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  #1  
Old 11-08-2001, 10:34 AM
themao themao is offline
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Decocking the 1911???




OK, to prove that I'm dumb, I have a stupid but important question.

How do you safely decock a 1911? I mean, let's face it. When you put in a magazine and unlock the slide release, that damned hammer is dropped ready to fire at a single action trigger pull. The only thing that could prevent a discharge is the thumb safety and making sure you don't pull the friggin trigger (duh).

I guess where I'm getting at, is when people carry a 1911, how do they carry it? No round in the chamber? What state do you keep the gun in real life, not competition, for conceal carry or duty?

Thanks,

themao
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  #2  
Old 11-08-2001, 10:41 AM
Shmackey Shmackey is offline
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You carry it cocked and locked (thumb safety engaged) with a round in the chamber. Or you could carry without a round in the chamber.

As for decocking: drop the magazine, rack the slide to eject the chambered cartridge, and then you can do whatever you darn well please (like pulling the trigger to decock). Double-check that the chamber is empty first.
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  #3  
Old 11-08-2001, 10:52 AM
James James is offline
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If a round is in a chamber, it isn't wise and there is no need to decock it. Put the safety on as that is why it is there. You can slip and fire the gun if you try and lower the hammer on a loaded round.

The hammer is an excellent chamber loaded indicator...if it is back, it is loaded and ready to go. If you have just removed the magazine and ejected the round out of the chamber, then lower the hammer on an empty chamber. Of course, always check the chamber and never assume a gun is "EMPTY" without verifying it.

It is my preference to carry it cocked and locked as I don't want to have to worry about racking a round in there if I need it. Some people still advocate chamber empty hammer down (condition 3 I think) but I don't find it advantageous in MOST situations. I can see condition 3 for nightstand use as you generally have to be fully awake to rack a slide and get a gun in action. You USUALLY have more time in a "nightstand" situation as compared to a "carry" situation.

As in decocking, cocking a hammer on a loaded round can result in an accident.

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  #4  
Old 11-08-2001, 10:56 AM
MuzzleBlast MuzzleBlast is offline
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Carry it cocked and locked. That is how it was designed to be carried. NEVER NEVER NEVER try to lower the hammer on a loaded chamber with a 1911 or Hipower, or sooner or later you WILL have an accidental discharge. <--- The Voice of Experience !
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  #5  
Old 11-08-2001, 11:08 AM
RANash RANash is offline
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Shmackey gave you the right scoop. Let me assure you, it's not a dumb question. Dumb is not asking, then having a negligent discharge and blowing your foot off. That's dumb. Like he said, the right way to decock a 1911 is to remove the magazine, empty the chamber, check to be sure that it is empty, and then dry fire.

The 1911 is made to be "cocked and locked". This is known as Condition 1. That's the best AND safest way to carry it. There are THREE things preventing a ND, not just two: the thumb safety, the grip safety, and not pressing the trigger.

Some people choose to carry in Condition 3. This is with loaded magazine, but chamber empty. The problem is that when you want to produce an intentional discharge, it will take longer and take two hands. (This is Hollywierd's favorite carry condition evidently, since they're always racking the slide for effect.

Condition 2 is having a round in the chamber but the hammer uncocked. This is a dangerous practice. You risk a NG when you decock and then later when you cock the hammer again. Condition 2 on a 1911 is just wrong. With a little practice you can rack the slide just as fast as cocking the hammer with your thumb and with less risk, making Cond. 3 better than Cond. 2.

Condition 1 is safe. It only LOOKS unsafe with the hammer back. We responsible gun owners need to be the people who don't fall for the "image over reality" problem that most of the sheeple out there fall for. I fully believe that it's image that drives the bureaucrats to mandate DA guns for law enforcement. They don't LOOK dangerous with that nasty hammer back! A good example of this is the fact that Glocks are allowed when 1911s aren't.

The only people who have NG's with 1911's are the ones who put their finger on the trigger when they shouldn't. Same with Glocks.

When I was a kid, growing up on a farm, we had guns as a matter of course. We had no training with them, they were just there. We handled them negligently, putting our fingers into the trigger guards whenever we handled them.

As an adult, the single most important habit to break and change was to teach myself to never put my finger into the trigger guard until intending to fire. It took quite a while, but now it's second nature to keep the finger out of the trigger guard when handling any gun.

Your holster should cover the trigger, so that you cannot press the trigger until the gun is free from it.

