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

  1. #31
    Site Supporter 03RN's Avatar
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    I generally take my safety off as soon as I can. I generally dont put it on again untill the threat/targets are gone or Im maneuvering on uneven terrain.

    If Im not shooting but still think I might need to my finger is off the trigger with the safety off. My thumb stays on the safety.

    If Im on rough ground and moving I may engage the safety. I have a video of me doing it while doing drills by myself and didn't even know I did it untill I heard it while watching it.

  2. #32
    Damnable 1911 Heretic Elwin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TGS View Post
    I'm having a hard time picturing this....can you post a picture? Does the meat at the base of your thumb actually "swallow" the safety?
    No problem.

    I have pretty large hands. Not Steve Fisher large but bigger than average. If I bring my support hand low enough to leave my right thumb on the safety and still maintain a thumbs forward grip, I have a lot less control. Basically it feels like my support hand is falling off the bottom of the grip.

    Iíve checked and even trying to intentionally reengage the safety using my left palm as positioned here is really difficult. Itís basically pressed into the safety with just a fleshy part of my hand contacting it, so if this makes sense itís almost doing more to keep the safety in place than it would to move it up.

    Pictures are 1) my two hand grip, 3) my right hand as positioned for a two hand grip, and 3) same thing for left hand. Gun is a government model.

    ETA: I clearly misspoke in my previous post. The safety is not between my thumbs since my left thumb is way far forward. What I get for describing things Iím not looking at.

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    Last edited by Elwin; 03-02-2021 at 09:17 PM.

  3. #33
    Hobbyist JAD's Avatar
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    I try to mostly use holsters like the SME which have a feature that prevents deactivation of the safety. Itís not a big deal, just seems a little better.

    If thatís a sweat shield, like on the EX-RSO, then my thumb rides on top of it when I establish the firing grip. When I draw, my thumb falls naturally to the top of the safety.

    When the pistol is out of the holster but the muzzle is not on something I want to shoot, the safety is on. When I direct the muzzle towards something that needs shot, the safety goes off. That includes count three of the draw, and/or retention/pectoral index. When I take the muzzle off the thing to be shotten, the safety goes back on and I return my thumb to the top of the safety. This is a natural resting position for me.

    I run my thumb under the safety only while reholstering. I do not ride the hammer. Iím sure itís a good idea, I just do it my way and I think itís ok.

    As a bonus, when my thumb is on top of the safety my hand shape changes (my grip doesnít change, but the muscle in my palm is less bunched) and my grip safety is deactivated.

  4. #34
    Member JHC's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTQ View Post
    To avoid this problem, riding the thumb safety of a 1911 needs to become part of your grip and not something you do on your way to getting your grip. Getting a "full firing grip" should be done when the gun is in the holster, and that means getting to the thumb safety.

    .
    I'll keep my thumb flagged when I take the firing grip in the holster. I've found there is ample time on the way out to index for the thumb to lower onto it. I've found that to be one of the best mechanisms to not offing the safety at speed or underpressure too early.

    But hitting the thumb safety has never presented much of an issue.

    Different topic, I also do not "prep" the 1911 trigger as early in the presentation as Ed Heard described. There is a zero effort short take up . . . I don't want that in the mix personally.
    Last edited by JHC; 03-03-2021 at 05:55 AM.
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  5. #35
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    Quote Originally Posted by 03RN View Post
    I generally take my safety off as soon as I can. I generally dont put it on again untill the threat/targets are gone or Im maneuvering on uneven terrain.

    If Im not shooting but still think I might need to my finger is off the trigger with the safety off. My thumb stays on the safety.

    If Im on rough ground and moving I may engage the safety. I have a video of me doing it while doing drills by myself and didn't even know I did it untill I heard it while watching it.
    That's how I do it too. I never trained to endlessly click on-off the safety for normal short transitions on even ground of simply when a target is briefly not avaiable, just finger off the trigger and thumb riding the safety.

