1911 (semi-auto) underwater firing...?

1911 (semi-auto) underwater firing...?

This is a discussion on 1911 (semi-auto) underwater firing...? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; Ok, I have always wondered how a semi-auto pistol would, if at all, function if fired underwater. Some issues i see are: 1, Would chamber ...

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Thread: 1911 (semi-auto) underwater firing...?

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array SOLOLUCKY's Avatar
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    Question 1911 (semi-auto) underwater firing...?

    Ok, I have always wondered how a semi-auto pistol would, if at all, function if fired underwater.
    Some issues i see are:
    1, Would chamber pressures increase due to barrel being filled with water.
    2, Action would not cycle properly due to being surrounded by water thus slowing down the slide speed.

    I am sure there are others but that does not mean it wouldn't actually work.

    Oh Wise Ones...what say you on this matter?
    R1

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  2. #2
    Member Array walther1's Avatar
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    Do you plan to encounter BGs while scuba diving? I am curious why people really need to try to fire underwater.
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    Senior Member Array raysheen's Avatar
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    G17s will fire underwater if you use the right (underwater specific) spring cups...without the cups, which have holes in them, you can get a light stike. I don't think it's recommended for the casual shooter though ...from the recommendations that I have heard, you should let the barrel fill with water before firing.
    I'm not trying it anytime soon to find out though.


    From the Glock FAQ

    Just about any handgun will fire underwater -- at least once. :-) However, firing underwater is NOT recommended because it can have devastating effects on the pistol and the shooter -- a potentially dangerous activity that should only be utilized by trained personnel wearing proper equipment for protection against potential pressure wave effects of underwater detonation. The shock/pressure waves in water can really damage internal organs (ever heard of lithotripsy?). Shooting a pistol underwater can lead to property damage, serious bodily injury or even death.
    NOTE: Glock, Inc., specifically disclaims any and all liability from anyone performing or attempting to perform underwater firing with a Glock pistol -- you do so at your own risk.

    The Glock 17 may be equipped with an optional set of maritime spring cups for use in water environments. Maritime spring cups are not intended for submerged firing, but for surface use by special ops teams who operate in and around water. The maritime spring cups are two small parts within the firing pin assembly and are not included on any Model 17 sold by Glock (civilians can only get them through 3rd parties). They insure that water can pass by the firing pin within the firing pin channel, thus preventing the creation of hydraulic force within the firing pin channel -- which would slow the firing pin down, causing light primer strikes. With the special cups, the action will cycle reliably while submersed, if a little bit slower. NATO specification ammunition (such as Winchester's Ranger RA9124N) with waterproof sealed primers and case mouths is recommended.

    Although you may install the maritime spring cups on any Glock model, *only* the Glock 17 was designed and intended to use the modified spring cups for aquatic firing -- and only then using 9mm ball ammunition to remain within acceptable pressure limits. The foolhardy who insist on living dangerously must keep several things in mind: The Glock 17 must be fully submersed underwater. There must not be any air left within the pistol as the muzzle is pointed towards the surface of the water after submersion to allow the air in the barrel to escape. Use only full metal jacket, ball-type ammunition because the water within the barrel can spread a hollow point out within the barrel upon firing. This increases the bearing surface of the bullet to the barrel and could catastrophically increase pressures. Even if the barrel doesn't burst, the expanded bullet would get even bigger upon exiting into the water and would slow down very quickly while tumbling. Accuracy would be terrible.

    The marinized Glock 17 is primarily for use by various Special Warfare units operating in aquatic environments. At least one specialized Scuba diving group regularly uses G17's to dispatch sharks where they dive. The Glock 17 using NATO specification ball ammunition will completely penetrate a minimum of one 1/2" pine board at a distance of ten feet from the muzzle when fired underwater.

    Trained personnel who use Glocks underwater know they must obey several rules:
    1) use only a Glock Model 17 with amphibious spring cups (reliability issue);
    2) use only 9mm FMJ subsonic, sealed primer ammo;
    3) completely immerse the pistol and get *all* the air out of the barrel;
    4) wear protective ear plugs, gloves, wet suit, face mask, etc.;
    5) do not fire near solid objects or in enclosed spaces to prevent return
    concussion.

    However, any Glock -- even those not equipped with maritime spring cups -- will normally fire while submersed underwater. But doing so may generate excessive internal pressure and may cause the pistol to literally blow up. This is especially true with the use of high-pressure rounds (such as the .40 S&W/357 SIG) or hollow-point bullets.

    I recall a reported incident where a Glockster on a boating holiday decided to show some friends how his Glock would fire underwater (because Tommy Lee Jones said so in the movies). He stuck his hand overboard, pulled the trigger and came back with a bunch of shredded plastic and a badly injured hand.

