Pistol Smith Forum banner

1 - 20 of 58 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
253 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Without starting a shouting match, what are the pros and cons of deactivating the grip safety on a 1911. Col. Cooper says the grip safety is not needed. What do you think?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,610 Posts
My belief is it is not needed if you are content to leave your gun unloaded in a vault. Once you take it out and load it up, I would not carry it without a properly functioning grip safety.

It is rare, but I have had the thumb safety "wipe off" on my gun twice. The first time, I bumped into a wall. That was the last time I carried with an ambi-safety on the exposed side (but that's a different story to be argued on a different day...). The second was when I was gettin' down and dirty with some ne'er do wells. Once the thumb safety is disengaged, there is NOTHING that will prevent the gun from firing should the trigger be pulled - because proper 1911 etiquette says "cocked and locked, please."

I have practiced panic grabs (unloaded, of course) of my gun from the floor, a table, my holster, etc. and I have NEVER failed to deactivate the grip safety, even with a less than ideal grip on the weapon. If you practice the same, and cannot deactivate the safety, I would suggest that you change your style of safety to one that you can. There are several aftermarket pieces available with different configurations of "speed bumps" on them. These raised pad serves to help eliminate the deactivation due to a sloppy grip.

Please do not pin it, or deactivate it in any way.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
i have never seen a grip saftey fail to work properly. when i grab my gun the grip saftey does what it should. but here's my beef...

i will try to not "knock" defense lawyers, but if you ever have to use your gun in self defense, it WILL be argued in court why you bypassed a saftey of the firearm. you will be asked why you chose a gun with safteies that you felt YOU did n ot need. you will possibly be made to look like you by passed it in the hopes of having to use it. i thibnk for the most part that that part is bull, but you will have people there in the court room who are not experienced enough in firearms to understand why you thought you did it, and the lawyer will paint a picture that you will not be able to erase. this is a strong possiblity, and you don't need that when you are defending yourself on firing on or ending another human life.

i like the grip saftey, but its up to you, its part of the total package, and i am all for it, and if its not messed with, you should never know its there while your shooting, proper grip, control and trigger squeeze, check it when you clean the gun to make sure it works.

as you can guess i don't like modifying safties on pistols, but its up to you. if you don't trust it to work on its own, you shouldn't trust the gun to defend yourself with.

russel the cop
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,831 Posts
Since there is a certain hand size that will not deactivate a grip safety on a 1911, memory groove or not, sensitive or not...I suspect Cooper and I have a similar size hand, you might need an option on this issue.

That said, I don't recommend anyone deactivating a grip safety. But simply said, if you have the same problem Col. Cooper or I have, "PIN IT".

I do pin my personal guns. No matter what safety is used or how sensative it is set up I can not, at speed, be guaranteed the grip safety will be deactivated on my intitial presentation.

That is a problem if you actually expect to use your gun.

So I pin the grip safety. Once or twice a year I try a new grip safety design to see if anything has changed...other than slowing down a bit on my presentations, the grip safety is still a problem for me. It is worth noting the gun Cooper had made last year, by the Gunsite smithy, was also pinned.

BTW in the 20 years or so I have carried a 1911 I have never had a thumb safety knocked off with a properly made holster. In 10 years of hard use and long hours of carry I also used a ambi safety.....properly set up of course.

The legal arguments and hyperbole are a distraction only if you don't have the ability to articulate the issue and your decision to a jury and have made a bad judgement call on the justifiable use of deadly force.

Much of the subject has been promoted by my friend and mentor Mas Ayoob. He has some great points right up to the point where you need a gun and it doesn't work when you need it.

I use the specific gun that I can shoot the best, so I shoot a 1911. I want it to work for ME...EVERY TIME , so I pin the grip safety.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Dane Burns on 2001-05-14 02:11 ]</font>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,610 Posts
On 2001-05-11 23:59, Dane Burns wrote:
Since there is a certain hand size that will not deactivate a grip safety on a 1911, memory groove or not, sensitive or not...I suspect Cooper and I have a similar size hand, you might need an option on this issue.
Damn - I should'a known Dane pinned his grip safeties :roll:

Oh well - we agree to disagree anyway.

Your points are valid, however. I have never failed to deactivate a grip safety - but then again my hands are not as "delicate" as yours! :wink:

:smile:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
988 Posts
All of this talk of lawyers, what they will do / what they will not do is, much of the time [and no offense meant, to anyone], static on the great screen of reality.

