Ejected rounds hitting me in the face - need advice - new RIA 1911 9mm


May 27, 2010, 03:34 PM

I have a new RIA 1911 9mm, full size.

Very pleased. It is identical to the .45ACP RIA Tactical I also have. Fit is excellent. Line up and lock up of the slide, barrel and frame are excellent, nice and tight. Finish is fine for the price. Velvety smooth shooting. Superb accuracy.

I do have one issue....and am looking for some help: The rounds do not get ejected very far up and to the right. I have had many that come back and hit me in the face, neck and arms. This happens with 115 gr ball ammo, a couple different brands, including UMC (have not tried any other loads). Not sure why this is. I do not have this problem with the .45ACP ver of this pistol. Also, once or twice the slide failed to lock back on magazine empty (using new Mec Gar mags and the factory mag).

I wonder if the guide rod spring is too strong? Maybe a lighter spring??

Any ideas would be appreciated, thank you.


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May 27, 2010, 03:38 PM
Can't speak for the RIA but I've seen that in some FNPs when they are new. In those it's usually caused by low slide velocity due to a heavy recoil spring that takes a set eventually and some lower-powered rounds. The UMC is definitely one of the lower-powered factory 9mm loads, so that's likely a factor. Too thick a lube or leaving any preservative in the mechanism can also cause a sluggish slide.

May 27, 2010, 03:56 PM
Hi Guys

I tried to move my face out of the way :) .....just not quite fast enough.

I too think this is a simple issue of more cleaning needed (the gun came thick with cosmoline...or something similar) and a proper lube (using Break Free...it should be fine).

Would hate to have to stop using UMC. I am getting 250 round packs for $60! [used to be $50!!!!! at WM...but.... too hard to find to make it worth trying]

I emailed Ivan.

Any more advice would be appreciated.



May 27, 2010, 04:19 PM
I've read that's a common problem on 1911's, and quite often can be cured by a little filing on the ejector. Not the extractor that pulls the case out of the chamber, but the ejector that's mounted on the frame, the thing that "kicks" the case out of the gun. I don't know the details, but I think it has to do with filing a slightly different angle on the tip of the ejector so it kicks the case a different direction. Get some more details though, before you get the files out.

Send 1911Tuner a PM and ask his advice.

May 27, 2010, 05:24 PM
The extractor and the ejector need to be tuned to work together. If the extractor is out of spec, or too loose or too tight, filing on the ejector will not fix the problem.

May 27, 2010, 05:59 PM
Hold it sideways? You'll look cooler.

May 27, 2010, 06:06 PM
Right; that's the real reason the gang-bangers do it!

May 27, 2010, 06:42 PM
Are you locking your wrists? If not, the brass will be directed more toward your face than if your wrists are locked, particularly if the gun isn't kicking the brass very high to begin with.

I experimented with unlocked wrists/limp wristing, etc with a Glock 26 to see if I could induce a malfunction. I wasn't able to, but with unlocked wrists, the brass bounced off my forehead quite frequently.

May 27, 2010, 11:18 PM
Heck, my Walther P38 pops me in the forehead all the time. I think it means she loves me.

May 27, 2010, 11:55 PM
The extractor and the ejector need to be tuned to work together. If the extractor is out of spec, or too loose or too tight, filing on the ejector will not fix the problem.

There's your answer right there and if you don't want to send your gun off to RIA and wait till they send it back take it to a local Smith and it is a cheap fix that should only take them a few days no matter how busy they tell you they are to get done and have it back to you .

At most if a shop told me they couldn't get it back to me in 1 week or it would cost more than $50 I would go somewhere else .

May 28, 2010, 12:03 AM
Here are some threads discussing how to diagnose and fix the problem of a 1911 tossing brass in your face.

Brass in the face - possible fix? (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=83592&highlight=face)

Tuner: An update on brass in the face (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=85357&highlight=face)

1911Tuner is the Moderator of THR's Gunsmithing and Repairs forum.

May 28, 2010, 12:05 AM
You can learn how to tune both the extractor and the ejector here:

May 28, 2010, 08:14 AM
Great info guys. Thanks.

I will look into tuning it. I had heard about this before. Plenty of local shops where I live. Someone must be good. Will check.

One last question: is it more likely to be a ejector/extractor tuning problem than the recoil spring (since when I rack it by hand it seems to work fine)?

I could try a lighter spring for $7....but I do not want to have any issues with a round not going into battery.



May 28, 2010, 10:38 AM
I had my RIA hitting me with brass on top of my head.

I was limp wristing it.

Now I follow the advice of "control the weapon with your non-shooting hand" kind of thing.

May 28, 2010, 12:20 PM
I don't really mind 'em bouncing off my head that much, but when they go behind my glasses it gets exciting.

May 28, 2010, 12:25 PM
Get your real hot brass here! It is the ejector and/or the extractor issue.

