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Old January 28, 2000, 10:23 AM   #1
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I've been tempted to pick up a 1911 for range/IDPA/concealed carry. I'm naturally safety conscious and would prefer a firing pin safety a la Series 80. However, I can't bring myself to put money into the pocket of Kolt (the Klinton era bastardization of Sam Colt's formerly fine company). So, what is the consensus on the safeties?
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Old January 28, 2000, 10:28 AM   #2
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I've owned about a dozen or so 1911 type pistols over the years. None have had the series 80 parts except for the Para P13 Limited I bought about 2 months ago - and its for sale (not because of the firing pin safety, though).

I don't see the need for the FP safety but its just a personal preference of mine. YMMV.

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Old January 28, 2000, 10:33 AM   #3
James K
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The Model 1911/A1 and MOST of the clones have what is called an inertia firing pin. That is, with the hammer down, the front of the firing pin does not touch the primer of a round that is in the chamber. Only when the hammer strikes the firing pin a hard blow does it go forward to fire the cartridge. Thus, either hammer down or "cocked and locked" will normally be safe.

But in very rare cases in which the gun was dropped several feet and landed on the muzzle, the firing pin moved forward hard enough to fire a chambered round. This is extremely rare, but in today's lawyer-ridden society Colt wanted to take no chances, and developed a means of preventing even this rare accidental firing. It is not exclusive to Colt, several other companies, (ex.: Para-Ordnance, Llama) have similar setups.

There is little interference with operation of the gun, and there is a very slight increase in peace of mind for those who go throwing their pistols against brick walls or dropping them off balconies.

I would not make either the presence or absence of the firing pin safety a point of decision in gun purchase, but I would not remove it if it is present.

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Old January 29, 2000, 01:19 PM   #4
7th Fleet
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A pre Series 80 Colt without the firing pin block, will if in condition 3, loaded chamber, with the thumb safety on will if dropped onto a hard surface, muzzle down from a height of 3 ft or over, sometimes fire one round straight down into whatever it struck. I also have a Para Ordnance P-13 and I am thinking about geting rid of it also. I have had jamming problems with it and no longer trust it or carry it on duty. It has been retired in favor of a Glock 21 .45acp. I have a Colt Series 80 stainless Combat Commander that is extremely reliable and accurate, that I sometimes carry on/off duty. But nowadays its usually the Glock that gets taken to the dance and the rest are wall flowers and reside in the gun vault.

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[This message has been edited by 7th Fleet (edited January 29, 2000).]
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Old January 29, 2000, 02:19 PM   #5
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I have no problem with 1911 that have no firing pin safety. Some people believe that a pre-Series '80 1911 can fire if dropped on the muzzle from heights of anywhere from 3 ft up, depending on who you ask. I seem to recall Col Cooper estimating the height at 18'.

I DO have a problem with the Series '80 type firing pin 'safety.' It adds parts to the pistol, which means that there are more things that can go wrong. It also makes the pistol more complicated to detail strip. But most of all, it can fail, locking the pistol up so that it can't fire. Some years ago, a friend of mine bought a new stainless Colt Officer's ACP, and since a Dept qualification was coming up, carried the piece off duty and waited for the scheduled qualification to try the pistol. The first time he tried it, on the signal he presented and tried to fire, but the guns just went 'click.' He executed a 'Tap-Rack-Bang' immediate action drill, and it happened again. After several more tries, he cleared the pistol, stepped off the line, and field-stripped it. Turns out that the lever which rotates out of the frame to push up the firing pin lock was bent. Sorta reminds us why we test fire any handgun BEFORE carrying on duty, doesn't it?

Those who like the Series '80 safety can have it. I prefer my 1911 without it.

Just my $.02.
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Old January 29, 2000, 03:28 PM   #6
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KSLawman: I've been a follower of Col. Cooper for many years but don't buy everything he says. I justed posted something on this on another thread. One of our Army guys mishandled a 45 auto at a gun show, dropped it muzzle down and BOOM! I was there but didn't see it. I understand that the gun was cocked and locked. The unanswered questions are why, of all people, a military type would be carrying cocked & locked since they are trained otherwise... and carrying a loaded gun in a gunshow?

Theoretically, I believe a contributing factor to this type of AD could be a WEAK FIRING PIN SPRING. There may be significant variation in spring weights even in new guns.
Combine that with carelessness and you got a possible AD! (Note, at least 1 after-market supplier automatically includes a firing pin spring with every order for 1911 type guns.)

I carried my old Series 70 Combat Commander in the cocked & locked mode for over 20 years without a problem. However, only recently I've started carrying a SIG P239 DA/SA, since I've lost a lot of my speed and coordination with age, and cocked & locked requires a lot of both.

Always over allow on safety!

[This message has been edited by AUTiger73 (edited January 29, 2000).]
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Old January 29, 2000, 10:24 PM   #7
Hard Ball
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No. It's an unneccesary complication developed by lawyers not emgineers. Every change Colt has made to John Browning's original 1911A1 design has made the pistol worse. not better!
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Old January 29, 2000, 10:28 PM   #8
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Any real need for a firing pin safety in a 1911?
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Old January 29, 2000, 11:14 PM   #9
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I have guns with and without the firing pin safety, really makes no matter to me.
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