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  #1  
Old 03-11-2020, 06:14 PM
darnnnel darnnnel is offline
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Trying to understand no firing pin safety (70 Series)

I am very new to the world of 1911's, i just made my first purchase, the S&W PC1911 Commander size, cant wait for it to ship!

I have been trying to do my best to learn as much as i can about 1911's, so please excuse me if this is a stupid question.

1911’s that do not have a firing pin safety (series 70 style) which i believe the PC1911 is: if there was a serious breakage of the sear or the sear pin snaps in half, will the pistol fire if it is cocked and locked? Looking at the mechanics, it would seem like it would. if this is the case, are there any recommendations of safety etc. Please let me know your thoughts.

Thanks!
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  #2  
Old 03-11-2020, 06:40 PM
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Grandpas50AE Grandpas50AE is offline
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First and foremost, your S&W PC1911 is a fine gun, shoot it and have confidence in it; it is one of the most underrated production 1911's on the market.

Now, to your question: there is a plethora of debate on firing pin blocking safeties on this forum, so do a search on Swartz safety or Series80 safeties and you will see a lot of debate both pro and con. The original 1911 design did not have a firing pin block safety, as the thumb safety and grip safety were considered to be sufficient. The likely-hood of a sear or sear pin suddenly failing in condition 1 carry are so remote as to be negligible. Many of us that grew up with them, and have 100's of thousands of rounds through them, and carry them condition 1, have complete confidence in the multiple safeties employed on the current versions of the 1911A1. ANY mechanical device CAN fail, but the redundant safety systems in the 1911A1 design make it such a remote possibility that many of us don't consider it a factor. The firing pin safety was an upgrade design that addressed dropping the 1911 from a high distance and the inertial firing pin being able to strike the primer and discharge the chambered round; mostly incorporated in today's guns sold in California to address the California DOJ requirements of their "drop tests". Irrelevant requirements in the opinions of most of us that grew up with them, but required in certain current markets.
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  #3  
Old 03-11-2020, 06:42 PM
Striker2237 Striker2237 is offline
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Correct. Firing pin gets moved enough it will fire, via a major near impossible total parts failure of the sear or hammer safety hook, gravity pulling the gun directly muzzle down with the softest primer ammo and heavy steel .45 size firing pin with a worn out spring, or tapping the pin from behind with a pinch.

That said I'm far more comfortable with a S70 1911 not firing vs most every other gun type. My carry ones have TI pins and super strong firing pin springs and I played with dropping my ATI with many combos of springs and pins and you have to drop it at least 7 ft directly down onto wood to fire with the safety on. If off it will just throw the slide out of battery least on my gun before I upgraded all the fire control parts post my experiment.

I have seen WAY more 1911s have S80 system issues and breakages leading the gun not being able to fire or cycle in one case. I have never ever seen or heard of a S70 going off unless the owner pulled the trigger with both safeties off. I have 53k rounds on my carry 1911 and it has fallen into its gamer a few times on concrete with no damage or issues or the hammer breaking the sear. Gun was not loaded at the time of the falls but basically the thing get treated worse than most Glocks and has never had any issue. A properly made 1911 like your S&W will not have issues.

Also a slight correction to above and drop tests, many many many S70 guns can easily pass that test. All the NHC, Wilson, and other high end Cali legal models are all drop safe.
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Last edited by Striker2237; 03-11-2020 at 06:46 PM.
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  #4  
Old 03-11-2020, 06:55 PM
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Physically, a 1911 without a firing pin drop safety (commonly but erroneously called Series 70s) most certainly CAN fire if dropped from waist height with a round in the chamber. However it is dependent on several factors. The impact has to be great enough, the angle of impact just right to transfer maximum energy to the firing pin, and the primer of the cartridge sufficiently sensitive to ignition from a light strike. Old military pistols were prone to this danger simply because the firing pin springs were often worn out yet never replaced. On a modern 1911 with an extra-power spring and titanium firing pin the chances are fairly slight. Having said that, a pistol with a firing pin safety in working order remains the best bet for a carry pistol that could someday be dropped onto the concrete floor inside a Walmart.

