1911 Half Cock Question


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el Godfather
February 18, 2012, 02:47 PM
Dear THR
I have been told arguments on the both side of harms of half cocking the 1911. Some have alleged that it put undue pressure on the sear which may break after a while, whereas some have suggested that it is not a valid concern.

Kindly share your arguments.

Thanks.

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tangomike706
February 18, 2012, 02:54 PM
I've always been taught hammer down on an empty chamber , or hammer back , safety on , if there is one in the pipe . I believe, if you read the manual for most 1911's it will tell you the gun is not meant to be carried in half cock at all.

As far as it placing undue pressure on the sear ? I'm not sure, but I'm pretty sure, someone will be along shortly with a better answer .

HKGuns
February 18, 2012, 03:30 PM
Half cock is a valid safety feature of the 1911. If it were an issue the gun wouldn't have been designed with the feature. - Recent MFG's recommendations may differ or vary from model to model, Colt GI 1911's is what I am referencing. I am sure someone will find some other MFG that recommends differently. I am also not advocating carrying it at half cock.

xXxplosive
February 18, 2012, 03:32 PM
Here we go...............

Sam1911
February 18, 2012, 03:44 PM
Some light reading on the subject: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=606310

Doesn't seem to be a GOOD reason to ever do it. But some folks still do. Go figure.

rcmodel
February 18, 2012, 03:52 PM
The half-cock is not a safety, it is an intercept notch to catch the hammer if your thumb slips off while cocking or lowering the hammer.

From a impact or drop safety standpoint?
It is not as safe from impact as:
1. Loaded, hammer down resting against the slide.
2. Loaded, cocked & locked, with the hammer spur protected against impact by the grip safety spur.

In either of those two positions the sear & sear pin is pretty safe.
Not so much resting in the intercept notch.

rc

1911Tuner
February 18, 2012, 03:57 PM
In the 1910 patents...before the manual safety was added...Browning not only referred to it as a "safety position" he gave instruction on lowering the hammer to half-cock with one hand, neatly dispelling with two popular misconceptions in one paragraph.

But, don't take my word for it. Go look it up and read it.

When the original, captive half-cock notch is used, the sear and hammer are interlocked, completely disabling the whole fire control group. That fits the criteria for a safety. On the Model 92/94 Winchester rifles and the Model 97 shotgun...also Browning designs...the (also) captive half-cock notch is the only safety, as were all of Browning's previous exposed hammer guns.

If the only intended function of the half cock notch was as a hammer intercept, it would have been much easier, faster, and cheaper to machine a simple shelf, as we now see on Series 80 Colts and others.
That would serve the same purpose without the need to machine the more complex, expensive, and time-consuming captive notch.

It's a safety, by design and intent.

rcmodel
February 18, 2012, 04:05 PM
Be that as it may, and I don't disagree with the original intent..

But you can't bend a sear pin if you drop it on the hammer with it down against the slide, or cocked, locked, and protected by the grip safety spur.

rc

Carl N. Brown
February 18, 2012, 04:13 PM
Only use for half cock in a 1911: to catch the hammer if the thumb slips while cocking the gun.

(Well, my only use. Either hammer down on empty chamber or loaded, cocked and locked, are the only safe options with small hands.)

HKGuns
February 18, 2012, 05:01 PM
It's a safety, by design and intent.

Additionally, the military trained you that it was a safety when the pistol was still the primary issued sidearm. If you couldn't ID all of the safeties on the pistol you did not qualify with the weapon and half cock was one you had to ID.

Case closed.

Click Here (http://www.google.com/patents?id=NdRdAAAAEBAJ&printsec=abstract&zoom=4#v=onepage&q&f=false)

Old Fuff
February 18, 2012, 05:03 PM
In the beginning... :)

Browning's first exposed-hammer pistols had neither a grip or manual safety (called a safety lock). They did have an inertia firing pin system that permitted the pistols to be carried safely when the chamber was loaded, and the hammer fully down. The piece was also carried with the hammer at the half-cock position, especially by men that were used to exposed-hammer rifles where this was a regular mode of carry during the 19th century and beyond.

Browning also intended that the half-cock notch would catch the hammer is it accidentally followed down, so that in such an event the pistol wouldn't fire. His designs (and in particular, the 1911 pistol) are filled with instances where one part handles several tasks.

Today, over a century later it is generally held that the half-cock notch (or ledge as the case may be) is not considered to be a good carry position, and that cocked & locked or hammer-fully-down are safer options. But Tuner's observation that the half-cock has been used, and sometimes still is - and that Browning advocated it as such is correct.

1911Tuner
February 18, 2012, 05:22 PM
The notion that Browning designed the pistol specifically to be carried cocked and locked isn't based in fact. Incidentally, the "Locked" part of cocked and locked refers to the slide...not the hammer or sear.

Nor does the manual safety block the hammer. If the sear instantaneously disintegrates into powder, the hammer will fall and it'll wipe the safety off on its way down quicker than you can do it with your thumb.

Carl N. Brown
February 18, 2012, 06:21 PM
The Torakev is supposed to be true to Browning's original design intent: no manual safety, halfcock position on the hammer only.

My 1911 is just too big for my hand to handle that way: thumb cock, thumb decock. I can apply the thumb safety easy enough though. And I periodically check my gun to assure that the manual safety postively blocks the sear before relying on it.

hceptj
February 19, 2012, 09:34 AM
I've been of the opinion that if I carry it I want it ready, so I carry cocked/safety on. I've never used the halfcock position for anything.

Onmilo
February 19, 2012, 10:17 AM
I was in the Army, trained as a Small Arms Repairman, qualified on the 1911A1 among other weapons and was taught the half cock notch was a safety feature of the weapon, not an actual safety though I have no argument that was the original intent John Browning had envisioned.

The purpose of the half cock notch after the grip safety and manual thumb safety were added was to prevent the hammer from contacting the firing pin should the shooters thumb slip during manual cocking of the weapon or should the hammer be drawn back inadvertently by some manner of outside influence causing the hammer to fall without being actuated my manipulation of the trigger.

I believe Skeeter Skelton was the author who wrote of an old Texas Ranger who had a habit of carrying his 1911 pistol jammed into his waistband, chamber loaded, hammer back, no manual safeties engaged on the firearm.
Someone once asked the Ranger if that wasn't dangerous pointing at the cocked pistol.

"Damn right it is, it's a pistol ain't it?" was the Rangers reply.

Greg528iT
February 19, 2012, 04:14 PM
Nor does the manual safety block the hammer. If the sear instantaneously disintegrates into powder, the hammer will fall and it'll wipe the safety off on its way down quicker than you can do it with your thumb.

I haven't tested it yet. It looks like, and I've assemblled a 1911 without the sear to see how much interferance the thumb safety has on the hammer. The thumb safety is going to absorb a lot of the hammer's energy as it if forced down. Enough to prevent the firing pin from successfully striking the primer??? My guess is.. YES.. unless you have the plunger out out the tube. Either way.. I wouldn't say, if the sear disintegrated the hammer is going to freely fall to home.

GLOOB
February 19, 2012, 04:17 PM
Browning not only referred to it as a "safety position" he gave instruction on lowering the hammer to half-cock with one hand
Yes, it's a safety position. It facilitates the safe lowering of the hammer. Did JMB also instruct users to CARRY the gun on half-cock?

Even if he did, what was originally intended doesn't always mean it's correct. People make mistakes even with the best of intentions, and designs and procedures are improved or otherwise changed from the original intent.

JMB's original intent was that the gun shouldn't go off when dropped from 3 feet, but he failed there, too.

There's no reason to carry a 1911 on the halfcock notch, except for the fact that there is some small additional inherent risk when lowering the hammer from halfcock to fully down. Now, if on some 1911's, the trigger is totally disconnected, and you CAN'T lower the hammer from half-cock, and it locks there, I'd say you're better off leaving it there then trying to lower the hammer all the way down with the trigger pulled the entire way.* My series 80 CAN be lowered from the half cock with the trigger (not that it's ever been done on a loaded chamber), but apparently this model might be different from the rest?

*FTR, Beretta 92FS, Stoegar Cougar, and Bersa thunder decockers lower the hammer all the way down, past the half cock notch. The FNX decocker stops at the halfcock notch. It's still safe because of the firing pin safety, but it's arguably a bit less so than the full decocker mechanism of many other handguns.

1911Tuner
February 19, 2012, 05:11 PM
Even if he did, what was originally intended doesn't always mean it's correct. People make mistakes even with the best of intentions, and designs and procedures are improved or otherwise changed from the original intent.

Calm down. I haven't advised, nor even suggested that anyone use it as a safe carry mode...even though you can if you want to. You can carry it in any one of several ways. I only said what it is. It's a safety as surely as the captive half-cock on the original Model 94 is.

Again...

If the only intent was to arrest the hammer, a simple shelf would have been much simpler, faster, and cheaper to machine. But with the captive notch, that's not all it does. The sear and hammer are solidly interlocked. The sear can't move if the trigger is pulled, and the hammer can't fall. That meets the requirements for a safety. No?

rcmodel
February 19, 2012, 08:46 PM
Peoples idea of "safety" was a heck of a lot different in 1900 then it is now too.
Even John Brownings and the U.S. Armys idea.

One could argue that the safety notch on a Colt Single-Action was designed and intended as a safety.
We could even argue that the U.S. Cavalry manual and Colt said it was a safety too.

And so did the crusty old drill sargent that used to carry a 1860 Colt with the hammer setting between two caps before they took it away and issued him a new-fangled 1873 Colt SAA.

But we all know carrying a loaded Colt SAA on the "safety notch" a real bad idea today.

rc

Onmilo
February 19, 2012, 11:04 PM
Single Action Army, first 'click' and all that.
Resting hammer between two cartridges is a bad idea, if by chance the cylinder does revolver it will usually chip or break the firing pin tip.
Then you get pierced primers or worse yet, if the tip breaks, no bang at all.

HisSoldier
February 19, 2012, 11:28 PM
One main reason I read this forum is in the hope that I'll get to read something by Tuner, a guy who really should write a book about the 1911, that's a no brainer, not a risky venture at all. Just make sure you add something in the title about "By 1911Tuner" and you'll sell many tens of thousands of them, maybe hundreds of thousands, and we'll all be richer for it.

I agree that genius that he was JMB couldn't have imagined the best carry option, a cavalry soldier would doubtless have time to haul the slide back, or the hammer, but carrying in civilian society with no known requirement for a weapon, and getting a shot or two off with no notice, in life saving time, that might be a different scenario than what he had in mind (?).

Anyway, those who have carried a weapon and have had to use it are the ultimate authority for how they should carry it. JMB may have heard such men talk and come to the conclusion that condition one made the most sense, and we may not know of it. If he expressed an opinion later in life that might be interesting reading.

Many people who have carried the guns daily and have had to use it may advise one way or the other, someone may have to do a count of their opinions on the matter to get a consensus.

1911Tuner
February 20, 2012, 03:06 AM
But we all know carrying a loaded Colt SAA on the "safety notch" a real bad idea today.

Yeah, but we're not talkin' about the '73 Colt. But, I'll play.

If a bunch of cowpunchers noticed a Commanche raiding party on yonder hill...do you think they slipped a 6th round into their revolvers and reholstered with the hammers on the quarter-cock notch...or not? :)

Tactical/fast-draw aside...Why is it such a bad idea to carry a holstered 1911 on half cock? The notch is stronger by far than the hammer hooks. You can pull the trigger until the stirrup bends and not be able to fire the gun, and no gun is as "safe" if it's dropped as it is if it's not dropped. We can "What if" until we talk ourselves out of even loading one.

The pistol wasn't designed to be carried in any one specific way. It was designed to provide a choice, dictated by the situation.

It has an inertial, spring-loaded firing pin that's shorter than its channel...so it can be carried with the hammer down on a loaded chamber.

It was designed with a captive half-cock that disables the trigger/fire control group.

