C&L Vs. Hammer down?


September 25, 2006, 09:00 PM
I have a 1991 vintage Browning HP. It has the inertia firing pin and there was no firing pin / hammer block on this model. I have always heard that this gun is very similar to the 1911, and it should be carried "Cocked & Locked". The thought of this scares the hell out of me to be honest.
Although many say not to carry it with one in the pipe with the hammer down, i have always felt that this approach seemed safer, (presuming the gun never got dropped which it never has) than having a cocked gun on my hip with one in the pipe. What do the rest of you who have a BHP, 1911 or similar type gun have to say?

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September 25, 2006, 09:05 PM
If your not worried about dropping it why not carry cocked an locked? If you carry loaded with hammer on primer it will go off even if you bump it.

September 25, 2006, 09:13 PM
Call me paranoid, ( and you'd be correct ) but i have always felt as if the cocked & locked routine is asking for just as much trouble, 'yaknow? Don't misunderstand me, i'm not looking to argue, just trying to get a feel for what everyone else is actually doing with similar guns. Has anyone actually touched one off by dropping it or bumping it for example? Has anyone actually had a safety come off un-intended? And so on...

September 25, 2006, 09:18 PM
Having one in the pipe and the hammer down IS NOT SAFER!!!

If you are scared to cary C&L on a loaded chamber, perhaps you should reconsider you choice of weapon. I personally would be more scared to carry loaded chamber with the hammer down or with an empty chamber. Perhaps a switch to a CZ 75B would be prudent. Same caliber, can carry loaded chamber w/hammer down, and the ergonomics are very similar. Excelent weapon by all standards.

However, since you already have a fine pistol at your disposal, why not get comfortable with the weapon you have.

Ala Dan
September 25, 2006, 09:21 PM
I carry a cocked and locked 1911 .45 ACP everyday. With your brain in gear
its safer than most semi-auto's~!:uhoh: ;) :D

September 25, 2006, 09:22 PM
I carried a 1911 C&L on duty for a year and the saftey never came off accidentally. Carrying at full cock or half cock is one thing, carrying the firing pin resting on the primer is another completley. This was dicovered around 1873 and was never advised by anyone.

Walt Sherrill
September 25, 2006, 09:24 PM
If you have a gun with an inertial firing pin and NO FIRING PIN BLOCK, what makes you think it is safer, if dropped or slammed, than the same gun with the safety engaged?

Are you afraid you're going to accidentally disengage the safety? Unless the gun is defective, that isn't going to happen until YOU do it.

A sharp blow (such as a drop on the hammer) is more likely to ignite the primer with the hammer down than if the hammer is cocked and locked. If its dropped on the muzzle from a sufficient height, hitting just right, it could fire -- but that would probably have to be from a height that is a LOT higher than you'll ever have it, unless you throw it off a building.

And if you ever have to activate the gun quickly, hammer down, how are you going to do it -- and what makes you think THAT manuever will be safe?

As others have said, you really need to 1) get over this irrational fear, or 2) get a different gun -- one that is designed for hammer down carry.

September 25, 2006, 09:30 PM
The main trouble with condition two, hammer down, is the hammer slipping as you try to cock it. It can happen. I don't like SAs in a pocket, something like a mustang pocket light, but I don't see a problem with a hammer fired SA condition one IWB. I prefer the 1911 with the grip safety to the BHP, but that's because I like redundancy. I like the series 80 guns, too, even more redundancy.

That said, I carry DA guns.

Jim Watson
September 25, 2006, 09:34 PM
A Browning or other pistol with inertial firing pin is equally safe with the hammer all the way down on the firing pin or in cocked and locked condition.

The first big difference is in getting the hammer all the way down in the first place. In a single action pistol without decocking mechanism, the only way to do it is to pull the trigger and ease the hammer down manually. How often do you plan to do that? How often do you think you can do it perfectly?

The second big difference is in getting the hammer back to full cock when you want or need to shoot. What technique do you plan to use? Does it require both hands? Can you do with one hand if required? Perfectly?

If you cannot manually uncock and recock the BHP flawlessly, it should be carried cocked and locked. If you do not consider that safe, carry another gun. Sig-Sauer is good.

