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Old September 10, 2000, 02:11 AM   #1
Jamie Young
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Whats the point of having the half cocked feature. I have a Beretta 92fs and a Colt 1991A1. I can see the point in having the beretta half cocked to reduce trigger pull on the first round since it is a double action pistol. Is there another reason for this? I don't understand why you would half cock a 1911 type either?
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Old September 10, 2000, 03:06 AM   #2
jimmy
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IIRC, the original idea of half cock on a semi-auto is to prevent an AD by trapping the hammer at a safe distance from the firing pin, if the thumb slips off and releases the hammer while manually cocking the pistol. IOW, half cock is a safety feature.

The half cock on a Series 80 like the 1991A1 is of course something of a different animal. It still traps the hammer if the hammer slips while being cocked, so it retains its original purpose. But its additional use as a decocking position is unique (in contrast, the hammer on a 1911 other than a Series 80 should not fall from half cock when the trigger is squeezed). To make decocking even safer, the height of the Series 80 half cock is lower than the height of other 1911 half cocks.

AFAIK, on a 92, Beretta doesn't intend the hammer to be placed purposefully in the half cock position to shorten the trigger pull. I think the half cock on a 92 is only meant as a safety feature. Sorry if I'm wrong about this--someone please correct me!

A mystery of the half cock, to me, is why the BHP's manual safety can be applied in this position. A 1911 manual safety will not do this. It's hard for me to conceive of a design quirk in something as well engineered as the BHP. Did FN actually intend for the BHP to be carried at half cock with the safety on???

HTH.



[This message has been edited by jimmy (edited September 10, 2000).]
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Old September 10, 2000, 07:51 AM   #3
Ed Brunner
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jimmy; Good question on the BHP. Maybe one of our resident experts will answer.

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Old September 10, 2000, 10:35 AM   #4
johnwill
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by jimmy:
The half cock on a Series 80 like the 1991A1 is of course something of a different animal. It still traps the hammer if the hammer slips while being cocked, so it retains its original purpose. But its additional use as a decocking position is unique (in contrast, the hammer on a 1911 other than a Series 80 should not fall from half cock when the trigger is squeezed). To make decocking even safer, the height of the Series 80 half cock is lower than the height of other 1911 half cocks.
[/quote]

Why would one be lowering the hammer on a 1911 with a round chambered?
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Old September 10, 2000, 10:44 AM   #5
PreserveFreedom
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Why would one be lowering the hammer on a 1911 with a round chambered?[/quote]
That's how I carry mine.
 
Old September 10, 2000, 11:30 AM   #6
Russell92
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on a beretta 92FS the half cock is called a drop catch notch. if you are cocking the hammer and your finger slips the hammer will not fall on the firing pin but stop at that notch. you are not supposed to carry a beretta in half cock and you should pull the trigger that far, pause and then pull the rest of it; you should pull the trigger evenly all the way back.

Sigs also have a drop catch on them. on sigs they are supposed to always be in half cock though. when you press the decocker on a sig it lowers the hammer to half cock. its less than halfway cocked though since it looks like the hammer is almost on the firing pin but its not. this is just another safety feature for the gun.
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Old September 10, 2000, 12:18 PM   #7
Mike Davies
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Jimmy/Ed:
From "The Browning Hi-Power Pistol" (1966), compiled from technical notes from FN, Her Majesty's War Office (Director of Infantry), and the Browning Arms Co.:
"It is a poor safety practice to carry a loaded pistol with a round in its chamber in the holster, even with the safety catch on, as the safety can work clear. It is equally poor practice to carry a loaded pistol with a round in the chamber and the hammer uncocked, as it can inadvertantly become cocked. If a pistol must be carried with a round in the chamber, put the hammer at half-cock position, and apply the safety catch."
Sounds reasonable to me...&lt;s&gt;
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Old September 10, 2000, 01:40 PM   #8
Ed Brunner
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Mike; Thank you . I knew we would have someone to explain it. I am glad it makes sense to you .

If I were to ponder all of the possibilities I would reject that one for sure.

