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Old July 10, 2014, 12:36 AM   #1
hammer58
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1911 trigger carry condition

I have just started carrying my Dan Wesson Guardian .45acp 1911. I have heard and read that the 1911 was DESIGNED to be carried with a round in the chamber, hammer cocked and the safety on "safe". I have carried in this position a few times but I cant seem to get over the uneasy feeling that somehow the safety will be accidentally moved through everyday movements to the fire position, thus making the carry position of locked and loaded less safe. Therefore, I usually carry with a round in the chamber and the hammer on half cock.

Does anyone have an experienced opinion on this. Has anyone ever had the safety come off and create an unsafe situation? Unintentional discharge?
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Old July 10, 2014, 02:51 AM   #2
JimmyR
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammer58
I have just started carrying my Dan Wesson Guardian .45acp 1911. I have heard and read that the 1911 was DESIGNED to be carried with a round in the chamber, hammer cocked and the safety on "safe". I have carried in this position a few times but I cant seem to get over the uneasy feeling that somehow the safety will be accidentally moved through everyday movements to the fire position, thus making the carry position of locked and loaded less safe. Therefore, I usually carry with a round in the chamber and the hammer on half cock.

Does anyone have an experienced opinion on this. Has anyone ever had the safety come off and create an unsafe situation? Unintentional discharge?
Most folks who carry the 1911 for defense do carry it in condition 1 (round chambered, hammer cocked, safety on).

Please remember, that a 1911 has 3 safeties that work together- the hammer, the thumb safety, and the grip safety. The 4th safety when carrying a 1911 is a quality holster that protects the trigger guard. It is designed so that, even if there is a failure in one safety, there are others to back it up. In your example, when carrying a 1911, particularly one with the ambi safety, there have been cases in which the thumb safety has been switched to the fire position in the holster, just by hitting it just right in the holster. EVEN THEN, you still have the grip safety and holster protecting the trigger. The gun does not go off on it's own. It would require an act of negligence on your part or a catastrophic failure on the part of the weapon. Train yourself, and maintain your weapon to minimize the chances of either.
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Old July 10, 2014, 05:01 AM   #3
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It wasn't designed to be carried like that, but that is the accepted and most popular way in modern times.

Half cock is NOT a safe carry position. If the gun falls on the hammer, it can break and have enough momentum to fire a round straight up at you.

If you want to carry uncocked, lower the hammer all the way down onto the nice inertial firing pin Browning designed for safe carry. (Which is probably closest to how the gun was "designed" to be carried.)

Otherwise, buy a modern gun with a decocker and DA trigger.
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Old July 10, 2014, 06:48 AM   #4
rcp1936
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Well if you have the hammer down you will have to cock it
Is that any better than no round chambered and having to rack it
Seems safer on drawing the gun than trying to cock the hammer
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Old July 10, 2014, 07:05 AM   #5
45_auto
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Quote:
Does anyone have an experienced opinion on this. Has anyone ever had the safety come off and create an unsafe situation? Unintentional discharge?
You'd be FAR better off taking a basic pistol class from a reputable trainer rather than listening to advice from a bunch of unknown internet posters.
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Old July 10, 2014, 07:41 AM   #6
40-82
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I second 45Auto's advice. Rather than ask how it is done you need to understand the internal mechanics of the 1911 yourself and make up your own mind. In the meantime avoid carrying one in the chamber under a hammer on half cock.
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Old July 10, 2014, 08:56 AM   #7
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammer58
I have heard and read that the 1911 was DESIGNED to be carried with a round in the chamber, hammer cocked and the safety on "safe".
This is incorrect. The military field manual for the M1911 calls for keeping the chamber empty unless "action is imminent," at which time the pistol should be made ready by chambering a round and setting the thumb safety.

Fast forward to civilian use as a carry/self defense weapon. Muggers don't make appointments, which means that "action" could be "imminent" at any moment on any day. Since the 1911 is safe to carry loaded and locked (also called "Condition One"), especially if it's a brand that also incorporates a firing pin safety, virtually all trainers today advocate carrying in Condition One. But ... the pistol was not originally intended to be carried that way.

Quote:
I have carried in this position a few times but I cant seem to get over the uneasy feeling that somehow the safety will be accidentally moved through everyday movements to the fire position, thus making the carry position of locked and loaded less safe. Therefore, I usually carry with a round in the chamber and the hammer on half cock.

