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Why carry a 1911 in Condition 1 over Condition 2?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by stchman, Nov 11, 2009.

  1. stchman

    stchman Well-Known Member

    Hello all.

    I have heard many a 1911 user say to carry their 1911 in Condition 1.

    Is there a big advantage to carrying a 1911 with the hammer cocked and safety on vs. hammer uncocked (Condition 2)?

    Since a vast majority of 1911s are SAO I see no advantage.

    I had a 1911 guy tell me that he carries his 1911 in Condition 1 because it is the best way.

    I figure if you draw your 1911 in Condition 1 then you will need to flip the safety off with your thumb.

    If you draw your 1911 in Condition 2 then you will use your thumb to cock the hammer back.

    Both methods require your thumb to actuate something on the pistol.

    Let me know your thoughts.

  2. sigking

    sigking New Member

    I think it has to do with not wanting the pistol to fire if bumped. I think with the hammer resting on the fire pin is not a good idea. The pistol is designed to be carried cocked and locked.
  3. stchman

    stchman Well-Known Member

    I thought modern firearms were designed to not have that happen.

    Now my Romanian Tokarev has a first detent that locks the hammer away from the firing pin, but that pistol is circa 1953.
  4. ichiban

    ichiban Well-Known Member

    I feel that if I have to draw my 1911 in a moment of high stress I will be much more likely to quickly and successfully complete the simple act of swiping the safety off rather than the more complex act of cocking the hammer. YMMV
  5. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

    What do you mean by modern firearms? Series 80 Colts and current series II Kimbers are designed with additional safeties to preclude that from happening, but not original 1911s, older Kimbers (the ones we own don't have them), and most of the current production 1911s.

    I don't believe any plans current are known to the public that indicate that the gun was designed to be carried in any particular manner or not carried in a particular manner. Because of its design, however, it is safe to be carried cocked and locked and it is safe to be carried with an empty chamber and the hammer in any position.
  6. tominct

    tominct Well-Known Member

    It's much easier to sweep the safety off than it is to cock the hammer; there's much less wasted motion thumbing the safety down. When you acquire your grip, your thumb is RIGHT THERE at the safety. Thumbing the hammer back requires a much different motion, one that forces you to readjust your firing grip.
  7. stchman

    stchman Well-Known Member

    I thought pretty much all firearms made in the last 25 years had that bar that kept AD from happening if the firearm was dropped.

    As far as safety off easier to actuate than hammer back I don't know.

    All the more reason to get a striker fire pistol with a safe action trigger. Nothing to worry about.
  8. tominct

    tominct Well-Known Member

    You can't fire a properly-functioning 1911 by "bumping" the hammer, even if down on a loaded chamber. 1911s have an inertial firing pin that require velocity to contact the primer.

    Field strip one, then push the back of the pin in until it's flush. It's not long enough to reach the primer.

    For that matter, to answer the OP, borrow your buddy's pistol and compare relative efforts of safety vs. hammer cocking. You'll have your answer in about 15 seconds.
  9. robriboflavin

    robriboflavin Active Member

    1911's are designed to be carried cocked and locked.

    The only way to un-cock the hammer is to hold the hammer back with your thumb while you pull the trigger, and then gently lower the hammer. You can't do this with the safety on, and remember you have a live round in the chamber. While you may be able to get away with this most of the time, sooner or later your thumb is going to slip and ka-bang!

    This plus all the other reasons (thumbing hammer back is much slower and harder to do than releasing safety, hammer down can set off round on impact, etc) is why most people think cocked and locked is best for a 1911.
  10. senior

    senior Member In Memoriam

    If 1911 was "designed" to carried C&l, WHY did we not hear about till the Col. TOLD us thats how it was supposed to be carried, yet JB never made mention of this way to carry when he first gave us the gun?
  11. stchman

    stchman Well-Known Member

    Lets just say that you carry your 1911 in Condition 1.

    Are you never going to lower the hammer?

