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Safety/Function Checking a 1911
By D. Kamm
The following steps are necessary when evaluating any M1911-type pistol that you plan on purchasing, in order to verify that the pistol is in safe working condition. Even if you have no plans to ever shoot the pistol, by verifying the working condition of the gun you will get an idea as to its true condition, and also feel assured that you are buying a real working firearm and not just an expensive paperweight. If the pistol fails these safety checks and you plan on purchasing it anyway, you MUST either have it repaired by a competent pistolsmith or else make sure that live ammunition is never fired in the pistol. Either find a tasteful way to mark it as being "not safe to fire", or else disable the firing mechanism completely.
It should also be understood that merely passing these safety checks does NOT guarantee that the pistol in question is safe to fire. Due to other factors such as improper headspace, metallurgical flaws, etc. it is still necessary to have a pistolsmith check the firearm over before firing live ammunition in it. These safety checks are merely for your use at the time of sale, in order to do a quick verification that there is nothing seriously wrong with the pistol. Once again, have a pistolsmith check over ANY used gun you buy before taking it to the range!