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Carmonized hammers under the IDPA microscope


MrBorland
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A few of us who shot the S&W Indoor Nats a few week ago got the hairy eyeball at the equipment check for our radically-bobbed hammers. The inspector was able to cycle the action with the cylinder open, at which point, we got a lecture about removing a "safety device", told to get our guns "fixed", but were allowed to continue the match.

It started getting discussed on the IDPA forum (1st link), and someone asked for a ruling on the issue (2nd link).

What do y'all think? Is the rear tang of the hammer a "safety device"?

Tom

http://idpaforum.yuk...ks#.UUESfJhyGJU

http://idpaforum.yuk...ts#.UUESXJhyGJU

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Bobbed hammers were standard issue on police revolvers. Hell it is standard on several models which are marketed as better CCW or pocket guns. It would be silly for IDPA to restrict them. Then again it also wouldn't be out of character.

-ld

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Just to clarify - We're not talking here about bobbed hammers with just the spur removed. We're talking about radically-bobbed hammers with even the back cut off - "Carmonized".

Since it's the back tang of the hammer that's normally blocked by the cylinder release bolt when the cylinder's open, Carmonized guns can be cycled with their cylinders open. So, the issue is whether this is a true safety issue. If so, it would make the rear tang a safety device.

Edited by GrandBoule
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I've always understood the purpose for the blocking of the cocking action with the cylinder open on double action revolvers is to prevent you from messing up as follows:

1) opening the cylinder

2) loading the cylinder

3) cocking the gun with the cylinder still open (resting on single action notch)

4) slapping the loaded cylinder shut...and also causing the hammer to fall...BANG!

This is somewhat of a non-issue with a hammer modified to DAO.

Edited by johnmac
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I'm glad to see that my revolver was not the only one that had this issue. Last year, the individual at the safety check station checked for the presence of the hammer flag safety by jiggling the gun and listening for the rattle, and opened the cylinder and then tried to pull the trigger. This year, there were additional checks. The safety test rendered my firearm inoperable for the entire match and thankfully I had two staff members offer to let me borrow setups from them so I could complete the match. The individual performing the safety check told me the check was to ensure that there was no way the cylinder could be moving with the hammer in the process of falling, causing an "out of battery" condition and catastrophe. The individual said he was made aware of these revolver safety features from browsing the internet and wanted to test them. I was never checked for this before. I find this to be problematic, as with many things related to IDPA, because there is no standardized check for equipment. At the vast majority of sanctioned IDPA matches I attend, the equipment check is an extremely brief visual inspection by a safety officer before shooting a stage. I'd say only 15% of the matches or so utilize the box, and only two utilize a scale.

The only thing in the rulebook that I could see addressing this issue in the viewpoint of the equipment inspection SO for the S&W Indoor Nationals is something under the list of permitted Revolver modifications.

"C. Action work to enhance trigger pull as long as safety is maintained."

The IDPA rule book does not even specify anything about a chronograph OR safety/equipment check at a sanctioned match so, like many other things in IDPA, this is going to vary from place to place and be subject to individual interpretation. I will continue to shoot my bobbed hammer "Carmonized" style gun (action work done by a different gunsmith) until it's specifically outlawed. Perhaps converted it to double action only down the road will prevent further issues at a safety check.

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Uh? if it moves "out of battery" the firing pin will miss the primer. Or the light will go off. Out of battery ...get it now...

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I've always understood the purpose for the blocking of the cocking action with the cylinder open on double action revolvers is to prevent you from messing up as follows:

1) opening the cylinder

2) loading the cylinder

3) cocking the gun with the cylinder still open (resting on single action notch)

4) slapping the loaded cylinder shut...and also causing the hammer to fall...BANG!

This is somewhat of a non-issue with a hammer modified to DAO.

Cocking it to the single action notch....with the cylinder open? Without a hammer spur?

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snipped a whole bunch...

The safety test rendered my firearm inoperable for the entire match and thankfully I had two staff members offer to let me borrow setups from them so I could complete the match. The individual performing the safety check told me the check was to ensure that there was no way the cylinder could be moving with the hammer in the process of falling, causing an "out of battery" condition and catastrophe. The individual said he was made aware of these revolver safety features from browsing the internet and wanted to test them.

snipped more...

Ludicrous.

And I suppose this person is well credentialed, which makes this kind of thing perfectly OK.

