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  #1  
Old 05-31-2012, 07:44 PM
pawneefork pawneefork is offline
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Is it John Browning, or is it us?




I've shot 1911s in 5 different decades, and I've watched them morph -- with sadness and head-scratching -- from classics to ray guns. Forgetting front serrations, skeletonized anything, rails, mag floor plates, and other abominations for the moment, I have to ask what is the DEAL with beavertails? Unless your left hand says Hormel, and your right hand says Armor Star, there is simply no reason to get bitten by a 1911 hammer. And hanging a buffalo horn on the back of a gun is counter-productive to aesthetic good taste, to say nothing of a snag-free draw. So what's the appeal? Did Browning make a design mistake, or have we gotten fat?

Last edited by pawneefork; 05-31-2012 at 10:34 PM.
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  #2  
Old 05-31-2012, 08:23 PM
SixtyForty SixtyForty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pawneefork View Post
I have to ask what is the DEAL with beavertails?
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  #3  
Old 05-31-2012, 08:37 PM
Pontifex Pontifex is offline
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certainly makes it more comfortable to shoot my mil-spec.

never got "bit", but the original grip safety would dig into the meaty part between thumb and forefinger, rubbing off the skin.
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  #4  
Old 05-31-2012, 08:47 PM
jaydoc jaydoc is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pawneefork View Post
Did Browning make a design mistake, or have we gotten fat?
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  #5  
Old 05-31-2012, 09:00 PM
superdude superdude is offline
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i love beavertail grip safeties. they make the gun much, much more comfortable in my hand, and that has nothing to do with hammer bite.

that said, i have been bitten by a hammer on a 1911 without one. and i have skinny hands.

the beavertail is a definite improvement in design.

i wouldn't call it a design mistake. but many things can be improved on. JMB was a gun genius, no question about that. But that doesn't make him perfect, or everything he touched perfect and not subject to improvement. even the 45 ACP cartridge went through changes during its development, starting with a 200 grain bullet and ending up with a 230 grain bullet.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/45_ACP

he made an error designing the 38 Automatic cartridge. Its semi-rim is a bad idea for any semi-automatic cartridge fed from a box magazine. the semi-rim encourages nosedive because it catches in the extractor groove of the underlying cartridge and dramatically enhances drag compared to a rimless cartridge.
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  #6  
Old 05-31-2012, 09:03 PM
breamfisher breamfisher is offline
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My hands are far from fat and I and can get hammer bit quite easily. I just happen to have a slight amount of meat between the thumb and trigger finger. Also if one uses a fairly high grip for decent recoil control, it can happen.

There's also the fact that beavertails quite simply allow one to grasp higher on the frame and get even better shot to shot control.
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  #7  
Old 05-31-2012, 10:39 PM
pawneefork pawneefork is offline
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Originally Posted by breamfisher View Post
There's also the fact that beavertails quite simply allow one to grasp higher on the frame and get even better shot to shot control.
I admit I didn't think of that. I guess my gripe is with aesthetics, not function. If you want to 'update' a car, for example, you don't lop the fins off a '57 Chevy -- you design the Lumina.

No offense meant to corn-fed boys, I was just bitching. I'm stuck in a certain period I guess.
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  #8  
Old 05-31-2012, 11:39 PM
jcalveri jcalveri is offline
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  #9  
Old 05-31-2012, 11:53 PM
zWarlord zWarlord is offline
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I love the beavertail, it lets me get MUCH higher up on the gun than i would otherwise be able to, plus i cant shoot a milspec 1911 without it shredding my hand.
The presence of the beavertail was one of the reasons i bought a Sig P226 elite too.
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  #10  
Old 06-01-2012, 12:17 AM
SixtyForty SixtyForty is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pawneefork
And hanging a buffalo horn on the back of a gun is counter-productive to aesthetic good taste
But it's OK on a car

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Originally Posted by pawneefork View Post
you don't lop the fins off a '57 Chevy
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  #11  
Old 06-01-2012, 12:53 AM
MidwestRookie MidwestRookie is offline
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yep, they suck because you don't like them...what were we thinking?
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  #12  
Old 06-01-2012, 01:10 AM
rhinokrk rhinokrk is offline
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Beavertails, modern hammers, and triggers don't really bother me. What does are rails, bobtails, and magwells (on non-competition pistols)

Love me some arched MSH, short triggers, and old school hammers and GS
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  #13  
Old 06-01-2012, 09:11 AM
sevenL4 sevenL4 is offline
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The difference between a '55 Chevy and a '57? ... FINS
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  #14  
Old 06-01-2012, 09:21 AM
69charger 69charger is offline
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I don't like them. I don't like front serrations. I don't like thin grips. I don't like flat main spring housings. I don't like-- WAIT
Is this the DON'T LIKE thread?
Guess I should stop. LOL
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  #15  
Old 06-01-2012, 06:16 PM
drail drail is online now
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If you've ever competed in competition such as IPSC or USPSA where your draw speed matters then you would have experienced a few times where your hand didn't land on the gun perfectly when you pulled it. This is where the beavertail came from. It was not marketed as a fashion accessory. It allows you to get a high grip very quickly. Lots of people get bit or chewed on by 1911s. If you never have then you surely must have skinny hands or use a low grip.
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  #16  
Old 06-02-2012, 05:30 PM
Jason D Jason D is offline
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I bought a fair number of them with beavertails and whatnot.
Now I find myself drawn to the old A1 style.
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  #17  
Old 06-02-2012, 06:50 PM
Redhat Redhat is offline
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I think people in general are bigger than when the 1911 was designed and, for anyone who knows...didn't the 1911A1 have a different hammer (shorter) than the series 70/80's? Would the hammer "bite" the firing hand?