Does anyone have an experienced opinion on this. Has anyone ever had the safety come off and create an unsafe situation? Unintentional discharge?
As has been noted, the half cock position is NOT a safe position for carry if there's a round in the chamber. And it serves no purpose to carry this way. You still have to manually thumb cock the weapons, so why not leave the hammer down on a loaded chamber?

I've been carrying 1911s for more years than I can remember. I'm a Vietnam veteran, so I also had some exposure to the M1911A1 in the Army. I have read anecdotal reports of safeties disengaging "themselves" in a holster, but I have never experienced it or met anyone who has experienced it. Most of the reports of such seem to involve modern, extended safeties. I'm very happy with pistols having either an original pattern safety or a modern Colt "teardrop" safety. I don't need extended levers -- my thumb knows exactly where the safety is.
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Old July 10, 2014, 11:08 AM   #8
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Quote:
the safety will be accidentally moved through everyday movements to the fire position, thus making the carry position of locked and loaded less safe.

But sill safer than a Glock, M&P, and a lot of striker-fired guns that will fire with only a pull of the trigger.
It would be extremely difficult, if not impossible, to depress a 1911 grip safety and pull the trigger, with the gun still in the holster!
I think the wiped-off safety is more of a holster issue than a safety issue; I'm a lefty, have ambidextrous safeties on all of my pistols, and have never had one wipe off while in the holster.
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Old July 10, 2014, 12:27 PM   #9
sm
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While not old at age 59, I started too darn young.
Parents: Let me just share there is a difference in parents and parenting.

Basically I was raised by grandma,and Mentors. I was born with guns in my dresser drawer crib.

Mentors included those in Military and LEO. The 1911, as designed by JMB is what I come up with, and have carried in serious work. Mostly the plain jane go'v't model, though me and mine, doing serious work, did add gold bead front sights.

NO.
I have never had the safety snick off by accident.
Yes, while I had holsters, there were times/situations I/WE did not use holsters. <gasp?> Heck I still do not today sometimes with a handgun....

I mean the reality is NO gun is going to go bang, unless trigger is tripped.

Safety is paramount, still getting the brain wrapped around too many axles is never good.
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Old July 10, 2014, 12:43 PM   #10
45_auto
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Quote:
Originally Posted by aguila blanca
I have read anecdotal reports of safeties disengaging "themselves" in a holster, but I have never experienced it or met anyone who has experienced it. Most of the reports of such seem to involve modern, extended safeties. I'm very happy with pistols having either an original pattern safety or a modern Colt "teardrop" safety. I don't need extended levers -- my thumb knows exactly where the safety is.
I run or attend a several pistol matches every month, and I see it happen pretty regularly. Once every couple of months or so I'd say. For a right-handed shooter, an ambidextrous safety (thumb safety on BOTH sides) on a 1911 leaves the right side safety exposed when the gun is holstered. It's perfectly positioned so that a bump or rub against about any surface, or pulling a seat belt across it, will move the safety to the "off" position.

First thing I do with any new 1911 I get is to replace the ambidextrous safety with a "standard" left-side only safety.
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Old July 10, 2014, 01:10 PM   #11
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A proper holster can ensure that the safety will not get disengaged from simple body movement. Unless you are a belly dancer at 'Shakira-level' I highly doubt your guns safety will get disengaged.
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Old July 10, 2014, 01:22 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hammer58
I have carried in this position a few times but I cant seem to get over the uneasy feeling that somehow the safety will be accidentally moved through everyday movements to the fire position, thus making the carry position of locked and loaded less safe. Therefore, I usually carry with a round in the chamber and the hammer on half cock.
Condition One (round in chamber, hammer cocked, weapon on safe) is completely safe. Even if the safety is flicked off accidentally, you still have to depress the grip safety and the trigger at the same time in order to fire your weapon. And the only way this will happen is if you draw the gun with your finger on the trigger, which is operator error, not an error with the gun.

But carrying the way you do is MUCH less safe than Condition One. Like others have said, half-cock isn't a safe way to carry the gun. In my opinion, even Condition Two (round in chamber, hammer completely un-cocked, safety off), is less safe than Condition One for one simple reason: After loading the gun you need to pull the trigger with a round in the chamber in order to de-cock it. Sure, you can grasp the hammer in a way that will greatly reduce the chances of a negligent discharge, but the chances are still higher than if you just left it cocked and put the weapon on safe.

