THE 1911: SEAR SPRINGS

THE 1911: SEAR SPRINGS

It doesn't look like much. A flat piece of spring steel slit in two places to form three legs which are bent individually to adjust tension against the relevant fire control parts. Sear springs don't usually wear out and you probably don't need one in your emergency stash of spare parts but they may occasionally require adjustment to prevent malfunctions. Let's look at the function of this spring and its relationship to the 1911 trigger mechanism.

Viewing the spring from the rear the longest leg should be to your left. This leg applies pressure directly to the sear causing it to bear against the hammer until the trigger pushes it out of engagement. Insufficient sear spring tension can cause the hammer to follow the slide down as it moves forward during loading or firing.  A pistolsmith doing a trigger job may adjust sear pressure a bit but minimum tension should never be set less than one pound.

The center sear spring leg serves two functions, applying pressure to both the disconnector and trigger. Spring pressure against the angled bottom surface of the disconnector causes it to snap up into a notch in the bottom of the slide when the slide is in battery connecting the sear and trigger so the pistol may be fired. You can see how the disconnector works by assembling your pistol without the grip safety and cycling the slide, watching it move down disconnecting the trigger as the slide starts moving to the rear. The disconnector prevents the pistol from firing more than one round with each pull of the trigger. Insufficient spring pressure may cause a malfunction where the pistol simply won't fire because the disconnector doesn't return to "fire" position.

A second function of the center leg is as a trigger return spring, causing the trigger to return forward to firing position as pressure is released after a shot is fired so the disconnector can reset as described above. Obviously, this leg is adjusted to regulate trigger pull weight as part of a standard trigger job but tension should never be less than ½ pound. Insufficient tension may not return the trigger fully forward allowing the disconnector to reset.


The right leg of the sear spring applies pressure to the grip safety causing it to block the trigger when the shooter's grip is released. Insufficient tension de-activates the grip safety.


One sear spring variation should be noted. Clark Custom Guns markets a four leg spring that has the center leg split into two parts so the disconnect and trigger return functions can be adjusted individually, a feature useful for very light triggers in competition guns.

Sear Spring

A standard sear spring (left) and a Clark four-legged spring (right)

Left Sear Spring

The left sear spring leg applies pressure to the bottom left corner of the sear. Grip safety, thumb safety and hammer have been removed for clarity.

The Center Leg

The center leg runs the disconnector and acts as a trigger return spring.

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

Recommended Articles

See More Recommendations

Popular Videos

The GPO Rangeguide 10x50

The GPO Rangeguide 10x50

If you need to see your game, and know the distance in all hunting environments, the GPO RANGEGUIDE 10×50 is your winning ticket.

American Suppressor Association (ASA)

American Suppressor Association (ASA)

ASA is the unified voice of the suppressor industry and a leading subject matter experts on suppressors and suppressor related advocacy.

Performance Center M&P Shield M2.0

Performance Center M&P Shield M2.0

From Smith & Wesson, the M&P Shield M2.0 is a great option for a carry gun with optics option.

M134 Mini-Gun

M134 Mini-Gun

While filming the 2018 season of Guns&AmmoTV we had the unique opportunity to fire the M134 Minigun.

See More Popular Videos

Trending Articles

This will be the first of many investigative reports about the NRA by Firearms News. 2nd Amendment

Firearms News Investigates the NRA: Part 1

Nedd Scott - July 18, 2019

This will be the first of many investigative reports about the NRA by Firearms News.

Please sign and share the petition to get the required 100,000 signatures by July 27. 2nd Amendment

Tell the White House that the 2nd Amendment Was Not Given to the People by Government

Firearms News - July 02, 2019

Please sign and share the petition to get the required 100,000 signatures by July 27.

Governor Northam is calling a special session of the General Assembly on Tuesday, July 9th, to do nothing but pass more gun control! 2nd Amendment

Virginia Governor Northam Declares War on Gun Owners

Virginia Citizens Defense League - July 09, 2019

Governor Northam is calling a special session of the General Assembly on Tuesday, July 9th, to...

If you want to keep the peace, keep and bear arms. Don't give up your guns. Any other choice would be ridiculous. 2nd Amendment

Is Red Dawn Really Just Ridiculous? If Not, Who Would Citizen Disarmament Help?

David Codrea - May 29, 2019

If you want to keep the peace, keep and bear arms. Don't give up your guns. Any other choice...

See More Trending Articles

More Handguns

The new Walther Q4 Steel Frame EDC handguns are great options for those looking for high quality and performance in their concealed-carry 9mm pistol. Handguns

Walther Q4 Steel Frame Carry Pistols – New for 2020

Firearms News Digital Staff - January 16, 2020

The new Walther Q4 Steel Frame EDC handguns are great options for those looking for high...

New Wilson Combat X-TAC and X-TAC Elite Commander-Size 1911s Handguns

New Wilson Combat X-TAC and X-TAC Elite Commander-Size 1911s

Wilson Combat - October 28, 2019

New Wilson Combat X-TAC and X-TAC Elite Commander-Size 1911s

EAA's new Commander-sized 1911-style pistols have features, options, and performance similar to the more expensive versions, with money to spare for accessories or ammo. Handguns

EAA Girsan MC1911C Commander Now Available in .45 and 9mm

Laura Burgess Marketing - December 23, 2019

EAA's new Commander-sized 1911-style pistols have features, options, and performance similar...

The new Springfield XD-M Elite 9mm pistol series is made up of four models that are designed to fit practically any role you might have for them. Handguns

Springfield XD-M Elite 9mm Pistols – New for 2020

Firearms News Digital Staff - January 15, 2020

The new Springfield XD-M Elite 9mm pistol series is made up of four models that are designed...

See More Handguns

GET THE MAGAZINE Subscribe & Save

Temporary Price Reduction.

SUBSCRIBE NOW

Give a Gift   |   Subscriber Services

PREVIEW OUR CURRENT ISSUE

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