    Another reported case was the Glockster who decided to try out his Glock 23 .40 S&W in the swimming pool after seeing pictures of Glocks being fired underwater on the web. He was totally submerged, with the gun, as he fired at a piece of wood on the bottom of his pool. The Glock did fire, the .40 S&W FMJ round left the barrel and went into the wood. The chamber also exploded and implanted shrapnel into his leg. Thinking that the water would muffle the blast, he did not wear hearing protection (the blast is actually about 4 times louder underwater). He is now mostly deaf in one ear and hears high-pitched tones most of his waking life.

    As you can see, firing a pistol underwater is a *very* dangerous endeavor.
    Several things could happen:
    1) the firing pin may be slowed enough to not detonate the primer
    (without the maritime spring cups)
    2) the pistol could blow up in your hand;
    3) the concussion could damage ears, eyes or internal organs;
    4) the bullet may not go where you intend it to.

    Even if you have the right equipment, know what you're doing and follow the rules -- the risks for underwater firing are minimized -- but not eliminated. Your pistol's barrel could be affected by water obstruction and your body by damaging concussion. By using hollow point bullets (water may cause the bullet to expand in the barrel), high pressure ammo, etc. -- you're asking for an underwater kaBoom! It you fire near solid or hard objects, the bouncing concussion can cause extensive, perhaps even fatal external/internal tissue injury. Why risk it? [JT]

    Here are some pics from [G29 Man] shooting his G26 underwater.




    Last edited by raysheen; December 20th, 2006 at 09:40 AM.

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  5. #5
    Distinguished Member Array p8riot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by walther1 View Post
    Do you plan to encounter BGs while scuba diving? I am curious why people really need to try to fire underwater.
    +1 ..... Why?
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    Mythbusters did it - their Sig actually cycled one time underwater.

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    VIP Member Array raevan's Avatar
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    Patrick Sweeney did test with various 1911 shooting under water and detailed them in his book 'The 1911 Volume 2'. Book is a good read, I recomend it for all who love the 1911.

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    Senior Member Array SOLOLUCKY's Avatar
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    Now that youtube video is what i am talking about.
    why? no reason nor would i do it but it was a "wondering point".

    i know scuba guys fire off shotgun shells in there "bangsticks" to kill or scare off sharks so i was applying it to semi-auto handguns is all.
    and a 12 ga. has more concussion than a handgun in my opinion.

    and i bet the youtube guys didnt do a whole lot to save there hands in case of an explosion...maybe they knew or did it "right" but ya never know.
    R1

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    Lets keep it that way.

  10. #10
    Distinguished Member Array RSSZ's Avatar
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    Don't believe all that pistol/underwater stuff you hear.

    Back in my day we had what we called a "bang stick". Real name was power head. It was a fiberglass shaft with a cartridge chamber that scwewed on the end. The issue was .44 Mag but some of us had the 12ga version. It had a set fireing pin that the chamber compressed up against. Also it had a push thru safety pin(captured).

    We used these against the more aggressive marine life that we would encounter in the warmer water environments like Diego Garcia.

    Problem was,once you cut a 6-10ft shark almost in half with your stick you'd have to get out of the water anyway because of the released blood.

    The sticks could be used against a human if needed and to cut things like smaller cable,chain and rope.

    I still have two of them, and take the 12 ga.with me whenever fishing offshore. It works great on them Barricuda that want a bite outta that 20 pound Amberjack that you are trying to boat. ------

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  12. #12
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by reaven View Post
    Patrick Sweeney did test with various 1911 shooting under water and detailed them in his book 'The 1911 Volume 2'. Book is a good read, I recommend it for all who love the 1911.

    yep they fire no problem and recommend the above book im not sure if it was him or someone else that bulged a barrel shooting fast under water


    Lenny Magill also did a underwater shooting video

    he shot wheelies and autos Ina pool it was interesting

  13. #13
    VIP Member Array JimmyC4's Avatar
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    Rambo does it all the time...piece of cake...
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  14. #14
    Senior Member Array Exodus's Avatar
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    Matt beat me to it. The Mythbusters did indeed fire several guns underwater. They broke a breech-loading shotgun. They successfully fired a Sig (Compact 9mm), although it would not eject the casing far enough - water is denser than air(the slide caught the ejected shell casing). They fired a .357 revolver with no problems (and I have heard that SEALs occasionally pack revolvers nowadays - perhaps for this reason? Total guess by the way, with no facts to back up any of the enclosed statements about SEALs). The M1 Garand was a bit much though - it did fire without a hitch. Mythbusters is a great show.
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