Carrying Single Action with Hammer Down


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Drakejake
April 6, 2003, 10:36 AM
I have a Star PD .45, a single action pistol with a strong manual safety. The safety can be applied with the hammer down or cocked. There is also a half-cock position. The safety cannot be applied with the hammer at half-cock. What about carrying this pistol with a round in the chamber, the hammer down, and the safety on? The gun cannot fire in this position. To fire the pistol one would have to drop the safety, cock the hammer, and pull the trigger. The advantage of this form of carrying is that the pistol is perfectly safe even though there is a round in the chamber, one doesn't lose a round by leaving the chamber empty, there is no hammer sticking out, and the hammer spring isn't under stress all the time. The disadvantages: you must manually decock the pistol with a round in the chamber (chance of AD) and the hammer must be manually cocked before the pistol can be fired (slows getting the first round off).

Related question for those of you who carry a single action. Do you leave the pistol cocked and locked for days at a time, or do you unlaod the pistol every night?

Thanks,

Drakejake

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Edward429451
April 6, 2003, 10:51 AM
Related question for those of you who carry a single action. Do you leave the pistol cocked and locked for days at a time, or do you unlaod the pistol every night?

My SA 1911 has been cocked & locked for the better part of 18 years. Only really decock it for cleaning and such, then it get reloaded and C&L. I most certainly do not decock it at night.

jem375
April 6, 2003, 11:31 AM
Carry it hammer down and forget about it........I carry mine hammer down all the time, and have yet to drop it on the hammer and have it go off period......the only reason the LEO's carried it that way was so they did not have to thumb back the hammer in a confrontation........this was brought up on another website and after a few arguments and articles, most of the guys carried it hammer down after that...........

Drakejake
April 6, 2003, 11:36 AM
Was that other site Firing Line?

jem375
April 6, 2003, 11:41 AM
Actually I just looked it up.......this website April 1st......there are pros and cons about carrying in the cocked and locked condition, most of the worry was dropping the hammer when cocked and accidentally shooting the pistol, and the other was cocking the hammer in a hurry........

Al Thompson
April 6, 2003, 02:03 PM
IMHO, the issue isn't safe or unsafe carrying, it's pulling the trigger to lower the hammer. One slip and you'll have a loud noise and a hole in something .

Sean Smith
April 6, 2003, 02:24 PM
If you can't cope with carrying a single-action gun in a way that makes it actually useful in a fight (cocked & locked), then get rid of it and get a system that you feel comfortable using to its full potential. Meanwhile, people who have DA semi-autos always seem to be cocking the things, so they don't have to shoot the double-action gun they bought in... double-action mode...

http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=16677

:rolleyes:

Rather than coming up with daft ways to use a perfectly good weapon, how about people get a weapon that is meant to work the way they want to use it? Maybe if the people in the "I want to cock my DA gun all the time" crowd swapped guns with the "I don't want to cock my SA gun" crowd, everyone would be happier? ;)

Drakejake
April 6, 2003, 04:11 PM
Sean, see my advice and comments in message in the thread on cocking the D.A. hammer in defensive situations. You may want to consider the possibility there are several reasonable viewpoints on some gun issues and that it may be useful to discuss the options.

Drakejake

Handy
April 6, 2003, 04:20 PM
If you can't safely use the other hand to lower a hammer safely, keep away from guns. It is not that tough.

Gerald McDonald
April 6, 2003, 04:25 PM
I have no problem with cocked and locked. It stays that way until its cleaned or rotated out of use (I switch between an HP and a Kimber) and put back in the safe. Dont really notice the hammer sticking out anymore than the beavertail does. I really consider it safer to cock and lock than to try to cock the hammer if the poop were to hit the fan. Probably wouldnt be a problem if you were willing to train that way but I dont, so cock and lock for me.
Gerald

gremlin
April 6, 2003, 08:12 PM
I'm afraid I sit squarely in the "if you aren't capable of safely lowering the hammer on a live round then you really shouldn't be carrying a handgun" crowd.

As for carrying a 1911 with the trigger down, I do it frequently. The reason I choose to carry that way is impacted by the terrain. When I'm carrying a 1911 or a CZ-75B in the woods or out hiking, I'm fearful for my footing and that I could disengage the safety accidentally without being aware of it.

It's just me being overly cautious, I'm sure. In thirty years of hiking and hunting, however, I have fallen or slipped or done something akward crossing a fence line about a thousand times.

In thirty years of hiking and hunting, I have yet to be encountered by a coyote or fox or whatever that didn't afford me time to pull the hammer back--threats don't seem to be that imminent in the woods...

Al Thompson
April 6, 2003, 08:27 PM
Hmmm.... Maybe it's just the instructor in me, but advising someone to violate a cardinal safety rule goes against my grain.

Fine by me if you want to do it, but certainly not a great idea. Which other safety rules should we ignore? :confused:

Handy
April 6, 2003, 09:50 PM
Al, should all revolvers be discarded since they can't possibly meet your safety criteria? How do you recommend carrying a 30-30 on the hunt?

What rule are we violating, anyway? No one is suggesting doing this with the gun pointed at the kids. I wouldn't use a Sig decocker unless there is a safe direction to point the weapon at, as well.

And I'm not being cavalier about this. There is a right way and a wrong way to lower the hammer on all firearms. A 1911 is not unique. There is a safe procedure, and if it is followed there will be no accident. That is true of any firearms handling method, just like cocked and locked carry.

Al Thompson
April 6, 2003, 10:35 PM
Jeff Cooper's Rules of Gun Safety

RULE I: ALL GUNS ARE ALWAYS LOADED

RULE II: NEVER LET THE MUZZLE COVER ANYTHING YOU ARE NOT WILLING TO DESTROY

RULE III: KEEP YOUR FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER UNTIL YOUR SIGHTS ARE ON THE TARGET

RULE IV: BE SURE OF YOUR TARGET


Looks like a clear violation of rule III to me. Why drop the hammer on a loaded round when you have a safety?

As regards the .30-30 - either engage the safety or drop the hammer to half cock with your weak side thumb between the hammer and firing pin.

And yes, I know that jillons were made with no safety. So what - my first car didn't have a shoulder belt either. I haven't removed the ones in my current vehicle out either.

