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Colt Gov't .380 Safety

Discussion in 'Gunsmithing and Repairs' started by T J, Dec 12, 2006.

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  1. T J

    T J Member

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    I recently fired a friend's Colt Gov't 380, and noticed the safety will not engage in the safe (upward) position while the hammer is cocked. He said he thinks that is the way it has been since he had it, but this does not seem right to me. Should the safety engage while the hammer is cocked as do most normal 1911 style pistols, or is this the way these 380's are where the hammer has to be lowered before the safety can be engaged? If this is not normal, what might be the problem? Just doesn't seem right to me anyway.
     
  2. raytracer

    raytracer Member

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    The safety should absolutely engage when cocked. Unlike a 1911, it should engage with the hammer down or in the half-cock position, although the hammer cannot be drawn back past half-cock with the safety on.

    If it functions as you describe, it should be looked at by a gunsmith before carrying or shooting again.

    Joe
     
  3. kimbernut
    • Contributing Member

    kimbernut Member

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    Govt. .380

    Does your friend's Gov't .380 still have the original stamped metal sear or has it been replaced with a solid tool steel sear? My Mustang Pocket-Lite sear has been replaced with the solid sear and the safety will not go on-safe until the hammer is pulled slightly past the full cock notch.
     
  4. T J

    T J Member

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    I don't know about the sear being replaced. As I recall he got this from another friend of his quite a number of years ago, so who knows now. I got this gun from him and messed with it some and discovered what you are saying that the safety goes on pretty easily when the hammer is cocked even further than when at rest in the cocked position. Without the hammer 'over cocked', found out you have to push really hard and the safety will engage. Seems this requires the use of the other hand as I could not get the safety up with my right thumb in the shooting position.
    I was going to try to take it apart and see if I could figure out what was going on, but soon discovered this is way different than a 1911 (which I have detail stripped before), and decided to quit while I was ahead since I could not find anything beyond exploded parts diagrams for disassembly instructions. I ended up taking it to my gunsmith to check out. He said those are inherintly harder safeties to engage than a std 1911, but that this was probably excessive. He is going to work on smoothing it up some.
    While at the gunsmith's, learned he is probably going into semi retirement. I guess the good news is he will still do work for now for current customers, but not take any new customers. He might not be the cheapest 'smith out there, but he is for sure a good gunsmith. Guess I'll have to start saving up some money for him to do a few things before he totally quits the business.
     
  5. Steve H

    Steve H Member

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    My Gov. Pocketlite is the same exact way.
     
  6. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    I don't have one of those guns to look at, but IIRC, the safety does not block the sear like the M1911. Instead, it is intended to cam the hammer back off the sear and then block it so it won't drop. Those guns are a Spanish design (some are made in Spain), and that is the common design for many Spanish and Spanish type pistols, like the Argentine Ballester-Molina. It is a good system but the safety needs careful fitting to make sure it works the way intended. If that is not done, the pistol can be effectively without a safety and dangerous.

    In all the cases mentioned, I recommend taking the gun to a gunsmith, and explain to him how the safety is supposed to work and ask him to fit it so it does so. Note also that with that type of safety, the trigger can be pulled while the hammer is cocked and the safety on without dropping the hammer, unlike the M1911 type. Also the safety must be checked for sear reset by cocking the hammer (gun empty, of course), setting the safety to ON, pulling the trigger, then releasing the safety. If the hammer drops to half cock when the safety is released, the safety is defective or is not fitted properly.

    (Edited to add "and the safety on without dropping the hammer" above. With the hammer cammed back and blocked, the trigger and sear are free to move.)

    Jim
     
  7. Steve H

    Steve H Member

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    just one more fyi. I think this gun was recalled by Colt for a sear problem. Maybe you should call them and find out if this is the case and ask them about the safety.
     
  8. Plink

    Plink Member

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    Colt has a bad reputation for sending back guns they worked on without fitting the safety. They replaced the hammer on my Govt. .380 and the safety did the same thing. You had to cock the hammer back slightly to engage it. Rather than trust sending it to them again after such a blunder, I just fitted it myself. I can't understand them not fitting the safety, if for no other reason than liability protection to cover their butts.

    Take it to your local smith. He can fit the safety properly and it's a simple fix so it shouldn't be too expensive.
     
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