It was designed with a manual safety that blocks the sear and a passive grip safety that blocks the trigger, so it can be carried at full cock.

It can even be carried at full cock with the manual safety disengaged...aka "Condition Zero"... if so desired. The grip safety still blocks the trigger and the half cock will still arrest the hammer.

Your choice.

Again...I'm not advising or suggesting anything. The bottom line is that it's a gun. It's not safe.

tipoc
February 20, 2012, 03:15 AM
During the first and second world wars some GIs occasionally carried the 1911 on the half cock. The purpose of this was to make it easier, surer and faster to either rack the slide or cock the hammer once the gun was drawn, usually from a full flap holster. This option was a part of the guns design.

This method of carrying a gun, or having it ready, may not be what a fella would choose for carry today. But it was done. Condition one carry was not as common back then as it is today. It was considered more of a situational mode than a standard carry mode.


JMB's original intent was that the gun shouldn't go off when dropped from 3 feet, but he failed there, too.

I'm not aware of a good many 1911s going off when dropped from 3 feet. Gloob may though. The U.S. Navy did ask S&W to alter the design of it's revolvers during WWII to prevent them from discharging when dropped on the steel decks of a ship. The did not ask for any changes in the design of the 1911 which they considered safe for carry aboard ship. They did not go off when dropped on steel decks.

tipoc

1911Tuner
February 20, 2012, 03:34 AM
Condition one carry was not as common back then as it is today. It was considered more of a situational mode than a standard carry mode.

Bingo. Most people who carried the big Colt did so in Condition 2 or on half cock. A good many carried them in Condition 3. A select few...men who often found themselves in situations that dictated the fastest response possible...carried them in Condition 1. "When action is imminent."

During the first and second world wars some GIs occasionally carried the 1911 on the half cock. The purpose of this was to make it easier, surer and faster to either rack the slide or cock the hammer once the gun was drawn, usually from a full flap holster. This option was a part of the guns design.

If you place the gun on half cock and hand-cycle the slide, you may find that it's a little harder than starting with the hammer full down...especially so if the firing pin stop has a small radius. This applies to hammers with a captive half-cock. I'd wager that many of them carried with a chambered round at half-cock...or full down to give the appearance of complying with Army doctrine of maintaining the pistol with empty chamber until it was time to hoist Baker.

GLOOB
February 20, 2012, 09:24 PM
I'm not aware of a good many 1911s going off when dropped from 3 feet. Gloob may though. The U.S. Navy did ask S&W to alter the design of it's revolvers during WWII to prevent them from discharging when dropped on the steel decks of a ship. The did not ask for any changes in the design of the 1911 which they considered safe for carry aboard ship. They did not go off when dropped on steel decks.
Not first hand, just something I read. Something to the effect that the firing pin was lightened and the FP spring weight increased early on due to inertial discharges from as little as 3 feet. That may have been before it was even called the 1911, if even true.

Earlsbud
February 21, 2012, 07:37 PM
Bottom line, anytime you lower the hammer on a live round you are taking an unnecessary risk of AD, even if you're John Moses Browning. I guess John was used to the half cock since it was on his 1902, 1905, and 1907 models none of which had a thumb safety until Uncle Sam required it. There is no good reason for the sear to ever engage the half cock unless the gun malfunctions and follows. People who feel perfectly safe carrying a Ruger MKI with a thumb safety will for some reason feel unsafe carrying a 1911 in Condition one. (Hint: They can see the hammer!) If there is a single agency that requires anything other than Condition one I am unaware of it. Just my .02 cents.

1911Tuner
February 21, 2012, 08:24 PM
Bottom line, anytime you lower the hammer on a live round you are taking an unnecessary risk of AD

And every time you get into a car and hit the interstate...but you know the rest.

If the day comes that I don't have the manual dexterity to manually lower a hammer without shooting myself in the foot...I'll sell all the guns and take up needlepoint.

rcmodel
February 21, 2012, 08:27 PM
If the day comes that I don't have the manual dexterity to manually lower a hammer without shooting myself in the foot...I believe I'll leave it cocked, and one last round in it for myself!

Course, we all say that, until that point comes!! :D

rc

Old Fuff
February 21, 2012, 08:36 PM
If you happen to look at a pre-World War Two Colt Government Model, and in particular the hammer spur, you may notice that it has wide flanks (now often called a "wide spur hammer). Besides the obvious it made it possible to squeeze the hammer between the weak-hand thumb and forefinger ahead of the flanks to get a better hold of it while lowering the hammer.

Unfortunately, too few "Modern Technique" advocates ever study the pistol's history.

1911Tuner
February 21, 2012, 08:57 PM
Unfortunately, too few "Modern Technique" advocates ever study the pistol's history.

Or why certain features were the way they were. The hammer spur is one. The original thumb safety is another one.

Many people felt that it was "vastly improved" when Colt introduced the teardrop thumb pad...but they also sacrificed a function by doing it. The area behind the dinky original pad provided a flat striking surface directly over the pin, so that the slide...with bushing installed...could be used with the safety to drive out the mainspring housing pin without warping or breaking the safety crosspin.

Is the ability to fully disassemble the pistol without tools something that's often needed? No...but I like having that option. All of my 1911s that are in the carry rotation have the original USGI thumb safeties for that reason. It's the key that opens the tool box.

Earlsbud
February 21, 2012, 09:08 PM
And every time you get into a car and hit the interstate...but you know the rest.

If the day comes that I don't have the manual dexterity to manually lower a hammer without shooting myself in the foot...I'll sell all the guns and take up needlepoint.
I felt the same way until the hammer on a Win. 94 got away from me. If I could have left it cocked and locked it would have never happened. I missed my toe by the way, but killed a nice piece of furniture in the next apartment. That was over 30 years ago and I still don't know how to needle point, but I did learn something. Good luck with the dexterity.

MythBuster
February 21, 2012, 10:02 PM
It is so refreshing to see that a least a few of you don't fall for the BS myths that so many do.

The myth that condition two carry is somehow "dangerous" and that JMB "intended" that condition one carry was the ONLY way to carry his gun is total BS but one finds that here and on every gun fourm and gun shop in the world.

GLOOB
February 21, 2012, 11:15 PM
I felt the same way until the hammer on a Win. 94 got away from me
I hope other people can learn from your experience. I absolutely trust myself to manually decock certain guns. But trying to keep a hammer from slipping is one thing I'll never trust myself with.

Unless I can physically block the hammer AND the gun has a firing pin safety, I'd just as soon leave it alone. In fact, I will decock a revolver when necessary, but I think it's more dangerous than most of my semiautos. With the majority, it's quite easy to jam your thumb in the hole on the back of the slide while you let the hammer off the sear. Even if the hammer slips, your meat hook will still be in the way. Once you release the trigger, then you can unblock the back of the slide and lower the hammer relatively safely, since the FP safety is now on. With a revolver, you need to use both hands to do this cuz your thumb can't reach over the top of that huge hammer, and if it's an old school revolver with the firing pin on the hammer, it's even tricky using two hands.

I sorely wish firearms instructors would teach people how to decock a gun safely. Cuz they're going to do it, regardless. And if the only place where someone learns how to decock a gun is from the movies, gosh, no wonder there are so many decocking NDs. I've never seen anyone safely decock a gun in the movies.

tipoc
February 22, 2012, 04:54 AM
I hope other people can learn from your experience. I absolutely trust myself to manually decock certain guns. But trying to keep a hammer from slipping is one thing I'll never trust myself with.

I think the key words here are "I'll never trust myself..."

I lot of it does have to do with what a person feels comfortable and confident with. To not trust yourself to safely lower the hammer on a semi, wheelgun or lever gun, etc. speaks a good deal about the lack of training or sense of competence with mechanical devices. But if a fella feels that they cannot reliably do it then by all means don't. No harm no foul.

tipoc

1911Tuner
February 22, 2012, 05:37 AM
I felt the same way until the hammer on a Win. 94 got away from me.

Well, ya do have to be careful. Stay focused on the task. Lowering a hammer isn't something that we normally have to do in a hurry. Take your time. Get control of the hammer before you touch the trigger. Don't point it toward your feet.

MythBuster
February 22, 2012, 10:29 AM
"With the majority, it's quite easy to jam your thumb in the hole on the back of the slide while you let the hammer off the sear. Even if the hammer slips, your meat hook will still be in the way. Once you release the trigger, then you can unblock the back of the slide and lower the hammer relatively safely, since the FP safety is now on. "

Right. That is the correct and SAFE way to decock the 1911. The instant the sear releases the hammer TAKE YOU FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER. Then if you let the hammer slip it will hit your thumb. If somehow your thumb fails to stop the hammer the half cock notch will.

MythBuster
February 22, 2012, 10:39 AM
"I lot of it does have to do with what a person feels comfortable and confident with. To not trust yourself to safely lower the hammer on a semi, wheelgun or lever gun, etc. speaks a good deal about the lack of training or sense of competence with mechanical devices. But if a fella feels that they cannot reliably do it then by all means don't. No harm no foul"

Another correct response. Just because someone feels they are not competent to preform a task does not mean others can not do it safely.

I can't fly an airplane. If I tried I would surely get killed. That does not mean others can't safely fly.

Back when I used to carry a 1911 I carried both condition one and two. There were times such as when riding my motorcycle that I felt condition two was better.

I would rather crash a bike with a decocked pistol on my side than a cocked one.

I know it is hard for some people to believe but even Cooper sometimes used condition two. Anyone who has read most of his stuff knows that.

Pilot
February 22, 2012, 11:07 AM
Tuner,

I gotta tell you I really enjoy reading the history of the 1911 and JMB which you detail. I also realy like the wide spur hammer on my 01918 Repro. It is very functional, and I have no problem lowering the hammer on a live round with ANY of my semi autos. Again, they are always pointed in a safe direction when doing so, but have never had an ND in 40 years of shooting.

1911Tuner
February 22, 2012, 11:34 AM
I know it is hard for some people to believe but even Cooper sometimes used condition two.

So do I, though not as much as I did when I was exploring the great outdoors.

Sometimes Condition 2 makes more sense than Condition 1.

Condition 2 provides the best protection from dirt and debris making its way into the lockwork, while still allowing the pistol to be readied with one hand...albeit a bit slower. Better to be a half-second slower on the draw and have the gun work, than to execute a quick-draw and discover that it won't fire.

Incidentally, the lowered ejection port that's all the rage is another fairly large window for stuff that isn't exactly conducive to reliable function to enter therein.

In the boondocks, my pistol was in C-2. It was most often a USGI Colt or Remington Rand with the standard ejection port...and I carried it in a full flap holster to offer maximum protection from hard knocks and grimy stuff. It also had the bad, old thumb safety so I could unlock the toolbox and completely disassemble the gun should I find myself up to my kiester in mud.

Creature
February 22, 2012, 11:42 AM
Interesting discussion and something that I had not really took much into consideration...

Carl N. Brown
February 22, 2012, 01:31 PM
My defensive handgun is a double action revolver. My 1911 is a range gun, mostly in the local modern and vintage military matches.* So my opinion is worth less than the opinion of those who do carry a 1911 for defense or duty purposes. But, obviously, that does not stop me from having opinions. :evil:

As I have had it hammered into me, Condition Two (round in chamber, hammer down) is hammer down on the inertial firing pin, not in the half-cock notch.

For my small hands going from Condition Zero (round in chamber, hammer cocked, thumb safety off) to Condition Two requires my off-hand thumb to control the hammer.

One-handed with the 1911, I prefer to go from Condition Zero to Condition One (round in chamber, hammer cocked, thumb safety on). If my 1911 cannot be trusted in Condition One, it belongs at the gunsmith.



*(My usual safe condition is slide open, CMP flag in firing chamber, no magazine or round in gun, gun on range bench pointed downrange.)

