AAR 1911 Pistol Armorer Course, Douglas WY


When: December 5, 2016

Where: Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy, Douglas Wyoming

We conducted a 1-day (8-hour) 1911 Pistol Armorer Course at the Wyoming Law Enforcement Academy. This course was held on the day-1 of an Armorer Week that we have been doing at this location for several years. During the week we also did a 2-day AR15 / M16 / M4 Armorer Course, and a 2-day Law Enforcement Shotgun Armorer Course. The onsite facilities are excellent for multi-day courses, as there are classrooms, gun ranges, students can stay in the dorms, and eat meals onsite. We used a large classroom with plenty of table space, decent lighting, and a large screen that we were able to project animated graphics of the weapons system, powerpoint detailed pics of gun parts, and 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, Colorado, and Kansas.

The 1911 pistols in this class were a mix of Colt 70 & 80 series, Kimber, STI, Smith & Wesson, Sig Sauer, STI and Para Ordnance.

We started the day with going through the course manual that all students are given. Students were supplied with their own set of basic tools that are 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 of which procedure may fit 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 present, and everyone was careful upon removal. With the grip screws removed, and bushings were inspected. 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: One Officer’s frame had a damaged grip screw bushing, where the traditional slot for a screwdriver was mangled from previously trying to remove it with a standard screwdriver. We don’t recommend using a standard screwdriver, instead it is our preference to use a bushing driver like the Brownell’s magnatip. This bushing was damaged so that the bushing driver couldn’t even get a decent hold on it, as it wanted to slip. We got it out using a custom made tool that we have for just such situations, that allows us to tension down on inside & outside of the bushing at the same time as front and back, allowing us to get it removed. The bushing was removed, and replaced with a new one.

We had Officers disassemble their frames. During this portion we showed how the pistol was designed to be its own tool kit for the field, but also showed why we like properly fitting tools like punches and screwdriver (to include hex and torx). This class had two of the three types of ambidextrous thumb safeties that we often see. 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.

Note: One Officers pistol wasn’t working correctly during the function check inspections. Upon closer look it was found that his sear spring was broken. It was replaced with a new one.

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, why and how sometimes parts have to be custom fit and tuned. We also covered variations of internal safety mechanisms of the 80’s series and Swartz system.

We showed how to fit and perform trigger jobs, how to fixture and stone these for proper fit and function. Surprising that nobody had an adjustable trigger, we showed a couple of variations of them and how they work, and how to properly adjust them.

Note: One Officers pistol had a sticking disconnector. We showed him how to clean it up, and supervised while he performed this work until it was working properly.

Plunger tubes were inspected. We showed why some makers will put a kink in the spring. We showed how to deal with damage and corrosion inside the plunger tube. We also inspected plunger tubes for proper mounting and replacement.

Note: There was a Kimber and Sig Sauer that had loose plunger tubes. We supplied the staking tools, and these were taken care of.

The last thing we did on the frame was dealing with ejectors. We showed several different types of ejectors, inspections were done, and we showed how to replace, properly mount, and tune ejectors.

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 shown parts from multiple sources. Sight replacement, upgrades, and staking were covered. Most of the pistols present had internal extractors, except for the Sig Sauer’s 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 extractor 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,

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 of 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.

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
Ballistic Issues
Barrel & Crown Issues
Parts Interchangeability & custom fitting of parts
Trigger & Hammer Removal, Cleaning, and Replacement
Safety Replacement
Accessories and Customizing
Tool Options and Selection

Greg Sullivan "Sully"
SLR15 Rifles
(763) 712-0123