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  #1  
Old 01-12-2020, 05:47 PM
Steven1127 Steven1127 is offline
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Thumb Safety and Hand Placement

Shot my first 1911 ever (actually a 2011...STI DVC C). I'm a righty and wear a small or medium glove. I have only shot a Glock thus far. I have a high, thumbs forward grip.

When shooting the STI, I tried to have the same grip as with the Glock, but my right thumb was resting right under the safety such that it would push the safety up. I found that I needed to ride the right thumb on top of the safety which put the web of my hand in an awkward, uncomfortable position.

Do you all just change your grip in order to put your thumb under the safety?

Thx
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  #2  
Old 01-12-2020, 05:53 PM
jtq jtq is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven1127 View Post
Shot my first 1911 ever (actually a 2011...STI DVC C). I'm a righty and wear a small or medium glove. I have only shot a Glock thus far. I have a high, thumbs forward grip.

When shooting the STI, I tried to have the same grip as with the Glock, but my right thumb was resting right under the safety such that it would push the safety up. I found that I needed to ride the right thumb on top of the safety which put the web of my hand in an awkward, uncomfortable position.

Do you all just change your grip in order to put your thumb under the safety?

Thx
It's not everybody, but nearly everybody that shoots a 1911 rides the thumb safety.

Watch where Doug Koenig puts his right thumb.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDzC6djUQxM

I wear a men's size 8 (small) glove. I ride the thumb safety.
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  #3  
Old 01-12-2020, 05:58 PM
jtq jtq is offline
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Let me add, there is no law that says you have to ride the thumb safety. If it doesn't work for you, use a different grip.

However, my personal belief is those that do ride the thumb safety are those that are less likely to forget to disengage it when they need it disengaged, and are also less likely to forget to engage it when it needs to be engaged.

In addition, those that have their thumb under the safety often will engage it during recoil while shooting.
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  #4  
Old 01-12-2020, 06:11 PM
mickeyd mickeyd is offline
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I e been shooting for nearly 40 years and never ride the safety. Since the competition shooters started using the thumbs forward style grip, most young shooters think this is the only proper way to shoot a semiauto handgun.
Select what works for you. I personally do not like riding the TS, as most of the time I fail to properly depress the grip safety. Just never works for me. So I stay with how I have shot for decades. Thumb below the TS with a firm positive grip.
I have never accidentally engaged the TS during recoil, and I practice my draw to disengage the TS upon presentation. All about muscle memory.

Best to you.
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Last edited by mickeyd; 01-12-2020 at 06:14 PM.
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  #5  
Old 01-12-2020, 06:34 PM
bradsvette bradsvette is offline
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The STI and many other 1911s use an extended thumb safety. With that long lever arm of the extended thumb safety, it's easy to accidentally engage it during recoil, and/or have it accidentally knocked off-safe in the holster. The teardrop style thumb safety solves those problems because it is smaller and less obtrusive, ie., less likely to be accidentally engaged or disengaged.

Extended thumb safeties were developed in the 1970s to enhance speed during competition. The look caught on with pistol-smiths of that era and a full house gun always came with one. The manufacturers caught on and now they're more common than GI or teardrop-style thumb safeties.

My suggestion... Look at 1911s with the small/teardrop thumb safety, and you won't have to worry about accidental engagement or disengagement, unless it is just too loose/easy to manipulate. BTW, that problem can be fixed. I see people complain about stiff thumb safeties on the Forum quite a bit. Personally, I feel that a stiff thumb safety is a blessing, it stays on safe when you want it safe, and it stays off safe when firing the pistol.

Last edited by bradsvette; 01-12-2020 at 06:38 PM.
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  #6  
Old 01-12-2020, 06:38 PM
mickeyd mickeyd is offline
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Great advice. ^^^
I prefer GI or tear drop for those reasons.
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  #7  
Old 01-12-2020, 06:39 PM
Bradd D Bradd D is offline
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I ride the thumb safety and grip my Glocks the exact same way. The strong thumb is high and just along for the ride. The support hand is able to ride higher and more forward giving better support and recoil control. Disengaging the thumb safety and then repositioning the thumb under it doesn't seem very efficient.

This video was very helpful to me and helped me develop a grip that works for both guns.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=45QhpvY9LZc&t=46s

This is one of the first videos that helped me when learning to shoot 1911's.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ysa50-plo48

Last edited by Bradd D; 01-12-2020 at 06:58 PM.
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  #8  
Old 01-12-2020, 06:57 PM
mickeyd mickeyd is offline
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I guess Iím a monkey, according to this gentleman.
Again, use what works for you.
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  #9  
Old 01-12-2020, 07:05 PM
bowlegged bowlegged is offline
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Small tab GI thumb safeties for me, for all the reasons bradsvette and mickeyd mentioned.