Now as to your concern about a sear nose or hammer hook suddenly fracturing... technically a firing pin safety will still keep the firing pin locked in place and prevent a discharge. However you're still talking about a round being in the chamber with a firing pin poised to hit it, so no safety system is absolutely guaranteed. There is a small yet inherent danger in carrying a loaded weapon no matter what you do, so always play it safe and keep your firearm in a secure holster that won't suddenly lose retention of it.
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  #5  
Old 03-11-2020, 07:03 PM
Striker2237 Striker2237 is offline
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Originally Posted by dsk View Post
Physically, a 1911 without a firing pin drop safety (commonly but erroneously called Series 70s) most certainly CAN fire if dropped from waist height with a round in the chamber. However it is dependent on several factors. The impact has to be great enough, the angle of impact just right to transfer maximum energy to the firing pin, and the primer of the cartridge sufficiently sensitive to ignition from a light strike. Old military pistols were prone to this danger simply because the firing pin springs were often worn out yet never replaced. On a modern 1911 with an extra-power spring and titanium firing pin the chances are fairly slight. Having said that, a pistol with a firing pin safety in working order remains the best bet for a carry pistol that could someday be dropped onto the concrete floor inside a Walmart.

Now as to your concern about a sear nose or hammer hook suddenly fracturing... technically a firing pin safety will still keep the firing pin locked in place and prevent a discharge. However you're still talking about a round being in the chamber with a firing pin poised to hit it, so no safety system is absolutely guaranteed. There is a small yet inherent danger in carrying a loaded weapon no matter what you do, so always play it safe and keep your firearm in a secure holster that won't suddenly lose retention of it.
Ever dropped a 1911?

I'm up to 9 times intentionally to test this exact thing and 4 times due to someone knocking my gun off a shoulder hight table or falling out of a vehicle/bag and they really don't do anything. A super old actual GI gun with a heavy as hell .45 size steel pin and a totally shot spring may fire if dropped when locked directly down onto concrete but then again a GI gun will beat itself to death far before a modern gun starts to get slightly loose so I don't think it's fair to bring the relics into this. I don't know if anyone who carries a GI gun after all.....
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  #6  
Old 03-11-2020, 07:31 PM
flechero flechero is online now
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Perhaps you'd be interested in the fall arrest safety by Ned Christiansen

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pFYF...ature=youtu.be

https://forum.ltwguns.com/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=9876
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  #7  
Old 03-11-2020, 07:45 PM
dakota1911 dakota1911 is offline
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There is Ruger who came out with their SR1911 line about 2011 I think. These are the folk who still have "read the manual" on the frame I think (Thankfully now on the bottom of the frame". They went with a Titanium firing pin and stronger firing pin spring. Colt and others have also gone with a Titanium firing pin.

Now to the mechanical firing pin safety. It is not fool proof. The three designs I know about are the Colt Series 80 used by Colt (and Taurus, Para, Remington, Sig, and probably others) and the Swartz type used by Colt before WWII and now by Kimber plus I think by Llama at one point, and the S&W type used S&W only and developed in house by them by a fellow named Mochak I think.

Anyway all these firing pin safeties have a little plunger that is pused upward to let the firing pin move forward. Then a little spring pushes it back down. With enough crud the pin may be pushed up and not move back down, which means the pistol now has no mechanical firing pin safety.
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  #8  
Old 03-11-2020, 08:25 PM
brickeyee brickeyee is offline
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The main purpose for the firing pin bloack was over drop safety.
It was posited that if you dropped a 1911 on the muzzle from a great enough distance the mass of the firing pin would overcome the firing pin spring and a Condition 1 gun might fire.
It would take a huge set of perfect conditions (large drop, directly on the muzzle impact, weak firing pins spring, etc.).
A very few carefully contrived tests managed to ignite a cartridge.
The drop was far more than any person holding the guns could drop it.
Think from the edge of a buildings roof type drops.
Reduced pin mass (titanium) and increased spring strength would overcome this.
It was a solution in search of a problem.
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Old 03-11-2020, 08:52 PM
jtq jtq is online now
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Here is the Drake Oldham drop test

http://dave2.freeshell.org/1911/drop1/drop1.htm

Last time I gave this link, when the folks went to open it, it was a fee based site, so I don't know what will happen here, but I could read it when I went to the site.
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  #10  
Old 03-11-2020, 08:54 PM
jtq jtq is online now
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Originally Posted by brickeyee View Post
It was posited that if you dropped a 1911 on the muzzle from a great enough distance the mass of the firing pin would overcome the firing pin spring and a Condition 1 gun might fire.
It could be Condition 1, Condition 2, or Condition 0, the thumb safety position has nothing to do with the potential problem.
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Old 03-11-2020, 09:22 PM
brickeyee brickeyee is offline
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It could be Condition 1, Condition 2, or Condition 0, the thumb safety position has nothing to do with the potential problem.
All it needs is a round in the chamber.
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  #12  
Old 03-11-2020, 09:47 PM
FNHipowerluv FNHipowerluv is offline
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This topic has been beat to death, but as long as the firing pin spring isn't worn, your chances of dropping the gun in a way that it could fire are too slim to really be concerned about, especially with a titanium firing pin.

