Why do 1911's still have the grip safety?


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Preacherman
April 23, 2003, 01:01 AM
Hi, all. I like the 1911, but have long since stopped carrying one as my CCW piece, and in fact only have one left in my collection. I completely agree with Col. Cooper that the grip safety is a redundant feature on a modern weapon (IIRC, it was only included in the original design as a safety feature for cavalry troops, who were more likely to drop the pistol!). Since there have been 1911 variants (e.g. Ballester-Molina) that dispensed with the grip safety, why isn't any modern manufacturer simply making a solid grip frame and dispensing with this? I also don't understand why the Springfield XD bothered to incorporate the grip safety feature. I just don't see any point to it, and given the number of times I've had to grab for a gun with a sweaty/wet/bloody hand, with my grip slipping and sliding as I present the weapon, I don't want anything that would prevent my firing it without a perfect grip.

What do you folks think?

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WonderNine
April 23, 2003, 01:04 AM
I understand that it was not in JMB's original design, but it was requested by the Army.

I heard that somewhere....

Really, I wish they'd do away with it.

Old Fuff
April 23, 2003, 01:21 AM
I think your opinion of the grip safety is correct, but if it was eliminated the whole design would have to be changed because removing the grip safety is necessary to get at some of the lockwork.

Today's smaller gunmakers usually buy the lockwork they use to make Government Model clones. If they redesign the frame they may have to make they're own unique parts, which could be expensive. Last but not least, some folks actually like the grip safety.

GunNut
April 23, 2003, 01:24 AM
I also don't understand why the Springfield XD bothered to incorporate the grip safety feature

Now that'san easy one to answer...........




















LAWYERS:neener:



Steve

John G
April 23, 2003, 01:30 AM
If it ain't broke, etcetera. ;)

jem375
April 23, 2003, 01:32 AM
I like the grip safety, and think it is too bad glocks don't have one, less AD's that way.......that's one of the reasons I will probably buy a springfield XD when they come out with a decent caliber......I have just become used to them and like them.....

Graystar
April 23, 2003, 01:48 AM
I thought that, originally, the grip safety was the only safety on the gun and it was the Army that insisted on a thumb switch...no?

I think the grip safety is great. They should get rid of the thumb safety.

Frankly, I can't see how the grip safety would interfere with getting a good grip on the gun. But that's just my opinion. I could be wrong.

cratz2
April 23, 2003, 01:52 AM
I like the grip safety, and think it is too bad glocks don't have one, less AD's that way

Yep... then when the person holstered their weapon with their hand on the safety and their finger on the trigger it would go off more accurately. :p Personally I think a thumb safety and/or a heavier trigger would help more with the Glock-related NDs. Well, a boot camp-type training program for officers would help the most. ;)

I love the 1911... I don't have a problem with the grip safety and have never even given thought to having any of mine pinned but if it was completely non-functional, I'd probably like the 1911 0.1% more. :D

EJ
April 23, 2003, 02:30 AM
I don't mind either way -- It doesn't seem to be a problem for me--

But of course there are options -- You can pin it--

or--Even easier--Install a new grip safety // beavertail--
Usually they are over long for fitting properly and if left uncut-- (the safety lever portion of the grip safety -- on the grip safety) the grip safety is functionally disengaged because it is allways in the depressed position in relation to the firearm--
IE -- even when the grip safety is NOT depressed -- the lever -- unfitted, protrudes far enough to disengage the safety device--

Yo
April 23, 2003, 05:49 AM
Graystar wrote:

I thought that, originally, the grip safety was the only safety on the gun and it was the Army that insisted on a thumb switch...no?

Yep, you're right. That's why the funky looking safety plungers are on the outside now. Original test gun:

http://www.m1911.org/images/origgun.jpg

Kinda cool huh?

BigG
April 23, 2003, 09:32 AM
You could pull the grip safety and grind off the tit that blocks the trigger. Then you would have the access panel for the parts and the grip safety would be neutralized.

