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Old October 28, 2013, 05:20 AM   #1
RX-79G
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Hammer down .25 mouse guns?

I think I'd like to get a super small carry gun, and I'd prefer to have a single action trigger with a hammer so it can be carried Condition 2. This appeals because the gun is basically completely inert - no internal sear failure or pocket change is going to set it off.

That said, the only gun I have found of this type is the Beretta 950 Jetfire. It was designed to be carried with a round in the chamber and the hammer down on its inertial firing pin. Great little pistol, but it isn't really all that little compared to other .25s. It looks like the grip is pretty long and a bit wide (but I could be wrong about that).

I currently own an Astra Cub in .22 Short. That would be perfect, size wise, but the firing pin is full length, so it can't be carried hammer down on a loaded chamber. I don't know whether the .25 Cub/Colt Junior had a different set up - they both use a firing pin spring, so they could have made it inertial for the .25 version. It does appear that the retaining pin notch is longer in the .25 pin, as if it could travel further.

Anyway, does anyone know of a small .25 that had a hammer and inertial firing pin other than the Jetfire? I assume it will be something long out of production.

If you have a .25 Colt Junior or Astra Cub and don't know the answer, please take the slide off and push the back of the firing pin flush to its hole in the back of the slide. If it sticks out into the chamber, that means it is not an inertial type and is full length.


FYI, I'm not a noob to this kind of thing, just to this forum. I realize the limits of this type of carry, caliber, the dangers inherent in lowering the hammer, etc. Having been around the block, I'm not really convinced that carrying a pocket .32 with a 5 pound DAO trigger is necessarily a smart move.


Thanks!!!!
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Old October 28, 2013, 05:28 AM   #2
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As soon as I posted this I found this Colt manual:
http://stevespages.com/pdf/colt_junior.pdf

It mentions a Colt "upgrade" to an inertial firing pin on the .25 model. Anyone know about that upgrade in terms of what they modified? Was it just the pin and spring, or did they have to modify the slide to accept it. Numrich has two Cub firing pins - presumably one is the inertial, the other full length.

Still want to hear about other options, though.
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Old October 28, 2013, 09:12 AM   #3
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"If you have a .25 Colt Junior or Astra Cub... please take the slide off and push the back of the firing pin flush to its hole in the back of the slide. If it sticks out into the chamber, that means it is not an inertial type and is full length." [RX-79G]

Just checked my 'Colt Automatic Caliber .25 Hartford. CT. U.S.A.' Serial #0D103XXX

The spring tensioned firing pin does not stick out into the chamber.

The three page manual lists three "SAFETY DEVICES" 1. The Thumb Safety 2. The Magazine Safety, and 3. "The visible hammer... You can tell at a glance whether or not the pistol is cocked."

I carry it loaded chamber with hammer at partial cock position. There is no mention of the partial cock hammer position in the manual.
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Old October 28, 2013, 11:29 AM   #4
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Try the Beretta Jetfire .25.
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Old October 28, 2013, 01:11 PM   #5
Bill DeShivs
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The Astra Cub firing pin can be modified to inertial status easily.
The Beretta 950 is almost exactly the same size as your Astra, but much lighter.
If you pocket carry any gun, never carry anything else in the pocket with the gun.
The half-cock notch is not a very safe way to carry, but it is the only option if the firing pin is not inertial.
I have carried both of the guns mentioned (and dozens more.)
I carry a D/A .32 in my pocket now. It is as safe or safer than the single action guns.
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Old October 28, 2013, 01:31 PM   #6
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Seaman,
To echo what Bill said, half cock is super dangerous for carry. If the gun falls on a half cocked hammer it will break the sear and slam into the firing pin, firing the gun.

Full length pin guns are carried Condition 1 or 3.


Bill, thanks for the info on the Jetfire's size.
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Old October 28, 2013, 06:03 PM   #7
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The Jetfire's grip is slightly longer than the Cub, but the weight difference makes it easier to carry.
You really should look into a Keltec P32.
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Old October 28, 2013, 06:16 PM   #8
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"To echo what Bill said, half cock is super dangerous for carry. If the gun falls on a half cocked hammer it will break the sear and slam into the firing pin, firing the gun." [RX-79G]

Thanks for the heads-up on that. Have always pocket carried it that way. What's the purpose of the half-cock position? No mention in the manual. My only other option is to carry hot chamber with safety up, which inspires little confidence, as the safety is not a positive lock like a 1911.
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Old October 28, 2013, 06:39 PM   #9
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Half cocks are there to guard against internal failures and manual cocking that fails to go far enough back. In other words, the half cock catches the hammer if the sear somehow fails to keep it at full cock due to breakage or fumbling.

