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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hello all,

I know an older gentleman with a lot of experience under his belt who carries his SD Colt auto cocked'n'UNlocked, relying on the grip safety. This is someone I would not question.

I am aware that some covert ops in 'Nam did this...

For carry, how safe would you say it is on a 1911? I like the idea of drawing and shooting with no levers.

Would I be able to safely get by with this type of carry, or is there something different about the 1911 than its predecessors?

Thank you,

Josh <><
 

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Hello, Josh. The grip safety blockes the trigger's movement while the thumb safety blocks the sear. I'd think that so long as the grip safety/trigger situation is in spec such that the safety is reliable it would be as safe as a Glock or the XD. Admittedly either of those will probably have a bit longer and heavier pull but newer versions of the 1911 have internal firing pin safeties like the Glock and XD. The Glock's safety blocks the trigger while the XD has no thumb safety "just" a grip safety. If the pistol's also being carried in a holster that covers the trigger, that might be considered a type of safety as well.

In the long run you'd probably be happier with a set of ambidextrous safeties on the 1911.

Best.

PS: I believe Jeff Cooper mentioned either a police or military unit in S. America that carried Hi Powers in "Condition Zero", ie, cocked and unlocked.
 

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There have been a few times when I removed my 1911 at the end of the day to find that sometime during the day it had become unlocked.
Fortunately, it always remained cocked! (I think it was because I'm a southpaw, and the large left-side safety must have clicked off on something during the day.)
 

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Guys,

I'm not a 1911 guy (I favor the BHP, which does not have the grip safety), but surely little time is saved by not having the 1911 thumb safety engaged? It seems to me that with practice the motion of drawing the weapon and simultaneously disengaging the safety becomes second nature...having the safety on as a measure of protection against an unintended discharge would, in my view, be of some value.

PGM
 
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Josh, I agree in therory with Mr. Camp, but I would hesitate to do so with the 1911 as the thumb safty is so easy and natural to operate that I see no real advantage.

Now them bity 1903 & 1908 Colt's is a horse of a different color, dang hard to operate the thumb safties on them, as well as having internal hammers not subject to outside influences. YMMV :)
 

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One problem I have with "Condition Zero" is the difficulty in reholstering without knocking the slide out of battery a little. (The 1911s and BHPs come back out of place pretty easy with their hammer cocked and out of the way.) I could see that possibly inducing a malfunction of some kind. Yes, this same problem could occur with any other semi-auto I guess. The preventive for that would be to place your thumb behind the slide when holstering. Somehow I've auto programed myself to do that with a Glock or Beretta, but not the traditional SA autos.

Maybe that's just me...
 
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Gents,

Sorry, I can't buy into the "cocked and unlocked" carry of the 1911. Your friend might be an accoplished pistolero, but because the grip safety (trigger blocking) and thumb safety (sear blocking) do not work in conjunction with each other you're trusting mechanical design to provide a margin of safety. 1911's like anything mechanical, wear and are subject to abuse. Either or both could put your 1911 out of spec. Resulting in a negligent discharge.

I don't see the issue the gent has with using the safety. When properly used the weapon is drawn and the safety comes off as you transition onto the target. You're not sacrificing speed, so what IS the benefit.

I'll continue to carry cocked and locked. As for the other method, JUST SAY NO...

As an instructor the idea of this sends cold chills up my spine.

Wes
 

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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
All,

Sirs, it is an earlier Colt as T Lee mentions. The safeties are a bit small for quick work.

I had read about CIA assasination teams using this method in 'Nam and found it intriguing that some trust this method on a daily basis.

Now, you don't really know me. I'll tell you that I have no intention of going cocked'n'unlocked. I ask a lot of hypotheticals that I've read about and never plan to put into practice.

It's an R&D thing
My dad's an engineer.

Thank you all,

Josh <><
 

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I'll qualify what I have to say by admitting that I, as a left-hander, considered this method of carry back in the day. Did I? No. Why? Because I was carrying my pistol in the cargo pocket of jungle fatigues. That was when ambi safeties were few and far between and nothing issued by the military - anybody's military - had them.

