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Slide failure to lock

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Old 05-31-2011, 11:21 PM   #1
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Hey all, as i was at the range today, i was having problems with the slide on my P226 locking back after the last round. I shot 6 mags, and all 6 had failure to lock, so 100% failure rate. The odd part, i've never had a problem with the slide locking back if i manually rack it....unless i forget to insert a magazine, d'oh.



Thumb?

I had this happen to be a couple times when i first shot my sig a couple weeks ago, and thought it was due to my thumb placement, that it was resting on the slide lock lever too much. So, I've been forcing myself in dry fire drills to essentially shot with that thumb straight up. (If i place it any other way, i feel like i lose too much grip.) This doesn't appear to be the problem, unless now i'm brushing the slide with my thumb as it's at attention. If that's the case, i'm not feeling it. And i'm not sure how i would correct that except to stick my thumb off to the left in a 45deg-ish angle.



Lube?

I also switched from using oil, to using grease. I tried following Florks guidance, but I think i might have gotten too much grease along the rails. I did wipe off the excess...the oh soo much excess off the back, but i never took the slide off and cleaned up the inside excess before shooting. So i don't really know how greasy gooky it was inside prior to shooting. With that said, while cleaning afterwards, i did see grease all over the slide lock lever...particularly the spot that stops the slide. It wasn't gooky, but there was easily a film over it.



Ammo?

I was shooting Winchester Whitebox Value stuff...115gr FMJ all day today. This is the first time i've shot WWB through her, but based on experiences i've read from other people, i find it difficult that the ammo is the culprit.



Magazine spring?

With the slide off, i can see that the follower in the magazine not only makes contact with the slide lock lever, but easily pushes up upwards. When you pull down on the lever, it's not difficult, but it's also not easy. Likewise, when the slide is on, and locked back...releasing the slide with the right thumb on the lever only, you can feel the tension. There's no feel of slop or play or anything of the sort.



Lever or slide?

This is a brand new gun. There's a tidge of wear on the lever, and a bit on the slide where they rub, but nothing near what i would expect to cause problems. The notch in the slide is still squarish, no rounding from wear.





My guess...

My guess is that i had too much grease on the rails, and that got onto the slide lock lever. While it would rack for me manually, i'm guessing it wouldn't for the last round because of maybe more force or the position of the gun, or some combination there of.



Any other thoughts as to what might be the culprit?



Thanks!
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Old 06-01-2011, 04:32 AM   #2
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While the causes you list are generally probable ones for slide failure to lock back, your Sig is too new to have any of those mechanical problems.



I would say it is probably due to thumb placement, or (but I highly doubt this one) excess grease. I know how your first pistol purchase can be although you want to take the best care of it, maybe there is more grease than needs to be in that area.



As for thumb placement, try shooting a mag with your thumb as far away as it can be from the slide release lever. Does that solve the problem? Time to change your grip!



In the future I would recommend a thumbs-forward magpul type grip (supposed to be better at controlling the pistol).

But right now while you're troubleshooting the pistol for now just try and shoot with a thumbs down grip. Even if it is uncomfortable, we are trying to diagnose a problem here!



Yeah I had the same problem. I wanted to shoot with a thumbs up grip. My P220 would fail to lock back. I thought I wasn't putting a heck of a lot of pressure on the lever even with my thumb up there, but the moment

I switched my grip, no more failures. So give it a try!
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Old 06-01-2011, 10:21 AM   #3
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The thumb placement when shooting thumbs forward lands my thumb brushing against the slide lock. That's why i had changed my grip thumb from being forward to straight up vertical. To your point tho, I'm troubleshooting, so grip fundamentals don't really apply at the moment.



Here's what i'm thinking for troubleshooting next time out...


  1. Watch the grease levels. Make sure i clean off any excess grease near the slide lock lever. (You nailed it....first gun, dont' want to be ignorantly negligent to maintenance/care.) I'm assuming if i go way short on grease, or way overboard on grease i'll start experiencing FTEs?
  2. Shoot thumbs forward, but the rear thumb will be down to ensure no contact with lever.
  3. Shoot thumbs forward with the weak hand, completely removing the thumbs from the picture all together.
  4. Try different ammo. I doubt it, but i have the capability, so why not.
  5. Try different magazines. I should have a couple more magazines by then. If not, i'll see if i can borrow one or two from the range.



