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Local Police Dep. can't carry 1911's?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Fedaykin, Oct 29, 2007.

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  1. Fedaykin

    Fedaykin Member

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    Maybe this is common knowledge but it's news to me. And I did try searching so if this has been answered, sorry. A buddy of mine just became an police officer and I'm always telling him how much I like 1911's and he came over and said that he heard the police weren't allowed to carry them because they were "unsafe" somehow??? A type of danger with the firing pin or something? They're standard side arm is a sig by the way. Does this sound right? I dont' see how such a popular sidearm could be "inadequate" for law enforcement.
     
  2. Euclidean

    Euclidean Member

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    A lot of PDs are worried about liability and have basically disallowed single action pistols, the justification being that a single action trigger is too light and crisp. The idea is that a double action trigger takes a deliberate effort to pull, and therefore a negligent discharge is impossible. Yeah, right.

    It's the same thinking as the "NY trigger" on the Glock.
     
  3. Aguila Blanca

    Aguila Blanca Member

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    The "problem" is two-fold: (1) The 1911 has a single action only trigger, that is usually set at about 5 to 6 pounds and has a very short travel. Many police departments think the longer and heavier travel of a double-action only or DA/SA pistol is safer in terms of having less chance of a negligent discharge; and (2) the proper mode for duty carry of a 1911 is cocked and locked, and many people who are unfamilar with firearms see that cocked hammer and become afraid the gun will go off all by itself while it sits there in the officers holster.

    Some departments/jurisdictions either issue or authorize the 1911 for duty carry, but they are (unfortunately) in the minority.
     
  4. JesseL

    JesseL Member

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    Some people feel that single action autos carried cocked and locked are unsafe, though I have yet to hear a cogent explanation why.

    They will not fire unless the trigger is pulled (and in the case of a 1911 the manual safety is disengaged and the grip safety is depressed). It seems to come down to people being intimidated by the sight of a cocked hammer.
     
  5. RancidSumo

    RancidSumo Member

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    Some of the police where I live carry 1911's.
     
  6. Fedaykin

    Fedaykin Member

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    Well thats kind of what I was trying to say back to him. But then he said he was told something about if you drop it the firing pin isn't held in place or blocked or something so it could go off. I'm guessing they mean if something were to hit the back of the firing pin while the hammer was cocked, but it still couldn't go off with the safeties on right?
     
  7. JesseL

    JesseL Member

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    The original design for the 1911 has a spring loaded inertial firing pin. In theory, if one is dropped hard enough on the muzzle, the firing pin could slam forward hard enough to fire the chambered round.

    IMO this is an extremely unlikely event, but there have been updates to the design (Series 80, SW1911, etc.) that mechanically block the firing pin until the block is disengaged by some other action (usually pulling the trigger or depressing the grip safety, IIRC).
     
  8. mp510

    mp510 Member

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    Law Enforcement is afraid of scaring the sheeple as much as they are of getting sued.

    I recall a magazine article that described an individual "informing" a 1911 toting LEO that he was carrying his pistol cocked- as if insinuating that he was doing something improper. That is really bad for a departments public image.

    Smith & Wesson puts a warning in their 3rd gen auto manuals that the DA/SA models will have a lighter trigger pull on subsequent shots for this same purpose.
     
  9. RPCVYemen

    RPCVYemen Member

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    Probably a better question is why would Police Departments want a 1911?

    The only advantage of a 1911 - as working tool - over the SA/DAs is a very nice trigger. Probably a better question is why would Police Departments want a 1911? The SA trigger is probably of no little/nor value to working LEOs. Encounters tend to be at very short distances, and there's enough adrenalin pumping to take care of the DA to SA a non-issue. Fast double taps at 25 yards are more useful to sports shooters than anyone else.

    I can't see any advantage - other than a "sweet trigger" - that a 1911 has over the SA/DAs or Glocks. I can see a lot of disadvantages.

    Expense -- A reliable 1911 is going to be more expensive than a SIG/Glock. There are lots of folks who swear they get 1911s all the time that are 100% reliable out of the box - but there are a lot of folks that have to have feed ramps polished, try different kinds of mags, etc. to get a reliable 1911.

    Complicated to use -- Cocked and locked means one more thing to forget when someone is shooting at you - compared to a Glock, for example. You have to drill constantly to make sure that you sweep off the safety.

