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Thread: Nuances of running the 1911 thumb safety (thread split)

  1. #51
    Site Supporter CSW's Avatar
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    When I started on the 1911 in my teens, my father drilled into my head that I was not to draw with the thumb on top... Always under.
    It just became 'old hat' to present the firearm in that way, that is, thumb under the safety until ready to engage.
    He was lefty, and taught me on an old Remington Rand that had an ambi.
    I'm lefty as well, so employing the m&p2.0 was the same process.

    However it was near impossible to get my thumb to work with the Sig 938 when I owned one.
    Like to think that like anything else, it comes down to conditioning.

  2. #52
    Wannabe Privateer RevolverRob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JonInWA View Post
    My two initial thoughts after some dryfire practice with the thumb-under-the-safety technique:

    1. Probably makes a 1911 marginally more viable as a threat management tool

    2. Without much practice/muscle memory RE proper thumb positioning regarding the under-the-safety technique positioning, it can be somewhat disconcertingly easy to inadvertantly engage the safety when not desired/desirable.

    Feedback, anyone?

    Best, Jon
    To point 2 - I go under safety when safety is on. Ontop of safety when safety is off (traditional ride the paddle).

    From the perspective of a "ride the safety" origin - The retrain part is really staying under the safety when you (re)activate it, as opposed to rolling back over and riding the top. (It's actually an elimination of a step).

    The other part is training that if you're drawing to a ready position - the thumb goes under, until the press out, then roll over onto the top. I'll see if I can setup and shoot some video this weekend to demonstrate. This sounds more complicated than it is.

    Make sense?
    Seriously guys, are we not doing 'phrasing' anymore?

  3. #53
    Site Supporter CSW's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RevolverRob View Post
    To point 2 - I go under safety when safety is on. Ontop of safety when safety is off (traditional ride the paddle).

    From the perspective of a "ride the safety" origin - The retrain part is really staying under the safety when you (re)activate it, as opposed to rolling back over and riding the top. (It's actually an elimination of a step).

    The other part is training that if you're drawing to a ready position - the thumb goes under, until the press out, then roll over onto the top. I'll see if I can setup and shoot some video this weekend to demonstrate. This sounds more complicated than it is.

    Make sense?
    Better said that I could.

  4. #54
    10.3" Master Race TGS's Avatar
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    I haven't been previously exposed to this thumb-under-safety idea. Given the tendency of "oh shit" reactions is to close the grip, it really makes sense, and I'm digging it. Not that I think riding the safety prior to firing is a problem, but I'm definitely partial to this practice.

    Thanks for sharing.
    "Are you ready? Okay. Let's roll."- Last words of Todd Beamer

  5. #55
    Site Supporter farscott's Avatar
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    This has been a very educational thread and has forced me to address some things I thought I knew. My habit with a 1911 is the safety is ON until I am on target. Then it comes OFF. When I come off target, I flip the safety ON. I have never rode the safety ON, resting my thumb on the safety in anticipation of going OFF safety.

    Now when I holster, my practice is to move my thumb under the safety as I guide the pistol in the holster. That insures the safety is ON when I start guiding the pistol in the holster. It also helps to keep me from muzzling myself as I rotate the muzzle outboard when the thumb moves under the safety. When I break my grip, my thumb comes out from the safety and gets between the hammer and rear of the slide. I also release pressure on the grip safety, seating the pistol with just fingertip pressure. That allows me to sense something snagged in the trigger guard. The goal has always been to insure the thumb and grip safeties are all active, and nothing is pressing the trigger.

    I need to see how riding the safety when ON and coming OFF target works for me. During some initial runs, my front sight moved when trying SHO. That is on me.

  6. #56
    Site Supporter JonInWA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RevolverRob View Post
    To point 2 - I go under safety when safety is on. Ontop of safety when safety is off (traditional ride the paddle).

    From the perspective of a "ride the safety" origin - The retrain part is really staying under the safety when you (re)activate it, as opposed to rolling back over and riding the top. (It's actually an elimination of a step).