And speaking of the magazines... When i press down on the follower, the forward half presses down a lot easier than the rear half. I thought maybe i had the spring in backwards, but the 'inner' cap that the baseplate snaps onto is attached to the spring, and can only sit inside the magazine one way. So, its in the magazine the direction that Sig intended. Both my factory magazines act that way. Thats the only other thing i can think of at the moment.
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Old 06-01-2011, 12:56 PM   #4
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For what it's worth..I'm left handed..and when I first got my Sig i had the same problem with lock back on the last round. I was informed by Sig that it just needed to be broken in. As far as greasing goes, I have always read/been told that sigs like to be run wet. A local mixed me up some special stuff that I use on my comp gun, and it has served me extremely well. He greased the gun for me, then I ran it for 2000 rounds without a cleaning, and it was still wet with grease, and had zero hiccups over that 2000 rounds.
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Old 06-01-2011, 01:56 PM   #5
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Myers- That is reassuring. When you spoke with Sig, did they provide a rough estimate of how many rounds it usually takes a break-in a new 226?
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Old 06-01-2011, 02:22 PM   #6
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I seem to remember hearing 500 rounds? I could be wrong, but as long as you aren't riding the slide release/catch then that's the only problem I can think of. If you are using a thick grease then you can create a malfunction, but it doesn't sound as if you have done that. If that was the case, I would expect your gun to be stove piping in addition to not locking back. Keep an eye on those thumbs though, I shoot 'thumbs forward" but i more keep my shooting hand thumb up, which in your case would put it up and out of the way of the slide release.
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Old 06-02-2011, 09:27 AM   #7
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Lots of good advice here. Just had to get my two cents in though.






  • Field strip gun. Clean gun of all “grease”. Lightly re-lube rails and other contact surfaces with something like CLC BreakFree. Re-assemble. Rack slide several times. Clean any excess from rail areas.
  • Inspect mags and make sure mag lips and followers have no burrs. Load three rounds in each mag.
  • Shoot one-handed with thumbs down grip. Let everybody here know what happened.




My reasoning:






  • I don’t want to get into any peeing contests on “proper” lube methods for Sigs. For test purposes, however, try the gun with lightly lubed instead of greased.
  • The fewer digits in the area of the controls the better.




I seriously doubt it is a mag(s) problem. I presume that you have NOT changed the original Sig recoil spring. An excessively heavier spring might cause the slide to not go fully to the rear and result in failure to lock after the last round.







Finally, and this really has nothing to with this specific post but I couldn’t resist. Many shooters appear to believe there is something mystical about proper lube methods. If you clean and lube your gun after every range session (yeah, I’m weird) I don’t think the details matter much. Internal engaging surfaces like hammer/sear – that’s different. If the gun is going to be shot a lot without cleaning, or in tough military field conditions, that also is different. Just my opinion.
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Old 06-02-2011, 11:29 AM   #8
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maybe your shooting limp wristed and the slide is not able to blow back fully. keep a firm stiff grip on the pistol and see what happens.



just my thoughts for what it's worth.
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Old 06-02-2011, 12:33 PM   #9
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After reading Devildogandboy's post it reminded me that the first time I went to the range with my P226 9mm (first time handling a gun in 10 years) I was firing quite limp wristed. I ended up with several FTE's and now that I think about it I don't believe the slide locked back on empty either. The last few times I've gone shooting I haven't had either problem with cheep bulk 9mm ammo.
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Old 06-04-2011, 05:00 PM   #10
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Okay, so I was at the range yesterday with one goal in mind...figure out if I was the cause of the slide lock failures, or if the gun was malfunctioning. And, the answer is........me. Who saw that coming.



I didn't see the last couple posts until today, so I didn't get to include Nipper's suggestions in with my troubleshooting. It seems like anytime my thumb is in the same zip code as the slide lock lever, it fails to lock back. Shooting one handed with my strong hand, no problems. Shooting thumbs forward with my weak hand, no problems. Shooting thumbs forward with my support hand, and the thumb of my grip hand essentially pointing to my immediate left (very very awkward btw), no problems.



I field stripped the gun several times while at the range to see if lube ever got onto the slide lock lever, and it didn't. It was always 'dry'. However, this was more of a curiosity thing than anything else at this point.



