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small hands running a 1911

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by JeepGeeek, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. JeepGeeek

    JeepGeeek member


    found this site:

    He makes good sense regarding a two-handed approach to the 1911. That's basically how I run my PT145 and similar-sized pistols.

    However, my 1911 and my Witness pistols are too large for me to be able to reach the mag release with my thumb. It physically just won't reach.

    What are some speedy methods that folks have found to work around this?
  2. loplop

    loplop Well-Known Member

    I've used my left hand for years, for the same reason. Works fine.
  3. JeepGeeek

    JeepGeeek member

    I should probably clarify:

    Here's how I do a mag change in the Taurus:

    shoot to slidelock (I know, I need to work on that), then
    -slightly cock pistol aside in my shooting (right) hand, thumb the mag release as I'm reaching to the belt and grabbing the spare mag
    -grab spare mag, index down the front, point the index at the magwell and guide and seat, not slam, it in.
    -return to target, right thumb goes over the safety, as left thumb hits the slide release

    even the Taurus (in this case a PT145, Millenium Pro .45ACP) is a stretch for me to reach the mag release with right thumb. It's partially due to hand size, partially due to some damage in the right thumb and limited RoM.
  4. JeepGeeek

    JeepGeeek member

    loplop- you can't reach the mag release with right thumb either?
  5. Vermont

    Vermont Well-Known Member


    Check out this Todd Jarrett video. You would be interested in the part at about 1:10 (Slow Motion at 1:20)

    I've tried the method he demonstrates (which is similar to what is described in the link you posted) with good success. I think the key is that his left hand comes off of the pistol slightly as he goes to release the slide and moves back to his two handed grip. Since the hand is not anchored anywhere and is moving towards the slide stop anyway (as you regain your grip) reaching shouldn't be an issue.
  6. burningsquirrels

    burningsquirrels Well-Known Member

    don't they make a ton of aftermarket grips for a 1911? i've seen slim grips out there.

    on my CZ i had to make my own flat grips too. i think i have short fingers. :(
  7. strat81

    strat81 Well-Known Member

    Another short-fingered, left-hand slide stop releaser here. I only have to use my left hand with my 1911 and CZ. My Taurus and Glock are within reach of my right thumb.
  8. burningsquirrels

    burningsquirrels Well-Known Member

    funny... i can reach the one on the 40b and SP-01 but i can't reach a glock.
  9. strat81

    strat81 Well-Known Member

    I should add that I have the "extended" slide stop for my Glock. Adds maybe a 1/4" to the lever, but it adds leverage too.
  10. burningsquirrels

    burningsquirrels Well-Known Member

    ah, that would explain it lol...
  11. Gordon Fink

    Gordon Fink Well-Known Member

    I was trained not to use the slide stop. “It’s a slide stop, not a slide release.” I use the hand-over method for magazine changes in practice.

    I also have trouble reaching such controls without changing my grip.

    ~G. Fink
  12. CWL

    CWL Well-Known Member

    What Gordon Fink said: it's a "slide stop".

    You should practice using the slingshot technique to chamber your cartridges.
  13. elChupacabra!

    elChupacabra! member

    Hmmm. I'm a lefty, so the "slingshot" method is all I can do.

    I've got an HK P2000 with an ambi slide stop, so when it was my only defensive pistol, I used that with my left (strong) thumb, no problem... but when I added new pistols to the mix, I decided to consolidate my manual of arms for all my defensive handguns and just slingshot that slide.

    I'm not an IPSC competitor, so speed doesn't matter to me as much as not screwing up and trying to thumb a slide release that isn't there on 2/3rds of my defensive handguns :)
  14. 1911 guy

    1911 guy Well-Known Member

    Uncoordinated musings.

    Most people are too afraid of loosening their firing grip at all to reach the mag release. I turn the gun *slightly* and use my right thumb. However, using your left thumb to depress the release and then stripping the mag out will work better for you if you need to turn the gun very much. You don't want to get too far out of firing grip.

    Now about the slide stop/release thing. I use the slingshot method now that I have to carry a different handgun sometimes and it's not the same location as my CCW. Commonality is king. However, using it as a release is perfectly acceptable and has been so until the advent of plastic guns with merely vestigial controls that are so small as to be unuseable.
  15. JeepGeeek

    JeepGeeek member

    Question is mostly about the Mag Release. I need to spend some time at the range futzing around with randomly-loaded mags.

  16. Sylvan-Forge

    Sylvan-Forge Well-Known Member

    I can't reach it either.

    For one-handed shooting I have to shift the pistol in my hand to reach the mag catch .. using thumb for right, middle for left.

    If two-handed, I roll my hand down and release the mag with my left thumb. (If lefty, I reach across and get it with my right middle.)

    Slide catch .. right, two-handed, I use my left thumb.
    I prefer to only slingshot the slide if I'm going to fire right handed, one hand.
    (For one or two-handed, left .. left index works if there's a good profile on the slide catch).

    Last edited: Aug 7, 2008
  17. Vermont

    Vermont Well-Known Member

    Oops, based on the link I assumed it was about the slide stop...

    In my limited experience with pistols I haven't yet picked one up that allowed me to easily reach the mag release with my thumb. You're not alone. I always have to shift my grip slightly. Maybe it's best that way so you don't accidentally hit it while shooting.
  18. XavierBreath

    XavierBreath Well-Known Member

    Brownell's stocks an extended mag release produced by Nighthawk Custom. They have another one by Wilson Combat, and one by Nowlin too. It might help you some. I like this style of extended mag release because it is essentially the same as the original one, just a bit longer. If you want a mag release with a larger diameter, they have those too.

    If your thumb is too short and you want to drop the magazine with your right thumb, then they might help. An alternative technique would be to drop the mag with your left thumb before you reach for your spare.

    Regarding slingshooting the slide, I do that too, but it's nice to have more than one tool in the box. I've found that using the slide stop to chamber a round after a reload gets the next shot on target faster. I've seen no ill effects on my slide stop or my slide over the years.
  19. JeepGeeek

    JeepGeeek member

    Thanks Xavier. BTW, love your blog- quite interesting stuff there!

    My problem is partially small hands, partially ergonomics-- my hands have been through a lot and I've got limited range of motion in the thumb of the right one.

    Any pics of these installed?
  20. XavierBreath

    XavierBreath Well-Known Member




    Each of these pistols has a normal diameter extended mag release. The Commander has one by Ed Brown (I think) and the others are by Nowlin.

    I'm not sure if one of these will help or not actually. The reach needed to get a thumb on the mag release would essentially remain the same.

    One thing that might help you though is an Ed Brown grip safety. Each of these pistols has that too. The Ed Brown grip safety differs from other beavertail grip safeties in that it decreases the amount of space between the web of the hand and the trigger/mag release, as well as placing the web of the hand higher up behind the bore axis of the gun.

    If you install an Ed Brown grip safety, be aware that a significant amount of metal is removed from the back of the gun, and fitting is involved. This will require refinishing if the gun is not stainless.

    With limited range of motion in your right thumb, I think I would try releasing the magazine with the left thumb prior to reaching for your spare magazine. I would be willing to bet with practice you can be almost as quick.

    FWIW, what type of 1911 are you shooting?

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