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Old 07-15-2020, 10:33 AM
dandyrandy dandyrandy is offline
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Default Titanium 1911 Firing Pins?

Hello Everyone,
I wanted to get an opinion on what you think of titanium firing pins for an upgrade to a 1911. I have a ATI 1911 Commander that is a series 70 and I am considering putting in a Ruger SR1911 titanium firing pin in the gun to make it more safe. The only reason I am considering it is to make the gun more drop safe. Ruger considers there series 70 SR1911s drop safe because of there titanium firing pins. Im not 100% that there firing pins would fit my gun but I dont see why they wouldnt??? its a basic GI model so i think it would fit. They only cost 18 bucks so its a cheap safety insurance upgrade. Opinions? Thank you!
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Old 07-15-2020, 10:58 AM
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With firing pins on a 1911 you need to make sure you have the right diameter. There are three common diameters being used now in 1911's. You need to be certain you use the right one.

I don't know what diameter Ruger is using. I personally would just buy an aftermarket pin by Wilson of the diameter that matches the factory one in your ATI.

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Old 07-15-2020, 11:06 AM
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The 1911 firing pin system counts on inertia to be 100% dependable. You won't get this with titanium. Stay with steel. Manufacturers use titanium to pass drop excessive height tests that some states mandate.

Be certain your replacement pin is of the correct diameter for your pistol, is straight, and does not have surface roughness. Check your replacement pin in your slide, with the FP spring in place, to be certain it fully retracts into the slide.
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Old 07-15-2020, 11:10 AM
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Why not use a wolf stronger firing pin spring,they stop the problem
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Old 07-15-2020, 11:12 AM
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I think my Springfield Range Officer has a titanium firing pin. after 12,000 rounds everything is working just fine
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Old 07-15-2020, 11:30 AM
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There are aftermarket titanium firing pins, so I'd echo dusty3030's suggestion to just get an aftermarket one that fits your pistol.

Titanium firing pins have been around for a long time, and I've never heard of a 1911 failing to fire because of one. I could see it possibly happening if you use a light hammer spring, but with a stock hammer spring it shouldn't be an issue.

You could also just install a Wolff extra power firing pin spring. This is what I did with my Series 70 1911. I think that would be sufficient in most cases. In fact, if you want one, PM me and I'll send you one.

You could probably install a titanium pin and an extra power firing pin spring for extra assurance, though I don't think that combo is necessary. Again, I haven't heard of this causing reliability issues.

Of course, as with any changes, you should test it in your gun for reliability, especially if it's a carry/self defense gun. I haven't heard of any issues, but that doesn't mean it isn't possible or that it hasn't happened.
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Old 07-15-2020, 11:41 AM
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I went with Wilson's titanium firing pin in my carry upgrade build.
S&W's 1911sc E series and their 1911PCSC both come with titanium firing pins.
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Old 07-15-2020, 11:53 AM
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It took decades for the anybody to even realize this was a potential problem. I just went with the extra power firing pin spring when I replaced my recoil spring, but itís nothing I worry about.
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Old 07-15-2020, 12:03 PM
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The original 'sell' for titanium firing pins was faster lock time, not being drop safe... that came later. I ran one for years with no problems either way, but like most gun modifications, probably more hype than reality.
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Old 07-15-2020, 07:58 PM
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I know some manufacturers use titanium firing pins and claim they are more drop safe. I vaguely remember reading an article, probably the American Rifleman, discussing it. The gist of the article was that the way the mass is distributed, a 1911 is highly unlikely to land in the correct orientation to cause a discharge. I decided it didn't concern me.
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Old 07-15-2020, 09:03 PM
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I recall a drop test conducted by a gunsmith and reported on a firearm blog a few years ago. The claimed results, even with titanium pins, were that a 1911 would fire if dropped from much lower heights than we'd all expect. And yet other tests go the other way.