GLOOB
February 22, 2012, 02:11 PM
I lot of it does have to do with what a person feels comfortable and confident with. To not trust yourself to safely lower the hammer on a semi, wheelgun or lever gun, etc. speaks a good deal about the lack of training or sense of competence with mechanical devices.

[Gloob]
I absolutely trust myself to manually decock certain guns. But trying to keep a hammer from slipping is one thing I'll never trust myself with.

You may have misinterpreted this statement. Unless you are suggesting that when decocking a 1911, the only thing between a successful decock and an ND is your thumb on the back of the hammer spur. If this is the case, then you have read me correctly, and I will forever maintain that no matter how coordinated and dextrous you are, this is not a safe practice. Read the ND thread. Every one of those "hammer slipped" NDs was by someone who had done it hundreds of times and felt completely confident. It's just not worth the consequences, even if you have it pointed in a safe place, unless you are already deaf. On the range, with hearing protection, pointed downrange where the rest of the bullets are going, yeah. In your home, no ears, after loading your gun, no. Especially if you are within city limits where such an ND could constitute an illegal discharge of a firearm. Or you have neighbors/family/friends/coworkers/employers that would find out and forever have a doubt in their minds about your competence and safety.

It's the people who ARE (improperly) "trained" and confident enough to be comfortable decocking a gun in an unsafe manner who are the ones that have NDs. If you are competent enough to know how a modern gun fires and the safety mechanisms it has built in, you would NOT rely on holding the hammer back, alone. There is a much better and more fail-safe way to decock most modern handguns, period.

Besides, like I said. What firearm instructor teaches decocking? Where does one get this "training?"

A perfect example of a gun which I would avoid decocking if at all possible is a revolver with a hammer shroud. OTOH, I feel 100% confident in my ability to decock the average modern handgun, safely, using the right procedure. In case you have doubts:
http://i688.photobucket.com/albums/vv241/gloob27x/DSCF4993.jpg
I absolutely don't trust myself to keep the hammer from slipping, and yet I decock this gun every time I load it and before each time I holster it while shooting.

BTW, I verified that the decocking lever only lowers the hammer to the half cock notch on this gun. If it lowered the hammer all the way down, I wouldn't have removed the lever. I feel 100% confident in manually decocking this gun to the half cock notch, but I would never attempt to lower it all the way (since it's DA/SA you'd have to keep the trigger pulled the whole way down).

gc70
February 22, 2012, 02:30 PM
Then on the other side of the coin, it's the people who ARE "trained" and confident enough to be comfortable decocking a gun in an unsafe manner who are the ones that have NDs.

That seems like a contradiction of terms - 'well trained' people and doing things in an unsafe manner don't go together.

GLOOB
February 22, 2012, 03:02 PM
Edited. Anywhoo, like I said, there's no one alive, today, that will teach you how to decock a gun for money. Decocking a gun, manually, is a liability. So where are you going to get this training? Your training is going to teach you how to leave the gun unloaded or to leave it in the holster and/or put the safety on, or to use a decocking lever.

MythBuster
February 22, 2012, 03:06 PM
"Trained" people can also be idiots. No amount of training can stop some people from doing stupid things.

We posted the safe way to decock a 1911. If you do it EXACTLY as we said it is safe.

gc70
February 22, 2012, 05:24 PM
"With the majority, it's quite easy to jam your thumb in the hole on the back of the slide while you let the hammer off the sear. Even if the hammer slips, your meat hook will still be in the way. Once you release the trigger, then you can unblock the back of the slide and lower the hammer relatively safely, since the FP safety is now on. "

Right. That is the correct and SAFE way to decock the 1911. The instant the sear releases the hammer TAKE YOU FINGER OFF THE TRIGGER. Then if you let the hammer slip it will hit your thumb. If somehow your thumb fails to stop the hammer the half cock notch will.

We posted the safe way to decock a 1911. If you do it EXACTLY as we said it is safe.

Decocking with the thumb between the hammer and slide and dropping to the half cock notch works nicely with my Series 70 - not so much with my Series 80 which lacks a half cock notch. Of course, the Series 70 has no FP safety, while the Series 80 has one.

MythBuster
February 22, 2012, 05:50 PM
With either one as long as you take your finger off the trigger it will work the same.

Walt Sherrill
February 22, 2012, 07:32 PM
If the day comes that I don't have the manual dexterity to manually lower a hammer without shooting myself in the foot...I'll sell all the guns and take up needlepoint.

Alas, if you don't the the dexterity needed to manually lower a hammer, you'll probably have a hard time with needlepoint, too. May just have to take up fishing, then -- with dynamite?

tipoc
February 22, 2012, 09:25 PM
Gloob,

You may have misinterpreted this statement. Unless you are suggesting that when decocking a 1911, the only thing between a successful decock and an ND is your thumb on the back of the hammer spur.

It has been mentioned by more than one person that it takes two hands to safely lower the hammer on a live round with a 1911, BHP or other similar guns. One hand which pulls the trigger while the other prevents the hammer from striking the firing pin. The thumb is not on the back of the hammer spur in any method that I have seen or know of. While the hammer on a single action or da revolver can be safely lowered with one hand in a pinch on the 1911 or BHP two hands are required. This is part of why the thumb safety was added in the first place. If there was an interruption in firing the gun could be made safe one handed by employing the safety till two hands were available for lowering the hammer.

tipoc

MythBuster
February 22, 2012, 09:53 PM
Another BS myth about the 1911 is that it WILL fire if dropped on the muzzle in condition two because of firing pin inertia but it will not do so in condition one.

Where does this BS come from? If it can do it in condition two it can and will do it condition one.

In fact it is my opinion it is less likely to do so in two than one.

theQman23
February 23, 2012, 01:50 AM
I don't know what JMB original intent was, nor do I argue that the half cock is or isn't a safety, because that depends entirely on what your idea or intent is while defining the word "safety."
What I do know is, that when the metal shape of the sear and the metal shape of the hammer wear together after hundreds or thousands of shots, you can still maintain the nice crisp edge of a .020 trigger and sear job for a very long time, even if you carry locked and cocked like I do. If however, you start wearing the hammer down into the half cocked safety valley on the hammer, you will take some of the edge off of the sear, and over many thousands of cycles if that gets rounded you will wind up being unsafe.
My advice, carry the gun hammer down if you go unchambered. Or, if you carry as I do with a slug in the hole, then cock the thing all the way and put the manual safety on and let the sear ride on the appropriately matched and machined edge it is supposed to ride on.
Besides, if you carry chambered, and then half cocked, don't you have to them cock the gun to use it if needs be? Why wouldn't you just swipe off the manual safety and go to town?

1911Tuner
February 23, 2012, 04:37 AM
If however, you start wearing the hammer down into the half cocked safety valley on the hammer, you will take some of the edge off of the sear, and over many thousands of cycles if that gets rounded you will wind up being unsafe.

*blink blink*

Uh...

Uhm...

Nah.

Honestly, it's a moot point. I doubt if anyone will actually use the half-cock as a safety because there's no real reason to use it. Nobody is arguing that it should be used. Only that it is a safety and that it can be used if one so desires.

1911Tuner
February 23, 2012, 06:41 AM
Anywhoo, like I said, there's no one alive, today, that will teach you how to decock a gun for money.

I will, and I won't even charge ya for it. I'll also demonstrate the safe way to pinch-check the chamber...long lambasted for being so perilous that nobody can do it without putting their finger in mortal danger. And, no...Steven Seagal doesn't do it correctly.

MythBuster
February 23, 2012, 11:22 AM
My problem with half cock is that if the gun is dropped hard enough on the hammer it can destroy the sear leaving the gun useless until it is repaired.

Also if the hammer receives a very hard blow it could break the sear and the gun could fire.

Hammer down about you would get is possibly a bent hammer spur.

Greg528iT
February 23, 2012, 11:42 AM
If however, you start wearing the hammer down into the half cocked safety valley on the hammer, you will take some of the edge off of the sear, and over many thousands of cycles if that gets rounded you will wind up being unsafe.

This is also a BIG.. it depends on the hammer and shape of the half cock notch. Some of the original half cock notches I've seen so capture the sear that there will be little if any movement, thus no real wear. Other half cock notches I've seen have a high spot in the middle such that when the sear is sitting on the half cock (or more likely) lands on it, the sear face is ONLY contacted in the center NOT at the location of the hammer hook mating surfaces. This looks to be a very nice feature as if the hammer falls to half cock hard it does not impact your finely matched sear to hook face. Many hammers are different, so it's a DEPENDS / maybe.. etc

bigfatdave
February 23, 2012, 12:36 PM
question for theQman23:
are you saying that the half-cock notch is a "square peg in a round hole" situation?
I'm not doubting that some designs might be like that, but is it common? Could you dig up a reference or diagram showing more detail?

tipoc
February 23, 2012, 02:48 PM
Honestly, it's a moot point. I doubt if anyone will actually use the half-cock as a safety because there's no real reason to use it. Nobody is arguing that it should be used. Only that it is a safety and that it can be used if one so desires.

I've never had reason to place a gun on the half cock as a mode of carry (though, as I mentioned, I know why others have done so.)
It is useful should the hammer slip from the thumb or fingers either in cocking or decocking the gun where it can prevent a ud. Or in the case of the hammer following the slide down when the sear has been worn or damaged as the half cock then prevents the gun from going full auto. Seems to me these safety aspects of it's function can be overlooked but shouldn't be.

In a pm a forum member sent me a note outlining a procedure for lowering the hammer to half cock using one hand that I hadn't heard described before. I tried it on an empty gun and it seemed an awkward and cumbersome thing to me and not reliably safe. The two handed methods for lowering either to the half cock or fully down are safer I believe.

tipoc

GLOOB
February 23, 2012, 02:52 PM
I will, and I won't even charge ya for it.
Exactly my point. Charge money, and you will end up getting sued when a 10 thumbed idiot "follers yer course instrukshuns, exzactly" and you're found guilty of reckless endangerment by a jury of non-gun owners. In front of all those people, the prosecuting attorney will ask you "Was it necessary to manually decock this gun, to begin with?" The he'll show the jury several guns which have a decocking mechanism built in, and explain to those jurors how manufacturers include a decocker on guns that are meant to be decocked.

Ask anyone who does firearms training for a living and a reputation, and the only answer you'll get is "I don't advise that." And there'll be one or two of 'em paid to say exactly that at your trial.

The pinch technique is pretty stupid, if you ask me, because: 1. You're putting your finger in the trigger guard for no good reason. 2: You're putting the wrong finger of the wrong hand in the trigger guard, for no good reason. (Can you say accidental bump fire? lol) But as long as you do it right, the beavertail safety is not depressed. Course, compromising your grip to let off that safety isn't ideal, either. So it's dumb any way you cut it.

As for putting your finger in mortal danger, that's only true cuz your other finger is in the triggerguard. I have no issues with forward cocking serrations, for instance. I can't understand how other people make this a huge issue. If you don't trust a firearm to not go off when you're in control of it, and can't trust yourself to keep your fingers at least a half inch clear of the muzzle without sweeping yourself, then how can you feel comfortable carrying it in a holster in such a way that it routinely points at other people's feet or worse? (Or at your own genitals, if you care for Mexican carry! :))

Not to mention that on a small pocket pistol, the overhand method will put your finger in just as much danger... 'cept it would be the pinky finger this time. :)

But then again, if I had anything at stake, I'd stick with what everyone else is teaching.

tipoc
February 23, 2012, 02:58 PM
Gloob,

If you prefer I'll charge ya!

Send $10. to my PayPal account and ...

but if you shoot your knee cap off it's on you. :)

tipoc

1911Tuner
February 23, 2012, 03:03 PM
Ask anyone who does firearms training for a living and a reputation, and the only answer you'll get is "I don't advise that."

Which is not to be taken as proof that it can't be done.

If you cock a revolver and the opportunity for the shot is lost, you can't clear the gun with the hammer cocked. What do you do? Fire the round, or lower the hammer?

