What's So Bad About External Extractors on 1911's?


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sigbear
January 12, 2010, 04:35 PM
Why is it some folks hate 1911's with the external extractor?

Are guns with the internal extractors typically more reliable or less?

All of my pistols have external extractos with the exception of the Sig. p220 that I traded for the S&W 1911.

I had problems with the internal extractor on my sig since new, which is why I wanted a 1911 with the external extractor. Don't know how reliable this 1911 will be longterm with the external, but so far after 400 rounds, it's already proven (to me) to be more reliable than the sig. I traded in.

Sigbear

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REAPER4206969
January 12, 2010, 04:55 PM
Nothing.

MattTheHat
January 12, 2010, 05:02 PM
I understand they function fine. IMHO, they just look strange on a 1911.


-Matt

transalpian
January 12, 2010, 05:06 PM
Mostly a combination of "not what JMB wanted" and a bad experience with a run of Kimber 1911 with an external extractor. Seems like it was an isolated incident with Kimber, but a bad taste remains for some. YMMV

silversport
January 12, 2010, 05:08 PM
generally speaking there is nothing wrong with external extractors...some are better at it than others (SiG and Smith good...Kimber, not so much...)

...but you will get guff from those who say that external extractor this makes your pistol NOT a 1911 'cuz JMB didn't design it that way...course they usually don't have a problem with Commanders or Officer's or front serrations, or taller sights, or different sights, or elongated hammers, or ring hammers, or long triggers, or flat triggers, or checkered anywhere, or arched mainspring housings, or high cut frames, or aluminum frames, or ambi thumb safeties or upswept grip safeties or magwell extensions, or extended round magazines, or... ;)

Bill

Jim Watson
January 12, 2010, 05:11 PM
Why is it "guff"? A Commander isn't a 1911.
Per the other thread, people get real particular when it comes to clips versus magazines but are slack on other terminology.

silversport
January 12, 2010, 05:12 PM
by the way...I like my SiGARMS GSR Revolution STX as much as I like my Kimber Custom II, Colt XSE, Colt vintage Super .38ACP or Springfield Mil Spec...good luck with your choice!...

Bill

silversport
January 12, 2010, 05:13 PM
Why is it "guff"? A Commander isn't a 1911.
Per the other thread, people get real particular when it comes to clips versus magazines but are slack on other terminology.
...that's my point...they only get real particular when they want to be real particular, don't they???...:D
Bill

1911Tuner
January 12, 2010, 05:15 PM
Mostly a combination of "not what JMB wanted"

Nope. Actually, JMB would have probably used an external if he'd had his way. Browning didn't necessarily design what he wanted. He designed what he was asked for. If the government had asked for engraved baby kangaroos on the slide...that's what the gun would have had, and instead of "Old Slabsides" we'd be calling the gun "Old Joey."

The advantage of the internal is that it serves as its own spring, and eliminates two very small, easily lost parts. One of the U.S. Army's criteria was that the pistol be easily serviced in the field without an armorer and without the need for special tools. The internal extractor helped to achieve that.

An extractor has a pretty simple job. It's not really rocket science. A properly designed external is just as good as a properly designed internal. It's just not as easily serviced, and it's not adjustable for tension. Whatever the coil spring provides is pretty much what you get.

EddieNFL
January 12, 2010, 05:18 PM
I understand they function fine.

Unless it's in a Kimber. Other companies seem to make 'em work, though. I see it as a solution to a non-existing problem.

I've read the machine work to the slide is easier for the external, but somehow makers managed for 90? years. Why replace one part with four?

silversport
January 12, 2010, 05:20 PM
Nope. Actually, JMB would have probably used an external if he'd had his way. Browning didn't necessarily design what he wanted. He designed what he was asked for. If the government had asked for engraved baby kangaroos on the slide...that's what the gun would have had.

The advantage of the internal is that it serves as its own spring, and eliminates two very small, easily lost parts. One of the U.S. Army's criteria was that the pistol be easily serviced in the field without an armorer and without the need for special tools. The internal extractor provided for that.

