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Old April 9, 2012, 04:24 PM   #1
zincwarrior
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pistol coming off safety with IWB carry

Has this happened to anyone else? I have a Kimber 1911 with a moderately stiff safety.

I’m shifting from one of those people who didn't have one in the chamber to cocked and locked. Normal carry is via either a simple Galco slider or a much more expensive IWB rig that completely covers the safety and top part of the pistol (including hammer to protect form moisture I think and be more comfortable). Both rigs are made for the specific Kimber model. On windy days or more dressy wear the IWB is called for.

Anyway, after seeing multiple discussions and children getting older, I decided to try for cocked and locked format. As an interim to get comfortable I had it cocked and locked (condition 1?) but no round in the chamber for a week to prove to myself that the thing wouldn't go off. That went well with the Galco, so shifted to full condition 1. Galco is great. However with the IWB, twice the Kimber has come off the manual safety. I didn't freak because its a quality holster on the trigger parts, and of course the grip safety, but it surprised me.

Has this happened to other people? Is this common? I'm not saying I am going back but its a definite surprise.
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Old April 10, 2012, 08:45 AM   #2
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If your holster kicks the safety off, its time for a new holster.
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Old April 10, 2012, 08:59 AM   #3
zincwarrior
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Thats what I was thinking, but I wasn't sure if that was common, or just me and that holster.
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Old April 10, 2012, 09:10 AM   #4
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Doesn't matter if its common. New holster time.
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Old April 10, 2012, 09:28 AM   #5
zincwarrior
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And I really liked that one.

It must be the leather piece over the safety. Its strange, because I've not heard of this happening to others or this particular item (MTAC).
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Old April 10, 2012, 12:05 PM   #6
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zincwarrior: Has this happened to other people? Is this common? I'm not saying I am going back but its a definite surprise.
Yes, it is common...and aggravated by the fact that many modern 1911s come from the factory with extended combat safeties. Models equipped with ambidextrous safeties make the outcome even more likely.

Old school Standard (original Colt) safety levers are much less susceptible to the issue, although it can happen with them as well.

I've carried 1911s of various configurations for CCW. LEO, and Military use since 1975. Extensively. I'm pretty much a life-long 1911 user. In recent memory, I carried one on average for about 16-17 hours a day during three tours to Iraq (2007-2011). I still carry one today for civilian CCW. Years ago, in tune with then current gun fashion, I would have my 1911s configured with after-market ambidextrous paddles, during a time when factory guns didn't come with that option. I gradually grew to dislike the feature.

I've found that 1911 ambidextrous safeties (especially those with extended lever paddles) habitually disengage due to external pressures against 1) the safety itself or 2) the holster body (which then transmits that pressure, flipping the safety off).

This has tended to be a reality in my world whether I was carrying IWB, OWB, Belt Slide, Flap, Shoulder, Belt Clip, Mexican Carry, Vest Mounted, Belt Duty Holster, or Drop Tactical Hard-shell. It has happened whether I was using holsters made of Kydex, cowhide, horsehide, ballistic nylon, or hard polymer.

One of my worst offender holsters is a Safariland 6004 hard shell tactical holster worn at various times either on the thigh or low-ride off of a duty belt. That superb holster does not flex, but it still allows "things" to engage against the safety from the open top of the holster. And any pressure against the hammer area or butt of the holstered gun can move the gun slightly, causing an extended safety to rub against the inside of the hard shell...and disengage.

I had an old DeSantis OWB Speed Scabbard back in the 80's (when it was a cutting edge design), that I used for CCW...the safety would come off. Likewise with a favorite Galco OWB that I wore overseas. Likewise with a GI M7 leather shoulder holster...and both GI 1916 and Bianchi M12 flap holsters...although safety disengagement is a fairly rare occurrence in a flap design.

The only guaranteed solution I've seen is a Kydex holster with a molded channel that fits over (and immobilizes) the safety lever (in the Safe position). It ain't moving until you clear the holster. The version I saw was a DIY example by a holster builder on another forum. Brilliant work, but not commercially available.

The 1911 just provides more opportunity for the safety to move because of it's design. When carried, any downward angled pressure against a large safety paddle only has to overcome the safety detent friction that keeps it from lowering. It has a very small arc of travel between "Safe" and "Fire". By way of comparison, I've never seen the much smaller and stiffer safety on a BHP accidentally disengage. Nor the lower profile Safety/Decocker of an M9 Beretta, which also requires a larger arc of movement (against a stronger spring) between functional positions.

On the other hand, that very 1911 safety is so ideally set up for in-hand manipulation and weapon firing, that I can certainly live with the occasional holster hiccup.

