Author Topic: 1911 Extractor Work  (Read 344 times)


  • Moderator
  • Sharpshooter
  • *****
  • Posts: 5964
    • View Profile
1911 Extractor Work
« on: August 16, 2017, 07:33:08 AM »
During the conversation in a thread about primer flow, I mentioned that my RIA HC was having three point jams.  The most common cause of this issue is a poorly fit extractor.

Last night I checked and sure enough, the extractor, while having good tension, was not well fit to my gun otherwise.  So I took some pics and thought I would share what I did (and what I may go on to do).

My extractor was a big hunk-o-metal hanging out in the breech face:

No wonder I was getting three point jams.

I have applied a radius to the bottom that makes it a smooth transition rather than that shelf to get past.  I will test this alteration and if I still have the issue, I will further remove material so the extractor groove does not extend beyond the edge of the breech face at all.  In most cases, easing the transition is enough.

For those that are interested in how to do this.

1.  Remove the magazine and ensure the gun is not loaded
2.  Field strip the gun
3.  Using an exacto-knife or scribe, scribe on the bottom of the extractor a line where the side of the breech intersects
3.  Using a small punch depress the firing pin while pushing the firing pin stop down a small amount
4.  Carefully remove the firing pin stop full, capturing the firing pin with your thumb*
5.  Using great care and/or a non-marring tool, pry the extractor back about 1/16", until the extractor hook hits the breech face
6.  Push the extractor hook towards the side of the slide and down to clear the breech face
7.  Fully pry the extractor from the slide
8.  Using a very fine file, or emery cloth, dress the lower edge of the extractor to apply a radius that meets the scribed line
9.  Re-install the extractor, firing pin spring, firing pin, and firing pin stop
10.  Re-assemble the pistol

I did all this with my Leatherman Wave while watching NCIS.  If you haven't stripped a 1911 slide before, watch a Youtube video on detail stripping a 1911 slide for the finer points of removing the extractor.

The other cause of three-point jams can be a weak magazine spring.  The magazine spring does more in the feeding process than push rounds up through the magazine.  When the round being loaded clears the magazine feed lips, it gets a bump from the round below.  This bump sends it fully into the breech face.

High capacity 1911's are more susceptible to three point jams for two reasons. 

First, there is lots more friction in a double stack magazine than in a single stack magazine.  Rounds are being pushed into the sides of the magazine, which makes more work for the spring.  This is why three point jams in HC 1911's are more common in the first 7-8 rounds out of the mag than the last 7-8 rounds.  Double the friction.  This is far worse if the extractor has a ledge rather than a smooth transition.

Second, the bump the fed round gets from the round below is not perfectly straight up.  There is a slide sideways vector to this bump that alternates sides.  That vector drives the fed round a little into or a little away from the extractor.  This is why the three point jam is often every other round, as it only jams on one vector.

*Depending on the strength of the firing pin spring, you may want to put a piece of cardboard between your thumb and the back of the slide. The RIA had a strong spring and elicited an "ouch" from me when it hit my thumb.  However, it was minor and there is no bruise or tenderness of my thumb today.


  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 158
    • View Profile
Re: 1911 Extractor Work
« Reply #1 on: August 16, 2017, 12:09:52 PM »
Here is a picture to help out
RIA 52000, PVL chest holster, Montana 200WFN

5 dollars waiting on 5 cents


  • Moderator
  • Sharpshooter
  • *****
  • Posts: 7548
    • View Profile
Re: 1911 Extractor Work
« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2017, 11:18:38 AM »
Learning and application is always a good lesson...glad to see you all getting up close and personal with the issues.  We can all learn for this.
The "10mm" I'm Packin', Has The Bullets Wackin', Smakin' & The Slide is Rackin' & Jackin'!
NRA Life Member
Southeast, LoUiSiAna