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Disabling the S&W Lock

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by RatDrall, Apr 25, 2009.

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  1. RatDrall

    RatDrall Member

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    My wife and I carry lockable S&W revolvers sometimes. I'm concerned about the lock activating unintentionally. I know that it isn't likely, but it's one more thing to go wrong.

    I disassembled my K-frame, and it looks like the lock works using a little "nub" on the "wing" piece that moves out the back of the frame to show that it is activated. Can I have a gunsmith grind that nub down, so that if the lock does activate, it won't lock the action up? Should I just file it down myself?

    Is there anything illegal about disabling a storage lock?

    Thanks in advance for any advice on this...
     
  2. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

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    I didn't care for the lock myself. Rather than attempt to permenantly disable a "safety device" I tried something different. Where the lock moves internally, directly on the other side of where the key is inserted, I could see where it turned another piece; I decided to put a "drop" of super glue at the junuction of those two parts. After my prevenative application of glue the lock will not "accidentally" ;) engage. I don't worry about it now.

    I had to carefully cock the hammer to see those parts on my 638.
     
  3. harmonic

    harmonic member

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    Here's a video on removing the lock.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVPYgohVCNM

    Re legality, the subject has been beaten to death by dimestore lawyers who insist that if you were ever involved in a SD shooting, the DA would depict you as a bloodthirsty killer if you use a gun that has been modified. These armchair lawyers are the same ones who insist you never carry reloads because that, too, makes you look like a gun nut.

    I've never read of anyone who successfully defended themselves with a handgun being prosecuted for carrying a) a modified handgun or b) reloads.

    As far as removing the lock: with so many non lock handguns available, why even buy an IL Smith?
     
  4. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    it is your gun, modify it at will.
     
  5. COSteve

    COSteve Member

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    File down that little half-moon nub that rides in the hammer groove. Takes 10 minutes max.
     
  6. krs

    krs Member

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    I'm not too thrilled with the method shown in that video for disabling the lock. Without the flag in place the small piece that raises or lowes the flag and thereby locks the hammer is able to come loose inside the mechanism. All that keeps it in without the flag is the small spring pressure from it's front.

    At least that's how it looked to me, so instead of removing the flag I filed off the small "nub" that engages the slot in the hammer so that up or down the flag locks nothing.

    Removing the flag also leaves a gap alongside the hammer that's visible from outside the pistol. It's noticable more on a stainless gun than a blued one but either way it's an aesthetic factor that might bother some people.
     
  7. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    It's not illegal to remove the lock but it is very unwise.

    If you disable the lock and the gun is ever involved in a shooting COUNT on opposing counsel making an issue of it. Sure, we all know it's a storage lock that has nothing to do with the safe operation of the gun but a lawyer prosecuting you or suing you will select a jury with no knowledge of firearms and will portray you as a reckless Rambo wannabe who looked for an excuse to shoot somebody or was so careless that you were an accident waiting to happen.

    I know that the vast majority of members on this forum dismiss the possibility of legal issues arising from deactivating a storage lock but every lawyer I have asked has said they are wrong. One laughed out loud at the thought of suing someone who used a gun with a disabled safety device saying "that information would be money in the bank."

    You do what you think is best.
     
  8. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    SaxonPig is a smart guy and there is no arguing with his post. It is spot on.

    The question becomes do you...

    A- adapt the lock to a safer situation by gluing or filing on it, knowing that the chances of using it for self defense is relatively low

    B- trust that the jury might not be stupid

    C- sell your revolver and buy a gun without the ugly, poorly designed lock

    I am a BIG proponent of C.
     
  9. Phydeaux642

    Phydeaux642 Member

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    In the video link, is the procedure the same with a gun that has an exposed hammer? I thought I remembered someone saying that it was a bit different but I may be dreaming. If it is the same then it wouldn't be such a big deal to pick up a gun with the lock if I found one on the cheap.

    I can't imagine super glue being strong enough over time to do any good.

    I love that type of person that ignores what is right in order to make a buck. Very honorable.
     
  10. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    I fail to understand why so many people agonize over the lock, when there is an easy solution.

    If you don't like it, or are afraid of legal implications if you disable or remove it, simply buy a revolver off of the used market that doesn't have one, or from a manufacturer that doesn't install one.

    I have absolutely no problems with the lock, because I carry a revolver that never had one, or a Taurus that can be cured with one drop of LocTite.
     
  11. Phydeaux642

    Phydeaux642 Member

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    My carry guns have no locks , but if I found a really good deal on a 686 or something I would hate to pass it up just because it had a lock, especially if it's as easy to remove as the video demonstrates.
     
  12. AlPackin

    AlPackin Member

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    It's not just the lock I'm opposed to, it's the nasty hole in the side of an otherwise nice looking firearm. "Glory Hole" as I've heard it referred to on another forum :)
     
  13. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    No problem...

    Obviously you don't like it, and are not afraid of legal implications, go ahead and buy the gun, and then remove or disable the lock.

    But for a number of reasons, before I did that I'd shop around and see if I could find a pre-lock model 686 (or whatever). If I couldn't I'd do what I'd have too do.
     
  14. krs

    krs Member

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    It's the same either way but you've brought up something I missed. Where I said that removing the flag would leave a gap alongside the hammer would not apply to an enclosed hammer model.