    Can that be remedied with training? Maybe. Are you as a taxpayer ready willing and able to pay for that training (in addition to the other training)? And for what purpose - to learn how to use a slightly more complicated tool that is no more effective than that the tool in current use? Say 10 hours of overtime every week for every officer? Budget increase of 37.5%? I think you'd find a lot of LEOs happy to get the paid overtime.

    On THR, the assumption is that LEOs are mainly guys who get to run around with guns. But my guess is that to working LEOs, a gun it one tool among many - and perhaps the least frequently used tool of their trade. It's just another tool they need to work when they want it to work. The less training the better - they spend a lot of time training to use their other tools. Legal training, using their patrol cars, communications devices, social welfare bureaucracy, etc.

    The folks that I know that like 1911s enjoy endlessly tinkering with them. They enjoylots and lots of training drills. The sweet SA trigger - for accuracy or bragging rights is the most important characteristic of the weapon. And I got to tell you that even among a large portion of those folks, the "have to go bang" CCW or nightstand gun is a Glock, or some other non-1911.

    Mike
     
  10. 1man

    1man Member

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    I believe that majority(85%) of law enforcement officers are not knowledgable enough and have enough experience in the use of firearms. Majority of the LEOs experience of firearms is the training they receive in the academy!

    No matter what weapon anyone handles, ALL the Safety rules still apply!.
    1911 take a little more discipline and care to handle. There have been a lot of military personnel that had ND/AD's using the 1911 back in the era were the 1911 was the primary standard sidearm for duty. Proper Training, Cautionous Weapons Handling/Manipulating, Prefect Practice, and experience will prevent AD/ND's.
     
  11. SEMO Shooter

    SEMO Shooter Member

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    It seems to me that 2 manual safeties on a 1911 are safer than a DA/SA with no manual safeties. I own both types and my preference is the 1911.
     
  12. Kurt_D

    Kurt_D Member

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    +1 and I like to add one more thing - capacity. 7-8 round mags vs 12-13 if we're talking .45 acp, more if talking .40 and 9mm.

    Yes, I know the stats say the average shoot out last x number of seconds with something like less than 5 shots fired, but that's an average. The last one here lasted 12+ hours (off and on exchanges) with God knows how many shots fired.
     
  13. shooting4fun

    shooting4fun Member

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    Howdy All,

    Interesting thread. Goes to show just where the priorities of some of the law enforcement communities are based on policy and training practices.

    Here in SE AZ the Cochise County Sheriff's Department carry 1911s in condition one. They have other tools at their discretion too! Local PD uses Glocks and of course other tools!

    While on the topic of LEOs, a big Thanks to each and every one of them for service to the community!

    Cheers!
     
  14. MASTEROFMALICE

    MASTEROFMALICE member

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    With about 350 officers on my department I am one of two who are authorized to carry a 1911 off duty, and the other one is our range master.

    Forget about the public telling me my hammer is cocked, almost every time I go to court in plain clothes I have a cop tell me my hammer is back.

    I actually had one exchange with an officer far senior to me who demanded I put my hammer down. I told him no because "That would be dangerous."
     
  15. Norm357

    Norm357 Member

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    I know a lot of cops who carry a 1911.

    Honestly, 7+1 shots and a couple of reloads will get 100% of todays cops safely home. If they need more than that, then they need a rifle. And lots of friends with rifles.

    This wheelgunner syas that the 1911 is a great LEO weapon, provided proper training is given.
     
  16. 10-Ring

    10-Ring Member

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    Probably just depends on your local PD/SO -- police commission or city council and what your chief/ sherrif prefers more than the "safety" of the 1911
     
  17. possum

    possum Member

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    yeah i don't see alot of leo with 1911's, i see mostly glocks, that is a shame that more departments don't allow the 1911's.
     
  18. RON in PA

    RON in PA Member

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    Mike, one of the most intelligent posts I've seen in a long time.
     
  19. Double Naught Spy

    Double Naught Spy Sus Venator

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    Many depts have limited carry options. 1911s aren't singled out per se in those cases, but lots of guns are disallowed. We have a lot dept that only allows Glocks and Sigs. In my town, our department allows 5 different platforms including the 1911, but after those 5, that is it.

