1911 Half Cock Question

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by el Godfather, Feb 18, 2012.

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  1. gc70

    gc70 Member

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    Oh, no; a heretic who does not worship at the altar of the beaver-tail grip safety! :eek:
     
  2. bigfatdave

    bigfatdave Member

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    Ken41, I assume you have traditional hammer with wide spur and a minimal grip safety protrusion?

    That method gets more chancy with the current trend for a long grip safety and rounded hammer. As someone with large meaty hands, I appreciate these additions to JMB's sacred cow, they let me carry an entirely enjoyable gun that I shoot quite well due to ergonomics and a great trigger.
     
  3. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I don't know what you mean by "beaver tail," but I think that you might be referring to what's called a "duck-butt" style... :neener: :D
     
  4. Ken41

    Ken41 Member

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    I started de-cocking this way with my original Military M1911 with the wide hammer spur, and have used this method since. I do have a couple with narrow rounded hammers, and beaver-tails, but still use it. I find that if I don't think about it, I do it that way on my SIG-220 instead of using the de-cock lever

    This may just be muscle memory kicking in. Occasionally, I will get my thumb pinched between the hammer and frame.

    I do carry Condition 1 (cocked, thumb safety on)
     
  5. pale horse

    pale horse Member

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    I sense a tone of someone having the case of a need to know what my credentials are before I can speak about anything further on this board. BTW winning an argument on internet is like winning the special Olympics, even if you wing your still retarded, but I will play along. I am a combat vet during the Iraq war, Calvary Scout 19D in the Army, Marine Corps Infantry 0311, small arms trainer, distinguished marksman on the 240 and M2 Machine Gun, proven in combat as a trigger puller, CSAT Tactical Pistol Instructor Certified, Trained members of Local, State, and Federal SWAT teams as well as regular police officers In Texas for Active Shooter Situations, am Currently working as Weapons Instructor in Tx, have "done the deed" (MythBuster), and worked with people who have died in combat because of piss poor training. That is who I am. I have no need to validate who and what I am to keyboard Jockeys.

    To clarify the guy who was "jacking rounds all over the range." When he was in the army he was trained on condition 2. So when he got to the training he drew his weapon and forgot it was on half cock and tried to pull the trigger and no bang (this was at the beginning of the string of fire he decided to shoot 5 times). So I told him to rack the slide henceforth jacking rounds all over the range because he had never been put under pressure and his old training took over. When I showed him the "NEW" way to do it he realized it was faster and he was not dumping ammo on the ground.

    I don't give a rats rear how you carry your weapons. I just said that for what I train guys to do and the way I have been trained, Condition 1 is the fastest way to deploy a pistol for the purpose of combat. Additionally, the vast majority of guys I have worked with or spoken with, who have a 1911 carry it in condition 2 because they are scared of a hammer being cocked to the rear while they are carrying.
     
  6. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

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    Well in this day and age, If I'm going to be on horseback at a full gallop, I'm going to have a .45 Colt SAA in my hand and a lever action rifle in the scabbard.

    You asked for it. ;)
     
  7. tipoc

    tipoc Member

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    That was part of it. But that was also why the thumb safety was added. We also don't have to guess what he was thinking. The army wrote down what they wanted and why and Colt engineers and Browning made it so. We know why the grip safety was added, same with the thumb safety, same for the half cock notch and on and on.

    The method described of one handed decocking, or lowering the hammer, is one I don't care much for. Mostly cuz it requires a larger hand and can be awkward for folks with medium to small mitts. One of the two hand methods works for me.

    I was taught to use a 1911 in 1972. In a good rig I carry Condition One. C&L is a good way to go if one anticipates the need to bring the piece into immediate action. But I've also carried Condition 2 while out hunting or hiking or camping. I've slept with a gun in a sleeping bag Condition 2. I've had a gun in a glove box. I've carried C2 in a paper bag, in a tool bag at work, in a tool box at work, in a coat pocket, condition two and some times three. I keep a gun behind some books at my house and it ain't C&L. I have been a terrible "accident waiting to happen" amateur all these past 4 decades and was unaware of it. Apparently I need 24 hours a day to be in Condition One in case I am attacked by gangsters, gun thugs or zombies and anything less is dangerous or amatuerish.

    I make no pretense of being an armed professional or a gun thug. But I can shoot a bit and I can safely lower a hammer on a BHP or a 1911.

    tipoc
     
  8. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Step back and take a breath.

