Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Front Slide Serrations

Gunny #1: "Ugh they're ugly"
Gunny #2: "oooh, that looks good"
Gunny #1: "They're un-safe, you could blow your hand off"
Gunny #2: "Only if you're an idiot..."

Ok, so, front slide serrations. Those milled in cuts on the front of the slide of some pistols, most notably almost every Kimber, as pictured above. Who, what, where, when, why...

Well, you can "blame" IPSC shooters of the 80's for them, if you are so inclined. To be more specific, I think it was either Jimmy Von Sorgenfrei or Ross Seyfreid who first made a gun with them famous, though it may have been Rob Leatham, I just can't remember.

UPDATE: I looked it up, it was actually Doug Koenig in '90 who first won with front slide serrations and optics.

Anyway, they are there, because they were originally a race gun feature, primarily for guns with optics. That of course made them popular among the “High Speed Low Drag look” crowd in the late 80’s and the rest is history.

I don’t care for them, because they trap dirt, increase the effort necessary to clean, promote rusting, and catch on fabric. Basically, they arent good for a carry gun, and I dont like features on my defensive caliber pistols that make them less practical for defensive purposes.

I’m neutral about their looks, some guns they look good, some they dont; and it’s highly dependent on the finish and exact configuration of the gun. I find them attractive on dark finished long slide guns for example.

As to their function, I’m also neutral, though I always recommend against anything that can potentially cross the muzzle of course. A proper press check with forward serrations is conducted with a pinch from under the barrel, moving your support hand directly from your shooting grip to the serrations.

Unfortunately, most people don’t have the hand strength necessary to do a press check of this type against a full power recoil spring; and since most also don't have optics on their 1911. there is no necessity for them to do so.

Again, the reason for those serrations, and that technique, was to allow for a press check wtih optics, before racegunners started using “T” hooks attached to their sight mounts and the sides of their slides. Most of those folks were using minimum loaded .38 super, and a recoil spring as light as would return their high mass slides to battery. Not only that but they trained hours and hours to do this, and had the hand strength necessary.

So, since they aren't even useful for racegunners anymore why are they still there? Well people have associated that look with high quality custom and semi-custom pistols, so now we're stuck with it.