home > HP22, HP25 hold open after final round safety/slide stop, a forgotten feature

Slide hold open after last round feature (a standard lrho type)

A single part design to function like a normal switch while locking the slide back after the last round the traditional way. Lets users know when they are out and to prevent dry firing on a rim-fire pistol. This page will explain how it works, its benefits and what you can do to prevent your frame from cracking. It'll also cover other common issues. 

http://www.ephotobay.com/image/lrho-1.png LRHO safety slide stop kit
  (discontinued product)

Although this kit require that you cut about a 1/4" into your gun, your pistol may increase in resale value, simply by adding one useful, necessary safety function. Swap in your old safety to revert back and appears it's never changed. The frame may even be more reliable after the install. See FAQ.

A dry-click from a dry fire is a dead giveaway that you're out of rounds. And with Phoenix's complex magazine swap procedure, and with you're dexterity skills gone under stress, you're caught in a tough situation.  This kit simplifies magazine swaps, which is no different than millions of pistols out there.

It's design to be female friendly as well (the installation below below is done by a female, by the way.) 

Typically safety mods like this could cost upwards of $60-$70. The DYI kit brings down your cost.

The kit will make the HP22 a more enjoyable training pistol and makes you feel like a pro. 


How it works: 

When the magazine is empty, the follower lifts the safety upward which the safety then acts like a wedge on the slide. But when the last round is fired the safety raises further and the slide is held back by the safety. 

When the slide locks back the user push the mag release, dropping the magazine. After a new, fresh magazine is inserted, the user pulls the slide back slightly which releases the slide stop. (The spring pulls the safety downwards, aided by gravity, releasing the slide (the current one sold works like a spring version but uses gravity alone to cut cost - sorry, no upside down shooting.)) The user can also flick the safety to chamber a round.

top left: Hack saw cut on the frame where the safety rests. Some will often cut away a large portion of this area for some reason. In theory, cutting away this portion can increases the frame's reliability. Suggesting that this area isn't needed to support the gun frame. top right: an empty magazine. lower left: full magazine. bottom right: safety is on. The safety should be pushed up slightly more to lock the slide, but isn't shown here.


 Image warning:  this is a prototype image, don't use the pistol to fire rounds with the frame cut like that. See installation images instead. Version 1 above, version 2 (version 2 was supposedly to guarantee a reliable operation but it'll only cost more, so it was discontinued.)

Cracks:  A responsible user should inspect the frame after every hundred rounds by removing the slide. Stop using the gun if a crack is found, either on the left or right side of the pistol. See the bottom of the page for crack frame images and to learn how to reduce the chances of it occurring. Usually, to stop crack from spreading a smooth hole can be drilled at the end of every crack line. Theoretically, cutting slots into the gun as shown in the installation instruction could prevent cracks from forming, thereby, increasing the reliability of the frame - unfortunately there is no data to show. You can also reduce the chances of it cracking by avoiding high velocity ammos, avoiding stinger rounds, polishing the frame's magazine well or install a shock rod. 

Sale or transfer. Users should install the original safety and revert every part of the pistol back to normal when selling or transferring a gun. By installing the safety that comes with the gun, the gun will work just like factory standard gun. The new owner should be able to reinstall the LRHO safety without any problems.     


How to install a modded Phoenix safety into a new gun. 

Install a safety:

(To install the safety mod, the user needs to know how to use a hacksaw and a drill. The thin area to be cut can be cut in 30 seconds for the experience... almost equivalent to cutting an aluminum window screen frame, or the bottom side of a soda can - because of its thin zinc metal alloy.) 

  1. Tools required:
    (1) a small-medium flathead screw driver
    (1) a hacksaw (use new saws, or use jig saws, which both are thick enough.) A 6", 24 tpi saw is provide with the kit.
    (1) 400 grit metal sand sandpaper (metal sanding papers usually come in black.)
    (1) 3/32" or 1/8" (3/32", 0.093" 2.38mm) (1/8", 0.125" 3.17mm) drill bit and (1) drill.

    Disassembly steps:
  2. Remove the grip and the slide.
  3. Remove the safety by lifting it up and pulling it out.

Cutting steps. 

  1. Secure the gun onto a sturdy wooden surface or wooden vise.

  2. Install the mag-disconnect shim. Install the jig then drill a hole then cut along the marked path on the provided stencil mark. Smooth out the cuts and you're finished. Sloppy cuts from a less skilled individual are okay and will work just fine as long as the cut is wide enough, but not too wide.   CAUTION:    Cutting out too much can weaken the frame structure or may cause a jam. User must drill a hole then cut to that hole to minimize hairline cracks from forming. Cutting may also voids the pistol's factory warranty.  

    Polishing the hole is an extra bonus.