(In someone alternate universe)

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I'm glad to see that my revolver was not the only one that had this issue. Last year, the individual at the safety check station checked for the presence of the hammer flag safety by jiggling the gun and listening for the rattle, and opened the cylinder and then tried to pull the trigger. This year, there were additional checks. The safety test rendered my firearm inoperable for the entire match and thankfully I had two staff members offer to let me borrow setups from them so I could complete the match. The individual performing the safety check told me the check was to ensure that there was no way the cylinder could be moving with the hammer in the process of falling, causing an "out of battery" condition and catastrophe. The individual said he was made aware of these revolver safety features from browsing the internet and wanted to test them. I was never checked for this before. I find this to be problematic, as with many things related to IDPA, because there is no standardized check for equipment. At the vast majority of sanctioned IDPA matches I attend, the equipment check is an extremely brief visual inspection by a safety officer before shooting a stage. I'd say only 15% of the matches or so utilize the box, and only two utilize a scale.

The only thing in the rulebook that I could see addressing this issue in the viewpoint of the equipment inspection SO for the S&W Indoor Nationals is something under the list of permitted Revolver modifications.

"C. Action work to enhance trigger pull as long as safety is maintained."

The IDPA rule book does not even specify anything about a chronograph OR safety/equipment check at a sanctioned match so, like many other things in IDPA, this is going to vary from place to place and be subject to individual interpretation. I will continue to shoot my bobbed hammer "Carmonized" style gun (action work done by a different gunsmith) until it's specifically outlawed. Perhaps converted it to double action only down the road will prevent further issues at a safety check.

Thanks for posting this. I'm involved on the IDPA forum that Tom linked and it was mentioned that one revolver was broke during the "test." You bring up a good point for having standardized weapon checks. That is a thing that absolutely should be done to avoid situations like yours.

The "carmonized" hammers that my revosmith (bosshoss on this forum) does allows the hammer to come about half way back until the front of the hammer touches the cylinder release bolt. No way that thing could light off a primer even if the planets and stars were aligned.

Edited by sbcman
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That's my biggest complaint about idpa. In theory I like the sport but the execution needs some fixing. What dies their rule book say about hammers? Should be simple shouldn't it?

That's kind of the problem. The book says you can bob hammers.....as long as safety is maintained. Well, there's been guys running Carmoney style bobbed hammers for years and safety was evidently maintained. BUT, this year some got the stink eye for possible imaginary issues of safety not being maintained. Problem is the hammer being able to cycle with the cylinder out.

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I think the problem isn´t possibility to shot with cylinder out, but possibility shot with unlocked center pin

(by contact of shooters thumb with cylinder latch or some technical problem)

I think the design what prevent this failure is part of safety

it is similar as 3th pin of the hand

Edited by 4mike
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Cd662 - Sorry to hear about your experience. I heard someone's revo was damaged at the equipment check. I'd be hoppin' mad, especially that it happened needlessly. FWIW, even the current SSR National Champ had to endure a dressing down over the issue.

It's possible this level of scrutiny was an isolated event, in which case, I'd shrug my shoulders & roll my eyes. But now that we'll get an official ruling on the matter, it seems some discussion is important. It's not clear that any of it will be considered before the ruling is made, or whether there's an appeal process if we don't agree with the ruling, but it seems important enough to discuss.

BTW, Carmoney - what're your thoughts? Not on IDPA, but on the rear tang as a safety device?

Tom

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BTW, Carmoney - what're your thoughts? Not on IDPA, but on the rear tang as a safety device?

Tom

My thoughts:

1. There are some revolver brands that (in stock configuration) will allow the action to be cycled with the cylinder open. The Hi-Standard Sentinel is the one that comes to mind. I don't see it as a legitimate safety issue, in any possible sense.

2. NO REFUNDS!!! ;)

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Cd662 - Sorry to hear about your experience. I heard someone's revo was damaged at the equipment check. I'd be hoppin' mad, especially that it happened needlessly. FWIW, even the current SSR National Champ had to endure a dressing down over the issue.

It's possible this level of scrutiny was an isolated event, in which case, I'd shrug my shoulders & roll my eyes. But now that we'll get an official ruling on the matter, it seems some discussion is important. It's not clear that any of it will be considered before the ruling is made, or whether there's an appeal process if we don't agree with the ruling, but it seems important enough to discuss.

