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Unintentional Discharge with 1911 in Public Bathroom

Discussion in 'General Gun Discussions' started by Bartholomew Roberts, Oct 18, 2013.

  1. Bartholomew Roberts

    Bartholomew Roberts Moderator Emeritus

    A member at AR15.com discharged his 1911 in the bathroom of his place of employment. He was kind enough to share the details as a kind of "lessons learned" to help inform other shooters.

    The pistol was a Nighthawk Custom 1911 built on a Series 70 style frame. He had gotten into the habit of removing the pistol from its holster and setting it in the toilet seat cover holder while he used the restroom because his holster tended to dump it on the floor without any tension from the belt. The gun fell out of the seat cover dispenser and landed on the muzzle, causing the firing pin to slam into the primer via inertia. Although the gun was cocked and locked with a grip safety, all of those safeties block the sear/hammer and not the firing pin. The gun fired as a result.

    I know Series 70 1911s are popular and some may not be aware of the potential for this to happen if the gun lands directly on the muzzle and the firing pin spring is weak. Just a heads up to everyone.
  2. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    And folks wonder why we repeat over and over, DON'T MESS WITH YOUR GUN IN PUBLIC. LEAVE IT IN THE HOLSTER. A HOLSTERED GUN IS A SAFE GUN.

    Yeah, yeah, yeah, you've got a GREAT reason you need to draw it just because...and you're all professional and stuff. Uh huh.

  3. ClickClickD'oh

    ClickClickD'oh Well-Known Member

    Ditto what Sam says. If there's some reason you need to take your firearm off your person, get a holster that you can take off your person. Remove the holster and firearm as one piece, with the firearm still in the holster.

    Of course, unless your job involves going into court houses or jails frequently, there shouldn't be much reason to take your firearm off your person.

    Yeah yeah, I know. Everyone has to take that special sit once in a while, and people that take off their firearms tend to forget them in the bathroom (police not exempted). I know a lot of guys who have altered their diets so they never have to take a squat on the clock.
  4. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    We just had a very good thread on how to use the seat of ease while carrying. It isn't rocket science, there isn't perhaps just one right way, but there are a LOT of WRONG ways and apparently a lot of people choose poorly.

    For further study: http://www.thehighroad.org/showthread.php?t=728205
  5. leadcounsel

    leadcounsel member

    Good to be reminded of this S&T.

    While the 1911 is a great platform, there have been handgun improvements over the last century and this in one real issue with the 1911.

    All of those who flame modern plastic fantastics should be aware that their 1911s can fire when dropped.

    As for the person who experienced this, he is extremely lucky nobody was hurt. Hope he is able to keep his job and not eat too much crow.
  6. When you have to dump, and don't want your pistol and holster sitting in plain view, still mounted on your belt and dropped trousers (visible from outside the stall), an option is to place the gun down in the crotch of your dropped pants. Shrouded by the pants themselves, anyone outside the stall cannot see the gun, and you have instant access to it if needed. You "don't mess with it" guys make it all sound so good and safe, IN THEORY, but leaving the gun holstered is not always an option. Develop your own plan "B"; mine works for me.
  7. JTQ

    JTQ Well-Known Member

    Only those 1911's without a firing pin safety.
  8. ATLDave

    ATLDave Well-Known Member

    If your holster dumps your pistol any time there's not belt tension on the holster, then it's probably time for a new holster.
  9. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    And if your nighthawk custom goes off after dropping 2 1/2 feet off a toilet lid?

    It's time for a Colt or something.

    Or, there could be more to the story?

  10. willypete

    willypete Well-Known Member

    Titanium firing pins and strong firing pin springs are your friends.
  11. Walkalong

    Walkalong Moderator

    Just what I was going to post, and yes, don't unholster the gun, and if you do, don't lay it on a small slick surface.

    Still strange that such a short drop would do it. Weaker than spec FP spring?
  12. ATLDave

    ATLDave Well-Known Member

    rc', I think it was on the seat cover dispenser. The top of those can be 4-5' off the floor.

    And, from the crater in the tile, it looks like it fell straight down onto the muzzle. Which would lead to the greatest inertial velocity for the FP. A weak-ish FP spring and a soft primer... sure, I could see it.

    Of course, while nobody wants a dropped firearm to discharge, at least a muzzle-down discharge (which is what guns without FP safeties risk) is the "safest" kind of ND/AD. Now, a gun that goes off muzzle up... :what:
  13. tarosean

    tarosean Well-Known Member

    While not as light as Ti NHC uses 38/9mm firing pins for their builds
  14. Black Butte

    Black Butte Well-Known Member

    Gun-happy amateurs like this can get people killed. If you're going to take on the responsibility of carrying a loaded weapon, get training first so you know what you're doing. The general public is not the place to be field testing your methods.
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2013
  15. JTQ

    JTQ Well-Known Member

    Walt Kuleck and Drake Oldham did quite a bit of 1911 drop testing. They used just about all the varieties of firing pin and spring combinations, including Ti and 9/38 firing pins and were able to get just about anything without a firing pin safety to fire.
  16. bikerdoc

    bikerdoc Moderator

    The situation stated is one of the many reasons I have a paddle holster for all my guns. It slips off as a unit with the gun holstered and goes back on easy. Works for me YMMV.
    BTW I carry a 1911.

    Note: In my Mod voice, " This is a serious topic, any more snarky attempts at humor will result in a trip to virtual woodshed."
    Carry on.
  17. ny32182

    ny32182 Well-Known Member

    Taking the holster off with the pistol would not have necessarily saved him if it hit the ground at the same speed, at the same angle.
  18. Pete D.

    Pete D. Well-Known Member

    As noted , the firing pin block on the series 80 Colt would have prevented the accident (most probably)
  19. el Godfather

    el Godfather Well-Known Member

    Simple.......A Flaw in design. Reason I never got comfortable with 1911 as carry pistol. Things drop thats ok but such results are not ok.
    Last edited: Oct 19, 2013
  20. Fiv3r

    Fiv3r Well-Known Member

    Pretty freak accident, but it does make a case for the series 80...still a lot of cons with it.
    I pretty much only go with a paddle holster these days. Take off my gun, take my seat, and put it right on the floor between my feet (private bosses only restroom at my office). Safe and I wont forget my gun.

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