I strongly urge you to get some training from a first class training school or instructor, such as Front Sight, Gun Site, Thunder Range, etc. Your confidence will go way up, you'll be amazed at how much you will learn, and it's fun.
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  #6  
Old 11-08-2001, 12:30 PM
gm45 gm45 is offline
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Carry in condition 1 (cocked and locked). Either rack the round out, or lower the hammer by pointing the gun at something you are willing to destroy, and pull the trigger (put your earplugs in first).
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  #7  
Old 11-08-2001, 01:04 PM
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Rosco Benson Rosco Benson is offline
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A pistol is defensive in concept. It is carried to defend against unexpected attack. Thus, carrying it in a manner which permits the quickest and surest response is important. With a 1911, that means "condition 1"...cocked and locked.

"Condition 3" (chamber empty)is favored by the military and proponents of the so-called "Israeli" pistol techniques. It facilitates the inspection of sentry's weapons and gives an illusory impression of being safer against mishandling. It obliges the user to have both hands free when it's time to shoot, so as to be able to rack the slide and ready the piece. It cheats the user out of one round and makes noise when charging the piece.

Despite the fact that "condition 2" (hammer down on a chambered round) obliges the user to carefully lower the hammer manually, it does have some positive attributes. While not an ideal carry condition, it can help keep grit out of the action in sandy environments (see Larry Vickers' thread on sand testing in the "gunsmithing" forum). It also permits the pistol to be readied for use quietly and it permits the piece to carry its full capacity. It can be used for "ready storage" and the chamber round will not get beaten up from daily unchambering and chambering as the user goes from Condition 1 carry to Condition 3 storage. It does require that one manually lower the hammer over a chambered round. This calls for a degree of care and concentration and strict muzzle control.

Rosco
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  #8  
Old 11-08-2001, 04:04 PM
bountyhunter bountyhunter is offline
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Obviously, never try to "thumb lower" the hammer on a live round. I vote against cocked-and-locked for simple reasons: you only have two safeties plus trigger pull away from discharge. That sounds safe, but:

1) As you reach into the holster for your gun, the "grip safety" is automatically gone when you grip the gun.

2) The "thumb safety" is released with a downward motion which means it can easily be bumped down by the right thumb as you grasp the gun.

3) The trigger pull is usually about 4 - 5 pounds and that ain't much.

I NEVER thought cocked-and-locked on a SA 1911 was a good idea. I'd rather carry a DAO with a 12-pound trigger pull and a single lever safety.
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  #9  
Old 11-08-2001, 04:06 PM
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jaydee jaydee is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by themao:
OK, to prove that I'm dumb, I have a stupid but important question.

How do you safely decock a 1911? I mean, let's face it. When you put in a magazine and unlock the slide release, that damned hammer is dropped ready to fire at a single action trigger pull. The only thing that could prevent a discharge is the thumb safety and making sure you don't pull the friggin trigger (duh).

I guess where I'm getting at, is when people carry a 1911, how do they carry it? No round in the chamber? What state do you keep the gun in real life, not competition, for conceal carry or duty?

Thanks,
themao
Actually, the Grip Safety will also prevent a discharge by not allowing you to "pull the friggin' trigger".

Most everyone has touched upon the Highlights... Simple response... C1, C3, or C4 are the safest conditions for Carry, Storage (Short & Long) respectively.

What is safe, and what is practical don't always go together. From a Safety perspective, C2 is a no-no... Practically speaking, I would not use C2, but there have been some who have, for good reason, and had no problems, but I would never recommend it, and counsel those that do to exercise extreme caution... As the saying goes... "Kids, don't try this at home"

BTW, I've alway s believed.... there's no such thing as a Stupid Question, just a Stupid Person who fails to ask a question because they THOUGHT they knew it all...

Enjoy & Stay Safe!
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  #10  
Old 11-08-2001, 04:50 PM
Jim V Jim V is offline
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If you feel uncomfortable carrying a C&L 1911, thinking that the hammer will fall by error or accident, wear it around the house (unloaded) with the thumb safety off in your choice of holster for a week or two. The hammer should not fall, unless you pull the trigger. Then wear it in the same manner for a week with the thumb safety on, it - the thumb safety - should not be wiped off.

I do not understand why people get real nervous about a C&L'ed 1911 and then they go out with a loaded shotgun with the safety on. Or with a loaded bolt action or semi-automatic rifle and have no worries. Is it the visible hammer that does it?

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  #11  
Old 11-08-2001, 04:57 PM
Gary W Trott Gary W Trott is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Jim V:
I do not understand why people get real nervous about a C&L'ed 1911 and then they go out with a loaded shotgun with the safety on. Or with a loaded bolt action or semi-automatic rifle and have no worries. Is it the visible hammer that does it?

Jim, In my case it's the fact that the muzzle is pointing at, or in the near vicinity of, a part of my body. When carrying a rifle or shotgun the muzzle is pointing up and away from my body. It may be a baseless worry but it's there none the less. Stay safe, Gary



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  #12  
Old 11-08-2001, 07:42 PM
RANash RANash is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by bountyhunter:
I vote against cocked-and-locked for simple reasons: you only have two safeties plus trigger pull away from discharge. That sounds safe, but:

1) As you reach into the holster for your gun, the "grip safety" is automatically gone when you grip the gun.

