Making Your EMP 9mm Run Right


November 10, 2006, 05:46 AM
Most of us who have bought the new Springfield EMP love the darn things, but some of us have had feeding issues, most notably with various brands of hollow points.

I speculated from the get-go that it was a magazine issue and not a problem with the pistol itself. I note that at least one person reported that they sent their EMP back to Springfield where it was "worked" on quite a bit, but it still had feeding problems when he got it back. That reinforces my theory that it's the magazines that are the problem, not the pistol.

So for those who frustrated themselves trying to "break in" their EMP trying to get them to shoot hollow points reliably, I offer some results of a bit of head scratching and experimentation.
Note that AT THIS POINT IN TIME, I haven't had a chance to go shooting with my "fixes", but I could immediately tell that something started working a whole lot better from what I had in the beginning, so what I've written below might be worth thinking about by the rest of you EMP owners with feeding issues.
The following two posts after this one are the cut & paste posts that I made in another forum, but THR is a much larger forum and I felt that this should be posted here.

Disclaimer: I am not a gunsmith and do not play one on TV. What I describe seems to have worked for me, but make your own modifications at your own risk.

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November 10, 2006, 05:48 AM
Here's the first post where I'm speculating about what the problem is:

Alright guys, I love this damn EMP too much to give up on it just yet, so let me give you this update and maybe someone else can try this sooner than me because I won't be able to go shooting for a week or so.

Here's the deal:
You know my theory as I've stated elsewhere so let's start with that (in that the magazine is the problem, not the pistol itself). However, I got to looking closer at the bullets themselves (Gold Dot) and calipered the dimensions at the case just in front of the rim and then the case at the front (at the mouth). I got a dimensional difference of exactly .012 (12 thousandths) with the rear of the case being fatter by that much.

Ok, still staying with my theory.... I multiply that number by around 8 or 9 (number of rounds) and end up with about .100 (100 thousandths), or, about an 1/8" inch which is exactly the gap I see between the top loaded round and the one underneath.

Continuing on... this would indicate an ammo "problem" which could explain why some brands of hollow points seem to work better than some other brands of hollow points. But screw that, I like Gold Dots so I want Gold Dots to work.

Fast forward... I called a CCI/Speer rep this morning and asked about the .012 difference in case measurements that I got so he looked it up in his design spec manual and came up with EXACTLY what I did. In other words, Gold Dots differ by exactly .012 between the two places that I measured, and that is exactly what they are designed to be. There's a dead end for ya'.
So I continued the conversation and the rep came up with a recommendation that made some sense, but when I thought about it, and then I add what the rep said to what someone said a couple of posts earlier, I "think" I may have a solution to the problem. I'm glad I called CCI/Speer because even though he offered only a "theory" himself, he got me to thinking about the problem and looking a little closer at the mag itself. Here's what I came up with...

I think it (may be) a two-part solution and I'll explain it this way:
The CCI/Speer rep told me that I should try widening the feed lips of the mag at the front (only) so that the top round would sit higher (at the front only) at the beginning of the feed cycle and therefore (theoretically) would hit the feed ramp at a higher position. The idea is that the round would still drop down but would hit the feed ramp at a higher position because the front of the round is starting at a higher position.
Ummm, OK, I'll buy that (I'll believe anything at this point), and it's certainly worth trying, but I sat here and looked at the mag to see how that might work and also thought about what someone else said about the feed lips slowing down the round.
The idea is to use emery cloth to sand the inside edges of the feed lips because it looked like the round was being "slowed down".
But I saw something different, and that is that the feed lips didn't so much slow the round down, but slowed down the TOP of the round (by "dragging" the top of the rim) while the bottom of the round glides easily over the round underneath.
The significance of this is that I think that because the feed lips are dragging (hanging up) the top of the round but the bottom of the round is free, then the problem isn't that the round is being slowed down, but rather, the round is being PIVOTED DOWNWARD the moment it starts to get stripped from the mag.
Now that may seem counter intuitive if you think about it, but the slide is pushing ONLY at the top edge of the round so because the entire round is hung up for a millisecond, that results in the slide actually helping to tilt the round downward. If the feed lips were slippery clean, then the whole cartridge would start moving forward immediately without the tendency to "dive" downward. (Think about the geometry for a moment, factoring in all the contact points WITH that space underneath between the fronts of the top and second round).
Keep in mind, I'm still working on "theory" here.

The gap I see between the top round and the second round may not be the actual problem, but is just exascerbating the real problem by ALLOWING the round to pivot downward while being stripped. The real problem may be the fact that the rough feed lips are CAUSING the round to pivot downward rather than the round being allowed to drop downward.

SO, I took a letter opener and ran it over the inside edges of the feed lips of the mag I have with me, and sure enough, the feed lips were noticeably rough and the letter opener "caught" several times as it hit what are probably stamp marks made (I would guess) during manufacturing of the mag.

Sorry for the long post, but I wanted to try to make this as clear as possible.

