The 1911: Adjusting Overtravel

The 1911: Adjusting Overtravel

Gus Norcross, originally trained on National Match rifles and pistols by the National Guard Marksmanship Training Unit specializes in Garands, M14s and 1911s at his small shop on the coast of Maine. His website is He will be offering gunsmithing tips and tricks on Fridays.

"Overtravel" is movement of the trigger beyond what is actually necessary to release the sear. Many aftermarket triggers and an increasing number of factory pistols are supplied with a small stop screw located in the lower half of the trigger which contacts the magazine catch to limit trigger movement. Incorrect adjustment of this screw allows the hammer safety notch to hit the sear nose when the pistol is fired, possibly damaging the engagement surface of the sear.

Checking the adjustment is simple. I usually remove the slide assembly for better control of the hammer. Hold the trigger to the rear and grasp the hammer with your non-firing hand. Rotate the hammer through its normal arc of movement, feeling for any interference with the sear. If you feel the hammer bump the sear, back out the screw a quarter turn at a time until no contact is felt. If you don't feel contact, turn the screw in until you do and then back out the screw a quarter- to a half-turn for clearance.

On Colt Series 80 pistols, extra overtravel is necessary to raise the firing pin block high enough to allow free movement of the firing pin. Once the adjustment is set you might want to stake or Loctite the screw to prevent it from backing out.



Magazine Cover

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.


Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services


From Our Family

Historical Handguns: The Model 1917 Smith & Wesson Sixgun

Garry James - November 09, 2018

Designed as a supplemental sidearm in World War I, this .45 ACP sixgun was made to commercial specs and is still a great shooter.

First Look: Springfield Armory XDM 10MM

G&A Staff - October 10, 2018

Featured in the December issue of Guns & Ammo, Springfield Armory has launched its full-size XD(M) in 10mm. It is being made available with either a 4.5-inch or 5.25-inch barrel.

G&A Celebrates 50 Years of Dan Wesson

Eric R. Poole - November 16, 2018

Dan Wesson commemorates its 50th Anniversary with a limited number of engraved, blued-'steel Model 1911s.

GET THE NEWSLETTER Join the List and Never Miss a Thing.

Get the top Firearms News stories delivered right to your inbox.