    Saying that your thumb can slip is completely independent of hammer cocked or not.
  12. ckone

    ckone Well-Known Member

    Condition 1 means you're protected by 2 manual safety's that need to be physically manipulated (grip & thumb, that with a proper firing grip will both be deactivated on the draw... but don't forget about the half-cock notch and firing pin spring that are there also, just in case) and is in a totally safe state that will not discharge without quite a bit of help... and oh yeah, IT'S READY FIRE IF YOU NEED TO USE IT TO SAVE YOUR'S or SOMEONE ELSE'S LIFE! (kinda important)

    Condition 2 means you are trusting your chances of an ND to the strength of a very small firing pin spring... hit that hammer too hard by mistake or drop the gun just right and... BANG! (not to mention trying to cock the hammer on the draw is a pipe dream that will probably just lead to getting you killed or if you're lucky just a broken thumb at some point... unless of course the bad guy is kind enough to give you some extra time to carefully and deliberately prepare to shoot...)
  13. MCgunner

    MCgunner Well-Known Member

    This is not a problem. The firing pin does not protrude with the hammer resting on it.

    However, if one cocks a series 70 and the hammer slip on cocking, bang. You can cock it with your off hand as you aquire, but you might not have a functional off hand in a fight. Condition one is faster, safer, and more natural.

    JMHO, though. Do as you think best.
  14. bang_bang

    bang_bang Well-Known Member

    What if your 1911 has a "half-cocked" position? As of now, I don't feel enough safety with the "cocked and locked" position when carrying, so I've left mine half-cocked.
  15. ckone

    ckone Well-Known Member

    The firing pin spring is designed with only enough strength to overcome the firing pin's inertia (firing pin weight)... how much more force it needs to go over that threshold to set off a primer you may find out at your own peril.

    Half-cock is an extra "safety safety" for just in case the hammer somehow managed to slip off the full-cock notch. So carrying at half-cock may be the most dangerous since not only do you need to take a risk to manually cock the hammer to fire, you're also carrying without the thumb safety engaged, with the hammer in a position to have a bit of a head start on hitting the primer with no half-half cock notch to catch it if it was to get bumped... bad idea IMO.
    If you're not ready for condition 1, carry condition 3. Besides, racking the slide is a gross motor skill, cocking the hammer is a fine motor skill, guess which one deteriorates most quickly under stress?
    Last edited: Nov 11, 2009
  16. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Well-Known Member

    I've done it both ways. I even had a Commander fitted with GM grip safety and wide spur GI hammer specifically for Condition 2 and I got pretty comfortable with it. Then I realized the guy who promoted that approach was lefthanded and learned in a day before ambidextrous safeties were common. I transitioned to Condition 1 and have been there ever since, about 25 years. Faster, easier, and safer. A few hundred IPSC and IDPA matches will get you in the habit of punching the safety on the draw.
  17. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

    A striker fired pistol would get me killed. Anytime someone hands me a Glock to test fire, I spend three or four seconds trying to disengage the safety. That comes from spending 35 years with 1911s.

    To answer the original question: Condition one. My thumb is on the safety once the holster is cleared.

    In my opinion, striker fired is no safer than any other type.
  18. robriboflavin

    robriboflavin Active Member


    Generally, no I don't manually lower the hammer. Once I insert the mag and get a round in the chamber, I flick the safety on and it goes in the holster, ie cocked and locked. It stays that way until I either shoot it or unload it.

    And after unloading and clearing it, I point the gun in a safe direction and drop the hammer by pulling the trigger. That way I am sure the gun is unloaded.

    Lowering a 1911's hammer on a live round is just too risky for me. All it takes is one slip-up and you've got an ND. YMMV.
  19. ckone

    ckone Well-Known Member

  20. metallic

    metallic Well-Known Member

    It's mostly just a safety issue. If you want to carry in condition 2, you're going to have to pull the trigger and then lower the hammer on a loaded chamber. One mishap and you're potentially going to have a new hole in the floor. Much safer to simply rack the slide, flip the safety up, and then reholster.

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