Handy
April 6, 2003, 10:47 PM
weak side thumb between the hammer and firing pin.

This is exactly what I advocate, and what the CZ manual says to do.


Don't you think Rule 3 is about shooting, not carry prep? Glock takedown also violates this rule. Or can we just look at the sights while we do it?

Vern Humphrey
April 6, 2003, 11:32 PM
The M1911 was designed in the days when horse cavalry was a serious combat arm, and the pistol was a serious combat weapon.

Now, what do you after a pistol attack, when your horse is excited and possibly wounded and in pain? Do you clear a cocked and loaded pistol one-handed while trying to control the horse with the other? Do you lower the hammer one-handed?

No, you put the safety on and holster the pistol, and get the horse under control.

I designed an IWB holster that keeps the safety on when the pistol is holstered. Go to http://paul.desertskyone.com/gunstuff.html and look for instructions for making my holster about 2/3s of the way down the page.

Handy
April 6, 2003, 11:38 PM
You're right Vern. I think we're talking about the normal, stress free prep for carry, rather than decocking in a tight spot.

Gerald McDonald
April 6, 2003, 11:51 PM
When I need to decock its pretty simply. Drop the mag, slide the safety off, rack the slide to remove the live round, decock on an empty chamber. I really see no reason to decock on a loaded chamber when I have a safety. In years of carry I have never had a safety move to off.
Gerald
I edited this to add the only way I would carry hammer down would probably be on an empty chamber. If you train that way it would be as easy as cocking the hammer.

samualt
April 7, 2003, 12:13 AM
I think Vern Humphrey has nailed it on the head. The most imortant thing is to first get your horse under control. :D

The 1911 was designed to operate and be handled a certain way. I will use it the way it was intended with it cocked-n-locked. It is the safest method. The only reason someone wouldn't use it that way is if they are simply scared of the way it looks in that mode. Carry it a few days cocked-n-locked and that fades away.

jem375
April 7, 2003, 12:31 PM
I will still carry mine with the hammer down.......after many years of carrying it that way in the woods and etc, I still haven't shot myself and don't intend to........many demos show that you can hit the 1911 hammer in a vise with a big hammer and it still won't go off.............I would like to see the report of a 1911 dropped and it went off with the hammer down..........

MoNsTeR
April 7, 2003, 01:17 PM
The 1911 was designed to operate and be handled a certain way. I will use it the way it was intended with it cocked-n-locked.
Except it wasn't designed to be carried C'n'L. See here:
http://thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=13300&highlight=1911
I'm not saying it's not safe, I feel rather comfortable with it in fact. But "it was designed that way" isn't a valid reason.

Cthulhu
April 7, 2003, 01:38 PM
Jem375, Handy, other condition 2 carriers,


Instead of shooting down condition 1 advocates with off the cuff reasoning, enlighten us with the reason you do choose to carry condition 2.
Please think carefully and logically before you respond.


I will still carry mine with the hammer down.......after many years of carrying it that way in the woods and etc, I still haven't shot myself and don't intend to

Is neither valid or emotionally convincing.

Handy
April 7, 2003, 04:40 PM
Cthulhu,

Luckily, my posts are rarely emotional and almost always logical. :)

Why do I advocate Cond. 2? Largely because that is the safest and simplest way to carry a CZ-75 and any DA auto. I have never advocated it for 1911s, but I have always maintained (against sometimes emotional and illogical arguments) that there is nothing UNSAFE about it. Choose it if you want.

It is exactly the same safety procedure one uses with many other hammer fired pistols, like the CZ-75, or a lever rifle, or a revolver. If one uses the correct off-hand technique, lowering the hammer is NOT an unsafe procedure.

What I advocate: People choosing a carry technique based on fact, not bugaboo. IF I carried a 1911 (which I see no reason to) I would carry it Cond. 1, if I could.

But, if I was given a SA auto to carry, but was not allowed to carry it Cond. 1, I would use Cond. 2, because it is still a better one-handed method than Cond. 3.

This is not an argument for arguments sake. The specific safety facts related to Cond. 2 carry always get greatly exagerrated when 1911s are mentioned. This is a normal carry method for a host of weapons that do not have decocking levers. There is nothing special about the 1911 that requires such offense when lowering the hammer is mentioned.

Vern Humphrey
April 7, 2003, 04:49 PM
"Except it wasn't designed to be carried C'n'L. See here:
http://thehighroad.org/showthread.p...&highlight=1911
I'm not saying it's not safe, I feel rather comfortable with it in fact. But "it was designed that way" isn't a valid reason."

Nothing in this post says it wasn't designed for cocked and locked carry. Army doctrine was that weapons are carried UNloaded most of the time -- an officer or NCO would give the order to load.

However, once loaded, the pistol was carried cocked and locked. Manually de-cocking on horseback, even if you're NOT in combat, is dangerous -- the horse has to cooperate fully!!

The statement about the pistol being carried cocked and locked "briefly" is correct -- that is, it was carried that way when loaded, which was not the usual mode of carry.

Handy
April 7, 2003, 04:59 PM
Vern,

Where are you getting that? Further in that thread someone even posts an army manual that seems to state how to carry cond. 2.

I've always felt that the Cavalry, transitioning from cocking SA revolvers, probably would have felt pretty comfortable with the notion of cocking their new SA autos. And Cond. 3 seems a bizarre practice for those trying to control a horse. So why does it have an inertial firing pin if the hammer would not be lowered?


(This really is immaterial to this argument. But it is funny to see the enormous variation in what people believe those Cavalry folks were thinking 92 years ago.)

pale horse
April 7, 2003, 05:11 PM
This topic rears it ugly head every few months just like the 9mm vs the 45acp. In both cases the bottom line is this CARRY WHAT YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH AND CARRY IT THE WAY YOU TRAIN TO USE IT. Nothing more or less. Its getting tired and worn out debating these same topics that come up and end in the same way. If you really dont want to carry it cocked and locked DONT. However if it is faster for you to carry it cocked and locked DO IT. Dont force your uber way of carry on someone else, its their choice to carry their weapon the way they want to.....

So drop it.

