View Full Version : Hammer Follows Slide Unless Grip Normal

One of Many
29th October 2004, 22:01
I just finished installing an Ed Brown Beavertail Grip Safety on my Combat Commander. As part of my function checking of the installation, I discovered that when the grip is held in a sideways (like the Hollywood Gangsta's) or upside down position, the Hammer falls when I cycle the slide by hand. If I hold the grip in the normal position, the Hammer stays cocked.

The safetys both seem to be working properly. I did not change anything except the grip safety, and blending the frame to fit the grip safety I installed.

I never had reason to check for this problem before I did this modification, so I don't know if it would have occurred with the factory stock grip safety.

Is this a normal situation for all 1911 type handguns, or do I need to change disconnectors (or something else)? Is there some adjustment I can do to eliminate this Hammer Following Slide from happening?

I intend to use this as a carry gun, so I would like to have it working properly. I can take precautions at the range, but that may not be possible in a sudden defensive situation.

30th October 2004, 02:00
Sounds like you have a small problem in your sear/disconnector interaction area there, but don't take my word for it. I am no where as experienced as Tuner or Wichaka on these issues. I am sure they'll drop in here pretty soon to help you out.


30th October 2004, 05:09
That's odd.... :confused: Just when I thought I'd seen it all. Gotta admit that I never thought of checkin' for followdown with the gun held like that though...Never known a grip safety change to cause a followdown either.
It may be that something not related to the grip safety is causing it, and
will eventually cause followdown regardless of the grip safety or how the gun is held.

Let's consider what causes hammer follow and try to work backward.

Hammer/sear relationship...Short, worn or broken hammer hooks..Worn or broken sear...Sear spring tension or geometry incorrect...Trigger or sear not resetting due to insufficient sear spring tension...Disconnect not resetting
due to sear spring tension or crud in the disconnector channel. When was the gun last detail-stripped and cleaned? (Detail-stripping takes the gun all the way down, with all internals on the table.)

Let's eliminate a couple of things and go from there. Pull the trigger fully rearward, hold it there and hand-cycle the empty gun. Does the hammer still follow? Repeat, hand-cycling the gun slowly and release the trigger. Does it reset freely...or does it seem to be a little sluggish? Squeeze the trigger...
Is there a short takeup before you feel the resistance of the sear? Pull through slowly until the hammer falls. Does the break feel mushy or gritty?
Repeat, and hold the trigger rearward again. Put the gun close to your ear and slowly release the trigger. Can you hear the disconnect reset with a light
click. Are you sure that it didn't follow with the original safety?

Be aware that repeated full-speed slide cycling with the gun empty is bad for it, and can cause several problems if done as a matter of habit.

Standin' by...

One of Many
30th October 2004, 11:43
The gun was completely stripped down when I installed the new grip safety. All of the small parts were clean from my last cleaning after shooting.

I cleaned the gun thoroughly before reassembly, since it had metal shavings all through the frame. I paid special attention to the disconnector hole (I used a Q-tip to get inside the hole), and all of the other nooks and crannies in the frame (like the trigger channel).

I reassembled the pistol DRY, thinking I would function test that way, and then disassemble and apply lube before shooting the gun.

When I hold the gun in a normal (grip down) position, the hammer does not follow, and I hear a distinct (sharp) click as the sear resets. The trigger has about 1/16" of takeup, then breaks cleanly, with some overtravel. I see no obvious damage to the hammer/sear engagement area. With the exception of the new grip safety and a recoil buffer system, the parts in the gun are the original factory parts. I have fired thousands of rounds through this gun with no indications of trigger/sear problems.

I never checked the gun for hammer follow before changing the grip safety, but it doesn't follow when held in the normal position, and I had no reason to check it sideways or upside down before I changed the grip safety.

I am in the Eastern Time Zone, so there is some possibility of delay between post and response (I am assuming you are further West). My local time now is about 12:44 PM.

Thanks for the help. I hope you can figure this out.


30th October 2004, 12:04
Howdy Mike,

One more question, and I'll get to some possible cures.

Does the hammer fall all the way to the slide...or does it stop on the half-cock?

Try bending the center and left legs of the sear spring forward a little to increase the tension on the trigger and the sear. If you happened to install a reduced-power mainspring, get a standard spring...23#.

