I don’t change my guns very often. I am usually happy with the product, or know I will be happy with it before I purchase it. I also like a warranty to be intact, just in case. Sometimes, I make an exception to this and go ahead and change or fiddle with external parts, or cosmetic stuff. Swap a poly stock for wood, things like that. But when Cammer sent me their hammer, sear and strut, that changed a bit.
Now, I’m not talking about going full out and building a race gun. I’m talking about a 1911 part change that I am not changing back. Not to go against the design, or to swap something out just to make a change. The Cammer Hammer is just that good. We’re talking about a difference comparable to upgrading from a GI safety to a beavertail. That good.
The company makes a lot of claims, and while I don’t know if the difference is quite as good as they claim, the difference is noticeable. I installed the parts in my Rock Island Armory 22TCM MS Ultra. This gun has impressed me already, and after the past year putting several thousand rounds of both 22TCM and 9mm through the gun, I know that recoil impulse. I know the racking force, the muzzle rise. I know my gun and how it behaves.
Configured for 9mm, the force to rack the slide was reduced. I’m not sure if I would go so far as 30% or so as Cammer claims, but they did make that claim on a 45. Now, many people who opt for a 9mm 1911 do so for three reasons. Racking the slide is easier, the recoil is less (meh, maybe?), or reduced cost of ammo. Ignoring the latter, I focused on recoil, and racking. Racking the slide feels almost the same with the hammer cocked, as it does with the hammer down. There is a difference, but it is both slight, and further back. The benefit to this is momentum. The “wall” isn’t really there anymore when racking the slide. It is smooth. Yes, my TCM has been broken in very well, but this was an instant improvement over the previous smoothness. I had no way to accurately measure this phenomenon, so I went with the most scientific method I could think of on only one cup of coffee: I handed it to my ten year old daughter.
She normally has me rack it and put it on safe for her before she shoots. Yes, she is safe with a gun. After all, her daddy is a gun writer and we live in Georgia, where Eddie the Eagle is in the school curriculum. When I handed her the gun with the Cammer Hammer installed and magazine in the safe, she giggled… well, like a little girl… because she could now slingshot the slide in 9mm, just like she can with it in 22TCM. I’d say that is one test the hammer passed with flying colors.
Firing the gun in 9mm with the Cammer Hammer was a definite change. I’m not a competition shooter, but I am starting to really understand why those folks spend so much perfecting their guns. The reduction in muzzle rise is surprising. I’ve shot compensated 1911s that didn’t have this noticeable of a reduction. And this was across the spectrum. Everything from plinking ammo from Armscor (Thanks Armscor) to my varied supply of defensive ammo from Ammunition Depot (Thanks Guys). Now, the reduction in muzzle rise was different with different ammo, of course. 124 grain FMJs just don’t have the oomph of +p Golden Sabers. But across the board, there was a clear reduction in muzzle rise.
This does not, however, result in less recoil. It changes the impulse from flip, to rearward thrust. There might be more hand shock due to this but I have no idea, my hands aren’t that delicate.
If you are not familiar with the 22TCM, it is a borderline wildcat round from Armscor and Fred Craig. It means Tuason Craig Micromagnum, and that is exactly what it is. The Micromagnum part, that is. The short version is this, it’s a pistol round that moves a 40 grain bullet about 2,000fps. Out of a 4.25 inch barrel. It does disturbing things when it hits meat, and can peel a grapefruit from the inside out. I wrote a review of this gun for TTAG about a year ago, if you’d like to read more, click the picture below of the 22TCM in the magazine.
Now, one of the great benefits to the 22TCM is the miniscule recoil it has. After all, it’s a 40 grain round leaving a steel pistol. It’s somewhere between a 22lr and a .380 normally. This is easily managed by anybody. With the Cammer Hammer installed, the reduced force needed to rack the slide, results again in reduced muzzle rise. The already tiny amount of felt recoil is dropped to 22lr levels. And I don’t mean Stingers or Velocitors. We’re talking Federal Bulk Pack here. You would almost swear you were shooting cheapo 22lr, if not for the thunderous boom and fireball leaving the gun.
The benefits were similar to the 9mm test, the recoil reduction as noticeable, but not totally nullifying. The recoil spring in this configuration is much lighter, which made racking it feel even smoother. And there is another very nice bonus to it.
The trigger. Now, the trigger in my TCM was pretty good to begin with, and it has just gotten better over the last year. But when I installed the hammer and sear, it just got better. The already crispy break became that sought after “glass rod”. And on the subject of the install, it was painless. The parts literally dropped right in. Cammer Technologies does recommend gunsmith installation. And I wanted to do that. I really did. I wanted to send my gun to Pahrump to have the folks there do it for me and give it a once over, like they do. And, you know, preserve my warranty. But I did not do that. I simply detail stripped the gun, and dropped in the new parts when reassembling.
There is a drawback here. The hammer itself costs about a hundred bucks. And it’s a bit more for the other parts. However, the complete ignition system they offer for about a hundred and fifty has all the springs and internals in the back end of the gun. The parts are upgrades to basic, entry level or GI parts. It includes the hammer and sear, which are mated very well. As long as you have that end of the gun open, you might as well put in the better springs and such.
If you’d like to read more of the technical stuff, you can visit Cammer Technologies.
If you’re interested in the 22TCM, or the gun I’ve been talking about, visit Armscor.
And if you need ammo at a good price with fast delivery, try Ammunition Depot.