At the time, the Colt M1911 was stated and accepted by the U.S. military to have FIVE safeties. They were: Thumb safety, grip safety, out of battery disconnect, half-cock, and single action (won't fire unless hammer is cocked).

As an armourer, having more than a passing familiarity with revolvers and Glocks, I know that neither is really any safer than a single-action semi-auto with the thumb (manual) safety dis-engaged. Anyone believing otherwise is deluding him/her self.

As an intructor and firearms professional, I know that mechanical devices can fail, and that the only "completely reliable" safety for any weapon system is proper manipulation by the operator. That manipulaton MUST be consistent and instinctive.

With that, if the old fellow has confidence in what he is doing and his abilities, then so be it. At the end of the day, it's his choice, and more importantly, his responsibility whether anyone agrees with it or not.
 
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The original design 1911 did not have the thumb safety, just the grip safety. The Army wanted that added.

I agree with Stephen, as long as the hammer/sear engagement is good, and there's proper tension on the sear spring........it should be okay.
 
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Gents,

Let me change my tack here a bit. Consider either is a safe carrry.
However, do you want to go to court, in the event of a negligent discharge and give the prosecution "my safety was not engaged" line. Even if you can prove it so, the damage has been done.
Playing devil's advocate here...no sense giving the enemy weapons they can use against you.

Personally, I STILL won't carry with a safety off. Like everything in life, there are choices, just remember that you are responsible for them...

Wes
 

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wichaka, you have that backwards. The Army required JMB to add the grip safety. The manual safety was Browning's idea.

Bryan
 
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All the sources of information which I have read indicate that the grip safety came first. Photographs of pre 1911 model pistols show a grip but no thumb safety...
 

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I have talked to individuals who were members of both British and Austrailian SAS (many years ago) and they all said they they personally carried their Brownings in "Condition 0" - cocked and unlocked for fear that they would miss the miniscule safety on the military Browning.

I never had all that much trouble with it but when you think that they often are wearing gloves then I suppose that this makes sense.

I have no idea if that was a service-wide policy, but 100% of the SAS operators I have talked to did it (which does not really ammount to all that many people). I wonder what they do with the Sig now???

I knew a lady whos husband gave her a Sig 245. After about a week she said, I like the .45 but I am not putting up with this trigger and just carried the thing in a good holster in cond. 0...but she was extremely well trained and disciplined. She eventually bought her own Kimber Govt. Model and carried it in cond. 1.

I sometimes find a safety off in the holster...it does not really bother me but I know for certain (since I own a timer) that the safety does not slow me down... I carry mine on...I don't care if the grip safety functions or not as long as it is completely disengaged no matter how poorly I establish my grip.

Press on,
Jim
 

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After reading your post, I did a bit of research. I don't remember my source, but evidently they are wrong. I knew the 1903 hammerless had a manual safety, but no grip safety, and knew the 1905 didn't have a grip safety. On coltauto.com, I saw pictures of the 1907,1909 and 1910 military models and they do have a grip safety, but no thumb safety. Odd that JMB would think the grip safety was better than the thumb safety.

Thanks for the info.
 

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Brian D makes an exceptionally good point about re-holstering.

I find myself placing my thumb on the back of Glocks when using an IWB holster as it worries me to see the slide come back about 1/4" when holstering. Most DA guns seem to have enough hammer pressure to keep this from happening.

Cheers,
Jim
 

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Bryan45;
Please dont assume this is the definitive answer to your surmise but it is a summation of what I have gathered from various sources.

After the 1904 pistol trials there were seveal ideas put forth by the various branches of service and JMB was trying to meet all of those requirements. the 1907, 1909, 1909 "slant handle" and 1910 all represent changes to meet the demands of the military bureauacracy.

The history I have read seems to indicate that the grip safety came about from a U.S. Calvary requirement that the pistol be able to be employed "without manipulation" for the first shot.... in other words they intended the pistol to be carried in the holster cocked and only the grip safety would be engaged (they did not particulary care whether it had a thumb safety or not). Other "customers" did and so we ended up with both.

The Calvary is also the reason that there were lanyard loops on all magazine up until WWI, I understand.

Press on,
Jim H.
 
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