Springfield/Warren 9mm 1911 Endurance Test: Report #25

3-Aug-13 – 12:30 by ToddG
46,551 rounds 14 stoppages 0 malfunctions 3 parts breakages

Less than 3,500 rounds to go! Barring a catastrophe the SACS/Warren gun should hit the 50,000 round mark within the next couple of weeks.

For the third update in a row, there is a stoppage to report. This one occurred during the Langdon Tactical Pistol Skills class in Culpeper, VA and was caught on video.

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Here’s what happened in a  nutshell:

  • Slide locks back on an empty gun per usual.
  • Dropping the slide during the reload, the top round pushed forward ahead of the extractor rather than getting under the hook. This occurs pretty regularly if I drop the slide gently by hand (which I’d consider a shooter induced stoppage) with the Wilson ETM magazines because they hold the rounds so far forward in the tube. The issue was exacerbated in this case because both the gun and magazines had been in a hot, dusty environment for two days without cleaning or lubrication. The slide was moving sluggishly.
  • When I tap-rack, because the misfed round isn’t in the extractor hook it doesn’t get pulled back onto the ejector. It just sits there. If you watch the video, the angle of the gun is too upright during the rack so gravity doesn’t get a chance to help. So what was otherwise a minor stoppage becomes a much more complicated problem induced by the shooter (me).
  • As the slide comes back forward after the rack, another round is picked up from the magazine and this one does get into the extractor claw. The result is a classic double feed.
  • I see that the slide isn’t in battery after the rack.
  • I lock the slide back. While doing so my super-tactical situational OODA awareness picks up on the cameraman over my shoulder. Hooray, my cascade of errors is being recorded for posterity!
  • I see both misfed rounds drop out of the gun.
  • I reload the gun and continue the drill.

So there was a stoppage and it is being counted against the gun. But it’s important to realize that the severity of the stoppage was caused by me being lazy during a drill. That’s not the gun’s fault. It’s just an indication that I need to put some dedicated time into stoppage clearing drills for a while.

seth-EL-coverThe Langdon Tactical class was otherwise without incident. A friend even borrowed my backup SACS/Warren gun (serial -16) and put more than 400 rounds through it. Result? He’s going to buy one.

The class itself was excellent — as expected — and it’s great to see Ernest teaching open enrollment courses again. My younger brother Seth also took the class (running one of my HK P30’s). He’s pictured at right getting some one-on-one coaching from Langdon during a cover drill.

I also got video of a wildly fun drill from the class. It’s Langdon’s “Maximum Performance” exercise designed to get you shooting as fast as you can. At very close range — just beyond “destroy the target with muzzle blast” distance — you draw from concealment, fire one round into each 8″ body target, fire another round to each 8″ body target, and then fire one round to each 3×5 head box. I stuttered moving from the left target to the center target both times. This is definitely a drill that should be doable in under 3 seconds.

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The day before the Langdon class, Seth and I got in a little warmup at the NRA Headquarters Range. Near the end of our practice we decided to do some 50yd slow fire shooting. While Seth was consistently hitting a 6×8 target, I found myself struggling to put rounds on paper at that distance. It was frustrating to say the least but the schedule didn’t allow me to address it further that day.

Yesterday I finally got a chance to hit the range again and started right with slow fire marksmanship. Sure enough, it was giving me fits. By that I mean I couldn’t even keep everything inside an 8″ circle at 25yd! Specifically I was putting half my rounds high and right of the target.

Was it the gun? First I had my friend joshs shoot it and he easily shot a sub-3″ offhand group at 25yd; so mechanically the gun & ammo were fine. Then I shot the gun strong hand only and was able to keep everything within a 4″ circle at 25yd even at a moderate pace; so my sight picture and trigger control weren’t screwed up. So what the heck was going on?

After two hours of shooting, analyzing, philosophizing, and the occasional suicidal thought I decided to take out the backup gun (serial -16) and see if I was having the same problem with it. Sure enough, first five shots went into a nice 2″ group in the very center of the target. Seriously, what the hell?

The only real difference between the two pistols was the left stock panel. On the test gun, I’d added a bump (see update #20) to prevent me from riding the slide release while I was experimenting with Bob Vogel’s grip technique. The backup gun still had a standard VCD Grips panel on it. So on a lark I swapped left stock panels and suddenly I was shooting nice 2″ groups in the center of the target with the test gun and pushing rounds high & right with the backup.

I’ve been playing around with my left hand grip quite a lot recently and apparently I’d reached a point where that bump of extra material was pushing into my palm just enough to cause trouble. Suffice to say, David at VCD Grips is sending me a replacement panel so I can incinerate the one I bungled up.

During the upcoming week I’ll be putting in some serious practice at both the NRA and Peacemaker National Training Center so look for another update on the SACS/Warren gun soon.

Train hard & stay safe! ToddG

You can also follow and discuss via the pistol-forum.com 2012-2013 Endurance Test thread.

Previous Springfield/Warren 9mm 1911 Endurance Test posts at pistol-training.com:

  1. 8 Responses to “Springfield/Warren 9mm 1911 Endurance Test: Report #25”

  2. Todd: This might be totally off base, but consider that it might not only be the grip. Seth is younger than you and having no problems at 50? Your shooting was inconsistent at 50? Is it possible that your eyes are starting to give you just a bit of trouble? Not enough to consciously notice, and not enough to throw you off completely but just enough to make you inconsistent?

    By SteveJ on Aug 3, 2013

  3. Todd: Have you tried the Dawson 10rd, 9mm 1911 mags? They have the longest bodies of any 9mm mag I’ve seen and they seat easily fully loaded. The Dawson mags have a spacer in the back but it doesn’t push the rounds as far forward as the ETMs. Instead the Dawsons use a tiny feed lip on the front of the mag. I don’t have enough rounds on the Dawsons to say if they are as reliable as the ETMs.

    By Jon in NH on Aug 3, 2013

  4. Steve — I’d considered vision first but since I could shoot fine SHO and shot fine once the grip panel was changed it seems doubtful.

    Jon — I contacted Dawson in September of last year to ask if they’d like to send some magazines for T&E and they declined.

    By ToddG on Aug 3, 2013

  5. With the stoppage rate a little higher than in the other test guns is your faith in the 1911 still strong?

    By Steve B on Aug 4, 2013

  6. That’s why I prefer extractors which can jump a rim.

    By Marc on Aug 4, 2013

  7. So how much longer are you going to shoot it? … And maybe move on to something a little more interesting :).

    By Matt on Aug 4, 2013

  8. Matt — Fair question that will be answered in the coming weeks.

    By ToddG on Aug 4, 2013

  9. Todd, thanks for posting the video of that drill. It is indeed a fun one to shoot. I ran it at the department range today with my duty belt, SLS/ALS, and got it down to about 3.48 clean. A really solid drill that pushes speed on transitions like a boss, but still has tight shots. Going to add it too my list.

    By Alan T on Aug 5, 2013

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