1911 hammer lowering ideas?


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el Godfather
December 1, 2012, 10:55 PM
Dear THR:
Well I have been around guns since childhood. I have seen quite a few hammer slips when lowering a hammer on 1911. Luckily, it never happened to me at least when the gun was loaded.

I just wish there was some 1911 (I am sure the hardcore 1911 boys will disagree) that would have a lever for lowering the hammer, which would make the damn thing easier. Is there any 1911 that does that?

What has been your experience in this and how do practice?

Thanks

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1911Tuner
December 1, 2012, 11:00 PM
It's all in the technique. Do it the right way, and the hammer won't slip.

It's late and it's been a long day since 0400. I'll come back later and do my best to describe it satisfactorily, along with instruction on doing a safe pinch check. (Steven Seagal does it all wrong.)

rcmodel
December 1, 2012, 11:12 PM
I have been lowering the hammers on 1911's with stock GI safetys & hammers one-handed since 1950 something without a slip or ND.

The harder you try not to slip, the worse and more likely it will get.

1. Just put your thumb clear over the hammer spur.
2. Pull it back until it depresses the grip safety.
3. Pull the trigger and let the hammer go foreward while under total control of you thumb.
4. Let go of the trigger once you get the hammer past the intercept (half-cock) notch.

Even if it slips late in the game, it is slowed down enough it won't even dent the primer.

It is no different at all then safely lowering the hammer on a cocked Colt SAA or S&W DA revolver.

If you have a more modern and "stylish" 1911 with a beaver-tail grip safety and round Commander hammer?

Best to just leave it Cocked & Locked!

Trying to lower the hammer on one of them is bound to result in a Series of Unfortunate Events, sooner or later!

rc

BILLG
December 1, 2012, 11:15 PM
There is no need to lower the hammer on a 1911 carry it cocked and locked.If you are not comfortable with that you need another action type.Lowering the hammer on a loaded 1911 IS an accident waiting to happen.

rcmodel
December 1, 2012, 11:29 PM
Thats a popular & often repeted opinion on the Internet anymore.

But it was the way the military did it for most of the service life of the 1911, if you wanted to carry it loaded.

It is no more dangerous then lowering the hammer on a six-gun or hammer shotgun or rifle you cocked and didn't shoot if you do it right.

rc

56hawk
December 2, 2012, 12:39 AM
I don't know of any 1911 with a decocker, but there are other single action pistols with them. For example the CZ52.

I personally never lower a hammer on a loaded round. A long time ago I carried an early Beretta 84 that had a safety but no decocker. I would load the chamber then disassemble the gun drop the hammer and then reassemble it. Unfortunately that isn't really an option with a 1911.

smalls
December 2, 2012, 12:40 AM
I disagree with it being an accident waiting to happen. You just need to be careful.

I will agree that it's pointless. A gun not ready to fire is useless.

Urban_Redneck
December 2, 2012, 01:11 AM
If you follow the 4 rules of safe gun handling, you'll need a bullet trap.

BlindJustice
December 2, 2012, 01:21 AM
Cocked and Locked -or- get a DA/SA Sig P220 with a decocker.

I have a CZ 75B and it's easier to lower the hammer to the half cock
using my left indix finger to block it from a slip.so it goes to DA first shot
then SA after that.

In the USN in the 70s, standard procedure was carry two mags in the belt holder and an empty 1911, so to load it, charge it with a loaded mag and rack the slide. and with as many bozos I found in terms of weapons faimiliararity I was fine with that .

Wrap your head around cocked and locked as you carry it, the thumb safety block the slide from moving, and the grip safety disconects the trigger and hammer. -and- some 1911s have the firing pin safety. as well.

Randall

PabloJ
December 2, 2012, 01:49 AM
Dear THR:
Well I have been around guns since childhood. I have seen quite a few hammer slips when lowering a hammer on 1911. Luckily, it never happened to me at least when the gun was loaded.

I just wish there was some 1911 (I am sure the hardcore 1911 boys will disagree) that would have a lever for lowering the hammer, which would make the damn thing easier. Is there any 1911 that does that?

What has been your experience in this and how do practice?

Thanks
I was told years ago US military used to rely on big oil drum filled with sand.

Skylerbone
December 2, 2012, 02:00 AM
el Godfather, always with these questions of unicorns and mythical perfection...oh, yes Cylinder & Slide makes just such a device, the Safety Fast System.

Your link, scroll past the BHP models: http://www.cylinder-slide.com/index.php?app=ccp0&ns=catshow&ref=SFSkits&sid=4y272r2024oeeyh893g91ove64p2k270

1911Tuner
December 2, 2012, 07:13 AM
And heeeeere we go! Predictable.

I was told years ago US military used to rely on big oil drum filled with sand.

The metal drum wasn't used for lowering the hammer on a hot chamber. Its purpose was for clearing the pistol and proving that the chamber was clear by pointing it into the drum and pulling the trigger.

Now then...

elGodfather asked a simple question. i.e. "How is it properly done?"

We all know the risks associated with lowering a hammer. We've all heard that we should never, ever do it under any circumstances...because toes will be lost and kittens will die and the great rivers will reverse direction, et al ad infinitum ad nauseum.

But...the pistol was designed to be cocked and de-cocked. If we are careful and give it our full attention and don't get in a rush...and keep it pointed in a safe direction...it can be done safely.

Further...

I don't care why he wants to lower a hammer. All I can glean from his question is that he intends to do it at some point, and he's searching for the best way to accomplish that safely.

And...

Because the OP's question was on technique and not tactics, I'm going to keep it centered on that. When the howls and the arguments start...I'll clean up the thread and close it before I'll let it go in the direction that this topic always seems to go.

Snarky comments such as: "If you're afraid to carry it cocked and locked, get a revolver!" will be deleted without fanfare.

