Dry Firing a 1911

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Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Magload on 11/29/2017, 8:04 am

I really need a lot more dry firing then I been getting and have a question on doing it with a 1911.  I read before on here that the gun needed to be cocked using the slide not just the hammer when testing the trigger because of the disconnect, but does that mater when dry firing?   I also want to try putting something between the hammer face and the firing pin  or maybe if just cocking the hammer then a drywall thing in the chamber.  I know the Nelson conv. is ok to dry fire I was just taught different as a kid.  Don
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by jmdavis on 11/29/2017, 10:34 am

For the 45, I do cycle the slide each time and use nothing between the hammer and the firing pin. For the Marvel conversion, I use a piece of leather between the hammer and the firing pin. For the High Standard and Euro guns, I use cut magnetic business cards, drywall anchors, foamy earplugs, and chamber plugs etc to dry fire. 

One of my mentors told me that if I wear out a 45 with concentrated dry firing, I can do anything.
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Dr.Don on 11/29/2017, 12:54 pm

You want the dry fire trigger to feel like it does when live firing. To accomplish this you need to cycle the slide with the trigger held back just like it does when live fired.  That allows the full disconnector cycle to occur.  And you will not hurt a 1911 by dry firing it; that's not the case with some 22 conversions.
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by davekp on 11/30/2017, 4:25 am

Dr.Don wrote:You want the dry fire trigger to feel like it does when live firing. To accomplish this you need to cycle the slide with the trigger held back just like it does when live fired.  That allows the full disconnector cycle to occur.  And you will not hurt a 1911 by dry firing it; that's not the case with some 22 conversions.
Why not just hold the trigger back while you cock the hammer instead of cycling the slide?

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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Tim:H11 on 11/30/2017, 5:33 am

davekp wrote:
Dr.Don wrote:You want the dry fire trigger to feel like it does when live firing. To accomplish this you need to cycle the slide with the trigger held back just like it does when live fired.  That allows the full disconnector cycle to occur.  And you will not hurt a 1911 by dry firing it; that's not the case with some 22 conversions.
Why not just hold the trigger back while you cock the hammer instead of cycling the slide?

Because the hammer won’t stay back if you hold down the trigger while trying to cock the hammer by only cocking the hammer. What I do is I clock the hammer, then push the slide back just enough to be out of battery and actuate the disconnector then press the trigger and hold it back letting the slide go back into battery. That way I can practice trigger reset as well as the press and fire. 

When you press the trigger back, it presses on the disconnector and together they press on the sear to push it out of engagement with the hammer hooks. This is why you can’t cock the hammer while the trigger is pressed back because the sear won’t contact the hammer to hold it. 

But if you push the slide out of battery the slide pushes the disconnector paddle or blade down and the trigger can’t reach the sear. So when the hammer is cocked by the slide the sear stays in a position to catch the hammer and hold it.

Once the slide returns to battery the disconnectors is allowed to pop back up into position between the trigger and the sear. However it won’t pop up if the trigger is pressed. This is the reset we feel when firing the 1911. The trigger lets the disconnector forward as the trigger is released riding across the bottom feet of the sear. When it hits the end of that edge it pops up back into firing position. If the slide didn’t push the disconnector down she’d Just go full auto and dump the mag. Not fun.
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by mikemyers on 11/30/2017, 6:36 am

Tim:H11 wrote:....Because the hammer won’t stay back if you hold down the trigger while trying to cock the hammer by only cocking the hammer. What I do is I clock the hammer, then push the slide back just enough to be out of battery and actuate the disconnector then press the trigger and hold it back letting the slide go back into battery. That way I can practice trigger reset as well as the press and fire......

Ouch.  I didn't realize one should pull the slide back.  

(Another minor detail on my Les Baer is that if I don't pull the hammer back, I can't move the slide - too stiff/strong.)
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Bullseye_Stan on 11/30/2017, 6:36 am

Cycling the slide when dry firing makes sense.  However, I can't tell (and neither can my trigger scale) whether the slide is used to cock the hammer or my thumb.   I have the disconnector polished and use a light spring, which probably makes a difference.  The disconnector has some movement from the sear when only cocking the hammer on the 1911.

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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Magload on 11/30/2017, 10:18 am

mikemyers wrote:
Tim:H11 wrote:....Because the hammer won’t stay back if you hold down the trigger while trying to cock the hammer by only cocking the hammer. What I do is I clock the hammer, then push the slide back just enough to be out of battery and actuate the disconnector then press the trigger and hold it back letting the slide go back into battery. That way I can practice trigger reset as well as the press and fire......

Ouch.  I didn't realize one should pull the slide back.  

(Another minor detail on my Les Baer is that if I don't pull the hammer back, I can't move the slide - too stiff/strong.)
Mike my LB is the same way but after 3000 rounds it has gotten better till it starts to get to dirty.  The frame mounted scope also makes it harder to rack.  Don
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Aprilian on 11/30/2017, 10:28 am

I too have an LB with the frame mount.   However, Jon rebarelled mine to have very tight lock up, so I might have more trouble than anyone.

