The 1911 Extended Slide Stop
"Howdy. I read your blog on that Clark 1911, and noticed that it had the extended slide stop/release. I've searched THR a few times, and the general consensus is "don't get them." Now, I am well aware that a Clark Custom job would be hard (if not impossible) to match with "drop in" parts, but would you say that such a modification is handy to a 1911, or would you say that, lacking Clark's touch, the extension is more trouble than it is worth? I'm toying with picking up a Colt Series 70 repro this coming summer, and have toyed with putting in a similar part for various reasons, none the least of which is that I currently cannot easily reach the standard slide stop mechanism on a basic 1911."
I despise extended slide stops on 1911s. The extra weight of an extended slide stop frequently counter balances the upward push of the magazine spring, especially a weak one, preventing the magazine follower from raising the slide stop into the notch on the slide to lock the slide open after the last shot is fired. As a result, the slide fails to lock back. I do not like that at all. It impairs quick reloads.
The only......only reason my Clark gun has an extended slide stop is because old man Clark put it there himself, fitting it with his own hands. I just feel it would be wrong of me to replace it on that pistol. Even J.E. Clark's extended slide stop can fail to lock the slide open on the last round, especially if the magazine is dirty, or the mag spring is weak.
The way I manage the standard 1911 slide stop is a pretty common technique. You never shift your right hand's grip during a reload. Use the right hand's thumb to drop the magazine while reaching for the spare mag with the left hand. The pistol is recovering from the recoil of the last shot. The empty magazine should fall free under it's own weight. The pistol's sights stay roughly on target, the pistol vertical.
Insert the spare magazine into the pistol with your index finger along the front to guide it.
Use your palm to smack it home, keeping your fingers outstretched to prevent them from getting pinched between the magazine and grip frame.
Now here's the trick. Watch closely.......Your left thumb depresses the slide stop and releases the slide as the left hand resumes it's grip on top of the right. The slide strips the first round off the full magazine, chambering it.
As the slide closes, the left hand curls around the right, the left thumb drops off the slide release, and the right thumb resumes it's position on top of the thumb safety. Notice that the pistol never changed position in the web of the strong right hand. The pistol's sights never left the general direction of the target.
I have yet to see an extended slide stop work as well as a standard version used correctly. Even on Jim Clark's gun. As far as I'm concerned, they are a crutch to compensate for a non-existent problem.