How 1911 safetys work...


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John Holbrook
October 29, 2006, 05:54 PM
Replaced the pictures that disappeared. Click to enlarge.

Photos courtesy of John Holbrook.

Signed:
Your friendly neighborhood Tuner

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BigG
October 29, 2006, 06:00 PM
Thanks for the clear lesson, John. :)

shield20
October 29, 2006, 06:11 PM
Question - if the sear should break, does the thuimb safety block the hammer from falling?

PhillyGlocker
October 29, 2006, 07:04 PM
Great pics of how the 1911 safety system works.:)

littledoc
October 29, 2006, 08:03 PM
Good picture, they do help with understanding how the various safeties work.

What'd you do to your gun for those pictures, man? :D

1911Tuner
October 30, 2006, 06:52 AM
Excellent Pictures John, and thank you VERY much! A man would wear out a keyboard tryin' to describe what you just showed us with those cutaways.:cool:

The question:

>Question - if the sear should break, does the thuimb safety block the hammer from falling?<
********************

shield20...No. It will slow it a little...depending on how positively the plunger engages the safety...but it won't stop it.

Iggy
October 30, 2006, 08:39 AM
Thanks for posting. As Tuner says.. it would take all night to explain what your pictures show.

Keep it up...

Spartacus451
October 30, 2006, 12:42 PM
Thank you for posting, I am going to attempt to fit a new safety in a few days, and that really helped me visualize the surfaces I am working with.

hurrakane212
October 30, 2006, 01:55 PM
This should be a sticky!~Nathan

Dave P
October 30, 2006, 02:13 PM
Thanks John, but did you really have to cut away the sideplate just for these pictures?!?

Coronach
October 30, 2006, 03:59 PM
He has a 1911 that has been cut away for display purposes.

Mike

XavierBreath
October 30, 2006, 04:05 PM
Thank you John! Do you mind if this picture is distributed as needed?

1911Tuner
October 30, 2006, 04:32 PM
Anybody noticed that it also shows a very good view of a secondary/breakaway angle on the sear?

If nobody objects, I'm gonna copy and sticky this one on the smithing forum.

batoy1911
October 31, 2006, 01:25 AM
Another lesson learned. Thank you, John.

Spartacus451
November 1, 2006, 01:59 PM
What file would you recommend for fitting the pad of the thumb safety? A local gunsmith recommended a chainsaw file, and when I looked that up it was a round file which seems like it would not be suitable for make the pad square against the sear.

I have a set of hobby files with 5 different shapes, would that be suitable?

Apparently the round shape is correct

rmgunsmith
December 26, 2006, 08:40 PM
The afore mentioned safeties on a 1911 are correct unless you install a Cylinder & Slide Safety Fast Shooting System. See their web site for details on the operations.

SniperStraz
December 26, 2006, 08:49 PM
Thats a very cool, clear, simple way to show how it works.

U.S.SFC_RET
January 2, 2007, 02:50 PM
This proves that the internet IS the Bomb. Thumb safety blocks the sear. Grip safety blocks the trigger. WOW!:)

Wastemore
January 8, 2007, 03:17 AM
Hammer hooks appear a bit negative in the 2nd & 3rd pic.

Two Shot
July 26, 2007, 04:28 PM
Hi John,

You seem to be very knowledgable on this subject so I have a question. I'm trying to remove a S&W 1911 ambi safety and don't know how to get it out. I have most everything else out but the grip safety, hammer, and sear/disconnector. and of course the trigger. Can you help me? This ambi safety is driving me nuts.

Thanks for any information you may have.

Regards,

John Gafford
210-422-4822
gafford@wildblue.net

Spartacus451
July 26, 2007, 04:32 PM
Field strip the gun and remove the right grip panel. Pull the right side of the safety out of the gun while wiggling it up and down. It can difficult because the safety is stuck in there good. Once you have the right side out you do the same thing with the left side. It will come out when it is raised all the way to the top.

Two Shot
July 30, 2007, 10:31 AM
Thanks for the help. I really appreciate it. Sorry for the late reply, I have been out of town for a few days.

