Passive Safety Features
1911A1 pistol disconnector
Most autoloading pistols have an internal passive safety feature called a disconnector. It ensures that the firearm is in battery before it can be fired and that a semiautomatic pistol does not fire in full automatic mode. This device disconnects the trigger from the firing mechanism until the firearm is in battery or until the trigger has been released and reset.
To test the disconnector, the results of the following steps should be documented (Note - for full automatic pistols, the selector switch should be in semiautomatic mode to conduct this test):
- Confirm that the pistol is empty.
- Pull the slide to the rear and release it forward to cock the firearm.
- Ensure that the external safety is disengaged.
- Pull the trigger and hold it to the rear while cocking the firearm by manipulating the slide.
(The firing mechanism should not be released; the trigger should move forward and reset.)
- Cock the firearm again.
- Disengage the external safety.
- Pull the slide to the rear far enough to take it out of battery.
- Pull the trigger.
The firearm should not fire. If the pistol fails either the external safety or the disconnector test, it may still function, but not as designed.
Some autoloading pistols have a magazine safety, which does not allow the firearm to fire when the magazine is disengaged. Typically the magazine safety is a device inside the magazine well that is depressed when the magazine is properly inserted, allowing the firearm to function normally.
If the magazine is removed, this device will normally engage the disconnector and keep the firearm from firing. If a submitted firearm has a magazine safety but no magazine, it will be necessary to obtain a magazine designed to be used in that firearm. If not available, improvise by inserting a screwdriver into the well and depressing the safety catch. The firearm will function, but not as designed.