September 25, 2006, 09:43 PM
A Browning or other pistol with inertial firing pin is equally safe with the hammer all the way down on the firing pin or in cocked and locked condition
If it is "equally safe" as you say, ( and i tend to think it could be too, ) then why is it that nearly everyone else seems to think it isn't? Can you expand on the "equally" part for me?

September 25, 2006, 09:43 PM
The safety will not flip off unless you intend it to come off on a properly maintained gun. In fact, with a well made holster, a gun inserted with the safety off will come out with it on. I don't rely on that when reholstering, but my holster does it. My 1911 rides cocked and locked every day with no problems. why is it that nearly everyone else seems to think it isn't The debate isn't about how safe it is with the hammer down, the debate is how safe it is getting there. Getting a 1911 or BHP to fire by fiddling with a lowered hammer requires the outright failure of several parts. If those parts fail, cocked and locked would have already failed with a guarantee of excitement. Thing is that lowering the hammer on a SA pistol is a tricky affair. You're basically firing the gun, but in slow-motion.

September 25, 2006, 10:39 PM
I carry my Hi Powers cocked and locked and have no qualms about it. However, mine have the newer safety. I think it's a more positive engagement and dis-engagement.

Jim Watson
September 25, 2006, 11:15 PM
You have to read the whole post.

An inertial firing pin pistol is safe with the hammer down.
GETTING it down is the hard part.
Getting it UP is not easy, either.
Either has potential for AD or dangerous delay in weapon readiness.

I have studied the matter extensively. Almost 30 years ago, I had a Commander equipped with a spur hammer - even then I was not dumb enough to try to lower and recock a burr hammer - for the purpose of Condition 2 carry. I got fairly good at it, never had an AD, either. But then I realized that the guy who was promoting the technique was lefthanded in a day before ambi safeties were common. He had little choice. I had plenty. I still have the gun... but the thumb safety works. Faster and more certain.

You don't HAVE to take advice from strangers on the Internet. This time you should.

September 26, 2006, 02:11 AM
Im understanding this is a SAO (single action only) handgun? If you don't carry it cocked and locked, why carry it on you at all?

This is like the people who don't have one in the chamber. It kills me. I can understand if its in the trunk of your car. You need to kill a rattlesnake or something, then its available. But if you need it for personal defense, like a thug is pointing a pistol at you or your wife or your girlfriend ...or your wife AND your girlfriend (wouldn't that be an uncomfortable circumstance? :uhoh: ) and you need to react, youre already at a distadvantage because youve got to react-- theyve made the first move. I dont care how much you train, youre not going to have time to draw, aim, and fire effectively. Much less throwing in cocking the slide or, in this case, pulling the hammer as well.

I have carried a 1911 for years. Even in nice blackhawk leather holsters, yes-- the safety does occasionally get pushed down. Think of it like a revolver in that as long as you don't pull the trigger youre fine. And I have seen 1911s cocked, locked and dropped (on concrete) more than once --no, not by me, and they have not gone off. Maybe I am the luckiest man in the world, but people can easily think too much into SHTF scenarios and overlook the most likely ones, which is why they decide to carry in the first place!

If its a single action and its on you-- carry it cocked and locked or leave it in your car. Or switch to a Glock that has multiple internal safeties to prevent AD and no hammers or safeties for you to foul up with.


Handgun Midas
September 26, 2006, 07:31 AM
So IF the safety gets pushed off AND the sear fails that day, the hammer with fall on leather and not the firing pin.

Or carry a SA\DA gun.

September 26, 2006, 07:32 AM
Check out the DeSantis HRT. Its great for a Cocked and Locked 1911. They also make a few other guns where the strap goes inbetween the firing pin and the hammer.

Dr. Dickie
September 26, 2006, 08:04 AM
"So IF the safety gets pushed off AND the sear fails that day, the hammer with fall on leather and not the firing pin."

Well, the safetly hooks on the hammer would also have to fail as well (unless the sear just turned to dust or something). Unless the Browning is different that the 1911 (in the 1911--at least Colt-- they did not remove the safety hooks on the hammer until they added the Series 80 firing pin block).

