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Hello all,

I see so many using cocked'n'locked pistols who prefer the right-handed safety.

This never made any sense to me. I know what type of 1911 works for me now, and it will have an ambi safety though I could make it left-handed only for myself.

What would happen if, at the outset of an engagement, your strong arm is wounded and you must draw with your weak hand?

This is my reasoning. Is it off somehow?

Thanks,

Josh <><
 

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Hello, Josh. I cannot speak for everyone, but here are my experiences and opinions on the amibs.

On the Hi Power, they get in my way, so to speak. I have pretty fair size hands and fleshy ones at that and the base of my trigger finger bumps the safety particularly in rapid-fire drills. For that reason, I remove the lever on the right side of the frame. On the 1911, this is not a problem, but I've found that when carrying, on ocassion, the safety would "wipe off."Combine that with the tongue in groove construction on most of these (weaker than solid steel) and I just opt to go without them. At the same time, I've only seen a couple or three of these break over the years so I do not think breakage is very widespread at all.

When I was getting my beginning in shooting, ambis didn't exist and I practiced what everyone else did back then: quickly "reaching" around with the off-hand thumb if firing one-handed with the off hand. I've continued to practice this religiously and ain't too slow at it.

Other friends I know who are right-handed prefer and use the ambis as does a good left-handed friend and with good results.

Best.
 

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Josh, I think one needs to consider the historical perspective.

A good deal of negative connotation was attached to being left-handed, and anything "left" until about the late 1940s to early 50s. The Latin word for left is actually "sinister". At one time, the left hand was actually considered the "devil's hand" It was common practice to "retrain" children who exhibited any inclination to be left-handed even as late as the 1960s in some areas. My father was a victim of this. As a child, he was "corrected" anytime he attempted to write with his left hand. The result for him was that his handwriting appeared left-handed even though he wrote with his right hand.

The result of all this is that society in general shunned using the left hand. This attitude influenced not only the way Man did things, but the design of the things - tools, and machines he used.

Considering also that ergonomics and Works Study (the science of doing work efficiently) are recent technologies, and that something like only 10 to 25% of society is left-handed, it is not unexpected that ambidexterous controls are only now becoming commonplace.
 

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I think Steve's "tongue-in-groove" explanation is the one that I've heard most, although I've also heard folks complain about the right-side safety getting in the way.

As a lefty, I'm sort of SOL with Mr. Browning's most enduring invention. The gun is set up so that I have a choice of a (weaker, tongue-in-groove connected) ambi safety, or nothing (Josh, I've never seen a left-handed-only safety, but the way the 1911's designed, such would require that the right-handed parts on the left side still be left in place to interact with the sear). (I suppose I'm forgetting about those unusual "Portsider" mirror-image 1911s, but those are pretty rare.)

I'm really not a fan of the ambi safety on the 1911, because they all stick out pretty far, and I really don't like the feeling of my thumb jouncing on it during recoil - although this is much more annoying for me with a super-lightweight gun such as a Micro-Compact SA with an alloy frame than it is with a full-sized steel-framed 1911.

I've thought about carrying the 1911 with the hammer down on a loaded chamber, but there are just all kinds of problems I can see with that in terms of safety, PLUS the fact that it would be somewhat slower to get into action.

Teddy Jacobson, a gunsmith who certainly knows what he's talking about, is also a southpaw, and he is most assuredly not a fan of the ambi-safeties. I'll have to go over to his site again and see how he handles this.

OT - I just saw two terrific deals on 1911s at a local shop (an IPSC guy was trading out old guns to get $$ for new ones), and it's really hurting to not run over an buy them. :-/ The best deal is a super-tricked out Springfield Armory (U.S. frame) with an extended Heinie barrel and comp, Bo-Mar adjustable night sights, and all kinds of other neat stuff for $550. The other one, still a good deal, is a Michigan Armaments Custom Combat for $400. I got out Steve's Shooter's Guide to the 1911 Pattern Pistol last night, hoping that reading it a bit would help me get over wanting to go pick up one of these pistols. (I know, that was probably not a good plan! ;) ) It didn't help - I still want to go buy one of them. :-[ Fortunately, I have a friend who's looking for a good 1911, so I've steered him into the store, and maybe he'll beat me to the unbeatable deals. :)
 
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Gents,

I use both strong side and ambidextrious safeties. A lot of people think that the ambi's get "wiped" to a fire condition. Possible, if your pistol is in a poorly designed hoster or you wear it in a manner that subjects it the being banged around. A PROPERLY fit ambi stays put until you want it off safe. If it's mushy or weak feeling 1. get it repaired, 2. Fire the gunsmith that did the work, and 3. use a good holster that fits you and the pistol.

Just my .02 worth based on 25 years of experience with SA auto's

On single side safeties...on my 1911's I can move my thumb back around the grip safety, take the weapon off safe, and then move your thumb back to the original position. It works and with practice is fast.

Wes
 

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More of the Historical perspective:

When John Browning designed the 1911 much of the input from the US Army was in regard to how it would be used by the Cavalry. The Cavalry used their left hand for the horse, and the right for weapons - sabre or pistol, the 1911 was designed for one hand - the right, and for single hand operation.

Following on that, weapons design remained consistant without much consideration as to why things were the way they were.
 

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If buying a gun that comes with an ambi setup I leave it there. Must be the 'Rincomania--pronounced "cheapskate" by my friends--showing through.