I have been lowering the hammers on 1911's with stock GI safetys & hammers one-handed since 1950 something without a slip or ND.

As have I, though not for that long. I was taught how. It works.

the thumb safety block the slide from moving, and the grip safety disconnects the trigger and hammer.

The thumb safety blocks sear movement and locks the slide. The grip safety blocks the trigger. The disconnect connects the trigger and sear. Neither have anything at all to do with the hammer.

I will agree that it's pointless. A gun not ready to fire is useless.

The Israeli Defense Force would disagree...and so do I...and hammer down on a hot chamber still allows one hand operation. A little slower to be sure. Useless? Nah.

Cylinder & Slide makes just such a device, the Safety Fast System.

An expensive answer to a non-problem, and one that also gives our old friend Murphy another opportunity to spoil the show.

1911Tuner
December 2, 2012, 07:36 AM
The trick to safely lowering a hammer on any (exposed) hammer gun is to first get control of the hammer before you let your finger get close to the trigger. First. Trying to catch the hammer after pulling the trigger is a surefire recipe for an unintentional discharge.

Although it can be done with one hand, I recommend two. The one-handed de-cocking feature was intended for mounted cavalrymen who were using one hand to control the reins. So...use two hands.

By the numbers:

1. Finger off trigger, place the thumb safety in the off-safe position.

2. Raise the thumb and hook the pad over the top of the hammer and pull it slightly past full cock. This accomplishes two things. First, it allows the grip safety to swing out and block the trigger, and it places all the resistance on the hammer needed to control it. No surprises and no trying to catch it.

3. Place the off-hand over the slide and use the off-hand thumb to depress the grip safety.

4. Pull the trigger and slowly lower the hammer by allowing the strong hand to shift its position slightly so that the tip of the thumb stays between the hammer and slide. A little practice will let you learn to ease the hammer fully forward without interference from the half-cock. Or...If you want to use the half-cock...you can release the trigger early and stop it there.

Practice it with an empty pistol a few dozen times to learn the ropes. Never get in a rush. If you have to reholster in a hurry, just apply the thumb safety and come back to lowering the hammer when you can take your time and give it your full attention.

Never get complacent. Haste, inattention, and complacency kill. That cocked pistol is a rattlesnake. Respect it.

1911Tuner
December 2, 2012, 07:41 AM
Finally...Upswept ducktail grip safeties do present a problem, but lowering the hammer can still be done with a slightly different technique.

The overhand finger and thumb pinch method works well, as it did with wide-spur hammers that provided a positive, non-slip grip on the sides of the hammer. Just let the meaty part of the thumb and finger press into the hammer slot to allow it to get a better grip.

The ducktail/rowel hammer combination will require a bit more finger/thumb dexterity, so unload the pistol and practice, practice, practice.

1911Tuner
December 2, 2012, 07:55 AM
On to:

The safe "Pinch Check,"

Steven Segal and others may look cool in the movies doing the pinch check...but it's wrong.

1. Grip the pistol in the strong hand and place the manual safety in the go-bang position.

2. Stick the strong-hand thumb straight up and hook it over the top of the hammer. As with the technique on lowering the hammer, this releases the grip safety and the trigger is blocked.

3. Hook the off-hand thumb in the front of the trigger guard, and the index finger over the recoil spring plug.

4. "Pinch" to move the slide far enough rearward to check the chamber's status. You may have to shift your thumb on the hammer a little, but by this point, the disconnect has disconnected the trigger and sear...and even if it doesn't...the hammer can't hit the firing pin anyway.

5. Release the slide to let it go back into battery. Remove the thumb from the trigger guard and the finger from the spring plug.

6. Release the hammer to the sear.

7. Apply manual safety. Or...follow the procedure for lowering the hammer as per your choice.

Here, the hammer is under control at all times...the grip safety prevents the trigger from moving in the event that it gets bumped...and once the slide has moved 1/10th of an inch, the hammer face can't reach the firing pin anyway.

Skylerbone
December 2, 2012, 10:15 AM
I just wish there was some 1911 (I am sure the hardcore 1911 boys will disagree) that would have a lever for lowering the hammer, which would make the damn thing easier.

My response was based on this question. I do realize the nature of seeking such an answer indicates a more fundamental deficiency in training. I don't find the C&S kit as objectionable as some after having talked with long term users and, while its main goal is also to keep Murphy at bay, it does by nature invite him to dinner.

2wheels
December 2, 2012, 11:09 AM
The OP isn't so interested in how to lower the hammer on a 1911 manually, he seems more interested in the idea of a decocker.

That's something I've never seen on a 1911, and I bet I never will. I'm not sure what you'd have to do to the internals of the gun, or where you'd put the decocker.

I certainly wouldn't want it incorporated into the thumb safety, then you run the risk of decocking your 1911 while shooting and since it's not a DA/SA gun... You'd really be in trouble if you were in a firefight!

We're talking about complicating the design for a pretty small market. Most modern 1911 guys are very much in the "cocked and locked" school of thought.

Much better I think to either learn to decock the 1911 by hand properly, or give up and buy a DA/SA gun.

1911Tuner
December 2, 2012, 12:15 PM
The OP isn't so interested in how to lower the hammer on a 1911 manually, he seems more interested in the idea of a decocker.

And there isn't one. The closest thing available is the C&S Safety Fast system, and it's overly complex and questionable on reliability and durability...which is why it's better to just learn the drill.

The Lone Haranguer
December 2, 2012, 02:07 PM
The 1911s I've owned all had the little "nub" hammers and either long-spurred or beavertail grip safeties. There isn't much hammer to hold onto. If I decocked those it was only on a chamber I'd verified to be empty, and never one-handed.

The "pinch" chamber check only works on guns that have not had a full length guide rod installed. Coincidentally (?) many of these guns also have front slide serrations. :barf: I wonder if FLGRs originated the idea of them.