    Note that nobody said anything to the contrary.

    The discussion is technical...not tactical.

    The tactical aspects are a foregone conclusion.

    The technical parts are often misunderstood.

    The half-cock notch is a de facto safety.

    Condition 2 is a safe way to carry.

    The 1911 wasn't designed for the purpose of C-1 carry. It can be carried that way, but it wasn't designed specifically to be. The thumb safety was added so that a mounted trooper could safely reholster the piece and regain control of a frightened horse...not so that SWAT types could go hot/cocked and locked and ready to rock 75 years later.

    The user has a choice. HIS choice.

    Lowering the hammer on a hot chamber can result in an unintentional discharge if one is careless and/or doesn't understand and use the proper technique for the task. It can be done.
     
  9. tipoc

    tipoc Member

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    Pale Horse,

    Key thing there was, as you said, he "forgot" the gun was on half cock. He may go on to also "forget" the gun is cocked and locked in a bit and forget to swipe off the safety. Folk can get nervous during a training session and forget things or fumble them. That is common. That is part of why practice is good and useful. But as you correctly pointed out it was lack of practice that was the problem and not that he chose to carry the gun on the half cock notch.

    Having the gun on the half cock is not Condition Two. Had he been "trained in the army" he would have known that carry on the half cock is not an approved method of carry and never has been. He could of picked it up there from some GIs but it wasn't approved. Condition two is the hammer down on a live round and not on the half cock.

    I'm not arguing against what you have said just for the recognition that there are other conditions of carry besides C&L and that they have there place and a role in the handling of the weapon.

    tipoc
     
  10. pale horse

    pale horse Member

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    Yes you can carry the 1911 in half cock. I have found that it is not the preferred way with the newer 1911 commander hammer. With the 1911 and 1911A1 people were trained to carry in Condition 2 during combat when not in immediate need of the pistol. For the US soldier condition 3 was designed so the PV1 on guard duty would not shoot himself when on gate duty.

    The guy who was shooting got flustered and forgot. I have gotten flustered and forgot things in competition and combat. However, my lowest level of training is what I reverted back to in the heat of the moment. What I was getting at was the example of a guy who was trained one way and when pressure was on he would have been dead. I am not saying that any condition is better that another. I am saying that people using various methods of carry forget or revert to their lowest level of training and if that is condition 2 it can be unsafe when the pressure is on or when its time to conduct social cleansing of misunderstood criminals.

    "Condition two is the hammer down on a live round and not on the half cock." I think your may be wrong here. When people are referring to condition two with the 1911, they are talking about the half cock position with a 1911 hammer. Earlier in the thread there is a photo of a 1911 hammer that has the hammer hooks and the half cock position in question. That is what the thread is all about.
     
  11. gc70

    gc70 Member

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    It's the internet; nobody really cares about anything except whether what you have to say is sensible and how much it contributes to the topic being discussed.
     
  12. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Hammer all the way down with a chambered round has long been recognized as Condition Two.

    The three numbered conditions emerged not long after Jeff Cooper started advocating Condition One. He may have even been the author.

    Half cock has never been assigned a number. It's always been known simply as "Half Cocked."

    No branch of the US military has never officially condoned Condition 2, though there have been many who carried them in that mode. Condition One...allowed when action is imminent...and Condition Three at all other times.

    The MEUSOC may be carrying them in C1 as a matter of course whenever they're on the move.
     
  13. pale horse

    pale horse Member

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    The title of the thread is "1911 Half Cock Question."

    During my armorer training in the Army Condition 2 was on the half cock position.

    MEUSOC does carry in condition 1.
     
  14. theQman23

    theQman23 Member

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    BigFatDAve, you asked me to clarify the round peg in square hole issue when you lay the trigger down in the half cocked location, vs. the "cocked" position. If you look at the photo one of our fine gentlemen included in this thread of a 1911 hammer, you'll see as you rotate counterclockwise from the hammer face first, the large valley designed to catch the sear IF there was a problem. In that sense, one could certainly call that half cocked position, a safety. However, if you continue to rotate counterclockwise to those two very small little hooks about half way around the circle, those are the two hooks the sear rides on when you are cocked. Those hooks are machined/filed/stoned/fitted/ depending on who did it and how nice a job they've done, to supposedly be 90 debrees. And they are not only a 90 degree angle between the flat, and the hook, but just as importantly they are also in a specific location in accordance with the rotation of the hammer intself, meaning, the angle at which the flats are in tangent to the pin circle.
    Ok, if you RIDE IN the half cock location, the metal running on your sear, will shape the edges of the sear to match and wear/round out with the edges, (or lack thereof) down in the half cocked notch. If you carry fully cocked, and the perfectly machined trigger job work of not only the correct 90 degrees, but the angle of where those 90 start and end, will ride on (hopefully) an equally shaped and perfectly fitted sear where that same 90 degrees, (or more perfectly, slightly underdone at say 88 degrees,) are on the sear.
     
