will a centerfire semi auto handgun fire out of battery?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Bill M., Dec 7, 2020.

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  1. Bill M.

    Bill M. Member

    Nov 21, 2019
    I do not currently own a centerfire semi. Is there a mechanism on most or all guns that prevents firing if the shell is not fully chambered?

    how about specifically on a 1911 like a Kimber?
  2. Alex Clayton

    Alex Clayton Member

    Jun 25, 2020
    They are of course designed not to BUT, this is a broad question. Let some kitchen table smith with the net or a book at one and the pistol can be made to do a few things they were designed to not do.
  3. 12Bravo20

    12Bravo20 Member

    Oct 12, 2007
    Yes it can happen. Here are the three most common reasons why it happens:

    1. Firing pin spring broke and jammed the firing pin in the forward position.
    2. An extremely dirty gun where carbon build up has caused the firing pin to get stuck in the forward position
    3. Someone without the proper training has messed with the gun.
    There are more possible reasons I'm sure but those are the most common ones.
    PO2Hammer likes this.
  4. fxvr5

    fxvr5 Member

    May 26, 2017
    Here's a write-up on a Glock;


    The point in that specific condition in the article is that the firing pin has to be in at least a reasonable alignment with the 'center' of the primer. If the firing pin hit is too far from the center, the primer won't fire.
  5. barnetmill

    barnetmill Member

    Jun 6, 2006
    The disconnector can wear down on a 1911. But is more likely to make it fire full auto.
    Once I purchased such a gun. I knew it when I brought it that the disconnected was defective. In those days parts were cheap so for 75 dollars and the price of a 3 dollar disconnector I had a very nice, but well worn gun.
    People often sell defective guns at gunshows.
  6. Steve C

    Steve C Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    In its normal cycling of a round a semi auto will have a disconnector that disengages the firing mechanism until the firearm is back in full battery.

    For the 1911 design handguns the disconnector "disconnects" the sear from the trigger. If the slide is not fully engaged in battery the disconnector is pushed down, rendering the sear immovable to prevent firing out of battery.
  7. Got_Lead?

    Got_Lead? Member

    May 5, 2011
    As previous members have posted, this is kind of an open question, with each make and model of semi auto having it's own characteristics. In my experience with 30+ autoloaders in the collection, I can't say I have ever had one fire out of battery. I shoot lead boolits almost exclusively, so there have been plenty of opportunities for a boolit that was cast a bit large to stick the action just short of locking in. Occasionally this happens. Sometimes the hammer falls, most of the time it doesn't.

    I guess this would represent two conditions:
    1 When the hammer doesn't fall, the disconnector had not re-engaged, preventing the trigger to release the sear.
    2 When the hammer does fall, the disconnector is re-engaged, and the hammer does fall, but the slide isn't far enough forward for the hammer to hit the firing pin, or the firing pin block to fully retracted, or the striker (in the case of striker fired pistols) to engage the primer. I have never had a round fire without the slide locked in either condition.

    I did have one kaboom (KB). I was shooting a mauser C-96 firing 9mm Parabellum with lead boolits. The square shaped bolt corner hit the primer as the lead boolit caught on a part of the barrel feed, and burst the cartridge. No damage was done to the gun, however, this did lead to using a different boolit design which fed better.

    Some semi autos are prone to kabooms. This occurs when the feed ramp extends too far into the mouth of the barrel (a design flaw in my opinion). When the feed ramp extends beyond the solid part of the casing (0.200" from the head), the case may burst when fired, usually resulting in pretty severe gun damage and sometimes injuries to the shooter. Some guns are more prone, most have fully supported chambers and are not prone to KB's. With a bit of experience, you can tell which guns are throated too far into the chamber.
    starling likes this.
  8. unspellable

    unspellable Member

    Aug 30, 2004
    A Luger will fire with the action a bit short of locked. Tried this with dry firing, then with a primed case with no powder or bullet. Pulling the trigger fired the primer. Good argument for having the proper recoil spring.
  9. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

    Dec 24, 2002
    Florence, Alabama
    "Firing out of battery", especially on a hammer gun like a Kimber 1911ish, is vanishingly unlikely.
    1911Tuner explained: https://rangehot.com/myth-firing-battery-et-al/

    Every ruptured case, even split barrels, in a Glock will get blamed on "firing out of battery." I think this is comparable to the dog eating your homework. I have several range pickup cartridges that "fired out of battery." Except they didn't FIRE. The firing pin indention is shallow and way off center; showing the gun was indeed out of battery, but that misaligns the firing pin.

    I have a concept for an "Out of Battery Tester." Maybe I can get my gunsmith to make it.
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