Drakejake
April 7, 2003, 05:49 PM
I admit that I am concerned about manually lowering a hammer on a live round. I can understand that people wouldn't want to do this on a single action. I also understand that many people would rather not manually cock the pistol before firing it. I wouldn't say such people are wrong. I will say that the idea of keeping a single action cocked and locked for weeks, months, or years doesn't appeal to me. I don't want to stress the spring in my Star PD since I probably could not find a replacement. But I think this duscussion is useful.

Drakejake.

Vern Humphrey
April 7, 2003, 06:14 PM
You've pretty much laid it out -- Condition 3 is pretty bizzare for a horseman. And how do you uncock a M1911 one-handed?

That means, even if you DO put it in condition 2 at first, you still have to holster it in condition 1, as long as you remain mounted.

Now, the gun was in the inventory some three-quarters of a century, and over that time, many an firearms-challenged man wrote doctrine (for example, the current manual on pistols and revolvers shows the wrist grip and "teacupping" as ways to shoot a pistol, but doesn't illustrate the Weaver grip.) So we can expect to find errors and myths in manuals written later.

But at the time, handling a pistol on horseback was something many armies were concerned about. And note that the US Army did not go with some of the foreign 'solutions" -- like rowel hammers (for cocking on the leg) or holsters designed for cocking one-handed.

MoNsTeR
April 7, 2003, 08:46 PM
I think the fact that JMB's original design submission(s) lacked a thumb safety, and the fact that both the 1911 and BHP were designed with unusably small thumb safeties and huge hammer spurs, indicates what condition it was designed to be carried in.

This is, of course, purely academic at this point, but there it is all the same.

Vern Humphrey
April 7, 2003, 10:52 PM
The original design lacked a GRIP safety -- that was added at the Army's insistance.

But clearly, the insistance that a safety be added is an indication that the Army's envisioned tactical usage of the gun differed from Browning's technical vision.

seeker_two
April 8, 2003, 11:37 AM
Sorry, Vern...

http://www.sightm1911.com/1911pix/historic/1905%20Colt%20.45%20ACP.gif

History of the 1911 (http://www.sightm1911.com/1911%20History.htm)

First one JMB sent to the pistol trials. No safeties there...:D

Condition 2 mandated in the beginning & not a bad carry method now...:cool:

Vern Humphrey
April 8, 2003, 12:49 PM
Sorry Seeker two -- that's NOT the pistol the Army adopted.

John M. Browning was NOT the commander of the Army.

The ARMY wanted a pistol that could be carried in what we call Condition One today, and when Browning produced a pistol that didn't meet those needs, they sent him back to the drawing board.

I repeat, the Cavalry acted as what today we call the "Functional Proponent" for the pistol, and they wanted one that could be put on safe and holstered.

IF what the ARMY wanted was a pistol that could have the hammer lowered one-handed, they'd have accepted a pistol with no safety lock and never asked for a grip safety.

seeker_two
April 8, 2003, 03:40 PM
IF what the ARMY wanted was a pistol that could have the hammer lowered one-handed, they'd have accepted a pistol with no safety lock and never asked for a grip safety.

They did...the Colt SAA.

What they wanted was an automatic pistol that could be drawn, fired, and made safe for reholstering w/ one hand while mounted. Most "horse soldiers" of that time were still carrying SAA's even when the rest of the Army went to DA revolvers, so thumb-cocking a hammer was not foreign to them. In fact (as stubborn as they were toward change), they probably WANTED one that could be thumb-cocked (remember, the Luger design was rejected twice). Since they had had ND's w/ the SAA's d/t the cocked hammers, they wanted something that wouldn't discharge when holstered or dropped--regardless of the hammer position.

When JMB & Savage entered their .45 pistols in the service trials, both entries were sent back several times for design modifications. The two finalists were literally "designed by commitee". Fortunately for us, the 1911 was a success.

As I said before...

Condition 2 mandated in the beginning & not a bad carry method now...:cool:

Country Boy
April 8, 2003, 04:01 PM
CARRY WHAT YOU FEEL COMFORTABLE WITH AND CARRY IT THE WAY YOU TRAIN TO USE IT. -pale horse-
Amen.

Personally, I have a problem pulling the trigger on a gun I don't want to discharge when there is a loaded round in the chamber, but to each his own.

If there was a decocking lever, that would be a different story. By pulling the trigger, I set into motion a chain of events that normally ends in a round being fired. I don't want my thumb to be the only thing keeping a bullet from going into a safe backstop. I don't believe that is safe, even if I have done it hundreds of times.

But refer to quote in bold above.

treeprof
April 8, 2003, 04:34 PM
I will say that the idea of keeping a single action a single action cocked and locked for weeks, months, or years doesn't appeal to me. I don't want to stress the spring in my Star PD since I probably could not find a replacement.

Not true. Springs wear largely from repeated stretching an compression, not constant tension or compression. And you can buy most any spring you need from Wolff, incl. for Star .45's.

http://www.gunsprings.com/SemiAuto/StarNF.html#StarPD

I'll repeat my comment from the other thread: don't make firing the gun any more complicated than necessary. The beauty of the SA auto is the absence of a lot of unnecessary foreplay before the action starts. But lots of folks are uneasy with C&L carry, and if that's you, then I think you need a different carry piece - one you're comfortable carrying w/out having to worry abt so much stuff.

Vern Humphrey
April 8, 2003, 05:01 PM
And, as I said, the M1911 was designed for just that sort of carry -- the addition of a thumb safety and a grip safety produced the C&L carry. Without those safeties, the hammer could have been lowered one-handed. With them, no need to lower the hammer, just lock the safety and holster the gun.

Handy
April 8, 2003, 05:23 PM
Vern,

There is no evidense that the Army in 1911 was both designing a pistol and a completely new mode of carry. Certainly, the safety was added due to the difficulty of decocking one handed, but that doesn't imply that the normal carry method was the same.

Had it been available, the 1911 would probably have been built with a decocking lever. Certainly, the very similar P35 Radom was built with a decocker (since they had now been invented) and dispensed with a safety altogether. But the Army board did the best they could at the time and provided a safety that might be used until the action is over.

It's very easy to imagine those men being comfortable cocking their pistols on the draw. It is not so plausible that a man on horseback, wearing gloves, is going to want to find the miniscule safety on the early 1911 just so he could fire it.