I have asked many people to give me a single example of a justifiable shooting being turned into a conviction by either a) the choice of weapon, b) the choice of ammo, c) the number of safeties [or lack thereof] on the weapon used. Now, there may be such a case out there...but I have waited 13 years.

Shootings / stabbings / ass-whuppings turn on a very few facts. Chief among them are: Where did it occur, who was involved, what led to it? You give me a 90 year old lady who kills a bad guy in her bedroom at 3:00 am, I will have her back in time to enjoy dinner. Give me a decent guy, with a few too many brews onboard, in a very bad place by his own recreational choice [not because of work, or picking up mom, or any of those "good guy" things], and I will show you a much tougher case, generally, even if the guy truly was in a life or death self-defense situation. Why? Because people, you, me, her, [read jurors] come into court with the same preconceived notions / prejudices / wrong-headed ideas, that everyone is susceptible to having.

Forget the prosecutors, worry about the jurors. Jurors are people like you and I. Most work for a living, most want to be left the hell alone. Most won't have much sympathy for anyone who goes into a biker bar at 3:00 am looking to test out his new-found set of balls and gets in over his head. That is reality. Most jurors make up their mind as to how they will vote in the end, at the beginning...in opening statement. That is, before one shred of evidence is presented. Give me my best voir dire, and best opening statement, give the other side the better evidence, and I will win 9+ times out of 10. Again, that is reality. Some say it ain't right, but....

The shootings we read about that, more times than not, get someone a long-term room in the gray bar hotel involve one of several factors. Stupidity [shooting through the front door...without looking through the peephole first...because you *thought* the guy was breaking in, when he was only delivering your mail]; lack of training [shooting someone when turning tail and running, or a swift kick in the balls would have cured the problem]; or fear combined with the above, which makes people lose their understanding [assuming they understood to begin with] that fights and self defense situations are dynamic. The initial aggressor can end up being the one who has the right to defend himself...but do you know why, how and when? This problem harkens back to the lack of realistic training, training, training.

Get a good gun, learn how to use it, and then get *trained*. Knowing how to point a gun and pull the trigger is but only a small piece of the puzzle. Remember, too, use your head. Listen to the little guy sitting on your shoulder who asks...WTF are we doing in *HERE*?!?!?!? Do all this and odds are you will be free and alive tomorrow. :smile:
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Here is where the Honorable Chairman Jeff and I disagree.Various writings suggest that if You over-ride any type of safety,and You are involved in any type of shooting,Your goose is cooked.If Your hand (like mine) sometimes fails to engage the grip safety,Install one of the memory groove types available and even a high hold,high thumb shooter will effectively engage the safety as intended.As far as thumb safeties bumping off, I've had it happen on two seperate occaisions, with two different 1911's during the past 26 years.tom.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18 Posts
sorry guys, i didn't mean to start such a thing about the court room, it is simply things i have read and thought about. i agree that the jury will make its mind up pretty quickly.

i did not mean to upset anyone, and i am sorry if i did, i will admit that there are others on this board who have far better knowledge about such things.

i have never met an adult who's hands could not work the grip saftey, my 11 year old nephew shoots 1911's and has never had a problem so i didn't hink that it would be a problem for anyone else. no disrespect meant.....

again sorry,
russel the cop
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,831 Posts
OK, let me cite a few who actually disengage their grip safeties, not that it matters one lick...25% of the cadre and students at Gunsite. A large part of US military spec ops guys who run a 1911, LAPD SWAT, and the silly masters and grand masters in IPSC, plus a big hand full of professional gunmen who carry a 1911, starting with Southwestern Lawmen about 90 years ago. Ya, same guys who actually shot people with a 1911.
Imagine that?

Now, some might disagree as to the reason for doing such a thing. I do in fact know how to make a grip safety disengage with a "breath of air". I also can guarantee that if you have the wrong shaped and size hand and have the gun skills to push the envelope, the grip safety WILL at some point stop your gun from firing when you want or need it to.

That as mentioned, it is a bad thing. If, like the majority of users, your hand or that of your 8 year old does in fact disengage your 1911 grip safety..."good on you". If your hand does not, I suggest you have the grip safety adjusted and if it happens again, do something more realistic for your own safety.

PIN, It! It has just become a safety issue, YOUR SAFETY or the safety of the people you choose to protect.

