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Dumb Question

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by zinj, Nov 18, 2006.

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  1. zinj

    zinj Member

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    I have a feeling that this is a pretty obvoius question, but why should one not release the slide of an auto-pistol on an empty chamber? I know it does not harm auto shotguns, is there some difference in design that can cause breakage?
     
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2006
  2. SIRVEYR666

    SIRVEYR666 Member

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    I do it all the time.:confused: I've never had any breakage.
     
  3. B yond

    B yond Member

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    ?

    Where did you hear that?:confused:
     
  4. BobCat

    BobCat Member

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    There are people, some of them knowledgeable, who say that dropping the slide on a pistol, such as a 1911 that has had trigger work for competition shooting, can cause the hammer hooks to slip off the sear.

    The idea is that stripping a round off the stack in the magazine absorbs some kinetic energy (slows the slide a little); when no round is present, the slide closes with undiminished speed and can "jar" the hammer/sear engagement.

    Please note I am not an expert and am simply reporting what I've been told/read. Although I do not know if it is true, I do tend to ease the slide forward when the pistol is empty - probably out of habit from what I was taught, right or wrong, years ago.

    If 1911 Tuner sees this thread, he might be kind enough to explain the phenomenon - better and clearer than I have. And he might tell you whether or not it has any basis in fact.

    Regards,
    Andrew
     
  5. ugaarguy

    ugaarguy Moderator Staff Member

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    Not a dumd question at all. Absolutely do not release a handgun slide on an empty chamber.

    The slide is supposed to be slowed by the friction of stripping a round off the top of the magazine. When released on an empty chamber/mag, the slide and extractor slam into the bbl's breech face. This is bad for the slide & bbls face, and very bad for the extractor. The bbl lug to slide junction is also slammed together and this increases wear quickly, and will loosen up the critical fit of these locking surfaces. On conventional hammer designs it also wears on the hammer, sear, and disconnector. 1911 Tuner has posted in much greater detail on this. He, and several other folks here can explain in much more depth on this.
     
  6. zinj

    zinj Member

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    This is odd, I have read this numerous times in forums and other sites. Maybe I phrased it wrong? Supposedly the slide needs to be guided closed if the chamber is empty to avoid damage to the pistol?


    EDIT: People replied while I was writing! What a site!
     
  7. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    It is best to lower the slide, rather then let it slam home on an empty chamber. This is especially true with target pistols, or others that have an unusually light trigger pull. As the slide slams home into battery various parts can batter, and the heavier the recoil spring is the greater the potential for battering. In an extreme case with a 1911 pattern pistol it may cause the slide stop hole to elongate, and in time ruin the frame and/or the slide stop pin. :eek:

    Of course while lowering the slide is advisable, the practice cannot always be followed, especially with service pistols. A limited to moderate amount will not have any negative effect unless a lightened trigger pull is involved. But it is rather like flipping the cylinder in and out on a hand ejector revolver. If you keep it up sooner or later damage will result.
     
  8. hksw

    hksw Member

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    The practice does not necessarily break guns, it just accelerates the wear and tear.
     
  9. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Member

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    I've only been hearing this recently....I guess it makes sense and since a lot of us have issues re: things as minor as holster wear, it's just one more thing worry about when it comes to wearing out one of the members of our collections :scrutiny:
     
  10. 51Cards

    51Cards Member

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    The Colt MK IV manual specifically says (on p. 44) that after field stripping and cleaning, the mechanism should be tested with a full slingshot release, with and without magazine --- BUT that this is the ONLY time this should be done.

    But I sem to recall another (I think it was the Springfield Armory) manual advising NEVER to do it, especially with guns with trigger jobs. Have to find that ...
     
  11. Owen

    Owen Moderator Emeritus

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    I can't speak to older designs, but on newer guns you should be fine just dropping the slide. I understand that the main concern with dropping the slide on, say, a 1911 is having the extractor hit the barrel and possibly becoming damaged. If it makes you feel better, find a .005" shim, and slide it between the extractor and the barrel. If it fits, I say slam away. If there is no clearance between the extractor and the barrel, then don't.

    While dropping the slide on an empty chamber may increase the wear and tear, there is another issue...

    In the name of muscle memory and consistency you should do things the same way everytime. The approved method of putting a pistol into battery is to place your wolehand over the top of the slide, and pull back until the slide stops, then, let go. By lowering the slide slowly, you are building in a method than can cause malfunctions later on. Slowly lowering the slide is a good way to have an out of battery malfunction. I don't think you want to train yourself to do that.
     
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