My thumb is clearly a problem. And i wasn't joking about the zip code comment, if it is anywhere's near it, it fails. This got me thinking- "How, why, would Sig produce a pistol with a lever that sensitive in that location. I can't be the only one that naturally rests my thumb in that area. And assuming that the masses do the same thing, why is this such a beloved handgun? Why would they have not redesigned it's location?"



And that thought brought me to the root cause of my problem. It's not my thumb, it's my grip. While i'm not limp wristing it enough to force me to readjust my grip between shots, as recoil lifts the gun, the lever is actually being lifted into my thumb with enough force to depress it either all the way, or just below the notch in the slide as it recoils forward. (I wish i had high speed HD cameras to verify/dispel this theory.)



While I came to that conclusion well after i left the range, I did try experimenting with a couple different grip pressure philosophies while I was at the range. I don't remember which ones it was now, but a couple of them, significantly reduced the muzzle flip i normally experience. Significant like, 10-20% Lesssss flip. I didn't want to get too side tracked off my main reason for going that i didn't pursue them further. I now regret that, of course. I hate hindsight.



So, my lesson learned here is, my grip is currently my weakest link. And i will be practicing that much much more.



(This outing brought my total up to 320rnds through my new 226. So far, other than user-error, I've only experienced 1 failure to eject, and that was during this testing.)



Thanks All!! I do sincerely appreciate all the thoughts and suggestions that aided along the way.
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Old 06-04-2011, 06:55 PM   #11
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I have had the same problem with 15 round Mec-Gar magazines. I have found the springs in the mags get soft and don't push the slide stop up.



I sent Mec-gar an e-mail and have never heard back.

I have read that SIG did have a few problems... But never a specific solution.



The OP might call SIG and see if they would replace the mags???







Good Luck,







Lateck,
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Old 06-08-2011, 09:57 AM   #12
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Yesterday, I applied some more googlefu and came across some more troubleshooting possibilities in addition to the ones in my original post. And i did find a couple interesting things, all within the same 9 page thread over at *************....well, within the last 4 pages anyway, and another forum, dont remember the name. Here's what i gleamed from the last 4 pages of the sigforum thread, and the other one...


  1. Magazine spring length. Apparently the length across magazines can vary by quite a bit. The poster was speculating that maybe the shorter springs weren't able to push the follower up into the slide catch lever fully, or their shortened length was too weak. (The poster wasn't clear how he was measuring them, but he did state it was across several different Sig factory mags and a couple mecgars too.)
  2. The slide catch lever itself. Another poster was stating that Sig apparently had, or still does, produce two different slide catch levers, one for hi-cap magazines, and one for low-cap magazines like the 10rounders i'm stuck with here in CA. He called Sig, and they sent him the correct lever for his gun. As another poster stated, that's kinda ******** because then the gun itself is either 100% effective with High cap or Low cap mags, and iffy at best with both.
  3. The slide catch lever spring. Some posters were speculating that the spring that operates the slide catch lever is too weak. Maybe cuz i don't have my gun in front of me at the moment, but i don't remember seeing/feeling spring tension when the magazine isn't inserted. And now that i think about it, if there were spring tension, the slide should lock back by itself when racked w/o a magazine inserted....without the user pushing up on the slide catch tab.
  4. Dirt grime buildup in the magazine. One of the more knowledgeable sounding posters suggested that maybe some dirt/grim/etc had been interfering with the follower sliding up through the magazine smoothly. Simple solution being to clean the mags thoroughly.
  5. Dirt grime buildup between the frame and the slide catch lever. The same guy that suggested the dirt inside the magazine suggested a thorough cleaning of the area between the frame and the slide catch lever too. If this was not smooth functioning it might account for the problem being visible across mags, but specific to a single gun.
  6. Guide rod spring. Another poster stated they had the same kinda problem, but after leaving the slide locked open while storing between shooting sessions...apparently a week to two weeks, the problem magically went away. they speculated that maybe the guide rod spring had been a bit too strong and was overpowering the catch lever during recoil.



So last night after I got home, I field stripped the gun down again and checked all the applicable moving parts again. Checked for grittyness, stuttery movement etc etc. Notta. Everything is smooth, and the lever has enough tension on it that when i turn the gun upside down and hit eject on the mag, it actually pops a good 90% of the way out of the grip.



So, i'm back to my original conclusion, it's me. I'm still suspecting i'm not holding the grip strong enough, and the recoil is pushing the slide catch tab back into my thumb. If I still encounter the problem even after resolving my grip strength / thumb placement, i'll call Sig.
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