The Series 80 system is more or less proven at this point, but more parts means more failure points. The simplicity of the 1911 is one of it's best features, Series 80, and Swartz systems make it more complicated.

Also, Series 70 is really a reference to the use of collet bushings. It historically has nothing to do with firing systems, in spite of what current marketing says. That's why there are no Series 70 Commanders, and every gun before 1970 is simply a "Government Model."
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  #13  
Old 03-11-2020, 10:35 PM
bowlegged bowlegged is offline
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Anyone here actually have any examples of where a cocked and locked 1911 was accidentally dropped - you know slips out of someone's sweaty hand or whatever, or bounces out of a holster, or whatever - and discharged, to be documented by the terrified bystanders, or by his not-so-impressed comrades?? I would be really interested in how many times this has happened, you know, in 110 years.

Better put your hard hat on before you go out today, you know a meteorite might fall on your head - you can never be too "safe" - you know it "could" happen...

The biggest safety on ANY firearm is between the persons ears...
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Old 03-11-2020, 11:04 PM
shooter59 shooter59 is offline
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Originally Posted by bowlegged View Post
Anyone here actually have any examples of where a cocked and locked 1911 was accidentally dropped - you know slips out of someone's sweaty hand or whatever, or bounces out of a holster, or whatever - and discharged, to be documented by the terrified bystanders, or by his not-so-impressed comrades?? I would be really interested in how many times this has happened, you know, in 110 years.

Better put your hard hat on before you go out today, you know a meteorite might fall on your head - you can never be too "safe" - you know it "could" happen...

The biggest safety on ANY firearm is between the persons ears...
This ones right up there with the old broken collet bushing, jammed completely up, and 27 puppies died as a result.
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Old 03-11-2020, 11:16 PM
*MAYHEM* *MAYHEM* is offline
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Originally Posted by darnnnel View Post
I am very new to the world of 1911's, i just made my first purchase, the S&W PC1911 Commander size, cant wait for it to ship!

I have been trying to do my best to learn as much as i can about 1911's, so please excuse me if this is a stupid question.

1911’s that do not have a firing pin safety (series 70 style) which i believe the PC1911 is: if there was a serious breakage of the sear or the sear pin snaps in half, will the pistol fire if it is cocked and locked? Looking at the mechanics, it would seem like it would. if this is the case, are there any recommendations of safety etc. Please let me know your thoughts.

Thanks!
The thumb safety also blocks the hammer.

Secondly, if you broke the sear or sear pin, you bought and EXTREMELY cheap piece of crap or abused the hell out of it.
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Old 03-11-2020, 11:20 PM
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Originally Posted by bowlegged View Post
Anyone here actually have any examples of where a cocked and locked 1911 was accidentally dropped - you know slips out of someone's sweaty hand or whatever, or bounces out of a holster, or whatever - and discharged, to be documented by the terrified bystanders, or by his not-so-impressed comrades?? I would be really interested in how many times this has happened, you know, in 110 years.

Better put your hard hat on before you go out today, you know a meteorite might fall on your head - you can never be too "safe" - you know it "could" happen...

The biggest safety on ANY firearm is between the persons ears...
There a LOTS of cases where people CLAIMED it went off because it was dropped or "fell off the table" but I suspect all of them were caused by stupid people mishandling their pistol.
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Old 03-11-2020, 11:42 PM
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Studying Henriot's 1911 ebook (recently published from a version originally in French) I was surprised to see that the locking lug of the thumb safety when in the "safe" position is blocking the hammer from falling irrespective of the sear or hammer hooks breaking off. I really thought I knew just about everything about the 1911 that mattered to me, but that was a surprise.
I always wondered why the locking lug had such strange geometry but now I see that the whole lug rises into the semicircular cut in the lower rear of the cocked hammer.
Some of you are probably laughing that anyone didn't know that and that's OK, but I got another shot of respect for JMB from learning that and will not worry about condition one any more, the whole locking lug would have to break off before a condition one 1911 could fire, not just the sear (Nigh impossible) but both would have to break away.

I know you guys are discussing the FP inertia from a drop but that too seems innocuous because such a hit should be barrel down and the 1 in a million shot would go into the concrete, would it not? Perhaps if it hit a wooden floor from high enough that shot might go through the floor into a room below.