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Old September 10, 2000, 02:00 PM   #9
Mike Davies
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Ed:
When I mentioned that 'it sounds reasonable', I was referring to FN's, Browning's (and the British Army's) rationale for the ability to engage the thumb safety with the hammer 'half cocked'..I wasn't saying that it made sense to *me*.
The standard, tiny thumb-safety on my 73 BHP is AWFUL..shooting with a high-thumb hold results in the safety notches shredding the inside of my right thumb...nasty.
I'm installing an extended thumb safety ASAFP...that should lift my thumb up and away from the slide.
There was obviously a LOT of paranoia at FN over Condition One.
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Old September 10, 2000, 04:30 PM   #10
Ed2000
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Preserve freedom, it is dangerous to carry a 1911 with a round in the chamber and the hammer down, even at the half cock. It is not supposed to ever be at half cock unless the hammer has fallen from the cocked possition by accident or injury to the hammer/sear engagement.
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Old September 10, 2000, 04:49 PM   #11
Mike Davies
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It seems that carrying a 1911 with a round in the chamber and hammer down was not uncommon in combat...dangerous or not.
That doesn't make it right, obviously, but I would say that this practice is probably used more than is admitted.
Would a Browning HP's hammer strike the firing pin/primer hard enough to fire a round in the chamber from the half-cock postion, dropping under its 'own steam'? I wonder...
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Old September 10, 2000, 05:43 PM   #12
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It is unsafe to carry either, the 1911 or the P-35 Browning with hammer at "half cock." If the piece is dropped from holster or hand in such a way as to land on back of hammer spur, and if the hammer notch or the sear either one breaks, there is plenty of hammer fall to overcome the inertial firing pin and pop the primer.

On the other hand, with the hammer at full cock, the hammer is protected by the grip tang from a blow at an angle that could cause such damage.

Mike Davies writes, <BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>
It seems that carrying a 1911 with a round in the chamber and hammer down was not uncommon in combat...dangerous or not.[/quote]

I think this is for two reasons--One, some people just do not "trust" the mechanical safeth catch, but do trust the need to manually cock the hammer. Second, there are significant numbers of folk who are left handed, or who have suffered damage to right hand or arm, of who may likely not have strong side hand available. Without an ambidextrous safety installed, it is rather easier to thumb cock hammer with left hand than to go through the awkwardness of pressing down the standard catch.

I have used this solution when I felt the need to carry a second 1911 style pistol on left side, and also when I had an injury to right elbow and no other sidearm handy.

Incidentally, IN THEORY, it is safe enough to carry either pistol with hammer all the way down, because the firing pin is shorter than the channel in which it rides. Being smacked by the hammer imparts enough energy to drive it forward, agains the firing pin return spring, to set off the primer. No blow to the hammer spur can do this, however. This said, though, I have HEARD of at least one time this didn't work. Holstered pistol, hammer down, got a glancing blow on the spur which brought hammer back not quite far enough to engage the stop notch, and let it go to fire primer. I wasn't there and didn't see it, but, again, in theory, it could happen. Obviously, in a full flap holster, this would be next to impossible.

With all due respect to HM War Office, the "half cock and on safety" is not particularly safe. It would be safer, especially in a military flap holster, to carry pistol fully cocked with safety OFF, or with hammer all the way down.

US Military manual of the 1911/1911A1 pistol says to carry chamber loaded, hammer cocked, safety on, when action is expected.

Best regards,
Johnny
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Old September 10, 2000, 10:35 PM   #13
Jamie Young
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Ok guys Now I understand it. I understand what the half cock thing is for. I tried to manual cock both guns and right before it was fully cocked I let go and they both fell into the half cocked position. They didn't strike the firing pin.
Thanks Guys I'm new to all this stuff. I'm 25 and I never owned a handgun until about a year ago. Its all new to me.
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Old September 11, 2000, 09:46 AM   #14
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Ok,
I own a 1911a1 Remington Rand, after seeing the internals and checking the safeties I think I would rather carry the gun at half-cock with a round Chambered. The reason for this is the aforementioned Inertia to activate the Primer.

At half cock there shouldn't be enough force to fire the pistol "if" the sear fails, if the pistol Hammer is fully down and resting on the Firing Pin the danger due to dropping the pistol is much higher then if the pistol was halfcocked.

Granted we shouldn't be dropping our guns and the advantage of halfcock is it locks the trigger and safties. I also agree that at full cock and Properly Holstered that the pistol is just as safe as at halfcock, we are again depending on the sear to hold the Hammer back.

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Old September 11, 2000, 05:22 PM   #15
johnwill
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by PreserveFreedom:

Why would one be lowering the hammer on a 1911 with a round chambered?

That's how I carry mine.[/quote]

Same question, why? It seems to me carrying the 1911 hammer down is doing it the hard way. Not only do you risk an AD lowering the hammer, it's also slower to get into the fight if you ever need the gun. If you happen to drop the gun on the hammer, it's possible, though I admit unlikely, to cause an AD. If you really feel uncomfortable carrying the 1911 C&L, perhaps you should consider a DA handgun.

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