You're in a tree stand with a Model 94, and your buck disappears. Will you chamber a round and lower the hammer to half-cock...or will you wait until a Boone & Crockett buck shows up to lever the action? Then, if the buck fades into the treeline...are you gonna make noise clearing the rifle, or lower the hammer to half-cock and wait?

Hammers are designed to be manipulated with the thumb. That's why they have checkering or serrations. Yes, you can light one off if you're careless and get in a hurry.

Be careful. Take your time. It'll be ai'ght.

Greg528iT
February 23, 2012, 03:04 PM
Here is a picture of the STI. I've seen similar in Wilson Combat and EGW
http://www.dawsonprecision.com/images/mediums/519-1202.jpg

With these hammers, if the hammer falls to half cock or is placed there, the sear is trapped, and hammer hook portions of the sear face are no contacted.
Even if the half cock has full contact with the sear face, that's 50% more area for the sear to rest on. If I had a hammer FALL on half cock, I'd still inspect it.

1911Tuner
February 23, 2012, 03:18 PM
If I had a hammer FALL on half cock, I'd still inspect it.

During a range session, I had 2 followdowns to the quarter cock shelf in one of my 1991A1 beaters...with an MIM sear...about 50,000 rounds ago. Replaced the sear spring and kept on truckin'.

pale horse
February 23, 2012, 06:48 PM
I have been shooting the 1911 for many years professionally and privately. As an Instructor I can spot an amateur shooter by how they carry their weapon. Their level of skill when I put them on the clock becomes evident very fast. Normally the guys who have combat focused training use condition one. Condition 3 is generally used by guys who have been trained by Israeli's or they dont feel comfortable with the hammer drawn back. Condition 3 is used "cuz thats the way my grandad taught me when he was in the war." I have seen guys try 1, 2, and 3 and shoot OK in static targets fairly well. Three weeks ago I was working with a guy who was in the army and was trying to shoot the course of fire on half cock and he jacked rounds all over trying to get the weapon into action, until I corrected the piss poor army training he received 20 years ago. I had my 1911 and showed him how fast it was carrying in 1 and 3 over 2. He changed his condition and shot so much better after struggling with "the grandad showed me how method." If you would like further illustration look at the following guys Larry Vickers, MagPul and ANY competitive 1911 shooter when they run 1911s for combat/competition purposes. The key is consistency in your carry method. If you would like to try a test and see if you are comfortable take a pic of your wife or kid (who you love), put it up in the target area and try to load using each method and see if you are willing to bet on not having sweaty fingers when loading for condition 2.

The army has to train to the lowest level and over half of the weapons skills (until recently) have been 20-30 years behind the power curve. If you look at the Ranger Bats and CAG you will see how it is supposed to be carried. Granted, they are carrying Beretta's, Glock's, and some 1911's. The ones who are carrying the 1911 are carrying condition 1. If you look at the level of skill these shooters have over the general masses you will see how and why the Army went to loddie dottie everybody training. For the record using the army as an example of good tactics for the average joe is about as dumb as a screen door on a submarine.

Regardless, of what was intended 100 years ago we have progressed as a culture, heck we even have microwaves for cooking. It was once thought that going 60 miles an hour would make you catch on fire. Even better yet using more that 3 controls at a time driving would cause you to burst brain cells. Lets not get wrapped around the axle on the intention of a dead man and 100 or even 50 year old tactics. Figure out for yourself what you need to use in a gunfight and train until you get it wrong and then train again.

Art Eatman
February 23, 2012, 07:13 PM
Re "dropsy": About forty years ago my 1912 vintage 1911 fell off the seat of my VW bus. I'd had some sort of fumbleitis attack. It was loaded and cocked, with the thumb safety on. It hit directly on the hammer. So I said Bad Words about my stupidity as I picked it up and went on about my business.

MythBuster
February 23, 2012, 08:27 PM
No one said condition two or halfcock was better or faster in any way over one.

I only said it was a BS myth that condition two carry was "unsafe".

1911Tuner
February 23, 2012, 09:19 PM
Three weeks ago I was working with a guy who was in the army and was trying to shoot the course of fire on half cock and he jacked rounds all over trying to get the weapon into action.

I'm a little confused. It would seem to me that after he racked the slide once, the pistol would have been cocked. If he returned it to half-cock after every mag change, it would seem that he'd be aware of it, and thumb-cock the piece when he was ready to fire again.

These days, whenever I carry a 1911, it's most often in C-1. In times gone by, I've carried it in C-2 for the reasons that I outlined earlier. i.e. Keeps crud out of the lockwork when the environment is doin' its level best to foul it. I'm perfectly comfortable with cocked and locked, and I'm perfectly comfortable lowering the hammer on a hot chamber if the situation dictates that it would be a good idea.

'Course, I ain't one of those high-speed/low-drag operators whose life is in constant danger, and if it was...I'd probably stay home and keep a loaded shotgun across my lap.

MythBuster
February 23, 2012, 09:30 PM
"'Course, I ain't one of those high-speed/low-drag operators whose life is in constant danger, and if it was...I'd probably stay home and keep a loaded shotgun across my lap"

So many of these guys doing the "teaching" have never even come close to being in a gun fight.

HKGuns
February 23, 2012, 09:35 PM
Alright. You can officially call me Condition-2 [Beginner]HK!

I'm gonna carry my 1911's on half cock just to spite all the arguers in this thread. If I'm still alive or without holes after a year I'll post back that it is utterly safe.

john wall
February 23, 2012, 09:43 PM
I have a word for one who carries a 1911 in C2. "Beginner".

C3 is considered "Ceremonial Carry".

The Average Bear WILL NOT TRAIN. Consider this when you recommend carry guns.:banghead:

I suggest revolvers in my classes, for the above reason. I consider a 1911 shooter a Problem Shooter until he proves me wrong. Watching a shooter who has mastered his 1911 is a beautiful, if rare, sight.

Mr. Doughnut
February 23, 2012, 10:09 PM
This is a very interesting exchange.

john wall:

What is your criteria for 1911 mastery? What do you look for? How do you judge?

GLOOB
February 24, 2012, 12:31 AM
I've never seen a true beginner group much better than the side of a barn with a DA revolver. Also, beginners are more prone to being CAREFUL with a 1911, due to the light trigger and multiple doodads on it - and careful equals slow. I've never seen a beginner shoot to save his life, but I assume most of 'em would do it much faster if need be. :)

I'm not so sure about myself, though. For me, less is more, ala Glock, LEM trigger, etc.

1911Tuner
February 24, 2012, 05:06 AM
I have a word for one who carries a 1911 in C2. "Beginner".

Really? Pretty wide brush there. I used to use C2 quite a bit, and I'm anything but a "beginner."

The 1911 and the High Power offer a choice of carry modes, depending on the situation. There is no "only one" correct way.

Exactly my point. Charge money, and you will end up getting sued when a 10 thumbed idiot "follers yer course instrukshuns, exzactly" and you're found guilty of reckless endangerment by a jury of non-gun owners.

With that reasoning, it might be better if nobody offered any instruction on safe/proper gun handling at all, because...well...sooner or later somebody is going to have a negligent discharge despite the best efforts of the instructor. It's a safe bet that somebody will attempt to lower a hammer despite the instructor advising against it.

So, which is more reasonable...Hope that the students will follow your instructions as if they were the word of God, or assume that at least a percentage of them will seek their own paths? IMO, failing to address the question is more negligent than instructing the student in proper technique. I'd be derelict in my responsibility if I didn't teach it.

Old Fuff
February 24, 2012, 11:28 AM
I have a word for one who carries a 1911 in C2. "Beginner".

Yup, that's me.

My experience is limited to only about 65 years of shooting, handling, collecting, 'smithing, and building. Don't hardly know noth'n. Haven't shot no bears either. :uhoh:

Probably need to go back to school and learn how it's done all over again. :D

Ken41
February 24, 2012, 02:01 PM
Since I have been a member since 2006, I thought that I should make my first post!

I have been home sick with sciatica in my Lt leg, getting ready for cervical surgery a week from Monday, and turning 71.

Anyway, I purchased my first M1911 in 1963 and at the present time have three. The method that I have used for de-cocking is using one hand. Pistol in right hand, use my thumb to pull hammer back, which depresses the grip safety, pull the trigger and lower the hammer with my thumb. When I put my thumb on the hammer to de-cock, the spur of the hammer is almost against the first thumb joint, with the rest of the thumb, along the hammer serrations, overhanging the face of the hammer. As the hammer goes forward, my thumb rolls up enough to keep it from getting pinched between the hammer and frame. I use this method for a two hand hold, and if a one hand hold, switch to two hands.

rcmodel
February 24, 2012, 02:17 PM
OH! You're gonna shoot your eye out doing that for sure!!

Seriously, I have been doing the same thing since 1962, so I got you beat by one year.

The only thing is, it don't work so hot with todays beaver-tail grip safety's.

Thats another thing Browning probably figured out.
So you could safely uncock your 1911 with one hand, while at full gallop with the reins in the other hand!

Now, lets see where these two posts go?
Should add another three or four days of arguing about what John Browning was really thinking!

rc

gc70
February 24, 2012, 02:20 PM
The only thing is, it don't work so hot with todays beaver-tail grip safety's

Oh, no; a heretic who does not worship at the altar of the beaver-tail grip safety! :eek:

bigfatdave
February 24, 2012, 02:50 PM
Ken41, I assume you have traditional hammer with wide spur and a minimal grip safety protrusion?

That method gets more chancy with the current trend for a long grip safety and rounded hammer. As someone with large meaty hands, I appreciate these additions to JMB's sacred cow, they let me carry an entirely enjoyable gun that I shoot quite well due to ergonomics and a great trigger.

Old Fuff
February 24, 2012, 03:51 PM
Oh, no; a heretic who does not worship at the altar of the beaver-tail grip safety!

I don't know what you mean by "beaver tail," but I think that you might be referring to what's called a "duck-butt" style... :neener: :D

Ken41
February 24, 2012, 03:54 PM
I started de-cocking this way with my original Military M1911 with the wide hammer spur, and have used this method since. I do have a couple with narrow rounded hammers, and beaver-tails, but still use it. I find that if I don't think about it, I do it that way on my SIG-220 instead of using the de-cock lever

This may just be muscle memory kicking in. Occasionally, I will get my thumb pinched between the hammer and frame.

I do carry Condition 1 (cocked, thumb safety on)

pale horse
February 24, 2012, 04:21 PM
I sense a tone of someone having the case of a need to know what my credentials are before I can speak about anything further on this board. BTW winning an argument on internet is like winning the special Olympics, even if you wing your still retarded, but I will play along. I am a combat vet during the Iraq war, Calvary Scout 19D in the Army, Marine Corps Infantry 0311, small arms trainer, distinguished marksman on the 240 and M2 Machine Gun, proven in combat as a trigger puller, CSAT Tactical Pistol Instructor Certified, Trained members of Local, State, and Federal SWAT teams as well as regular police officers In Texas for Active Shooter Situations, am Currently working as Weapons Instructor in Tx, have "done the deed" (MythBuster), and worked with people who have died in combat because of piss poor training. That is who I am. I have no need to validate who and what I am to keyboard Jockeys.

To clarify the guy who was "jacking rounds all over the range." When he was in the army he was trained on condition 2. So when he got to the training he drew his weapon and forgot it was on half cock and tried to pull the trigger and no bang (this was at the beginning of the string of fire he decided to shoot 5 times). So I told him to rack the slide henceforth jacking rounds all over the range because he had never been put under pressure and his old training took over. When I showed him the "NEW" way to do it he realized it was faster and he was not dumping ammo on the ground.

I don't give a rats rear how you carry your weapons. I just said that for what I train guys to do and the way I have been trained, Condition 1 is the fastest way to deploy a pistol for the purpose of combat. Additionally, the vast majority of guys I have worked with or spoken with, who have a 1911 carry it in condition 2 because they are scared of a hammer being cocked to the rear while they are carrying.

