivoting extractor is a robust and reliable design. Might even be less susceptible to owner/user induced problems that may cause the internal "spring" extractor to go out of adjustment.

Just my thoughts.
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Old January 14, 2021, 11:01 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Frisco
Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize that I wasn't allowed to identify other potential issues and remedies with parts that may or may not be fitted on a 1911.

I will in future consult with you before I post. Cool? Cool.
Please check your sarcasm at the door. The topic of this thread is "External 1911 extractors." That's not much of an invitation to discuss anything other than 1911 extractors.
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Old January 14, 2021, 11:08 AM   #21
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Originally Posted by dahermit
.I just though that there might be a bushing I did not know about.
There could be. There are aftermarket sleeves (which could be considered "bushings") to allow standard 1911 [internal] extractors to be used in Para-Ordnance and ParaUSA pistols that originally had the Para Power Xtractor.
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Old January 14, 2021, 07:14 PM   #22
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My el cheapo 1911 government model "clone" has had maybe 40 rounds through it. Am pretty sure the brass landed in 39 different places.

My Glock 19 pretty much puts them all in the same pile. The 1911? They go everywhere.

I assume I may need to tune the internal extractor. Gun is pretty new, overall I am pleased for the money spent.
Mine was made in Turkey by Tisas. Again not really broken in yet. Anyone have a good source for info/instructions.

TIA
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Old January 14, 2021, 08:15 PM   #23
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Originally Posted by Ricklin View Post
My el cheapo 1911 government model "clone" has had maybe 40 rounds through it. Am pretty sure the brass landed in 39 different places.

My Glock 19 pretty much puts them all in the same pile. The 1911? They go everywhere.

I assume I may need to tune the internal extractor. Gun is pretty new, overall I am pleased for the money spent.
Mine was made in Turkey by Tisas. Again not really broken in yet. Anyone have a good source for info/instructions.

TIA
It is likely that you will have to tune both the ejector and the extractor.
https://m1911.org/technic2.htm
See post #7 here:
https://www.1911forum.com/threads/tu...e-help.309603/
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Old January 15, 2021, 05:34 AM   #24
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Dehermit: I've owned a half dozen or more 1911's with the original internal extractor and have had to tweek or replace 3-4 of them. Breakage primarily. But have had zero problems with a Sig 1911 RCS fitted with an external extractor, nor with any of my other 4 Sig's from the DA/SA "P" series. I'd opine that it's a better design in that regard, at least in my examples. YMMv.

Great post, Fastbolt, I learned something today, after over 50 years of toting the venerable 1911 around.

I've got upper slides/barrel assemblies in 9mm & .38 Super for a Colt Combat Commander that work flawlessly with the original .45 ACP Ejector. Slide lock back sometimes doesn't happen, but they run very well, as good as with the original .45 upper. These same uppers work equally well with a Ruger CMD in .45. Any thoughts? Just curious....Rod
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Old January 15, 2021, 08:50 AM   #25
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I've got upper slides/barrel assemblies in 9mm & .38 Super for a Colt Combat Commander that work flawlessly with the original .45 ACP Ejector. Slide lock back sometimes doesn't happen, but they run very well, as good as with the original .45 upper. These same uppers work equally well with a Ruger CMD in .45. Any thoughts? Just curious....Rod
At one time I bought the parts (complete slide, barrel, magazines) to convert my Colt Combat Commander from .38 Super to 9mm. It functioned witout any problem. However, inasmuch as I already had a 9mm Browning H.P., I saw no reason for a .38 Super that could be converted to 9mm. So I sold those parts at a gun show.
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