Add to that the lower quality of springs at the time, safety concerns surrounding a new (cocked) carry mode and the use of an inertial firing pin and wide spur hammer. It seems extremely unlikely that these post-Victorian horseman would have made that many leaps of faith in the adoption of a handgun.

C&L carry evolved during and after WWII. What Cooper had to say was not old news; it was a surprising new way to carry a handgun, not a 50 year old military practice.

Vern Humphrey
April 8, 2003, 07:36 PM
Let's review the bidding:

1. In general, military weapons are carried unloaded, and only loaded on the order of an officer or NCO. Unit SOP will determine when the order is given.

2. Changes to the original Browning design clearly point toward using the safety lock, not lowering the hammer, when it is desired to make the pistol safe, yet leave it loaded.

3. When the M1911 is loaded, it is very difficult for a mounted trooper to manually lower the hammer -- and in combat, virtually impossible.

4. I know of no early manual showing or prescribing the gun be carried chamber loaded, hammer down (Condition 2.)

5. I do know of early manuals showing the gun being carried cocked and locked.

Clearly the intent of the Functional Proponent -- the Cavalry -- to have a pistol which could be safely carried cocked-and-locked. And the design changes demanded by the Army point in exactly that direction.

Modern Pistol Technique takes advantage of that design.

Modern Pistol Technique did NOT redesign the pistol, or suddenly make safe what had previously been unsafe.

The M1911 is safe to carry cocked and locked. It has always been safe to carry that way, and that safety comes by virtue of Army requirements introduced during the early design phases.

Handy
April 8, 2003, 07:43 PM
Which old manual?

Vern Humphrey
April 8, 2003, 07:51 PM
The two earliest I have seen are a Cavalry manual of the 1920s, the property of a friend whose father served in horse cavalry, and FM 22-5, with editions going back to the beginning of time in the Infantry School library at Fort Benning.

FM 22-5 even included drill for pack mules and horse-drawn artillery and covered the manual of arms mounted and dismounted.

Mannlicher
April 8, 2003, 09:13 PM
There are some scary things tossed around in this thread. No rational person, no knowledgable person would carry ANY single action .45, a Colt or clone (which the Star is for most intentions) with the hammer down on a round.

seeker_two
April 8, 2003, 09:40 PM
Let's review the review...

1. At the time of the 1911's introduction, most countries were still using service REVOLVERS (incl. the USA) which were kept loaded. The Cavalry kept their SAA's loaded & ready to fire at all times. I doubt they would want an autopistol that didn't allow the same level of preparedness (i.e. Luger)

2. Granted, however that was for use ONLY when the shooter was mounted and needed to safe his weapon after firing--not before. Most troops tend to prepare their weapons for combat BEFORE combat. Not hard to load the 1911 & lower the hammer BEFORE you mount your horse.

3. See above.

4. Granted. But I don't have an original JMB owner's manual handy.

5. In the scenario mentioned in #2, it would be holstered C&L. But not before. In fact, most military manuals mandate Condition 3 carry--but most of those came well after the 1911's introduction.

I also look at another organization that widely used the 1911 pistol--the Texas Rangers. Colt & the Rangers have had a special relationship going back over a century. The accepted practice for the Rangers was to carry their 1911's Cond. 2 and cock on the draw. And no one from Colt told them to do it any different...:cool:

Handy
April 8, 2003, 09:54 PM
No rational person, no knowledgable person would carry ANY single action .45, a Colt or clone (which the Star is for most intentions) with the hammer down on a round.

Why?


You might read this before you answer, if it applies:
http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?s=&threadid=13620&perpage=25&highlight=hammer&pagenumber=1

Vern Humphrey
April 8, 2003, 10:29 PM
Seeker Two:

"1. At the time of the 1911's introduction, most countries were still using service REVOLVERS (incl. the USA) which were kept loaded. The Cavalry kept their SAA's loaded & ready to fire at all times."

Actually not true -- revolvers were loaded only on command. For most duty and training, the revolver was unloaded. Units going into action loaded on command, same as today.

"2. Granted, however that was for use ONLY when the shooter was mounted and needed to safe his weapon after firing--not before."

Which was critical -- especially for horse cavalry. That's why the grip safety -- which made it almost impossible for a man on horseback to lower the hammer was added -- because the preferred method was to put the gun on safe, not to lower the hammer.

"Most troops tend to prepare their weapons for combat BEFORE combat. Not hard to load the 1911 & lower the hammer BEFORE you mount your horse."

The command to load for mounted action was almost always given from horseback. The pistol was locked and carried in "raise pistol" as the unit approached the enemy.

3. See above.

4. Granted. But I don't have an original JMB owner's manual handy.

JMB didn't write the manual -- the Army did. It was an Army pistol, after all, and incorporated features mandated by the Army, even over JMBs objections.

"5. In the scenario mentioned in #2, it would be holstered C&L. But not before."

That's correct. And it was designed to permit safe C&L carry under those circumstances, by specific changes to Browning's original design.

"In fact, most military manuals mandate Condition 3 carry--but most of those came well after the 1911's introduction."

As I said, military manuals DID mandate Condtion 3, or even unloaded carry UNTIL the order to load was given -- but once the pistol WAS loaded, it was normally carried cocked and locked, not with the hammer lowered.

The crux of this argument is simple -- the pistol was designed for cocked-and-locked carry WHEN loaded and not immediately needed. Hammer down carry was not part of the original Army concept, and the Army demanded changes to Browning's original design that moved AWAY from hammer-down carry and TOWARD cocked-and-locked carry.

Gerald McDonald
April 8, 2003, 10:54 PM
In the firearms manual 23-35 on page 19 line I it states (this is for range use) to never lower the hammer on a loaded cartridge, the pistol is much safer cocked and locked. Makes it sound like they didnt want the hammer down on a live one.

www.sightm1911.com/manual/manual.htm

Vern Humphrey
April 8, 2003, 11:07 PM
And let that be the last word in THIS argument.;)

The manual in question is dated 1940, and prepared under the proponancy of the Chief of Cavalry. The referenced sub-paragraph reads:

"i. On the range, do not load the pistol with a cartridge in the chamber until immediate use is anticipated. If there is any delay, lock the pistol and only unlock it while extending the arm to fire. Do not lower the hammer on a loaded cartridge; the pistol is much safer cocked and locked." (My emphasis.)