Greg528iT
February 24, 2012, 04:25 PM
So you could safely uncock your 1911 with one hand, while at full gallop with the reins in the other hand!

Well in this day and age, If I'm going to be on horseback at a full gallop, I'm going to have a .45 Colt SAA in my hand and a lever action rifle in the scabbard.

You asked for it. ;)

tipoc
February 24, 2012, 04:25 PM
Thats another thing Browning probably figured out.
So you could safely uncock your 1911 with one hand, while at full gallop with the reins in the other hand!

That was part of it. But that was also why the thumb safety was added. We also don't have to guess what he was thinking. The army wrote down what they wanted and why and Colt engineers and Browning made it so. We know why the grip safety was added, same with the thumb safety, same for the half cock notch and on and on.

The method described of one handed decocking, or lowering the hammer, is one I don't care much for. Mostly cuz it requires a larger hand and can be awkward for folks with medium to small mitts. One of the two hand methods works for me.

I was taught to use a 1911 in 1972. In a good rig I carry Condition One. C&L is a good way to go if one anticipates the need to bring the piece into immediate action. But I've also carried Condition 2 while out hunting or hiking or camping. I've slept with a gun in a sleeping bag Condition 2. I've had a gun in a glove box. I've carried C2 in a paper bag, in a tool bag at work, in a tool box at work, in a coat pocket, condition two and some times three. I keep a gun behind some books at my house and it ain't C&L. I have been a terrible "accident waiting to happen" amateur all these past 4 decades and was unaware of it. Apparently I need 24 hours a day to be in Condition One in case I am attacked by gangsters, gun thugs or zombies and anything less is dangerous or amatuerish.

I make no pretense of being an armed professional or a gun thug. But I can shoot a bit and I can safely lower a hammer on a BHP or a 1911.

tipoc

1911Tuner
February 24, 2012, 04:30 PM
I sense a tone of someone having the case of a need to know what my credentials are before I can speak about anything further on this board. BTW winning an argument on internet is like winning the special Olympics, even if you wing your still retarded, Condition 1 is the fastest way to deploy a pistol for the purpose of combat.

Step back and take a breath.

Note that nobody said anything to the contrary.

The discussion is technical...not tactical.

The tactical aspects are a foregone conclusion.

The technical parts are often misunderstood.

The half-cock notch is a de facto safety.

Condition 2 is a safe way to carry.

The 1911 wasn't designed for the purpose of C-1 carry. It can be carried that way, but it wasn't designed specifically to be. The thumb safety was added so that a mounted trooper could safely reholster the piece and regain control of a frightened horse...not so that SWAT types could go hot/cocked and locked and ready to rock 75 years later.

The user has a choice. HIS choice.

Lowering the hammer on a hot chamber can result in an unintentional discharge if one is careless and/or doesn't understand and use the proper technique for the task. It can be done.

tipoc
February 24, 2012, 04:48 PM
Pale Horse,

To clarify the guy who was "jacking rounds all over the range." When he was in the army he was trained on condition 2. So when he got to the training he drew his weapon and forgot it was on half cock and tried to pull the trigger and no bang (this was at the beginning of the string of fire he decided to shoot 5 times). So I told him to rack the slide henceforth jacking rounds all over the range because he had never been put under pressure and his old training took over. When I showed him the "NEW" way to do it he realized it was faster and he was not dumping ammo on the ground.

Key thing there was, as you said, he "forgot" the gun was on half cock. He may go on to also "forget" the gun is cocked and locked in a bit and forget to swipe off the safety. Folk can get nervous during a training session and forget things or fumble them. That is common. That is part of why practice is good and useful. But as you correctly pointed out it was lack of practice that was the problem and not that he chose to carry the gun on the half cock notch.

Having the gun on the half cock is not Condition Two. Had he been "trained in the army" he would have known that carry on the half cock is not an approved method of carry and never has been. He could of picked it up there from some GIs but it wasn't approved. Condition two is the hammer down on a live round and not on the half cock.

I'm not arguing against what you have said just for the recognition that there are other conditions of carry besides C&L and that they have there place and a role in the handling of the weapon.

tipoc

pale horse
February 24, 2012, 05:42 PM
Yes you can carry the 1911 in half cock. I have found that it is not the preferred way with the newer 1911 commander hammer. With the 1911 and 1911A1 people were trained to carry in Condition 2 during combat when not in immediate need of the pistol. For the US soldier condition 3 was designed so the PV1 on guard duty would not shoot himself when on gate duty.

The guy who was shooting got flustered and forgot. I have gotten flustered and forgot things in competition and combat. However, my lowest level of training is what I reverted back to in the heat of the moment. What I was getting at was the example of a guy who was trained one way and when pressure was on he would have been dead. I am not saying that any condition is better that another. I am saying that people using various methods of carry forget or revert to their lowest level of training and if that is condition 2 it can be unsafe when the pressure is on or when its time to conduct social cleansing of misunderstood criminals.

"Condition two is the hammer down on a live round and not on the half cock." I think your may be wrong here. When people are referring to condition two with the 1911, they are talking about the half cock position with a 1911 hammer. Earlier in the thread there is a photo of a 1911 hammer that has the hammer hooks and the half cock position in question. That is what the thread is all about.

gc70
February 24, 2012, 06:15 PM
I have no need to validate who and what I am to keyboard Jockeys.It's the internet; nobody really cares about anything except whether what you have to say is sensible and how much it contributes to the topic being discussed.

1911Tuner
February 24, 2012, 06:33 PM
When people are referring to condition two with the 1911, they are talking about the half cock position with a 1911 hammer.

Hammer all the way down with a chambered round has long been recognized as Condition Two.

The three numbered conditions emerged not long after Jeff Cooper started advocating Condition One. He may have even been the author.

Half cock has never been assigned a number. It's always been known simply as "Half Cocked."

No branch of the US military has never officially condoned Condition 2, though there have been many who carried them in that mode. Condition One...allowed when action is imminent...and Condition Three at all other times.

The MEUSOC may be carrying them in C1 as a matter of course whenever they're on the move.

pale horse
February 24, 2012, 07:17 PM
The title of the thread is "1911 Half Cock Question."

During my armorer training in the Army Condition 2 was on the half cock position.

MEUSOC does carry in condition 1.

theQman23
February 27, 2012, 06:47 PM
BigFatDAve, you asked me to clarify the round peg in square hole issue when you lay the trigger down in the half cocked location, vs. the "cocked" position. If you look at the photo one of our fine gentlemen included in this thread of a 1911 hammer, you'll see as you rotate counterclockwise from the hammer face first, the large valley designed to catch the sear IF there was a problem. In that sense, one could certainly call that half cocked position, a safety. However, if you continue to rotate counterclockwise to those two very small little hooks about half way around the circle, those are the two hooks the sear rides on when you are cocked. Those hooks are machined/filed/stoned/fitted/ depending on who did it and how nice a job they've done, to supposedly be 90 debrees. And they are not only a 90 degree angle between the flat, and the hook, but just as importantly they are also in a specific location in accordance with the rotation of the hammer intself, meaning, the angle at which the flats are in tangent to the pin circle.
Ok, if you RIDE IN the half cock location, the metal running on your sear, will shape the edges of the sear to match and wear/round out with the edges, (or lack thereof) down in the half cocked notch. If you carry fully cocked, and the perfectly machined trigger job work of not only the correct 90 degrees, but the angle of where those 90 start and end, will ride on (hopefully) an equally shaped and perfectly fitted sear where that same 90 degrees, (or more perfectly, slightly underdone at say 88 degrees,) are on the sear.

theQman23
February 27, 2012, 06:58 PM
To simplify, if you put your 88-90 degree sear up into a corner that is a perfect 90, it'll last a very long time, even after repeated use. If you take that same, sharp edged, perfectly stoned 88-90 degree object and rub it up into a circle, or a 100 degree edge, or a 75 degree edge, or anything other than the hammer hooks it's designed to run in, then you'll over time wear that part to be out of shape.
1911 tuner hinted that it isn't a big issue, and I'm supposing he stated that because it would take a long time to do, and the hammer isn't riding and moving there much, so he is not wrong to take that opinion. But it might be more correct to say that if you want to preserve the 90 degree point, you need to run it in a 90 degree home base location, because anything else of course doesn't properly fit.
If the hole in the receiver that the slide stop pin goes in was square, instead of round, it would still work for a while, (probably a very, very long while,) PROVIDED that the distance between sides was equal to the diameter of the pin. But we don't build guns that way do we? If we have a round pin, we fit it in a round hole. Why? Because instead of lasting for thousands of rounds, it might last for hundreds of thousands of rounds, if it's properly fitted.
So, as simply as I can put it, if you want your sear to stay sharp and hold a nice edge longer, (especially after paying someone to do a trigger job on it,) you would do well to either A) carry it down on an empty chamber whereby the edges tough nothing but air, or the way I like to carry mine B) loaded, and with the sear fitted into the hammer where it belongs and only using or relying on the half cocked location as a safety catch, not a normal, "I'm going to carry my gun with the hammer in this position". In fact, since the surfaces of the sera and the 1/2 position don't match up, you'll likely be LESS SAFE because surface cracks on the sear could happen faster when parked in an uneven location, and when the sear fails the possibility of an AD goes up, not down. So think of the 1/2 cock as a backup safety that you don't rely on or use regularly.

Earlsbud
February 28, 2012, 12:13 AM
The title of the thread is "1911 Half Cock Question."

During my armorer training in the Army Condition 2 was on the half cock position.

MEUSOC does carry in condition 1.
I enjoyed reading your posts. The replies to your excellent posts have caused me to leave the site. For me it's not worth the bovine fecal matter this moderator shovels around. Good luck to you and God bless.

1911Tuner
February 28, 2012, 05:15 AM
During my armorer training in the Army Condition 2 was on the half cock position.

Must be a new thing.

MEUSOC does carry in condition 1.

I know. They consider the pistol to be a second primary weapon, and they keep them in C1 whenever they're operating, because when they are...action is always imminent...and C1 has always been approved for that. When they're stood down or in garrison, the pistols go back to C3 just like the rifles.

And again...the question is of a technical nature, so let's get back to that.

In fact, since the surfaces of the sear and the 1/2 position don't match up, you'll likely be LESS SAFE because surface cracks on the sear could happen faster when parked in an uneven location, and when the sear fails the possibility of an AD goes up, not down.

I'd say that would be a stretch. The sear isn't that fragile. WW2-era pistols have been discovered hidden away in attics, stored loaded half cocked for decades...and worked perfectly. I've been personally aware of three. One of them is in my collection, still with the original sear. It belonged to my father, and he kept it loaded at half cock for as long as I can remember until he died. I'm sure that there are many more.

I also did a test/demonsration on an MIM sear once, where I placed it on an anvil, cupped side up, and struck it briskly...twice...with a 4-ounce hammer. Not only did it not break...when I installed it in a pistol...the gun functioned just fine, although the trigger was a little gritty. After that, I removed a full 1/8th inch from the crown with a cutoff wheel and reinstalled it. It held full cock for several live firing cycles. When the hammer hooks were removed, and the hammer thumbed back and slipped...the half cock notch grabbed the sear and stopped the hammer.

1911Tuner
February 28, 2012, 05:31 AM
For me it's not worth the bovine fecal matter this moderator shovels around.

If you want to take the time to read the original patents available online, you may learn something about what the half cock is and what it was intended to be. Once more...the question was technical...not tactical. The half cock is a safety by design and intent. Whether you or anyone else chooses to use it as such is a matter of choice. I don't, because it's unnecessary. If the pistol didn't have a manual safety, I probably would.

Of course, learning sometimes entails the acceptance that we don't know what we think we know...and for some people, that's impossible.