My 1911's safety (on various guns) has disengaged while rappelling down buildings or off of helicopters; while mounting and dismounting armored vehicles; while driving up-armored executive protection vehicles; while patrolling across forests, deserts, jungles, and mountains; while conducting live assaults and raids; while conducting foot chases; while climbing over fences, windowsills, and rooftops; while wrestling with perps, fighting people in bars, and chasing folks through alleys; and while simply passing through doorways, tight passages, or bumping a hip into furniture. It has happened frequently during the simple act of fastening and wearing seat belts in all manner of vehicles and aircraft. I've had 1911 ambi-safeties flipped off just in the normal course of sitting in various chairs in offices. I've had that safety become disengaged while hitting prone under fire or low crawling. It has happened to me in training, both on flat ranges and in shoot houses. And I've had that safety get disengaged by some lovely's hip on a crowded elevator or a too-close bar stool.

No big deal, and I just flip it back on. I understand how a 1911's redundant safety features work...I simply prefer that my manual 1911 safety stay put. Standard single side safeties mostly do.

A lot of this has to do with actual holster profile. A lot has to do with physical activity during wear. And a lot has to do with body type. Love handles tend to press on 1911 holster sweat shields (or safety paddles) from the inside. Mine do (and I'm not anywhere close to being a trophy Dunlop Disease sufferer).

As you noted, you still have a well protected trigger and a functioning grip safety. The first time that event occurred in my holster, my hair stood on end when I discovered it. Nowadays, I just periodically check it throughout the course of the day and drive on. No big deal.
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Old April 10, 2012, 12:34 PM   #7
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I bet if you contact the holster maker they will take care of it for you. They can probably trim something somewhere to fix it. Otherwise, if they are as reputable as I suspect they are, they'll probably give you credit towards something you can use safely.
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Old April 10, 2012, 12:36 PM   #8
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Thank you. That is very helpful. As soon as you typed "extended safety" my eyes lit up. The Kimber has an extended safety (and I like it).
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Old April 14, 2012, 10:40 AM   #9
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I have a Colt New Agent in a Crossbreed supertuck, an it has never come off safety yet (it has the normal size safety, but i've never rappelled out of a helicopter ). My wife also keeps a Sig P238 in her purse in it's own compartment (which works surprisingly well), and she has kept it in condition 3 for a while, and ha recently moved it to condition one after seeing that the safety has never came off on her. I'm buying an integrated holster as well, to ensure that it can stay that way.
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Old April 14, 2012, 04:37 PM   #10
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I carried a 1911 IWB for years, and regardless of holster make or type, I would find the safety off at the end of the day on a pretty regular basis. 99% of my guns were stock Colts, with the standard safety too.

If you think about it, its really a non issue if its in a holster. Generally the grip safeties work (Id check yours anyway, Ive had a number that didnt, including my last Kimber), which adds another level of safety, and the trigger is covered by the holster anyway.
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Old April 16, 2012, 07:31 AM   #11
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Quote:
I've found that 1911 ambidextrous safeties (especially those with extended lever paddles) habitually disengage due to external pressures against 1) the safety itself or 2) the holster body (which then transmits that pressure, flipping the safety off).
This.

I will not carry a 1911 with an ambi safety, and I will only use a holster with a sweatguard that is molded/boned with a thumb safety indentation.

Quote:
As you noted, you still have a well protected trigger and a functioning grip safety. The first time that event occurred in my holster, my hair stood on end when I discovered it. Nowadays, I just periodically check it throughout the course of the day and drive on. No big deal.
Agreed. I also will only carry a 1911 with a firing pin safety (e.g. Colt Series 80 or Kimber) specifically to provide one additional block against Murphy tryin' to ruin my day.
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Old April 16, 2012, 07:54 AM   #12
zincwarrior
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Quote:
Quote:
I've found that 1911 ambidextrous safeties (especially those with extended lever paddles) habitually disengage due to external pressures against 1) the safety itself or 2) the holster body (which then transmits that pressure, flipping the safety off).

This. As

I will not carry a 1911 with an ambi safety, and I will only use a holster with a sweatguard that is molded/boned with a thumb safety indentation.


Quote:
As you noted, you still have a well protected trigger and a functioning grip safety. The first time that event occurred in my holster, my hair stood on end when I discovered it. Nowadays, I just periodically check it throughout the course of the day and drive on. No big deal.

Agreed. I also will only carry a 1911 with a firing pin safety (e.g. Colt Series 80 or Kimber) specifically to provide one additional block against Murphy tryin' to ruin my day.
Do you remember the name or type of holsters that have a safety indent?
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Old April 16, 2012, 08:31 AM   #13
solidgun
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I had this issue with EMP, but I was using a holster made for generic compact 1911.

