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Old September 16, 2013, 03:21 PM   #1
Cimmerian99
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1911 Newbie Question - Cocked, Locked, and don't want to be!

1911 Newbie Question - Cocked, Locked, and don't want to be!

Once cocked, how do you uncock it?

I have just taken out the mag, and run the slide ejecting the bullet. Then I can, of course, pull the trigger to uncock.

I've seen my dad uncock a gun a million times by just holding the hammer with his thumb, pulling the trigger, and slowly letting the hammer down, but I have the oddest feeling I'll shoot my foot off if I try... Plus my dad has more b--ls than i do!

Any advice?

Thanks.
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Old September 16, 2013, 03:34 PM   #2
manta49
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Sorry I misread your post. You can very carefully lower the hammer pointing it in a safe direction. but to fire it you will obviously have to pull the hammer back again before shooting. If you are not happy carrying with a round in the chamber why not just carry in con three. PS. Please no paper weight or other silly comparisons.

Last edited by manta49; September 16, 2013 at 04:01 PM.
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Old September 16, 2013, 03:39 PM   #3
JBriggs
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Just want you to be safe my friend! I will be blunt with you because someone was blunt with me when I first started shooting 1911's. Watch some videos of 1911 operation before going to the range and then sit down with someone who has experience with the 1911 and run some drills. I say that simply based on the question you asked. To give you the correct answer, you have to slowly and carefully let the hammer down because there is not a decocker. Slowly and carefully are the watch words, for if you let the hammer slip, the side arm will fire and you will have a bad day.

Once you get to know your 1911, you will never want to be without it again, for it (and to get some blood aroused on this site) is one of the best combat pistols ever designed.
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Old September 16, 2013, 03:51 PM   #4
ClydeFrog
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If it were me...

If you have the "heebee jeebees" over packing your 1911a1 series pistol "condition one", then I highly suggest the Cylinder & Slide SFS.
It allows you to shoot the pistol SA(single action) but you carry the firearm with a loaded chamber, safety on.
A trained armorer or gunsmith can install it & you'll have a bit of peace of mind.

See: www.cylinder-slide.com .
Note; the SFS system is available for 9x19mm & .40S&W caliber Hi-Powers too but check the site first to see if its available.

Clyde
PS; if you don't want or can't get the SFS, you can carry the 1911a1 pistol, condition three or safety on, empty chamber.
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Old September 16, 2013, 03:57 PM   #5
pilpens
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I normally do what you did: take the magazine out, rack the slide 2-3x, verify that chamber is empty, then pull the trigger with or without catching the hammer with my thumb (all while keeping the pistol pointed in a safe direction). Since the chamber is empty, it is safe to let the hammer down.

Decocking on a live round can be done. Catch the hammer with your thumb when you pull the trigger. As soon as the hammer is release, let go of the trigger (this will allow the half-cock notch to catch in case the hammer slips from your thumb). Released the hammer slowly so it does not push firing pin. Keep pistol pointed in a safe direction.

Why decock on a live round?
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Old September 16, 2013, 04:42 PM   #6
tipoc
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Lowering the hammer on a live round can be done safely. There are two ways to do this. Practice on an empty gun. Always follow the 4 rules.

First ask your father to show you how both the two handed and one handed methods. If he ain't around...

The first way I'll explain is the safest. Hold the gun in the strong hand normally and with the finger off the trigger. Swipe the thumb safety off. With the weak hand grasp the hammer between thumb and forefinger and hold it. Hold the gun normally with the grip safety depressed as usual. With the trigger finger pull the trigger and hold it back. Now gently lower the hammer down. Some like to place the forefinger between the hammer and the firing pin during this move. On the way down release the trigger. You can lower the hammer to the half cock safety notch or all the way down.

Practice this method with an empty gun and follow the 4 rules.

The second method is the oldest and was explained by Browning in the patents for the gun and was widely used for many years and is still used by those that know. It is the one handed method. Hold the gun in the strong hand normally with the finger off the trigger. Swipe the safety off. With the thumb of the strong hand pull the hammer all the way back and hold it there. Notice that it depresses the grip safety at it furthest extension (if it does not you can't use this method.) Pull the trigger at this point and let the thumb lower the hammer safely to either the half cock or fully down.

Practice this method on an empty gun and follow the 4 rules.

Remember that the hammer cannot be lowered unless the grip safety is depressed.

tipoc
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Old September 16, 2013, 05:29 PM   #7
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Tipoc has got it.
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Old September 16, 2013, 07:39 PM   #8
3.Shot.Group.
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The only reason I would ever lower the hammer on a live round is to fire the gun. Carrying it with hammer down means the firing pin is resting on the primmer, and all it would take is for something to bump the hammer and the round would fire.

On the other hand, cocked and locked means the thumb safety has to be moved to fire position, the grip safety has to be pressed in and the trigger pulled at the same time. You could bump a 1911 all day long and that's highly unlikely to happen, but with the hammer down it's only a matter of when it'll happen.

