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When was 'cocked and locked' invented and by whom?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Shoobee, Apr 19, 2012.

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  1. Shoobee

    Shoobee member

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    Flashback to TBS Quantico Va 1976.

    1911A1 range qualification shooting covered techniques of holding (two handed), aiming (natural sight picture), trigger squeeze, and offset for the iron sight allignment.

    "With a magazine and 5 rounds lock and load ... ."

    But in those days (1975) there was never any mention of 'cocked and locked' carry in the G/I issue brown leather holsters.

    In the FMF and Fleet, duty officers normally did not load their .45s unless absolutely necessary, as just before a drug bust (been there done that).

    So who 'invented' the cocked and locked protocol for the 1911A1 and when and where?

    Is this just some urban legend that is rampantly popular now?

    I know there is a ton of gifted knowledge and experience here on this website forum, so I am asking.
     
  2. Rail Driver

    Rail Driver Member

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    Concealed carry for defense is much different than using a sidearm in the line of duty. One never knows when a self defense situation could occur, so one must always be prepared. In the line of duty, usually officers know when they're going to be heading into a dangerous situation. As an aside, police and other law enforcement also carry with one in the chamber. On a military base (especially stateside) things are quite a bit different.

    Edit to add: To put it in a different perspective, would you expect a criminal who's attempting to mug you at gunpoint to wait while you load and charge your weapon?
     
  3. allaroundhunter

    allaroundhunter Member

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    I'm not exactly sure when, but my grandfather was a pilot during Korea and was issued an M1911A1. He said that he was instructed to carry with a mag in, but with an empty chamber, hammer down. He actually does use the term "cocked and locked" when referring to 1911's, but not with any other guns so I assume that he heard in from his time in service.
     
  4. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Some GI invented it in a trench in WWI I betcha.

    Then Jeff Cooper had more to do with it then anyone else lately.
    He and a few friends started the first modern combat pistol competition in Southern California during the late 1950s.
    Through it all, a Cocked & Locked 1911 was the ticket to get in the door if you wanted any chance of winning. No other gun or carry method was as fast & accurate while still making major caliber.

    Cooper went on to write for several gun magazines of the 60's & 70's, as well as start the Gunsite training facility.

    rc
     
  5. RhinoDefense

    RhinoDefense Member

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    The 1911 carry condition was born out of Browning's testing and US Army demands. It was not designed from the start to do that.
     
  6. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    "Cocked and locked" was always an option with the M1911/A1 pistol, but the military chose not to use it except in limited circumstances, such as the need to control a horse in the old days. The few police or civilians who carried the pistol often did so with the hammer down on a loaded chamber or with the chamber empty. Some, though, did carry "cocked and locked."

    It was probably Jeff Cooper or some other of the 1911 aficiandos who coined the term, as they popularized other terms like the "conditions".

    It is a safe enough way to carry that pistol, but in some cases, when the gun is carried openly, it makes folks nervous and is not good for an image. For that reason, the few police departments that allow carry of the 1911 often mandate that the hammer be down.

    The common myth is that John Browning intended the pistol to be carried "cocked and locked" but there is no evidence to support that. The manual safety, like the grip safety, was added at the demand of the Army; the manual safety at the behest of the cavalry who needed to be able to make the pistol safe while the rider controlled his horse or if the gun had to be holstered temporarily. Browning apparently felt that the half-cock notch was the best way to carry a gun with the chamber loaded, and that is the only safety he put on any exposed hammer gun, pistol, rifle or shotgun.

    Jim
     
  7. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    A bit of followup, on the "lock and load." That command makes no sense with the 1911 pistol, since the slide cannot be operated to load the gun if it is locked (safety on).

    It actually comes from rifle shooting, where the command with the M1, M14 and M16/M4 is "lock and load" since those rifles can be loaded with the safety engaged. With the M1903 Springfield, the command was "load and lock", so the bolt would be operated to load the first round from the magazine, then the safety applied. When the M1 was adopted, the order was reversed.

    Jim
     
  8. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

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    The question is NOT.. how you should carry today. It's when was "cocked and locked" born.
    I wouldn't bet against that.

    We all know "official" training material generally lags, common practice that proves to be effective. In some cases official rules against practices, that prove to be deadly, but usually only after several deaths.

    We've had several people stating that during their military service, WWII, Korean, Vietnam that the official Army protocol was, magazine inserted, hammer down on a empty chamber UNLESS action was imminent. At what point did the army (US service) issue instructions that in IMMINENT need that the 1911 be "cocked and locked"? Did they ever use those terms? Condition 1? Or Round chambered and no mention of the thumb safety????????
     