Handy
April 8, 2003, 11:21 PM
Hey Vern,

Why do you say that the grip safety prevents decocking with one hand? Ever tried it? The grip safety is deactivated by the hammer itself.

Edward429451
April 9, 2003, 02:01 AM
Why do you say that the grip safety prevents decocking with one hand? Ever tried it? The grip safety is deactivated by the hammer itself.

No offense man but I think prevents as a modifier speaks to people of common sense as a given because handling a Colt type 45 like that would be undeniably negligent and reckless.

Even if you can do it in practice, fine motor skills go out the window when under stress or adrenelin.

Cthulhu
April 9, 2003, 04:58 AM
Handy,

I was mainly referring to Jems post, as your posts are usually logical (although sometimes uncogent ;) .) I wanted to make sure that you were not advocating carrying a 1911 (or 1911 type, if we refer to the original posted question) in condition 2. I have no problem with advocating condition 2 when it comes to double action auto's. The CZ-75 is indeed very safe to carry in such a manner, despite the standard models lack of a decocker. Lowering a lever action's hammer to half cock is also acceptable in my mind, as that is a designed safety position. But lets address the question at hand, and compare apples to apples.

Its been argued at length about the relative safety of carrying C&L or hammer down . Even including improbable situations involving a weapon dropped forcibly and perfectly square on its muzzle, there is little difference in the mechanical safety between the two. If the situation above did occur, both are equally likely to discharge.

Some posters on the fence about carry conditions often say that they are uncomfortable with carrying the gun cocked. Some believe that the safety may suddenly come off, leaving a holstered cocked pistol. Lets examine this possibility. If you are wearing a holster with a thumbreak or safety strap, there is a piece of leather/kydex between the hammer and firing pin, and there is virtually no possibility of discharge if the grip safety is depressed and the trigger some how pulled. If it is an open topped holster or the strap is disengaged, then the pistol still needs to have the grip safety depressed and the trigger, shrouded in stiff leather/kydex/nylon, must still be pulled.

We should search out how many cases are on record of carry-type, C&L 1911s discharging while in a holster that covers the trigger and, of those, how many resulted in an injury of the wearer or bystander.

seeker_two
April 9, 2003, 08:05 AM
Vern:

Actually not true -- revolvers were loaded only on command. For most duty and training, the revolver was unloaded. Units going into action loaded on command, same as today.

I doubt too many horse soldiers waited for a command to load their revolvers. Besides, loading a SAA on horseback is fairly difficult. That would be something done BEFORE combat (like chambering a round in a 1911.)

Which was critical -- especially for horse cavalry. That's why the grip safety -- which made it almost impossible for a man on horseback to lower the hammer was added -- because the preferred method was to put the gun on safe, not to lower the hammer.

Yes---during combat. Not before.

JMB didn't write the manual -- the Army did. It was an Army pistol, after all, and incorporated features mandated by the Army, even over JMBs objections.

I would think JMB would have some say--being that it was his design & all..

The manual in question is dated 1940, and prepared under the proponancy of the Chief of Cavalry. The referenced sub-paragraph reads:

OK, but in 1940, the Cavalry went from grain-fed to gasoline-powered transportation. In that regard, Cond. 3 was mandatory on ALL weapons b/c no one wanted ricochets in their tank or jeep.

I'm not saying Cond. 1 is a poor choice for carry (it's a great way), but I don't think you can dismiss Cond. 2 out of turn, either. Carry the way you train & train the way you carry.

The grip safety is deactivated by the hammer itself.

:scrutiny:

Vern Humphrey
April 9, 2003, 09:50 AM
" doubt too many horse soldiers waited for a command to load their revolvers. Besides, loading a SAA on horseback is fairly difficult. That would be something done BEFORE combat (like chambering a round in a 1911.)"

As a former company commander, in combat, let me assure you that soldiers who carry loaded weapons without authorization face stiff penalties. We have all seen in this current war several cases of "friendly fire" accidents. Officers and NCOs exercise strict control to minimize such accidents.

While the SAA might well be loaded while dismounted, it would be loaded on command, not at the whim of the individual cavalryman.

You say the gun was carried cocked and locked "during combat, not before." The gun is loaded in anticipation of combat, and from that point is carried cocked and locked.

"I would think JMB would have some say--being that it was his design & all.."

Very little say -- he wasn't an Army officer, and designed to suit the Army and Army tactics. And genius that he was, his genius was limited to mechanical designs, not to tactics. He had no tactical experience at all.

"OK, but in 1940, the Cavalry went from grain-fed to gasoline-powered transportation. In that regard, Cond. 3 was mandatory on ALL weapons b/c no one wanted ricochets in their tank or jeep."

And they carried over the standard safety practices of an earlier era.

I repeat, I have NEVER seen any official manual that advocates carry in Condition 2. All manuals I have seen mandate carry in either Condition 3 until ordred to load or Condition 1.

Handy
April 9, 2003, 10:57 AM
Edward,

I was ONLY speaking of the mechanism itself, not the practice. Vern's post also appeared to contain info about the mechanism, which is what I responded to. If you look over my posts on this matter you'll see that the only sort of hammer lowering I've ever advocated takes two hands and should be done well away from the action.

Cthulhu,

I thought I was comparing apples. Aside from the DA trigger, the mechanism and internal safeties involved in hammer down carry of a 1911 and CZ are identical. All that is different is preparation for firing.

Of interest, your post about holsters delineates an ideal example of when to carry Cond. 2 for single actions: When a holster is unavailable. As you rightly state, a good holster is necessary to insure that the light safety lever stay in place. But if time or dress make a holster impossible, the 1911 owner has another option which provides a loaded yet inert pistol that can be tucked in waistband or pocket.

Thanks for thinking of it.

Edward429451
April 9, 2003, 12:43 PM
I was ONLY speaking of the mechanism itself, not the practice. Vern's post also appeared to contain info about the mechanism, which is what I responded to. If you look over my posts on this matter you'll see that the only sort of hammer lowering I've ever advocated takes two hands and should be done well away from the action.