I have seen a total failure to fire with a titanium pin in a police officer's pistol, but he was also using a reduced power mainspring. Click Click Click. And that was set up by a big name gunsmith.

Personally, I experienced primer flow using a titanium pin with a full power mainspring. That's generally considered a rifle problem and can be a symptom of a light striker force. Some may recall that early Remington +P .45 gunzine tests showed a flat primer after firing. It was first thought that the +P pressure pushed out the FP dent. Actually, the primer was flowing into the firing pin channel and then sheared off.

I discovered the problem on the second magazine of Remington +P .45 when the sheared primer material accumulated and blocked the FP so that my .45 pistol would not fire. No problem with a steel firing pin.

That was 30 years ago and you never hear about primer flow with +P .45 now. Those first lots might have had higher pressure, or the primers were softer, or ...it was the wrong phase of the moon.

I still like the idea of a light pin but have followed the advice reported by Bill Wilson in an article about the original FBI 1911 tests: Wilson used a shortened pin with a stronger spring. It just so happens that a Series 80 pin is shorter than the original pin specification - and with the groove for the FP block, is a bit lighter. So that's what I've used since then.

There are surely dozens of discussions on the topic on the 1911 forums.
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Old 07-15-2020, 10:29 PM
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I removed mine from my SA Mil-spec & replaced with a heavy duty FP spring & regular steel FP proprietary size for the S.A by Ed Brown. . That solved my light strikes & anemic pencil test launches. Now they hit the ceiling.
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Old 07-16-2020, 08:28 PM
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Thanks for the replies! A lot of people dont care for firing pin safeties like whats on the 80 series but I dont mind them at all as long as its not too crazy messing with the proper normal function of the gun. Years ago my brother asked me to fetch something out of his safe that was in one of his closets. When I opened the safe door an old WW2 Remington Rand 1911 fell out landing on a bar bell pointed right to my head. I checked the gun and it was cocked and locked loaded with a round in the chamber. The gun fell perfectly pointed at my head with the grip safety depressed on a bar bell. The gun hit hard about 4 feet and I had a guardian angel over me that night or maybe they made those old WW2 1911s very safe or just very lucky but probably a combination of all that. Crazy unexpected stupid things out of your power of control can happen so safeties on a gun as long as there not too crazy dont bother me. From what I gather a titanium firing pin adds a bit more safety protection to people and property. From what I see there has to be a good reason Ruger and SA puts those in all there 1911s. Im not sure if Dan Wesson puts them in there guns too but I can tell you that all of them are series 70 so very likely have titanium firing pins in them too. Anybody know what the ATI 1911s and Rock Islands have in them? Thanks again!
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Old 07-16-2020, 08:43 PM
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Originally Posted by Chino74 View Post
I removed mine from my SA Mil-spec & replaced with a heavy duty FP spring & regular steel FP proprietary size for the S.A by Ed Brown. . That solved my light strikes & anemic pencil test launches. Now they hit the ceiling.
You were getting lite primer strikes on your Mil Spec? What were they reloads or something??? Thats a double edged sword. I see where your going with that. There is a big weight difference to me from a steel firing pin and a titanium one. The steel one might hit primers harder however also doing that change might not be worth it to people for liability and warranty purposes. Im thinking most firearms companies would not like you taking out there titanium firing pins since they probably consider them part of there safety devices on the gun. I personally dont change anything safety related on a 1911 however ive done a lot of other things to them as long as its not the aforementioned safety part. If it was my Mil Spec I would probably find a reliable source of ammo and just stick to that brand.
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Old 07-16-2020, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by dandyrandy View Post
When I opened the safe door an old WW2 Remington Rand 1911 fell out landing on a bar bell pointed right to my head. I checked the gun and it was cocked and locked loaded with a round in the chamber.
My understanding is that the only way for such a 1911 to fire would be if it fell and hit the ground muzzle first. Falling in this direction, it's possible for the firing pin's mass/inertia to cause it to move far enough to hit the primer. An extra-power firing pin spring likely would be strong enough to prevent that. Or using a titanium firing pin. Falling the way it did, the firing pin would already be against the firing pin stop and the spring likely prevented it from bouncing with enough energy to detonate the primer.