    I doubt that the lock disabling would become an issue in a case which had been determined to be a valid self defense situation, and if the shooting was not so clearly a self defense use of the pistol then the shooter is cooked anyway, lock or no lock.
     
  15. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    SaxonPig does have a point of sorts. From the perspective of liability, surviving a "good shoot" may not shield you from a following civil suit. But while the risk may (or may not) be there, lawyers don't often sue unless they can see where their money will come from.

    What it comes down to is what is the greater element of risk. Having the lock fail, or losing a suit after being cleared in a shooting incident - which we will presume for argument was justified.

    That something each owner of a IL handgun has to decide for themselves.
     
  16. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    Like you, Old Fuff, I do not own any Smiths with locks. Nor do I anticipate ever owning one.

    Unlike the Taurus lock, it is poorly designed as it moves on the same axis as the recoil of the weapon. Stupid design.

    In addition it is ugly.

    If those were not enough, it is a symbol of S&W capitulating w the Clinton Administration.

    I will continue to shun S&W (all products, not just revolvers) and buy all of the old wheelguns that I can afford.

    I am thinking an old model 49 should be my next snubby
     
  17. Old Fuff

    Old Fuff Member

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    Ah, you really shouldn't buy those old guns... :what:

    You might get one I wanted. :evil: :D
     
  18. harmonic

    harmonic member

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    And how many lawyers would that be? An actual number please.

    I'd also like something a little more substantial than he said. Actual case citations will suffice.





    .
     
    Last edited: Apr 26, 2009
  19. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    That would be three. Two are members of gun discussion forums (including this one and he has posted the same comments as I) and the third is my wife, who is a practicing attorney and she assures me that any gun used in a shooting will be submitted to an independent expert for examination and a written report will be sent to the lawyers detailing every aspect of the gun. The disabled safety device will be noted in the report and any lawyer with even half a brain WILL make an issue of it.

    I do not wish to survive a gunfight only to spend the next five years in depositions and courtrooms spending every penny I have defending myself from a civil suit.

    Like I always say, you all can do what you think is best. I know I will.

    BTW- I get a kick out of the folks who complain about the hole in the side for the lock. Take a look at ANY pre-1945 S&W revolver, like the ones pictured below. All S&Ws made before 1945 have a hole in the left side as part of the design. If I refused to own a S&W with a hole in the side I would have to sell about half my collection.

    Really... much, much ado about nothing.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
  20. harmonic

    harmonic member

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    Wow, three whole attorneys? The other two you know only from anonymous internet forums?

    How impressive.

    Actually, I'll wait for you to cite the case. At least one case. Any case. Your wife should be able to do that.
     
  21. Guillermo

    Guillermo member

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    Harmonic,

    SaxonPig is a smart guy. He talked to some experts in the field of law about a hypothetical lawsuit.

    If you don't want to listen to what advice he and his attorney friends say, ignore away.

    It is my choice to just say "thank you" for his though and effort.
     
  22. SaxonPig

    SaxonPig Member

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    harmonic- Sarcasm aside, there likely aren't any cases to cite at this point since I suspect it hasn't been an issue... yet. But because it hasn't happened... yet... doesn't mean that it won't and I do not wish to be the first.

    As far as the number of lawyers consulted, you're right, three isn't a huge number. But when three of three give the same opinion, I figure there's something worth noting, here. You don't. Your choice. But which of us has more to lose if proven wrong?

    Please feel free to dismiss the notion of a disabled lock being a legal issue.

    The prosecutor trying to put you in prison and the civil attorney trying to ruin your life will thank you for it.
     
  23. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    If you MUST disable the lock, at least do it in such a way that it is IMMEDIATELY OBVIOUS that the lock has been disabled.

    There are few things more dangerous than a gun with a safety that LOOKS like it works but that actually does nothing at all.
    So first it's only "dimstore" or "armchair" lawyers who say this. SaxonPig states that he has talked to actual lawyers.
    So then it's not about armchair vs. real, it's about how many... SaxonPig states that he has talked to three lawyers.
    So then it's not about how many lawyers, it's about an actual case cite.

    I'm sure you wouldn't want us to get the impression that you're going to dismiss anything that contradicts your opinion so let's hear your side of it.
    Interesting approach. How much of what you've "never read" do you usually use to base your unshakeable opinions upon?

    I guess that's beside the point. Given your standards for assessing the validity of input on this thread, what you "know" based on what you have never read is simply not going to pass muster.

    So it's your turn now. This is your chance to let us see what facts you're basing your comments on.

    1. How many actual lawyers have you spoken to about this topic and what were their opinions? (Per your standards, the number must be larger than 3, and none can be anonymous.)

    2. How much case law have you reviewed to make your determination that this issue is not something that should be of concern?
     
    Last edited: Apr 27, 2009
  24. harmonic

    harmonic member

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    Like I said, cite the case that proves your proposition.

    Until then, you don't know you're talking about. Any of you.
     
  25. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    In other words, you have no facts at all.
    You haven't spoken to any attorneys.
    You haven't reviewed any applicable case law.

    You're basing your entire argument on what you know because of what you've "never read" and apparently you believe that qualifies you to tell other people they don't know what they're talking about and to deride them for providing facts that clash with your view of reality.

    Like I said, that's an interesting approach.
     
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