Why the hammer spur on 1911s?


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zahc
January 14, 2004, 10:24 PM
Why do 1911s even have a hammer spur? I see no reason for it, barring cond 2 carry which I hate.

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Joe Demko
January 14, 2004, 10:30 PM
My WAG is that it is that it was included so that there would be some provision for lowering the hammer.

Andrew Wyatt
January 14, 2004, 10:56 PM
it's nice to be able to cock the gun before ractuating the slide, or decocking it without shooting it.

dsk
January 14, 2004, 10:59 PM
If I recall correctly it was a specific requirement of the US military during the final 1911 acceptance trials. The cavalry wanted the ability to thumb-cock the pistol if necessary while on horseback. Evidently the SAA manual of arms was still fresh in their minds at the time. Prior to that John Browning wasn't sure which way the military was going to go so he assembled his prototypes both with and without an exposed hammer spur.

Nightcrawler
January 14, 2004, 11:53 PM
I think the spur hammer looks nice. I prefer it, but they slap some people.

I do wonder why the "all business" types don't simply have hammerless 1911s, instead of a commander hammer and a big ol' beavertail. A high-grip safety, sans beavertail, and a flush hammer would be lighter, anyways. Wouldn't look as nice, though.

Parker Dean
January 15, 2004, 12:49 AM
My understanding is that the military required some sort of second-strike capability that could be done one-handed.

liliysdad
January 15, 2004, 12:53 AM
I like having a hammer for the dry-fire capability. Beats the hell out of racking the slide every time.

1911Tuner
January 15, 2004, 08:40 AM
Just theory, but probably a valid one...Removing the spur completely
will reduce hammer momentum, making for a lighter firing pin strike,
which may make necessary either a heavier mainspring or a lighter
firing pin rebound spring.

Hmmmm...I detect an experiment in the offing. Anybody wanna get the test results from a bobbed hammer? I've got a couple down there that are useable and expendable...

Tuner the Mad Scientist. bwahahahahaaaaaa

sm
January 15, 2004, 08:51 AM
What dsk posted, is what I was told / read / taught.

I also told what Tuner alluded to , that being the part about too little momentum = light strikes. I actually heard this in regard to revolvers first.

I remember this stuff, can't remember what I hate for lunch yesterday.

Tuner...must have gotten a new tool to play with...so in the name of science, do you have a MIM hammer you are willing to donate to science? I'm curious if the weight of stock hammers vary , therefore a difference of momentum would exist.

Then part II is if MIM is bobbed does / will the metallury change . Humm... density / weight /strength change once a MIM has metal removed to a "certain degree".

Tamara
January 15, 2004, 09:27 AM
I do wonder why the "all business" types don't simply have hammerless 1911s, instead of a commander hammer and a big ol' beavertail. A high-grip safety, sans beavertail, and a flush hammer would be lighter, anyways. Wouldn't look as nice, though.

Because an upswept beavertail helps funnel your hand into position, keeps your hand from riding up high enough to get bit by the hammer and/or get 'racing stripes' from the slide during rapid shot strings, and a spurless hammer prevents you from decocking the pistol.

When I want pretty looks, I go fondle my S&W wheelguns. ;)

Zach S
January 15, 2004, 09:35 AM
If I recall correctly it was a specific requirement of the US military during the final 1911 acceptance trials. The cavalry wanted the ability to thumb-cock the pistol if necessary while on horseback. Evidently the SAA manual of arms was still fresh in their minds at the time. Prior to that John Browning wasn't sure which way the military was going to go so he assembled his prototypes both with and without an exposed hammer spur. Thats what I remember hearing.

I also read that it was also ro re-cock a pistol for a "second chance" if the round didnt go off.

MrAcheson
January 15, 2004, 09:36 AM
Keep in mind that the original manual of arms for the 1911 was not cocked and locked. C&L is mostly a post-war invention IIRC. It was also not empty chamber because you can't work a slide one handed (so its practically impossible to put the gun into action on horseback this way). Remember the 1911 is the army's last true cavalry pistol.

The original manual of arms for the 1911 was a loaded chamber (the inertial firing pin was supposed to make this safe) and thumb-cocking before firing. After firing the gun was supposed to be decocked using the spur hammer (like an SAA) or simply safed if too much was going on for that to be practical.

zahc
January 15, 2004, 09:38 AM
and a spurless hammer prevents you from decocking the pistol.