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From what I see there has to be a good reason Ruger and SA puts those in all there 1911s.
My understanding is that a large reason why 1911 manufacturers started installing titanium firing pins was to pass the drop tests that some states require in order for their guns to be sold there.

Also, I hope you used this opportunity to advise your brother to do a better job of organizing his safe so stuff isn't falling out of it.
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Old 07-16-2020, 08:56 PM
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Originally Posted by SG-688 View Post
I recall a drop test conducted by a gunsmith and reported on a firearm blog a few years ago. The claimed results, even with titanium pins, were that a 1911 would fire if dropped from much lower heights than we'd all expect. And yet other tests go the other way.

I have seen a total failure to fire with a titanium pin in a police officer's pistol, but he was also using a reduced power mainspring. Click Click Click. And that was set up by a big name gunsmith.

Personally, I experienced primer flow using a titanium pin with a full power mainspring. That's generally considered a rifle problem and can be a symptom of a light striker force. Some may recall that early Remington +P .45 gunzine tests showed a flat primer after firing. It was first thought that the +P pressure pushed out the FP dent. Actually, the primer was flowing into the firing pin channel and then sheared off.

I discovered the problem on the second magazine of Remington +P .45 when the sheared primer material accumulated and blocked the FP so that my .45 pistol would not fire. No problem with a steel firing pin.

That was 30 years ago and you never hear about primer flow with +P .45 now. Those first lots might have had higher pressure, or the primers were softer, or ...it was the wrong phase of the moon.

I still like the idea of a light pin but have followed the advice reported by Bill Wilson in an article about the original FBI 1911 tests: Wilson used a shortened pin with a stronger spring. It just so happens that a Series 80 pin is shorter than the original pin specification - and with the groove for the FP block, is a bit lighter. So that's what I've used since then.

There are surely dozens of discussions on the topic on the 1911 forums.
You can use a series 80 style pin in a series 70 gun? Its shorter too?? I can see how its lighter. Id imagine it should work. I can tell you this all my Colt series 80 1911s hit primers very hard and positive.
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Old 07-16-2020, 09:03 PM
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My understanding is that the only way for such a 1911 to fire would be if it fell and hit the ground muzzle first. Falling in this direction, it's possible for the firing pin's mass/inertia to cause it to move far enough to hit the primer. An extra-power firing pin spring likely would be strong enough to prevent that. Or using a titanium firing pin. Falling the way it did, the firing pin would already be against the firing pin stop and the spring likely prevented it from bouncing with enough energy to detonate the primer.



My understanding is that a large reason why 1911 manufacturers started installing titanium firing pins was to pass the drop tests that some states require in order for their guns to be sold there.

Also, I hope you used this opportunity to advise your brother to do a better job of organizing his safe so stuff isn't falling out of it.
Yes I was very upset with my brother. He used to do a lot of things very careless. It wouldnt be the first time I had one of those serious talks with him. I personally would never leave a bunch of loaded condition 1 weapons in a safe unsecured like that but my bro was a different animal. I treated his house like I was walking in the jungle full of NVA booby traps.
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Old 07-16-2020, 09:16 PM
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Titanium Firing Pins on 1911s are basically just a cheap yet effective means of making Series 70 1911s without a firing pin block drop safe.