    Stopping cracks: Cutting smooth slots this way may prevent crack formations. Theoretically, it's possible to do the same on the other side (right side) of the frame to prevent cracks before they even occur. You decide.



More detailed steps:

  1. Place the gun onto a sturdy surface. Wood, unrefined cotton, or a book. Or secure the gun on a wooden clamp/vise. Next, install the magazine disconnect shim (the shim is the gray flat metal piece shown in picture #1.) 

  2. Slip jig clip in (works much like a paper clip)
    http://www.ephotobay.com/image/jigth.png  jig's rear

  3. Jig clipped in place (see image# 3 below)

  4. Drill a hole at the bottom of the cavity where the cut is suppose to end (image not available.)

  5. Hold jig tightly inward then saw.

  6. Saw at a shallow angle first, then steep the angle as it progresses.

  7. Inspect cut then continue. Stop cutting when the cut depth matches the jig (Caution: don't cut any further when it reaches the hole, doing so could cause the frame to crack during many shots).

  8. Sanding to remove burs and widen the channel.

  9. Make sure the channel is wide and smooth, and burs removed or otherwise it will drag or seize the safety.

  10. Slip the safety in then check to make sure it moves up and down freely on gravity alone. If not then continue sanding the channel to get rid of burs.

  11. Install the grip, the slide, then the magazine in this order. Don't install the slide until the magazine is out. 

  12. Insert an empty magazine then pull the slide back. The slide should stay open. To close the slide, simply lower the safety.


If Dremel, you might need a drill bit and a cutting disc. Make sure they're rounded and pretty smooth. Rough cuts and burrs invite cracks or even create jams. 

Installation steps. 

  1. Slip the new safety in after pushing the spring out of the way. Be careful and don't force it.
  2. Put the pistol back together making sure the magazine is the last to go in.  
  3. Future installation or removal of the safety may require removing the slide.

FAQ, Q and A


Frame cracking near the safety is it dangerous?

It appears that a crack near the safety doesn't appear to bother how the pistol works as long as it doesn't spread below the safety switch. Silent crack formation is a possibility and may sneak up on you. However, there may be a solution. 

http://www.ephotobay.com/image/cutround.png We theorized that cutting slots into your gun in this manner may increase the frame strength. This is because the frame is now allowed to bend and flex, as the frame naturally does. The polished curved arc forces the stress to follow the arc, thus, absorbs the stress so cracks can't form. If both sides of the frame is cut exactly like this, then the pistol may never form a crack. If the theory is proven true then this may allow the use of a high velocity ammo, if high velocity ammos don't cause any other problems other than to the frame. Our guess is that high velocity ammos may eventually crack the slide or take out the hammer. You might want to get yourself a set of goggles.
Polished surfaces can help eliminate invisible nicks and cracks. Invisible nicks and cracks which can grow out of control.

What can I do to prevent my hammer from breaking? 

Get one that's milled from solid steel, but that's not easy to find. You can start by oiling the hammer and the slide's back plate regularly to reduce a bit of friction.  If possible, inspect for cracks on the hammer regularly if you can find them. And avoid using these so called "hyper" or "stinger" rounds.

What modification or things I can do to prevent frame cracking on a phoenix arms hp22a? 

1) Avoid using hyper velocity ammo (or stingers.) This may or may not help. 

2) Cut two arcs or slots into your frame. You can see some examples on this page above or on the set of picture links below. You'll be doing this at your own risk.

3) Drill a hole (one on each side) into the frame. Drill a hole right below where the crack usually starts and you see evidence of it. What we're suggesting is that the crack will form and eventually travel down into this hole where it will eventually stop. The hole should be at least a 3/16" in diameter and very smooth. Roll-up a 400 grit sand paper and use it to fine sand the hole. If the crack has already formed the hole can be drilled smaller, 1/16 to 1/8" diameter or something about there. Remember that if you don't see any crack initiating, you better off drilling then slice to the drilled hole.    

4) Install a mini guide rod. This is a thin special rubber/foam cushion rod that goes between the slide and the frame which directs the shock to the center of the frame. Almost like a shock absorber, it absorb the sudden peak shock which aids in the stress crack with each shot fired. It's also reversible this is good when you need to send the gun in for a warranty repair.

Severe lockup: The rod also prevents a spring lockup. This is when the spring front end gets caught on the take down lever, then curls up or locks up between the slide and the frame. The symptom is that you can't field strip, but the slide moves loosely or moves only slightly. You won't be able to cycle any rounds. Theoretically, the shock rod (with its slightly tapered profile) can prevent the spring from nose-diving then locking up, which can occur at anytime, hopefully not when your life depends on it. 

The shock rod is pretty easy to install since it comes with an alignment jig before sticking it into place. If you're a pro and know how install the firm rod version, they can also act like a real guide rod and keep the spring from popping out during a field strip. For the best protection you might want to choose the brown/black rod version. Even though the brown rod won't keep the spring form popping out when field stripping or outlast the firm rods, it has the best cushion effect.  link to buy.