    You know, this is one of those supposed horrors of 1911s, remembering to disengage the safety under stress. I would contend that if you are incapable of doing this, then you haven't had proper training. The same can be said for safety holsters.

    Funny thing about safeties, whether on 1911s or other guns, then guns are taken from cops in scuffles, the one thing that often saves the cops is the fact that the bad guys, unfamiliar with the platform, can't get the gun to fire.
     
  20. crankshop1000

    crankshop1000 Member

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    I'm burning all my Jeff Cooper articles.
     
  21. outofbattery

    outofbattery Member

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    My sheriff's department has 3 simple rules regarding what a deputy can carry: must be a minimum of .38 or 9mm,can't be single action,can't be anything "magnum".1 is very understandable,2 recognizes that most of them are not the most proficient shooters in the world and also ties into point 3 which is the liability/public image if a shooting were to take place.The sheriff would not want to have to defend why a deputy shot someone with a firearm that has a "hair trigger" or .357/.44 Magnum in a good shoot as it would most certainly be questioned.
    Other than qualifying to dismally low standards and perhaps 50 rounds of practice for that once a year,most deputies do not shoot on a regular basis.Sorry,but that's the state of LE these days:most of them were not raised with firearms and have little interest in becoming better shooters.
     
  22. RPCVYemen

    RPCVYemen Member

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    I am not sure that is a fair statement. I am not sure that little interest is fair or accurate. LEOs get the same 24 hours/day that the rest of us get. We all have to juggle the times that we allocate to each task we'd like to do, each task we have interest in. It would take me 30 hours/day to get to all of the tasks I have a high interest in - so I can't even get to those.

    There was a time when I had more contact with LEOs than I do now, and the picture that I got was that LEOs do a lot of required training, some paid for, some not paid for.

    If we want LEO's to train 10 hours a week on a range, we should pay them for that 10 hours a week.

    My impression - and I may be wrong - is that LEOs would be pretty happy to do more weapons training if they were paid to do weapons training. Many of them do unpaid weapons training now.

    Most LEOs that I knew were very traditional guys - I'm stereotyping, I know. But they tended to have wives and kids that also needed time. Many were involved with kids athletics, etc.

    If you said, "Most of them do lots of unpaid training, and are less interested in more unpaid training than they are in spending time with their families", I think you'd be closer to reality.

    Do you support a tax increase/LE budget increase to support the kind of training you think LEOs should have? Most people don't, but maybe you do.

    Mike
     
  23. RPCVYemen

    RPCVYemen Member

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    The horrors are not all supposed. If you search youtube, you can find a pretty recent one. I don't have a citation, but I think there was a long THR discussion of this.

    Can this issue be remedied with proper training? Let's assume it can.

    How much training?

    How many hours of initial training do you think would be required to develop the instinct to swipe off the safety reliably on a 1911 in high stress scenarios?

    How long before the error rate - of forgetting to swipe off the safety on a 1911 - is so low that the 1911 is as reliable in the hands of the trainee as DA revolver or Glock?

    How many hours a week/month afterwards to maintain that level of performance?

    I am really curious about the number of hours. I really don't have a clue.

    Mike
     
  24. CPshooter

    CPshooter Member

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    I think a C&L 1911 is safer than a Glock. Keep in mind that I've never owned a 1911 and have owned 2 Glocks. The firing pin/hammer issue is stupid first of all. The chances of that happening are no greater than a Glock having an AD. There's a manual safety which automatically adds a REAL element of safety, whereas a Glock will go boom no matter what if you pull that trigger. And the trigger safety on the Glock? C'mon now..

    Also, the 1911 has a grip safety which makes sure the user has a firm grip on the gun before it can fire. How is this not a safe system? I don't know. The 1911 is easier to set off due to its SA trigger, however this is only when the gun is ready to fire and aimed at a suspect. I'd imagine that is exactly why LE agencies aren't allowed to use them. If a police officer's trigger finger is on the trigger and adrenaline is pumping, you never know when a round might be squeezed off when the tension gets high. That's when a fat lawsuit bites them in the you know what...

    On that note, if I were a LEO I would never choose a single stack .45 over the high mag. capacity of a nice double stack .40 service pistol. You never know when poop hits the fan.
     
  25. Autolycus

    Autolycus Member

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    Because .40 S&W is a better round than .45 ACP for LE. :)
     
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