I actually get a more positive grip thumb under. That small tab way up front of the safety allows me to get up plenty high with my hand yet never have problems disengaging the grip safety or accidentally engaging the thumb safety during fire. OP, if thumb over is as uncomfortable for you as it is me, try a small tab or teardrop safety and fit it to click on/off with just a little effort, as it should be.

That's the nice thing about the 1911 - personalize to your hearts content!!
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  #10  
Old 01-12-2020, 07:28 PM
Bradd D Bradd D is offline
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When I started shooting handguns I think I was only gripping the gun with one hand. At some point, I started putting both hands on the gun and it was thumb over thumb. Not thumb on top of thumb like thumbs forward, but literally making a cross with my thumbs. Some people shoot revolvers that way. Around this time my stance was more or less a Chapman which is a less aggressive Weaver. I never learned it. It was just my natural stance. As my shooting evolved, I started moving more toward a thumbs forward grip, but not terribly aggressive. I tried the isosceles stance and hated it. Eventually, I moved from Chapman to isosceles which is now very comfortable for me. I still find myself reverting to a very mild Chapman at times due, I think, to the fact that I am cross eye dominant. My thumbs forward grip is now more aggressive and higher, too. Through all of this, I have seen my shooting improve in both speed, accuracy, and recoil control.
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  #11  
Old 01-12-2020, 08:30 PM
coyotebuster coyotebuster is offline
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I began shooting hand guns in the age of the revolver. Thus I grip my 1911's as I did my revolvers, thumb over thumb, under the safety. I've never had issues of failing to flip the safety off or back on as needed. My safety goes off as my thumb travels to its firing position, then I reengage my thumb safety with the top of my thumb. I naturally assumed a Weaver shooting position many years before learning that was what it was called.
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  #12  
Old 01-12-2020, 08:41 PM
vortec vortec is offline
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Quote:
I found that I needed to ride the right thumb on top of the safety which put the web of my hand in an awkward, uncomfortable position.
I learned to shoot a 1911 at Gunsite many years ago. I purposely did not shoot it until I got there so I wouldn't have to unlearn any bad habits. I remember Ted Yost (the ranch gunsmith at the time) asking me if I wanted to try a low thumb safety and I said sure. It worked so well, I kept it on and have never looked back.

Frankly, I don't see how anyone can shoot a 1911 with the factory thumb safety (Col Cooper notwithstanding). Everything is out of alignment. I easily keep my thumb on the safety and I have a strong grip. Of course I don't shoot "thumbs forward" either. I just stick with what I was taught, thumb over thumb, and it seems to work pretty good.

https://www.brownells.com/handgun-pa...-prod6677.aspx
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Last edited by vortec; 01-12-2020 at 08:51 PM.
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  #13  
Old 01-12-2020, 09:08 PM
jtq jtq is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven1127 View Post
I have a high, thumbs forward grip.
Watch Wilson Combat's Mandy Bachman - go to the 1:50 mark and look at her grip.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGcDHggv8JY

As an aside, since you haven't bought a 1911 yet, and we almost always get this from folks coming from other firearms to the 1911, who always want to add an extended slide release. Notice at around the 2:05 mark how she drops the slide with her left thumb.
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  #14  
Old 01-12-2020, 10:03 PM
KAS300 KAS300 is offline
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My thumb rests on top the safety and it feels perfectly natural. I typically wear medium sized gloves.
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  #15  
Old 01-12-2020, 10:50 PM
Amos Iron Wolf Amos Iron Wolf is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtq View Post
Watch Wilson Combat's Mandy Bachman - go to the 1:50 mark and look at her grip.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGcDHggv8JY

As an aside, since you haven't bought a 1911 yet, and we almost always get this from folks coming from other firearms to the 1911, who always want to add an extended slide release. Notice at around the 2:05 mark how she drops the slide with her left thumb.
That also covers the slide release/overhand topic in one of the subforums. I also noticed it looks like she is shooting cross dominant eye.

That's pretty much how I run my 1911s, just not as well or as fast.

I've had 1911s with extended controls, but I generally don't care for them. I'm a big fan of the basic GI type. I find the GI thumb safety has never been an issue and it doesn't get in the way, but still no problem engaging or disengaging. With the GI safety it's also very easy to slip that thumb on down past it after you have disengaged it and fire away. Then easy to flip it back up after firing.

I do tend to run thumb over safety. However, I don't run really overly large or extended controls. The ones on the Colt Combat Elite XSE are about the biggest mine get.
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  #16  
Old 01-13-2020, 07:58 AM
Steven1127 Steven1127 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bradsvette View Post
The STI and many other 1911s use an extended thumb safety. With that long lever arm of the extended thumb safety, it's easy to accidentally engage it during recoil, and/or have it accidentally knocked off-safe in the holster. The teardrop style thumb safety solves those problems because it is smaller and less obtrusive, ie., less likely to be accidentally engaged or disengaged.

