1911Forum
Forum   Reviews   Rules   Legal   Site Supporters & Donations   Advertise


Go Back   1911Forum > General > General Gun Discussion


Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 09-02-2005, 06:05 PM
kels kels is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2003
Location: Kansas
Age: 53
Posts: 753
Why the skeleton hammer instead of a commander hammer




When and why did the skeleton hammer become so popular on new 1911s?
I was looking at the pictures of the Delta Elite and can remember
when commander hammers were the norm on full size 1911 if you didnt want
a regular style spur hammer. Skeleton hammers were on race type 1911s in American Handgunner.

Thoughts or ideas?
Reply With Quote
  #2  
Old 09-02-2005, 06:21 PM
RickB's Avatar
RickB RickB is offline
1911 Aficionado
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Posts: 17,102
Quote:
Originally Posted by kels
Skeleton hammers were on race type 1911s in American Handgunner.

Thoughts or ideas?
I think you've found your answer.
__________________
If you're not shooting you should be moving. If you're not moving you should be reloading. If you're not shooting, moving, or reloading, you should be taping or picking brass. - Z.C.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 09-02-2005, 07:32 PM
SAWBONES's Avatar
SAWBONES SAWBONES is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: The third dimension
Posts: 2,841
No reason but "fashion".Anybody who tells you it's to reduce "lock time" is screwy.
No human being can tell the difference in lock time between a gun with a skeletonized hammer or a titanium firing pin vs. a Commander ("burr") or regular hammer or steel firing pin.
__________________
"Humani nihil alienum"
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 09-02-2005, 11:12 PM
TY44934 TY44934 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 208
"No human being can tell the difference in lock time "

Maybe a human cannot tell, but the target sure can show a difference. Try shooting a precision 10 Meter air pistol & you'll see that lock time matters.

A simply skeletonized hammer might not have much effect, but a hammer like the Koenig speed hammer will. Koenig knows what works. Reduced lock time works when it comes to fine accuracy work.

Regards,

D.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 09-15-2005, 11:36 PM
Virgil Virgil is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Abq, NM
Posts: 69
hammers, beavertails, & fashion

So if the preponderance of skeletonized commander hammers (& the beavertails that go w/them) is all fashion, does anyone know why Colt went with the rowel hammer on the original commander? Was it to improve lock time, or so it wouldn't be as prone to hanging up on gear?
I'm saving for a Colt 1991, and I'd be inclined to change the spur hammer to a rowel one, and get a beavertail, but I hate to spend money on modifications that are exclusively cosmetic.
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 09-16-2005, 05:52 AM
GRPfan GRPfan is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Northeast US
Age: 58
Posts: 2,810
I don't really know the answer to that question, but I have a suspicion it was because of the complaints of hammer bite. They didn't change the grip safety to a beavertail on the original commander, they just contoured the original to fit the rowel hammer. I seriously doubt anyone at Colt was thinking, "Hey, if we drill a hole in the hammer and lighten it a little, we'll reduce locktime!"

The original Commander was still a combat pistol, after all. And while D. may be absolutely right, if you don't shoot like Rob Leatham, I submit that what hammer you choose is purely cosmetic. For the elite competitor, it may be a functional difference, but for 99% of us, it just doesn't matter. Get the look you like. You pays your money and you makes your choice.

YMMV
__________________
"Life is tough, and it's really tough when you're stupid." Damon Runyon
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 09-16-2005, 05:54 AM
farscott farscott is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: Athens, AL, & Louisville, KY, USA
Posts: 2,591
I believe Colt used the rowel hammer on the Commander for three reasons:

1) It is one way to eliminate "hammer bite"

2) It is practical in that it reduces the tendency for a cover garment to get trapped and torn between the tang of the grip safety and the hammer. In my experience, this is a real issue with a stock 1911.

3) It looks cool.

I do not believe lock time had anything to do with the original choice by Colt since the National Match was offered with the spur hammer at the same time the Commander came with the rowel hammer. The skeletonized hammer was the result of the crucible of competition and made popular because it looks good. I really like the functionality of the rowel hammer and have it on three of my 1911's. My cover garments are also much happier.

As for beavertail grip safeties, there are a few good reasons to use them.

1) The biggest advantage is one's hand is closer to the bore axis, reducing muzzle flip and perceived recoil.

2) A beavertail will also insure there is no hammer bite although this can be accomplished in other ways.

3) It looks cool.

As I continue to shoot 1911's, I have come to appreciate certain grip safeties a bit more than others. There are subtle differences that extended shooting tends to expose. The one that seems to best fit me is the S&A, and the one that fits the worst is Wilson's.
__________________
Scott

Last edited by farscott; 09-16-2005 at 05:56 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 09-16-2005, 02:29 PM
ranger ranger is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2000
Location: SF Bay Area, CA, USA
Posts: 3,668
Is what you're calling Rowel hammer, sometimes called Nastoff hammer?