I see this all the time when people first start carrying a 1911: They're worried about carrying in Condition One, so -- ironically -- they end up being even less safe by putting the gun in Condition Two. By the way, I'm not saying that carrying a gun in Condition Two is less safe than carrying it in Condition One, but the process of putting a gun in Condition Two is less safe: Any time you have to pull the trigger with a round in the chamber, you're increasing your chances of having a negligent discharge, period. No matter how careful you're being, it's still less safe than if you weren't pulling the trigger on a loaded chamber.

Quote:
Originally Posted by hammer58
Has anyone ever had the safety come off and create an unsafe situation? Unintentional discharge?
In order to have an unintentional discharge, you'd still have to press the trigger and the grip safety at the same time. This reminds me of another thread a while ago where the OP wanted to carry in Condition Two because he had a friend who had an issue with a Condition One 1911: The friend ended up shooting himself in the leg because his safety failed. But I pointed out that this meant that his friend still pointed the gun at his own leg and pressed the trigger. Even if he thought the safety would prevent the gun from firing, this is still a horribly negligent way to handle a firearm. So was the safety failing really the problem? No, of course not, the problem was that his friend had no idea how to properly handle a handgun.

The most important safety is your own gun handling skills. Having the safety accidentally clicked off on a holstered Condition One 1911 isn't a big deal as long as you know the basics of safe gun handling.
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Old July 10, 2014, 04:30 PM   #13
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Just in case you haven't heard it enough let me pile on here and say half-cocked is a ridiculous way to carry your 1911.

Cocked and locked with a round in the chamber would be my preference if I had to carry a 1911 but I think there are better carry weapons out there.
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Old July 10, 2014, 06:38 PM   #14
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I used to wear a 1911 when I worked a liquor store counter at night, IMO the best way to carry a 1911 is condition 1 (Round Chambered, Cocked, Safe on).

I wore it in a quality IWB holster, but not concealed. I never had any trouble with the safety coming off in the holster, even during cooler or stock room stocking activities.

The worst feeling about it was that my $1200 1911 never really earned my trust as a truly dependable firearm, now days I carry a more modern platform..., and no longer work at a liquor store.
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Old July 10, 2014, 06:50 PM   #15
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Condition 1 in a good leather holster with a snap strap. Those bobbed 1911's are nice pistols.
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Old July 10, 2014, 09:10 PM   #16
hammer58
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Thanks for all the great advise! I also carry a Kahr CM9 but I want to carry the 1911 when clothing permits. The Kahr is smaller and more comfortable but for me it is much harder to control and shoot accurately. The 1911 is much easier to control and be on target. I use a Blackhawk Serpa holster with the 1911 so I feel good about the gun not falling out or being drawn when I don't want it to.

I think the solution to my worry is that I didn't know it is less safe at half cocked. Someone may have already answered this but what is the purpose of the half cocked position?
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Old July 10, 2014, 09:23 PM   #17
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Quote:
Half cock is NOT a safe carry position. If the gun falls on the hammer, it can break and have enough momentum to fire a round straight up at you.
I thought modern series 80 1911's have firing pin blocks to prevent this.
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Old July 10, 2014, 10:01 PM   #18
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Dan Wesson isn't a modern series 80. Very few "modern" 1911s have firing pin blocks.
Quote:
Someone may have already answered this but what is the purpose of the half cocked position?
Half cock is a temporary safety position to catch the hammer if it fails to grab the sear when being manually or automatically cocked.
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Old July 10, 2014, 10:13 PM   #19
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For a right-handed shooter, an ambidextrous safety (thumb safety on BOTH sides) on a 1911 leaves the right side safety exposed when the gun is holstered. It's perfectly positioned so that a bump or rub against about any surface, or pulling a seat belt across it, will move the safety to the "off" position.

First thing I do with any new 1911 I get is to replace the ambidextrous safety with a "standard" left-side only safety.
I agree.

I have one 1911 with an ambi-safety, a Les Baer. When carrying one day, I noticed the safety had been disengaged. I now just use that pistol for a range gun. I have other 1911s for carry.