2) The "thumb safety" is released with a downward motion which means it can easily be bumped down by the right thumb as you grasp the gun.

3) The trigger pull is usually about 4 - 5 pounds and that ain't much.

I NEVER thought cocked-and-locked on a SA 1911 was a good idea. I'd rather carry a DAO with a 12-pound trigger pull and a single lever safety.
When I first started shooting 1911s, I felt the same way, but then I took some training. For two days I carried and used my Kimber Gold Match cocked and locked (because my instructor told me to) and presented from the holster about 500 times and in about every conceivable body position (crawling on the ground, rolling, etc.) Not just me, but everyone else in the class (7 others, all newbies like me), never once had our safety accidently swiped off.

This really gave me confidence in the 1911's condition one carrying capability.

Jim V's suggestion to carry the 1911 around the house with the safety off and see if the hammer falls, then with the safety on and see if it gets swiped off accidently is excellent.

On the other hand, I guess somebody has to buy those DA guns with their gawd-awful 12 pound pulls!
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  #13  
Old 11-08-2001, 08:24 PM
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dsk dsk is offline
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If C&L bothers you, get a DA auto. Don't try decocking a 1911 as you're inviting serious trouble.

BTW I consider the Glock a SA auto as well, carried half-cock but with no safety. You have to be just as careful with your trigger finger while presenting from a holster and reholstering.

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[This message has been edited by dsk (edited 11-08-2001).]
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  #14  
Old 11-08-2001, 09:35 PM
doctor j doctor j is offline
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What Schmackey et al said. I'm comfortable with cocked and locked. To decock, remove the magazine, remove the round in the chamber by racking the slide, confirm that the chamber is indeed empty, then do a 1-click dry firing practice round.
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  #15  
Old 11-08-2001, 09:36 PM
MadDog MadDog is offline
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RANash -

Do you have a shotgun at home? Keep it loaded? Most people don't think about it but a shotgun is single action with a trigger pull of about 3 pounds and only one safety not three. Nobody seems to complain or feel uneasy about leaving their shotgun "cocked & locked".

MadDog
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  #16  
Old 11-08-2001, 09:41 PM
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dsk dsk is offline
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I do. I leave my Mossberg 500 chamber empty! I don't trust the safeties on sporting rifles and shotguns, as I've seen too many fail. Besides, the sound of a shotgun being racked is often as effective as the 12 gauge round itself!

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  #17  
Old 11-09-2001, 10:34 AM
RANash RANash is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by MadDog:
RANash -

Do you have a shotgun at home? Keep it loaded? Most people don't think about it but a shotgun is single action with a trigger pull of about 3 pounds and only one safety not three. Nobody seems to complain or feel uneasy about leaving their shotgun "cocked & locked".

MadDog
I don't have one currently, but have in the past. And yes, I was comfortable with it loaded and on safety. Like dsk said, the safeties on shotguns are more prone to failure than on 1911s, so I would definitely test the safety on any shotgun I get, however, I'm comfortable with cocked and locked. I'm a proponent of cocked and locked for the 1911.
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  #18  
Old 11-09-2001, 11:06 AM
EricO EricO is offline
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RANash: Dsk is correct when he writes that shotgun safties shouldn't be trusted. Most shotguns don't have firing pin safties. If the carried shotgun has a round in the chamber and hits a hard surface in a certain way, a inertia fire can happen, even with the safety applied/on. This is without the trigger touched at all.

Themao: Everyone has already touched upon the safe manner of decocking (or rather, unloading) the 1911 here. One thing that should be added though is after removing the seated magazine (remove the supply), then ejecting the chambered round, make SURE you're still pointed in a safe direction when you drop the hammer (whether by lowereing or pulling the trigger). Be certain of your muzzle discipline at all times.

I don't like condition 2, although Rosco Benson brings up some interesting points. Condition 2, in my mind, has several disadvatages - Foremost is the inability to respond rapidly to a lethal threat without having to raise the hammer. Under a life threatening stressful event I believe that it would be unsafe and unwise to attempt such an act. If you utilize your off/weak hand to do this, it presents a problem if that hand is busy elsewhere, as oftentimes happens. Injuries, keeping balance, opening or holding doors, holding or carrying objects, etc. If you utilize your strong hand to cock while drawing you have now surrendered your full drawing grip of your handgun, your lifeline in such an incident. Your hand may be wet, bloody, greasy, sticky, have akward gloves on it, etc. Can you say that 100% of the time you'll be able to bring the hammer back without fumbling?

