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History of Semi-auto ejection ports…

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by dk-corriveau, Nov 25, 2005.

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  1. dk-corriveau

    dk-corriveau Member

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    Ok, so I have been wondering what the history of the ejection port on semi-autos is. Specifically, why do most handguns eject to the right hand side?

    The reason that this has come to my mind is that it seems to me (a right handed shooter) that clearing a failure would be much simpler if my guns ejected to the left. Then I could simply rotate my shooting hand to the left, rack the slide, and have the case or cartridge drop clear. But given the current design I have to rotate the gun to the right and reach across my strong arm with my off hand to rack the slide. :banghead: I know that with more practice this will become second nature, but it seems like a smarter design, for right handed shooters, would have the ejection port switched.

    Finally, don't tell me to buy a Glock, because ALL GUNS have failures sooner or later.
     
  2. TMM

    TMM Member

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    if it ejects left, it (the case) could hit you in the face.

    and, it looks better on the right side.

    probably stemmed from rifles ejecting on the right. why make pistols eject on the other side?

    ~TMM
     
  3. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    Walther P38, P1, P5 are about the only pistols I can think of that eject left.

    If you could find a Colt test model of 1907 they were made to eject straight up, I figure so you wouldn't spook the horse of the cavalryman next to you.
     
  4. Darth Ruger

    Darth Ruger Member

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    Close-range fighting, hip/point shooting, gun in your right hand (assuming you're a right-handed shooter) close to your body, engaging a target to your immediate left, if the ejection port were on the left you'd have hot cases hitting you, possibly going down your shirt (or worse, your pants :eek: ).
     
  5. dk-corriveau

    dk-corriveau Member

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    TMM, That is true for rifles, I shoot rifles lefty so I know from first hand experience. :cuss: But I doubt a semi-auto handgun that ejected to the left would hit a righty in the face, otherwise every lefty out there would be buying revolvers only. :eek:

    Darth, that's a fair point about the switch. But I still wonder why the right handed ejection came to be the standard for handguns. My guess is that rifles ejected to the right so the handguns simply did as well. I can't say for sure, but I doubt that shooting from retention was high on Browning's considerations when designing the 1911. Of course I could be wrong, I've been before.
     
  6. RyanM

    RyanM Member

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    If you draw the slide back sharply enough, the ejector should kick the cartridge out of the gun. Where did you learn to clear jams like that? That's crazy.

    Try holding the gun roughly across your chest, pointing left and down, and canted around 45 degrees to the right so the ejection port faces down. Then grasp the slide in your left hand (all four fingers on the far side, pad of the thumb on the near side), and rack the slide that way, pulling right with your left hand while pushing left with the right hand. That way, the gun is kept close to your body so it's a little harder to disarm, the ejection port faces down, you don't have to reach "across" your arm, and you grab the slide in what's supposed to be a stronger grip than "slingshotting."
     
  7. dfariswheel

    dfariswheel Member

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    The REAL reason?

    Because a pistol that ejected out the left side would bounce hot brass off a spooky horse.

    Remember, during the development of the auto pistol, the biggest users of pistols was the cavalry.

    In America, like most countries, the primary user organization was responsible for firearms development.

    The Infantry used more rifles than anyone else, so they developed new rifle designs, and made sure that suitable carbine versions were developed for use by the Cavalry and Artillery.

    As the prime user of pistols, most countries cavalry forces did the development of the auto pistol, and one concern was that flying brass would spook an already battle-jumpy horse.

    Development by the Cavalry is why the 1911 has a lanyard loop, grip safety, the long tang 1911 hammer, and on the early original 1911, a rounded rear sight so the pistol could be cocked by running the hammer down a pants leg or across the saddle.

    In the early days, American and European Cavalry boards were obsessed with possible problems caused by flying brass, lost magazines, wasting ammunition, and accidental discharges.

    I once saw an original 1930's Cavalry training Field Manual that illustrated the proper training methods for Cavalry troops, and the approved methods of actually using the 1911 pistol from horse back.

    In many methods, firing a pistol with a left-hand ejection would hit the horse square in the side of the head with ejected brass.
     
  8. jacobtowne

    jacobtowne Member

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    They even put a lanyard ring on the magazines of M1911 pistols for the first few years. Can you imagine dealing with a horse, reins, enemy soldiers, a "two part handgun," and two lanyards? No wonder they did away with the magazine lanyard.
    JT
     
  9. c_yeager

    c_yeager Member

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    Can you imagine having to ride back 10 miles and dig through the mud to recover your discarded magazines? THe military at the time (particularly the cavalry) didnt have an unlimited supply of loaded magazines to draw from.

    A lot of guns eject at enough of a rearward angle to hit the shooter with brass when ejected from the left, particularly if they are shooting with a straight up one-handed stance, as was the fashion at the time.
     
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