S9 sticks out of battery if slide bumped

Discussion in 'M, C, L and S Series' started by johnEP, Apr 9, 2006.

  1. johnEP

    johnEP New Member

    Percieved problem: When a round is chambered in my S9, the slide will not self-return to battery when bumped (pushed back a bit). In other words, the slide will stick out of battery when bumped, and I will need to manually push it forward.

    SN on slide: greater than 20,000. Purchased: CDNN

    Testing Details on my new S9:
    1) At the range: approx 500 rounds total through new S9. Two instances where I pulled the trigger without realizing that slide was not fully home (both were between shots of the same loaded clip). Dent in primer on both occasions, thankfully not enough for KB (kaboom). Both problems occured after 250 rounds (reasonable break-in). S9 was well-cleaned and oiled on all occasions.

    2) At home: Round chambered; clip inserted with 1 additional round: Push the slide back 1/4 inch. Slide will not return home in any case unless you push it forward (or flip your wrist to shake it forward).

    3) Ride the slide tests: There is some hangup on chambering (not too bad), but lockup home to battery is very weak. The top round in the clip gets grooves scraped into the brass from the slide. Small brass shavings present under slide.

    Percieved cause of problem: The clip spring pushes the top round upward against the slide. The slide rides on the top round using 2 sharp rails (on the underside of the slide). These slide-to-bullet "rails" bite into the brass, creating excess friction, and leaving brass shavings.

    Has anyone noticed the same?
  2. FlaChef

    FlaChef Guest

    you can polish (flitz and cloth or 1500 grit wet/dry auto body sandpaper), or you can just keep blasting and let it do itself.

    We usually say break in is 500-800 rounds (yes that's more than most pistols but they are tighter than most pistols, and have tennifered steel).

    Sitting around watching TV and racking the slide on an empty gun will also help w/ slide to frame, but not the inner "rails" where the rounds ride.

  3. bigtaco

    bigtaco Active Member

    the top round is supposed to push against the rails, so that's no trouble at all.

    none of this could cause the gun to KB. if the primer can get enough energy to detontate, the slide would see enough energy to close.

    the brass shavings are caused by the lci. if you slightly round off the point, just take the sharpness away, the shavings disappear.

    as to why it's not going into battery, good cleaning and good lubing is the right place to start, but you say it didn't help.

    the next place to look is the recoil spring. but being brand new this shouldn't be an issue.

    if i pull my slide back slightly with a round chambered, it won't close. but this has never been a problem while firing.

    i think it just may need more break in time.
  4. johnEP

    johnEP New Member

    slide sticks out of battery if pulled back a bit

    BIGTACO: the brass shavings are caused by the lci. if you slightly round off the point, just take the sharpness away, the shavings disappear.

    What is the LCI?

    BIGTACO: as to why it's not going into battery, good cleaning and good lubing is the right place to start, but you say it didn't help.

    Yeah, I do good in this dept. And, its new.

    BIGTACO: if i pull my slide back slightly with a round chambered, it won't close. but this has never been a problem while firing.

    Yes. This is my issue. The slide does not self-close to home if pulled back a bit. This has only been a problem 2/500 rounds on my S9, both of which occured in the middle of firing a single clip. In contrast, my Ruger P94 locks and retuns to home strongly in this situation (my only prior hand-firearm experience).

    FLAchef: you can polish (flitz and cloth or 1500 grit wet/dry auto body sandpaper), or you can just keep blasting and let it do itself.

    Yes? If I excercise the slide (just prior to the point of chamber ejection) with the clip loaded, deep groves are cut into the bullet brass (the top one in the clip). The brass seems much softer than the bullet-rails........


    Q#1: Is failure to return to battery (after pulling the slide back a bit), on a chambered and clip-loaded Steyr M9 and S9 common to all?

    Q#2: Is this any real issue?

    Q#3: Is this a common characteristic of other modern semi-auto pistols (such as the Glock)?

    Q#4: Should I use sandpaper on my Steyr bullet-rail grooves?


  5. ScottW

    ScottW Guest

    LCI = loaded chamber indicator, the conical pointy thing protruding into the breech face above the firing pin. When new, they're a little too pointy and can cause little brass divots. Gradually smooths out with use.

    Steyrs are initially a little tighter than some other manufacturers', but semi-auto pistols in general are designed to have the full action/force of the recoil spring bringing it into battery for the next shot. This is why it's a bad idea to "ride the slide" forward with your hand while racking that first round... just pull back, ler 'er go slingshot style, let the recoil spring do its job and it should go into battery just fine. If it fails to go into battery when pulled back only slightly, this is not a problem IMO. If it fails in the middle of a magazine, it's a legitimate problem. Could be a dirty chamber, or ammo related. I never have problems shooting the Winchester white box, but my Steyr any many other folks' Steyrs do not like the Remington UMC, for example.