1.  If you are working on rudimentary skills, your flinch and movement is not impacted by the difference between resetting the disco or not.  Therefore, I just recock the trigger
2.  To open the slide I have two methods, at first using a Real Avid bushing wrench on a scrap of carpet and pushing the frame down into the wrench.  Now the action has loosened slightly and I can reset without moving the muzzle from "downrange" position or using the wrench.  I put the heel of the frame into my belly and with both hands break the action open slightly (yes I do have good hand strength).  The left hand thumb can go in the front of the trigger guard to give a bit of leverage.  When it moves, I can change my hands to the rear serrations and grip and cycle the slide in the normal manner (normal for a pistol with a looser lock up)  I do take off my wedding ring in order to not damage it on the slide serrations

I'd ignore by #2 and just follow #1 above.


Last edited by Aprilian on 11/30/2017, 10:38 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Magload on 11/30/2017, 10:34 am

I have a pistol with a slide racker that fits into the rear slide cut and that works very well.  I have no problem racking any pistol with thumb and index finger but scopes can sometimes get in the way.  I have went to low mounts and that even makes getting a grip harder.  Don
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by jmdavis on 11/30/2017, 10:36 am

I rack the slide most times with the scope on the 45. I would like a slide racker for the Marvel.
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Dr.Don on 11/30/2017, 2:12 pm

There are some great examples in this thread of why wedge fitting a barrel lockup is not desirable.  I once looked at a Les Baer gun in a gun store, and neither I nor the salesman could cycle it by hand.
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Keyholed on 12/3/2017, 5:40 am

jmdavis wrote:I rack the slide most times with the scope on the 45. I would like a slide racker for the Marvel.

I wanted one for my Nelson. Then I switched to the "cantilevered" rearward mounting style for the Ultradot, and decided I really wanted a slide racker. I learned to do it easy enough, but anytime I give my gun to somebody to shoot, they have a hell of a time.

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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Fotomaniac on 3/28/2018, 11:08 am

Every top shooter, including 12 time champion Gunny Zins...says to rack the slide...never cock the hammer.  In fact if you ever have the opportunity to hold his Cabot and try to cock the hammer, you will get his wrath immediately!  Racking the slide resets everything as if a round had been fired.  According to some experts just cocking the hammer can do some slight damage to the works.  I do know that for a consistent dry fire feel, racking slide while holding the trigger in results in a better outcome.  Makes sense to me...Ymmv.

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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by dronning on 3/28/2018, 12:07 pm

You will destroy a good trigger job faster than anything by repeatedly cocking the hammer with your thumb I don't care how careful you might be you are putting sideways pressure on the hammer.  Even the tightest of all guns will have some play in the pins and will allow some hammer misalignment with the sear when pushed to the side.  Using the slide will help avoid this. 
- Dave
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by mikemyers on 3/28/2018, 12:52 pm

That being the case, how does one dry-fire a revolver?   ...or are those parts totally different?
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Tim:H11 on 3/28/2018, 12:59 pm

mikemyers wrote:That being the case, how does one dry-fire a revolver?   ...or are those parts totally different?

Snap caps
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Amati on 3/30/2018, 7:29 am

jmdavis wrote:I rack the slide most times with the scope on the 45. I would like a slide racker for the Marvel.

OK but that is one expensive slide racker. 
Lots of good information here.

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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by mikemyers on 3/30/2018, 8:53 am

Seems to me that one of the professional gun builders is the person to provide feedback here.  At least one of them feels that cocking the hammer for dry firing causes no damage to the trigger job.  You're also wearing the slide fit, even though it's not by much.  Something to think about, when is there the most pressure between the various trigger parts?  

I know it's a different type of gun, but if you shoot a revolver in single action, you don't have any choice other than to cock the hammer by hand each time, dry firing or otherwise.
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by javaduke on 3/30/2018, 9:11 am

I was once told by a famous gunsmith to use the following technique: 1) after the dry fire shot keep pulling the trigger; 2) cock the hammer with the thumb and keep the pressure on the hammer; 3) release the trigger; 4) gently release the hammer so that hooks rest on the sear. But then many people told me to never do that and just rack the slide - which is what I do now.

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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Wobbley on 3/30/2018, 9:32 am

The reason to cycle the slide is that way the trigger and hammer reset as if the gun was being shot.  

Another reason is that if the thumb slips off the hammer, the hammer is stopped by the safety notch on the hammer and who knows what that does to your sear surfaces.
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Vociferous on 3/30/2018, 12:35 pm

Too much work.  I just cock the hammer and go.  I dry fire almost everyday.  Been doing it with my Baers for several years.  If i'm ruining the trigger parts, I can't tell.
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by JNW1 on 3/30/2018, 5:50 pm

So, let me see if I understand the proper sequence of events.

1-cock the gun by operating the slide.
2-pull trigger, but this first dry fire will not have the "normal" trigger pull because the trigger was not being held back
3-keep holding trigger all the way back
4-rack slide to cock the gun
5-let trigger go forward
6-now pull trigger for the full live fire type trigger pull

Is this correct?
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by Chris Miceli on 3/30/2018, 5:59 pm

I hold trigger back then rack, release trigger, dry fire, hold trigger back , rack back. Same sequence as if firing
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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

Post by BEA on 4/1/2018, 11:11 am

A bullseye shooter actually doing damage to a 1911 by dry firing it...that is funny.

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Re: Dry Firing a 1911

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