John

Two Shot
July 30, 2007, 02:50 PM
I tried the suggestion but to no avail. That safety just won't come out. I don't want to break the arms off it. They are the skinny tactical type.

Any other ideas?

Thanks,

John

Spartacus451
July 30, 2007, 02:57 PM
If you are doing it by hand you will not break the gun or damage the safety unless you are the man of steel. It will put up a big fight and it can take some struggling and cursing if the fit is tight.

Two Shot
July 30, 2007, 11:10 PM
Adweisbe,

My hat is off to you sir. I just wasn't puttin' enough elbow grease into the job. I did exactly what you said and it came off no problem.

Thanks again for your help.

Regards,

Two Shot

gb0399
September 23, 2007, 04:28 PM
I wish I had seen this yesterday, spent 5 hours reverse engineering and fitting after market wilson combat parts to a springfield champion

Jimmy Su
November 8, 2007, 02:21 AM
Hi guys I'm a complete newbie here, and about to be new into the 1911 community. I've looked around and I'm really interested in the SA Mil-Spec and Loaded designs. One thing I've noticed is the Mil-Spec does not come with a ambi safety and I'd like a ambi since I'm a lefty. How difficult would that be to do, and how much would I be looking at spending?

~Jimmy

mike_w
January 24, 2008, 01:26 PM
hi im new here but i just recently bought a SA 1911 9mm it came with a ambi safety but doesn't feel like its in right... well im sure its in right but it doesn't fit it hits the sear what is usually done about this? take a file and take a little bit off the safety wheres it hitting? or no

*edit* so i just went ahead and filed some off the safety got to the point where i was sure what had to be done figured out that if i filed some off that side where it hits the sear it wont affect how it sits on the hammer but i tried to get some pictures in case anyone has this issue. they were taken with my phone so they suck but the side that is up was filled down some

oh yea the pictures at the beginning of this thread don't seem to show up not sure if i have to register with that hosting company or what

Dream Catcher
February 10, 2010, 08:21 AM
Excellent Pictures John, and thank you VERY much! A man would wear out a keyboard tryin' to describe what you just showed us with those cutaways.:cool:

The question:

>Question - if the sear should break, does the thuimb safety block the hammer from falling?<
********************

shield20...No. It will slow it a little...depending on how positively the plunger engages the safety...but it won't stop it.
i just saw this and all this time im always in condition 1 believing that the thumb safety blocks and essentially stops the hammer from falling down :(

1911Tuner
February 10, 2010, 09:17 AM
i just saw this and all this time im always in condition 1 believing that the thumb safety blocks and essentially stops the hammer from falling down

Nup. The thumb safety doesn't block the hammer at all. The best that it can do is to impede the hammer a little via the plunger's engagement to the safety...but that won't stop it.

Dream Catcher
February 11, 2010, 03:11 AM
Nup. The thumb safety doesn't block the hammer at all. The best that it can do is to impede the hammer a little via the plunger's engagement to the safety...but that won't stop it.
that got me really thinking of my condition 1 carry, so if ever the sear breaks, the best hope i can have is the half cock notch?

1911Tuner
February 11, 2010, 08:42 AM
if ever the sear breaks, the best hope i can have is the half cock notch?

I once arranged a demonstration for a nervous 1911 carrier. I deliberately removed a full 1/8th inch from the sear crown...which is highly unlikely to happen during carry...and the gun not only held full cock, it functioned normally for about 3 dozen rounds. When it did start to follow, the half-cock stopped it every time.

Dream Catcher
February 11, 2010, 10:59 AM
thanks for this very good piece of information. :)
so i guess as my existing sear still works, i think it's too premature to change sear for a more well known brand.

1911Tuner
February 11, 2010, 01:39 PM
I guess as my existing sear still works, i think it's too premature to change sear for a more well known brand.

Just for a little more FWIW/FYI...