It wasn't a 1911, but the 1930s Polish pistol commonly known as the "Radom" was a single-action with a decocker. Later ones made under German occupation deleted this feature, presumably as unnecessary. ;)

Fixed Sight Training
December 2, 2012, 03:10 PM
Colt and Para have both made DA/SA or DAO 1911s. I'm not sure if they have decockers. Otherwise a CZ75 BD may be a good choice. Similar feel to a 1911 and designed to be carried Con 2

Not to be a smart ass or anything but if you want to carry a gun con 2 then a single action gun is the wrong tool for the job. There are better choices.

Good luck.

Skylerbone
December 2, 2012, 06:23 PM
The C&S system is essentially still Condition 1 carry while appearing to be 2. Really comes down to mentality and trust (and saving money). A while back, Tuner suggested a technique for overcoming one's distrust of Condition 1 if he cares to share.

HDCamel
December 2, 2012, 08:49 PM
Well, el Godfather, a de-cocker might have been welcomed during the pistol's inception if anyone had thought about it, but back in those days everyone was used to revolvers. Manual cocking and de-cocking were just the established means of readying a weapon to fire and rendering it safe.

In fact, the four immediate predecessors to the 1911 (the 1905, 1907, 1909, and 1910) from the 4-7 years of R&D that led up to its adoption were designed to be carried with the hammer down (in the half-cock position I believe) with a round in the chamber and cocked upon draw. Furthermore, the inability to de-cock the early iterations of the 1907 pistol one-handed the way one could with a revolver was considered a major drawback of the design. This was rectified by slightly elongating the grip safety tang which could be disengaged with the hammer pulled past full cock rather than a de-cocker. Of the four predecessors, only the last one ever had a thumb safety and even that was retrofitted to the design and even THEN only because the cavalry was adamant about it (which they had been since 1907).

Given how long it took Colt and JMB to add that thumb safety, on the grounds that they felt it was unnecessary, it would probably seem silly to them to add parts to a gun that only do something you can already do with just your thumb and a little discipline.

As to why there haven't been any developed since then:
1 - There's no demand
2 - Every time someone makes major changes to the 1911, it stops working properly.

Robbins290
December 2, 2012, 08:52 PM
read the Manuel on releasing the hammer.

1911Tuner
December 3, 2012, 08:46 AM
A while back, Tuner suggested a technique for overcoming one's distrust of Condition 1 if he cares to share.

Very simple. Carry an empty, cocked pistol around in a holster for a month without engaging the manual safety. Essentially cocked and unlocked. Unless the pistol is gripped and the trigger pulled, at the end of a month it will still be cocked.

Given how long it took Colt and JMB to add that thumb safety, on the grounds that they felt it was unnecessary, it would probably seem silly to them to add parts to a gun that only do something you can already do with just your thumb and a little discipline.

This.

The thumb safety was added on the request of the US Cavalry, and it wasn't so the troops could carry it in Condition One. It was for hasty, temporary reholstering when the horse went looney tunes under fire, and both hands were needed to regain control of the animal.

"When action is imminent, the pistol may be kept with chamber loaded, hammer cocked, and manual safety engaged." With the assumption that after the emergency passed, it would be returned to Condition Three, as per Army regulations. This applies to all smallarms.

Lowering the hammer carries some risk. Handling a loaded gun carries some risk. Carving a turkey and driving on the interstate carries some risk. This is why we're careful and give it our full attention...or sometimes pay a terrible price if we fail to.

That pistol on your belt is not your friend. The instant your hand is on it...it becomes a rattlesnake. Exercise all due caution afforded to that particular species.

KAS1981
December 3, 2012, 10:18 AM
The only way I lower the hammer on a 1911 is by pulling the trigger.

1911Tuner
December 3, 2012, 11:40 AM
read the Manuel on releasing the hammer.

We're all aware of what the manuals say. Some of them advise us not to even load the gun until we're ready to fire it...and we all know why. The fact stands that the hammer has checkering or serrations for a reason, and that reason is for cocking and de-cocking...and regardless of the warnings...somebody will do it.

The only way I lower the hammer on a 1911 is by pulling the trigger.

And many will agree and have adopted that practice...but this isn't about what you choose to do.

el Godfather has presented this question before, which indicates that he's looking for a way to safely lower the hammer because he chooses to carry in Condition two, which is an option and his choice...and barring a radical redesign of a century-old pistol, which ain't gonna happen...and the only other option is the Safety Fast system, which overcomplicates the pistol and leaves much opportunity for a malfunction...instruction on how to safely lower a hammer is in order.

mljdeckard
December 3, 2012, 11:51 AM
Even if you do it very rarely, it is disingenuous to own and shoot a 1911 not knowing how to decock it. If you NEVER do it, then you may wish you were more adept at it if you one day NEED to do it.

Skribs
December 3, 2012, 12:07 PM
I've manually lowered the hammer on a revolver and had it go off real easy before. Luckily it was pointed downrange. So I wouldn't ever lower the hammer on a single action pistol. I'd clear it and pull the trigger.

el Godfather
December 3, 2012, 04:54 PM
1911tuner

Thank you for a detailed response.

I will practice this and then evaluate where I stand. I dont buy the advice of looking for a different platform. Albeit the lowering of hammer is not my cup of tea, and I dont much care for cocked and locked either, I do like the 1911 platform. I have many handguns and I will not discard 1911s simply due to my inexperience - I much rather learn the technique and experiment with cocked and locked method as well.

tipoc
December 4, 2012, 12:51 PM
The hammer on a 1911 can be lowered safely for condition 2 carry or temporary storage. As Tuner and others have said it's a matter of attention, practice and confidence.

tipoc

Fiv3r
December 4, 2012, 03:10 PM
I actually tried a lot of the techniques presented in this thread last night on my 1911, and I didn't find it nearly as scary. That said, I would always use two hands. I also have the "benefit" (depending on who you talk to) or having a series 80 style 1911 for an added degree of safety to lower the hammer.