Some might disagree with Col. Cooper. On a few things I disagree with him too. But the facts are he has seen more people shoot a 1911 than I suspect any one on this board and when he makes a statement that "pinning the grip safety" isn't a mortal sin and that 25% of the population he has seen should. You can take that to the bank is my guess.

Why? Not because I think Jeff is GAWD....he aint, but because his experience is exactly what I have seen in the last 20 years too. While I aint Jeff, if I tell you my hand won't run a 1911 grip safety, that you can, in fact, take to the bank. I have also seen others who are in the same boat, either because of gun skill or hand size or both. And just to add to the conversation let me be clear it is NOT lack of gun skill that causes the problem.

A gun is a dangerious thing. Handguns are actually made to shoot other human beings with for the most part. Make sure when you need it the gun and you are up to the job. Be sure you can clearly vebalize why you have modified your gun. You might have too.

Make good decisions on the use of lethal force and don't worry about the rest. Including a pinned grip safety if you need one.

I also have the street time, court room time, formal education on the subject, mechanically and legally, in addition to the long use of a pinned 1911 to say that exact thing with some clarity. I don't make these statements from the hypothetical.

I like goose on the holidays. I eat them. I am not one of them.

All that said if you need it pinned, pin it. If you don't need it pinned, don't pin it. I don't pin mine to be different. I pin it because it is a safety issue....for me.

No arguement, just the pro side of the discussion.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Dane Burns on 2001-05-12 02:41 ]</font>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
22 Posts
as a HiPower shooter, I am comfortable with no grip safety.

for those who want to keep their .45's grip safety functional
for operational reasons, do you totally avoid carrying pistols without grip safeties?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
31 Posts
So how exactly do you pin the grip safety?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,831 Posts
The easiest way I have found is use a "U" shaped piece of old shoc buff placed between the mainspring housing and the grip safety. Make sure it does not drag on the bottom of the "U" against the hammer strut or it will make your trigger pull heavier. I have also used a piece of leather cut in the same manner. Any buff material seems to work better with less fuss and lasts for ever.

I like the hardest buffs, like a CP, for this application.

The buff just needs to me cut in the shape of the top of the main spring housing with the "U" shape opening to the out side and sqeezed between the main and beavertail on reassembly. It is also easily removed to make your grip safety fully functional again and more importantly doesn't change anything internally.

I have used this method, first with leather and later with a buff for the past 20 years and have found it very satisfactory.

If you wonder about the legality of blocking your grip safety, I recently had one of the best smiths in the nation take my personal gun apart and while he did realise what I had done, the buff/block wasn't put back in correctly.

What that tells me and what I have always assumed is this. If the grip safety issue is ever called into question in a court of law it would have to be first noted by forensic evidence in the case, admitted by the State, or from that notation in a civil case I suspect. My guess is that VERY few, more like ZERO forensic investigators, criminal investigators or civil attornies would ever catch the detail.

Much more likely the tiny piece of buff material would fall out and never be replaced. If your grip safety worked before hand it would work again on reassembly.

Have a bad shooting and I also suspect they will be looking at everything from you trigger pull, to your knickers so , DON'T is my suggestion, again.

Here is another note on the grip safety issue and LAPD SWAT. Their regs say that "no safety feature can be permanently disabled on any firarm". So the operator's answer is to use a piece of bicycle inner tube or duct tape over the grip safety. That piece of material does not go to forensics when the gun does, after a shooting. Common Texas Ranger and NYC treatment was rubber bands in the same place...also helps a lot with "mexican carry". Which BTW I do not recommend on either count :grin:


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Dane Burns on 2001-05-12 14:49 ]</font>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Gee Dane, I thought You said that You PINNED the grip safety.Massad Ayoob advises against actually drilling the frame and inserting a pin into the hole thereby de-activating the grip saftey.I hope this clears up any misunderstanding.tom.

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: deputy tom on 2001-05-12 14:00 ]</font>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,831 Posts
Hi Tom,

I have known Mas for years, taught for him some and taken more than one class from him. I don't think he'd mind me quoting him on this issue :grin: "Pinned, plugged, welded, taped, banded, zip tied or wrapped in raw hide, deactivating a grip safety is not reccomended by me (Mas in this case) or LFI." That should be close.

His is not...mine is. But I get the "difference" from what you are saying. No reason to EVER actually drill a frame to accomplish the task.

