Drop Test

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After hearing of at least on gunsmith who thought the P-11 was to prone to drop fires, and after shortening the FP spring on my own P-11, I decided to try my own drop test to see how my P-11 would do. It did not due so well.... First I wanted to find a way to consistently drop it so it would land muzzle first, and also do something so that it would not damage the gun. What I came up with was a PVC holder. This is rigid enough to transfer just about all the energy to the gun from impact, but not strong enough to damage the barrel or slide. I got an 8" long piece of 2 inch PVC, a 2 inch PVC cap, a piece of small rope, part of an old shamy, and a rubber band. First cut a rectangular hole in the pvc that is just over an inch wide, about 4 1/2 inches long, and 1/2 inch from one end. Then cut a notch in the cap to make sure the trigger guard was not resting on that, and to ensure that the muzzle was touching the inside of the end cap (you will see in a min). Then drill 2 holes in the other end of the PVC just big enough for the rope that you have, and pass the rope through it, and tie a not in each end (the rope gives you something to consistently drop with). I also inserted a piece of foam into the PVC to press against the top of the slide (but not between the muzzle and the cap) so that it would position the P-11 in the PVC the same way every time.

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Take a rag or something an wrap the handle of the P-11 and rubber band it on, this is just to keep the polymer grip from being scratched when it bounces to a rest after being dropped. Now insert the P-11 muzzle first into the hole and push it forward so that the muzzle starts to come out the end. Now push in the rear of the slide and pull it up towards the back. Put the end cap on with the notch lining up with the forward part of the trigger guard, and push it up tight. This will push the back of the pistol up and lock it into the hole so it can not fall out.

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Now insert a primered only case, put the pistol in the PVC holder, hold from the string, and drop from your desired test height onto cement or other hard surface.

Each time you drop it, you must disassemble and check the casing because you may not be able to tell just by the sound if it went off or not. It is muffled a lot by the PVC. It is easy to tell if it went off, just look inside the case before you test, you will see it is pretty clean brass. After it goes off, it is much duller and has powder residue on it.

Also use a fresh shell for every test, progressively testing the same shell at different heights will lead to incorrect findings at all but the first height (and you have to take it apart anyway to check so you might as well put in a fresh shell).

After deciding to see how my 1911 .45 did on the same test, I modified pvc holder a bit to hold different lengths. The only difference is I made the cut in the PVC longer, and to hold the back of the pistol in, I made a ring that you will slide down over the back of the gun to lock it in place. It is just about an inch cut off of a 2" PVC end cap. The new one looks like this:

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After testing, mine set off the primer at 3 feet and above. 2 Feet dimpled the primer, but did not set it off. I am not teribly afraid of a drop fire, 1 because I don't drop it, and 2 because even if it were to happen, it would be pointing down and not at anyone or anything. I will be doing more testing to find a good solution/balance of light strike vs. drop fire resistance and post updates when I find something.

I had someone email me this actual experience:

Found your page after searching Kel Tec P-11 accidental discharge...thought I would share this story while still fresh. My wife carries her P-11 daily and just last night experienced her first "inertia-fire" type AD...dropped from waist height (just measured, est 36) while holstering, muzzle-first on bare concrete floor, breaking off the front/bottom of the spring cover, firing and putting fair little hole in bathroom floor. Breaking of the plastic spring shroud did not interfere with the slide rails. Weapon still functional, wife now more cognizant of ratcheting up awareness when handling daily carry chores.

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