Try thumb-cocking the hammer, between the original commander hammer, and the Nastoff hammer (like the current Kimbers) and the Nastoff is extended, much easier to cock with your thumb, while keeping the non-snag rounded contour of the original Commander hammer.

It's a functional improvement, to enlongate the hammer. And when it gets long, why not skeletonize it? It's only sensible.

Last edited by ranger; 09-16-2005 at 06:51 PM.
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 09-16-2005, 03:47 PM
Dwolf00 Dwolf00 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2002
Location: Baltimore, MD
Posts: 2,122
The original Colt commander hammer is also referred to as a rowel hammer.
__________________
Stay Safe and Take Care
Patriotic LEO
God Bless our U.S. Serviceman
1911/A1, FN/BHP, S&W, Colt, Kimber, Sig/Sauer, Glock/Lone Wolf Dist, SAA,
Try different guns out and see which one works and feels best for YOU.
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 02-24-2014, 08:59 AM
archangelleather archangelleather is offline
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2013
Location: Backwoods Alabama
Posts: 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by SAWBONES View Post
No reason but "fashion".Anybody who tells you it's to reduce "lock time" is screwy.
No human being can tell the difference in lock time between a gun with a skeletonized hammer or a titanium firing pin vs. a Commander ("burr") or regular hammer or steel firing pin.
I have to agree with this completely. As a motorcyclist I know chrome don't get you home and as a shooter a skeletonized hammer or most custom stuff won't make the average guy shoot any better. Want accuracy? Put your money into the grip, trigger, and sights. And these are highly personal preferences so what works for you is what you need not what Johnny hot shot has. Out of the box just about all handguns are way more accurate than you can shoot them. Save your money and buy more ammo and shoot more that'll get it done faster than all the gizmos in the world. Give a junk gun that still shoots straight to a good shooter and they will out shoot you with a $3000 custom. It is eye, hand, and mind all the gun has to due is shoot straight and reliably.
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 02-24-2014, 10:15 AM
dakota1911 dakota1911 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: The Great American Desert
Posts: 13,751
I thought back when Colt was developing the Commander around 1948-1949 they were hoping to get military contracts and I always thought that hammer looked like the hammers off old European pistols. I have it on the 2007 Commander I carry and an older pre 80 Series Commander made in 1981 on the bottom in the picture below. I took that picture to show the difference in the standard Colt grip safeties over the years by the way.

__________________
NRA Life Member
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 02-24-2014, 10:22 AM
Daniel Watters Daniel Watters is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Posts: 608
FWIW: The so-called Nastoff hammer modification was being performed by Jim Hoag as early as 1978.
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 02-24-2014, 10:23 AM
dakota1911 dakota1911 is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2006
Location: The Great American Desert
Posts: 13,751
I do agree a lot has to do with fashion or style. I have a DW Commander size pistol that has all the things a lot of people think is a "must have", and I am not seeing it. Besides the hammer it is in 10mm, has a ramped barrel. The grip is bobbed. It has night sights. It has the beavertail. It has the front of the grip checkered, etc, etc.

__________________
NRA Life Member
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 02-24-2014, 10:26 AM
Vin63 Vin63 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2012
Location: SoCal
Posts: 1,323
Quote:
Originally Posted by dakota1911 View Post
I thought back when Colt was developing the Commander around 1948-1949 they were hoping to get military contracts and I always thought that hammer looked like the hammers off old European pistols...
This is how I understood it, as well, particularly with the BHP use among international agencies.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 02-24-2014, 11:05 AM
MountieFan16 MountieFan16 is offline
Member
 
Join Date: May 2010
Location: Columbus, Ohio
Posts: 411
As noted by others, I prefer the rowel hammer because I don't like seeing blood running down from the webbing of my hand. And I have the scar(s) to prove it....
__________________
The people think the Constitution protects their rights;
The Left/Progressives sees it as an obstacle to be over-come.
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 02-24-2014, 11:21 AM
samuse samuse is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: South Texas
Posts: 3,721
I think the original Commander style hammer is the best looking one, followed by the ones with the elongated oval shaped hole, followed by the ones with more material removed like Wilsons and Baers, followed by the wierd D shaped Springfield hammers.

I've used all of 'em and functionally they're all the same to me. I have two of the Springfield tool steels, one Harrison Commander and a C&S USMC.

Because every thread is better with pics...