Berg01
April 23, 2003, 12:16 PM
Partly tradition, partly because the lawyers don't allow the manufacturers to get rid of a safety device that was originally designed back in the good old days so the gun wouldn't go off & shoot your horse as you rode in to battle with the rest of the cavalry.

Today most of these guns have firing pin block safeties, which many claim make the grip safety redundant, but on the more recent designs, the grip safety deactivates the FP block safety, so the trigger pull is unaffected.

Sven
April 23, 2003, 12:25 PM
...because if it didn't have a grip safety, it wouldn't be a 1911 (?)

45auto
April 23, 2003, 02:17 PM
I would like to see a model without a functional grip safety.
Similiar to what BigG said, which I have done and pinned it. For me, it feels better than a movable part and no issue with depressing it all the way. One less opening for the elements to get into.

Leave it as an access panel which fits in snug to the frame(better fit) and held in place by the mainspring housing and thumb safety.

It would work particulary well with a series 80. Not so good with Kimbers and S&W if you want a firing pin block.
Series 70- fine.

Perhaps it's not a bad idea for the XD, if your safety is on the trigger.

George Hill
April 23, 2003, 02:44 PM
Why is it a problem? It's pretty much a transparent system.
You don't have to even think about the grip safety. The weapon is safe by it until your grip it. I think it's a good measure.

XD's have it.
Uzi's have it.
There was a S&W revolver that had it.
And at gunshows I have seen other handguns with it from other countries...

There is no reason to get rid of it. I'd rather the safety lever on the backstrap than on the trigger.

Correia
April 23, 2003, 03:23 PM
I'm a huge fan of grip safeties.

1. Holstering. Do not keep a firing grip on your gun as you reholster, instead take your thumb off of the grip and place it on the hammer. This does 2 things. It deactivates the grip safety, and it blocks any forward movement of the hammer. This way it is virtually impossible to fire the 1911, even if something else gets into the trigger guard. Like a bunch of untucked shirt. (hey it happens, and it will fire a Glock). I also recommend doing this with DA guns as you have your thumb on the decocked hammer, and if it begins to move then you know that something has entered the guard and is putting pressure on the trigger.

2. If you are worried about activating the grip safety, get yourself a modern beaver tail, or something with a memory bump. You would have to be in a pretty convoluted position not to activate one of these.

3. I often hear how the P7 squeeze cocker is so advanced, and how there should be mover squeeze cocking guns, but the 1911 is obsolete and we should get rid of the grip safety. :D (only kidding, I love P7s!)

Standing Wolf
April 23, 2003, 07:21 PM
I could live without the grip safety, although I don't mind having an extra layer of protection when, as I do infrequently, I carry a model 1911. The thumb safety is absolutely essential to me, since that's where my thumb goes.

JPoe
April 23, 2003, 09:48 PM
I love the grip safety on my XD. It was one of the reasons I chose it over other similar pistols - and I couldn't be happier with it. It's COMPLETELY transparent... if you couldn't see it you wouldn't know it's there. You don't have to have a perfect, rock-hard grip on it for it to fire, but you do have to have some sort of a grip on it (which is a good thing I think). Otherwise, it will not fire - and the slide will not move back - and a firing pin block is in place (actually a function of the trigger safety) to prevent accidental discharges from the weapon being dropped, hit, etc. A very good system - especially when combined with the equally transparent trigger safety. No manual switches to forget.

bastiat
April 23, 2003, 10:21 PM
No 1911, but the grip safety on the XD is great. It's a no worry safety - you don't have to worry about taking the safety off in an emergency - just grip the gun like you normally would and shoot.

For a single action gun with no other safeties, I'm happy that there is a grip safety. For a gun with a long DAO pull, it wouldn't be as important, but it would be a nice feature that I wouldn't mind if properly implemented.

OF
April 23, 2003, 11:15 PM
I've had a 1911 fail to fire on me once because I didn't have a perfect grip.

- Gabe

Edward429451
April 23, 2003, 11:55 PM
I've had a 1911 fail to fire on me once because I didn't have a perfect grip.