    You could sand the LCI a slight amount, but I'd leave the rails alone. The grooves in the brass are normal, and their deepness will lessen as the gun sees more rounds.

    My M9 had a few battery isssues, brass flakes, and other minor things when new, but now that it's got a little over 1500 rounds, it runs nice and smooth. Zero problems in the last two range trips (~500 rds). My advice for your pistol... buy a bunch of ammo and shoot a lot. 8)
  6. johnEP

    johnEP New Member

    Steyr S9 slide sticks "out of battery"

    An update/summary:

    When a round is chambered, and the magazine has any rounds in it, a mild/moderate bump to the front of the S9 slide will disable the weapon, untill the slide is pushed back forward. Even if there are no problems at the range, it is easy to imgine a few (unlikely) self-defense scenarios where this could present a real problem. Amoung Steyrs, I have only handled the S9, but I wonder if this annoyance is common to all M and S series, new and old versions, regardless of caliber.

    The LCI (loaded chamber indicator), is certainly not the cause of the brass shavings in my case. The grooves in the catridge brass clearly illustrate the slide design as the culprit. Although this may be normal for a Steyr, it is not desirable. On the other hand, the shavings have decreased with time to nearly nill.

    Despite these percieved concerns, my wife and I enjoy the S9 at the range. She loves the grip. I prefer thinner and longer grips; as I squeeze the S9 grip, it rotates slightly to the right in my hand. After a few rounds, the "dove tail" tends to ride on the side of my right lower thumb joint (mild ouch).

  7. squirrelpotpie

    squirrelpotpie Premium Member

    Hi John,

    am not an expert, but have heard from several folks with more experience that virtually any semi automatic with a slide can be temporarily disabled the same way.

    (don't know if fixed barreled guns like the Steyr GB or the HK P7 have the same vulnerability)
  8. madecov

    madecov Active Member

    Concerning the brass shavings,

    If you look at the inside of the slide you will see a grooved raised rail down the center of the slide. This "raised" section of the slide is what strips a round from the magazine and loads it into the chamber. Steyr is the only handgun I have seen where this is "hollowed" out rather than being a solid piece, why I do not know.

    But when the gun recoils the edges of this section will score the softer brass and leave some brass inside the slide.

    Concerning the slide going out of battery,

    With the weapon UNLOADED point the muzzle straight up. Pull the slide back and SLOWLY let it go forward. If the slide will return completely into battery then the recoil spring is fine.

    Of course the real proof is at the range. Go put a few magazines through the gun and let us know how things go.
  9. smores

    smores Guest

    Last week I was at the range, shooting my M40-A1, and after one round felt a stinging in my eye and had to stop shooting. A small sliver of HOT brass landed right on my eyelid, almost going in my eye. Yes I was wearing safety glasses, but I guess it snuck in over the top or something...

    Has only happened once, but man it was HOT!
  10. Syntax360

    Syntax360 Premium Member

    I feel your pain, Cold_Flourescence - last time I took my M9A1 to the range, I had a hot piece of brass fly somehow into my safety glasses. By the time I realized what had happened, set the pistol down, and ripped off the glasses, a good 3-4 seconds had expired. I had a nice red sun-burn looking mark on my eyelid in the shape of a spent casing for a few days, and it definitely didn't feel too good. (ah, the joys of shooting LH :lol:)
  11. posterboy7

    posterboy7 New Member

    Most, maybe all(?) auto pistols can be disabled by pushing the slide backward. If you are really worried about needing a gun up-close, situations in with the barrel contacts the target, maybe you should consider a revolver. They can be jammed into people and emptied. The Springfield XD guide rod is extended slightly past the front edge of the frame so that it can still be fired if the slide is pushed a little out of battery, for example if the gun is pressed into someone. That is why that feature is there, actually. The XD design came out of Croatia's war with the Serbs. On the other hand, a shot made while in contact with a person will probably jam the gun with gore, including the XD. If you are in a situation where someone is grabbing your gun the best place for your gun is in your holster with you hand on top of it and all your body weight pressed down on it. Better then that is a quick draw, movement and rapid, accurate shots.

    All that said, I was having a return to battery problem with my M40-A1, but never after I racked the slide, it always occured after a shot. Steyr replaced the recoil spring while fixing a problem with the trigger.

