All of the recent hoopla about the SIG P320 potentially firing when dropped reminded me that I had a well-used 1911 in the safe that every once and a while will drop the hammer to half-cock when the slide is racked, particularly on an empty chamber.

Let's get a few things out the way first --
1. No this is not indicative of 1911s in general or even a particular brand. It was actually my first and served a number of years as a 45 Super (with designer Ace Hindman's help - may he RIP). It was in the process of being upgraded from being VERY well used.
2. Yes, I know that it is very hard on a pistol to drop the slide on an empty chamber. In particular, it is frowned on in the 1911 world. Regardless, it should not fire. 

Ok, back to the pistol. I had done a number of upgrades a few years back: sear, disconnector, hammer and trigger. However, the trigger I selected was a 1991 trigger. I chose it because I like the way that it looked, liked how it worked in my Colt's and I knew it would drop in. It turns out that it was not a good choice.
As you may have guessed it on occasion dropped to half-cock even after a new and mildly adjusted sear spring. Ok, to be fair, I probably could have really tweaked the leaf spring so that it didn't but I also didn't want a terrible trigger pull.

I ordered a Wilson ultra-light trigger. Why? Because it is a Wilson part, it said "ultra-light" and listed the actual weight. I couldn't find the weight of any of the other triggers I looked at. The theory was that trigger slap - movement actually was activating the hammer.
Disassembly revealed that the trigger was RIDICULOUSLY loose in the pistol. I mean up, down, forward, back. This was DEFINITELY the issue.

Now, with my new Wilson trigger I found that it did not fit in like a modern "modular" (aka mass produced pistol) lol. Let's be honest there is nothing on a Glock that will take more than a few minutes to replace. Fitting? Nah, 100rds on the range will do that.

But, like a traditional 1911 part the new trigger did require some fitting. I set out with a small hand-file watching TV to fit it into the channel. OK, 2 hours later it would fit into the channel but definitely not move freely. I used the hand file for about another hour. After that I took out the rotary tool. Yes, impatient! But, it was getting late and I would not have time to work on it the next day before going to the range in the afternoon. And there was a downside to my impatience - the finish. Between being tired and probably whatever I was watching I did not do a great job of paying attention and did manage to scuff the nice matte finish of the trigger. Drat. Well, this is a working pistol, and I would rather have it work than not.

I took it to the range with me and Voila! The pistol had no issues and the trigger is still decent. A success and a very inexpensive fix!

Here is a pic, at some point I will probably take out the trigger and polish it. Until then, it works and function over form. 

 

My first pistol. Originally purchased back in like 1990! It's seen a few rounds through it.

 

Published in Firearms General