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Why carry a 1911 in Condition 1 over Condition 2?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by stchman, Nov 11, 2009.

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  1. dmazur

    dmazur Member

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    I will admit, however, that I don't have any extended safeties, or ambidextrous safeties, on my two Commanders. If the original safety is "firm" (for lack of a better word) and is worn on the inside, as would be done for R hand carry, it is very difficult to brush it off accidentally.

    I'm not against the concept of extended safeties, but I don't have any experience with them.

    If I was L handed, I think I'd get an ambi safety and have a gunsmith do something to the normal safety to minimize it. Maybe trim it to look like a GI safety, so it wouldn't get snagged.
     
  2. cyclopsshooter

    cyclopsshooter Member

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    i mostly carry condition 3- if i am going into a "spooky" situation i will go condition 2-

    it is a 70 series, i know how to decock safely- and have a heavy firing pin spring... itd have to drop 15 feet before it discharged
     
  3. mokin

    mokin Member

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    I never carried a 1911 but I did carry a Browning High Power for a year or so (and intermittently since). I was and am still not comfortable (and never did) lower the hammer on a loaded chamber. For that reason only I don't use condition two.
     
  4. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    The pistol was designed to be carried in one of three options. 1: C&L, 2. Hammer down on a loaded chamber, and 3, Hammer down on an empty chamber. Modern interpretations also suggest an empty chamber, hammer cocked, safety off, for ease of loading as you draw. (Sometimes called "Israeli" carry.)

    The least safe option is the half-cock. It is really a safety notch which CAN BREAK if dropped, and if the hammer is hit that hard, it is possible to hit the firing pin hard enough to fire. When the hammer is all the way down, it can't.

    Also look at it this way. YES, you can cock the hammer as you draw without too much difficulty. You CAN'T rack the slide EASILY with one hand. (There are ways to do it, and you should learn, but they are emergency measures, not something to depend on while you are being shot at.)

    Carrying in condition 1 is perfectly safe. If it gives you the willies, practice doing it around the house with a cleared gun until you have convinced yourself that the hammer isn't going to fall as long as you obey the four rules. Use a holster that covers the whole trigger area. You can also get plenty of holsters that have a thumb break between the hammer and the firing pin if it makes you feel better.

    The only time I carry hammer-down is when I use a fanny pack. Once I took it out, and realized that the safety was off. To this day, I don't know if I forgot to put it on safe or if it got worked off while I was doing my daily stuff, but I decided that for THAT method of carry, since the time to draw is longer anyway, and I can't verify the safety is on easily, I will leave the hammer down.
     
  5. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    And cyclops shooter, if a situation is spooky, why go there at all?
     
  6. David E

    David E Member

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    Let me get this straight: You carry the gun in an unready condition, but if it's "spooky," you'll go from NOT ready to ALMOST ready................interesting..........:rolleyes:
     
  7. Echo9

    Echo9 Member

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    Swiping the thumb saftey off is a natural movement that actually begins as you're beginning to draw the weapon.

    IMO, there is never a reason to decock a 1911, save for storing a gun with an emty chamber.
     
  8. cyclopsshooter

    cyclopsshooter Member

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    getting home one night i thought i saw a shadow through the curtain, not enough to bug the police but enough to make the hair stand up on the back of my neck-
     
  9. cyclopsshooter

    cyclopsshooter Member

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    the chances of shooting yourself in the foot are far greater than needing the weapon to defend yourself-

    im not a professional gunslinger and im not going to pretend that i am :neener:
     
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2009
  10. R.Ph. 380

    R.Ph. 380 Member

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    It's also a natural move to flick the safety off while the draw is proceeding, a much lighter and more affirmative movement than the cocking of the hammer would be.

    Bill
     
  11. lexjj

    lexjj Member

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    Reasons Condition 1 is better than Condition 2:
    1. Condition 1 is faster. The thumb wipes off the safety on the draw. The hand is already going in that direction. Cocking the hammer requires 2 distinct motions - setting the grip and then thumbing the hammer. The grip is set when the thumb safety is wiped off (thumb rests on top of the safety).

    2. Condition 1 is safer. Uncocking the hammer can certainly be done safely, but it is an unnecessary risk. You can accidentally slip and drop the hammer.

    3. Condition 1 is smoother. Assuming you wait until the pistol is presented to thumb the hammer, this motion changes your grip and destroys your sight picture. If you thumb the hammer while the gun is in the holster, see number 2. Under stress, smooth is fast.

    The same reason that James Naismith didn't teach anyone how to shoot a jump shot. I'm not sure whether John Browning designed the pistol to be carried cocked and locked or not (though there is at least some good evidence that he did at least intend it to be an option). Naismith didn't foresee the jump shot, the slam dunk, the alley oop, the sky hook, the pick and roll, the Princeton offense, the triangle offense, or 3 point shots. But I sure as heck don't want to play on a basketball team that only shoots underhanded set shots. The "game" evolves.
     
