How to Perform a 1911 function and safety check.

Kimber Pro Carry II

Kimber Pro Carry II

Anytime you disassemble or field strip your 1911 for cleaning purposes, recoil spring replacement, plunger tube replacement, upgrade, etc. it is necessary to perform a function and safety check. This is simply a series of steps to be sure that the gun has been assembled properly and the firearm safeties are working normally..

This tutorial will walk you step-by-step through a thorough mechanical function check.

The checks in this tutorial are very thorough. There is more here than a safety check. When you reassemble your 1911, it is advisable to at least do the safety checks. Steps 11-15 deal specifically with the thumb and grip safeties.

This function check will be performed with the gun empty of live ammunition. Some of the steps will involve dummy rounds, which are simply fake ammo that has the same size and shape as real ammunition, but does not have any gun powder or primer.

The check will verify proper operation of:

  • Magazine insertion and release
  • Trigger operation
  • Thumb Safety fature
  • Grip safety feature
  • Firing pin block
  • Extractor/Ejector function

It is a comprehensive, yet quick verification to be sure all the safety functions work as designed.

To perform a complete mechanical function and safety check on the 1911, follow these steps:

Slide stop functions:

1. Take an empty magazine and insert it into the gun’s magazine well and verify the magazine catches and the magazine is securely held in place.Insert an empty magazine in the mag well

2. Make sure the thumb safety is disengaged and rack the slide all the way to the rear and make sure the slide stop lever engages the slide stop notch and holds the slide all the way in the rearward position.Slide locks back on empty magazine

3. Make sure the slide stop lever is all the way up into a slight stop not as far as it will go.Slide lock fully engaged

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4. Remove the empty magazine using the magazine release button.

Hammer and Trigger Functions:

5. Rack the slide to the rear to release the slide stop lever and allow the slide to move all the way forward.Thumb safety off and slide fully forward

6. Do a press check or chamber check to verify once again that the gun is unloaded.

7. Press the trigger and hold it to the rear. The hammer must snap fully forward.Press trigger while holding the slide back one half inch

8. While continuing to hold the trigger all the way to the rear rack the slide. Hammer must remain in the fully cocked position.

Press trigger while holding the slide back one half inch

9. Allow the trigger to slowly come forward until you feel the click of the trigger reset and then press the trigger again. The hammer must fall fully forward at this point.

Press the trigger and the hammer will fall

10. Take your finger off of the trigger and rack the slide. The hammer must remain in the fully cocked position.

Thumb Safety and Grip Safety Checks

11. Move the thumb safety into the safe position and attempt to press the trigger. The hammer must remain fully cocked.With thumb safety on press trigger and hammer should stay cocked

12. Place the thumb safety back into the downward or fire position. The hammer must remain fully cocked.

13. Adjust your grip so you are not pressing the grip safety and pres the trigger. The hammer must not drop and remain fully

cocked.Press trigger with grip safety released and hammer must not fall

14. Reestablish a correct firing grip and using your support side hand, retract the slide slightly, about one half inch and hold it there.

15. Press the trigger. The hammer must remain fully cocked.Press trigger with slide slightly back hammer should stay cocked

Magazine & Magazine Well Checks:

16. Place an empty magazine fully into the magazine well and ensure it clicks in place.

17. Depress the magazine release and the magazine should drop out of the gun.

18. Load a magazine with DUMMY ROUNDS.

19. Insert a magazine that is fully loaded with DUMMY ROUNDS into the gun and ensure it clicks into place.

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20. Once again, depress the magazine release and the magazine should drop out of the gun.

Eject & Chambering Checks:

21. Insert the magazine containing the dummy rounds again.

22. Rack the slide

23. Slide should close fully under its own recoil spring power.

24. Rack the slide again.

25. A dummy round should be ejected from the ejection port and a new dummy round should be stripped off of the top of the magazine and fully chambered.

26. Continue racking the slide to simulate shooting the pistol and one by one, the dummy rounds should all be ejected until the magazine is empty and the slide locks back on the empty magazine.

27. Proceed to do this using every magazine you intend to use with the gun.

28. Guns equipped with a firing pin safety feature (Colt Series 80 or later 1911s) have one more check. Lock the slide back, and take a small punch and press on the rear of the firing pin. Be sure it stops before protruding into the chamber through the breech face.Press firing pin with small punch it should not enter the chamber

29. Go to the range and test fire the gun.

Shooting at the range

As you can see, there are a lot of steps, but if you go through it a few times, you will have it down. It is basically just a quick test of all the functions and safeties.

This completes the 1911 safety and function check. If all went well, your gun is ready to go!

Please leave comments, questions or suggestions in the comment section below.