A properly designed external is just as good as a properly designed internal. An extractor has a pretty simple job. It's not really rocket science. It's just not as easily serviced, and it's not adjustable for tension. Whatever the coil spring provides is pretty much what you get.
EXACTLY...which is why I have a problem with those who think they know what JMB wanted...and why I added what I did...mine works fine...

Bill

JDGray
January 12, 2010, 05:21 PM
Nothing, so long as its on a Smith;)

Speaking on terminology, I once said "Buffer tube" on Arfcom, and was beat up pretty bad, I now call them reciever extensions:D

REAPER4206969
January 12, 2010, 05:24 PM
http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t8/REAPER1911-A1/M1909.jpg

silversport
January 12, 2010, 05:25 PM
stop...it burns...it burnssssss......:D
Bill

raz-0
January 12, 2010, 05:37 PM
Well, if your external extractor is the short type (like kimber and I could have sworn one other mfg), it likely doesn't work, and it is questionable if the manufacturer can even fix it if it doesn't.

If it is the long style (like dan wesson, sig, S&W), is should work fine, and if not they seem to get it right in one trip back through the warranty process.

I think the general sense that 1911s go "eww it's got cooties" when they see one is a case of JMB can do no wrong combined with not wanting to deal with proprietary parts on a platform they have gotten used to buying spares from an infinite number of 3rd party vendors.

EddieNFL
January 12, 2010, 05:42 PM
I think the general sense that 1911s go "eww it's got cooties" when they see one is a case of JMB can do no wrong combined with not wanting to deal with proprietary parts on a platform they have gotten used to buying spares from an infinite number of 3rd party vendors.

That's a good point about parts availability. Doubtful any aftermarket of custom maker would ever provide a non-MIM version. But, I don't think we need worry about a shortage of internal extractors.

Jim Watson
January 12, 2010, 05:45 PM
I guess Mr Browning had kind of gotten into the "internal habit" when he laid out the High Power, then. Took the bean counters years to replace the complex internal extractor and the little oval sideplate that he and Msr Saive used with an external hook and a roll pin.

And consider the Woodsman.


The Kimber extractor, working along the lines of a Walther or Glock, was a flop.

S&W seems to be selling ok but there is one Internet Expert - Big Name Low Production Gunsmith who says their standard design is flawed.
Hmm.
I wonder why the S&W PC uses a different external than the production line does.


The Wilson KZ had an external extractor, but their new plastic gun does not.
Hmm.

If I recall, the Remington Model 51 .380 had a self-sprung one piece extractor.
But the .32 had a NO-spring extractor, it was cammed by the separate breechblock.

Full Metal Jacket
January 12, 2010, 06:32 PM
if you do it right, like s&w, then an external extractor is just fine.

however, if you do it like kimber, and then have a subsequent slide swap out for free because of external extractor issues, then it's a prob.

jigglyjames29
January 12, 2010, 07:13 PM
Nope. Actually, JMB would have probably used an external if he'd had his way. Browning didn't necessarily design what he wanted. He designed what he was asked for. If the government had asked for engraved baby kangaroos on the slide...that's what the gun would have had, and instead of "Old Slabsides" we'd be calling the gun "Old Joey."

sigh*
if only.

NinjaFeint
January 12, 2010, 07:21 PM
Nothing. You can screw up an external or internal extractor or make either work like a champ.

As for on a 1911, it depends where your values lie. I personally don't care which type if the gun works, it could be either. I value reliability and accuracy, not if it shares every part with JMB's original design. I could also care less if people say my gun is a 1911 styled gun not an actual 1911 due to parts. Being able to say I have a 1911 would not factor into my decision to buy a gun, whether I liked it or not would.

To recap, I don't see an advantage for either way. Just needs to work.

Walkalong
January 12, 2010, 07:33 PM
S&W does it so they work. Kimber could not figure it out, but the internal has worked forever anyway.

pbratton
January 12, 2010, 08:29 PM
well, my Kimber, with exteral extractor, has been working flawlessly now for over ten years...

dondavis3
January 12, 2010, 08:40 PM
I own several guns with those extraxtors - they work fine for me.

:)

The Lone Haranguer
January 12, 2010, 08:47 PM
With regard to the S&W 1911's external extractor, it is (or appears to be) very little different in design than the ones used on their other auto pistols. How long have they been making those now? Its only disadvantage is that it cannot be repaired easily "in the field."