  12. JoeSlomo

    JoeSlomo Member

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    Clear your 1911 of all ammo, and wear it empty. TRY to get the hammer to fall while the hammer is cocked and the safety is on. Jump in the car and out, run around the yard, do some house work, even fall down a few times or tap it with a rubber hammer. If you have a functioning 1911, the hammer WILL NOT fall.

    You've got to have faith in your equipment, and if you don't, use equipment you DO have faith in.

    The 1911 is worthy.
     
  13. johnnylaw53

    johnnylaw53 Member

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    to carry the pistol in condition 2 you have to violate one of the rules "do not put your finger on the tigger till you ready to fire" I think this is all the reason one need to never try to use condition 2

    be safe
     
  14. John Parker

    John Parker Member

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    Hold on everyone, I'm....trying....to....drag....this....dead....horse....out....of...my....basement....so...we...can....all....beat....it.....together....

    It's really heavy. I need a winch.
     
  15. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

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    Commonly known as DAS (Dear Abby Syndrome)
     
  16. 1911Tuner

    1911Tuner Moderator Emeritus

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    To address a few misconceptions...

    First..."Cocked and locked by design and intent" is a myth, and a fairly recent one at that.

    The gun wasn't designed and intended to be carried cocked and locked by Browning or anybody else. The first 8 prototypes that Browning submitted to the Army for evaluation didn't even have a thumb safety...so how could he have had an intent for Condition 1? It can be doesn't mean that it was meant to be.

    The "Slide locking manual safety" was added on the request of the U.S. Cavalry so that a mounted trooper could resholter a cocked weapon and regain control of an unruly horse without shooting himself or the horse...or both. Even then, they understood that a man under stress may forget to take his finger out of the trigger guard before jamming the piece into a holster. If Browning had an intent at all, it was to carry the gun on half-cock. That's how all his previous guns with exposed hammers were designed.

    The gun was absolutely designed to be thumb cocked and decocked. The checkering on the hammer was put there for a reason. So was the original wide spur with those sharp, pronounced corners. It's an added machining step. That costs time and money for a contractor trying to meet a deadline while staying within budget. If there wasn't a reason for it...it would have been eliminated.

    There are a couple of good reasons to lower the hammer on a hot chamber, and carry the gun in that mode. The cocked hammer provides a larger opening for mud and other debris to get into the lockwork. The lowered hammer better protects the inner workings of the gun, and still provides the ability to operate it with one hand.

    The hammer can be cocked with mimimal fumbling if the decision is made to carry in Condition 2. Simply cock it while it's still in the holster...draw...place your finger into the trigger guard...and fire. Cocking it after the draw is awkward. Before the draw is much better.

    There is also a reason to put the gun in condition 1. That being..."When action is iminent" as spelled out by the early field manuals. Because it can be safely carried in Conditon 1 full time...it also offers the quickest, simplest method to bring the gun into an unexpected fight.

    Finally...The 1911 was designed by a committee and a team of Colt's engineers...and John Browning. Browning didn't do it alone, and he didn't have complete autonomy. He gave what he was asked for. The Army wanted a grip safety, and they got it. They wanted a thumb safety...and they got that, too. If they'd asked for polka dots on the slide...they'd have gotten'em...because "He who pays the fiddler gets to call the tune."

    Amen!

    Cheers
     
  17. The_Shootist

    The_Shootist Member

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    Its funny - when I started carrying my 1911 it was a bit unnerving in the C&L position. But not only did I carry it that way out and about but took to wearing it around the house (unloaded) just to see how safe Condition 1 is. Never had the hammer fall/negligient discharge in all the times I've carried it around and I've had mine for 10+ years.

    In fact, I've only had one ND in my life, which was with my G19. Glocks I think are more unforgiving than 1911's, safety wise.
     
  18. hammerklavier

    hammerklavier Member

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    Cocked and locked is safe. It's safer than condition 2, where you could AD while lowering the hammer. And if you ever need the weapon it's safer to get it into condition 0 from condition 1. Same goes for half cocked.

    If you feel condition 1 is not safe enough for you, because an accident could happen, then you shouldn't be carrying a round in the chamber, because accidents could happen with condition 2 or half cocked as well.
     
  19. christcorp

    christcorp Member

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    Tuner!!!! Thank you so much for being a voice of reason. The hardcore 1911 users will not buy what you've said, so it doesn't matter. But hopefully some of the less experienced users will at least think about what you said.

    It is a FACT; when you hear people say that the 1911A1 "WAS INTENDED TO BE CARRIED COCKED AND LOCKED"; they have absolutely no idea what they are talking about. But lets keep this 2 separate issues.

