Medford Rifle Pistol Club


How to have Fun, Shoot Better and Be Safe!


This information is provided to our members solely as a service.

The opinions expressed are not the official position of MRPC, its Board, Officers or Directors.

Each member is encouraged to conduct their own study of these matters.

This newsletter is open to all shooting related products, events and articles.


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Medford Rifle and Pistol Club




We will shoot this TODAY Wednesday on the Camp White Rifle Range

at 5 PM from 600 yards.    22 rounds or less prone or bench.


Also we going to have a Deer hunting and Varmint match on Saturday the 15th.

Information and Flyers to be sent out soon.


Medford Rifle and Pistol Club


New Member Orientation  Tonight from 7pm to 9pm

From 6:15pm to 7pm, Members can come a speak to the membership director

And pay for renewing your membership $75.    Those that are Veterans can also

apply for the club’s Veteran Discount.


Medford Rifle and Pistol Club


Medford Rifle and Pistol Club


“History, Caution and Advice to Those New to the 1911”

Editor’s Note: Today’s guest feature is submitted by Greg Moats, industry insider.

In today’s shooting arena we have a historically unique “technology inversion” taking place. Those of us long-in-the-tooth types, cut those teeth on the 1911 and eventually gravitated to high capacity, polymer striker-fired guns because they were extremely reliable, very accurate and comparatively cheap. It is indeed frustrating to shoot a course of fire more proficiently with a $500 “tupperware” gun than with a $3000 custom built 1911—but it happens with disgusting regularity! To a large degree, shooters under say 40, are experiencing just the opposite progression. To air some familial dirty laundry, I embarrassingly confess that my grandson has shot a Smith & Wesson Shield, a SIG P320 and a few different GLOCKs but never a 1911. Granted, he’s only 12 and I have time to rectify that disturbing oversight in his upbringing; however, there are a number of younger shooters who have cut their teeth on “modern” guns but are now test-driving 1911’s because of their exceptional trigger action and resultant unmatched track record in competition. The inversion is in full swing and the following — while old hat to some of us — is intended for those whose wisdom teeth aren’t yet cut regarding the 1911.

While not existing in a vacuum, the 1911 has not been immune to alterations or perhaps “morphings” intent on “improving” the ergonomics and safety of the original design.

One notable example predates the current spate of petroleum-composed firearms. In August of 1939, long term Colt employee, William L. Swartz was issued a patent. In part the stated intent of the patent was, “…to provide safety means of novel construction for locking the firing pin of a firearm against movement except when the user is properly gripping the arm preparatory to firing.” On a handgun that possesses multiple positive safety devices, one wonders if the addition of this firing pin block was considered necessary or simply the attempt of a senior employee (much like a Government bureaucrat) to justify his existence. In 1941 when Colt ceased production of their commercial model 1911’s in order to meet military requirements for the war, the Swartz safety was discontinued since the Government had not given approval of the device. Mercifully in 1945 when Colt resumed production of guns for the civilian market, the Swartz safety was not included.

The device remained in “hibernation” until it was resurrected by Kimber as (I’m guessing) a marketing tool to distinguish itself as unique and superior in some respect.

One of the unintended consequences of the device is that there are documented cases of owners, during re-assembly, forcing the slide onto the frame while the grip safety is depressed thereby shearing off the tip of the firing pin actuator. This renders the gun to paper-weight status.

A failed Series 80 plunger. Notice the striation-scars on its left side caused by the hammer falling prior to the plunger being pushed up and out of the way.


In 1983 when Colt re-configured their Series 70, they did away with the collet bushing, the arched mainspring housing, changed the geometry of the half-cock notch and most significantly added their own egregious version of a firing pin block. Unlike the Swartz safety, the Colt’s version was activated by pulling the trigger which rotated a trigger bar lever which in turn rotated a firing pin plunger lever upward. That lever pushed a spring loaded plunger out of a recess cut in the rear of the firing pin allowing it to freely move forward. While the handgun gained a dubious, if not implausible level of safety, it did so at the expense of a degraded trigger pull. The added parts, the additional spring resistance and the added friction of all of the moving components complicated a function of the handgun that desperately needed to remain uncomplicated. It seemed that almost immediately, innovative and enterprising pistol smiths like Bill Wilson were offering lever-less spacers to replace the pivoting firing pin plunger lever which allowed the removal of the other components. One was left with a more or less original firing system as ordained by a divinely inspired JMB.


Similar to the Swartz safety, one has to take caution during re-assembly of a Series 80 handgun. Should the trigger be depressed while attempting to re-mount the slide on the frame, the firing pin plunger lever will hit the back of the slide. While more obvious and robust than the Swartz pin actuator, the lever can be damaged if the slide is re-mounted with sufficient vigor.


