SLR15 1911 PISTOL ARMORER COURSE
When: December 2, 2019
Where: Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy, Douglas WY
We conducted a 1-day (8-hour) 1911 Pistol Armorer Course at the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy. We have taught numerous armorer courses here over the last 2 decades, and we look forward to many more. The onsite facilities offer plenty of table space, decent lighting, and a large screen and projection system that allowed us to project animated graphics of the weapons system and powerpoint of detailed pics of gun parts, especially when looking at finer detail things like machining, stress cracks & wear. In this course we cover all variants of the 1911 Pistol system.
This class was a mix of Law Enforcement Officers from Wyoming and Colorado.
The 1911 pistols in this class were a mix of .45acp pistols from Kimber, Colt 80 series, Remington, Springfield, Rock Island, Taurus, and Sig Sauer.
We started the day with going through the course manual we give all students. Students were supplied their own set of basic tools necessary to do most of the work on their pistols, and we passed out weapon and accessory specific tools as needed. Slip2000 "EWL" Extreme Weapons Lubricant & "EWL30", Slip2000 #725 Cleaner Degreaser, and Kroil was supplied to everyone. A short session of nomenclature was covered, at which time covered every feature and exterior part of the pistol was covered, to include all the hidden design features that most people are not aware of. Everyone was taught the procedures series of function checks, and safety checks that we recommend.
Next we covered the proper way to field strip their pistols, showing two possible procedures that are sometimes specific to the exact configuration for each particular pistol. Once pistols were field stripped, proper maintenance was shown of where and what to clean, how to clean it, and why some areas need specific attention that a lot of users miss. We also covered issues of using lead ammunition vs jacketed, and showed where and how to deal with lead fouling.
The Frame session started with the stocks or grip panels. We had several types of grip screws and everyone was careful upon removal. With the grip screws removed we inspected bushings. There were two types of grip bushings present, and everyone was taught repair and replacement procedures along with inspections and staking. Grip upgrades were shown and discussed.
Note: Two of the Kimber pistols had grip bushings that had the grip screw stuck when the grip screws were unscrewed to get the grips off. We showed how to get these out the safest way using the proper tools and method. One of the Springfield pistols had a grip screw busing that was deformed from someone trying to remove it with a traditional flat bladed screwdriver, we were able to get this out with a special tool that supports damaged damaged bushing, and once removed it was replaced with a new one.
We had everyone disassemble their frames. During this portion we showed how the pistol was designed to be its own tool kit for the field, and why we like properly fitting tools like punches and screwdriver (to include hex and torx). This class had three types of ambidextrous thumb safeties. We showed how all three types work and how they are to be properly disassembled and assembled.
The rest of the frame was disassembled, to include all parts (trigger, disconnector, sear, mainspring housing, sear spring, hammer pin, sear pin, trigger, magazine catch, etc). Inspections were done on all parts.
The frames were reassembled and disassembled several times until everyone was comfortable. From there we showed differences in the internal parts. This allows us to cover the way parts are made and why and how sometimes parts have to be custom fit and tuned. We also covered several variations of internal safety mechanisms of Swartz and 80's series type systems.
Note: Everyone learned that they had to be careful to make sure they install the sear spring correctly, as if it's placed wrong the gun will malfunction.
We showed how to fit and perform trigger jobs, how to fixture and stone these for proper fit and function. There were several pistols with adjustable trigger, we showed how this adjustment works, and made sure everyone who had them, locked the adjustment down. We had brought a stripped 1911 frame and new frame components, which allowed people to go hands on and fit a few parts by stoning and filing.
Ejectors were gone through, showing several variations, and where and why some ejectors work better than others. We showed how to do ejector replacements and tuning.
Note: One Officers Sig Sauer had a loose plunger tube, we see this on occasion on pistols from many different manufacturers. When we tried to use our two different plunger tube staking tools, it was discovered that neither of them fit, as this pistol had a square shaped plunger tube. This pistol also had a loose ejector that rattled. He decided to put it back into Sig Sauer's hands.
Once done with the frames we moved into the slides. Slides were inspected and disassembled including firing pins, firing pin springs, firing pin stops, 80 series type firing pin safety assemblies, extractors, sights, etc. Everyone was shown the differences between 70 and 80 series parts, and parts from multiple sources. Sight replacement, upgrades, and staking were covered. Most of the pistols present had internal extractors, except for one Sig Sauer which had a external. We showed our preference for internal extractors. We went through inspections on the extractors and gauging. We also showed how to fit the extractors and adjust tension using the field method and the extractor tools (which is our preference). Once done with extractors we showed how we correlate the extraction and ejection.
Note: Several people found lots of heavy fouling build up inside their extractor and firing pin systems, of which none of these had ever been removed and all had several years of field use and carry. We recommend that these be removed on a regular basis during Armorer Inspections, as failures can happen if it's neglected.
The last session was spent on springs, spring tensions, ammunition, magazines, and everything that keeps the pistols running properly. We measured the strength of springs and several pistols present had too light recoil springs and main springs, we had a few replacements that we gave to those that wanted them. We showed the differences in magazine designs, and correlated this to feeding issues a lot of times can be attributed to having the wrong magazine. At the end of the day all pistol were reassembled, gauged and inspected.
Note: One of the Kimber pistols had a kinked firing pin spring. This was on a gun that had heavy fouling build inside the firing pin channel. After things were cleaned up, we replaced it with a new spring.
Note: People took advantage of our recoil spring gauge. Several people found that their recoil springs were too light. We showed why we prefer on 5" govt type duty pistols to use 18Lbs spring packs from Wolff, and what happens when spring systems are worn out or too light. It is our recommendation that one of the best and most important things you can do for any weapons that use spring loaded actions is to replace the springs on a regular basis, think of it like oil changes on a vehicle. When replacing springs on a 1911 pistol it is our recommendation that you change the recoil spring, main spring, and firing pin spring together.
This course covered:
History of the Weapon System
Cycles of Function
Complete Disassembly & Assembly
Identification of Common Problems and Parts
Custom Fitting Parts (Beaver Tails, Extractors, Hammers & Triggers, etc)
Identification of Group Components
Extractors (Internal & External)
Cleaning and Maintenance
Barrel, Frame & Slide Inspections
Barrel & Crown Issues
Parts Interchangeability & custom fitting of parts
Trigger & Hammer Removal, Cleaning, and Replacement
Accessories and Customizing
Tool Options and Selection