Wes, I've even gone so far while shooting left handed with a single-side safety as to move the thumb over there, wipe the safety down, and fire shots at a couple targets without moving my thumb back. Not a terribly strong grip that way, but so far none of the guns have flown out of my hand. If time allows of course I'd reposition that thumb before pressing the trigger.

In several years I've only managed to inadvertently bump off an outboard safety lever a time or two, and at least it was on a gun with the Series 80 gizmos inside. Hence when I discovered the condition I was mildly upset not horrified.
 
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My 1911's have ambi's on them because they're all old retired IPSC pistols. One has been daily carry for nearly 20 years. In that time, I've noticed the safety wiped off three times. I don't like that feeling, but I still have an inertial firing pin and I DO NOT bypass grip safeties. So, I've still got two out of three mechanical safeties and my finger off the trigger until lining up on the target.
 

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While I would not consider it a big deal, I quit putting ambi's on my pistols after the new wore off the things back around 1972 or so, with a few exceptions.

Were I left handed I certainly would consider installing them on all my 1911s, though experience might cause me to grind the "weak side" lever down a good bit.

Thing is, I was always finding my safety disengaged in the holster back when I used them (these were almost always Swenson safeties. I have Colt Ambi's on an officers model and a Commander which don't have near the problem.

I do indeed have 1911s with ambis that I set up as backup guns. I also know how to get the regular 1911 safety off with my weak hand trigger finger (and back on) in a fairly expeditious manner so it is not really a big deal.

Of course, to repeat, if I were "sinistrous" then I would certainly go for the ambi.

Just ramblin,
Jim
 

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I have no idea why it never occurred to me to talk about the "wipe" issue in my post up-page.

There really is something profoundly disconcerting about taking your 1911 out of your IWB holster in the evening to find that the safety is off and has been off Lord only knows how long.
It's only happened to me a time or three, but I always thought, Yikes!

Made me really happy about the grip safety, and for the fact that I'd been carrying in a holster.
 

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On the other hand Erich, even if the thumb safety gets wiped off you still have a pistol that will resist a foreign object setting the gun off when it hits the trigger better than a Glock.

I firmly beleive that the main safety is the operator himself, but the Glock, which is very popular, is far less forgiving, even if you remove the thumb safety from your 1911. This is not a criticism of the Glock BTW, just a reality check.

In practice there isn't much difference. The object that usually sets off a firearm is the trigger finger and if you get that in the trigger guard then you probably have the grip safety depressed also.

We did however have a local citizen, supposedly quite a gunman, that unintentionally shot himself when his thumb entered his Glock trigger guard as he tried to catch the falling weapon, unfortunately it only took one hit in that case to do the job. I doubt he could have shot himself under those circumstances with a 1911 with the thumb safety off - but one never knows.

Finding my 1911 safety off does not cause me a great deal of concern but I would prefer to find it on just the same.

Onward,
Jim
 

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I speak about this topic from experience.

The likely-hood of the off-side of a safey being brushed off safe is greatly exagerated. When it does, it is almost always because it was poorly designed (the C&S BHP ambi in my opinion), the holster allows the gun to move too much, or the carrier purposely "checking" the gun with his elbow.

I've been carrying semi-autos for most of my adult life, and I've had it happen exactly ONCE. I've seen it happen a few other times. One bloke I knew had a bad habit of rubbing his elbow against the gun under his jacket to confirm it was still there.

I also saw it happen to a "Rightie" without an ambi safety. In that case it was because his holster was old and stretched from use. The gun, a 1911, moved back and forth even though it was thumb-snapped in. It actually moved enough to brush off the equally well-worn single-sided safety.

Regardless, the safety - any safety is NOT FAIL-SAFE. It's presence is NOT an excuse for proper gun handling, and that means keeping fingers off of triggers until ready to shoot.

What is truly amazing to me as a firearms professional is the vast numbers of people who view DAOs (which don't have a safety other than a heavier trigger pull) and Glocks to be safer than cocked and locked single actions. Also astounding to me is the degree of hysteria exhibited by many of these same people AND others who when they discover that a SA safety can come off. It's as though they've bought into the anti-gunner's philosophy that an inanimate gun posesses an evil will of its own.

Personally, I feel safe with any gun, because I keep my finger indexed on the frame UNTIL I'm ready to squeeze the trigger.
 

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I had a Charles Daly 1911 with the ambi safety and it didn't really bother me at all. The Colt 1911's we had in the Marines were not and a lefty just had to learn to shoot it right handed. My Springfield is just a plain right handed single safety. I don't worry about it 'wiping' since I'm one of the minority that carries Condition 3 with the hammer down and no round in the chamber. I can cycle the slide about as fast as I could remove the safety on Condition 1.

I can't help it, I just have to add this....the right hand is controlled by the left side of the brain and the left hand is controlled by the right side of the brain (you all knew that). Therefore, only left handed people are in their right mind!
::)

Also, no one in their "right mind" carries Condition 2. ???
og
 

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Can't disagree, OG! :)

Jim, I always carry with a Saf-T-Blok behind the trigger of my Glocks, unless they're in a hard holster. Probably not necessary, but it makes me feel better. That tragic story you relate gives me another level of justification for doing so - I've oafishly dropped a Glock at least twice.
Appreciate that info.
 
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I'm righthanded but like the idea of ambi safeties just because I like the idea of ambidextrous gizmos (which one of the reasons I like Benchmade's AXIS lock mechanism so much, and I wish I hadn't taken so long to buy one, but that's another story).

Being righthanded I can easily deal with the standard safety lever, but because of my hand size I'm about this -->| |<-- close to buying ambi 1911 mag-release buttons...


D.
 
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