BTW, Carmoney - what're your thoughts? Not on IDPA, but on the rear tang as a safety device?

Tom

we know, we were squadded with kirk...

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I'd be willing to take any of those dangerous, Carmonized 625's off your hands. I will do extensive testing in a controlled, competative environment. Once the safety issue has been observered, documented, replicated, and peer reviewed the firearm will be repaired and returned to the owner (or their next of kin).

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. The safety test rendered my firearm inoperable for the entire match and thankfully I had two staff members offer to let me borrow setups from them so I could complete the match.

What broke on your revolver?

I have one official "Carmonized" hammer and 2 that I did myself. The Carmonized hammer and one of the ones I did go back partway but don't drop. One that I bobbed goes all the way back and drops. It looks like someone forced it to break parts. :(

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This year, there were additional checks. The safety test rendered my firearm inoperable for the entire match and thankfully I had two staff members offer to let me borrow setups from them so I could complete the match.

I heard about that. Man that sucks.

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Smith & Wesson has had a bobbed hammer as an option for a very long time. Not as radical as Mike's but bobbed none the less.

As a former IDPA revolver shooter and former SO I would ask the question.

"Is this a competition only modification? or is it good as a carry gun?"

The answer would determine if it were allowed or not.

If you want a picture of a S&W bobbed hammer before I install it in my L Frame I will gladly post it.

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. The safety test rendered my firearm inoperable for the entire match and thankfully I had two staff members offer to let me borrow setups from them so I could complete the match.

What broke on your revolver?

I have one official "Carmonized" hammer and 2 that I did myself. The Carmonized hammer and one of the ones I did go back partway but don't drop. One that I bobbed goes all the way back and drops. It looks like someone forced it to break parts. :(

I'm curious what broke as well???

Mine went part way back during the inspection, but didn't fall. I was told, "you're lucky, if it fell it would have been a match DQ"

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Brian, it was nice to meet you during the lunch break. I'm the short Asian guy you talked to in the store along with some other BEnos folks.

"As a former IDPA revolver shooter and former SO I would ask the question.

"Is this a competition only modification? or is it good as a carry gun?"

I know this conversation comes up a lot but I have to repeat that if you asked me that question in this situation, it would have been baseless. I do not have to "prove" my gun is "carry worthy". The IDPA Rulebook mentions guns that should be 'suitable' for conceal carry and provides technical guidelines on permitted and non-permitted modifications. If a firearm falls within those guidelines, the gun is suitable for use during a sanctioned IDPA match. I'll play nice and answer your question regardless. I haven't really done much with carrying a firearm until recently. I just bought a Model 10/Hand Ejector/M&P whatever, a K Frame, with fixed sights. I plan on doing a lot of "competition" things to it. I want the charge holes chamfered, I want the action smooth, and I plan on hacking up that hammer. I don't want a spur to get caught on clothing when the gun is going to be shot double action only, and I want the most reliable, hardest, fastest hit on those factory primers as possible. So once again, the answer is a resounding yes.

To answer the questions on what broke, I don't know. I'm not really a gunsmith. The hammer was stuck at a "half cock" position and would barely cycle back and forth within this position when the trigger was pulled. When I got a chance to look at it later, I pulled off the sideplate and found the hammer difficult to remove. I know the bottom of the hammer usually engages on some other surfaces for the parts (the rebound slide or the top of the trigger? I don't know without looking) usually and it was as if the hammer was forced up and off that engagement point, as the parts were barely making contact with each other. I had to "manually coerce" the hammer out and then I just put everything back in as it was. The gun ran fine after that.

The individual that was in charge of the safety check shoots ICORE and I think he is on this forum. I want to assure that individual, if he is reading, that my comments are based upon his performance in the capacity of a staff member at the Smith and Wesson Indoor Nationals match and not as a person. That having been said, I was squadded with a lot of revo guys including Kirk Crego and everyone commented that the safety check was rather "brusque". Another friend of mine on a different gun shooting on a different day (SSR) said that his revolver was handled rather harshly. Even a Glock shooter on my squad did not like how his firearm was handled. It's sort of irrelevant because without any official rules on what must take place during an equipment check, it gives great leeway to the staff to fill in the blanks. People's well intentioned interpretations of rules that don't exist may become problematic in this regard.

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