This is an email conversation with a customer that had problems with his slide locking back on his 1911.
“I received my Kimber 45 back from your shop today. Overall I am very pleased with the quality of the finish and gunsmithing.
However, upon field stripping and inspecting the weapon, then reassembling and conducting a function check, I could not get the slide to lock back on an empty magazine. I use high quality Wilson ETM magazines, have never had any historic issues with the slide, and was able to repeat the error on all 4 magazines. Even after a second and third field strip and reassembly I never once was able to get the slide to lock on any empty magazine.
The slide stayed locked open if I manually opened it, inserted an empty magazine and tried to run the slide forward.
Please let me know if you have any ideas what might be causing the problem.”
This was our response.
“Did you send a magazine with your pistol when we refinished it? I think that you did, because I remember that pistol not locking back on the magazine provided. Part of our Quality Control and Quality Assurance is that we check to make sure the slide locks to the rear on an empty magazine. I remember that magazine being finicky at locking the slide to the rear.
I run Wilson 47D mags and they are good mags, but they and the ETM mags have polymer followers. If you look at the notch on the follower where it pushes up the slide stop you’ll begin to see wear or gouging of the plastic. (See attached picture showing the location that you want to inspect.) As that occurs the positive locking of the ‘slide stop’ begins to diminish. Another issue could be the magazine springs need replacing because they are not providing enough force to push follower up, thus pushing the ‘slide stop’ up to lock the slide open. We tried your pistol with Chip McCormick magazines with steel followers and the slide locked to the rear.
I recommend trying some magazines with steel followers, like the Chip McCormick mags. If that works then you’ll want to replace the polymer followers with new ones or replace your springs. If the slide will still not lock back after you have tried all of the above, then please contact me and we’ll provide you return shipping information. We’ll ask that you ship the pistol with the magazines so that we can better determine what the problem is and correct it.”
The customer did as we asked and everything worked out great.
“Tried some of your suggestions. Everything is running smooth now. Thank you very much. Quite happy with the work on the gun.”
So if your slide does not lock back check the magazine follower and spring in your magazine. If problems persist send the handgun into ROBAR and we can fix it.