  9. Rail Driver

    Rail Driver Member

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    To clarify: The AR-15/M16/M4 can be loaded with the safety engaged, but the safety CANNOT be engaged unless the bolt is locked back or the weapon is cocked. Thus "Lock and Load, one 20rd magazine!"

    I didn't advise anyone on how they should carry today. I made a comment that could be a part of the origins of the term, and the reason for the difference that the OP noted in his original post. Thanks and have a nice day :)
     
  10. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    Cooper and his followers are the reason that the 1911 has the popularity today as a carry weapon. If the gov. manual of arms were used it would serve very little purpose in todays civilian SD roll.
    I'm sure references of what is commonly known as condition one can be found that predate Cooper but he was the one who vigorously promoted and trained that doctrine. I grew up on his writings and he made me a believer, I do not often carry the 1911 for personal defence but when I do it is in the manner he described.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
  11. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    All the 1911 "Conditions" was another of Jeff Coopers inventions in the 60's.

    I never heard the term Condition used in referance to a 1911 in all the time I was in the Army.

    I did hear or say Cocked & Locked or Lock & Load a gizillion times though.

    Not only applied to the 1911, but every other weapon in the inventory.

    It was a command to put the safety on and load, or visa versa, and every swinging Johnson understood it.

    Whether you could actually do it in that order or not depended on the type of weapon you had in your hands at the time.

    rc
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
  12. RhinoDefense

    RhinoDefense Member

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    Originally it was load and lock. It was a command that came about in the musket days. You loaded the patch and ball, then locked the hammer back.

    The term got switched around in a John Wayne movie because it was easier to say for him.

    Lock and load has nothing to do with the 20th century US firearms manual of arms.
     
  13. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    There are a awful lot of words, terms, phrases, and acronyms that are commonly used in the U.S. Military that do not appear in the firearms manual, or any other manual I betcha!

    rc
     
  14. Jim K

    Jim K Member

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    Sorry, Rhino, the command has nothing to do with, and was not used in the musket days. In the command, as used, the word "lock" always meant to "lock" the firing mechanism, in other words, to put the safety on.

    And no, it was not changed because John Wayne couldn't pronounce it (where to these ideas come from??) it was changed because the rifle changed.

    Rail Driver is correct, I didn't cover the detail.

    FWIW, someone once did a bit of satire on "conditions". I don't remember them all, but Condition 12 was "In the hand of your wife who has just had a phone call from your girl friend."

    Jim
     
  15. RhinoDefense

    RhinoDefense Member

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    You should read journals of the men who fought during the formation of our country to gain insight on the term. Load and lock was used long before the 1903 Springfield.

    I didn't say he couldn't pronounce it, I said it was easier for him to say "lock and load" than "load and lock".
     
  16. Shoobee

    Shoobee member

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    Thanks guys for the backgrounder and the info on Cooper.

    Looks like this fine gentleman was a fellow marine.

    From the wiki, here are his conditions fwiw:

    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.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Cooper

    I will read-up on him now.

    I personally agree with Condition 2. That is the one I am most familiar with. Whenever I walked my post at night this is what I used. And for imminent danger, it was good enough for me. I practiced drawing quickly and pulling the hammer back with my thumb at the same time, same as 1800s gunslingers with their single action Colts would do.

    Condition 4 is what we normally used in the military routinely, by regulation, when nothing was hot.

    I did not mean to start a debate on 'lock and load.' As I recall, by the 1970s in the military this meant lock a magazine into the magazine well, and load the weapon by releasing the slide to travel forward on the 1911A1, or the bolt forward on the M16A1. I know originally it meant something completely different with muskets, when they used the half-cock during loading.

    Thanks for the informative explanations, Everyone.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
  17. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    Wow Shoobee
    A Californian, shooter, Marine who hasn't heard of Jeff Cooper and the conditions?? Where you been living under a rock? How about the colors?
     
  18. Shoobee

    Shoobee member

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    He never came up at Quantico when I was there.

    I remember mom, apple pie, and the flag though.

    And "this is my rifle; my rifle is my best friend ... ."

    Since those times, my 45ACP has become my best friend, with the Mossberg 12 gauge in a close 2nd place.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
  19. Greg528iT

    Greg528iT Member

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    It just needed repeating. :D
     
  20. Shoobee

    Shoobee member

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    You could call the wife-girlfriend thing code black too!
     
  21. Smokin Gator

    Smokin Gator Member

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    At the point where the 1911 was manufactured and issued, or out into the publics hands, I can't imagine it would have been to long before someone thought it was a good idea to carry it with one in the chamber, hammer cocked and thumb safety engaged. They may not have refered to is as "cocked and locked". I don't know when the first person would have decided to teach this as the standard manner of carry to a group, law enforcement, or someone else. Mark
     
  22. Shoobee

    Shoobee member

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    Not sure why you think that is so intuitive, Gator??