:)

But...like the thumb safety...the half-cock "Safety Position" was meant to be a short-term, temporary condition, used when the mounted trooper had need of both hands in order to regain control of a frightened horse. That's why the thumb safety was added. It's faster and safer in that situation than using the the half cock.

MythBuster
February 28, 2012, 09:06 AM
If someone leave because of the wisdom of someone like the 1911 tuner now that is just wrong
I like the man's style. Instead of repeating BS he does the experiments himself exactly like I do.

For example after hearing all the BS about a blow to the hammer firing a 1911 in condition one I proved to myself this was not true.

Now about the idea that constant carring of the 1911 on half cock could cause damage to the sear I could see that to some degree but it has no effect on most of us because most of us do not keep their 1911 on half cock.

BigG
February 28, 2012, 09:11 AM
I forgot - what was the question? ;)

1911Tuner
February 28, 2012, 09:32 AM
I forgot - what was the question?

I keep tryin' to get it back to the original question...but I ain't havin' much luck.

Now about the idea that constant carring of the 1911 on half cock could cause damage to the sear I could see that to some degree...

If that were an issue, the sear would be damaged by the hammer hooks constantly resting on it, and it would be damaged when the slide rides forward and drops the hammer back onto the sear. The sear just isn't that fragile.

'Preciate the good words, by the way.

Now then...Everybody please note...again...that I'm not trying to convince anyone to use the half cock as a safety, or dissuade anyone from using Condition One. There's no argument that Condition One is the most tactically sound way to carry one...but this discussion isn't about tactics.

Old Fuff
February 28, 2012, 10:02 AM
For me it's not worth the bovine fecal matter this moderator shovels around.

Really?? The fact is that "this moderator" knows more about the mechanics of the 1911 platform then anyone else who contributes to this forum. Over 15,000 posts - most of which have been 1911 pistol related, attest to this fact.

For some reason some folks seem to think that the history of John Browning's handgun designs started and ended with the .45 Government Model pistol. Such is not so, because it was preceded by a number of other pistols, and a great number of prototypes. All of the Colt pistols made between 1900 and 2000 (and most thereafter) were, and still are, based on 4 patents issued to Browning in 1897. All of those that had a thumb-cocked hammer also had a half-cock notch that was referred to as a "safety."

In addition, all of the Winchester rifles and shotguns that this firm manufactured under other Browning patents that had thumb-cocked hammers also had a half-cock/safety feature.

It is true that today the half-cock notch on the 1911 pistol platform is seldom used as a safety, and it is generally advocated that it not be used as such. However this current attitude in no way changes the way things were met to be. I personally don't carry with the hammer on half-cock, and I don't believe that "the moderator" does either. But this, and the fact that some others don't either, doesn’t invalidate the whole history of Browning's Colt pistols.

If ignorance is an issue, it's not on the part of "the moderator," but rather those members who haven’t bothered to look into the past history of Browning's designs. While some opinions may not agree with Browning's thinking the critics have little to show on their part in the way of firearms design expertise that even come close to those of the original inventor.

Panzercat
February 28, 2012, 10:31 AM
I have to admit, this has been an incredible informative thread for somebody completely new to 1911s such as myself. Reading through, I can't help but to think that it is an incredibly safe pistol; that is to say as safe as a pistol can actually be. So if I'm reading this all correctly, there's no reason not to carry half cocked since almost every safety measure on the pistol is engaged anyway, the assembly is strong enough to bear the stress easily and it makes it easier to deploy the pistol to c0.

...Though realistically there's nothing 'wrong' with carrying c1 since the grip and thumb safety will be engaged anyway while conversely you would have to chamber a round to c0 and move the hammer back to half cocked to achieve the half cocked condition (the same for c2). So assuming you're comfortable with going all the way to c0 to do it, there's absolutely no reason mechanically or physically not to carry half cocked, or am I missing something?

Or you can just carry around c3 and call it a day :)

1911Tuner
February 28, 2012, 10:36 AM
So assuming you're comfortable with going all the way to c0 to do it, there's absolutely no reason mechanically or physically not to carry half cocked, or am I missing something?

There isn't. The addition of the "thumb" safety pretty much negated the need for using the half cock as a safety.

Greg528iT
February 28, 2012, 11:04 AM
Tuner... as I remember... it's been said that the thumb safety was added after the initial design. I can certainly see designing the pistol with the half cock safety, then once the additional thumb safety was added, leaving the original. Why delete a safety feature?

Also note, per my previous post.. that many new hammers incorporate a feature at the half cock shelf that eliminates the half cock shelf from riding on the important section of the sear face. When I saw it, I assumed it was for when the hammer falls to half cock. If any sear damage would happen, it'd do it then.

OK.. one last thing.. I just realized.. the most current argument is that, the sear face will not be damaged riding the half cock.. in fact it's very tough to damage the sear face as they are tough as nails.. Who was it that said they would use a rasp upside someone's head if they allowed the slide to slam shut empty after previous armorers had just spent hours finely tuning the sear face??? While a harder slap, it kind of goes in the face of what Tuner just said about the toughness of the sear face.

1911Tuner
February 28, 2012, 11:47 AM
Tuner... as I remember... it's been said that the thumb safety was added after the initial design.

It was. The cavalry requested a "Slide locking manual safety" for reholstering in a hurry. Even in those unenlightened days, they realized that a man under stress might forget to get his finger clear of the trigger before jamming it into the leather.


Also note, per my previous post.. that many new hammers incorporate a feature at the half cock shelf that eliminates the half cock shelf from riding on the important section of the sear face.

They went to a simpler, cheaper to machine shelf largely because nobody ever uses the half cock for a safety any more...but it came about with Colt's Series 80 modification.

Studying the notch/sear interface, I don't see where the captive notch rides the critical part of the sear. I've also had sear springs weaken and allow followdown to half cock... after which I corrected it by tweaking the spring or replacing it...and simply carried on with the same sears for tens of thousands of rounds. This, even with MIM sears. The sears are a bit tougher than most people would have you believe.

Finely honed sears for match-grade triggers are a little different critter. Any tiny change in the primary angle to hook interface changes the trigger action. If you've paid big bucks for a sweet trigger, you don't want it to change.

But, just sitting there on the half-cock? Nah. There's no impact to do any damage. Impact is a concern, which is why the hammer doesn't fall directly to the sear after firing the gun. The slide catches it, and lowers it gently it as it rides to battery.

Greg528iT
February 28, 2012, 12:07 PM
Thanks Tuner..

gym
February 28, 2012, 01:18 PM
I have carried a 1911 in various sizes off an on for 30 of my 40 years carrying. I always carry half cocked, it works for me. I cock it on the way up, not after it's in the ready position. I know one way is military, and the other law enforcement, when carrying from a hammer down position. As of yet, it works for me. usually because of the concealment issue. If I can't see the gun, "like in a waist pak" I can't be sure the safety didn't slip off it's notch. This can happen with kids, dogs, grandkids jumping on you. So it's just safer for me. I can easily pull my gun, Holstered or from concealment, while automaticlly pulling back the hammer. I never had an issue with it.
I have debated it here several times over the years. But each to their own.I believe whatever works for you and you feel more comfort with is the way you should approach things. On the other hand, I carry all my other guns, "mostly glocks, chambered and one in the pipe. I just make sure I can't hit the bang switch by using a secure holster, that you can't hit the trigger on. It must be hard leather or some sort of plastic. The same for my bug, the pocket holster is covering the trigger. I would never carry any gun un- chambered. I see a lot of new shooters who do this and cringe.
In a perfect world, I would carry cocked and locked. But my world has too many distractions, and taking it on and off ten times a day, are twenty chances for something to slide off, like replacing my wallett or keys in that waist pak. Maybe the gun should be the only thing that should be in there, but I have a lot of stuff, and no place else to keep it, with a gun in my right pocket, and keys in the left. I still need my wallet and phone, so this is the way I roll, it may not be tactically correct, but it works for me.

bigfatdave
February 28, 2012, 04:20 PM
For me it's not worth the bovine fecal matter this moderator shovels around. Perhaps, you should drop the attempt at arrogance and pay attention. Generally when 1911Tuner provides information, there's something to learn about the particular model he is discussing and guns in general.

theQman23
February 28, 2012, 04:26 PM
Good information gentlemen, nice thread well discussed.
I wanted to further comment on the hardness of the sear though. If you buy a new "drop in" sear and install it, and it feels good, fine, but almost all of the $2,000+ plus guns and competitor built 1911 guns have had trigger jobs or sear work done, by shaping, or stoning the sear and them re-installing it back into the gun. A hardened sear has a surface hardness, but that only goes so deep. Once you stone the top off a little, the metal gets softer, just like when you put a glock slide in the mill. First, the tenifer fights the bit, but after the tenifer surface is gone, the steel underneath cuts like butter.
So again, if you've had a trigger job done, and invested in shaping that sear perfectly to the hooks, you might reconsider how much time that sear spends touching anything other than those hooks.
It was mentioned that sears are "hard" and " if it was a problem then you'd see a difference in the sear where the 2 hooks are, and where the space is empty between them, on the sear surface"
This is entirely true, and every 1911 trigger job I do starts specifically with a new sear, for this reason. Because at least 50% of the 1911's I take apart do have a wear pattern that markedly shows the difference where the two hooks ride on the sear, and the wear there is different than in the middle. Any high round 1911 that hasn't had a trigger job will show that.
If you are pulling 1911's apart that don't show that, then they either A) already had a trigger job,) B) are low count guns, or C) have had their parts replaced with "drop in parts" recently.
Almost, and I say almost because nothing is constant, but almost all 1911's that have had six or more thousand rounds put through on that same hammer and sear are going to show hook wear, and you'l be able to see the difference clearly.
When metal parts move on other metal parts, wear occurs. Unavoidable. So, if you want to keep a nice crisp edge on a metal part, don't jam it into another metal part that isn't cut or shaped to receive it.
If what I'm saying wasn't true, we would never need to re-sharpen our knifes, or weld up and re-shape metal, and no one would ever need to pay for a trigger job in the first place.
Be safe.

gym
February 28, 2012, 04:36 PM
Could someone post a picture of these parts, and where the "hooks" are? I would like to check mine for myself. Or a link to an expanded diagram that shows the sear, and where to look for wear. I would also ask, on an emp, as many other 1911 type guns, there is a trigger adjustment screw, that the manual says "don't play around with this unles you know what you are doing". I usually don't listen to warnings after working for the defense dept in the 60's. But can I adjust my trigger play from that screw, the take up, or reset?

rcmodel
February 28, 2012, 04:45 PM
the take up, or reset
Neither.

The screw adjusts only over-travel after the sear breaks.
Assume it was set right, and don't mess with it.

Hammer, sear, and disconnector photo:
http://www.brownells.com/.aspx/pid=27209/Product/1911-AUTO-3-PIECE-DROP-IN-TRIGGER-PULL-SET#

Here is an excellent picture of a sear setting in the full cock notch of the hammer.
http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=2814037&postcount=1
The safety or intercept notch is further back on the hammer and can't be seen here.

Good illustrations of 1911 internals:
http://www.m1911.org/full_1911desc.htm

rc

1911Tuner
February 28, 2012, 04:52 PM
A hardened sear has a surface hardness, but that only goes so deep.

