How to Extend the Life of a Pistol Extractor

  • Jack Collins

We’ve all been there before. You’re loading your pistol up to its maximum capacity with a full magazine and one in the chamber. You pull your slide back, drop the first round into the chamber, drop the slide forward, and load the magazine. Easy peasy, right?

Wrong. If you’re like me and load your pistols like this, you’ve been causing unnecessary wear on your pistol’s extractor. In his most recent video, SDI grad Caleb Downing breaks down why this is a bad thing.

Extending the Life of Your Pistol Extractor: Loading Properly

The extractor is an essential part of any semi-auto pistol. It locks into the rim of an empty casing and ejects it from the chamber after firing, clearing the way for a fresh round.

To do this, the extractor needs to be under spring tension.

If you load your pistol the way we mentioned earlier, you’ll slowly damage your extractor. Over time, it’ll develop a small chip or notch that’s difficult to spot if you don’t know what you’re looking for.

While it might not seem like a big deal, this kind of extractor damage can lead to lots of problems. You’ll experience issues like double feeding and failures to extract (FTEs) that might make you think your gun is dirty. In reality, you’ve been damaging your extractor.



How to Properly Load Your Pistol

To prevent this damage in the first place, you need to change how you load your gun. You want to stop putting a cartridge into an empty chamber, dropping the slide, and then inserting the magazine. Instead, insert the magazine with the slide opened and drop the slide to load the chamber. Then, remove your magazine and insert a fresh round.

It may feel alien at first, but you’ll get used to it. This is how your gun is designed to be loaded!

Learn More About the Parts of a Pistol at SDI

While it would obviously be nice to prevent this problem in the first place, what happens if you’ve already damaged your pistol extractor? At SDI, you can learn more about the different parts of a pistol, as well as how to fix and replace them. To learn more and check out the classes we offer, click here.

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