My series 70 has bitten me on more than one occasion and I am a slim dude! If the rear of the hammer was shorter I would not have this problem.
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  #18  
Old 06-02-2012, 06:58 PM
ShawnThornton ShawnThornton is offline
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Personal preference... I think a standard grip safety looks unfinished and spur hammers look wild west single action revolver ish... But on the other hand I.do not like rails or FCS but love my bobtail for carry...
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  #19  
Old 06-02-2012, 07:07 PM
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custom2 custom2 is offline
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What has changed in the last 100 years the most, I feel, is ergonomics. Pistol shooters of old were taught to shoot pistols 1 handed and to grip the gun lower on the frame.

If you shoot 2 handed, thumbs forward with a high grip, you will probably get bitten by the hammer.

Things change. What makes a weapons platform great is its ability to evolve with the times. I think the 1911 has proven its ability to adapt and elvolve. These abominations, as you call them, are what keeps this brilliantly designed firearm's popularity alive.

With the 1911, there is almost something for everyone's taste.
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Last edited by custom2; 06-02-2012 at 07:14 PM.
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  #20  
Old 06-03-2012, 12:19 AM
MidwestRookie MidwestRookie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by custom2 View Post
What has changed in the last 100 years the most, I feel, is ergonomics. Pistol shooters of old were taught to shoot pistols 1 handed and to grip the gun lower on the frame.

If you shoot 2 handed, thumbs forward with a high grip, you will probably get bitten by the hammer.

Things change. What makes a weapons platform great is its ability to evolve with the times. I think the 1911 has proven its ability to adapt and elvolve. These abominations, as you call them, are what keeps this brilliantly designed firearm's popularity alive.

With the 1911, there is almost something for everyone's taste.
Bam. Nailed it..

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  #21  
Old 06-03-2012, 02:20 PM
IronFilex IronFilex is offline
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I love the original look and feel. Both my 1911s have the GI style grip safeties and I can grab pretty high up on the grip. I shoot 2 handed with thumbs forward and have no problems with hammer bites. I also try to keep my as simple as possible but if beaver tails or other add ons work for you then go for it, why not!
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  #22  
Old 06-03-2012, 02:29 PM
yocan yocan is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by breamfisher View Post
My hands are far from fat and I and can get hammer bit quite easily. I just happen to have a slight amount of meat between the thumb and trigger finger. Also if one uses a fairly high grip for decent recoil control, it can happen.

There's also the fact that beavertails quite simply allow one to grasp higher on the frame and get even better shot to shot control.
higher and more surface area on the camming part of your control surface allows faster follow up shots

Quote:
Originally Posted by rhinokrk View Post
Beavertails, modern hammers, and triggers don't really bother me. What does are rails, bobtails, and magwells (on non-competition pistols)

Love me some arched MSH, short triggers, and old school hammers and GS
that bobtail saves my ribs when carrying, magwells hurt my ability to carry, and my rail holds a surefire x300 I have a perpetual fear of shooting the wrong person, I can't shoot worth a darn holding a flashlight (accurate yes but slow as dirt)

overrall the beavertail allows you to do this, which you couldn't before. as does the extended safety. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa50-plo48
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  #23  
Old 06-03-2012, 05:04 PM
Jason D Jason D is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Redhat View Post
I think people in general are bigger than when the 1911 was designed and, for anyone who knows...didn't the 1911A1 have a different hammer (shorter) than the series 70/80's? Would the hammer "bite" the firing hand?

My series 70 has bitten me on more than one occasion and I am a slim dude! If the rear of the hammer was shorter I would not have this problem.
I don't think the hammer was changed. The grip safety was though. It went from a short stubby thing to pretty much the standard ones still on guns today. That does not include the the beavertail.
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  #24  
Old 06-03-2012, 05:33 PM
1saxman 1saxman is offline
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Pawnee; your point is well-taken and appreciated, but there's no point in berating others for the way they want their pistols configured. No, Browning didn't screw anything up, but remember that the pistol was designed for the trooper of 1911, whose hands were somewhat work-hardened and tough compared to today's keyboard whackers. Yes, a percentage of shooters have fat hands and tend to get hammer bite on anything with a slide and hammer.
Other than making hammer bite impossible, the beavertail GS helps stabilize the pistol in recoil.
If the airplane of today still had the performance and appearance of the Wright Bros. Flyer, except for wheels on the landing gear and a seat for the pilot, would you ask if the Wright Bros. had failed in leaving out those features in 1903, or if we had all gone 'soft'? That analogy represents the amount of change in the 1911 pistol in past 100 years. I don't think there has been enough change to even comment on. Plus, plenty of 1911s are still made with even fewer changes from the original, making any of the suspect features completely optional by shopping around all the 100 or so 1911 makers.
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  #25  
Old 06-03-2012, 05:36 PM
meanc meanc is offline
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Quote:
So what's the appeal? Did Browning make a design mistake, or have we gotten fat?
I'm actually pretty skinny with medium sized hands and have never been bitten. The problem for me came with a bit of a higher grip.

The sharp edged tangs of a non-beavertailed frame would dig into my thumb knuckle.

This happened on all of the 1911s I owned without a beavertail.

The beavertail solved that problem for me. I have to say, I'm a much happier shooter because of it.
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