Ordered one made for EMP from TTgunleather and no issues with safety. But compared to some other 1911s the safety was lighter on this model.
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Old April 16, 2012, 09:47 AM   #14
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I carry concealed whenever I legally can, and it's mostly a 1911 in condition 1 carried IWB in a Milt Sparks Versa Max 2 holster. I've never had the safety come off.

First, I make sure that any 1911 I might carry has a very positive "on-safe."

Second, the holsters I use are leather and have a sweat shield between my body and the gun. The sweat shield has become slightly scored by the safety in the engaged position, and that also helps.
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Old April 16, 2012, 05:26 PM   #15
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I have carried my Kimber Stainless Raptor in a Crossbreed IWB for about 14 months without the safety ever getting turned off.
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Old April 16, 2012, 06:35 PM   #16
Nnobby45
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Quote:
Has this happened to other people? Is this common? I'm not saying I am going back but its a definite surprise.
It happens with regularity to people with ambidextrous safeties. On John Farnum's advice, during one of his classes, I later had my Kimber CDP2's ambi safety replaced with a single safety.

It's not the safety on the inside next to the body that's the problem, it's the one on the outside.

Don't know if yours has the ambi safety or not, but if you do have a single safety that's reasonably firm, then it should never come off when secured in your holster.
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Old April 16, 2012, 06:58 PM   #17
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but if you do have a single safety that's reasonably firm, then it should never come off when secured in your holster.
I suppose a lot has to do with your lifestyle here. Mine is pretty active, and clothing and other things, still get into places you wouldn't think they would.

All my Colts had the factory (left side) safeties, and I used holsters with a sweat guard that covered the safety and part of the grip. I still had the safeties on all my guns I carried, off at the end of the day on a pretty regular basis.

This is just the nature of the beast with this type gun, and you just learn to deal with it.
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Old April 17, 2012, 11:45 PM   #18
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This is just the nature of the beast with this type gun, and you just learn to deal with it.
Must be other demons at work here, since myself and others on this thread have had no such problems when regularly carrying the 1911 pistol.
Question: If the gun doesn't move in your holster, how is it going to get off safe? It is possible to off safe the gun during holstering. I put my thumb under the safety when holstering. Just enough upward pressure to know it stays on.
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Old April 18, 2012, 04:41 AM   #19
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Must be other demons at work here, since myself and others on this thread have had no such problems when regularly carrying the 1911 pistol.
What do you do while carrying your gun? Are you an office type person, or are you a little more active?

I work and play outdoors year round. Lots of physical activity, all while wearing the gun. Clothing and other things have a way of getting in places they normally wouldnt if you dont move around much.
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Old April 18, 2012, 07:33 AM   #20
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Quote:
Quote:
but if you do have a single safety that's reasonably firm, then it should never come off when secured in your holster.

I suppose a lot has to do with your lifestyle here. Mine is pretty active, and clothing and other things, still get into places you wouldn't think they would.

All my Colts had the factory (left side) safeties, and I used holsters with a sweat guard that covered the safety and part of the grip. I still had the safeties on all my guns I carried, off at the end of the day on a pretty regular basis.

This is just the nature of the beast with this type gun, and you just learn to deal with it.
No ambi safety, but the holster in question does have the sweat guard. I'm wonderring if thats the factor. The safety itself is moderately stiff.
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Old April 18, 2012, 07:34 AM   #21
zincwarrior
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Must be other demons at work here, since myself and others on this thread have had no such problems when regularly carrying the 1911 pistol.
Question: If the gun doesn't move in your holster, how is it going to get off safe? It is possible to off safe the gun during holstering. I put my thumb under the safety when holstering. Just enough upward pressure to know it stays on.
I thought that also but checked the safety once holstered and it was on safety.
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Old April 18, 2012, 08:59 AM   #22
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I have carried a Government Model 1911 in a Ted Blocker LFI-1 rig for well over 20 years and I have found the safety disengaged perhaps 4 times. Being self employed, I get to go active in the field, and play office boy too.

My safety has never dis-engaged while shuffling papers in the office. Always in the field working or playing hard. For this reason, I trust my holster and check it at times.

If your safety dis-engages on its own on your 1911 pattern pistol, take a look at what you were doing and keep it in perspective. Chances are good that you do not need a new holster after all. just slow down a little.
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Old April 18, 2012, 09:20 AM   #23
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I've had/seen this happen with certain combinations of 1911 and holsters, including a duty holster or two. I don't like big safeties anyhow so my 1911's invariably have the GI or Colt commercial style safety. I won't tolerate a mushy safety or one that takes undue effort to switch either direction.

These days I IWB with a Safariland 27 and I've never had the safety come off, even after long days.
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