Now what I would like to recommend to any of you having feeding problems is to FIRST and ONLY (at this point), run some fine emory cloth over the inside of your feed lips until they are baby butt smooth. Then try shooting it and see what you get.
Note first if there is any improvement at all in feeding (or maybe... "problem solved"?), but if you still have a feeding problem, THEN try spreading the feed lips at the front (only) JUST A LITTLE (it doesn't take much to change the way the round situates itself) and try it again.

I'd like to think that one or both of these minor mods will finally get this hollow point feeding "frenzy" we're having with the EMP under control.

Good luck, and report back here with any results if anyone chooses to try any of this.

November 10, 2006, 05:53 AM
Here's where I did some experimenting and found out how I could improve the racking and loading of the chamber with Gold Dot hollow points:

Partial Verification of "Fix"

I can't go shooting for another week or so, but while sitting around I thought I'd try something.

First, I went ahead and smoothed out the inside edges of the lips on both EMP mags. Then, I calipered the width of the feed lips at the rear which was .353 on both mags (pretty good manufacturing consistency).

Then, I calipered the width of the feed lips at the front where the front most part of the lip makes contact with the cartridge, and both were exactly .364 (now I'm REALLY starting to get impressed with the manufacturing consistency).

Recall that I said in another post that when these mags were loaded with Gold Dots, I couldn't even get the top round to chamber AT ALL no matter if I racked and released the slide, nor if I locked the slide back and released it with the mag release. (I mention the second part because the girl at Springfield told me that I NEEDED to use the slide release function to chamber the first round rather than to let the racked slide go free with my hand).
But again, no matter how I did it, the Gold Dot would hang up on the ramp and not chamber at all. I couldn't get a Gold Dot to chamber even one time.

So, experiment #1 was to VERY CAREFULLY spread the front part of the feed lips to where they measured .370 wide (of course, the back measurement stays the same because the lips there are held firm by the solid back of the mag). That's .006 wider than the mag was originally (just six thousandths wider).
Now, I rack it by hand (not with mag release), and what do 'ya know, it chambered. Not perfectly mind you, but it DID chamber. As the slide was closing, I could feel a sort of "bump" for lack of a better word which was probably the edge of the bullet "wanting" to dig in to the ramp but not actually hanging up and stopping because it was evidently hitting the ramp at a slightly higher angle.
But wow, some immediate improvement, so I'm impressed to say the least.

So, experiment #2 was to spread the feed lips at the front another .004 to where they measure .374.
I load the mag full up again, rack it, and it slammed home like it knew where it was supposed to go with no "bump" or hesitation at all. Just a smooth, satisfying, "claatch" like it's supposed to look and sound.
Now, I'm giggling like a school girl.

Problem solved? I don't know. I can't say until I take these mags out and actually shoot them with the Gold Dots rather than just rack the pistol with the Gold Dots. But I'm encouraged by the obvious difference it made by both smoothing the feed lips AND spreading the front of the lips just .010 (only TEN thousandths of an inch more than original).
But that .010 difference, plus I think the smoothing of the feed lips, made the difference from not being able to rack even one round of Gold Dot ammo to where I could do so time and again with no problem.

I reloaded the mags to their full 9 rounds with Gold Dots quite a few more times, and not even once did the first (or any) round hang up like they did EVERY TIME before I modified the mags. I racked the EMP until my hand got sore but could not force a jamb like I got before I worked on the mags.

As a result of what I've done and the results I got, I also have a new "theory" as to why some of you start getting better results by your "breaking in" your EMPs, and that's because after 500 to a 1000 rounds, the front portion of your feed lips might be spreading just a little from use (remember, I only needed ten thousandths of an inch to make a noticeable change to where I went from not being able to chamber a Gold Dot at all, to repeatedly chambering those same Gold Dots with no problem). That same 500 to 1000 rounds would also have the effect of "polishing" the inside edges of the feed lips accomplishing the same thing I did by sanding them.
Another thought is that the lips of the mags may not actually spread with use, but the "sharp" corners at the inside front of the feed lips may wear down "just a little"; enough to allow the round to sit higher at the front (again, I only needed .010 to make a noticeable difference in feeding so it wouldn't take much wear on those corners to improve things).

As you might imagine, if I do have any additional feeding problems when I have a chance to get to the range, I'll probably try spreading the feed lips a couple (or so) more thousandths, but at this point in time, I'm really confident that I'm good to go with what I have.

I hope what I've done here will help EMP owners to fall in love all over again with their pistols if this helps to make the EMP the reliable pistol we all "knew" it could be.

November 10, 2006, 05:55 AM
So there you have it.

If you own an EMP and it's having some difficulty feeding the ammunition you want to use, you have a place to start to make it the perfect carry pistol you trusted it was when you bought it.

I ask that those of you who are having feeding issues, and you try the simple mods I described above, to please post in this thread and tell us all if you were able to improve the feeding of your EMP.


November 11, 2006, 12:30 PM
I got a chance this morning to sneak out to the range and test my theory.

To push my luck a little, I rounded up different kinds of hollow point ammo including my favorite carry load, Gold Dots.

To make it a short story, everything ran through the EMP perfectly with NO failures to feed at all from any of the ammo.