When I have had the chance to take a class or teach for Mas I have had a active and functional grip safety....right up till the shoot off, where I tape mine to take on the that speedy, old Arab :grin: Mas shakes his head while he watches me do it and takes the time to tell the class that you shouldn't do such things to your own gun :roll:

On the very rare occasion, which I relish greatly, I even beat him. But I sure wouldn't without pinning my grip safety. He knows that, so do I. Nice of Mas to give me a chance :grin:

<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Dane Burns on 2001-05-12 14:46 ]</font>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
19 Posts
Dane,back in the early '70's an old friend of mine went to Gunsite and upon coming back bought a Colt 1911 and did pin the grip safety,put on King-Tappen sights, swenson ambi thumb safety,etc.He said Jeff Cooper told Him that this is the hot set up.Prior to that He was carrying a HP 9mm.I told Him a 1911 was better.He didn't believe Me But when Mr.Cooper told Him to loose the 9 He listened.Hmm.By the way ,I saw some of Your work in one of the other posts.Nice job! I really like the Jigging on the front strap & main spring hsng.tom.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
72 Posts
I don't understand why the grip safety is considered important. Is pinning the safety on a 1911 any different than carrying a BHP? Even pinned, the 1911 is safer than a Glock or Kahr due to the thumb safety. When I unholster and grip my gun, my hand automatically depresses the grip safety. Since the trigger is covered by the holster, to pull the trigger requires me to unholster the gun, whereby I'm already depressing the grip safety.

Shane wrote that: "I have practiced panic grabs (unloaded, of course) of my gun from the floor, a table, my holster, etc. and I have NEVER failed to deactivate the grip safety, even with a less than ideal grip on the weapon."

If you have NEVER failed to deactivate the grip safety regardless of your grip, then how much of a safety device is it?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
89 Posts
In the few years I have been perusing the different firearms forums, I have never seen one question stir up more debate and discussion then this one.

Let's hope intelligent people make the right decisions for themselves
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,831 Posts
Just to give the other view from this side of the fence :grin:

First no reputable trainer or instructor will EVER tell you to deactivate a safety. That is a given.

No institution will allow you to deactivate a grip safety. See the above comments in the pervious paragraph to see who will be telling you those "facts".

Let's address why that is in a moment but that is a good basis for not deactivating a safety right?

Of course it is. Instructors from the NRA PP guy up to the local LE range master will tell you deactivating a safety is a bad thing.

Remember I did not say SWAT or Spec Op trainers here OK?

Remember that the US ARMY had for years used a grip safety on a 1911. Basically a similar design, the High Power, from the same designer, did not have a grip safety and was at one time (1930s to the 1970s) the most issued and used service hand gun in the world.

The US Army also had the M14 while the rest of the world used the FAL. So who can you trust?

Sorry I digress. If your hand doesn't like grip safeties get a different gun. After all there are lots of other service style 45s. No one mentions how big they are or "how difficult " an average size hand has shooting one accurately. Not hitting the target is a liability issue for everyone, you, your employer and the bystanders.

LIABILITY, big word, remember it will come back to discuss it again. Instructors, NRA PP guys and Departments really like the word and live by it.......like I said we'll come back to it.

Shooting at speed? If you can draw and hit an A zone on a IPSC target at 10 yards form a carry holster in under 1 second you know about speed. If you can do it on a regular basis you will realise that sometimes you get a bad presentation grip.

Do you realize that General Patton, who had killed men with a Single Action Army 45 Colt in CQB damn near blew his foot off with a 1911 and a fully active grip safety? Patton was also a Olympic athelete who placed 5th in the 1912 Pentathalon. You have to shoot a hand gun well to do that.

Carelessnes and lack of a specific weapons knowledge is a accident waiting to happen.

A 1911 has a disconnector safety, a thumb latch safety that is also a sear block and a grip safety. Grab the gun with a perfect grip and right size hand, and only two things keep it from firing, the sear release tripped by your finger on the trigger and what is between your ears if the gun is in battery. The High Power has all the same safeties except a grip safety. Again the HP was the most widely issued service handgun in the WORLD.

Of course if you have a holster that covers the trigger guard and never put your finger inside the trigger guard unless you are willing to shoot, there is very likely, nothing, that is going to get shot by accident.

My guess is before anyone on this board was born there were men who actually cut the trigger guards off a 1911, fitted the trigger pulls at 4# and pinned their grip safety in one manner or another. They had a reason. Their handguns were the only thing that kept them alive in a tight spot. It HAD to work first time and everytime. There were no overs. Have things changed? Maybe so if you are more worried about civil liability, the Department liability or anything short of survival at the moment of a conflict.

