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1911 hammer lowering ideas?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by el Godfather, Dec 1, 2012.

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  1. dastardly-D

    dastardly-D Member

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    Hammer

    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.................
     
  2. Ken70

    Ken70 Member

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    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.
     
  3. mcdonl

    mcdonl Member

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    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.
     
  4. orionengnr

    orionengnr Member

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    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.
     
  5. Mr. Doughnut

    Mr. Doughnut Member

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    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.
     
  6. 351 WINCHESTER

    351 WINCHESTER Member

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    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.
     
  7. Panzercat

    Panzercat Member

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    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.
     
  8. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    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...
     
  9. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

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    OK I'll play that game.

    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.
     
  10. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    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.
     
  11. iLikeOldgunsIlikeNewGuns

    iLikeOldgunsIlikeNewGuns Member

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    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 :)
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2012
  12. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    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
     
  13. FIVETWOSEVEN

    FIVETWOSEVEN Member

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    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.
     
  14. 2wheels

    2wheels Member

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    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.
     
  15. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    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
     
  16. daybreak

    daybreak Member

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    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.
     
  17. Skylerbone

    Skylerbone Member

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    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.
     
  18. Girodin

    Girodin Member

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    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.
     
  19. FIVETWOSEVEN

    FIVETWOSEVEN Member

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

    Skylerbone Member

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    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.
     
  21. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    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.
     
  22. Vern Humphrey

    Vern Humphrey Member

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    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.
     
  23. 351 WINCHESTER

    351 WINCHESTER Member

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    Amen to what Vern said.
     
  24. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    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.
     
  25. Ken70

    Ken70 Member

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    * 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.
     
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