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Holes in some guns' hammers

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by hm, Mar 17, 2004.

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  1. hm

    hm Member

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    I was wondering aloud to a fellow coworker and High Roader today about the wide variety of different shapes and forms of hammers on the world's various handguns. One of the things I've always wondered about but could never figure out was why some handgun hammers have a hole in them. The possibilities (guesses) my friend and I came up with are as follows:
    1. Lanyard—I don't think this is correct as the hammer is just about the worst place you can possibly attach a cord for, oh, so many reasons.
    2. Cheaper to manufacture—sure, it's not saving much metal for the maker, but it adds up over time. I don't buy this one either, though.
    3. Weight savings—again, I don't buy it. Too little weight savings to matter.
    4. Function—It somehow improves the weapon's function, but I don't know how.
    Anyone know the real reason?

    --hm
    "Pro-2nd Democrats are people too!"
     
  2. David4516

    David4516 Member

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    My only guess is that it looks cooler?

    My litter beretta has a hole in the hammer, so I'd like to know what it's really for too...
     
  3. Sean Smith

    Sean Smith Member

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    Hammers are skeletonized to reduce their weight, which in turn increases the speed that the hammer falls, which reduces lock time. Thus, it is done for function.
     
  4. The Undertoad

    The Undertoad Member

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    I thought Commander hammers were put on 1911's to reduce hammer bite? But I'm a newbie too, so I'm not sure.
     
  5. Gary in Pennsylvania

    Gary in Pennsylvania Member

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    That's incorrect. It is more expensive to take away something that was there in the first place. The machining on those skeletonized hammers is quite precise. I'm sure that a CNC machine is what's removing that material. It's cheaper to simply leave it there.

    What doesn't make sense to me is that nutty looking hammer on the Sig GSR 1911. It’s a skeletonized hammer that failed to skeletonize. It's not seen on every version of the GSR, but I've seen it a bit in photos. The trigger has been milled in from either side . . . . . but doesn't make it all the way through. What gives with that???
     
  6. Tropical Z

    Tropical Z Member

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    That GSR hammer IS weird looking.:confused:
     
  7. PCRCCW

    PCRCCW Member

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    The whole lock time theory may hold water to the tune of about .0001 second. But hey who am I to argue, right?

    I think they just plain look cool.....................:D :D

    Shoot well.
     
  8. Ankeny

    Ankeny Member

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    To reduce weight thereby reducing lock time. I wonder how many times that will need to be said before folks catch on?
     
  9. cool45auto

    cool45auto Member

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    If I ever get a GSR I'd replace the hammer with a skeletonized one. The hole in a Beretta's hammer is tiny so I can't imagine what its for.
     
  10. VaughnT

    VaughnT Member

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    Yea, the skeletonized hammer is there to allow a spring of given strength to move the lighter hammer with greater speed. Similarly, the lighter hammer allows the slide, via the recoil stroke, to reset the hammer at a faster rate because there is less resistance from the hammer's mass. Everything happens faster and smoother with less hammer in the equation.

    The same can be said for skeletonized triggers. With only so much power available in the spring that pushes the trigger back into its starting position, a lighter trigger will move faster and with greater sureity than a heavy trigger.

    Of course, one has to wonder just how much benefit there is in a hammer or trigger that has been lightened by a hole or series of holes, all amounting to something like .00000000001# of material being removed. Anyone ever figure a way to definitively measure the difference between the two styles?

    Also, the rounded Commander-style hammer was developed, as I understand it, to reduce hammer bite and aid in concealed carry. It's called a "commander" style hammer for a reason.
     
  11. Sean Smith

    Sean Smith Member

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    And that reason is that it appeared on Colt's Commander model.
     
  12. Kaylee

    Kaylee Moderator

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    From what I'm told, they use EDM* actually, in the case of the hardened tool steel hammers. :)

    * EDM == "Electrical Discharge Machining" -- basically using bursts of electricity to zap out the shape of the hammer from flat stock. Easier on the equipment than trying to mill really hard steel.


    The "why" has already been covered. Helps with locktime and looks cool.

    -K
     
  13. mondocomputerman

    mondocomputerman Member

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    Because without it, it wouldn't be tati-cool.
     
  14. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

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    Beaver tail grip safeties don't work with spur hammers.
     
  15. Sean Smith

    Sean Smith Member

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    Actually, that's not true. You can just shorten the spur.
     
  16. RON in PA

    RON in PA Member

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    Just wondering, the Mauser 96 Broomhandle had a hammer with a hole in it, did it start a "fashion" trend?