May 28, 2010, 12:37 PM
Well...still have not heard from Ivan, but appreciate all the advice here.

Difficult for me to check the ejector/extractor. I will have to take it to a 'smith.

I field stripped and did a much more thorough cleaning. Then over lubed. Will try to be aware of limp wristing...but have not had this problem before, ever. Will have to see what happens next time at the range...will be about a week.

Rondog.....indeed ....that is exactly what happened.. Was not too bothered by this before, but when one came right back and made it just over the top of the glasses and lodged under my eye between the eye and the glasses.....I thought I would write you guys. OUCH. :banghead:

I still think it might be a spring issue...because...one of the first symptoms was the failure of the slide to lock on last round (with two types of mags). This was largely fixed by cleaning and lube...but did happen again.

Maybe the gun just needs to be broken in. It was new and I have only put 200 rounds through it.

What do you guys think? Any chance that it is a spring problem? Or needing more break in (this did not happen with the .45acp ver of this RIA gun)?



May 28, 2010, 12:41 PM
First try adjusting the extractor tension (try both looser and tighter...it probably needs to be tightened but try both and see what happens)

If that don't fix it...its the ejector.

Weak mag springs will cause it not to lock the slide back. I'm not gonna say they have no effect on ejection, but they don't have much effect on it. I don't think your ejection problem will be solved with springs.

May 28, 2010, 02:37 PM
Take lousy 1911 to LGS.



Trade for Glock -- go home happy.


May 28, 2010, 02:42 PM
Don't be too quick to say that a Glock is the solution, my dad's 17 has been throwing brass back into his face too, couple of times ago it threw one behind his glasses and burned his eyelid. Any fixes for a Glock?

May 28, 2010, 04:04 PM
Thanks. I do have a Glock 26. :) Also. Like it very much.

May 28, 2010, 10:31 PM
Also, check the pin that holds the ejector in the frame. I had a problem similar to yours, turned out that the ejector retaining pin was broken and allowing the ejector to tip up slightly and throw the rounds in my face.

Just field strip the gun, grab the ejector with your fingers. It should be solidly attached, with no movement at all.

May 28, 2010, 11:28 PM
My new RIA Tactical 9mm does not do this. Check the extractor, check the ejector. IF there is a problem Ivan at RIA will make it right.

Love mine!


May 28, 2010, 11:36 PM
Tweak the extractor by bending it inward a tad. Had this happen to a Government 1911 in 45 and that cured it 100%. Any and all ejection issues should start with the extractor first when dealing with 1911s.

May 29, 2010, 06:42 PM
Hi Everyone

Thank you for the great replies. I appreciate all the advice.

Field stripped the gun:

Ejector was firmly and squarely in place. Did not seem as if there was a problem there.

Extractor seemed ok. Fitting a shell in from underneath the slide, the shell slid in nicely and was held in place just fine. I put a small piece of wood in to wedge the extractor over a tiny bit and found that a shell would not then move up into it.

Of course....none of the above does not mean there is not a problem there and one that a 'smith could fix.

I did strip and more thoroughly clean the gun. Then over lubed it. Have not had a chance to go to the range yet.

Wally.....great that yours is working perfectly. That is good news and I am glad. If yours is fine, it should not be my recoil spring then. Are you shooting 115 gr ball ammo? Perhaps UMC?? That is what I am shooting.

SO....it may be that mine needs some breaking in. It did seem very tight when I got it.

Will have to try again. And next time at the range...wear a hat and keep the brim low to my safety glasses.........

Any more suggestions....always much appreciated and I may still have a 'smith look at it.

Still LOVE it. This is by far the most fun to shoot, most accurate and all around most fun gun I have shot to date. I put a pair of very nice wood grips on her, "Raptor" pattern....very nice.



May 29, 2010, 07:00 PM
"Hold it sideways? You'll look cooler." :D That only works for lefties!

May 29, 2010, 07:22 PM
I put a small piece of wood in to wedge the extractor over a tiny bit and found that a shell would not then move up into it.

That won't work...you can't test it that way.

The extractor has a "flex point" near the middle of it...by wedging it you only put it in a bind, forcing it to flex near the hook...thats why the shell wouldn't go under it.

Remove the extractor (its easy to do) and tweak it a little (emphasis on "a little) one way or the other. If tightening it don't fix it, try looser.

June 1, 2010, 01:49 PM
Hi Everyone

Hope this is OK. Just wanted to post an update to my original thread (which I could not find).

Heard from Ivan. He said that it was more likely the recoil spring. He suggested changing to a 12# spring (the original should be 14#...but he did not state this).

He did say that the extractor could be at fault, but it was less likely.

The recoil spring is an easy and cheap fix, so should be tried first. He wrote that he would supply one, but did not have one at hand. If it is the extractor, he said send the gun in.

Very good service. If anyone is interested, I will try to update. I will probably shoot again (after my big cleaning and lube), before I can get another spring.



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