Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Cammer Hammer Review

Through some wonderful Editor-in-Chiefing, Erin was able to obtain a T&E hammer from a company called Cammer Technologies. Designed specifically for the 1911 model pistol, the Cammer Hammer addresses one of the major complaints of the 1911: that it can be very difficult to rack the slide, especially for smaller or weaker shooters. This is accomplished through the use of a "camming" relief in the face of the hammer, reducing the amount of force needed to cycle the slide by hand.

L: original Colt hammer. R: Cammer Hammer. 

The scallop cut on the Cammer Hammer is what makes it work. When cycling the slide, it works in a similar principle to a compound bow:
  1. Full force is required for the first fraction of travel. I'd estimate 20% or so on this unit.
  2. Once the hammer angles far enough back that the slide reaches the cut, only minimal force is required. 
This force reduction is particularly noticeable in a gun like mine, which has the heaviest recoil spring that Wolff offers. My wife usually has problems cycling this pistol, but could run the slide quite readily with the Cammer Hammer installed.

The test bed: a Colt Series 80 with a few modifications.
Cammer claims that their hammer reduces felt recoil. Unfortunately, I'm a terrible judge of that and am the wrong person to make that assessment. I will say that I felt every bit as fast making follow-up shots as I am with the OEM hammer, without without breaking the rules of "rapid fire" that my range has. (This rule is understandable, judging from many folks I see at indoor ranges.)

Installation of the Cammer Hammer is very simple, and requires minimal tools. I was able to swap hammers in and out in about 10 minutes on my kitchen counter. Brownells describes the process better than I ever could:

Note that Cammer ships their hammer with a strut already installed, which saves a couple steps and a few minutes of work. This is a small thing, but I definitely appreciate it. Also, if you don't have a bench block, get one. It's about the most awesome gun tool ever (especially if you own a 1911), and it's surprisingly affordable

Cammer claims that their hammer is particularly suited to competition guns, and I cannot argue that. Along with the heavy spring mentioned earlier, my 1911 has had some trigger work done. The Cammer gave the same clean break as my original trigger, as well as solid ignition on every shot.

MSRP on the Cammer is $98, which is a fair bit higher than a standard Commander-style hammer, but is right in line with some of the more innovative custom hammers on the market. It is also machined from bar stock as opposed to being metal injection molded, and is manufactured in Oregon, if those are considerations for you. Cammer Technologies also offers a variety of other 1911 parts to completely tune your internals.

My final assessment of the hammer is this: if you have problems cycling your 1911 slide, the Cammer Hammer will truly make a difference. It can also be a major part of building a dedicated single stack race gun. In the name of thorough testing, I'm now passing the hammer on to Evelyn to mount in her 1911. She's quite a bit smaller than I am, and I look forward to seeing what difference she sees manipulating her gun with this installed.


(FCC disclaimer. The Cammer Hammer was provided at no cost for test and evaluation. My opinions and statements are entirely honest and without any bias, and no conditions were put on this review by any party.)

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