Glad to hear that, Handy. I wondered if you was joking or speaking from a totally technical point of view. Even so, I figured maybe a newbie would misconstrue your words to think it was all right so felt compelled to say something.

Good thread.

jem375
April 9, 2003, 01:09 PM
cthulhu.......I carry in condition 2 all the time.....tests have been made and shown that a hard blow to the hammer of a 1911 will not cause a discharge......when I am out in the woods, I have plenty of time to thumb back the hammer, don't need it cocked and locked.....If I were a LEO, it would be a different matter........I guess a person has to do what they are more comfortable with..........I have carried cocked and locked also, just don't need to carry it that way anymore........

Cthulhu
April 9, 2003, 03:53 PM
Handy,
I never described the thumb safety as light. Light, wildly extended safeties have no business being on a carry gun. They should be positive and smooth, but not light.

To all,
My problem with advocating condition 2 carry of 1911's surrounds not the mechanical saftey of carrying it in such a manner, but rather the actual decocking of the weapon to condition 2, and its effective deployment from that condition. Can a 1911 be decocked safely? Certainly. Do I think that decocking a 1911 is safer than just applying the thumb safety? Absolutely not. It is skill that requires attention to the order of the steps involved and deliberate movements with restrained, callibrated force.

Although I may wish decocking skill was a pre-requisite for gun ownership and proficiency, it is certainly not the case.
For some anecdotal evidence (which I know everyone loves, but there is little professional research done on the phenomenon) I will cite my observations of people handling firearms at the gunshop where I work part time. Of all the gun handling skills I see demonstrated while customers are examining the firearms, the actions most often botched are cocking the hammer, and manually lowering the hammer. It is especially apparent when using commander hammers and beavertail grip safeties. This is not confined to newbies either, nor only to the 1911. Whether it was lever action rifles, CZs, hammered double/pump shotguns, SAA clones, customers have slipped while cocking/decocking them, or decocked in the wrong sequence, allowing the hammers to fall hard enough to make everyone around them cringe. This occured under relaxed conditions, not the stressed, adrenaline-filled conditions present pre or post gunfight.

On the otherhand, I have not witnessed one person, even those who had never before handled a 1911, cause the gun to dryfire while activating the thumb safety.

I cannot and will not advocate people to carry a 1911 hammer down. By doing so, you give up many of the advantages of the 1911 has over other designs. In condition 2 you must draw and quickly, infallibly cock the strongly sprung hammer, that may or may not be bobbed to minimum dimensions and/or protected by a protruding sight or grip safety. Then aim/point/use "the force" and fire. Who among you will wager that they could do this and make accurate effective hits faster, everytime, than someone carrying C&L (or TDA)? If so, can you do it using only one hand? Using the only the weak hand?


To say you don't need to carry an 1911 condition one because you are not a gunfighter or LEO, or special forces operator isn't a very convincing argument either. Outside of the target range if you are carrying a weapon, you are intending to use it, if necessary, to disable/kill an adversary intent on harming you or those in your immediate vicinity. You're adversary might have teeth and claws, rather than a gun or knife, but does that make them any slower or less dangerous? If you don't expect to run into a dangerous animal or human adversary, why are you carrying in the first place? The theoretically greater "safety" of an already condition 2 1911 will be of little comfort to the user if they are mauled by an animal or shot by an opponent with less regard for the safety of his weapon. If you expect your hightened situational awareness to forsee the dangerous encounter and allow you sufficent time to draw and cock the pistol before you need it, then by all means stop reading here and carry however you wish. Better yet stop carrying firearms at all, don a snazzy costume and go fight crime using your other superpowers.

As for holsterless carry, your conditions or dress code allow the concealment of a 39oz+ pistol shoved in a belt or pocket, but not a belt holster that is scantly larger? How about a much smaller yaqui slide perhaps? Lets hope you don't feel the need to carry spare magazines either. If time and urgent need didn't allow me to put on even a paddle holster, I would still feel confident with carrying a C&L 1911, with its redundant safeties, in my pocket, and there would be no time wasted on a two-handed decocking procedure, or on the draw. I would be more worried about dropping it on the ground before I need to use it, or fumbling the draw from my pocket, than I would be of having the gun accidentally discharge.

If you intend to carry a 1911 for self-protection from foes with 2 legs or 4, do it in condition 1 and use a holster, whenever possible, that protects the trigger. Don't sacrifice its ability to be put quickly into action with one hand for some imperceptible gain in safety. If you are unable or unwilling to do this, then carry a different type of firearm.

Handy
April 9, 2003, 06:11 PM
Well, I don't think gun handling is necessarily at its finest at the showcase, but we all get the point.

Personally, I believe that the "serious" use of a 1911 should be from Cond. 1, and I don't think anyone here would argue that. But as Jem shows, not all carry situation need be serious. A decocked SA is completely inert, and could be put in a seat box or back pack without worry, yet be ready to go in a moment. For someone that likes the gun and doesn't want a different one, this kind of carry will always be attractive, despite not matching any preferred doctrine.

It is also the way the vast majority of hammered SA pocket guns are carried (since this isn't just a 1911 thread). So the reality is that it is done and it's going to continue to be done.

As demonstrated, the trick is the decock. There is a right and a wrong way to do this. The right way is fairly fool proof, just as cond. 1 is foolproof if practiced correctly.

The wrong way falls into the same category as all other poor gun handling habits. It's wrong to put your finger inside the trigger guard when you don't want to shoot, and it's wrong to decock most guns with a thumb.

Since there are no mechanical safety issues, this issue must be one of personal choice and reasonable care. The design of the pistol; with a large hammer and inertial firing pin, will always make Cond. 2 an attractive method to someone. Therefore, make your case, but support the person with whom you disagree with the facts and proper techniques.


Everyone should carry a DA pistol with a decocker, anyway.:D

jem375
April 10, 2003, 12:30 AM
cthulhu.....well, one reason I carry it in condition 2 is that I usually have another rifle or pistol along also......If I go berry picking in Wisconsin, where we also deer hunt, I know that there are some pretty big black bears there, and I carry a Ruger SBH 44 mag. with the Garrett heavy cast 310 gr. ammo....you know what, that is also single action and I sure don't worry about getting it into play fast enough just because I have to thumb the hammer back, because I know I can........Maybe my new 454 Casull will fill the bill now, I guess I will sleep easier knowing it is DA.......