  15. theQman23

    theQman23 Member

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    To simplify, if you put your 88-90 degree sear up into a corner that is a perfect 90, it'll last a very long time, even after repeated use. If you take that same, sharp edged, perfectly stoned 88-90 degree object and rub it up into a circle, or a 100 degree edge, or a 75 degree edge, or anything other than the hammer hooks it's designed to run in, then you'll over time wear that part to be out of shape.
    1911 tuner hinted that it isn't a big issue, and I'm supposing he stated that because it would take a long time to do, and the hammer isn't riding and moving there much, so he is not wrong to take that opinion. But it might be more correct to say that if you want to preserve the 90 degree point, you need to run it in a 90 degree home base location, because anything else of course doesn't properly fit.
    If the hole in the receiver that the slide stop pin goes in was square, instead of round, it would still work for a while, (probably a very, very long while,) PROVIDED that the distance between sides was equal to the diameter of the pin. But we don't build guns that way do we? If we have a round pin, we fit it in a round hole. Why? Because instead of lasting for thousands of rounds, it might last for hundreds of thousands of rounds, if it's properly fitted.
    So, as simply as I can put it, if you want your sear to stay sharp and hold a nice edge longer, (especially after paying someone to do a trigger job on it,) you would do well to either A) carry it down on an empty chamber whereby the edges tough nothing but air, or the way I like to carry mine B) loaded, and with the sear fitted into the hammer where it belongs and only using or relying on the half cocked location as a safety catch, not a normal, "I'm going to carry my gun with the hammer in this position". In fact, since the surfaces of the sera and the 1/2 position don't match up, you'll likely be LESS SAFE because surface cracks on the sear could happen faster when parked in an uneven location, and when the sear fails the possibility of an AD goes up, not down. So think of the 1/2 cock as a backup safety that you don't rely on or use regularly.
     
  16. Earlsbud

    Earlsbud Member

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    I enjoyed reading your posts. The replies to your excellent posts have caused me to leave the site. For me it's not worth the bovine fecal matter this moderator shovels around. Good luck to you and God bless.
     
  17. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    Must be a new thing.

    I know. They consider the pistol to be a second primary weapon, and they keep them in C1 whenever they're operating, because when they are...action is always imminent...and C1 has always been approved for that. When they're stood down or in garrison, the pistols go back to C3 just like the rifles.

    And again...the question is of a technical nature, so let's get back to that.

    I'd say that would be a stretch. The sear isn't that fragile. WW2-era pistols have been discovered hidden away in attics, stored loaded half cocked for decades...and worked perfectly. I've been personally aware of three. One of them is in my collection, still with the original sear. It belonged to my father, and he kept it loaded at half cock for as long as I can remember until he died. I'm sure that there are many more.

    I also did a test/demonsration on an MIM sear once, where I placed it on an anvil, cupped side up, and struck it briskly...twice...with a 4-ounce hammer. Not only did it not break...when I installed it in a pistol...the gun functioned just fine, although the trigger was a little gritty. After that, I removed a full 1/8th inch from the crown with a cutoff wheel and reinstalled it. It held full cock for several live firing cycles. When the hammer hooks were removed, and the hammer thumbed back and slipped...the half cock notch grabbed the sear and stopped the hammer.
     
  18. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    If you want to take the time to read the original patents available online, you may learn something about what the half cock is and what it was intended to be. Once more...the question was technical...not tactical. The half cock is a safety by design and intent. Whether you or anyone else chooses to use it as such is a matter of choice. I don't, because it's unnecessary. If the pistol didn't have a manual safety, I probably would.

    Of course, learning sometimes entails the acceptance that we don't know what we think we know...and for some people, that's impossible.

    :)

    But...like the thumb safety...the half-cock "Safety Position" was meant to be a short-term, temporary condition, used when the mounted trooper had need of both hands in order to regain control of a frightened horse. That's why the thumb safety was added. It's faster and safer in that situation than using the the half cock.
     
