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Monday, March 14, 2016

S&W 1911 Sc Commander Update - Uh Oh!

Well I just got back from the range, and am disappointed to tell you that my beloved S&W 1911Sc kind of blew all over the county side. I am about around 15-16 hundred rounds through this piece, my late carry piece, and it has been superb. In my blog review I wrote that it had some several failures to lockback on an empty magazine. After speaking with several 1911 'experts', I accepted that my grip was at fault, and I was locking down the slide lock with my off hand thumb. Some 200 rounds later, I accept that it was my grip and not the gun. Zero failures. Yayyyyy! Now we are running 100%!
Until a few days later, at about 15-1800 rounds, this little piece locked up tighter than a Python's squeeze and would not fire. A round was tightly hung up, about halfway into the chamber. I could not place the safety in the on or the off position, it was frozen half way. A completely dangerous situation. The slide would NOT retract, not matter what forces I exerted. To make a long story short (and avoid any liabilities) I did eventually get the live round out of the pistol, and as I gave it a shake, the slide lock fell out onto the ground, and the slide with barrel, recoil guide, spring and bushing slid off the frame and onto the ground. Cool! A puzzle! Well on examination it appears that the stakes in the plunger tube sheered off from the frame, and allowed the plunger and spring to extend out far enough to freeze the mechanics of the 1911. The broken parts you see below.
 Down here you can see the loose slide, and the sheared off posts on the frame of the plunger housing. If I had been in a violent confrontation when such a failure occurred, I probably would not be writing this. So what to do. Many would completely condemn the piece and relegate it to the trash bin, or repair and sell it, and bad mouth it for the rest of their silly days.
The correct thing to do in my eyes is to recognize that first of all this is a machine and any machine, even a Rolls, can fail. Next, find the cause, and find the remedy. I do not know if this is a recurring (pattern) failure in the 1911Sc. But I suspect not, because I have read and studied virtually everything there is to read about this pistol. Including some un-public treatises. Is this plunger attached with MIM parts? Is this a first failure? The first question asked of me by a tech at S&W was 'what were you shooting in it for ammunition?'. I was honest. On that run I had fired a magazine of +P Remington Golden Saber, and then was on about my 200th round of Wolf Poly 230 grain ammo.
The tech then said 'yeah, I think we better take a look at that'. They are sending me by email a Fed-Ex free freight to S&W and back. Their service is unbelievably quick. They have been responsive. So, really, I cannot bitch. If I found a weak spot in this wonderful gun that can help them make future ones better, great! If not, and they fix it up to be like new that is also great. But, the real downside, is that once I get it back, I have to start evaluating this pistol from the very start. See, I decided I wanted to carry this baby for a LEOSA piece. To save lives. So, when fixed, I will begin to evaluate it for a thousand (make that two thousand) rounds again. Just for it's endurance and strength. We already know it is a most comfortable carry. We know it is superbly accurate and shootable. We know it is beautiful, and that with loc-tite blue on the grip screws, about perfect. We accept that it is powerful. It IS a gem to look at. But will it hold up for thousands of rounds? I'll keep you posted!
Oh, just so you know. In the meantime, my M&P 9 and Shield will accompany me afield. They are both proven, for thousands of malfunction free rounds, accuracy and comfort. Unfortunately, they are not nearly as pretty. And I AM attracted to pretty. Hurry up S&W. I can hardly wait!


  1. You scared me when you said it kinda blew all over the country side! I said a quick prayer that it wasn't in your hand.. Then I read further. Whew!

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