Gerald McDonald
April 10, 2003, 09:45 AM
In all honesty a BlackHawk is a lot easier to bring into play than a 1911. The hammer is a whole lot friendlier. That being said I accidently sent a JHP 44 mag through the foot of my bed about 25 years ago while trying to lower the hammer to half cock on an old model SBH.
Came in from shooting and the phone was ringing, picked up the phone (a girlfriend called) stuck it to my ear sat down on the bed and then decided to unload the hog leg. Cocked the hammer back too far and was in the process of lowering to half cock when "BOOM" muzzle came up and cracked me on the forehead and the girlfriend screamed bloody murder on the phone. I thought I had shot myself and the room was filled with a bucketful of little curly Q's of cotton.
It hit the seam on the inside leg of a pair of jeans laying on the bed and tore a fist sized hole in them but left a neat little whole in the mattress.
Gerald

Cthulhu
April 10, 2003, 01:42 PM
Therefore, make your case, but support the person with whom you disagree with the facts and proper techniques.

Did I not?

It is also the way the vast majority of hammered SA pocket guns are carried (since this isn't just a 1911 thread). So the reality is that it is done and it's going to continue to be done.

Which would those be and who carries them that way?

Outside of a range, I believe all carry is "serious" carry. If it isn't serious, then why do you need the weapon? A pistol in a seat box or backpack is luggage, not an effective immediate weapon. Its condition is of little matter to this thread.

Jem375,
I hunt in Wisconsin (near Eau Claire) and I understand why you would want a pistol to accompany the rifle. A single action revolver, with its large spurred hammer, light spring, and grip designed for single hand cocking, is much easier to quickly and reliably cock under stress than a 1911. It would be pretty foolish to advise that you carry it cocked.

Handy
April 10, 2003, 01:50 PM
"Did I not?" I didn't mean here, I meant when a shooter asks your advise, or you volunteer it.


The other guns I was speaking of: Astra Cub, Beretta 950, Firestar, Colt Mustang, Astra A-90, etc. Anything that is SA, has a hammer and only a tiny safety lever.

Mute
April 11, 2003, 01:45 PM
Yes you can own a gun for something other than for a so-called serious situation. You can also carry condition 2. You can also have an accidental (negligent?) discharge while decocking your loaded SA gun. I have personally witnessed a ND with a 1911 by someone who had preferred keeping his 1911 in condition 2. That was one too many for me to recommend its use.

If you have the leisure to carefully cock a SA in condition 2, why not just leave it in condition 3 to begin with? If you're worried about the off chance that you'll need to deploy quickly, than just use condition 1. Can someone explain to me what good reason exist for carrying in condition 2?

TheMariner
April 11, 2003, 03:27 PM
Well, what about those of us who carry weapons without manual safeties?

I'm a firm believer that if you should pick a gun that only goes boom when you press the trigger and cover it in a manner that prevents its premature engagement.

Now, with a hammer, from my experience, just have the safety on and thumb back teh hammer is the best for quick reaction. But depending on your method of carry (IWB, SOB, SSH, etc), having the hammer back can cause snagging, especially with rough or curved hammers. If possible, replace the hammer with a rounded one that won't catch on anything.

jem375
April 13, 2003, 05:56 PM
Mute......you personally witnessed a ND in condition 2?????....give us the particulars, please..........am curious to know.......

Cthulhu
April 14, 2003, 02:24 AM
We can own weapons for non-serious use, I just don't believe that carry pertains use other than serious employment, if you are carrying it outside of the practice range.

Firestar, Colt Mustang,

With those smooth hammers? C&L

Astra A-90
Is TDA, so I'd say hammer down DA.

Astra Cub, Beretta 950
Hammers are heavily sprung and fumble prone, safeties are stiff and small, and the slides are narrow and relatively stiff to draw back. Carry them anyway you want, practice it religiously, and hope you don't have ready it quickly under stress.

Mute
April 14, 2003, 02:41 PM
Mute......you personally witnessed a ND in condition 2?????....give us the particulars, please..........am curious to know.......

I have a friend who had preferred carrying his gun in condition 2 in spite of advice by some of us that there are better options. It was a Series 80 Colt Govt. The ND occured as he was lowering the hammer. Fortunately it was at the shooting range and he had the muzzle pointed somewhat downrange. He said that the hammer sort of just slipped from his fingers.

All this happened back in the late 80's so my recollection might be a tad off. Anyway, the method I always seen him use to lower the hammer was to grip the gun normally and pull the trigger while he held the hammer with his support hand. He'd put his thumb behind the hammer and his index finger between hammer and the pin. I didn't see exactly how it happened as I wasn't standing right next to him, but I watched as he prepared to lower the hammer as he usually does, next thing I know, gun goes off, and he flinches, like someone scared him. I asked what happened and the only thing he could say was, "It just slipped out of my fingers." That's the long and short of what happened.

Vern Humphrey
April 14, 2003, 05:26 PM
I know of a case in Viet Nam, where a company commander lent his .45 to one of his men to check out a tunnel. The man gave it back, he slipped it into his holster, slung his M16, and KA-POW!

This may have been exacerbated by the hammer being on half-cock, and being hit by the butt of the rifle -- but in any case, he lost the heel of his boot and considered himself lucky.