The idea of an ambi-safety (for right handers at least) is to allow the weak side (left hand) to disengage the safety and fire in the event the right hand/arm is disabled. However, I am able to disengage even a single-sided safety with my left hand and I'm sure others can as well. I'm not as fast doing it with my left hand as I am with my right hand but I would rather be a little slower than worry about the safety.

I have never had a single side safety on a 1911 disengage when carrying in a holster.
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Old July 11, 2014, 12:20 AM   #20
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Quote:
Please remember, that a 1911 has 3 safeties that work together- the hammer, the thumb safety, and the grip safety. The 4th safety when carrying a 1911 is a quality holster that protects the trigger guard. It is designed so that, even if there is a failure in one safety, there are others to back it up. In your example, when carrying a 1911, particularly one with the ambi safety, there have been cases in which the thumb safety has been switched to the fire position in the holster, just by hitting it just right in the holster. EVEN THEN, you still have the grip safety and holster protecting the trigger. The gun does not go off on it's own. It would require an act of negligence on your part or a catastrophic failure on the part of the weapon. Train yourself, and maintain your weapon to minimize the chances of either.
JimmyR nailed it. Condition 1 is the only way to carry. If you are not comfortable, read the above again. You must know how your gun works and what it takes to make it go bang.
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Old July 11, 2014, 02:00 AM   #21
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in 17 years I've never had my 1911 safety bump off. At some point one has to take responsibility for accepting the mechanics of their gun.... if your not comfortable carrying a 1911 then you shouldn't but I just cant imagine a Dan Wesson being of questionable mechanics. Even if the safety did get bumped off the sear, grip safety and half cock would have to fail before discharge, add one more failure if you have a 1911 with a firing pin block. What are the odds?
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Old July 11, 2014, 07:51 AM   #22
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I carried 1911's daily for about 25 years, and did find the thumb safety "off" at the end of the day on numerous occasions. I carried basically box stock Colts, with factory levers, no extended or ambi safeties. If you lead an "active" lifestyle, its pretty much inevitable.

If youre using a decent holster, its still pretty much a non issue though. If youre a "Mexican" carrier, that might be a different story.

As far as the grip safeties go, you had better be paying attention to them, and checking them on a regular basis. Dont trust them just because they are there. Ive owned a couple of 1911's that came from the factory with non functioning grip safeties. Had a few others that had issues, and in both directions.

The other thing about them is, clothing and other things can often depress them. Again, holsters tend to reduce problems, but then again, can cause them. Perfect storms do occur on occasion.

Personally, I think to much is made about manual safeties making the gun "safer", and to much reliance is put on them, just because they are there.
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Old July 11, 2014, 02:42 PM   #23
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First I'm not telling anyone how they should carry their 1911, that's a personal choice.

I do carry my 1911's in condition 1, did so in Vietnam and still do to date.
I've carried in holsters and "Mexican" carried and have never had a thumb safety dis-engage from the slide lock position.

I do believe one of the reasons for thumb safeties dis-engaging is because of the larger paddles, especially when they are of the ambi variety.

If you have a 1911 or 1911A1 safety that dis-engages on it's own while carrying you may want to replace the spring between the plungers or the plungers.

As for the half cock position of the hammer, that was intended to be a safety catch if the hammer fell from the cocked position without the trigger being squeezed.
Many hammers had a captive half cock ledge but that's not the case so much anymore, most hammers now have half cock ledges that are just a straight ledge.

I had a new 70 series Colt on my bench the other day, the half cock on the Colt hammer was just a straight ledge.

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Old July 11, 2014, 04:02 PM   #24
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Following the finger-off-the-trigger rule, combined with a functioning grip safety makes the thumb safety kind of redundant.
If it slips to the fire position on its own, that alone shouldn't ever cause an A.D./N.D.
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Old July 11, 2014, 05:13 PM   #25
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Quote:
Following the finger-off-the-trigger rule, combined with a functioning grip safety makes the thumb safety kind of redundant.
I agree for the most part, but when the thumb safety is inadvertently knocked off, and you attempt to handle or holster a 1911, the grip safety is normally depressed, unless you make a conscious effort to not engage it, so your basically left with a fairly light trigger that is easily tripped by something entering the trigger guard, be it a finger, clothing, piece of the holster, etc.

If Plaxico had been carrying a 1911 in his shorts, and the safety was "somehow" knocked off, do you suppose the result would have been any different than it was with the Glock?
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