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1911 Function Checks

1911The 1911 Function Checks are used to verify the working order of an unloaded firearm and are an important step to complete after doing any work on a pistol or troubleshooting an issue. However, safety is the first and most important priority when performing any function check on a firearm. 


All firearm safety rules apply when doing safety checks. However, before beginning make sure that all ammunition has been removed from the area, visually and physically inspect the firearm is unloaded (then check again) and finally always make sure that the firearm is pointed in a safe direction when performing any safety check.


These are basic function checks and are not intended to test for advanced problems. Simply passing these checks does not guarantee that the firearm is safe. 


1911 Function Checks to perform


Basic Testing

  1. Insert the unloaded magazine into the firearm and ensure that it locks into place.
    1. Move the slide to the rear with the empty magazine in place. The slide should lock to the rear.
    2. Press the magazine catch. The magazine should fall free from the firearm of its own weight.
      1. This verifies the correct relationship of the magazine, magazine catch, and action.
  2. Press the slide catch lever, the slide should move to the forward position leaving the hammer cocked
    1. Press forward on the spur of the hammer. The hammer should remain cocked.
      1. This verifies the hammer/sear engagement functions properly. 


Sear Function Tests

  1. With the thumb safety off, press the trigger (Dry Fire), the hammer should fall. 
    1. This verifies the basic function of firing and that the safety and disconnector are not disengaging the hammer or firing pin.
  2. While pressing the trigger, pull the slide back
    1. With trigger still pressed release the slide. The hammer should stay cocked.
    2. Release the trigger. The hammer should stay cocked
    3. press the trigger (dry fire). The hammer should fall
  3. With the slide locked to the rear release the slide stop allowing the slide to “slam” home with force. The hammer should not fall. 


Grip Safety Test

  1. With the hammer cocked and the thumb safety off, grip the pistol so that the grip safety is not depressed.
    1. press the trigger, the hammer should not fall


Thumb Safety Test

  1. With the hammer cocked and the thumb safety on, grip the pistol like you were going to fire it (grip safety pressed down)
    1. Press the trigger, the hammer should not fall. 


Disconnector Tests

  1. With the slide in the forward position, hammer cocked and thumb safety off grip the pistol like you were going to fire it (grip safety pressed down).
    1. With your other hand pull the slide back about 1/4″ and press the trigger. The hammer should not fall.
    2. With your other hand pull the slide completely to the rear and then slowly moving it forward. 
      1. Press the trigger when the slide it about 1/2 way to its forward position. The hammer should not fall until the slide is in the full forward position. 
  2. Failing the disconnector tests shows that the disconnector is either worn or damaged and that the firearm is unsafe to fire until repaired. The firearm may go into a full auto or burst mode of firing. 


The ultimate function test is to live fire the pistol.


Inspection of the slide and slide components should be completed while you have the slide disassembled.

  1. Inspect the side for cracks and deformities. Wear of the finish is to expected and will vary depending on use and handling.
  2. Inspect the barrel for bulges, cracks, deforming and ensure the lands and grooves are intact. 
  3. Inspect the firing pin for chips and cracks, ensure that the firing pin moves freely in the firing pin well. 
  4. Inspect the extractor to ensure the extractor hook is in good working order and has not been chipped or broken. All surfaces should be inspected for corrosion and should be lubricated prior to reassembly.

Learn more about the 1911

We have lots of content to fill your 1911 needs. Visit our 1911 Series 70 Field Strip Video, 1911 Series 70 Slide Disassembly and Reassembly , 1911 Series 70 Frame Disassembly Video, as well as, 1911 Series 70 Frame Reassembly Video to learn more about this firearm.

If you would like to learn more about building a 1911, we have you covered there too. Visit our 1911 slide to frame fitting calculator, 1911 barrel hood fitting calculator and 80% 1911 for under $400 build adventure articles to learn more. 

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