Extended thumb safeties were developed in the 1970s to enhance speed during competition. The look caught on with pistol-smiths of that era and a full house gun always came with one. The manufacturers caught on and now they're more common than GI or teardrop-style thumb safeties.

My suggestion... Look at 1911s with the small/teardrop thumb safety, and you won't have to worry about accidental engagement or disengagement, unless it is just too loose/easy to manipulate. BTW, that problem can be fixed. I see people complain about stiff thumb safeties on the Forum quite a bit. Personally, I feel that a stiff thumb safety is a blessing, it stays on safe when you want it safe, and it stays off safe when firing the pistol.
Thx for the input. Can you tell me which currently produced guns have a GI or tear drop safety so I can see what it looks like?
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  #17  
Old 01-13-2020, 08:01 AM
jtq jtq is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steven1127 View Post
Thx for the input. Can you tell me which currently produced guns have a GI or tear drop safety so I can see what it looks like?
This Colt has a teardrop thumb safety https://www.colt.com/detail-page/1911-classic

The Wiley Clapp model has a GI thumb safety https://www.colt.com/series/WILEY_CLAPP_SERIES
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  #18  
Old 01-13-2020, 08:48 AM
jtq jtq is offline
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Another Wilson Combat video, this one with Mike Seeklander

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ue1l1qz-U4M
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  #19  
Old 01-13-2020, 12:27 PM
SG29736 SG29736 is offline
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Plinking at the range it doesn't matter. Trying to shoot as fast and accurately as I am capable of, thumb on top of the safety, thumbs forward works better for me. Bill drill for one example.

The best shooters actually test different techniques using a timer and scoring targets so they aren't relying on what "feels" best. Lots of shooters will say they've used a technique for 30 years and it works for me but have never really tested other techniques while trying to shoot faster and more accurately then they have before. Shooting a magazine or two with a different technique and it of course doesn't work immediately is not testing.
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  #20  
Old 01-13-2020, 03:02 PM
brickeyee brickeyee is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jtq View Post
It's not everybody, but nearly everybody that shoots a 1911 rides the thumb safety.

Watch where Doug Koenig puts his right thumb.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iDzC6djUQxM

I wear a men's size 8 (small) glove. I ride the thumb safety.
There are thumb safeties available that lower the height of the paddle on the safety.

The paddle is not reduced in size but is slightly lower.

I have a fused joint in my thumb and simply cannot raise it as high.
The Gunsite lowered thumb safety works perfectly for me.

https://www.brownells.com/handgun-pa...-prod6677.aspx
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  #21  
Old 01-13-2020, 03:30 PM
SG29736 SG29736 is offline
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That's a good option.
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  #22  
Old 01-13-2020, 03:51 PM
BCC BCC is offline
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I have a STI DVC L. The way I grip, is I rotate my wrists down slightly. This facilitates the highest possible grip at the back of the gun, while at the same time keeps my weak hand thumb off the slide. It felt uncomfortable at first, but works great.

My strong hand thumb is on top of the safety. Which is exactly where I want it, so that after I’ve drawn the gun and am extending my arms, I can easily flick the safety off.
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  #23  
Old 01-13-2020, 04:15 PM
Striker2237 Striker2237 is offline
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1911/2012s don't have safeties, they have integrated thumb rests that allow the hand to control above the recoil axis.

If your hand is too small to use this feature or you have grip safety issues I would say try another gun. Some hands simply can't be in the right place
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  #24  
Old 01-13-2020, 04:57 PM
shooter59 shooter59 is offline
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Wow.....learn something new everyday.:-)
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  #25  
Old 01-13-2020, 10:16 PM
jjfitch jjfitch is offline
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Excellant Video emphasizing the essential steps

Quote:
Originally Posted by jtq View Post
Watch Wilson Combat's Mandy Bachman - go to the 1:50 mark and look at her grip.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HGcDHggv8JY

As an aside, since you haven't bought a 1911 yet, and we almost always get this from folks coming from other firearms to the 1911, who always want to add an extended slide release. Notice at around the 2:05 mark how she drops the slide with her left thumb.
If you find thumb placement awkward with the standard combat safety, try Wilson's slightly lowered paddle.

"Low Lever – Slim, Tactical-style pad is positioned low for faster thumb contact and rapid, short-throw disengagement." Brownell's: 965-600-007WB Tactical

All the best in 2020,
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Last edited by jjfitch; 01-13-2020 at 10:21 PM.
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