Having said that, I don't think I could ever carry my 1911 in Condition 2. It has NOTHING to do with feeling that I couldn't get the gun into action quickly and everything with having to get the gun into action SAFELY. I don't have overly large hands, so gripping the gun, drawing it, and thumbing back the stock hammer causes my shooting finger to dance around more than I would like. I feel much safer just thumbing down the safety with my trigger finger riding the frame.

Still, it's nice to know how to lower the hammer. Thank you all for the information.

MICHAEL T
December 4, 2012, 05:17 PM
C&L has not always been the ONLY way to carry a 1911. Its been the way pushed by Cooper, Taylor, and others since the 1970's same as the 2 handed shooting .
I have a old 1911 mag from early 80's That has a story on lowering you hammer for carry or night stand duty. So C&L wasn't always the main way to carry a 1911 . It was one of the ways. Ive been lowering hammer on a 1911 since the 1960 's and never had a problem.. I was taught that was the way to carry a 1911 back then .

1911Tuner
December 4, 2012, 05:52 PM
C&L has not always been the ONLY way to carry a 1911. Its been the way pushed by Cooper, Taylor, and others since the 1970's same as the 2 handed shooting .

Indeed. Before the rise of Cooper's Modern Technique, most people who carried the big Colt carried it in C2 or C3...or on half-cock...and never gave it a thought. A few who had a genuine need to carry a gun and have it instantly at the ready carried cocked and locked...but they were in the minority.

hentown
December 4, 2012, 05:58 PM
Can't believe so many words written on such a rudimentary subject. Why would you lower the hammer one-handed, unless you don't have but one hand? This ain't rocket science, guys! :evil:

g_one
December 4, 2012, 06:02 PM
If I have a 1911 that serves as an all around gun - bedside, truck, etc. - I would want to leave it cocked and locked all the time too.

But here's my question, if I leave a 1911 cocked for extended periods of time (say, months in a row), is that going to wear out the spring?

rcmodel
December 4, 2012, 06:05 PM
No.

Using (compressing & uncompressing) a spring wears it out.

Leaving it compressed has very little effect on it after it takes an initial set.

Same as the springs holding up your car.
The springs would last forever if you left it parked in the driveway and never drove it.

rc

1911Tuner
December 4, 2012, 06:29 PM
Can't believe so many words written on such a rudimentary subject. Why would you lower the hammer one-handed, unless you don't have but one hand?

Not much reason or opportunity to do it these days, but the reason for the redesigned grip safety that allowed one-hand lowering was for the US Cavalry before they requested the manual safety.

Skylerbone
December 4, 2012, 06:56 PM
My father still carries his C3 as a lefty who has never laid hands on an ambi 1911. One of several reasons that he chose a revolver for duty after leaving Uncle Sam's employ and the reason he's been carrying his Kahr more often of late. Still loves his 1911s but recognizes the drawbacks of his set-up.

1911Tuner
December 4, 2012, 08:55 PM
If C3 really is that much of a drawback. Most people imagine that their moment of truth will always involve the need for fast draw. While fast one-hand operation is definitely a plus, I think that the prevailing notion of the pistol be utterly useless unless it's cocked and locked is pretty silly. Besides, it can still be charged with one hand by jamming the rear sight into a belt and shoving down smartly. Of course, if the pistol is equipped with a ramped rear sight, this option is nullified.

And, then C2 and half-cocked also allow one-hand operation, albeit a tick slower...and proper technique for cocking the pistol isn't at all fumble-prone.

BILLG
December 5, 2012, 11:02 AM
What if your attaker has injuried or has control of your other arm how will you rack the slide with 1 hand?

Skylerbone
December 5, 2012, 01:08 PM
That is where the sights you choose become a factor, and daddy's guns still have their Colt GIs on them to charge against any available surface. Belt, jeans pocket, boot heel, table top.

rcmodel
December 5, 2012, 01:09 PM
Like Tuner just said.

When I was in the service, I was quite adept at drawing from a GI flap holster and racking the slide by hooking the rear sight on the edge of the holster and shoving the grip down hard.

You can do the same thing by hooking the rear sight on your boot heel, table edge, car door, etc. if you have too.

Just not if you have one of the new fangled ski-slope rear sights with no foreword edge.

rc

tipoc
December 5, 2012, 01:17 PM
What if your attaker has injuried or has control of your other arm how will you rack the slide with 1 hand?

You fight your way free to do so, if that is the situation you're in and your need.

If a person carries a BHP, a 1911 or similar gun in condition 2 or 3 they have made a decision that they want to have a gun with them but don't think they are in a situation where they need it instantly ready to fire. They have decided that they can take the extra one second to cock the hammer or rack the slide when the need arises, if it does. This is an adult decision based on their assessment of the threat level they face. Or the lack of a threat level. It should also be based on a confidant level of ones abilities and knowledge of the gun.

It can also be a matter of priorities. Sometimes it's more important for the gun to be protected from the weather and elements than to be instantly ready to fire.

There are any number of reasons a person may choose to have a gun with them and in condition 2 or 3. If the threat level is high condition 1 is best, no question. But the other conditions are there to use as needed, that is how the gun was designed. Hopefully folks make informed decisions on their use.

tipoc

Ken70
December 6, 2012, 12:42 AM
Everytime I thought about lowering the hammer, I looked at the butt end of the slide and thought that would really tear up my thumb if I screw this up. I just drop the mag, rack the slide, and then it's safe. On the Left Coast you can't carry, so that's not a consideration.

