How to Practice With a 1911?


August 12, 2012, 02:58 PM
I've carried a gun for 30 years, but never owned a 1911. In honor of the centenial, I bought a 1911 in 2011. The thing is, I'm not 100% sure I'm practicing "right."

Maybe I'm overthinking this, but since I do CARRY the gun, should I practice keeping the safety on and my finger off the trigger until I am on the target and have decided to fire? With a traditional double action (S&W 645), I didn't need to be so strict. I tried doing "off the target, safety on," and "on the target, safety off," but it was a lot of bother and painfully slow--much slower than rolling through a TDA trigger stroke.

ARE there certain cocked-and-locked habits I need to practice at the range that are not so important with a double action trigger? Thanks.

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August 12, 2012, 03:14 PM
All of my semi-autos have safeties, and I always keep the safety stitches on "safe." I disengage the safety while presenting the firearm. I do not think it slows me down.

August 12, 2012, 03:33 PM
With the 1911, many, myself included, shoot high thumb letting it rest on the safety. Unholster, present with trigger finger straight along the frame, thumb atop the safety. After the bore clears your body and points downrange you are free to sweep the safety remembering to let it rest without pressure after. Once the target is acquired you trigger finger should drop down into the trigger guard.

Essentially as you acquire your initial correct grip your hand will look as if you are pointing a fake gun; finger is the "barrel", thumb is the "hammer".

August 12, 2012, 03:37 PM
I carried the 1911 for 15 years in the Navy. Until then, I was used to revolvers. For me it was practice, practice, practice until it became second nature. Like Kleanbore, I release the safety as I present the firearm (after it has cleared my body) keeping my finger along the trigger guard until I am ready to engage the target.

August 12, 2012, 03:43 PM
What they said.
Safety off after the gun is out of the holster and pointing somewhat down range.
Finger outside the trigger guard until you decide the need to shoot.

This is not so much a factor when the target is paper.
But it is an excellent thing to practice all the time for the real deal, should it ever arise.


Vern Humphrey
August 12, 2012, 04:04 PM
My approach is to put the strong hand thumb over the safety, and lock the weak hand thumb over it. The finger is indexed -- not inside the trigger guard. When I fire, I simply close my hand, wiping off the safety and squeezing the trigger simultaneously.

August 12, 2012, 04:38 PM
I drop the thumb safety as the gun reaches my chest, right before I "push" it towards the target.

August 12, 2012, 04:45 PM
The 4 rules always apply. The trigger finger remains off the trigger till you are ready to shoot.


August 12, 2012, 05:53 PM
I've found that the most user friendly way to avoid fumbling with the thumb safety is to let your body motion help you remember to press it off.

1. When establishing your Master grip in the holster, your thumb should be atop the thumb safety lever.
2. As you get to Position 2 in the draw, you'll rotate the muzzle toward the target.
3. As the frame comes up, let you thumb press're rotating the lever into your thumb
4. At no time does you finger enter the trigger guard, until after this and you have decided to shoot

August 13, 2012, 12:38 AM
the TRUE safety I believe is LONG FINGER. you are ccw the 1911 so you are practicing for a truely bad you draw your weapon then you need to sweep the safety period. after that LONG FINGER decides if you want to shoot or not. finger off the trigger and down the side of the slide is long. when you want to shoot bring it back to the trigger and squeez. no change of intital grip to fumble with the safety because you already did it during the draw.

August 13, 2012, 02:16 AM
If the trigger snags or the hammer follows you will wish you had left the safety on a split second longer, the timing of when you do so truly does matter.

August 13, 2012, 04:53 AM
The way I learn motor skill like that is to do it many times at a slow speed with an emtpy gun. Do the draw slow so you can be aware of each moment as you draw and present the gun. I would start with a 3sec draw. Do it 50 times a day for about two weeks. That should fix that in your 'muscle memory'. Well it works for me. I managed to cut .5sec of my draw so far for competition shooting by doing that.

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