1911 FAIL

So last night, I went to install my brand spanking new TURBO SPEED Dawson Precision Magwell on my Para 16-40. No big deal, I thought – the instructions couldn’t have been clearer: Tap pin out, slide magwell into place, tap new pin in and PRESTO you’re reloading at the speed of light.

I should have known better.

After beating the pin out of my gun, I slide the magwell into place, and low and behold, the pin holes in the magwell and the gun itself don’t line up. Turns out I’ll need to remove some material from the grips to make the magwell line up, which is no big deal. I make this realization, take the magwell off, and in so doing, manage to dislodge the mainspring housing from the gun. No big deal, I think, I’ll just pop it right back on, and so I do after some looking and reference to see how it goes back together.

I get everything put back together, and function test the gun to make sure I didn’t inadvertently break something in my soon to be open blaster. Rack slide, dry fire…hmm…the trigger seems kind of light, that’s weird. Oh well, try it again, rack slide, dry fire, hold trigger down and rack slide again to simulate the function of the gun…and holy balls the hammer’s not staying back.

What’s happening now, is that if I dry fire the gun, and the rack the slide while holding the trigger to the rear (to simulate what would happen if I fired the gun) the hammer stubbornly refuses to stay back, and instead follows the slide forward as it returns to battery. I am thinking that somehow when I put the mainspring housing back, I messed up something in the trigger/hammer/grip safety linkage, but I have no idea what. Obviously, help, ideas, etc are appreciated.


  1. You have the leaf spring under the sear legs, or under the disconect. There are 3 prongs, one that goes back towards the grip safety on the right (pretty obvious), the one in the middle rests on the bottom of the disconnect, and the one on the left has a little notch on it – rest this on top of the sear.

    You probably need to take the grip safety off to get the spring lined up right. To do this (assuming no ambi safety), remove the mainspring housing, cock the hammer and remove the thumb safety by pulling out while rocking back and forth a bit right around halfway on safe. The grip safety comes out, then you can line that spring up a little better.
    Tip – when putting the mainspring housing back on – make sure the hammer is all the way forward (if you remove the slide it will go just a little bit further) to make it easier to put it back on.

    Check this out for pictures:

  2. Not sure about paras, but usually the right side is held on by the right grip panel – remove it and pull straight out to get it off first. There are some that are held on by the hammer pin, I think if that is the case, then it has to be in the up position to be removed (again pulling out, maybe some wiggling up and down). In either case, the right side has to come off first.

    You may be able to line up that spring right without taking it this far down, but it is more difficult (and… if you are going to do this… you may as well clean it out some while you are in there… never hurts).

    Oh, on reassembly, put the leaf spring in, then slide in the mainspring housing about half way to hold that leaf spring in place while you are putting the safeties back on.

  3. 1. That blade thingy on the multitool? That’s for getting the right side safety off after you’ve removed the grip panel.

    2. Quick tip for changing the MSH if you don’t want to detail strip the frame: Hold the grip safety down snugly with rubber bands and it will keep everything lined up so you can slide the MSH in and out without changing the alignment of any internal bits…

  4. I’ve put both together from bare frames more than once, and really don’t see much difference. The only really tricky part on the 1911 is making sure the sear and disconnector are nested together properly before insertion. The ambi safety on 1911’s is a PITA, though, and you’ll note was not present on JMB’s original design…

    (Now, this all assumes you’re dealing with milspec frames and OEM parts. When you start mixing and matching components from different manufacturers and using aftermarket whittle-to-fit bits, yeah, complexity will naturally increase. Imagine if “Glocks” were made by everyone from Kel-Tec to HK…)

  5. Alright, you’ve got me on that one. I’m going to try and get all the parts for the Para back in working order today, so stay tuned for updates and or profanity. Also, the ambi safety might be going away, to be replaced by a regular extended thumb safety, as God and JMB intended.

  6. Be VERY careful with replacing the thumb safety – it’s NOT drop in at all – no matter what the packaging says. They are made oversize and you have to file down the point where it engages the sear (and sometimes the slot for the frame is too small and you have to ream it out a bit too). Gp to far… and it doesn’t work right (although it may seem to).

    It’s not necessarily difficult to do right, but it is VERY easy to do it wrong. Check out m1911.org for some insight on doing this job. And, when you pick your safety… get 2 so you can screw one up.

  7. Well, I have always believed that 2 is 1 and 1 is none, so if I’m going to try and do something really cool like that, I’ll definitely have two different parts.

    Changing the thumb safety might, just maybe result in the gun going off to Pinnacle.

  8. I had the same problem on a War Two Colt 1911, except it passed the dry fire test. When cycling the action during live fire with commercial ammo the hammer would not lock back because the sear wasn’t under enough tension.

    So, I loaded some mil-spec ammo and it went full auto on the first round. Very exciting. Eight rounds in under a second.

    No one at the range said anything because it almost sounded like just one shot.

  9. Yeaaahhhh…I haven’t fired this for exactly that reason – I don’t want the ATF coming after me for making a machine gun either.

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