VAPOPO
December 6, 2012, 06:14 AM
The only way to safely lower a hammer on a 1911 is with a trigger squeeze at a target you mean to destroy. I have personally witnessed several negligent discharges with the 1911 due to this stupid proceedure all by fairly experienced shooters that by the way that have been carrying them like that for years if not decades. If you cant handle cocked and locked, carry with an empty chamber or better yet move to a differant platform the 1911 is obviously not your cup of tea. Internet stupidity at it's finest.

hentown
December 6, 2012, 08:50 AM
Internet stupidity at its finiest is writing 10,000 words on a subject that didn't require 10. :evil:

mcdonl
December 6, 2012, 10:18 AM
I told RCMODEL I would not tell anyone he explained to me how to do it (Sorry RC) but he did and the way he explains is confortable and relaxed.

slickab
December 6, 2012, 11:14 AM
Pinch or hold the hammer between your thumb and forefinger of your left hand,

pull hammer back the rest of the way with the same, pull trigger and let the

hammer down slowly with the same. Old man owned a gun shop ever since I

remember did it this way on empty guns in his showcase. When he sold me my

first 1911 he showed me to do it this way and I've used it ever since.

BILLG
December 6, 2012, 11:19 AM
I want to see you do the 1 handed slide rack in a fight for your life.:eek:

Skylerbone
December 6, 2012, 11:55 AM
Let's see if this works: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LMsAvWOEj-k

For the record, I don't recommend YouTube as a source for reliable info but in this case the proceedure is correct.

dastardly-D
December 6, 2012, 12:17 PM
Is there any real differance from lowering the hammer on a lever action or a 1911 style hammer ? If you are so worried about it,take the magazine out,jack the slide and pop the cartridge out. The pistol is now clearly empty and you can drop the hammer in total safety.................

Ken70
December 6, 2012, 01:20 PM
The Mad Bomber said;

"Is there any real differance from lowering the hammer on a lever action or a 1911 style hammer ? If you are so worried about it,take the magazine out,jack the slide and pop the cartridge out. The pistol is now clearly empty and you can drop the hammer in total safety................."

I suggested the same thing yesterday, but the "macho men" want to tempt fate and their thumbs.

mcdonl
December 6, 2012, 05:09 PM
The Mad Bomber said;

"Is there any real differance from lowering the hammer on a lever action or a 1911 style hammer ? If you are so worried about it,take the magazine out,jack the slide and pop the cartridge out. The pistol is now clearly empty and you can drop the hammer in total safety................."

I suggested the same thing yesterday, but the "macho men" want to tempt fate and their thumbs.

That would work, if condition 3 is what you want to cary in.

I think the point of lowering the hammer is to carry in condition 2.... Not quite as good as Condition 1, but better than needing to rack the slide.

orionengnr
December 6, 2012, 10:41 PM
Many years ago I was at a gun show, and asked a seller if I could look at his 1911. He said, "Sure". I cocked the hammer, opened the slide...first to make sure it was empty and second to view the barrel ramp and breech face for wear...it was advertised as "new" but I had my doubts...

Since I had "heard" that it was gun show etiquette not to dry-fire someone else's gun, I lowered the slide gently, put my thumb between the hammer and FPS, pulled back on the hammer, squeezed the trigger and eased the hammer down.

Whereupon the owner began barking at me, saying that one should never do that, I had damaged the sear, blah blah blah...

I slunk off and stayed away from 1911s and gun shows for a while.

Much later, Al Gore invented the Internet, and here we are. I wish old Al had gotten his head out a bunch of years sooner...I missed some good years that I could have owned and shot a bunch of 1911s.

Oh well....life goes on. All that said, I still have never had occasion to lower the hammer on a 1911.

Mr. Doughnut
December 6, 2012, 10:50 PM
So much of this is just common sense...

In post #48, slickab said:

"Pinch or hold the hammer between your thumb and forefinger of your left hand, pull hammer back the rest of the way with the same, pull trigger and let the hammer down slowly with the same."

I agree. But for an extra measure of safety, put the fleshy part of your middle finger's tip (left hand, as described above) between the hammer face and the slide butt, and let the hammer face ride that fingertip all the way down.

Sure, there will be a bit of a pinch at the very end, but so what? It gets the job done -- with precious little drama.

351 WINCHESTER
December 6, 2012, 11:18 PM
I have witnessed far too many n/d from folks lowering the hammers on 1911's, brownings and other s/a pistols. I don't see the need to do so myself. My 1911 is cocked and locked and the only time I lower the hammer on a live round is when I want to shoot it.

If I were perfect I could lower the hammer safely each and every time, but alas I am not.

Panzercat
December 7, 2012, 12:09 AM
This looks like it's been beat to death, so why not one more POV :D

You'll have to forgive my terminology, but I've always just stuck my thumb (between the first and second knuckle) into the 'well' of the hammer and lowered it from there. This way you have a physical block if your finger slips. Doesn't even hurt if you do. Pull your thumb out and drop to half cocked, no fuss no muss. Was the thing I was taught on my first 1911 and hard to screw up.

Skylerbone
December 7, 2012, 12:18 AM
A rhetorical question then, for those with no need of the skill:

You are walking to your car when confronted by a man carrying a knife. You draw, shout for compliance, he stands fast. A neighbor sees this and calls police. Two minutes later the man hears sirens and is enraged. He advances toward you and you fire two rounds hitting him. He falls to the ground just as you hear "FREEZE"! Policeman behind you has drawn his pistol and trained it on you. You comply. He instructs you to place the weapon on the ground then step away and again, you comply. You now have a 1911 in condition 0 about to be picked up by an individual whose first and likely only pistol training is with a Glock. How safe do you feel having him manipulate your pistol in a safe manner while unloading it?

Same question for a traffic stop where, as reported by fellow forum members, the officer disarms you for the duration of the stop, unloads your pistol and places it in the trunk of the vehicle where you are free to retrieve it after he takes his leave.

Starting to see why dad carries C3...

Greg528iT
December 7, 2012, 03:19 PM
OK I'll play that game.