The other problem is when you load and place into condition 2. This has you lowering the hammer on a chambered round. People have fouled this up many times. Think of a LE officer who would have to "decock" or lower his hammer of a 1911 (granted, there aren't many depts. that allow them) everytime he drew his weapon from his holster in the field. It wouldn't be doing it just in the office before going on patrol, it would be throughout the day, under stressful situations. Just go with a traditional DA or DAO such as a S & W or a Sig if you don't trust carrying a single action in condition 1. No harm, no foul, no-one will think any less of anyone for making this decision. Many well skilled "men of arms" have made this decision in the past, present and will in the future.

EricO
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  #19  
Old 11-09-2001, 07:49 PM
RANash RANash is offline
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Eric,

I agree. Back when I had a loaded shotgun in the closet, there was no one else in the house. Further, I wasn't carrying it, and it was in no danger of falling down. I have seen a shotgun go off when it was dropped, it happened to my dad. No one was hurt, but we were a little shook up. After that, we always unloaded or broke open the action before climbing over fences.

Of course, I also don't carry a shotgun in a holster .
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  #20  
Old 11-10-2001, 05:55 AM
col132 col132 is offline
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Cocked and locked, with a good thumb break holster.
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  #21  
Old 11-10-2001, 10:04 AM
BKC45ACP BKC45ACP is offline
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I don't think you should decock any pistol that doesn't do it itself, or has a decocker. Just like others have said, if you don't like the c'd&l'd then get DAO, or a Glock (it doesnt look cnl) For example the Beretta I was issued would not be cocked if the safety was on when you let the slide go. I have owned 2 pistols with decockers, needless to say I used them. Now I own two single action pistols, 1911 and a Desert Eagle. Never lowered the hammer with a round in the chamber, mistakes can be made, and the margin of error increases with other variables like soiled hands, fatigue, weather, whatever. May seem like nothing, but people have made a mistake and now need a new picture to hang on the wall or worse.
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  #22  
Old 11-10-2001, 12:40 PM
Highspeed Highspeed is offline
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Sorry for piling on here, but imo, condition one carry of a 1911 is as safe as it's possible to be and still have a pistol that's ready to go. By it's very nature, C1 necessitates that the manual safety be engaged/disengaged in addition to the grip safety and, of course, keeping your finger off the trigger. If you compare this to a Glock, which requires no more than a trigger pull, it is theoretically safer.

I say, "theoretically" because both guns are inherently safe as long as one practices safe gun handling, but I mention it to illustrate how safe a cocked and locked 1911 really is.
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  #23  
Old 11-10-2001, 07:14 PM
7th Fleet 7th Fleet is offline
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There's no reason to let the hammer down on a live round on a 1911, the weapon is meant to be carried in condition one, which is with a loaded chamber, with the hammer at full cock and the thumb safety applied.

7th

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  #24  
Old 11-11-2001, 02:12 PM
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Rosco Benson Rosco Benson is offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by BKC45ACP:
I don't think you should decock any pistol that doesn't do it itself, or has a decocker.

...and 7th Fleet adds,

There's no reason to let the hammer down on a live round on a 1911
I'm really not trying to be a smart aleck here, but if the act of lowering a hammer manually over a chambered round is such a daunting prospect, then how might one load one's lever-action Marlin or Winchester and put it in the normal carry condition? (that being with the hammer lowered to half-cock). Also, if one cocks a single-action revolver for a shot that isn't taken (it turns out to be a doe, et cetera), how might one put one's revolver back into a safe carry mode? In both of the above cases, one must manually lower the hammer over a chambered round. While this is not something to be done in a cavalier manner, it can be done safely by paying attention to what one is doing and, as always, paying attention to muzzle control.

I would go out on a limb and say that anyone who is not capable of safely lowering a hammer manually probably shouldn't be using a firearm at all.

That said, a 1911 user can get by very nicely only using condition 1 and condition 3. Condition 2 is useful, on a 1911, mainly for ready storage and/or carry in an extremely sandy/gritty environment.

Rosco

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  #25  
Old 11-11-2001, 03:13 PM
johnwill johnwill is offline
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"I'm really not trying to be a smart aleck here, but if the act of lowering a hammer manually over a chambered round is such a daunting prospect, then how might one load one's lever-action Marlin or Winchester and put it in the normal carry condition? (that being with the hammer lowered to half-cock)."

Well, you're close to a smart-alick. Seriously, there is a difference between the 1911 and the lever action rifle. It's very easy to reach the trigger and the hammer of my M94 Winchester and lower it, but it's a much more clumsy affair to do the same thing with the 1911. One reason, no doubt, is that I've done it a ton of times with the M94, but I've only tried it as an academic exercise with the 1911. Take a lever action rifle and a 1911 and play around, the difference will be obvious. Teamed with the fact that it doesn't make any sense to carry the 1911 C-2, it doesn't allow for much practice.
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