Harrison Commander:


Springfield D:

Last edited by samuse; 02-25-2014 at 08:16 AM.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 02-24-2014, 01:27 PM
RickB's Avatar
RickB RickB is offline
1911 Aficionado
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Posts: 17,102
Modifying the plain, round "Commander hammer" to different exotic shapes was sort of a trademark issue. I remember a gunsmith suing a manufacturer or another 'smith over the shape of the hammer, as the originator considered it his distinct design. Some 'smiths just drilled the hole larger, other changed the hole into an oval or tear-drop shape. I doubt that the little additional weight removal did anything but make the gun more distinctive.
I suspect the Commander got the round hammer for both functional and stylistic reasons. The post-war U.S. military was, for some reason, enamored with the P38, and I suspect the rowel hammer of that pistol, along with that on the wartime Hi-Powers, probably influenced Colt to use that format for a no-bite hammer.
__________________
If you're not shooting you should be moving. If you're not moving you should be reloading. If you're not shooting, moving, or reloading, you should be taping or picking brass. - Z.C.
Reply With Quote
  #18  
Old 02-24-2014, 01:35 PM
drail drail is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2008
Posts: 5,472
The usual reason that any part is replaced with a new improved tactical race version is to sell a whole bunch of them. Most consumers are obsessed with having the latest greatest anything. Lock time is part of the reason also but very few people even know what that means.
Reply With Quote
  #19  
Old 02-24-2014, 02:05 PM
parallax parallax is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Oct 2007
Location: St. Louis, MO
Posts: 2,247
Quote:
Originally Posted by SAWBONES View Post
No reason but "fashion".Anybody who tells you it's to reduce "lock time" is screwy.
No human being can tell the difference in lock time between a gun with a skeletonized hammer or a titanium firing pin vs. a Commander ("burr") or regular hammer or steel firing pin.
People who build competition guns would disagree with you. It most cetainly does decrease lock time. Just because you can't percieve it, that doesn't mean that it's not there and not important.
__________________
If you carry a gun, people will call you paranoid. Thatís ridiculous. If I have a gun, what in the hell do I have to be paranoid about? - Clint Smith

I'm all in favor of keeping dangerous weapons out of the hands of fools. Let's start with typewriters. - Frank Lloyd Wright
Reply With Quote
  #20  
Old 02-24-2014, 02:31 PM
myanof myanof is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Dallas, Texas
Posts: 1,464
A little off subject, but many years ago a competition shooter told me the original reason for the rounded hammer, like you find on PPKs, Commanders, and many European guns, was developed so competition shooters could dry fire all day long without changing their position. He said they used to tie a string to the hole in the hammer which allowed them to maintain shooting position with one hand while holding the string in the other hand. After dry firing all they had to do was pull the string for another shot without changing their shooting stance.

I have no idea if this is true, but it always stuck in my mind.
Reply With Quote
  #21  
Old 02-24-2014, 03:01 PM
RickB's Avatar
RickB RickB is offline
1911 Aficionado
 
Join Date: Mar 2000
Location: Seattle, WA, USA
Posts: 17,102
That used to be normal dryfire practice in the U.S. military, with the instructor holding the string. I suspect the wide-spur hammer may have been necessary to retain the string, if the dryfire procedure were already in place when the M1911 was adopted?
__________________
If you're not shooting you should be moving. If you're not moving you should be reloading. If you're not shooting, moving, or reloading, you should be taping or picking brass. - Z.C.
Reply With Quote
  #22  
Old 02-24-2014, 03:15 PM
magazineman magazineman is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2010
Posts: 2,153
My Springfield Loaded has lots of that type stuff. It's a good gun, no doubt, but a bit too Robocop-lookin' for me.

I like the look of my 1927 Sistema better. No gee-gaws. & it shoots very close to what the Springer can do. Only the sights of the Loaded give it an edge from a practicality standpoint. The other fluff has no advantage, at least at my level of shooting.

So I agree. It's Gun Fashion. Btw, have you noticed how weird some semi-auto hunting shotguns look nowadays? Some really odd lines there. Again, Fashion.

It takes plenty of shopping to find a sneaker that does not look like racing car / Space Shuttle. Same thing.
Reply With Quote
  #23  
Old 02-24-2014, 04:49 PM
1saxman 1saxman is offline
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Posts: 9,170
Quote:
Originally Posted by dakota1911 View Post
I do agree a lot has to do with fashion or style. I have a DW Commander size pistol that has all the things a lot of people think is a "must have", and I am not seeing it. Besides the hammer it is in 10mm, has a ramped barrel. The grip is bobbed. It has night sights. It has the beavertail. It has the front of the grip checkered, etc, etc.

That. it simply seems to fit better visually and makes the round Commander hammer look funky. BUT if I had a nice original Colt Commander I would not change anything.
Then you have the Hi-Power, where the round hammer looks 'right'. Go figure.

Here are two FEG guns.

Reply With Quote
Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:57 AM.


NOTICE TO USERS OF THIS SITE: By continuing to use this site, you certify that you have read and agree to abide by the Legal Terms of Use. All information, data, text or other materials ("Content") posted to this site by any users are the sole responsibility of those users. 1911Forum does not guarantee the accuracy, integrity, or quality of such Content.

Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
vBulletin Optimisation provided by vB Optimise (Pro) - vBulletin Mods & Addons Copyright © 2014 DragonByte Technologies Ltd.
Copyright 2011 1911Forum.com, LLC. All Rights Reserved