You comply. He instructs you to place the weapon on the ground then step away and again, you comply.

The simplest / safest procedure would be to engage the thumb safety. It does not require you to move either hand. Any larger motion to either move your thumb up onto the hammer (on primary hand) or your support hand, to grab the hammer with will make the police officer nervous. A swipe up of the thumb safety would flow easily and seamlessly to now placing the weapon on the ground.

ATLDave
December 7, 2012, 04:11 PM
"FREEZE"! Policeman behind you has drawn his pistol and trained it on you. You comply. He instructs you to place the weapon on the ground then step away and again, you comply. You now have a 1911 in condition 0 about to be picked up by an individual whose first and likely only pistol training is with a Glock. How safe do you feel having him manipulate your pistol in a safe manner while unloading it?

Man, if a policeman tells me to drop a pistol that I'm holding, the last thing I'm going to do is try to de-cock it. After it's on the ground, I can tell him/her: "Be careful, it's loaded!" But I'm not doing any kind of weapon manipulation while he/she is holding me at gunpoint.

iLikeOldgunsIlikeNewGuns
December 7, 2012, 04:25 PM
For me, having the hammer up on a 1911 is an unofficial empty chamber indicator. Granted 'no gun is ever unloaded even when you know it is,' but it's a way for me to 'know' that that particular 1911 isn't chambered (still check of course).

I personally NEVER lower the hammer on a 1911 when the chamber has a round in it. The only exception I could see would be a S&W or similar that has a firing-pin safety, but if you own other 1911s that don't have a firing-pin safety then I would consider it a bad habit to get into. Some people seem to prefer condition 2 though, to each their own, whatever works for you is best for you.

Edit: I've read through the whole thread now, and removed an unnecessary part of my post, which RC has provided experienced truth to below. Leaving my opinions above for any to consider or disregard based on their experience and knowledge :)

rcmodel
December 7, 2012, 04:33 PM
If you lower the hammer on a chambered 1911, the hammer is now resting on the firing pin, which if dropped or struck, could set off that chambered round,No, it won't.

The 1911 uses an inertia firing pin that is shorter then the hole through the slide it hides in.

The only possible way it can strike the primer is if the hammer hits it a full blow and drives it out of the hole in the slide far enough to hit the primer.

With the hammer down against the slide, the firing pin is still not protruding out of the breech face.

You could beat the hammer spur flat with a ball-peen hammer and it would not fire the cartridge.

rc

FIVETWOSEVEN
December 7, 2012, 04:48 PM
Same as the springs holding up your car.
The springs would last forever if you left it parked in the driveway and never drove it.

What if you load up said car till the springs are nearly compressed all the way? Springs set where they don't lose strength but lose length. If it can happen to inexpensive springs then it can happen to the best of them. The only variance is the time it takes. People have chimed in on another thread about seeing their springs set such as Glock mags not feeding the last round.

2wheels
December 7, 2012, 05:03 PM
A rhetorical question then, for those with no need of the skill:

You are walking to your car when confronted by a man carrying a knife. You draw, shout for compliance, he stands fast. A neighbor sees this and calls police. Two minutes later the man hears sirens and is enraged. He advances toward you and you fire two rounds hitting him. He falls to the ground just as you hear "FREEZE"! Policeman behind you has drawn his pistol and trained it on you. You comply. He instructs you to place the weapon on the ground then step away and again, you comply. You now have a 1911 in condition 0 about to be picked up by an individual whose first and likely only pistol training is with a Glock. How safe do you feel having him manipulate your pistol in a safe manner while unloading it?

Same question for a traffic stop where, as reported by fellow forum members, the officer disarms you for the duration of the stop, unloads your pistol and places it in the trunk of the vehicle where you are free to retrieve it after he takes his leave.

Starting to see why dad carries C3...
Decocking a 1911, while someone is pointing a gun at me and I'm probably not in the calmest mental state?

Sounds like a recipe for a negligent discharge, or getting shot by a jumpy cop who thinks I'm moving too slow. Or both! The cop shoots me after I have a negligent discharge because he thinks I'm shooting at him.

If a cop can't keep their finger off the trigger while manipulating my 1911, that's on them, not me.

rcmodel
December 7, 2012, 05:03 PM
A properly designed mag or hammer spring is not over-compressed when fully loaded or cocked.

I have some 1911 7-round GI mags that had been left fully loaded with WWI dated ammo in them when I bought them at estate sales.

The springs are perfectly fine after 70 years.

The same can be said for the 13-round Browning Hi-Power mag.
It is not over-compressed when fully loaded either.

Glock went to over-compression to get more mag capacity.

rc

daybreak
December 7, 2012, 05:47 PM
Why in the world would you need to decock a 1911? Either carry it cocked and locked like you're supposed to, or don't even bother leaving one in the chamber.

Skylerbone
December 7, 2012, 06:59 PM
If a cop can't keep their finger off the trigger while manipulating my 1911, that's on them, not me.

Or it's your gray matter on him and the car and the sidewalk as he attempts something entirely foreign. It was rhetorical because the question was if you might wish you had the opportunity. Even C1 on the ground he'll be attempting to make it safe.

In the traffic stop instance, would you prefer being disarmed by the officer reaching into your holster and pulling out your 1911 while in C1 or C3? I'd guess most are clever enough to drop the magazine and rack the slide. C1 the slide doesn't budge, he amends his grip to force it, grip tightens, overhand thumb slips to the TS, trigger gets touched, second Trooper on the passenger side of your vehicle hears gunshot and shoots you. Bad on him yes, worse on you.

Lowering the safety, excepting the gravity of consequences is comically easy and I've done it thousands of times on unloaded handguns. Truth is, what you're holding isn't a toy therefore everything you do with it is dangerous. Always liked the "dry fire by aiming at people on your TV". Far more dangerous than hammer lowering in my book.