    Is there any real evidence that lightening the hammer actually does what people claim?
     
  17. Owen

    Owen Moderator Emeritus

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    yes it works mathmatically. Impact reactions are controlled by momentum. Springs store energy. It turns out that making the hammer lighter gets you more momentum out of the given level of energy stored by the springs energy. I would post the math, but nobody wants to read four pages of equations.

    owen
     
  18. SRYnidan

    SRYnidan Member

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    The original reason for the Hole was a lanyard (for cocking not for carrying). One held the gun in the strong hand and the lanyard in the weak and used it to simulate both recoil and to recock the pistol (remember they were converting from revolvers). Now the hole is made as big as possible to get the weight down to decrease lock time and increase hammer speed.
     
  19. Sean Smith

    Sean Smith Member

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    That makes no sense, since the original 1911 did not have a hole in the hammer.
     
  20. Majic

    Majic Member

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    In what pistol and by whom? :confused:
     
  21. BluesBear

    BluesBear member

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    :rolleyes: Wasn't this meant to be posted in the silliest gun rumor thread? :rolleyes:


    Take a 1950s era narrow spur Colt Government hammer and put it on a balance scale with a 1950s era Colt Commander hammer. Then you'll understand why.
     
  22. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    The Lighter Side

    T'was noted:

    The same can be said for skeletonized triggers. With only so much power available in the spring that pushes the trigger back into its starting position, a lighter trigger will move faster and with greater sureity than a heavy trigger.
    ----------------------------

    True enough when dealing with reciprocating parts in general, but in gunspeak, there's a different reason for lightened triggers, hammers, and sears. That reason is to reduce bounce and the tendency of the part in question to obey Newton's Laws of Motion.

    Lightened trigger group parts are about enabling a lighter, crisper trigger
    pull while reducing the chances of hammer follow and burst-fire. The Colt
    Gold Cup has a wider trigger than the other 1911-pattern pistols. When
    the GC triggers were made of steel, the pistols had a tiny preload spring
    that kept a little extra tension on that wide, heavy trigger to help keep
    it forward. The newer Gold Cups are using a lighter, aluminum trigger,
    and it's my understanding that the preload spring has been dropped.
    (I HATE those little bastids, and the clips they ride in...)

    A lighter hammer does speed up lock time...but its purpose is to reduce the inertial response of the hammer to stand still when the gun jerks suddenly forward during a slidelock reload. When the hammer stands still, it has the same effect of overcocking...or bouncing off the sear. Match-tuned hammers have very short hooks, and if the contact between sear and hammer is broken, the hooks sometimes barely grab the sear as it comes to rest...or miss it altogether. Followdown to half-cock results. Sear damage occurs either way. The lighter the mainspring, the more likely this is to occur...and since trigger jobs sometimes entail using a lighter mainspring, a lightened hammer helps to prevent this.

    A lighter trigger does reset easier and faster with the available spring tension, but the main reason for its existence is to prevent followdown to
    half-cock or slam-firing during a slidelock reload with finger off trigger.

    When the pistol jerks forward during a reload, the trigger obeys Newton's
    dictum that states: "Objects at rest tend to remain at rest"...so the trigger
    stand still while the rest of the pistol moves forward. The trigger stirrup
    nudges the sear, and sometimes rotates it enough to break contact with the hammer hooks. (Actually, the sear nudges the trigger stirrup, but the result is the same. Thought I'd put that in before some Simple nit-picker
    that's lurking around uses it to hijack the thread) Followdown to half-cock results. If the pre-travel...or take-up...is at a bare minimum, and the hammer hooks are very short, the sear can slip past the half-cock and result in a slam fire. If the pistol is correctly set up, the half-cock will catch it. If the half-cock has been altered, all bets are off.

    Likewse, a lightened sear responds more readily to spring tension, and
    will tend to reset into the hammer hooks faster in the event of a hammer
    bounce. The deeper into the hooks, the less chance of the hooks getting
    past the sear and following the slide.

    The difference in weight/mass of these tiny parts is miniscule, but during the violent cycle of a .45 caliber 1911 pistol, a few grains difference can make the difference between a shooter-induced bang and an uncontrolled
    full-auto affair. Unnerving at best, and very dangerous in any event.

    ...And BluesBear nailed it. The standard Rowell hammer is heavier than the
    narrow spur type. The slotted McCormick-style hammer, which has become pretty much the standard in aftermarket/custom hammers, brings the weight back in line.

    Cheers!

    Tuner




    A lighter trigger does reset easier, but it reduces the inertial response of the trigger to stand still when the gun jerks forward during a slidelock reload. When the
     
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