I keep hearing this but how is this a problem? Are you talking about lowering the hammer over a live round, such as for cond. 2 carry? If so it's MO that one shouldn't ever do that anyway because cond. 2 carry is dangerous and pointless IMO. Both the lowering the hammer and cocking the hammer (probably under stress) strike me as really bad and risky operations. I don't know anybody that does cond. 2, but they all have hammer spurs.

Or lowering the hammer for storage? If so, one can just dryfire.

Tamara
January 15, 2004, 09:45 AM
MrAcheson,

Keep in mind that the original manual of arms for the 1911 was not cocked and locked. C&L is mostly a post-war invention IIRC.

The early manuals I've read state that the weapon is to be charged and placed on safe and then holstered. In rear areas, Condition 3 carry was indicated, IIRC.





zahc,

Long term storage for those who don't like to dry-fire, dry-fire practice for those of us who do, lowering the hammer safely for those who prefer Condition Two carry (regardless of what you and I think about its correctness ;) ), et cetera. Besides, do any minor benefits outweigh removing potential options from your playbook?

1911Tuner
January 15, 2004, 09:54 AM
Tamara said:

The early manuals I've read state that the weapon is to be charged and placed on safe and then holstered. In rear areas, Condition 3 carry was indicated, IIRC.

Bingo!

sm...I've got a few hammers that I've taken off various pistols over the
years...for various reasons...and I'll go fish out a serviceable one to
do the test with. Might be a week or so until I can get to the range.
I want to wring it out with about 200 rounds before I'll make a call.
None are MIM.

As for lighter hammers...they do vary, depending on the hammer. Wide
spur hammers vs narrow spur... Slotted Commander vs standard Colt-type. I'd tend to think that the length of the spur would have more to do with the firing pin strike...kinda like a bullet with a higher sectional density (long for the caliber) provides deeper penetration than one with a lower sectional density, but equal weights. (150-grain 7mm vs 150-grain .30 caliber)

I'll get on it and post the results as soon as I can. Now...which pistol do I use? hmmmmm:D

Tamara
January 15, 2004, 09:59 AM
Cylinder & Slide makes an uber-light, skeletonized, spurless hammer for raceguns, BTW...

cordex
January 15, 2004, 10:17 AM
Hmmm ...

Hey Tuner, when you're decreasing weight on the hammers, try grinding one spur down to an evil-looking spike. That way when people ask "Why does your 1911 have that spur on the hammer?" you can reply "It's for CQB."

1911Tuner
January 15, 2004, 10:19 AM
Tamara said:

Cylinder & Slide makes an uber-light, skeletonized, spurless hammer for raceguns, BTW...

Seen those, but always wondered what (if anything) might be necessary
to change for reliable ignition. Raceguns relate to street guns about the same as racecars to a grocery-getter...

We shall see....(he said with an evil grin):evil:

1911Tuner
January 15, 2004, 10:22 AM
cordex said

Hey Tuner, when you're decreasing weight on the hammers, try grinding one spur down to an evil-looking spike. That way when people ask "Why does your 1911 have that spur on the hammer?" you can reply "It's for CQB

Nah...That might cause me to be politically incorrect. The original lanyard
loop makes a dandy skull pommel and looks harmless.:evil:

sm
January 15, 2004, 10:33 AM
I'd tend to think that the length of the spur would have more to do with the firing pin strike...

Now for some reason that rings a bell in the deep recesses of my gray matter.
Hence the Cylinder & Slide makes an uber-light, skeletonized, spurless hammer for raceguns, BTW Runs the gun, because ( for instance on 1911 style 45ACP) springs can /might be 14#'ers , add all the timing, loads to meet PF ....blah blah...

So it is relative. Deviate from original specs and other specs are affected as well, however, some basic 'specs' need to remain same or nearly so.

I get into trouble when I think...I shoot better than I can explain / understand some stuff...not that - that says much. :p

Old Fuff
January 15, 2004, 11:37 AM
Back during the late 1950's some of the bullseye shooters decided they could get faster lock time if they lightened the hammer, and the ideal way too do it was to compleatly remove the spur and grind the back of the hammer to match the slide. Of course, being young and not too bright I had to try it. Well I didn't have any ignition problems, but I also didn't get any noticeable increase in lock time. Any practical effect was zip. I did however get ordered off of some ranges because of what they saw as safety issues. In very short order my pistol was converted back the the regular configuration. There is absolutely no advantage of any kind in removing the hammer spur that I can see. If hammer bite is a problem there are better ways to cure it.