I've got a pair of early 1991A1 Colts, bought in the fall of '91 and the late winter of '92. One had an MIM sear and disconnect and the other a machined sear and disconnect.
The guns have been through one complete refitting, and are both on their 3rd barrels. They've seen something in excess of 360,000 rounds collectively over the years...and they're both still operating on their original sears. One has its original disconnect, and the replacement came as a result of wear...not breakage.

While I can't say that this performance will be representative of all 1911s, or even Colts in particular...it does tend to allay many fears of sudden or catastrophic fire control parts failure. The sear is actually a pretty durable part, assuming that it's made of decent stuff. Good MIM can be very good, just as bad MIM can be very bad. The hard part is being able to tell one from the other just by looking. As a rule, if the MIM part lasts for 500-1,000 cycles, it'll likely last for the life of the gun and beyond. If it's going to fail, it usually fails early.

Dream Catcher
February 11, 2010, 02:34 PM
after reading this Designed to be carried Cocked and Locked: Not! (http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=502877) and the diagram here it seems half-cock is a safety feature and i find it more tempting as mode of carry except that the inefficiency of returning into that condition after a stressful engagement.
and
i noticed upon checking, there's a small thumb safety part that touches the hammer and that what gave me the wrong impression all this time that the thumb safety somehow blocks the hammer.

1911Tuner
February 11, 2010, 04:43 PM
Just to keep this thread up to speed on that half-cock question...

and although it will draw screams from the tactical/you might drop ithe gun set...


and even though I've never used the half-cock as a carry safety...

and I've made this point earlier...

The original captive half-cock notch interlocks the sear with the hammer, positively blocking any movement by both that would result in firing the gun. It also prevents the trigger from moving rearward, thus disabling the entire fire control group...solidly and absolutely. In fact, the harder you pull the trigger, the more soildly the sear and hammer are locked up.

If that doesn't qualify as a "safety" I'd like to know what does.

Dream Catcher
February 12, 2010, 09:03 AM
incidentally this reminds me of this article Sight M1911A1 (http://www.sightm1911.com/lib/tech/cockedandlocked.htm) in contrast stated "....The stud that locks the sear will also not allow the hammer to fall if the safety is engaged....."
going back to half-cock, if i can only find a way how to 'present' in a very efficient way i prefer the half-cock carry plus the advantage of unfamiliarity if someone able to grab and use it on me.
speaking of which, what could be the threshold of hammer trauma to get an AD

1911Tuner
February 12, 2010, 09:18 AM
incidentally this reminds me of this article Sight M1911A1 in contrast stated "....The stud that locks the sear will also not allow the hammer to fall if the safety is engaged....."


He was wrong. If you can find an old hammer that's too worn or damaged to be used, you can put it to the test. (I did it years ago)

Remove the hooks and the half-cock notch completely. Install it in the gun and thumb it back so that the safety will engage. Let it slip so that it'll mimic falling from the sear releasing it...and watch the safety.

Carl N. Brown
February 12, 2010, 09:30 AM
How about the 1911-style pistols that have a "half-cock" shelf that will stop the hammer if it slips during thumb-cocking but are not true notches that engage the sear tip? (I am thinking specifically of the Paraordnance.)

1911Tuner
February 12, 2010, 10:12 AM
Carl, the stop shelf was first seen on Colt Series 80 hammers, and it does arrest the hammer if it falls from causes other than deliberately pulling the trigger. Unlike the captive half-cock...it's not a safety position because the trigger can be pulled and the sear will release the hammer. If Para's location for the shelf is like Colt's, the hammer can't get enough momentum to fire a primer...at least in theory...but I've never trusted it completely, so I consider it as a last chance AD prevention in the event of a hammer that gets loose.

Althought the general wisdom is that the captive half-cock isn't a safety...was never intended to be a safety...and should never be used as one...I've got my doubts. For one thing, Browning did design the half-cock to the a safety postion on all his other hammer guns prior to the 1911, and the actual function of the half-cock seems to indicate that it was designed to be a safety position.

It locks up and disables the whole fire control group, and the gun can't be fired until the hammer is returned to full cock. If that doesn't meet the requirements for a safety, I don't know what does.

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