    1. Was the weapon designed and intended to be carried Cocked and Lock??? NO, IT WASN'T.
    2. Is it BETTER to carry the 1911A1 Cocked and Locked and ready to Rock???? That is totally subjective. That is up to the person who has the gun.

    I've carried different 1911A1's for about 30 years. I no longer carry one, but that isn't important. I always carried mine with the hammer down on a live round. It is safer at this condition that cocked and locked. Better??? I won't debate that. That is an individual preference. Safer??? No one can argue; it is. All the mechanical issues in the world can happen to a gun. But the one thing mankind can not CREATE is "Gravity". In condition 2; every safety and physical malfunction in the world can happen; however, you can't MAGICALLY pull the hammer back. That is intentionally done. In condition 1, there are plenty of things that can happen to cause a problem.

    But for those who are hell bent convinced that Condition 1 is the way to go, you need to realize how it was carried. Until recent years, the 1911A1 was NOT a Concealed Weapon!!! Very important to know. The military holster was a "Flap" design holster. Another very important bit of information to know. Why??? If it wasn't CONCEALED, then there was no clothing or anything else that could snag the safety and click it off. (YES, THAT DOES HAPPEN). Also, with a flapover holster covering the gun, you can't accidentally touch the gun and alter it's condition. And many holsters, actually has a strap that can be laid across the weapon, between the hammer and the firing pin.

    Well, the problem with the holster issue is the time required to unholster the weapon, and make it ready. Remember; the 1911A1 Was NOT DESIGNED AS A CONCEALED WEAPON!!! And that is where the "Cocked and Locked" crowd is misguided. When going into battle, having a condition 1 1911A1 style weapon; in it's APPROPRIATE HOLSTER; is perfectly safe. And if you want to carry your 1911A1 open carry, with a Bianchi M1 style holster with flap over, or an open strapover holster that put a strap between the hammer and weapon, then THAT IS HOW IT WAS DESIGNED TO BE CARRIED.

    But for the "Civilian" who will be carrying the weapon concealed, condition 2 is the better method of carrying the weapon. YES, THESE Guns WERE DESIGNED to be decocked. If it has an exposed hammer, then it was designed to be let down. As tuner mentioned, that is the purpose of the machined contour of the hammer.

    This debate always comes up. I personally don't give a Rat's A$$ how a person carries their 1911A1. Carry it cocked and locked and stuffed in your underwear. I truly do not care. However; there are a lot of rookies coming to this boards who are looking for answers. And many will believe that if they heard it here, it must be the truth. Well, I just feel compelled to comment so those people know that the don't HAVE to carry their 1911A1 cocked and locked.
     
  20. JTQ

    JTQ Member

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    "christcorp" wrote the following,

    They are out of order, but my intention is not to take them out of context.

    The first point about the "rookies coming to this boards" is an excellent one and I'm sure it is why this topic comes up so often. All of the new guys, and the experienced guys, should know that there are different options for carrying the 1911 and this is why there is still value to these threads. The folks do look for good, honest, advice from the knowledgeable folks on the site.

    However, I will certainly argue with your opinion that Condition 2 is safer than Condition 1.

    You don't have to look far (you can find them here on THR) to find somebody that lost control of the hammer putting the 1911 into Condition 2 and fired a round when they didn't intend to. As mentioned earlier in this thread, to get to Condition 2 you have to pull the trigger when you aren't intending to shoot the pistol, along with intentionally defeating the grip safety, and thumb safety.

    I haven't found any threads (doesn't mean they aren't out there) where the 1911 fired when the user was putting the pistol into Condition 1, or fired while being carried in any way without the trigger being pulled, no matter what style of holster was used or not used.

    I will agree with "1911 Tuner's" point that Browning didn't specifically design the 1911 to be carried in a specific way. However, I would contend that a 1911 with a beavertail grip safety and commander style ring hammer would be more difficult to decock than a 1911 with the wide spur hammer and a GI grip safety. I don't have the exact sales figures, but my guess is that the vast majority of 1911's over the past 20 years have been sold with a beavertail grip safety and ring hammer of some design thus making decocking the 1911 a more difficult (less safe?) proposition than originally designed by Browning.

    The basketball analogy used by "lexjj" is right on the money. Tactics and techniques evolve as we gather more information. I don't smoke, ride in the bed of a pickup on the highway, ride a motorcycle without a helmet (or leather jacket and boots), drive a car without wearing a seat belt, shoot at the range with out hearing or eye protection, or run with scissors.

    Sure, people have done those things for years, and most have lived very long lives without injury. I don't think there should be a law against doing any of those things, or carrying a 1911 in Condition 2, but I choose not to in order to limit my exposure to unneeded risk. I'm sure there is situation out there where I may find Condition 2 to be beneficial for me, but I haven't found it yet.
     