1911Tuner
January 15, 2004, 11:58 AM
Dang it Fuff...Ya went and spoiled my little experiment. Here I was all set
to go grind on a hammer soon as the coffee got done.:neener:

Well...That answered the question anyways....:D

Tamara
January 15, 2004, 12:07 PM
Oh, spurless skeleton hammers do reduce locktime. The amount they reduce it by isn't enough to matter to 99.99% of us. There have to be a thousand tweaks you could do to your 1911-based racegun before getting around to needing one.

However, on an umpty-zillion dollar STI squirtgun they'll press for every little advantage they can get...

Old Fuff
January 15, 2004, 12:11 PM
Tuner:

I already ruined a good hammer ( but then I was young and foolish). You can still experiment if you want and report back. It might stop someone else from doing something stupid.

Tamara
January 15, 2004, 12:18 PM
Or maybe you could just call Cylinder & Slide and ask them what the kit shaves off the locktime? I believe it's the Warp Speed kit...

sm
January 15, 2004, 12:27 PM
Tamara , you are so right.
I get to play with the race guns from time to time, it is fun, neat and all that...

I accepted a long time ago 90 % of the basic stock guns are more accurate without me trying to shoot them. :p

That other 10% is smoothing the trigger, grips that fit, adjusting sights/Ammo POA/POI....training, practice, more trainig and practice...

I have fun tho' :p

Andrew Wyatt
January 15, 2004, 01:01 PM
Spurless hammers do have a function on those DA 1911s for carry, as the gun can have a bobbed gripsafety and be made shorter.

1911Tuner
January 15, 2004, 01:24 PM
Old Fuff said:

I already ruined a good hammer ( but then I was young and foolish).

I've got one here that's about halfway pre-ruined. Spur partially bobbed
and the hack made an attempt at jeweling it...:rolleyes: Looks like he
used the end of a rotary file. Shame, too...It's a Colt hammer out of
an older 1991 A1. Not a thing wrong with it except cosmetic. I may be able to clean it up and have Ricky toss it in the bluing tank with some
other parts...Barter and trade'll work when the economy falls flat on its face.:cool:

Ah well. Onward....

Tuner

zahc
January 15, 2004, 02:53 PM
I did however get ordered off of some ranges because of what they saw as safety issues.

I'm curious what kind of issues they were worried about.:confused:

Sean Smith
January 15, 2004, 03:56 PM
I believe it's the Warp Speed kit...

Yep, no false modesty there! Light speed is for sissies!

:evil:

Actually, I like the look of the spur as long as it doesn't bite me.

http://www.imagemagician.org/images/igc_76543/delta21.jpg

Nightcrawler
January 15, 2004, 04:47 PM
I hadn't thought of dry firing. It would indeed be a pain to have to rack the slide each time.

Though...that's what you have to do with a Glock, a Springfield XD, or any striker fired gun. *shrug*

I personally think a hammerless 1911 would look silly, unless they contoured the grip safety/beavertail area to give it the lines of an oversized M1903 or something. Then it could look pretty nice!

http://world.guns.ru/handguns/browning1903.jpg

Old Fuff
January 15, 2004, 07:38 PM
Zahc:

We are talking about late 1959 to middle 1960. In those dark ages no one carried .45 pistols cocked & locked except the Texas Rangers and a recently retired Marine Corps Col. named Cooper.

Now when a very wet-behind-the-ears kid showed up with a pistol with the hammer spur cut off Range Officers (not to mention other elders) went through the roof because they felt that the hammer couldn't be safely lowered on an (hopefully) empty chamber unless the hammer had a spur. You will find that the bullseye crowd is very conservative and not receptive to anything that might compromise safety in the slightest degree.

For the record, the man who popularized carrying the pistol in Condition 1 (cocked & locked) is Jeff Cooper, and a friend of mine over many years, and frankly he thinks that cutting off the hammer spur - as opposed to shortening and re-shaping it - is an act of total idiocy because it eliminates some carry options that you might want to use sometime, and whatever advantage might be had can be better accomplished in other ways. I agree, but to each his own.

If it makes any difference (which I doubt) I usually carry the pistol cocked & locked on those occasions when I do pack one, and I haven’t found the hammer spur to get in my way, one way or another. I have also lowered the hammer on a loaded chamber on many occasions over the past half-century and not left any holes in anything I didn’t intend to.

Nightcrawler
January 15, 2004, 08:04 PM
I too disagree that lowering a hammer on a hot chamber is unsafe. It's the only way to decock my CZ-97B; and if I were to carry it, I'd have to carry it decocked, as it's safety isn't ambidextrious and I'm left handed. You just practice a lot, go slow, and keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction.

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