The plunger lever was fractured off during a firing session resulting the gun being reduced to paper weight status.

Whether the movement of the firing pin block is activated by depressing the grip safety or by pulling the trigger, a timing issue is introduced to the firing sequence. Specifically the maneuver needs to be completed PRIOR to the hammer striking the rear of the firing pin. There are numerous well documented cases where the hammer fall has been completed prior to the plunger (Series 80) or firing pin lock (Swartz) clearing the recess in the firing pin. The result is a deafening “click.” With the Series 80 it also ultimately results in a damaged plunger that eventually will get stuck in place and not allow the pistol to fire.

I’m told by gun-guys smarter than me (a massive, non-exclusive group) that with the Series 80 system this timing issue is often the result of a poorly executed trigger job. A certain amount of “over travel” on the trigger adds an element of insurance to the movement of the plunger and an over travel stop adjusted too precisely can prevent that from happening. This shortens the overall movement of the trigger, allowing the hammer to fall earlier than it previously had, potentially before the plunger is moved out of the way.

While the probability of this happening may strike you on the order of being hit by a meteorite or the Kansas City Chiefs winning the Super Bowl, it does happen. At least it happened to me. I purchased a particularly pristine used Remington R-1 once at a very nice price. On my second time to the range with this gun, I was into a practice session by about 50 rounds when the trigger started feeling “glitchy.” The trigger weight became increasingly severe until it took white knuckled, gritted teeth effort to make the hammer fall. Then I heard that deafening, “click.” Upon complete disassembly, the plunger was scarred and the tip of the plunger lever was fractured. Whether the cause was an overly precise set trigger stop, I’ll never know; whatever the cause, the effect was catastrophic.

To those of us that have a long and meaningful relationship with the 1911, the Series 80 vs Series 70 debate is akin to 9mm vs .45 ACP or Isosceles vs Weaver. For those of you dipping your toe in the water of the 1911 for the first time, realize that a Swartz or Series 80 platform will serve you well. While superlative trigger pulls can be achieved on guns with firing pin blocks, be aware that at least with the Series 80, there’s more potential for problems simply because there are more pieces and added functions involved in the chain of events that make the gun go “bang.” “Fine tuning” the parts or replacing them with aftermarket alternatives requires competency. Anything less is poking a sleeping tiger. Realize also that virtually every high-end, boutique manufactured 1911 (Baer, Wilson, Brown, Nighthawk, etc.) come without a firing pin block. There’s probably a reason for that.

Greg Moats was one of the original IPSC Section Coordinators appointed by Jeff Cooper shortly after its inception at the Columbia Conference. In the early 1980’s, he worked briefly for Bianchi Gunleather and wrote for American Handgunner and Guns. He served as a reserve police officer in a firearms training role and was a Marine Corps Infantry Officer in the mid-1970’s. He claims neither snake-eater nor Serpico status but is a self-proclaimed “training junkie.”

Medford Rifle and Pistol Club

FREE Training Classes

For Members and the General Public

MRPC offers several training classes that range from beginner level to advanced, as well as specialty classes like the Concealed Handgun Class for Oregon and related Arizona Concealed Weapon class. We also have a regular practice session for advanced pistol.

Once you are up to speed, you might consider joining one of our competition sports like IDAP, USPSA, Speed-Steel, etc. For more information on those and other competition/training groups, see the Shooting Disciplines page.

Below are the current offerings listed in their natural progression. Feel free to contact the instructor for more information. E-mail Phil at

Progressive Training Opportunities

1.     Intro to Basic Pistol Shooting

2.     Women’s Defensive Pistol

3.     Intro to Practical/Competitive Pistol

4.     Advanced Practical Pistol

Medford Rifle and Pistol Club


The life you save might be the life of a loved one!


If you interested in taking a full CPR class

Contact Phil Grammatica  @





Next MRPC GUN SHOW will be held November 10th and 11th

             Not on the Thanksgiving Weekend!

Medford Rifle and Pistol Club

The Medford Rifle and Pistol Club offers Club Members an

OREGON Concealed Carry Weapons Course



(A typical savings of $50 over the regular $75 price at other places)


This class offers far more than the minimum training offered at other places

It is held at the MRPC Indoor Range

Live-Fire Range Time included in the Class

On the Second Saturday of each Month.

Remember that using a firearm for self-defense can have serious consequences.

Making a wrong decision can thrust you into the criminal court system and/or result in a civil lawsuit.

This is why you want to take a comprehensive class that offers you the best training available.


More information available under the “Training” tab of the club’s website


Directly E-mail Phil at


                                      Also Available                                    .

        Arizona CCW Permit class      .


The Arizona Non-Resident CCW Permit is currently recognized in 31 States,

including the States of Nevada and Utah.  (33 when coupled with the Oregon CHL)

Medford Rifle and Pistol Club

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