OK, once. Out of how many times have you fired 1911's?;)

I had it happen to me once also. Way in the early years before I was even proficient with it, and was quick draw practicing live fire.

Twice in 18 years while CCW'ing I found the thumb safety disengaged and was glad the grip safety was in place. I like em.

tdow
April 24, 2003, 01:57 PM
One of the nice things about the 1911 is its modularity. Most of us like to personalize our 1911s. Having several different options for the grip safety is part of this. It's a way to get the gun to fit the hand just a little bit better.

--tdow

WESHOOT2
April 26, 2003, 06:43 AM
I like a grip safety (CMC 'DeActivator) because it allows me to carry cocked with safety off.

Special need, not used too often.

Edward429451
April 26, 2003, 06:53 PM
I like a grip safety (CMC 'DeActivator) because it allows me to carry cocked with safety off.

Huh? Never heard of it. Whats it do/for?

ether
April 26, 2003, 11:27 PM
The grip safety makes one-handed hammer-cocking safer...especially if you have a habit of keeping your trigger finger inside the trigger guard while you're doing it. It's difficult to engage the grip safety if you're busy cocking the hammer.

I don't know if this is was the purpose of the design because you can still engage the grip safety if you cock the hammer ALL the way back.....so far that it pushes the grip safety in....but it's still safer for thumb-cocking than no grip safety at all.

chevrofreak
April 26, 2003, 11:43 PM
Star model B anyone?

Jim K
April 27, 2003, 12:46 AM
It is sort of humorous, but the Army did insist on the grip safety so the gun would not fire if dropped, and that is the one case where the grip safety has no effect, since it only blocks the trigger, not the sear. The Army wanted the manual (thumb) safety so a cavalryman could make his gun safe when he had to control his horse. With DA revolvers, they could uncock them, but the auto pistol was then not ready.

Note that Browning put grip safeties on other guns, notably the 1903 pocket model, before government trials. Supposedly, that was to make sure that people used to revolvers did not let their hands ride up and get in the way of the slide.

Jim

WESHOOT2
April 27, 2003, 02:09 AM
The 'DeActivator' is a grip safety.
It looks like the Kimber grip safety.
I prefer its raised portion to others, because I prefer the way it feels in my hand(s).

Rover
April 27, 2003, 03:20 AM
Preacherman,

Like 45auto said, pin the grip safety. A lot of the fellows that Col. Cooper shot with many years ago started the practice, I believe.

Regards

45auto
April 27, 2003, 09:37 AM
An alternative to pinning the grip safety would be to have an Ed Brown grip safety installed by a competent gunsmith.
It's a much higher hold than most other safeties, and if "adjusted" properly, requires very little pressure to release.

I have one that I have never failed to release, even on a "bad" grip. Compared to some other lower grip safeties that I have had problems with.

I believe this is a problem with mostly shooters that put their thumb on the safety while shooting.

chevrofreak
April 27, 2003, 08:28 PM
or a Ballester Molina?

New_comer
April 27, 2003, 09:41 PM
I'm with Mr. Preacherman here.


I sincerely believe it's one safety better done away with. :cool:


Mr. Moderator: Could we post a poll about this? Thanks!

amprecon
May 3, 2003, 02:44 AM
It is said that the Browning Hi-Power was the next stage in JMB's evolution of handgun design and I don't believe it incorporates a grip safety.
I believe that since the auto-loader was such a new concept at the time, that many who were used to using a single action revolver, it might have been perceived to be a dangerous practice to carry it cocked unless a safety was installed.
The 1911 isn't as easy to cock and un-cock as is a SA revolver, at least not one handed.
Personally, I would like to see someone design a 1911 without the grip safety, and add a decocker option to the standard thumb safety design.