Something of note I should point out is that I intentionally tried to use hollow point ammo with different dimensions so that I could push the "limits" of the EMPs feeding capability.
The shortest hollow point I used was a Remington 115g, and the longest I used was a Winchester 147g. The difference in length between those two cartridges is almost an 1/8" of an inch so I figured that I "should" have had problems with one of those two loads.
But I didn't. I even mixed different cartridges in the same magazine and the pistol never missed a lick.

Since it's just me that has so far reported my observations about the magazines and these results of tweaking them, I can't promise that what I did with the magazines will fix each and every feeding problem if you're having them, but I definitely believe it will until I'm told otherwise.
What I CAN say is that it fixed MY feeding problems and brought my confidence in the EMP up to 100% for reliable carry, and based on how today went, I can extend that confidence to ANY ammo I choose to load it with.

I did not shoot any +P loads because frankly, I just don't think they're necessary, and I choose not to beat up a perfectly good pistol with them.
My particular favorite for a carry load in 9mm is Gold Dot 124g standard load and I spent almost $60 alone shooting that cartridge with no hiccups whatsoever.
To recall that I couldn't even chamber a Gold Dot in my EMP before I made the mods described above, and compare that to how today went perfectly shooting quite a bit of Gold Dots through it, is proof enough for me that pretty much anybody who is having trouble with feeding hollow point ammo through their EMPs should look no further than the magazine mods I did to mine.
Even though I personally choose not to use any +P ammo, I am confident that the issues are the same and tweaking the mags as I did would allow those who choose to use +P (of any brand) be able to do so.


November 27, 2006, 10:59 AM
Very interesting, and we appreciate your sharing.

I have yet to shoot any hollow-point ammo in my EMP, but know what to look for when I finally get around to doing so.

I am also curious to see if I have the same problems you have had. I have over 700 rounds through my gun already, and the "break in" may have naturally solved any problems I might otherwise have had.

Anyway, I will grab a handful of hollowpoints at some point and see how they perform.


February 18, 2007, 08:25 PM
I have to say. My EMP has fed everything I put in it and it has been a WIDE variety. I had early problems with a too tight chamber and 99% chambered rounds jamming up the gun, but they fed. Since coming back from Springfield and judicious light polishing it has run flawlessly and been very accurate. I was thinking of selling or trading it, but it is just so nice I am afraid I would regret it.

February 19, 2007, 11:40 AM
...resist the temptation to sell or will regret doing so....the gun is a keeper!


February 19, 2007, 11:53 AM
Has SA been unable to fix hollow point feeding issues with returned EMP's?

February 19, 2007, 01:20 PM
Has SA been unable to fix hollow point feeding issues with returned EMP's?

Mine eats them like candy. Always got them in the chamber even when the chamber was too tiny. (Before going back to Springfield) It has never failed to feed. I don't know what to say.

...resist the temptation to sell or will regret doing so....the gun is a keeper!


Every time I shoot it I feel like you are right. It is serious accurate and runs flawlessly with everything.:)

Fistful Of Steel
April 17, 2007, 07:13 AM
I printed this post and read it in bed last night (yeah, the honeymoon's over). I reached over on my nightstand and picked up an extra clip and gave it a good look. By design, the round being fed angles downward. It's no wonder the edge of a HP would snag on the steep ramp. I love this pistol but I would want to run 200 HP's thru it flawlessly before I'd carry it with all HP's. Current setup is a HP in the pipe and 9 hardballs after that.
Thanks for the post. I may dink around with the "clip mod" as I have 4 clips and can't afford to break them all in! :(

May 2, 2007, 12:35 PM
What did you use to widen the lips of the mag? What tool? And how did you keep it even between the two sides?

Walter Sobchak
May 8, 2009, 11:26 PM
CDH, Thank you so so much! I am a newbie and a former army mp. I recently bought a Kahr pm9 in 9mm and it refused to feed most round except the longest HPs and ball ammo cases. I was so fed up I went to the shop and bought the most expensive 9mm that I loved the look and feel of and felt the fit and finish were superb. I thought there was no way I'd have the same problem with a compant like Springfield when I purchased an EMP 9mm. I almost cried when (though I havent shot it yet) it failed to feed 90-99% of the HPs I tried. I read your post and attempted the fix you outlined. I didn't have a caliper or any fancy tools I used the butt end of a pliers to widen the end of the feed lips on the mags just a hair and I used the fine diamond file on my leatherman to smooth and hone down the end of the feed lips. It worked like a charm from the first round I chambered. Now ALL of the longer HP rounds feed flawlessly 100% of the time. I did still note that some of the shortest HPs such as corbon 115gr +p and hornady tap still catch maybe 25% of the time but this is a HUGE improvement. I am afraid if I attempt to widen or further hone down the feed lips the result will be rounds flipping up and torquing out of the mag or jamming it up especially with these short rounds so I plan to start by firing the first 200-500 rounds with ball ammo and than pump some hollows thorough. I have no problem sticking with longer ammo such as GD, corbon DPX, and winchester supreme so I plan to simply avoid shorter ammo. I registered on this site just so I could thank you becaus I love this pistol. PS anyone interested in buying a Kahr PM9? LOL

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