    SELFDEFENSE Premium Member

    Ball caps are becoming required by some SOs because of peoples' reactions when hot things get behind their glasses.
  13. posterboy7

    posterboy7 New Member

    I always wear my ball cap while shooting. I like to wear my old Adidas TRs without socks and last time I was shooting a hot casing fell into my shoe. I let it burn then flicked it out when I was done with the drill. When it comes to pistol ammo, unless you get one stuck between your glasses and your eyes letting it burn my be uncomfortable, but it shouldn't keep you from continuing what you are doing and it won't leave a scar. Rifle brass, I am told, is a different story.
  14. smores

    smores Guest

    When I was hit, I thought I was literally hit in the eye. I instinctively just put the pistol down on the bench, facing downrange, and stepped back from the firing line to fix the issue. After a few seconds, I realized I was ok, and stepped back up. When brass hits or lands on my shoulders or whatever, I usually pay it no mind. I come home sometimes with shells in random pockets that I hadn't even noticed!
  15. johnEP

    johnEP New Member

    Just to verify: do all M9 and S9's stick out of battery of the slide is bumped back?

    Try this test for youself, and let me know:

    Trigger safety on. Clip inserted with 6 rounds. Rack the slide to chamber a round. Now, pull the slide back 1/4 inch. My S9 slide sticks there (out of battery); it does not return home by itself. I must push it forward (or flip my wrist to shake it forward) to return the slide home.

    Are your results the same?

  16. unit1069

    unit1069 Member

    I'll buy anyone's S9-A1 pistol for $100, no questions asked.

    I'm on a crusade to remedy the disgruntled S9-A1 Steyr owners and pray to God that they hear my prayer.
  17. ETH77

    ETH77 Premium Member

    What you are doing is the equivalent of riding the slide back. The Steyr must have the slide freely released from full recoil to chamber the round and cock the striker. This has been discussed several times here on the forum.

    If the Steyr is loaded and cocked and you pull the slide rearward, then to move the slide forward the recoil spring has to overcome the friction on the slide caused by the next round in the magazine, and it must once again complete the cocking action on the striker. During operation this is trivial, as the mass of the slide moving forward due to the recoil spring overcomes that little resistance. When you operate the slide without full compression of the recoil spring, the amount of force generated is not enough to move the slide forward to battery. You can improve things somewhat by using a moly powder and buffing it onto the twin rails on the bottom of the slide where the next round touches, but you are still asking for an exceptional act.

    With a new gun, the mag spring is also uber strong, it will ease a little over time, at which time the resistance due to the friction on the shell case will drop.

    The fact that you can mechanically move the slide to a point where the gun can no longer returns to battery has nothing to do with proper functioning of the weapon. If you are really concerned, you can get a stronger recoil spring, although that has it's own set of problems.
  18. johnEP

    johnEP New Member

    Actually, I have the older S9, and I really love it in all other respects. The grip, low bore axis, reliability, and sights make it a real pleasure to shoot. In fact, I'm willing to up your bid to $125 for used models sent my way (grin). I'm just looking to make my specific S9 "even better": if I could reduce my slide friction just one hair, I think the slide would stay home better.

    Agreed. Riding the slide is not intended for proper functioning. Furthermore, my S9 is very reliable at the range. This video shows a hangup when truly "riding the slide" on an S9-A1 (not mine):
    (originally posted in this thread): https://www.steyrclub.com/vb/threads/8613-Steyr-S9-A1-1000-Round-Report?highlight=S9-a1+shavings
    1) Is this "ride-the-slide" hangup shown in this video is "normal" for all S9 and M9's?

    However, I neglected to specify: on my S9, the slide will stick out-of-battery even if pushed just 1 or 2mm back. I do not see this as a "riding the slide" induced problem as shown in the video above: my S9 stays out-of-battery by a slight (1-2mm) push to the front. I do not want my S9 to ever be 1mm or 2mm out-of-battery when I (or my wife) pulls the trigger, regardless of the scenario.

    If I can reduce the friction on my loaded slide a tiny bit, I think this minor issue will be solved. The grooves/scratches in my brass are a sign of friction against the underside of the slide. Polishing (slightly rounding) the inner edges of bullet rails on the underside of the slide seems like a logical approach to reduce this friction and decrease brass grooves/scratches. However, I am no gunsmith. And so, I appeal to this forum.

    2) Do you agree that this simple polishing is likely to reduce slide friction and brass grooves? If so, could this be a simple solution to most of the other rare complaints posted here? Has anyone tried it? BigTaco?