Curing Failure to Eject or Extract
I got the following email, and I decided the answer would make a good post, as maybe it will help some of you to sort out one of the most frustrating things that can happen with a semi-auto pistol.
I've been searching the Internet to no avail to try to find out how to remove the extractor on my PT92 for cleaning. I put 400 rounds through with no problems and normal cleaning - but then had two failure to extracts in last 100 rounds today. I think (hope!) it's just a dirty extractor - but it sure is a bear to try to clean under there with toothpicks. I'd like to take it apart and really make sure it's clean under there. Can you send along the process? Other ideas on on failures to extract this early in the round count on a PT92?To start with, I should define a couple of terms. When I talk about "Failure to extract" I am referring to the gun firing normally, but the expended casing remains in the chamber. "Failure to eject" refers to the gun firing normally, and the expended casing gets out of the chamber but stays in the gun, usually wedged sideways between the slide and barrel.
Failure to extract and failure to eject can look a lot alike, and have different causes most of the time. The only time the extractor actually extracts the casing is if the round fails to fire and you rack the slide to clear the chamber.
If the round fires as it should, the gas pressure drives the casing out of the chamber, pushing the slide back. The primary purpose of the extractor is to hold the casing against the face of the slide so when it is hit by the ejector it sends the empty spinning out of the gun. If the ejector was gone or broken off, for example, it's possible for the empty casing to stay against the face of the slide and end up riding the slide back into the chamber. Often the slide tries to pick up the next round, though, and you often end up with a pretty good train wreck of a jam.
A light powder load, a stiffness in the movement of the slide, a really dirty chamber, or a too heavy slide spring can all look like a failure to extract, with the expended casing not getting out of the chamber. "Limp Wristing", not maintaining a firm grip on the pistol, can also cause failures to eject. A worn or binding extractor is more likely to cause a failure to eject, rather than a failure to extract, in most cases.
If you have a Taurus PT-92, and it's like mine, the extractor is held in buy a small pin that goes through a hole in the extractor. There is a coil spring under the extractor. I suspect the Beretta is the same, although I don't have one at hand to look at. The extractor shouldn't need to be removed very often at all.
Hope this helps.