Personally, I don't own a 1911 (yet) so I really can't comment on Series 80 1911s versus Series 70 1911s, but certain folks hate them and claim that the Series 80 design makes the trigger pull less smooth, so if I were going to get a 1911, then it would be a Series 70 with a Titanium Firing Pin, and seeing as the Ruger SR1911 (which would be my most likely choice) happens to come in that configuration by default, that works for me.
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Old 07-16-2020, 09:17 PM
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You can use a series 80 style pin in a series 70 gun? Its shorter too?? I can see how its lighter. Id imagine it should work. I can tell you this all my Colt series 80 1911s hit primers very hard and positive.
Generally, yes. You can use a Series 80 pin in a Series 70 gun, but not the other way around. The Series 80 pin has cutouts for the firing pin safety, but those cutouts shouldn't interfere with functioning in a Series 70 gun. I wasn't aware, however, that the Series 80 pins are shorter. I have both types, but I've never compared their firing pins side-by-side.

The only issue I could see is if the guns have different firing pin channels. Some channels are meant for 9mm firing pins while others are meant for .45ACP pins. Obviously, one could have issues if the wrong size pin is used.

Having said that, I think it's better to use the appropriate firing pin for your gun.
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Old 07-16-2020, 09:21 PM
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From what I remember about that old Remington Rand it started life being used by Army Air Corps Crewman somewhere in the WW2 Pacific Theatre and ended its service to the US Government sometime around Vietnam. So im sure that wasnt the only time that old gun fell. It probably fell out of airplanes somewhere on the flight line all the time and never went off.
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Old 07-16-2020, 09:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Forte Smitten Wesson View Post
Personally, I don't own a 1911 (yet) so I really can't comment on Series 80 1911s versus Series 70 1911s, but certain folks hate them and claim that the Series 80 design makes the trigger pull less smooth, so if I were going to get a 1911, then it would be a Series 70 with a Titanium Firing Pin, and seeing as the Ruger SR1911 (which would be my most likely choice) happens to come in that configuration by default, that works for me.
FWIW, I think that depends on the shooter. I have both types, but I'm not sure I could give a fair comparison. I have a Series 70 Gold Cup, which has a wide trigger along with a very nice trigger pull. My Series 80 Government Model has had a trigger job done on it, but I wanted the pull to be on the heavier side, in the 4.5-5.0lb range. It is a very nice trigger pull, though.

Lots of opinions on the difference in trigger pull quality. Some say it's only a difference in weight, about 1/2lb. Others say it's a drastic difference.

Personally, I have no real preference. While I like the simpler Series 70 style firing pin set-up, a Series 80 wouldn't be a deal breaker. Either is fine, so long as the trigger pull breaks cleanly. But I'm also not a 1911 aficionado/connoisseur like many here.
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Old 07-17-2020, 09:19 AM
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Having a fair amount of experience with various 1911's, the titanium firing pin was more for race guns (IPSC/USPSA/IDPA) than anything else. They might have a benefit with using lightweight hammers, which are usually found on race guns, as the lightweight hammer is going to impart a little less energy to the firing pin. Personally, I have not experienced any issues with lightweight hammers and steel firing pins, but then again 17 pounds is the minimum mainspring that I have ever used in a 1911.