Lawyers heads must hurt from imagining such things.
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Old 03-12-2020, 07:26 AM
Jolly Rogers Jolly Rogers is offline
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I forget where I read this and it was years ago but it was said that the angularity of the hammers pivot would overcome the thumb safety resistance and wipe the safety down. I don’t know if it is true as i haven’t tried a partial assembly without a sear to test it.
I am intrigued by Ned Christiansen’s FallArrest interlocking sear, hammer mechanism design.
Joe
Edit to add that Ned Christiansen agrees with the hammer moving the safety off here:
https://forum.ltwguns.com/viewtopic.php?f=24&t=9876
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Old 03-12-2020, 08:31 AM
Striker2237 Striker2237 is offline
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Originally Posted by shooter59 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowlegged View Post
Anyone here actually have any examples of where a cocked and locked 1911 was accidentally dropped - you know slips out of someone's sweaty hand or whatever, or bounces out of a holster, or whatever - and discharged, to be documented by the terrified bystanders, or by his not-so-impressed comrades?? I would be really interested in how many times this has happened, you know, in 110 years.

Better put your hard hat on before you go out today, you know a meteorite might fall on your head - you can never be too "safe" - you know it "could" happen...

The biggest safety on ANY firearm is between the persons ears...
This ones right up there with the old broken collet bushing, jammed completely up, and 27 puppies died as a result.
Not so sure about that since I've broken normal bushings from heat.....
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Old 03-12-2020, 03:19 PM
darnnnel darnnnel is offline
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Thank you all very much, your feedback is greatly appreciated!
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  #21  
Old 03-12-2020, 05:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Striker2237 View Post
Ever dropped a 1911?

I'm up to 9 times intentionally to test this exact thing and 4 times due to someone knocking my gun off a shoulder hight table or falling out of a vehicle/bag and they really don't do anything. A super old actual GI gun with a heavy as hell .45 size steel pin and a totally shot spring may fire if dropped when locked directly down onto concrete but then again a GI gun will beat itself to death far before a modern gun starts to get slightly loose so I don't think it's fair to bring the relics into this. I don't know if anyone who carries a GI gun after all.....
I spent some time in the shop of a guy who used to be the pistolsmithing editor of American Handgunner magazine. He told me how he intended to do a "scientific" drop test for an article, and enlisting the help of his neighbor, who was a dentist or something, serving as the "scientist", he proceed to drop a loaded 1911 on the floor . . . and drop it, and drop it, and drop it, finally cancelling the test, because no matter how the gun was oriented when dropped it never landed on the muzzle.
While a drop test that uses a fixture to ensure the gun lands on the muzzle will tell you if the gun will fire under those conditions, it doesn't address the likelihood, or unlikelihood, that a dropped gun will land on the muzzle.
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Old 03-12-2020, 06:09 PM
shooter59 shooter59 is offline
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Originally Posted by Striker2237 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by shooter59 View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by bowlegged View Post
Anyone here actually have any examples of where a cocked and locked 1911 was accidentally dropped - you know slips out of someone's sweaty hand or whatever, or bounces out of a holster, or whatever - and discharged, to be documented by the terrified bystanders, or by his not-so-impressed comrades?? I would be really interested in how many times this has happened, you know, in 110 years.

Better put your hard hat on before you go out today, you know a meteorite might fall on your head - you can never be too "safe" - you know it "could" happen...

The biggest safety on ANY firearm is between the persons ears...
This ones right up there with the old broken collet bushing, jammed completely up, and 27 puppies died as a result.
Not so sure about that since I've broken normal bushings from heat.....
Yeah, but you could break bowling balls😂
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Old 03-12-2020, 07:13 PM
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I spent some time in the shop of a guy who used to be the pistolsmithing editor of American Handgunner magazine. He told me how he intended to do a "scientific" drop test for an article, and enlisting the help of his neighbor, who was a dentist or something, serving as the "scientist", he proceed to drop a loaded 1911 on the floor . . . and drop it, and drop it, and drop it, finally cancelling the test, because no matter how the gun was oriented when dropped it never landed on the muzzle.
While a drop test that uses a fixture to ensure the gun lands on the muzzle will tell you if the gun will fire under those conditions, it doesn't address the likelihood, or unlikelihood, that a dropped gun will land on the muzzle.
When you drop a 1911 more often than not it rotates around and falls on its backstrap, since with a loaded mag it will be grip-heavy. Good news regarding the inertial firing pin, bad news if the hammer hits the ground first and the hooks shear off. Especially since the pistol will be pointed upwards.
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Old 03-12-2020, 08:42 PM
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But unlikely a drop on the back of the gun will apply force in the direction the hammer follows, as the grip safety would hit the ground first.
Even a drop of a M1911 with a long hammer, as force applied to the hammer would probably be in the direction of compression toward the grip safety.
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Old 03-12-2020, 09:01 PM
Striker2237 Striker2237 is offline
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That's one reason I like the exaggerated beavertails that extended past where they really need to to allow a ultra high grip. When cocked the hammer is protected from being hit with that style

This whole thread is hilarious since it's in reality much easier to get a Glock to fire when dropped than a 1911 and pre update ones and Sig 320s both fired fairly easily.
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