Firing Pin Safety and Accidental Discharge from Dropping a 1911

From Geoff Beneze

Dillis Freeman wrote:

>Actually, a firing pin safety protects you in various scenarios, such
>as if you drop the weapon on its muzzle, side, or rear with sufficient
>force to cause the sear or hammer to slip allowing the weapon to
>discharge in the absence of this safety. It also allows you to avoid
>the Rambo argument being used against you by showing that you
>intentionally bought a weapon with as many safeties as possible.

Ok, let’s start working this myth over. It’s apparently time for some more myth-busting.

Reading through Hatcher’s Notebooks, one finds that he established primer detonation force is in the range of 12 in./oz. for “no fire” to the upper scale of 60 in./oz. for “all fire.” This was for 30 cal. centerfire rifle ammo. We’ll assume, for the sake of argument that there’s no substantial difference between primers of various brands and sizes. The midpoint between the “all fire” and the “no fire” is 36 in./oz. I’ve just weighed a half dozen firing pins from my parts box and come up with an average of 65 grains, or .148 oz. If we have a free floating firing pin with no spring to impede forward movement, dropping the gun perpendicular on the muzzle from a height of 10 feet will generate almost 18 in./oz.

Again, assuming Hatcher’s midpoint of 38 in./oz. would cause 50% of the rounds to fire we’d have to drop the gun, muzzle down, from a minimum of 20 feet. We’re approaching Dean’s figure of four stories here. Once we add the FP spring to the equation – and my (VERY) informal testing of spring weight indicates a rate of between 3 and 3.5 Lb. So we add 48 oz more to the 36 to overcome the spring and then set off 50% and we’re getting into a drop range that’s achieved only be mountain climbers and pilots. The same values hold true of falling on the hammer (if down).

The ONLY place where the Series 80 stuff actually would make a difference is 1. Feelin’ Good, and 2. a mechanical malfunction/failure that allowed the hammer to drop.

As to the second statement, EVERY TIME we repeat such drivel, we give away some of our power (rights) to the anti’s. EVERY SINGLE TIME we say it, we’re damaging our cause. Until someone can show me case law where this was a factor, we’d all be better off if people pushing these bromides would just shut up.

geoff beneze, Tempe, AZ

[email protected]

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