Girodin
December 8, 2012, 05:54 AM
Of course, if the pistol is equipped with a ramped rear sight, this option [of manipulating the slide by catching the site on one's belt] is nullified.

If a gun does not have sights that allow for this one can use the ejection port instead. I prefer my carry gun have sights I can catch, but one of my BUGs, an LCP does not. I can, however, very easily rack it by catching the ejection port on my belt, holster, mag pouch, shoe, etc.

FIVETWOSEVEN
December 8, 2012, 03:40 PM
A properly designed mag or hammer spring is not over-compressed when fully loaded or cocked.

I have some 1911 7-round GI mags that had been left fully loaded with WWI dated ammo in them when I bought them at estate sales.

The springs are perfectly fine after 70 years.

The same can be said for the 13-round Browning Hi-Power mag.
It is not over-compressed when fully loaded either.

Glock went to over-compression to get more mag capacity.

rc

That makes sense but when is a spring over compressed? I have heard about some ancient 1911s being found cocked and working too.

Skylerbone
December 8, 2012, 05:43 PM
I've heard the figure 45% kicked around in reference to the range of compression that will give near indefinite spring life. Compressed beyond that point and the spring will lose tension over time. This from a spring distributor as I recall.

1911Tuner
December 8, 2012, 08:18 PM
I have heard about some ancient 1911s being found cocked and working too.

In 1991, I was personally involved with one that had been loaded and left in Condition One since the death of its owner...in 1929. It worked fine.

Vern Humphrey
December 8, 2012, 08:33 PM
The proper way to lower the hammer on an M1911 is:

1. Eject the magazine.

2. Retract the slide and be sure the chamber is empty.

3. Point the gun in a safe direction and pull the trigger.

351 WINCHESTER
December 8, 2012, 08:55 PM
Amen to what Vern said.

1911Tuner
December 9, 2012, 04:55 AM
The proper way to lower the hammer on an M1911 is:

Which doesn't help if the owner decides, for whatever reason...valid or not...that he/she wants to carry the pistol in Condition Two, and telling them not to do it is a little like telling teenagers not to have sex and ending the discussion. We all know from experience that strategy doesn't work too well. We can advise them not to, but we also offer instruction on how to minimize the risks, and hope for the best.

Ken70
December 9, 2012, 05:14 AM
* Condition Four: Chamber empty, no magazine, hammer down.
* Condition Three: Chamber empty, full magazine in place, hammer down.
* Condition Two: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer down.
* Condition One: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety on.
* Condition Zero: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety off.

That is the exact opposite of what I thought the conditions were. Might others be similarly confused?

I would carry empty chamber, hammer cocked, full mag. Then I could rack the slide without having the hammer spring resisting me. That would be a single movement as I pulled the gun. Not quite as fast as the macho men, but a lot less dangerous to me, or my thumb.

Vern Humphrey
December 9, 2012, 04:38 PM
Which doesn't help if the owner decides, for whatever reason...valid or not...that he/she wants to carry the pistol in Condition Two, and telling them not to do it is a little like telling teenagers not to have sex and ending the discussion. We all know from experience that strategy doesn't work too well. We can advise them not to, but we also offer instruction on how to minimize the risks, and hope for the best.
My position is once I have told someone the right way to do or not do certain things, I have no further responsibility if they neglect my advice.

For example, if I tell kids not to use drugs, I don't have to tell them how to sterilize their needles should they decide to go ahead and do it any way.

Skylerbone
December 9, 2012, 10:05 PM
Got nothing to do with right or wrong, unless you truly believe your preference for which condition of readiness is somehow universally denoted as right.

1911Tuner
December 9, 2012, 10:52 PM
There really isn't a defined "right" or "wrong" way to carry a 1911 pistol. The way it's designed, it offers six choices, and only the man who carries one can determine which way is right for him. If he chooses to carry it unloaded with the magazine in his pocket...that's his choice.

It's really that simple.

FIVETWOSEVEN
December 10, 2012, 01:35 AM
In 1991, I was personally involved with one that had been loaded and left in Condition One since the death of its owner...in 1929. It worked fine.

I think the story I'm thinking of is that one.

gc70
December 10, 2012, 02:35 AM
John Moses Browning had a few thoughts on lowering the hammer on a 1911.

From page 7 of U.S. Patent 984519 (a public domain document) issued to John Moses Browning on February 14, 1911:

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 back 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 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.

1911Tuner
December 10, 2012, 08:14 AM
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...

Note that the "Safety Position" described here is the half-cocked position...which sorta goes against the modern-day insistence that the half cock is not, and was never intended to be a safety.

Vern Humphrey
December 10, 2012, 06:16 PM
Got nothing to do with right or wrong, unless you truly believe your preference for which condition of readiness is somehow universally denoted as right.
Yeah, it does. If people don't take good advice and as a result make bad decisions, I have no sympathy for them.

Skylerbone
December 10, 2012, 08:46 PM
If people don't take good advice and as a result make bad decisions, I have no sympathy for them.

Then as I understand things; if people choose to access a feature of the pistol they are making a bad decision. That about sum it up?

Then I say don't bother with the thumb safety. Everybody knows the 1911 won't fire without deactivating the grip safety and a trigger pull. Why anyone would risk their life fiddling with those "fine motor skills" required to sweep a redundant safety is beyond my comprehension.

Shall we agree that any other than Condition 0 is Tom Foolery as 0 is fastest, requires no unnecessary thought and as safe as any other?

Vern Humphrey
December 10, 2012, 08:51 PM
Then as I understand things; if people choose to access a feature of the pistol they are making a bad decision. That about sum it up?
If people blow their feet off, it's no skin off my nose.

Skylerbone
December 10, 2012, 08:53 PM
And how would they blow their feet off carrying C3?

