When you run a pistol in your every day life, it happens that they jam frequently.  This goes for rifles as well, but it seems like pistols tend to be a little more finicky for most of us.  In fact, most of my experience with malfunctions come in pistols.  If you are having malfunctions here are several things to try to solve the problem.

  1. Clean the pistol.  I know it sounds like a silly thing to say, but most semi-auto systems that start to foul up have to do with cleaning.  Scrub out everything really well, relube and go.  If you shoot a lot (a thousand rounds or more every year) have your gunsmith tear it down and thoroughly clean it.
  2. Check your ammo.  Some ammo is simply junk.  It won’t run.  Some high quality ammo won’t run in your pistol.  Every pistol is different.  When you find a load your pistol likes, spend the money right then to get some set aside for future use.
  3. Use a high quality magazine.  Factory mags work best in most cases, but the 1911 can benefit from a good magazine like those from Wilson Combat.  Yes it will cost you less than the gun show special, but guess what they run.
  4. If your gun is super old or has been shot a lot, change the springs.  Recoil springs and magazine springs are very cheap and easy to get from Wolff.
  5. You may need your magazines tuned.  I was recently fighting with a CZ 1924 in 32 ACP.  After trying to get the gun running with all of the above, I decided to tune the magazines.  By adjusting the feed lips it solved the problem.  This one is best left to your gunsmith, but it isn’t an expensive problem to remedy.

Start with the simple and work to the complex.  Most of the time you will fix the problem.