The reason...THE ENTIRE REASON, that some one tells you to never disable a safety is LIABILITY. I assume liability by only suggesting you know the reasons behind doing it or not. I carry liability insurance personally and am part of a corporation to be able to do so. The LE Instructor tells you not too pin a safety because his employer, the department, is scared of being sued and so they LIMIT liability by just saying NO. The NRA says "do it this way" so they can limit LIABILITY. Mas says do it this way, so we limit liability.

The comment was made that we use to think asbestos and lead paint were OK too. Implying that the passage of time allowed us to see the dangers more clearly and neither were safe now. The statement implied grip safeties fell into that realm. Balderdash :grin: For those who know me, more simply "bull shit".

The NUMBER ONE rule is survive. The Texas Rangers knew it in the '20s. The Spec Op guys and trainers know it after loosing team mates that cost 1M a copy. LAPD SWAT knows it today.

I use a 1911 to enhace my survival. I pin my personal grip safety to enhance my survival with that gun. I pay for liability insurance so I can tell the truth about self defense to my stundents, my friends and this list. I think the truth here is more important that covering my ass from a civil liability suit. But then I pay to protect my livilhood and fortune with LIABILITY insurance. Insurance and a pinned grip safety...same thing in this case.

I keep dogs to alert me, I own several safes, I wear my seat belt, dare I say it, OWN GUNS, to protect my life, my family's and to some extent my business, home and belongings. I am married to a proactive professional who can't get liability insurance so her employer buys it to protect them first and her second. I assume different levels of liability with each decision, each connection.

Blocking my grip safety is one of the easiest decisions I make.

Better yet I have years of experience personally that says I have made a good decision, for ME, which is germain to this discussion. What is appropriate for me may not be for you.

That is why this is a topic that generates a lot of discussion :grin: It NEEDS a lot of rational discussion from both sides of the topic.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Dane Burns on 2001-05-19 01:51 ]</font>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,831 Posts
David and all,
Having some experience in civil and criminal court and with liability in general (read thousands of dollars worth) I have a well founded basis and can articulate my personal decisions on use of firearms and the modifications that I make to my own. I also have an indepth formal education on the parameters of lethal force, liability law in high risk ventures and weapons designs.

For every whitness you can come up with to say YAY, I can in turn, come up with one to say NAY on any legal disagreement.

Liability is best settled long before a court room in a settlemet of mutual agreement.

Liability is an issue decided in court by a judge or jury. Once you are to that stage in a court room you have in fact, lost, because you will be paying attorney fees and your time and stress in the short term at least.

Negligence, imprudent behavior, and criminal intent all have to be proven or a the least in civil court swayed the jury into believing your cupability by some degree. Very likely your insurance carrier will in fact balk at any claim that is not straight forward to deal with. BE VERY CAREFUL on the self defense decisions you make for yourself. Pinned grip safeties and guard dogs are not going to be high on the priority list of any insurance company if those issues come into question. The trick is not to be caught on the slippery slope to what your carrier will most likely do...avoid giving you coverage. You can and should document how and why you took your actions long before they ever come into question and that they were in fact not negligent, imprudent or criminal. Much less all the disclaimers actually added to a policy.

The same exact reasons that when this subject comes up that I take the time and effort to state the other side of the story from "never disengage a safety feature on a gun", unless of course it makes the gun unsafe for the user :grin:

The point I don't want lost here and got side tracked by David's comment I think is this. Much of what is taught and repeated in the firearms industry has nothing to do with how effective the tools or techniques are for your survival. The vast majority of things that I see in training classes and firearms designs generally look to limiting the liability of the school or the manufacturer. That is a pervasive attitude that becomes self generating.

Don't allow the concerns of one issue degrade your survival skills or equipment.
It starts with what is between your ears. Use it first and last.


<font size=-1>[ This Message was edited by: Dane Burns on 2001-05-13 21:35 ]</font>
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
988 Posts
Insurers deny coverage for all sorts of things. Some denials are proper, some not. Alleging arson, where there is none, seems to be a favorite. Happened to a friend awhile back. When the dust settled, it would have been far cheaper to pay the original claim.

Dane, if your insurer ever sues you for pinning a grip safety on your personal firearm, call me, collect. I need a vacation. :grin:

David, without naming the names you don't want to name, tell us what happened. I assume a range accident?
 
1 - 20 of 58 Posts
Top