I think for most people, a titanium firing pin brings bragging rights to the owner and money to the manufacturer.
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Old 07-17-2020, 10:49 AM
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$30 bucks for a titanium firing pin isn't going to break the bank, but if they're good enough for Wilson to use them in their PD guns, that's good enough for me.
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Old 07-17-2020, 12:21 PM
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I'm giving my 1911 to my son, actually tomorrow or Sunday, but I'm going to have to look at it first later today. It's also an ATI (very reliable and accurate). I'm having trouble trying to understand what difference in the metal would make a 1911, or any gun, firing pin safer? I can understand the spring maybe, but how does the titanium pin make the gun safer? All I can see is it won't rust. I hate taking that gun apart (my basement floor has eaten two bushings so far!) but now I have to look at it. I'm no firearm pro by no means of the imagination, but I have never heard of this. Maybe I'll look at one of those links I saw up above. Live & learn!
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Old 07-17-2020, 01:22 PM
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I'm giving my 1911 to my son, actually tomorrow or Sunday, but I'm going to have to look at it first later today. It's also an ATI (very reliable and accurate). I'm having trouble trying to understand what difference in the metal would make a 1911, or any gun, firing pin safer? I can understand the spring maybe, but how does the titanium pin make the gun safer? All I can see is it won't rust. I hate taking that gun apart (my basement floor has eaten two bushings so far!) but now I have to look at it. I'm no firearm pro by no means of the imagination, but I have never heard of this. Maybe I'll look at one of those links I saw up above. Live & learn!
It's the mass. Things in motion tend to stay in motion unless acted upon by an external force. In this case, the gun and firing pin fall at the same time. The muzzle hits the ground and stops, but the firing pin wants to keep going. If it has enough inertia to overcome the resistance of the firing pin spring, it can detonate the primer. A titanium firing pin has less mass (i.e., weighs less) than a steel firing pin, therefore it has less inertia and would be less likely to overcome the resistance of the firing pin spring than a steel pin. Alternatively, one could use an extra power firing spring to add more resistance and keep a steel pin from hitting the primer.

Clear as mud?
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Old 07-17-2020, 03:27 PM
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Drop safe?
DON’T DROP THE GUN!
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Old 07-17-2020, 05:03 PM
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Drop safe?
DONíT DROP THE GUN!
That must be why Tuco in Good, Bad & Ugly has his revolver on a rope around his neck.
ContinentalOP, thanks. Not in a million years would I have thought that the weight of a firing pin be the cause of an accidental discharge after dropping a gun. Now I've got more to worry about! I have no brother so I don't need to worry about getting something out of his closet and having a gun fall on me! Every action has equal & opposite reaction, eh?
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Old 07-17-2020, 05:35 PM
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ContinentalOP, thanks. Not in a million years would I have thought that the weight of a firing pin be the cause of an accidental discharge after dropping a gun. Now I've got more to worry about! I have no brother so I don't need to worry about getting something out of his closet and having a gun fall on me! Every action has equal & opposite reaction, eh?
No need to worry. Either a titanium firing pin or an extra power firing pin spring and you're good-to-go.
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Old 07-17-2020, 09:08 PM
dandyrandy dandyrandy is offline
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Originally Posted by Hairtrigger View Post
Drop safe?
DONíT DROP THE GUN!
Ive been around many people carrying firearms sometimes hundreds carrying firearms at the same time and also have seen lots of firearms dropped. Loaded or unloaded Ive seen my fair share of firearms dropped. When I was in the Corps some, if not all, the old Colt M-16s i've encountered the cocked hammers would fall with a sharp blow to the butt stock. Ive also seen a few hunting accidents with dropped firearms. My father in his youth while hunting his single shot 16 gauge slipped out of his hand and it shot him in the jaw. He never hunted ever again. I also had a friend in high school that dropped his rifle while falling asleep in a deer stand. The rifle shot a high velocity rifle bullet right through his groin blowing off some of his man bits. He had to crawl a half mile to his truck and than drive himself to the emergency room. This was during the days before the common cell phone. Guy almost bled to death it was an amazing feat of human strength and endurance! I like gun drop safeties...

Last edited by dandyrandy; 07-18-2020 at 04:53 PM.
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  #30  
Old 07-17-2020, 09:21 PM
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ContinentalOp ContinentalOp is offline
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Drop safe?
DONíT DROP THE GUN!
There's a reason pencils often come with erasers built in.

Pobody's nerfect.

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Old 07-18-2020, 08:43 AM
stansdds stansdds is offline
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There's a reason pencils often come with erasers built in.

Pobody's nerfect.

LOL!!!!!!! So true!
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Old 08-01-2020, 01:04 AM
dandyrandy dandyrandy is offline
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I went ahead and added the titanium firing pin and stronger spring in my ATI. Seems to not affect function and shot 500 rounds with good primer strikes. It might be a worthy safety improvement to the 1911.
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