I had a SIG 1911 with an external extractor. The hook broke off in less than 200 rounds. I blame this on material/workmanship and not the design.

Toonces
January 13, 2010, 11:38 AM
That's a good point about parts availability. Doubtful any aftermarket of custom maker would ever provide a non-MIM version. But, I don't think we need worry about a shortage of internal extractors.

MIM is for high volume (usually OEM) work. Aftermarket "custom" would likely be bar stock, forced by MIM tooling cost and/or customer demand. While you can get a MIM manufacturer to make small, 1000 piece production runs, it gets really pricey and the cost benefit is not there.

By the way, MIM is great if used appropriately. I think a lot of the public opposition to MIM is the fact that there were no price reductions for the buyer to go with the more cost effective parts.

Full Metal Jacket
January 13, 2010, 11:49 AM
to all those with kimbers that have the old external extractor and have never had a prob: glad to hear of it. however, if i were you i would have taken advantage of kimber's free slide swap for an internal one.

EddieNFL
January 13, 2010, 01:12 PM
FMJ, IIRC Kimber would only swap slides if THEY encountered a problem.

Full Metal Jacket
January 13, 2010, 01:58 PM
^^^not so. kimber certainly didn't test fire every slide people turned in until it malfunctioned.

there are members on 1911forum that turned theirs in for the swap even though they had no issues (and mentioned this to kimber as well).

EddieNFL
January 13, 2010, 02:55 PM
I recall others posting Kimber refused unless there was a problem.

Based on my experiences with Kimber, it probably depends on who answers the phone.

Full Metal Jacket
January 14, 2010, 07:45 PM
^^^yep. that seems to be the consensus on kimber's cust serv.

Jim K
January 14, 2010, 07:56 PM
The real reason JMB used an internal extractor on the 1911 was ammunition. The Army insisted on using Frankford Arsenal ammo in testing, and FA had not yet gotten the hang of case length tolerances, so some cases were short. Since the gun had to use that ammo, Browning used an internal extractor that could reach the extractor groove, a difficult trick with an external extractor. Plus, the external extractors used on his other guns (the M1903 hammerless being an example), required a work bench to remove and the Army wanted a pistol that could be stripped in the field with minimal tools.

(The fact that the internal extractor could be retained by the firing pin stop was a plus, reducing parts and simplifying the pistol.)

Jim

Full Metal Jacket
January 14, 2010, 08:13 PM
i read JMB only changed the extractor to an internal one, because the external kept breaking during the army's pistol trial.

REAPER4206969
January 14, 2010, 09:27 PM
Jim Keenan is correct.

phrogpilot
January 15, 2010, 04:20 PM
I know nothing about internal/external extractors. For 9 years I have owned a S&W 1911 with an external extractor. I shoot 95% reloads, and have put many many thousands of rounds through the gun. Not one single malfunction, ever. Most reliable firearm I've ever owned. How much, if anything, the external extractor has to do with this reliability I honestly don't know.

Eightball
January 15, 2010, 08:13 PM
I know nothing about internal/external extractors. For 9 years I have owned a S&W 1911 with an external extractor. I shoot 95% reloads, and have put many many thousands of rounds through the gun. Not one single malfunction, ever. Most reliable firearm I've ever owned. How much, if anything, the external extractor has to do with this reliability I honestly don't know.S&W 1911s use the same extractor design they've put on all their autoloaders ever--from the 39 through the M&P series. They know what they're doing with 'em, and it was simpler for them.

SIG, Kimber, and a few other companies had issues with their external extractor, as they seem to have used it as a way to cut corners in production (cheapening their cost), and it seems to have showed. Granted, on my 5" Kimber, it was never a problem....but I wound up getting the slide replaced anyway, while they were still doing it.

Went from this:
http://img262.imageshack.us/img262/5571/img25751.jpg

to a decently-customized this:
http://img195.imageshack.us/img195/1189/img29111.jpg
http://img41.imageshack.us/img41/2323/img29082.jpg

(more details on the customization can be found here: http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=6115936&postcount=3 ).

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