This shouldn't be confused with guns like Sigs that have a hammer intercept. This stops the hammer short of full down for some guns with (frame) decockers, but this feature is always used in conjunction with a passive firing pin block, so it doesn't matter if the hammer is smashed into the FP.

Colt had a 'recall' where they would convert your Junior to an inertial firing pin. Numrich arms also has two different firing pins for this model, should Colt no longer honor that recall, and one of them is probably the short one.

If you don't want to fix the firing pin, I would carry with the chamber empty. If I can't find a pistol I want to carry chamber loaded, I'll also be carrying a .25 Baby with an empty chamber.


Hey Bill,

Thanks. The Keltec doesn't really fit the bill because I'm not going to put a gun with a 5 lbs. trigger anywhere but a secure holster, which then has to go on a belt or be big enough to stick in the pocket when I draw. At that point the size advantage of the P32 is eaten up by all the stuff I had to do to make it safe. At least a Seecamp has a reasonable 12 pound trigger.
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Old October 28, 2013, 07:27 PM   #10
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"Colt had a 'recall' where they would convert your Junior to an inertial firing pin." [RX-79G]


I think it is an inertial f.p. It is held in place by a spring. When pushed from behind It does not protrude thru the chamber f.p. hole unlike my M1908 Steyr which does protrude, but that one is stictly a collectible (not for carry).

One of the best SA 25s is the Walther M7, but my hand is a tad large for it, still a fun little tack driver.

Would not carry any handgun cold chamber, who wants to rack a slide with a perp in your face. In half-cock, the action locks up nicely and also allows for an easier hammer pull. Perhaps I need to re-think carrying with the safety on (up).

My other 25 cal carry is a DA/SA ERMA / Iver Johnson TP 25, which is a dead ringer for a PPK. With its longer 3" barrel, it cuts deeper. But the frame is alloy so part of the feed ramp is alloy and part is steel, (attached to) the barrel. Tho there are only about 50 rounds thru it, the alloy part of the feed ramp is already dinged up... not sure whether to try to micro-weld it smooth or epoxy it or ???

The PPK was originally intended to be a hammer pull 1st SA shot, DA trigger to be used only in an emergency.

BTW... welcome aboard!
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Old October 28, 2013, 09:47 PM   #11
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The IJ .25's alloy is zinc. Don't get heat anywhere near it. It's best left alone.
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Old October 28, 2013, 10:43 PM   #12
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If you are gonna go through the trouble of thumb cocking it anyway, could you live with just chambering a round? If so, you can get really tiny. Like a Baby Browning or its stainless clone, a Bauer. I have one of each, they run great and they are truly tiny. Just a thought.
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Old October 28, 2013, 10:53 PM   #13
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Hey Sgt,

As I said earlier, I have a Baby and may settle for it. But I do think you give up something important when you can't draw and fire with one hand. I just don't want to go the other way and get a pocket gun that has to be handled like a match pistol.
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Old October 29, 2013, 11:29 AM   #14
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"If you are gonna go through the trouble of thumb cocking it anyway, could you live with just chambering a round?" [Sgt127]

Years ago got lost in a rainstorm and stopped for help. Things slowly went south. Was pocket carrying a 32ACP Walther M4, cold chamber (empty chamber - condition 3). A terrific little shooter. This gun had always functioned perfectly. Drew the M4, racked the slide, and to my surprise, the first round did not chamber, it stove-piped, jamming the gun. I was in a pickle.

So I really prefer having one in the pipe, that way I at least get one shot. The Colt Automatic has an exposed hammer, which when in the half-cock position can easily be thumbed and fired one-handed quick.

"... half cock is super dangerous for carry. If the gun falls on a half cocked hammer it will break the sear and slam into the firing pin, firing the gun." [RX-79G]

Are you sure about that? The half-cock position is more like quarter-cock, meaning the hammer does not come back very far at all... just enough to clear the frame so that it can be thumbed back easily for action. To break the sear with enough force to slam-fire the primer would take a long drop, like 12 or more feet, I'm thinking. Also S&B 25 cal ammo has hard primers.
Otherwise, the only option is carry it C&L with the thumb safety up.

" " Your Colt Automatic incorporates several positive safety devices which if properly employed will eliminate the danger of accidental firing. ... When the thumb safety is in the "safe" position with the letter "S" showing, the action of the pistol is literally frozen and it cannot be fired."" [COLT AUTOMATIC CALIBER .25, page 3]

My preference is to carry the little Colt and ERMA/IJ/PPK condition 2, till I can figure a better way, today I carried the Colt in condition 1, but in a small Galco IWB... I normally carry it in a pocket.