Lowering the hammer on a live round with your thumb to unload it is asking the angel of mayhem to knock your thumb off with the slide when you accidentally let the hammer slip from your thumb and forefinger(not to mention redundant). That's probably why some of the old timers called the 1911 a Thumb Buster, that and the fact that some of them decided to put their thumb behind the slide while firing the weapon. I guess that with the tiny sights it used to have they thought the thumb would make a better aiming device.

Last edited by 3.Shot.Group.; September 16, 2013 at 07:54 PM.
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Old September 16, 2013, 08:31 PM   #9
Shane Tuttle
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Not sure what the problem is...

If you ejected the mag, ran the slide back and ejected the round, and ran the slide back to battery, you can point the gun in a safe direction and just pull the trigger. Understanding all guns are always loaded, use of common sense dictates you don't have a round in the chamber (if you followed proper unloading techniques). So, I don't understand the reason why you're concerned with shooting yourself in the foot whatever the case may be.
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Old September 16, 2013, 08:37 PM   #10
MJFlores
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Never EVER put your finger on the trigger until you're ready to shoot. With any gun, disengage the cylinder or in your case, eject the magazine...then pull your slide back to eject the round from the chamber. At that point the gun is cleared and you can safely point the unloaded weapon in a safe direction and dry fire it to drop the hammer. C'Mon everyone, there's never a reason to drop a hammer on a loaded chamber unless you intent to fire the gun. Rule number three of Coopers safe gun handling.

Last edited by MJFlores; September 17, 2013 at 05:44 AM.
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Old September 16, 2013, 08:59 PM   #11
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A few years back I stopped by my bosses house to check out his new G27. While I was there he went inside and got an all original 1915 1911. Brought it outside and racked the slide to make sure it was clear, and handed it to me cocked and off safety. First thing I did was rack the slide again, and well wouldn't you know it a round flys out. He forgot to remove the mag, and loaded a round that looked to be from the 40's. Am I ever glad I didn't pull the trigger that day trusting him. I dropped the mag and let down the hammer and just smiled at him....he was stunned at what he'd just done.

He'd never looked at the gun and admitted a few minutes later that was the first time he'd seen it in the sunlight (and he's owned it 30 years) and has still never shot it. Man what a nice 1911, it was his great uncles in WWI (he's 65)
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Old September 16, 2013, 09:14 PM   #12
redhologram
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I keep my 1911 cocked and locked. If I want the hammer down, then I'll eject the mag, empty the chamber and drop the hammer. Do I know how to ride my hammer down over a live round comfortably? Yes. It's something I know and can do just because I like to know how to handle various scenarios. But it's not my first option of choice, naturally.
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Old September 16, 2013, 10:05 PM   #13
shortwave
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You have got some good response's and please don't take this as disrespectful but I would get a manual for your pistol if I were you.

It will not only give you proper operation procedure's but safety and
tear down/maintenance procedure's as well that may be helpful in the future.

PS. Never aim/point a pistol at your foot.

Last edited by shortwave; September 16, 2013 at 10:22 PM.
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Old September 16, 2013, 10:48 PM   #14
Valerko
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Why not just go to half cock?
Firesign pin is not resting on the primer and with training it becomes instinctive to disengage safety and fully cock it in one motion ,whole removing from holster.
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Old September 16, 2013, 11:13 PM   #15
James K
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Sorry, 3.Shot.Group and guys.

If the pistol is a U.S. 1911 type (and not a foreign copy), it has an inertia firing pin, which means that you can lower the hammer all the way without the firing pin touching the primer of a chambered round. The firing pin is shorter than the firing pin tunnel, so the hammer has to hit the firing pin hard enough to drive it forward so its inertia fires the cartridge.

Jim
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Old September 17, 2013, 03:15 AM   #16
1911Tuner
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Quote:
I've seen my dad uncock a gun a million times by just holding the hammer with his thumb, pulling the trigger, and slowly letting the hammer down, but I have the oddest feeling I'll shoot my foot off if I try... Plus my dad has more b--ls than i do!
Don't point the gun at your foot.

Lowering the hammer on a 1911 carries some risk, but it can be done in complete safety, as it has been countless times over the last century. Before Jeff Cooper came along and enlightened us, most people who carried the big Colt did so in Condition 2 or at half-cock.

And Browning considered the half cock to be a safety position before the "manual slide locking safety" was added. He even gave instruction on how to get it there in the 1910 patents...and with one hand, no less.

If it were all that fraught with peril, there'd be a lot of old men walkin' with a limp.

The key is doing it properly...while pointing the gun in such a direction that an unintentional discharge would only result in a bruised ego...and practicing it with an empty gun before going hot.

Since decocking isn't something that one would normally do in a hurry...don't get in a hurry...ever. If you're in a hurry to make the pistol safe, that's what the thumb safety was put there for.

Please note that the older Star pistols...the PD, BM, and BKM...may look a lot like the 1911, and while their function is similar, they don't have inertial firing pins. With the hammer down on a chambered round, the tip of the firing pin does rest on the primer. Those pistols are Condition 1 or Condition 3 only. A good friend of mine learned that the hard way. He was very lucky.