5) Polish the frame's magazine well.  If you don't want to cut up your gun, you could at least polish the ridge/well of the frame, where cracks usually begin, to eliminate any shallow microfractures. The absence of these microfractures could explain why some guns don't crack even after being shot for thousands of rounds. Inspecting for microfractures in the factory only cost more money in a low cost pistol since these fractures are much more microscopic for a typical microscope to spot. You'll know if yours has microfractures because the crack will develop early in the break-in period.

Then, after about a hundred rounds, you should remove your slide and inspect the frame for hairline cracks. See pic below where hairline cracks tend to begin. And if you find a hairline crack then check with Phoenix whether they will grant your warranty. If not, then you might want to take the necessary steps to stop the crack, mentioned previously on this page. If you don't check the frame regularly then the hairline crack can spread and may eventually split the gun in half.  Please wear your eye protection eyewear. That is why people should consider asking around to see whether the steps we've mentioned could prevent the gun from erupting on your hands.  Which will likely send projectile towards yourself, likely to be pieces of the safety and the grip. 


Are there any repairs pictures of the crack frame?

Here are some images of several cracked frames and some of their interesting homemade repairs. They say that the cut-out appears to have stopped any more cracks from coming back. They were once posted at http://bryco-jennings-jimenezarms.com until the site went down (original link) and lost much of its information. Here are the cache images link:

http://www.ephotobay.com/image/crackedth.jpgclick to view all images on next page

http://www.ephotobay.com/image/crackred.png see full image at http://www.naaminis.com/discus/messages/670/24821.html



Which type of slide lock back after the last round is best?

Probably the brass or aluminum/brass slugs. It feels more solid, easier to handle. Both a follower hold open or the metal slugs insert leaves your pistol unmodified. But metal slugs easily pops out - which is easier to do if the pistol is being sent in for warrantee issues. 

Personally, from a builder's perspective, I'm a cautious person and likely not use any lrho because I'm not in a hurry. I tend to count my rounds, don't usually fill up to 10 rounds in the mag and rather not spend money ammo. But if you shoot a lot or don't like it when the slide closes after the last round, then the lrho kits are pretty useful.

I like the aluminum/brass slug since at the end of the day I would unplug the slug from the magazine and put the slug in my pocket. Feels better knowing that the pistol is stock when I store it away.


Which type of slide lock back after the last round would you prefer to use on the Phoenix for defense carry?

None of the kits are recommended for defense carry. If people ignore the warnings then they're in unknown territory. The most preferred choice for tactical defense is the stainless steel or aluminum/brass lrho slugs 'with safety' full set kit. Can reload with one hand if you're injured in battle. It doesn't rust or likely to seize. If a magazine fails in action, such as from rust, dirt or etc., the mag or the slug quickly gets tossed out. The pistol isn't affected. Or the slug is swap into a brand new magazine. The only problem is that the slug holds 9 rounds, unless you do a mag mod or buy a preban follower (sold from other legal vendors if you can find it) only if you live in a state which allows it. The magazine was originally design to hold over 10 until after the ban. 

Follower lrho probably is probably just as effective, but it's not metal. Just keep in mind that they're not intended for personal defense, but they're built as though reliability is of utmost important because someone might break the rules then use them for defense or for life support.

Do you sell these?

We don't sell these at this moment. Since one person asked about how reliable it is for defense carry, we would like to have a chance to test it rigorously. This is because the safety slide stop comes so close to the moving slide and may jam if sand or debris is introduce into the mix. This is because of the tight clearance. It's reliable when we tested it in a clean environment. It hasn't been tested in the field of extreme dirt, sand, rain, dry condition and extreme climates. This product is intended to be a novelty, fun and discovery item (a teaching aid) at the range. It's not intended to be used for self defense.

The safety is all you need to make the slide hold open after that last round. The kit comes with a half cut 18 or 24 tpi saw, a jig and a magazine disconnect tab key. The shim is an important part of the kit. It should be installed first before cutting. The safety is made out of the OEM parts.  The OEM safety is shrunken on a press to reduce it's shape in order for the safety to latch up properly. The wire is made of Phoenix's factory OEM case hardened steel that is clamped/glued in place. The wire is almost as stiff as a sewing needle but flexible enough to not break. It attaches to the safety switch and can up hold over 40 pounds weight. Normal operation load on the wire is an ounce. The only potential problem is the user bending this spring steel wire accidentally during an install. It can be bent back. It comes with everything to make the slide lock back after the last round just like a typical pistol and can be installed at the range.  







Aug 2014
Information on this page is for educational purpose only which are derived from the author's experience. Don't attempt without consulting a real expert.