Gary A
April 14, 2003, 09:35 PM
I wanted to add a bit to this thread by quoting from a late model Hi-Power owner's manual but the manual is not where it's supposed to be and I'm ticked at myself. Sooo, from memory it says something to the effect that condition 2 is the "preferred" method of carry" (the pistol has a firing pin block) and says to lower the hammer, roughly, in the following manner: place the thumb of the off-hand between the hammer and the firing pin and gently pull back on the hammer with the firing hand thumb and then slowly pull the trigger allowing the hammer to move forward past the full cock position, removing the finger from the trigger and gently lowering the hammer to half-cock while slipping the thumb free. Then, slowly and slightly pull the hammer back from half-cock and, again releasing the finger from the trigger, slowly allow the hammer down to the rest position. They state it better than I did and I am not recommending this method, only reporting what Browning puts in the manual. A recently purchased FN Hi-Power, on the other hand recommends chamber empty or cocked and locked for brief periods, recommending that law-enforcement should follow each departments policies. FN states that the proper method to lower the cocked hammer manually is to first empty the chamber and lower it on an empty chamber. Apparently the writers of one manual were leery of recommending cocked and locked and the writers of the other were leery of an ND and they were writing about essentially the same pistol. I guess that reinforces the dictum of not pointing the gun at something you're not willing to shoot when handling it loaded. Er, the gun, not you. If you're loaded the pistol is probably not safe in any condition.

lazhuward
April 15, 2003, 02:27 AM
Someone purports to quote directly from a Browning High Power manual in this thread (http://www.thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?threadid=137196&perpage=25&highlight=decock%20browning&pagenumber=3) from the Firing Line. It says: LOWERING THE HAMMER-
To lower the hammer from full cock to the dropped position the following procedure is recommended.
1. To lower the hammer from full cock to dropped position, the magazine must be inserted in the pistol.
BE SURE THE MUZZLE IS POINTED IN A SAFE DIRECTION.
2. Firmly place your thumb over the hammer with the point of your thumb in the "V" between the hammer and the firing pin (your thumb will act as a cushion should the hammer accidently fall). Apply slight rearward pressure on the hammer.
3. Depress the trigger and allow the hammer to travel forward very slowly.
4. As soon as the hammer has passed the full cock position REMOVE YOUR FINGER FROM THE TRIGGER.
5. Let the hammer slowly travel forward until it is stopped in the half cock position.
6. Again draw the hammer slightly rearward and depress the trigger until the hammer moves forward, clearing the half cock position.
7. Ease the hammer against the inertia firing pin. The hammer is now in the dropped position - the recommended carrying position.
It seems like they recommended (at least in this manual) putting the thumb of the hand that's holding the gun at a sort of downward angle while you decock. So, the tip of the thumb would be in between the hammer and the firing pin for most of the decocking procedure.

Edit: I was looking at the quote again, and it could very well be that they mean you should put the thumb of the off hand in front of the hammer. A picture would be worth a thousand words here, as the description doesn't seem to be very clear.

Regardless, it is interesting that they recommend hammer down carry.

seeker_two
April 15, 2003, 10:52 AM
The Browning instructions are similar to the way I learned to decock a 1911. While keeping muzzle in safe direction....

1. Take shooting grip w/ finger off trigger.
2. Place support thumb b/t hammer & firing pin resting on hammer face.
3. Place finger on trigger. Pull trigger until you feel hammer release.
4. Let hammer rest against support hand thumb. Move shooting hand thumb to hammer spur.
5. Using BOTH thumbs, lower hammer to half-cock notch.
6. Keeping support hand thumb on hammer, retake shooting grip.
7. Repeat steps 1-5 to lower hammer from half-cock to rest.
8. Holster gun in Condition 2.

Works even better w/ BHP's, Firestars, etc. (no grip safety to depress.)

Again, Condition 2 is a viable carry option--if you train w/ it.

Vern Humphrey
April 15, 2003, 02:47 PM
Now try it with a 1911 -- the grip safety makes it a tad more challenging. There's reason the Army mandated either Condition 1 or 3, and rejected Condition 2.

seeker_two
April 15, 2003, 05:55 PM
Hey, Vern!

I did & do, remember?...

The Browning instructions are similar to the way I learned to decock a 1911.

Just takes a little practice...:D

care-less
April 15, 2003, 08:02 PM
There is some evidence that Browning designed it to be carried cond.2, not cocked and locked. Cavalry in those days were quite used to cocking their weapons before firing, also lowering the hammer. It may be that the thumg safety was there only to allow a gallopiing horseman time to come to a stop and uncock the weapon.

Vern Humphrey
April 15, 2003, 08:10 PM
The pistol Browning originally designed, and the pistol the Army bought are two different things. The Army demanded he add safeties, including the grip safety, which makes uncocking a two-handed proposition -- not too easy to do on the back of an agitated horse.

We've already posted excerpts from FM 25-35:

"l. In campaign, when early use of the pistol is not fore- seen, it should be carried with a fully loaded magazine in the socket, chamber empty, hammer down. When early use of the pistol is probable, It should be carried loaded and locked in the holster or hand. In campaign, extra magazines should be carried fully loaded.

"m. When the pistol is carried In the holster loaded, cocked, and locked the butt should be rotated away from the body when drawing the pistol In order to avoid displacing the safety lock."

The pistol was designed to Army specs, and the Army wanted cocked-and-locked carry, not carry with the hammer down on a loaded round.

Cthulhu
April 15, 2003, 09:09 PM
Again, Condition 2 is a viable carry option--if you train w/ it.

If you train with it, condition 1 is just as safe, less prone to be fumbled when readying the weapon for carry or firing, and faster to the first shot than condition 2 will ever be. This is, of course, keeping to the subject at hand, 1911s and the like, and excluding TDA pistols or SA revolvers.

jem375
April 16, 2003, 03:02 AM
I guess these people that can't let a hammer down on a 1911 without having a AD should not own a single action revolver, because they would have the same problem when it is cocked.....at least with a 1911 you can drop the mag and rack the slide to empty the pistol, with the revolver you either have to fire it or lower the hammer if you are not going to fire it..........Maybe some of these posters should just stick to DA's........

Gerald McDonald
April 16, 2003, 08:42 AM
If your carrying hammer down on a live one with a single action revolver, I hope its a New Model Blackhawk.
Gerald

PCRCCW
April 16, 2003, 09:21 AM
"What about carrying this pistol with a round in the chamber, the hammer down, and the safety on? The gun cannot fire in this position. "
Funny, if you carry cond 1 (with the safety on,) it cant fire in this position either.
The Star has a Firing pin block also..a double safety. Even if you carry Cond 1 and the safety gets swept off and the trigger gets bumped.
You first have the 1/2 cock notch on the hammer to get passed and the FPB....IMO, you are just as safe carrying the way the gun was designed to be carried.
Ill add one more point .... Many people on this thread have offered the advice of "Dont apapt the gun to your style of carry..get the proper gun for your mode of carry" IMO, if you carry hammer down..get a nice D/A gun and call it good.
Shoot well

jem375
April 16, 2003, 12:07 PM
It is.........

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