Tim Burke
September 26, 2006, 08:25 AM
but i have always felt as if the cocked & locked routine is asking for just as much troubleIf you want to go by feelings, that's your right. However you shouldn't make the mistake of thinking that there is any logic behind your feelings.

September 26, 2006, 09:16 AM

A couple years back, I did a demonstration using an old hammer and sear that may allay your fears a bit.

First, I used a Dremel cutoff wheel to remove a full 1/8th inch from the sear nose, effectively destroying the engagement surfaces. The gun not only held full cock, but fired and functioned normally through several magazines before the hammer began to follow...and the half-cock notch stopped it every time. (Full, captive half-cock. Not the Colt Series 80 redesign.)

Next, I removed the hammer hooks...thumbed the hammer back and released it. The half-cock never failed to stop the hammer in an estimated 50 tries...
with the same sear used in the first part of the demo.

Next, I removed the half-cock notch...held the hammer rearward and engaged the thumb safety. With a primed, empty case in the chamber, the primer didn't fire when the hammer was released, even though it fell to the slide. 30-odd strikes later, it fired. Note that the thumb safety engagement was very positive. Mushy or "soft" engagement may not produce the same results.

Though the thumb safety won't stop the hammer...and the hammer's fall will move it to the off-safe position, it retarded the hammer's fall and reduced the momentum to the point that the firing pin didn't hit the primer with enough force to light it. Note also that the firing pin's length was dead on at mid-spec. A longer pin would likely have produced different results.

In the final analysis...if the firing pin and its spring are within-spec...and the thumb safety engagement is positive and clean...in order for the gun to fire from Condition 1...both hammer hooks, the sear, the half-cock notch, and the plunger pin would all have to fail at the same instant. You're more likely to be bitten by a shark in Lake Erie.

On the other hand...and even though with practice it can be done safely...lowering the hammer on a hot chamber carries a much greater risk of
an AD because all the criteria for making the gun fire have been performed.
Namely...depressing the grip safety and pulling the trigger. Only friction on the hammer spur by your thumb prevents it. In Condition 1, you have all of Browning's redundant safeties working in your favor. Carrying with the hammer at half-cock on a hot chamber is less safe than Cocked and locked.
Much less.

September 26, 2006, 09:27 AM
If you can press the firing pin down flush with the slide and the pin does not protrude, how is it going to go off with the hammer down? This is what Jim means by "inertial firing pin". I can decock a hammer gun with the trigger quite safely by using my off thumb to block the hammer as I lower it with my strong thumb. Press and immediately release the trigger as I lower the hammer onto my off thumb and slowly remove that thumb as I lower the hammer. ALWAYS keep the muzzle in a safe direction when decocking, even with a decocker. I have carried and used single action revolvers enough to know I can safely and easily cock them rapidly, but a BHP or 1911 has frame stuff in the way and a straight grip and is more awkward to cock one handed than a single action revolver which is MADE for this. The hammer on an auto is often abreviated, too. The danger to me is more in the hammer slipping as I cock the gun rather than not decocking it safely.

September 26, 2006, 09:27 AM
If you are more scared of your gun than you are of somebody else with a gun who is intent on doing you harm then you need to find another gun.

If the thumb safety is set up and working correctly on a High Power there is no reason to fear carrying the gun cocked and locked.
A decent holster with an ear that protects the safety from inadvertant wipe-off is all one needs to safely carry a BHP condition one.

September 26, 2006, 11:24 AM
Thanks for all your replies guys, i appreciate them. I have had that BHP for quite a few years now, but i haven't carried it that much, it's been much more of a nightstand-drawer piece. Having the hammer down in the drawer for most of that time just seemed to me to be less potential for an accident than leaving a cocked gun lying there. I get the same idea when it's on my hip. Guess it's something i'll get over eventually.

September 26, 2006, 12:47 PM
Lou...the prototype and immediate predecessor that was submitted to the Army...the Colt Model 1910...didn't have a thumb safety. It was the suggestion of the cavalry so that a horse-mounted soldier could quickly and easily place his drawn, cocked pistol in a safe mode when faced with a frightened, unruly horse. A few of the 1910s were modified and tested...accepted...and the Pistol, Caliber .45 Model of 1911 was tested and adopted.

Here's the picture of the Model of 1910


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