    The other part is training that if you're drawing to a ready position - the thumb goes under, until the press out, then roll over onto the top. I'll see if I can setup and shoot some video this weekend to demonstrate. This sounds more complicated than it is.

    Make sense?
    Yep, thanks. Your explanation significantly clarified things for me with this technique.

    Best, Jon

  7. #57
    Site Supporter 1911Nut's Avatar
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    Jeff Cooper and Clint Smith taught my API 250 class at Gunsite in 1981. I was shooting a Colt 5" Government Model 1911 in caliber .45 ACP.

    They both drilled into the students shooting 1911's to obtain the initial grip on the gun while it was in the holster with the thumb on top of the safety. Just on top of it . . . . not disengaging it. Then, when the presentation of the pistol was made, they instructed us to disengage the safety as the flash sight picture was obtained. When I returned for subsequent training over the years, it was still the way it was being taught.

    I do not recall them teaching us to move the thumb to under the safety and leave it there after re-engaging the safety when shooting was completed or when moving between positions. They just instructed us to re-engage the safety in those conditions, but also advised returning the thumb back on top of the safety so it was where it needed to be when shooting resumed.

    I'm not advocating a different approach or saying that what works for the individual might not be better, just explaining what I was taught.

    And I figured that Jeff Cooper and Clint Smith probably knew what they were talking about regarding 1911's, so that's the way I have done it for 40 years (actually 40 years this month) and it has been a trouble-free approach for me.

    I can't count the number of times I have made suggestions to new shooters to try that approach and see it it helped their times in competition shooting, only to be met with a blank stare. And then it's their turn to shoot, the timer sounds, and they present the pistol and fiddle around with the safety for a few seconds before they commence shooting. But that is certainly their prerogative.

    Somehow, individuals have chosen to make running the safety on a 1911 much more complicated than it needs to be, in my opinion. I don't think I could deprogram myself to pick up or acquire the grip on a 1911 (or a safety model CZ 75) from a holster without my strong hand thumb falling to the top of the thumbs safety.

    But I am an elderly boomer, and you know how "we" are.
    Last edited by 1911Nut; 03-05-2021 at 08:45 PM.

  8. #58
    Member diananike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TGS View Post
    The best option if you want to run a USP as a SAO gun is to swap the $10 detent plate to variant 9. Keeps the safety, loses the decocker function.

    In the case of the HK45, I believe you can do the same thing by putting a 5/6 plate in.

    ETA: Here you go. Same plate, actually: https://hkparts.net/product/detent-p...9-10-p1247.htm
    Man if they would ship to Canada Id be all over that.
    Iíll give it a shot
    Iíve been unsuccessful in finding a HK parts dealer in Canada

  9. #59
    As a 2011 rookie, I want to try this method. Shooting a 2011 with my thumb on the safety means the web of my hand is crammed into an area that just isn't smooth. At some point during a magazine it registers in my head that its starting to "hurt." I suppose its a distraction.

    I wonder if the thumb under the safety will make a difference.

    Good thread, thanks!

  10. #60
    Quote Originally Posted by 1911Nut View Post
    Jeff Cooper and Clint Smith taught my API 250 class at Gunsite in 1981. I was shooting a Colt 5" Government Model 1911 in caliber .45 ACP.

    They both drilled into the students shooting 1911's to obtain the initial grip on the gun while it was in the holster with the thumb on top of the safety. Just on top of it . . . . not disengaging it.
    That is easy to do when shooting and manipulating safefy at a 10 second El Prez pace, which was Cooper's standard of excellence. These days that standard is half that. Working a gun at that speed while keeping safety engaged until sights are on takes a bit more work.
    ďWell," said Pooh, "what I like best," and then he had to stop and think. Because although Eating Honey was a very good thing to do, there was a moment just before you began to eat it which was better than when you were, but he didn't know what it was called.

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