1911A1 Hammer down, round chambered question.


April 1, 2003, 04:45 AM
I have several favorite self defense weapons, two I use are a Springfield Armory Milspec 1911A1 and a Browning Hi Power.

I use the Springfield Armory .45 most of the time. When I sleep it is kept in a shelf of a small table near my bed, to use it I only have to reach a few inches and pick it up.

The question is on keeping the hammer down with a round chambered. I know I could use the gun cocked and locked, I may do that in the future. However, is there a problem associated with hammer down and a round chambered?

This Springfield Armory .45 has a lightweight titanium firing pin and in my opinion would make it very difficult to have a kaboom if the gun were dropped with the hammer down. Also, I have considered keeping the gun at the ready on half cock. Any opinions on that too would be appreciated.

I know both the 1911A1 and the Hi Power are considered to be safe cocked and locked but, I do not feel completly comfortable with that concept without further information.


If you enjoyed reading about "1911A1 Hammer down, round chambered question." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
April 1, 2003, 05:19 AM
The hammer down on a round presents the problem of dropping it on the hammer though I don't see too much problem in your usage. Half cock should not be used since that is only designed for catching the hammer if your thumb slips on cocking - it is not designed for anything else.

Double Naught Spy
April 1, 2003, 08:43 AM
You know, there are two ways to carry or store a loaded 1911 in an unsafe manner. One is with a round in th chamber and the hammer down and the other is cocked and unlocked. The alternatives are either to not have a round in the chamber and have the hammer down or to do it cocked and locked.

April 1, 2003, 08:48 AM
Round in the chamber, hammer down is a super bad way to leave a non series 80 1911.

April 1, 2003, 09:01 AM
Giant: I think you are putting yourself in a lot more danger decocking a 1911 over a loaded chamber than just leaving it cocked and the safety on. If you don't like condition 1, then leave the chamber empty.

April 1, 2003, 10:55 AM
This has been well covered:


There is no additional impact risk hammer down, this is a bit of a myth.

As pointed out, the main risk in doing this is loosing control of the hammer while lowering it. This is mainly a problem if you do it like a cowboy, with the firing hand.

If you want to safely lower the hammer on any gun, use the off hand. Place the index finger in front of the hammer and use the thumb to control. Lower the hammer until you must squeeze the index finger out. Once the hammer is past half cock, it's almost impossible for the hammer to hit the firing pin hard enough for ignition.

All that being said, there is little reason to carry like this. But the "inherent danger" in having the hammer down has been greatly exaggerated.

April 1, 2003, 11:09 AM
I carry hammer down all the time and have yet to have an AD....I also don't intend to drop my 1911 on the hammer......what are the odds, it would hit on the hammer anyway and go off.???

April 1, 2003, 11:12 AM

As demonstrated in the above thread, a hammer down drop is even less likely to cause ignition than a muzzle drop (which is darn difficult).

April 1, 2003, 12:32 PM
Does anyone know if someone does a conversion on the 1911 that allows carry similar to the Hi-Power "Fast Action" (hammer locked down on a chambered round, but re-cocks when you take the safety off)? Something like that sounds it would fit this fellow's bill.

April 1, 2003, 12:45 PM
SDC: I'd argue that if that is what he wants, there are plenty of good DA semiautos around, e.g., Sig, Smith & Wesson third generation, HK USP, Beretta, etc.

What is wrong with just leaving the gun condition 1?

April 1, 2003, 12:49 PM
Conditions 1 or 3 are best. Condition 2 poses the risk others have mentioned of decocking on a loaded chamber. Condition 2 was popular in the old days in combat conditions, but that's a whole different set of circumstances. And never use half-cock as a ready position. Here's something else to think about when keeping a 1911 as a nightstand gun. When you are rudely awakened from a sound sleep, how effective are you physically and mentally in the next 10 seconds? Do you trust yourself sufficiently to operate a gun in Condition 1? Do you drink, even a couple of beers? If there is any doubt whatsoever, Condition 3 may be your best bet. Grabbing a gun out of a sound sleep is not the same as drawing from a holster when fully awake. Think about it.

April 1, 2003, 12:50 PM
Nothing at all :) I'm happy with a Glock that way, but if cocked and locked makes this guy uncomfortable, he should try to find something that makes him comfortable, right?

April 1, 2003, 01:15 PM
"The question is on keeping the hammer down with a round chambered. I know I could use the gun cocked and locked, I may do that in the future. However, is there a problem associated with hammer down and a round chambered?"

No, it's not a problem. The hammer rests on the frame in that condition, so even if you rap on the hammer, it doesn't move or impart inertia to the firing pin.

The only nasty part is that getting it into that condition requires lowering the hammer manually on a live round which is always dangerous.

April 1, 2003, 02:16 PM
Thanks to all for your reply, also thanks for the link for prior discussion of the question on THR. All information provided is very much appreciated.

As to the reply on a possible decocker conversion for the 1911A1, yes there is a conversion available that would allow the 1911A1 to operate like the Para Ordance LDA.

I am not a panic sleeper, I subscribe to numbers 1 - 4 of firearm safety. Identify your target and what is beyond target before firing. I think firing only if necessary would also apply.

Again, thanks to all for their good response to the question.


April 1, 2003, 02:50 PM
Cocked & Locked looks SCARY!
But it really isn't.
The best tutorial I have read on it is at "The Sight".

From Main Menu:
click left sidebar: Care & Use
click: Conditions
at bottom click: "Is Cocked and Locked Dangerous?"


Conditions (http://www.sightm1911.com/Care/1911_conditions.htm)
Is Cocked and Locked Dangerous (http://www.sightm1911.com/lib/tech/cockedandlocked.htm)

I think you will find that Cocked & Locked is the way to go. It is really the safest way. It's hard for some people to get over that "Cocked Gun" look. It goes against everything we've been taught growing up, especially if you grew up around wheel guns only. But once you read about it and start doing it the novelty wears off and after a while you will feel better about it !

Proud Sistema Colt 1911-A1 owner!

Jesse H
April 1, 2003, 02:50 PM
Another thing that might be worth mentioning is gross vs fine motor skills.

I can rack the slide in a quick, easy, motion without too much thought or worry. It requies tad more concentration to thumb back the hammer and feels more awkward.

Sean Smith
April 1, 2003, 03:50 PM
Man, people sure are timid. That hammer back is scaaaaary stuff, man... what kind of crazy maniac carries a gun that way?!? ;)

April 1, 2003, 05:21 PM
I agree Sean. It's also really shocking how scary lowering a hammer is.

In response to SDC's question, Cylinder and Slide sell the SFS developed for the BHP for the 1911. The hammer is down, the trigger inert and what was the safety now cocks the hammer.

This system may be a tad internally safer than regular old cond. 1, but it's essentially the same thing dressed up different.

April 2, 2003, 01:44 AM
Sean Smith:
Some people probably just grew up with wheel guns. It takes a day to get used to doing something that people have told you not to do your whole life. Thats all.

If you enjoyed reading about "1911A1 Hammer down, round chambered question." here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!