Ed Ely
May 4, 2003, 12:56 PM
Could this reasoning be injected in this
conversation -

That is the way that is was and that is the
way it will stay. SAFETY. By the way, that
is a copy of the original manual FM23-45.

http://www.sightm1911.com/manual/Untitled-18.htm (http://http://www.sightm1911.com/manual/Untitled-18.htm)

Chris Rhines
May 4, 2003, 01:20 PM
I'm convinced that the 1911 grip safety is a huge gun manufacturer conspiracy aimed to prevent me from ever buying a 1911-style pistol. :D

I hate grip safeties. More than once, I have failed to deactivate a 1911 grip safety with my normal shooting grip. Yes, I know, I can have the safety adjusted or deactivated, but I don't like having to bother with it.

- Chris

Shaughn Leayme
May 4, 2003, 05:02 PM
Colonel Cooper, may indeed indicate that grip safeties should be pinned, but in the next breath he has said it will light the fire under liability lawyers. As I understand it his particular shooting style, does not always reliably depress the grip safety.

Proceed at your own risk if it is a CCW.

Civil cases don't have the burden of proof requirement of a criminal case and there is a lot more room for circumstantial evidence that would never even see the light of day in a criminal court trial. Expect to be sued, by the survivor or his/her family in the event that you have to defend yourself. Disabling a safety device just makes it easier for the other side.

I happen to like them and haven't ever had a problem with them.

If you are having a problem, evaluate your grip first, some people who rest thier thumb on the safety have a problem with failing to engage the grip safety. Replacing it with a grip safety with a memory bump will usually address the problem.

NapAttack
May 4, 2003, 10:02 PM
Just to interject a slightly different note here. I always have a problem with reliably activating the grip safety. All of my 1911s have had the grip safeties deactivated.

I do use the high thumb grip and I have had my grip evaluated by some class A and Master Class shooters in IPSC and my grip is fine. I have long thin fingers and not much padding at the base of my thumb. Rather than grip tightly, I "ride" the recoil. I use the Ed Brown safety because I like the higher grip it gives me, however, even with the "memory" pad I still can't reliably activate the grip safety.

I am not enough of an expert shooter to have a perfect grip every time so rather than take a chance on it not going boom, I deactivate the grip safety by grinding off the tip. I use the high thumb grip because it allows me to "ride" the recoil better and I am absolutely sure the manual safety is off.

BTW, I've heard this thing about liability lawyers before. Can anyone actually quote a case where deactivating the grip safety on a 1911 was actually part of the case?

schapman43
May 5, 2003, 04:02 AM
Preacherman.....I just don't see any point to it, and given the number of times I've had to grab for a gun with a sweaty/wet/bloody hand, with my grip slipping and sliding as I present the weapon, I don't want anything that would prevent my firing it without a perfect grip.

What the heck do you do that puts you into that kind of situation a regular basis? I'm assuming that your not a preacher like your name indicates.

I guess I've never had any trouble holding in the grip safety. After all if you have a proper grip on the gun the safety will be disengaged. If its really that big of a deal get the grip safety checkered. Thats the great thing about the 1911. You can have the gun build for your needs.

Next time you're watching the news and they show someone from one of the many US Special Forces check to see whats on their belt. A majority of the time its a 1911. In fact US SOCOM just bought a bunch of slides and frames from Springfield to build somewhere close to 1000 1911's.

There's a reason why the gun has been around for close to 100 years.

Missouri Mule
May 5, 2003, 03:29 PM
It wouldn't be a 1911 without the grip safety or the thumb latch safety.

After all, isn't the Army's approval and designation what makes it the M1911?
Until the Army approved the design, it was called something else.

I personally think safeties are a good thing. I don't even "hate" the additional reduntant safties on my Colts and Kimbers. I don't particularly like them but, they is what they is, and mine work just fine. :D

Bergeron
May 5, 2003, 04:06 PM
Although I find the idea of the grip safety to be superflous and detrimental to actually being able to fire the pistol, being able to change the grip saftey allows an individual to change the fit of the pistol to his hand.

If I were to own a 1911, I would find a grip saftey that felt as comfortable as possible, and then pin it shut.

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