When you bend the sear spring, grasp it at a point just above the area where it splits. If you bend the leaf using the corners as pivot points, they're likely to snap off. Try to bend gradually over the length instead of concentrating it all on one point to keep from exceeding the elastic limit of the spring. If that fixes it, order a new one. Brownells is out of stock on OEM Colt sear springs...but you can order a Nowlin and probably drop it in after prepping it.
Stone a slight angle on the center leg where it contacts the discinnect. Try to match the 48 degree angle of the disconnect as closely as you can. Not critical to make it exact. On an angle...also lightly break the sharp corner on the left one where it contacts the sear, and do the same on the BACKside of the one that controls the grip safety. Use a Medium India stone if you have one. if not, use a piece of 600-grit wet or dry paper backed by the flat surface of the stone.

Standin' by...

One of Many
30th October 2004, 13:58
I found a wear groove in the disconnector where the spring makes contact. I stoned that out so that the back of the disconnector is flat and smooth, and broke the edges and corners on the reworked disconnector. I also increased the spring pressure some by a slight amount of bending, and broke the edges and corners of the spring.

I am not sure what you mean by matching the 48 degree angle. The spring leaves that affect the sear and disconnector run parallel and adjacent to each other (flat line) from the separation point all the way to their respective contact points. The disconnector spring applies pressure at the edge of the spring, not along the flat of the spring, and the flat does not match the angle of the disconnector area that bears against it. Do I need to bend a crook into the disconnector spring at the tip, to allow the flat of the spring to contact the disconnector?

I reassemble the gun, and it is still allowing the hammer to fall if it is held sideways or upside down. The hammer follows the slide all of the way down, and does not catch on the half-cock notch.

We had a temporary statewide cable TV/Internet outage in Michigan after your last post, while I was trying your suggestions. Glad it came back up quickly. Thanks for the help.


30th October 2004, 14:12
The 48 degree angle on the backside of the disconnect is the one. When you stoned it flat and smooth...if you changed that angle as much as one degree, you made the sear spring unable to reset it...If you were careful to
follow the angle, it's probably okay.

Matching angle on the sear spring leaves...Look at the very top of the center leaf on the side facing the disconnect. Break that sharp corner at an angle close to the one on the disconnect so it'll slide up and down that angle. A
sharp edge there will snag on a toolmark...which I'd suspect was your wear mark.

Reading back, you already did that. Sorry I wasn't too clear on the post

The hammer following all the way is strong indication that either the sear spring has failed, and isn't holding the sear into contact with the hammer...or
the trigger is nudging the sear and letting the hammer fall. Does it still follow when you hold the trigger fully rearward? If it does, the may net be pushing the disconnect down and out of contact with the sear and trigger...Holding it upside down...Puzzled...maybe it's right on the edge of following, and gravity is playin' a part. Hard to diagnose this one without the gun here. Weird one.
Do you have another disconnector that you can try?

One of Many
30th October 2004, 14:38
I had a memory nudge when you metioned the trigger may be holding the disconnector away from contacting the the sear. For years I used a trigger shoe that was adjusted to act as an overtravel stop. That trigger shoe recently fell off while at the range, and I did not reinstall it.

I just installed the trigger shoe, and the hammer following stopped cold.

I always pull the trigger back hard and all the way, and the trigger stop helped keep things lined up where the sights were when I decided to pull the trigger.

I had left the trigger shoe off after reading post on this message board about reliability issues with overtravel stops on 1911 pistols (especcially since it fell off while I was shooting the gun).

Now the question is: do I need to replace the trigger, or some other part(s) to allow the gun to function safely and reliably?

Thanks for the help.


30th October 2004, 14:57
Ah! In LE circles...that there's what's known as a clue!

Either you've got a worn disconnect...or it's been stoned or polished on the top...or it's out of spec. The disconnect isn't being pushed downward far enough to get clear of the bottom of the sear. It's almost at the point of following anyway.

I need to know...Trigger shoe OFF...Trigger pulled and held...Gun upside down...Does the hammer still follow? AND...Will it follow even if the slide is eased into battery?

Rx...Fit thee a new disconnect and sear spring. Hit this link and open the second one from the top to get a better understanding of the disconnect's function. If you already have...read it again. You're very close to having the full-auto experience.

One of Many
30th October 2004, 15:16
Without the trigger shoe, with the trigger held all the way back, the hammer will follow the slide when easing the slide forward while upside down or sideways.

With the trigger shoe, and doing the same thing, it does not follow.

Looks like time to order a new disconnector. I am thinking of ordering a new trigger as well. I have large hands, but short fingers; do any of the better parts makers have a short trigger? Most of the advertisments I see look like they are long reach (with the holes drill side to side for lightening the mass).

Thanks for the help.