Firing pin block safeties, necessary or not?


PDA






Philo_Beddoe
February 26, 2010, 11:50 PM
Various manufactures make guns with and without firing pin safeties for 1911's, CZ's, BHP's, etc.

They prevent the gun from firing if dropped hard at the right angle, but it generally thought that they decrease the quality of the trigger pull and they were not even around until the 1970's.

The original 1911's, CZs and BHP had no firing pin safeties and I donít recall any stories of mass accidental discharges as a result.

Are they necessary or just lawyer junk?

If you enjoyed reading about "Firing pin block safeties, necessary or not?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
Echo9
February 27, 2010, 12:24 AM
First of all, I'm assuming a heated debate is about to ensue. This seems to be a much contended topic with 1911s.

There are two types of firing pin block with 1911s. Colt's trigger safety, and the Schwartz safetly. You're right that the Colt system is often thought to produce a sub-standard trigger pull. But the Schwartz safety, which was actually invented before WWII and is now used by Kimber, among others, is disengaged by depressing the grip safety -- it doesn't interfere with the trigger pull at all.

As for their need... mass accidental dischages? No. But they've happened. Now again, I'm talking mainly about 1911s here -- a healthy 1911 with no firing pin block should not fire if dropped muzzle down from a realistic height. The firing pin will simply not come down far enough or hard enough to pop the primer. Someone correct me if I'm wrong, but it needs to be dropped from a height of ~30 feet before you have a discharge in a gun with no firing pin block.

The problem you can have is with a broken, worn, or otherwise faulty firing pin spring. If that spring isn't strong enough to keep the firing pin to the rear, then it can happen.

The other scenario that could cause a discharge is the sear breaking or wearing down. Remember, the sear is basically the part that keeps the hammer cocked. Because the thumb safety and grip safety impede movement of the hammer via the sear and trigger assembly, the gun will discharge if the sear shatters. Unless it's equipped with a firing pin block. That situation is probably one in a million though.

Now the reason I'm talking pretty much just about 1911s is that I'm not aware of any modern pistol that uses no firing pin safety of any kind -- besides some 1911s.

Some will tell you they're "lawyer junk." And some will tell you they're necessary. I'm not even going to weigh in, because I don't feel like debating it. Just thought I'd help sort out some of the facts.

Oro
February 27, 2010, 12:26 AM
and they were not even around until the 1970's.

Actually, Colt worked out a firing pin safety system for the 1911 in the 1930's. It's called the Swartz safety and variants of it are now in common use. It was going into production just as WWII started and it was decided to drop it for the expedient of ease of multiple and mass manufaturing of the existing design. The idea lay dormant for years until Colt's different "Series 80" type safety debuted in 1983. The idea that a firing-pin block safety was a good idea has a much longer pedigree in the 1911 design evolution than just the last few decades.

I won't speak to the firing pin safeties other than the Colt Series 80, but it inherently adds only ounces to the existing trigger pull, and the trigger can easily be tuned to the same weight as a non-firing pin safety equipped ("pre-80") gun. I have weighed the "weight" of the Series 80 plunger action on a sample of guns independent of the action. It varied from a low of 5 ounces on a recent production gun to a high of 7 ounces on a late 1980's Government Model. The samples were four clean guns in stock form without any aftermarket tuning. The system is reliable and virtually invisible.

Are they necessary or just lawyer junk?

They are neither. They work well on the Colt Series 80 design, improve safety and do not compromise excellent function - they are not junk. Are they 100% necessary? No. I do not feel unsafe when handling, shooting, or carrying a pre-80 gun. But they do offer added safety.

Philo_Beddoe
February 27, 2010, 12:48 AM
Now the reason I'm talking pretty much just about 1911s is that I'm not aware of any modern pistol that uses no firing pin safety of any kind -- besides some 1911s.

CZ makes a few models without. The SP-01 shadow and CZ 85 combat.

Frank Ettin
February 27, 2010, 02:24 AM
At least with a 1911, a firing pin block isn't necessary as long as the firing pin spring is changed at appropriate intervals. A 1911 without a firing pin block is reasonably drop safe, especially with a titanium firing pin. Various 1911s made by a number of makers, including Springfield, Ed Brown, Les Baer, and Nighthawk, have passed the California drop test without the firing pin block.

I'd just as soon not have one, but I also have a few Colts that have excellent triggers and work fine with the Series 80 firing pin block.

MICHAEL T
February 27, 2010, 03:00 AM
Not needed but in this save us from our self world and the sue happy lawyers. Companies have added. I have Colts with and Colts with out. My Dan Wesson and American Classic also with out . I am tired of the save us from our self people and their interference. Their not needed . In fact many things we have today are not needed . Lawyers top that list.

Echo9
February 27, 2010, 03:48 AM
I disagree with the argument that 1911 firing pin safeties exist only for legal purposes. A lot of companies that make 1911s offer pre-series 80 firing pin systems, including Colt and Kimber.

45auto
February 27, 2010, 09:01 AM
I have both, but the series 80 prevents AD's if dropped, trigger parts break, hammer follows slide down, etc. Just like all the modern guns.

What would you guess the percentage of people carring a C&L 1911 compared to other guns is right at this moment? 1%-2%??

So, give the largest LEO departments non-firing pin safety 1911's, carried C&L and some time...I'd bet you would see 10 times the AD's you see now.

The Army back in the "day" didn't carry C&L and when they replaced the 1911, their pistol had a FP block.

The Lone Haranguer
February 27, 2010, 03:51 PM
I would rather have a FPB and not need it, than need it and not have it. ;) I fail to see a down side to extra protection from firing if dropped.

Philo_Beddoe
February 27, 2010, 04:45 PM
I would rather have a FPB and not need it, than need it and not have it. I fail to see a down side to extra protection from firing if dropped.

The downside is that on CZ's is a much longer trigger reset and harder pull.

Runningman
February 27, 2010, 10:32 PM
Now the reason I'm talking pretty much just about 1911s is that I'm not aware of any modern pistol that uses no firing pin safety of any kind My CZ 85 Combat and CZ Tactical Sport came from the factory without a firing pin block safety. :)

MICHAEL T
February 27, 2010, 10:50 PM
One down size is their have been failures of the Colt 80 series. I have a friend who has failures of the Kimber at range If either fails your pistol is now a small club. This isn't real common on the Colts but has happened. Kimber I only know of this one person. Its really his wifes pistol neither are will happy with the breakage or Kimber customer service..

9mmepiphany
February 28, 2010, 01:47 AM
the Kimber uses a different system for their firing pin safety than the colt. the trigger activated FPS is very reliable.

i used to have a Colt Officer's ACP with the FPS and when i had the trigger tuned, he just polished it also. the FPS didn't seem to add any weight to the trigger pull, certainly no roughness which is a bigger concern...but then it was a street trigger of about 4lbs

it's interesting when you say the firing pin block wasn't around until the 70s...they've been an integral part of revolvers since the days of the SAA, of course we call they "hammer blocks", but they do the same thing...keep the gun from discharging when dropped. plus their advent allowed loading with 6 rather than 5 shells

45auto
February 28, 2010, 09:59 AM
The series 80 can have problems if not properly timed...and more parts which is the 'downside'. Not a big one if "attended to".

The very few who actually may have use the 1911 in today's world, like a very small amount of special forces, some FBI, etc don't appear to use the series 80.

EddieNFL
February 28, 2010, 10:23 AM
Could be very important if the gun is dropped. I have a small box that holds the FPB parts from two series 80s and two Kimbers.

These days, I buy 1911s sans the block.

If you enjoyed reading about "Firing pin block safeties, necessary or not?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!