Unlike the 1911, the manual safety on the Star does actually lock the hammer, though.
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Last edited by 1911Tuner; September 17, 2013 at 03:30 AM.
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Old September 17, 2013, 03:37 AM   #17
thedudeabides
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If you don't like condition 1, don't carry a 1911.

If your safety disengages too easily for you to think it's safe while holstered, get it adjusted for a tighter fit and maybe get one that's low profile and won't snag. Most 1911s for carry have a low profile thumb safety that requires some effort to disengage.

I've carried condition 1 for over 15 years (HKs and 1911s). It's one of the safest ways to carry a gun with one in the pipe.

While it's possible to lower the hammer on a live round, and I'm familiar with the procedure, I really don't see a reason why I'd want to do it.
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Old September 17, 2013, 07:59 AM   #18
UncleEd
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The Colt firing pin block introduced in the 1980s also adds a safety margin.

Once you release the cocked hammer over a live round, TAKE THE FINGER OFF the trigger and the block takes over should you let the hammer slip. It should stop at the half cock notch (if it doesn't the firing pin block is still engaged) and from there you can pull the trigger to let the hammer down all the way in complete safety.

When the Series 80 firing pin block was introduced, it was soon discovered that from the half cock you could pull the trigger to drop the hammer. Colt was questioned and the answer that was part of the new design.

The new Remington R1 has the same feature and I believe the Browning High Power from the 1990s on also has this feature. If I recall, so do the Sig 1911s.

A lot of shooters hate the firing pin block but it does have its purpose.

Remember, with the current popularity of the Ruger SR1911, NO firing pin block exists. It's pure old-style Colt.
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Old September 17, 2013, 09:32 AM   #19
dajowi
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I've carried 1911's for some 40 years. If the hammer is back it's loaded. If the hammer is forward it's empty. With or without a firing pin block lowing the hammer on a live round while pulling the trigger gives me the willys.
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Old September 17, 2013, 10:08 AM   #20
allaroundhunter
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1911 Newbie Question - Cocked, Locked, and don't want to be!

Quote:
Originally Posted by dajowi View Post
I've carried 1911's for some 40 years. If the hammer is back it's loaded. If the hammer is forward it's empty. With or without a firing pin block lowing the hammer on a live round while pulling the trigger gives me the willys.
This is exactly how I feel... And it is the protocol that I follow with my 1911.
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Old September 17, 2013, 10:42 AM   #21
Revoltella
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Quote:
If you don't like condition 1, don't carry a 1911.
This.

Or a Para with the LDA trigger.
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Old September 17, 2013, 10:59 AM   #22
RickB
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Quote:
The only reason I would ever lower the hammer on a live round is to fire the gun. Carrying it with hammer down means the firing pin is resting on the primmer, and all it would take is for something to bump the hammer and the round would fire.
The 1911, and most other modern, hammer-fired guns have inertia firing pins that do not contact the primer when at rest. A blow to a lowered hammer will not fire the gun, but a sufficiently stout blow to the muzzle, as when dropping the gun, might.
One reason to not consider half-cock a "safety position" is that the partially-cocked hammer could be struck with a blow sufficient to shear the sear nose and fire the gun; such a blow on a fully-decocked hammer is no threat.
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Old September 17, 2013, 12:01 PM   #23
manta49
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Quote:
If you don't like condition 1, don't carry a 1911.
Is that advice or are you telling how to carry his firearm.

Quote:
there's never a reason to drop a hammer on a loaded chamber unless you intent to fire the gun. Rule number three of Coopers safe gun handling
CZ disagree instructions in their manual below. They are happy for you to lower the hammer unto a loaded chamber. It surprises me when I see people advising someone with limited experience with handguns to carry it with a round in the chamber.

Quote.

Besides the method previously described it is possible to put the pistol into a safety
mode and still be ready to fire immediately:
Load the pistol. Grasp the grip, POINT IN A SAFE DIRECTION. With a thumb press on
the grooved area (thumb piece) of the hammer, pull the trigger and release the hammer.

slowly forward (Fig. 6) until it rests on the action or safety notch of the hammer. Release the
trigger. Practise this operation very carefully to avoid an accidental discharge! We strongly
recommend to practise this operation beforehand with the pistol unloaded!

Last edited by manta49; September 17, 2013 at 12:29 PM.
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Old September 17, 2013, 12:26 PM   #24
pilpens
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CZ is normally a DA/SA pistol. There is a good reason to lower the hammer on a live round - to setup for the DA shot. Not same as a 1911 which is SAO.
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Old September 17, 2013, 12:34 PM   #25
manta49
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Quote:
CZ is normally a DA/SA pistol. There is a good reason to lower the hammer on a live round - to setup for the DA shot. Not same as a 1911 which is SAO.
I was replying to the post below it says (there's never a good reason to drop a hammer on a loaded chamber). I assume that applies to SA-DA or any other action.




Quote:
there's never a reason to drop a hammer on a loaded chamber unless you intent to fire the gun. Rule number three of Coopers safe gun handling
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