  19. MythBuster

    MythBuster member

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    If someone leave because of the wisdom of someone like the 1911 tuner now that is just wrong
    I like the man's style. Instead of repeating BS he does the experiments himself exactly like I do.

    For example after hearing all the BS about a blow to the hammer firing a 1911 in condition one I proved to myself this was not true.

    Now about the idea that constant carring of the 1911 on half cock could cause damage to the sear I could see that to some degree but it has no effect on most of us because most of us do not keep their 1911 on half cock.
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  20. BigG

    BigG Member

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    I forgot - what was the question? ;)
     
  21. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    I keep tryin' to get it back to the original question...but I ain't havin' much luck.

    If that were an issue, the sear would be damaged by the hammer hooks constantly resting on it, and it would be damaged when the slide rides forward and drops the hammer back onto the sear. The sear just isn't that fragile.

    'Preciate the good words, by the way.

    Now then...Everybody please note...again...that I'm not trying to convince anyone to use the half cock as a safety, or dissuade anyone from using Condition One. There's no argument that Condition One is the most tactically sound way to carry one...but this discussion isn't about tactics.
     
  22. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Really?? The fact is that "this moderator" knows more about the mechanics of the 1911 platform then anyone else who contributes to this forum. Over 15,000 posts - most of which have been 1911 pistol related, attest to this fact.

    For some reason some folks seem to think that the history of John Browning's handgun designs started and ended with the .45 Government Model pistol. Such is not so, because it was preceded by a number of other pistols, and a great number of prototypes. All of the Colt pistols made between 1900 and 2000 (and most thereafter) were, and still are, based on 4 patents issued to Browning in 1897. All of those that had a thumb-cocked hammer also had a half-cock notch that was referred to as a "safety."

    In addition, all of the Winchester rifles and shotguns that this firm manufactured under other Browning patents that had thumb-cocked hammers also had a half-cock/safety feature.

    It is true that today the half-cock notch on the 1911 pistol platform is seldom used as a safety, and it is generally advocated that it not be used as such. However this current attitude in no way changes the way things were met to be. I personally don't carry with the hammer on half-cock, and I don't believe that "the moderator" does either. But this, and the fact that some others don't either, doesn’t invalidate the whole history of Browning's Colt pistols.

    If ignorance is an issue, it's not on the part of "the moderator," but rather those members who haven’t bothered to look into the past history of Browning's designs. While some opinions may not agree with Browning's thinking the critics have little to show on their part in the way of firearms design expertise that even come close to those of the original inventor.
     
  23. Panzercat

    Panzercat Member

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    I have to admit, this has been an incredible informative thread for somebody completely new to 1911s such as myself. Reading through, I can't help but to think that it is an incredibly safe pistol; that is to say as safe as a pistol can actually be. So if I'm reading this all correctly, there's no reason not to carry half cocked since almost every safety measure on the pistol is engaged anyway, the assembly is strong enough to bear the stress easily and it makes it easier to deploy the pistol to c0.

    ...Though realistically there's nothing 'wrong' with carrying c1 since the grip and thumb safety will be engaged anyway while conversely you would have to chamber a round to c0 and move the hammer back to half cocked to achieve the half cocked condition (the same for c2). So assuming you're comfortable with going all the way to c0 to do it, there's absolutely no reason mechanically or physically not to carry half cocked, or am I missing something?

    Or you can just carry around c3 and call it a day :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 28, 2012
  24. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    There isn't. The addition of the "thumb" safety pretty much negated the need for using the half cock as a safety.
     
  25. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

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    Tuner... as I remember... it's been said that the thumb safety was added after the initial design. I can certainly see designing the pistol with the half cock safety, then once the additional thumb safety was added, leaving the original. Why delete a safety feature?

    Also note, per my previous post.. that many new hammers incorporate a feature at the half cock shelf that eliminates the half cock shelf from riding on the important section of the sear face. When I saw it, I assumed it was for when the hammer falls to half cock. If any sear damage would happen, it'd do it then.

    OK.. one last thing.. I just realized.. the most current argument is that, the sear face will not be damaged riding the half cock.. in fact it's very tough to damage the sear face as they are tough as nails.. Who was it that said they would use a rasp upside someone's head if they allowed the slide to slam shut empty after previous armorers had just spent hours finely tuning the sear face??? While a harder slap, it kind of goes in the face of what Tuner just said about the toughness of the sear face.
     
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