You're describing case hardening. A heat-treated hardened sear is the same from the surface all the way through to the other side.

theQman23
February 28, 2012, 04:54 PM
Hi Gym,
Your question is a little off topic because this thread was covering the half cock notch and not trigger issues. Don't think me rude, I"m just trying to politely refer you to the correct place for this information before someone flames you.
As for your question, I'll quickly answer it basically without trying to start another debate. To correctly adjust that screw, you should pull the main spring housing and sear spring out of the gun. Holding the gun facing away from you, look into the rear and you should keep tightening that travel limiting screw until it prevents the trigger from letting the sear work. Then, you should back it out an appropriate amount so that you are sure to get the proper amount of sear movement. Too little sear movement leads to sticky and unclean disengagement of the sear and hammer, and can lead to sear damage. Too much sear movement and your disconnector won't be able to do it's job correctly, and your sear will NOT RE-ENGAGE THE HAMMER, LEADING TO A DANGEROUS FULL AUTO condition and therefore, it is best to adjust the screw so that you get just enough to move the sear free, but no where near enough to allow the trigger to push the parts too far back. In other words, to keep safe, adjust the limiter so that the trigger stays closer to the front of the gun, and can't travel as far back, as long as it is still doing its job. You may need to read and re-read this instruction as you look in through the back of your gun to see the mechanics of why, but an hour spent studying this is going to be excellent time spent.
Now, once this adjustment is done, put more locktite in there so it can't spin on you. The amount of slop, or "takeup" that your trigger will have between fully extended forward, and the point where it begins to put pressure on the sear, should be adjusted by bending tabs in the top of the trigger bow. Most of the trigger bows sold today don't have these tabs, you can make them with cutters, or if you're aren't a super gunsmith then follow these directions to safetly adjust the overtravel and then live with a little "takeup". For more on this subject go to this video and forward to about the 4 minute mark
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sOfKdYNs1R4

hariph creek
February 28, 2012, 05:41 PM
I'm no expert. I know less than many here but...

I figure, if I need to carry a gun, it needs to be ready to go. Messing around trying to cock a gun in a crisis seems like a bad idea.

In a 1911 this means ''condition one.'' If a person isn't comfortable with this. Then more training or a different (double action) weapon might be in order.

If the gun is to be transported, put in storage or kept in such a way that instant use is not required. Then hammer down on empty chamber, ''condition three.''

It's clear this way... The gun is ready to go or it's not. No need to do a TV style weapon check. If it's cocked and locked, it's ready to...well you get it.
If the hammer's down, it's empty, period (yes, all guns are always loaded).

So for me at least, on a 1911, half cock is a ''passive'' safety feature.

Decocking is what a decocker is for.
As far as decocking on TV? It makes me cringe every time some actor casually lowers the hammer. Usually while still pointing the gun at whoever they decided not to shoot.
I do love it when they decock or engage/disengage the safety on a Glock.

It's strange that anyone could be uncomfortable with a 1911, yet fine with a striker fired gun. Not to say that striker fired is unsafe. It must be a visual thing?

But, I've gotten off subject, I shall retire.

1911Tuner
February 28, 2012, 06:07 PM
I figure, if I need to carry a gun, it needs to be ready to go. Messing around trying to cock a gun in a crisis seems like a bad idea.

Nobody said anything to the contrary. The discussion is technical...not tactical.

The question wasn't should the pistol be carried on half cock. The question was: Will it hurt anything to keep the hammer at half cock, and...by natural progression...is the half cock notch a safety? The answers are NO and YES, respectively.

MythBuster
February 28, 2012, 06:18 PM
I don't advise half cock carry because if you drop a half cocked 1911 on the hammer hard enough you might damage the sear or sear pin to the degree you pistol might not function.
Drop it on the hammer condition two and no harm.

gym
February 28, 2012, 08:38 PM
Thanks for that great video link Qman, and those pics RC. It explains much that I did not know. But As for Mr Creeks coment, my Para P13, was recommended to be carried in the half cocked condition as an alternative method of carry. Many had argued about this at the time, and there were two schools of thought Off topic as they may be, the FBI method, and the military method at the time. 90's, which one was to pull back the hammer on the way out before aquiring the target, and the other was aquire and then pull back the hammer. I chose the first as my method and have used it ever since. Striker fired pistols are a whole different animal, some are cocked fully some are half cocked prior to trigger engagement. I adapt to whatever I am using just as I drive my wifes car differentlly than my sports cars. But That's just me. Having grandkids and dogs , I have large dogs, I must make adjustments in order to fit my lifestyle. When I lived alone I lived by a different rule, everything was live and ready to go at all times, now at 63, I have to adapt to my life as it now is. The best thing I found was to carry a bug, in my right pocket, and if I need something that fast it is a pull and shoot pistol. Having been in those instances I fully understand the second delay of aquiring my main gun from a Pak, or a deep concealed holster.It's always better to have your hand on the gun before you need it. I have much to study on the videos, All 4 in that series, and had no idea, how complicated the 1911 internals reallly were. Other than springs and polishing, I never really got into the delicasies of how many adjustments there realy are. Thaks for the help.

qwert65
February 29, 2012, 12:28 AM
A long time ago I was reading a book of true world war 2 stories and in one story one of the men was left-handed and used the half cock method as his safety while on alert. Does that make sense(note I am right handed so it's moot for me)

Panzercat
February 29, 2012, 11:42 AM
I don't advise half cock carry because if you drop a half cocked 1911 on the hammer hard enough you might damage the sear or sear pin to the degree you pistol might not function.
Drop it on the hammer condition two and no harm.
The biggest issue I'm seeing here is you have to defeat all of the inherent safety mechanisms in a 1911 just to get it to condition 2. In fact, the only rational argument I've seen for not carrying half-cocked as opposed to condition 2 is to reduce the introduction of debris into the gun itself (which I acknowledge as a perfectly valid one as the need arises). I guess I'm saying you're running the risk of random chance either way and that neither seems better than the other.

Unless I'm in an environment where I really need to keep debris out of the gun, I'm not liking the consequences of dropping to condition 2 should I slip versus playing butterfingers with the entire gun and damage the sear somehow... All confidence in manual dexterity aside ;)

Alright, time to deploy the ol' beaten horse, I guess.
http://i262.photobucket.com/albums/ii110/ozzallos/Art%20Junk/beatingA_DeadHorse.gif

hariph creek
February 29, 2012, 11:58 AM
1911Tuner, I guess I was trying to say that for me, at least. The question of, ''to half-cock or not to half-cock?'' Is moot.
If it's being used for protection, it's cocked and locked.
If it's not being used for protection, it's hammer down on empty chamber.
I never place on half-cock. I never manually decock. I never manually thumb the hammer back.
So I see the half-cock/safety notch as a protection in the event the gun is dropped on the hammer. That is assuming of course, that somehow the disconnect fails.
For me the tactical answer addresses the technical question.

gym, you're right. I always think of striker fired guns as being fully ''cocked.''
I agree, you do have to adapt to your circumstances.
As much as I love, trust and am comfortable with my 1911. More often than not, I find my Detective Special being carried. For me, at this point in my life, snub revolvers are nice guns to ''live'' with.

Once again I'm off topic, I'm sorry.

hariph creek
February 29, 2012, 12:05 PM
panzercat, that's a good point. You know, about defeating all the other safeties. Well said.
As far as the debris thing. Sounds like a gear/holster issue.

Hey, I brought a stick. Can I hit your horse, too?

1911Tuner
February 29, 2012, 02:08 PM
1911Tuner, I guess I was trying to say that for me, at least. The question of, ''to half-cock or not to half-cock?'' Is moot.

It always was...at least in this thread.

Here's the first post.

Dear THR
I have been told arguments on the both side of harms of half cocking the 1911. Some have alleged that it put undue pressure on the sear which may break after a while, whereas some have suggested that it is not a valid concern.

If it's being used for protection, it's cocked and locked.

And nobody is trying to dispute or discourage that...but this thing seems to keep coming back to tactics. I understand the tactical part, but how the OP or anyone else chooses to carry a pistol is not for me or you or anyone else to dictate. If Joe wants to carry his pistol in Condition 1/2/3 or half-cocked or even empty...he can do that. It won't hurt the sear or the hammer or the disconnect or my feelings one little bit. I'll instruct him on how to manipulate the hammer in a safe manner and give him my blessings.

MythBuster
February 29, 2012, 02:14 PM
Another BS myth that I have seen on this board and others is they use the "evidense" that his first design lacked the thumb safety to they claim this proved he intended at first that the gun be carried cocked and unlocked.

hariph creek
February 29, 2012, 04:53 PM
1911Tuner, I see what you're saying, I didn't mean to...''go off half-cocked.''
TeeHee...
I'm so proud of myself right now.

I read the whole thread. I guess by the time I got to the end, I lost track of the OP's question?

theQman23
February 29, 2012, 10:54 PM
gym, it's always exciting to me (and others) when folks want to understand better how their guns work, and are interested in learning. Yes, there are things that you shouldn't do to expensive guns for safety and/or value reasons, if you are not experienced. But that being said, I highly recommend that you buy a rattly old 1911 of any make, any kind, for like 200 bucks. Hopefully you'll get one for a hundred because it is actually broken. Then, learn how to fix it. Yes, you can do it, yes you can. Just research, read, buy a file, make friends with a welder who has a bead blast cabinet, and get it done. When you are finished, you will have spent maybe a few hundred, maybe a thousand, depending on how fancy you get with parts and grips, etc etc, but whether you spend a lot, or a little, you will have to go through the whole gun, make sure everything is working as it should, check clearances according to the instructions available for free, all over the internet.
I'm not saying you'll be a gunsmith when you're done. I am saying that you will know YOUR GUN inside and out, and you will have more knowledge, and you will be proud of your work.
Enjoy safely.

gc70
March 1, 2012, 04:20 AM
In the 1910 patents...before the manual safety was added...Browning not only referred to it as a "safety position" he gave instruction on lowering the hammer to half-cock with one hand, neatly dispelling with two popular misconceptions in one paragraph.

But, don't take my word for it. Go look it up and read it.

For those who might be interested, below are transcriptions from scans of the original patents.

Half-cock - US Patent 984519 (http://www.google.com/patents/US984519) filed 2/17/1910 and issued 2/14/1911, starting on page 7 at line 8:

Heretofore in the pistols of this class, when the hammer was cocked ready for firing, and it became necessary to lower the hammer to the safety position without allowing it to touch the firing-pin, it required both hands of the user to accomplish this act, because the trigger had to be pulled with the first finger of the right hand to release the hammer and the grip-lever had simultaneously to be pressed into the grip to release the trigger for operation, to do this required the keeping of the thumb of the right hand in a horizontal position on the left side of the grip. Therefore it was impracticable to also extend the thumb of the right hand, while this hand pressed in the grip-lever and pulled the trigger, upward so as to rest upon the thumb-piece of the hammer and, thus controlling the hammer, to gently lower the same and restrain it from falling and from striking the firing-pin, because any attempt to do this would result in loosening the necessary hold upon the grip-lever. Consequently the lowering of the hammer had to be performed by the other hand, this is a serious drawback in a military arm, as a soldier and especially a mounted soldier does not in action have both hands free for such use. To overcome this difficulty, I have provided the grip-lever w with a projecting nose w2 in rear of its pivot, which stands closely in rear of and below the hammer when cocked, and the hammer is so fitted that it may be drawn rearward somewhat farther than to its cocked position. When the hammer is drawn fully backs it strikes the nose w2 and, by pressing the same downward, it causes the grip-lever to turn on its pivot forcing the lower portion into the grip, thereby releasing the trigger. By this arrangement the thumb of the hand grasping the grip needs not to be kept at the side of the grip for pressing in the grip-lever, but the thumb may be applied to the hammer and through the same operate the grip-lever to release the trigger, then the trigger may be operated with the first finger of the same hand to release the hammer and finally the thumb, still applied to the hammer, may allow the same to slowly descend to the safety position, without requiring the aid of the other hand. The rearward projecting nose w2 of the grip-lever w below the hammer q and in rear of the pivot-pin w1, serves to perform another important function in addition to that of providing the point of contact between the grip lever and the hammer, by means of which the grip-lever may be operated to release the trigger by drawing the hammer fully rearward as hereinbefore described.