    Condition One seems inherently unsafe to me when returned to a holster like that.

    With a safety spring on the firing pin, Condition Two makes the most sense to me for returning it to the holster.

    It would seem intuitive to me that Conditions Zero and One are most appropriate and safe only for out of the holster and in your hand, gun pointing upwards, until you have identified a target to engage.

    But that is what all the hooplah is about, regarding cocked and locked in your holster.

    At this point you need to know what kind of firing pin safety is built into your 45ACP or other semi-auto pistol.

    In the case of my CZ, it has a firing pin safety, ergo Condition Two is safe and appropriate for carrying. Noting also that my CZ does not have a grip safety, nor would I want it to have one, therefore one more reason why Condition One would seem to be inherently unsafe if returned to a holster or pocket that way for the CZ.

    At least now I know how the notion(s) got started and who started it/them. I would have liked to talk to LTC Cooper about how he carried for military applications versus competition scenarios. But alas he has gone to greener hunting grounds.

    It's just like anything else. If Moses said to do something then you will have about 10 million or so people following it, maybe. If Jesus said something else, then 1 billion or so people probably will. It just all depends on who Moses or Jesus is in any particular case.
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
  23. Slamfire

    Slamfire Member

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    Many users of the M1911 justify carrying the M1911 in “condition one” by stating that the pistol was designed to be carried "cocked and locked".

    Unfortunately this claim is not correct, the M1911 was not designed to be carried cocked and locked.

    John Browning’s Models’ 1900, Model 1902, 1903 Pocket Model, Military Model 1905, M1909, M1910 did not have thumb safety locks. There are safeties; early on there is a hammer blocking device. It was a sight safety. The user pushed the back of the rear sight down, and that blocked the hammer from the firing pin. It did not last long. The grip safety was added later and stayed all the way through to the M1911.

    I recommend buying “The Government Models” by William H.D. Goddard to see the wonderful pictures and progression of Brownings automatic pistol design. I also recommend the “Colt .45 Service Pistols Models of 1911 and 1911A1 Charles W. Clawson”, but the pictures are not as good.

    The first thumb safety lock appears on the Model 1910 slant handle. It was added because the Cavalry apposed the adoption of a semiautomatic pistol because of their concerns about multiple accidental discharges while mounted. The Cavalry wanted to stay with their revolvers. As the primary user of a handgun, the Cavalry had the biggest vote at the table. John Browning’s thumb safety lock was needed to overcome the Cavalry's objections against a semi automatic pistol.


    On this page is a long extract from a 1910 Board of Officer’s evaluating two mechanical locks submitted by John Browning on the 1910 prototype. I am using only the bit pertinent to this discussion:

    From Pg 56, Colt 45 Service pistol

    Pg 51, Cavalry Board Test, 11 March 1910, excerpts from the Cavalry Boards comments on the M1909 semiautomatic pistol (which did not have the thumb safety)




    These pistols, and the M1911 were designed to be carried in “Condition two”, that is a round in the chamber with the hammer down. The thumb lock safety was to be engaged to make the pistol safe when the user’s other hand was occupied. The manual of arms from 1913 clearly shows that the hammer was to be lowered (using two hands) when the M1911 was holstered.

    Army 1913 Small Arms Manual:

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    If you cannot read the text on the bottom of pgs 91 and 92:

    Italics are in the original.

    So why did the Army change the regulations?:Hatcher’s Textbook of Pistols and Revolvers, page 95, provides the clue:


    It is obvious that accidental discharges occurred trying to put the pistol in "condition two". The Army had to find an alternative, something that did not require redesign of the M1911, and so the Army changed the procedures so that the pistol was carried in the flap holster, "cocked and locked".

    Jeff Cooper was a WWII veteran and so were many of the participants at the early leather slaps. It is my belief that they justified carrying 1911's cocked and locked by pointing at WW2 manuals.

    Eventually this morphed into a religion, with basic tenents and beliefs.

    When Moses came down from the mountain top
    Bearing the one true gun
    Commanding that every trooper and every Cop
    Shall carry it in Condition one

    Thus sayeth the Lord.


    This image is in the 1913 manual. This pistol has features of early M1911 prototypes, and no thumb safety. It is obvious that the manual writer had access to the test board, test articles, possibly to John Browning himself.

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Apr 19, 2012
  24. Shoobee

    Shoobee member

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    Great research, Slamfire, thanks!
     
  25. Sicari

    Sicari Member

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    Magnificent post.
    Thank you Slamfire.
     
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