1911 Live-Fire Function Test

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posted on June 24, 2016
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By default, after any work to the hammer, sear or trigger it’s a good safety practice to load the first few magazines with no more than two rounds. The reasoning is simple. If your pistol is faulty, there’s a chance you might experience a “double” where two or more shots are fired per trigger pull) rather than a seven- or eight-round burst, most of which would likely go skyward.

Since this is the first time firing live ammo in your 1911, only load two rounds in the magazine.


Fire several magazines, each containing two rounds, just to make sure everything functioning correctly, your pistol should pass the following test:

8 rounds, slow-fire (with the magazine removed before each shot)

8 rounds, strong-hand

8 rounds, weak-hand

8 rounds, limp-wristed

8 rounds, rapid-fire

Function should be your primary concern the first time you shoot your 1911. A target isn't needed at this stage.


When your pistol passes this test, congratulations are in order. Now it’s time to test it for accuracy. (With a little luck, you’ll have some itty-bitty, Facebook-worthy groups.) Afterward, feel free to reload all magazines and proceed to cut loose. Wring it out, like it owes you money—until it’s too hot to handle or you run out of ammo—whichever comes first.

When you’re finished, case it up (don’t forget to police your brass) take it home, give it a good cleaning and feel free to punctuate your post-shooting session with your celebratory adult beverage of choice. You’ve earned it.

In the next entry, I'll discuss some last-minute fixes that needed to be made before sending the pistol out for its final finish.

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