HDCamel
December 10, 2012, 11:21 PM
I've borne witness to more than one ND when a guy thought he was dry-firing an empty pistol.

Regardless of how you want to bring the hammer down or if there's a live round under it when you do is pretty irrelevant as long as the gun is pointed in a safe direction. I would imagine most if not all NDs from de-cocking are from people who insist on fully lowering the hammer instead of just to the half-cock position as was originally intended.

Skylerbone
December 11, 2012, 12:17 AM
The three I've witnessed were from lack of trigger discipline. None of these concepts is with us at birth. I could say I've heard more homicidal maniacs used Glock 17s last year than all other pistols combined but that is no fault of the pistol. Like the question posed it's simply a conscious choice.

RetiredUSNChief
December 11, 2012, 01:44 AM
OK, so in addition to the straight forward factual answers on this, we've got a variety of opinions on what to do and what not to do with respect to this topic...plus lots of extra opinions on how to carry or not to carry the 1911.

The bottom line is that the 1911 was DESIGNED with several specific features which ALLOW a variety of different conditions for the weapon to be carried and which ALLOW a variety of different actions to be taken based on those conditions and what the operator may wish to do.

All these design features offer CHOICES to people.

PICK the choices that each of you prefers, based on your personal preferences and an understanding of how the features work to support those choices.

LEARN how to safely and efficiently carry and operate the 1911 based on the choice you have made.

LEARN how to safely and efficiently carry and operate the 1911 based on the non-preferred choices on the philosphy that more knowledge is better and you never know when you'll need it or when someone else might need it.


This is not a hammerless gun. It does not have a decocking feature, either. It is reasonable to expect that there MIGHT be a time when the hammer may be required to be lowered while the gun is loaded, even if it is not a person's preferred practice.

:cool:

Skylerbone
December 11, 2012, 02:20 AM
It is reasonable to expect that there MIGHT be a time when the hammer may be required to be lowered while the gun is loaded, even if it is not a person's preferred practice.

Well put. Something like failing to plan...

tipoc
December 11, 2012, 02:20 AM
A lot of folks are spooky about the 1911. It's odd you don't hear as much timidity about the BHP, but I suppose that's to be expected. I do read now and again of folks flummoxed by the idea that you might have the lower the hammer on a live round with the CZ75.

Get to know the gun and what it can do. Use it as it was designed or don't. If you don't have confidence that you can use the gun in other than condition one, either because you lack the skill to safely lower a hammer or rack a slide, or have the skill but prefer not to use the other modes, then use it as you feel best. But know that it can be safely used in other ways. It was designed for that.

The fear of lowering a hammer on a live round is frankly bizarre. "But my fingers may slip", well don't let them. Or avoid all revolvers, lever action rifles, cowboy action shooting, etc.

The bizarre hesitation to use single action handguns because they are "too easy to shoot" and folks need dao guns, feed into a belief that shooters are so incompetent we need remedial education. It's a wonder we can drive motor vehicles and walk. Shoe laces should be outlawed, they may come loose and we could trip.

The constant cautions about using a 100 year old design are tedious and nanny like.

tipoc

RetiredUSNChief
December 11, 2012, 02:42 AM
If people here think it's scary to manually decock a 1911, imagine the spincter-pucker I had as a 1911 owner who had never handled a Beretta 92 and a salesman in a local gun store demonstrated the decocking feature in front of me without ever TELLING me what the bejeebers it was he was doing!

I was looking at the Beretta, as it's a beautiful weapon. And the safety looked like just that...a safety. I had no idea it was also a decocking device until the salesman talking to me about the gun picked it up and, without verifying it was free and clear, cocked the gun and said "Watch this neat feature!" and decocked it.

:eek:

My spincter had cramped so hard I nearly had to duck walk out of the shop afterwards.

:)

Needless to say, that prompted me to do a quick study on how this particular feature works safely without allowing the possibility of a ND.

1911Tuner
December 11, 2012, 07:28 AM
If people here think it's scary to manually decock a 1911, imagine the spincter-pucker I had as a 1911 owner who had never handled a Beretta 92.

Which brings up two points.

One being that I don't trust decocking levers the same way that I don't trust manual safeties. I know that the hammer is completely blocked, and I also know that mechanical things fail...so even with a decocking lever, I still control the hammer with my thumb. For one thing, the steel on steel impact bothers me.

And...

The early Berettas had frame mounted manual safeties and no decocking feature. I owned one for a time, and liked the pistol very much. Being that it was double-action, it was assumed that if one opted to carry it in Condition Two, manually lowering the hammer would be a requirement...and thousands of early M92 owners (1976-1983) accepted it and lowered the hammers.

As a side note, the M92's little brother...the .380 caliber M84...was also a double-action pistol with frame-mounted safety and no decocking feature, as was its single-stack predecessor. I have an early Model 84 and it's a nice little pistol.

In order to meet requirements of some law enforcement agencies, Beretta modified the Model 92 by adding a slide-mounted combined safety and decocking lever, replacing the frame mounted manual thumb safety. This modification was adopted by the US military as the M9.

I hear two mantras repeated often.

"Cocked and Locked, the way JMB intended!" which isn't based in fact, and:

"Never use the half-cock as a safe carry mode because it's not a safety and was never meant to be a safety!" when it is, in fact, a safety and was intended to be used as a safety by John Mose' even though the addition of the manual safety pretty much negated the use of the half-cock. Says so right there in the patents.

The constant cautions about using a 100 year old design are tedious and nanny like.

I agree. People have been lowering hammers since hammers appeared. Yes, it's a little risky. Decocking isn't normally something that's done in a mad rush. Take your time and be careful.

1911Tuner
December 11, 2012, 07:35 AM
Since this one has devolved into: "If you're skeered to carry it cocked and locked the way it was intended, get a revolver!"

like I knew that it would...

Time to put it to bed.

Ladies and laddies...Be well.

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