Thumb safety - US Patent 1070582 (http://www.google.com/patents/US1070582) filed 4/23/1913 and issued 8/19/1913, starting on page 2 at line 98:

Heretofore pistols of this class were provided with automatic safety devices which made it impossible to fire one or several shots unless a cartridge was in the barrel, a charged magazine in the grip and all parts were in the proper closed and locked condition, the hammer cocked and the grip properly grasped to hold the pistol in the firing position. If, with the pistol thus made ready for instant use, the occasion for firing or for continued firing had passed, and it was desired to make the pistol temporarily safe for carrying, it was necessary to lower the hammer to the safety position, and special means were provided for enabling the lowering of the hammer to be performed, if necessary, by the use of only the hand holding the pistol. Experience, however, has shown that the exigencies of active military service make it at times necessary that the pistol be carried for a longer or shorter time with a loaded cartridge in the barrel, a charged magazine in its seat and with the hammer cocked, so as to still remain ready for instantly firing a maximum number of shots without requiring any initial movement, except the pulling of the trigger. At the same time, it is as necessary that the pistol can be made safe to positively prevent its accidental discharge while being so carried. For fulfilling, as nearly as possible, these necessary but contradictory requirements, an additional manually operated combined slide-lock and hammer-lock of novel construction and with additional functions has been provided on the pistol, which serves to at will lock the breech-slide and the firing mechanism and make the pistol positively safe against discharge though a cartridge is in the chamber and the hammer is cocked, or to at will release these parts and make the pistol ready for firing; with this added device the locking or releasing of the slide and of the hammer require only a slight pressure by the thumb of the hand grasping the grip of the pistol, without demanding such attention, care and exertion as are required for cocking the hammer or for releasing and lowering the same.

1911Tuner
March 1, 2012, 05:35 AM
Thanks for taking the time to post that, gc.

Please note that the "Safety Position" isn't with the hammer fully down, as outlined in the first sentence.

Heretofore in the pistols of this class, when the hammer was cocked ready for firing, and it became necessary to lower the hammer to the safety position without allowing it to touch the firing-pin.

If the hammer is all the way down, it's resting on the firing pin. That only leaves half cock.

It's sometimes amusing to see/hear the statement: "Cocked and locked, the way (The genius) JMB intended!" turn into: "Well...Browning just didn't understand. He was from a different time, etc, etc." when the truth comes out that Browning's original intent was to use the half-cock as a safety, and that the thumb safety wasn't even his idea.

Even the US Army considered Condition One to be a short-term condition, used when action was either close or in full swing...and to return the pistol to Condition Three once the emergency had passed. This, in a war zone. It can be maintained in Condition One indefinitely, but it wasn't meant specifically to be kept in that condition by Browning or anyone else.

The conversation probably went something like this:

"Here ya go, General. You can cock it and use the manual safety, or you can place the hammer on half cock or you can lower it all the way down. You figger out what you want to do."

And beyond that, he likely didn't give a rotund rodent's rump. He was done with it and ready to move on to the next project.

Old Fuff
March 1, 2012, 10:42 AM
Some folks (not meaning Tuner) fail to understand that knowledge requires study.

There is in this thread an implication that Browning had no use for manual safety locks. The truth is that he did, and from the very beginning. The first commercially produced Browning was made starting in 1899 by Frabrique Nationale (FN) in Belgian. It had a unique enclosed hammer/striker that did not have a half-cock notch, and a manual safety. It was followed shortly thereafter by a .38 Colt that had an exposed hammer that could be thumb-cocked, with a half-cock notch, and no manual safety after an early feature was quickly abandoned.

Then starting in 1903 at both FN and Colt, new pistols were introduced that had enclosed hammers or were striker fired, that featured both a grip and manual safety, and the hammers or striker/firing pin did not have any half-cock position.

Thereafter his designs, and both FN and Colt products were consistent in that those models that had "thumb-cockable" hammers had half-cock notches, while those that didn’t had grip and manual safeties. This continued until the development of the 1911 .45 pistol for the U.S. Army, during which over time both a grip and manual safety lock were added after the Army requested these features, while the half-cock notch on the hammer along with a inertia firing pin system that made it safe to carry the hammer fully down without the pin resting on the primer of a chambered cartridge were retained.

It should be noted that Browning and Colt did experiment with a firing pin lock on the slide which was a sort of manual safety on Colt’s model 1900 .38 pistol, but efforts in this direction were soon abandoned, and subsequently never reappeared.

The obvious conclusion from this should be that Browning considered the half-cock notch on thumb-cocked hammers, combined with the inertia firing pin to be all that was needed in the way of safeties, and that half-cock notch was intended to be a safe carry position. On pistol designs that had enclosed hammers or striker/firing pins he approached safety issues from a different direction. When pressed by a customer (in this case the U.S. Army in the development of what became the 1911 .45) his past experience and knowledge provided easy solutions.

MythBuster
March 1, 2012, 11:13 AM
I intend to keep the link to this thread saved so every time I see some nut on the net come off with the BS that it was JMB's original intent that his pistol be carried cocked and locked I can post it.

But it will not do much good. The many myths about the 1911 are so popular that they can never die.

1911Tuner
March 1, 2012, 03:23 PM
Careful. You can become something of a pariah by spreading facts.

HKGuns
March 1, 2012, 11:05 PM
The replies to your excellent posts have caused me to leave the site. For me it's not worth the bovine fecal matter this moderator shovels around.

Really? Wow, that is an incredibly thin skinned reaction. Oh well, it takes all sorts to make the world go round.

Lots of good information in this thread.

1911Tuner
March 2, 2012, 05:02 AM
Really? Wow, that is an incredibly thin skinned reaction.

Nah. It's just an example of "My mind's made up! Don't try to confuse me with facts!"

I'm used to it.

There seems to be a prevailing need...drive...to dictate what other people do based on what is right for you. ("You" generically, not specifically.) Nobody can determine what is "right" for another person, especially if we have a choice in the matter that does no harm and doesn't present a clear or defined danger to us or those around us.

Yet, it remains. Puzzling. Very puzzling.

"Carry it cocked and locked (the way that JMB intended) or don't carry it!"

Is another way of saying:

"If you don't do it MY way, you're an idiot."

If Joe chooses to carry a 1911 in Condition 2...or Condition 3...or half-cocked...or broken down with the components in separate pockets...who am I to tell him that his choice is wrong or idiotic? It's his choice.

hariph creek
March 2, 2012, 12:30 PM
1911Tuner, I hope I didn't come across as a ''do it MY way, or you're an idiot'' type of idiot. I'm more of the ''doesn't get it'' type of idiot.
I was just trying share what works for me and why I don't worry to much about the half-cock question.
I try not to come across overly strident. I just have to much time to formulate my thoughts.
I like THR because it is kept civil. I find it to be very informative. I ''lurked'' for years, before I decided to join in the discussions.

MythBuster
March 2, 2012, 01:01 PM
"Carry it cocked and locked (the way that JMB intended) or don't carry it!"



If I had a dime for every time I read than on an internet fourm I could take off work for a long time.

MythBuster
March 2, 2012, 01:08 PM
Lets look at the BHP. Another one of JMB's designs. Did he "intend" that it was to be carried solely in condition one.

The old one had a HUGE hammer and a tiny hard to swipe thumb safety.

I know if I had designed this gun to be carried ONLY cocked and locked it would have added a differently shaped safety.

GLOOB
March 2, 2012, 02:00 PM
"Carry it cocked and locked (the way that JMB intended) or don't carry it!"
Actually, if you read his patent application (post #122, thanks to gc70), it was JMB's intent that the thumb safety be used to holster and carry the gun cocked and locked, whenever it must be instantly ready to use and to carry the maximum number of rounds. That describes CCW pretty well!

I find it interesting that the origin of the extended beavertail was actually to enable the gun to be decocked with one hand. No wonder the original beavertail is so darn skinny.

gc70
March 2, 2012, 06:10 PM
Lets look at the BHP. Another one of JMB's designs. Did he "intend" that it was to be carried solely in condition one.

Dieudonné Saive may or may not have intended the final BHP design to be carried soley in condition one, but JMB's original design (http://www.google.com/patents/US1618510) which preceded the BHP was striker-fired.

Old Fuff
March 2, 2012, 06:35 PM
Patent No. 1070582 was an afterthought. Browning was well versed in manual safeties, and in fact he incorporated one in his first commercial pistol, which was made by Fabrique National. The patent was issued in 1897, and the pistol dated from 1899. Further, his use of both a grip and manual safety dated from 1903 - in both Colt and FN products.

The safety used in the soon-to-be model 1911 was introduced in a prototype 1911 style pistol during late 1910, but neither the inventor nor Colt rushed to patent it.

Browning never proposed the manal safety lock, it was strictly the Army's idea. The design of the part was Browning's, but the description concerning it's purpose and use came the military services. The older style Colt .38 pistols, first introduced in 1900, remained in production with neither a grip or manual safety until 1929. It would seem that at this time, cocked & locked carry was not a pressing issue.

gc70
March 2, 2012, 06:45 PM
I find it interesting that the origin of the extended beavertail was actually to enable the gun to be decocked with one hand. No wonder the original beavertail is so darn skinny.

It seems that Browning had a penchant for making parts do double duty, which applies to the grip safety. One purpose -to allow one-handed decocking- has already been described in post #122 (http://www.thehighroad.org/showpost.php?p=7999430&postcount=122). The other purpose is described below.

Extended grip safety tang - US Patent 984519 (http://www.google.com/patents/US984519) filed 2/17/1910 and issued 2/14/1911, starting on page 7 at line 69:

In automatic firearms, in which, on firing, the uncovered hammer is returned to the cocked position by the rearward movement of the breech-bolt sliding on the frame under the energy of the recoil, this movement of the breech bolt and consequently the cocking of the hammer take place so rapidly that it is very essential to positively guard the hand of the operator grasping the grip of the pistol against inadvertently moving to a position in which it might come in contact with the hammer while the same is being cocked; because by such contact the hand would be exposed to receive serious injury.

As shown in the drawings, I have constructed the frame of the pistol with the usual rearward projection between the hammer and the grip to insure a secure grasp, and to prevent the hand from slipping upward; but as an additional preventative I have extended the nose w2 of the grip lever w rearward considerably beyond the frame, and have formed its lower portion so as to provide a guard which positively prevents the hand grasping the grip from coming in contact with the hammer. The projecting nose w2 being of the same width as that of the hammer and its sides corresponding vertically with those of the hammer, the nose fully covers and guards the rear and underside of the hammer. This construction is efficient and adds but very little to the weight of the arm, being much lighter than if the frame between the hammer and the grip lever in its entire width were extended forward a similar distance to form the necessary guard.

1911Tuner
March 2, 2012, 06:51 PM
The safety used in the soon-to-be model 1911 was introduced in a prototype 1911 style pistol during late 1910, but neither the inventor nor Colt rushed to patent it.

And here it is. There were eight of these in all. Six were retrofitted with the manual safety and resubmitted. Two are left. One in Colt's museum, and the one pictured in the private collection of Charles Clawson.

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e243/1911Tuner/1910.gif

Dieudonné Saive may or may not have intended the final BHP design to be carried solely in condition one, but JMB's original design which preceded the BHP was striker-fired.

And here it is. His last pistol, the Grande Rendement. Browning didn't live long enough to see a High Power. He died in 1926.

http://i40.photobucket.com/albums/e243/1911Tuner/JMBHi-Power.jpg

1911Tuner
March 2, 2012, 07:02 PM
Dieudonné Saive may or may not have intended the final BHP design to be carried soley in condition one.

I seriously doubt if Saive had any intent at all. Like the 1911, there are four choices. He probably demonstrated those options and left it to the buyers to determine the manual of arms.

gc70
March 2, 2012, 07:20 PM
1911Tuner: did you notice that the photo of the Grande Rendement erroneously says "exposed-hammer" in the Description section?

I would guess that the description is of the GP35, with the photo of the Grande Rendement shown as part of the GP35's history.
.

1911Tuner
March 2, 2012, 07:30 PM
I did. It also said 13 rounds. The original Rendement held 15. Saive dropped it to 13 for the High Power in order to shorten the grip.

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