  21. MICHAEL T

    MICHAEL T Member

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    People carried both ways till Cooper started pushing the C&L carry and the increase use of the commander type hammer and the beaver tail.. Has pretty much done away with the hammer down carry. In 1914 the military changed the spur hammer to a larger design to allow easier thumb cocking I carried hammer down with a Gov model for years and never a thought . As late as 1984 Was a article in one of the special 1911 only magazines On how to lower hammer and carry you 1911 condition 2 . people lower hammers on all types of guns The 1911 isn't any different Point in a safe direction and be careful .Its not rocket science
     
  22. Kleanbore

    Kleanbore Moderator Staff Member

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    But if there is a live round in the chamber, there is always the possibility that the gun will go off when de-cocking, and thumb cocking is not the fastest way to get the weapon into action.

    By the mid 1930s, a number of new designs incorporated hammer drop safeties, and a few had a double action pull for the first shot.

    In Sixguns, Elmer Keith opined that there would be far fewer accidents with the Smith and Wesson Model 39 than had been experienced with the 1911. That, and real experience in lowering the hammer on 1911 pistols (Army issue, Commanders, and Gold Cup target), caused me to select a Model 39. I never had an accident, but I always considered the act to be more risky than I liked.

    The biggest disadvantage of the Smith was the difference in trigger pull between the first and subsequent shots.

    I've since bought a 1911 because I can shoot it better.

    Once the hammer has been successfully lowered, yeah...but your safety may be compromised by having to take the extra time to cock the hammer before firing.

    To me, the holster is the key, whether the gun is carried outside the belt or inside, or under a jacket or without one. If the safety can be relied upon to not move, I'm OK with Condition 1 and I prefer it.

    To my knowledge, the vast majority of all police and other official units who use the Model 1911 today carry it in "Condition 1", as do all of the police officers I know who carry compact 1911 pistols for back up.
     
  23. EddieNFL

    EddieNFL member

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    We're a long way from 1911. Safety lies more with the shooter than the gun. I know people who could get a weapon to function with the firing pin remove. Anyone choosing to carry a firearm should be familiar enough with whatever is in the holster to carry in condition one or two without danger of an ND; if not they shouldn't be carrying it.

    Recently, holster makers are offering versions that hold a 1911 safety locked in place. One more safety feature for a safe weapon.

    AFA carrying in your underwear, that didn't work out very well for Plaxico Burris.
     
  24. jdh

    jdh Member

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    It is either MP carry (AKA cond 3. Work slide to insure chamber is empty, drop hammer on empty chamber, safety on, insert loaded mag) or the more preffered C&L for me. Yes I have carried a 1911 type pistol in the line of duty.

    A M1911, M1911A1 or a Colt Model O series 70 do NOT have firing pin blocks. Firing pin blocks arrived with the series 80 Colts and most (but not all) recent iterations do have them.

    Many are forgetting the other safety for a 1911 type pistol. The strap on the holster that goes across the back of the slide and snaps in place to hold the pistol in the holster and blocks the hammer from reaching the firing pin should it fall while still in the holster.

    Lastly I submit that is you are more prone to shoot yourself in the foot than need a pistol to protect yourself you should find another self defence tool. Perhaps peper spray would be a better choice for you.
     
  25. markallen

    markallen Member

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    I'll put my two cents in.
    As for carrying in condition 1 vs condition 2, and wether the 1911 was "designed" to carry C&L, back in the fities, and sixties, of the people I knew as a child ( one of my neighbors was a deputy sheriff) those that carried a 1911 carried in condition 2.
    I have, and sometimes still carry a Detonics Combat master, which by the way was designed ( check the scalloped rear of the slide) to carry in condition 2.
    I now usually carry Govt 1911, and I do carry cocked and locked. But the main reason for me is the impossibility of maintaining a grip while I'm trying to stretch my thumb, around an extended beavertail safety, while my finger is in the trigger guard trying to balance my gun while I'm trying to thumb cock a commando hammer.
    For me I'm safer carrying cocked and locked with my current 1911. And I have grown to like carrying this way. I'll admit I was a little concerned carrying C&L at first. But I got used to it pretty quiuckly.
    As for lowering a hammer on a live round, I have for used the following method to decock: I grip the 1911 in my right hand, unlock the thumb safety, grap the hammer between my thumb, and fore finger of my left hand.
    I push back on the hammer a little till I feel the tension, that way I'm not surprised when the hammer falls. I then squeeze the trigger, and when I feel the hammer move slightly foward I take my finger OFF the trigger, and gently let the hammer come to half cock. At this point half of the inertia from the hammer is gone. I then do the exact same motions again to bring the hammer down to the firing pin stop.
    All I can say is this has worked for me. NEVER try to uncock a hammer using your thumb alone.
     
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