Maybe I should do some drop tests with a primer case (no powder and no bullet).
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Old October 29, 2013, 03:14 PM   #15
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I would prefer not to carry chamber empty or hammer down. Both are slow and fumble prone under stress. Nor do I want a Cocked and locked pocket pistol...

So, all my pocket guns are DAO or DA/SA.

Hard to find, but, I would love to get an old Seecamp .25. Small, stainless, DA. Win.

I think the hammer down would be my next choice, so, I can appreciate you trying to find one. Good luck.
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Old October 29, 2013, 04:28 PM   #16
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Seaman,

The gist of the problem is the sear. Most sears are thin and very hard, making them relatively brittle. When a pistol with an exposed hammer hits concrete with the hammer striking first and the whole weight of the gun driving it, the sear is the only thing keeping it from the firing pin. It just doesn't take that much force to shatter a tiny, brittle piece of steel like the sear, or sheering off the half cock hook on the similarly hard hammer.

When the hammer is full down and the firing pin spring already compressed, there is no way for inertia to be transferred from the struck hammer to the firing pin, so it doesn't move. On top of that, if the gun fell hammer down (muzzle up), the firing pin's inertia is pointed away from the primer. The gun will bounce, but the whole gun bounces together; hammer, firing pin and slide; without any one of those parts moving in respect to the rest.

This isn't a new concept - it's the reason every SAA was carried with an empty chamber for the last century and a half. Half cock is not safe on delicate handgun sears - especially tiny pocket guns.


In the case of a fully cocked hammer, it is difficult for the gun to hit the ground in such a way that the hammer could be driven toward the firing pin because of the angle and the protection of the "beavertail". And even if it did fail, what's left of the sear is still likely enough to catch in the half cock, preventing the gun from firing.

You can certainly test this if you want - but that involves trying to break the sear or hammer by smashing your blank loaded pistol against concrete. Why would you do that when over a century of experience says "don't carry pistols at half cock"? If you drop your half cocked gun with live ammo, there is a very good chance that it will go off with the muzzle pointed at you or an innocent. I'd wager there's a much greater chance of being involved in an accidental discharge than a defensive shooting, so why take such a large risk just to be able to cock the gun easier?


Hey Sgt,

I agree that SA Condition 2 is better than 3, but still a real compromise. But I think carrying a gun is a huge compromise. People screw up with carry guns all the time, which is why I've come to think that a hammer down SA, like the Jetfire, is about the most inert gun I can carry that can still be fired with one hand. An ND is just not an acceptable risk.
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Old October 29, 2013, 05:21 PM   #17
Bill DeShivs
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The half cock notch on some of these little pistols is very deep and was actually meant as a carry position for some of the guns with non-inertial firing pins. As I said earlier- most of these can be easily converted to inertial firing pins, eliminating the need to carry on hald cock.
The Seecamp .25 is the exact same size as the Seecamp .32 & .380.
The new D/A pocket pistols are very safe for pocket carry.
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Old October 29, 2013, 05:39 PM   #18
RX-79G
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Bill,

Do you know how to tell which pistols have the carry half cocks you mention vs. the other type? It doesn't seem like something worth guessing at.
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Old October 30, 2013, 03:27 PM   #19
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Jetfires are not made for half cock carry. They have inertial pins, which exist solely to allow safe hammer down carry. Half cock, for all the reasons previously explained, is extremely dangerous with the Jetfire and most other pistols.

Bill was saying that there are some guns that have special reinforced half cocks BECAUSE they don't use inertial firing pins. I've never heard of that, but it is possible. However, what someone in 1930 thought was drop safe strong may be wishful thinking.

On the subject of wishful thinking, a pistol is a triangle formed by the muzzle, butt and hammer spur. If dropped it will likely strike either of the two sides or three corners. That's more like a 1 in 5 chance, not 1 in 10,000.

Unless you know specifically that your pistol is designed for half cock carry (which is quite rare), it is ignorant and negligent to carry a pistol like that. Really dangerous.
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Old October 30, 2013, 09:19 PM   #20
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Please note that I've rescinded my prior post. I had misinterpreted an old article and fundamentally misunderstood the purpose and mechanism behind the 950 half-cock notch. Now that I understand things correctly, I realize that hammer-down IS safer.

BTW I've never carried a 950 Jetfire.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...
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