  6. #36
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    Quote Originally Posted by JHC View Post
    I'll keep my thumb flagged when I take the firing grip in the holster. I've found there is ample time on the way out to index for the thumb to lower onto it. I've found that to be one of the best mechanisms to not offing the safety at speed or underpressure too early.

    But hitting the thumb safety has never presented much of an issue.
    Same here.

  7. #37
    10.3" Master Race TGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Elwin View Post
    No problem.
    Gotcha, thanks. The safety on my Colt isn't radiused very softly, so that looks outright painful to me! But hey, if it works it works, I guess.....and as you mentioned regarding securing the safety, seems to be resulting in the same end-state anyways.
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  8. #38
    I carry a 1911 full time, always ride the safety.

  9. #39
    Damnable 1911 Heretic Elwin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TGS View Post
    Gotcha, thanks. The safety on my Colt isn't radiused very softly, so that looks outright painful to me! But hey, if it works it works, I guess.....and as you mentioned regarding securing the safety, seems to be resulting in the same end-state anyways.
    Yeah it works so far with two Kimbers and an Ed Brown that all have levers that are very long but thin, not extending much past the grips width-wise. I'm sure I'd have more of an issue with a wide safety lever, both with comfort and potentially with upward pressure on the safety from my support hand. Not an issue for me - one of the best things about 1911s is the ability to fit a gun to you by selecting the right parts.

  10. #40
    Wannabe Privateer RevolverRob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JTQ View Post

    To avoid this problem, riding the thumb safety of a 1911 needs to become part of your grip and not something you do on your way to getting your grip. Getting a "full firing grip" should be done when the gun is in the holster, and that means getting to the thumb safety.
    Please be aware, I am not attempting to be combative when I write the following.

    1) It is not necessary to ride the thumb safety while the gun is still in the holster to reliably deactivate it.

    Riding the thumb safety is not going to guarantee you deactivate the safety and not riding it is not going to guarantee you fail to deactivate the safety.

    2) It is not necessary to get on the thumb safety to achieve a 'full firing grip' on the 1911.

    My grip does not change whether above or below the thumb safety. Tension does not change.

    3) And here is a kicker that could spawn a whole thread unto itself. Full firing grip on the gun established while the gun is still in the holster is...wrong. (I'm trying to put this politely without mincing words).

    It's a great idea that works real well on the square range with an OWB holster. Most IWB holsters tuck the gun too close to allow full firing grip to be achieved while the gun is standing in the holster. From grandmasters, cops, SOF Operators, etc, I've watched a TON of film and seen a ton of draw strokes and worked thousands of reps my ownself, and almost everyone ends up twisting the gun just a little bit to settle it during the drawstroke. Whether it's through lateral pressure on the sides of the gun or releasing and resetting tension on the front/back strap as the gun moves up during the drawstroke. The grip you use to shoot is rarely the one you get on the gun when grabbing it.

    Don't take my word for it, pay attention and evaluate it yourself. Yea, we want to get our web into the hump and get a good firm grip on the gun. But 9 out of 10, you're going to find the gun has subtle changes made during the draw to the actual breaking of the shot. They're so subtle, so fast, and so subconscious, that unless you're looking for it, you're unlikely to see it.

    From a purely semantic point - when we draw to a classic two handed hold, there is zero chance that the grip you got on the gun from holster to the grip you shoot with is the 'full firing grip'. Support hand applies new pressure and tension to the gun that is absent when you grip it in the holster.

    RevolverRob Soapbox Rant: I think too often we are parroting things we were taught, without context, early on when learning to shoot. Without critical thought on these concepts, we get stuck on them. If we really stop and think about it, if 'full firing grip' were the most important thing to pistol shooting. None of us would carry in anything besides a low-slung open top holster. Letting these poorly defined and frankly incorrect ideas drive the way in which we're training and shooting doesn't advance us.

    Gunsite's Ed Head demonstrates the drawstroke early in this GunTalkTV video. Notice when he gets to the thumb safety at about the :40 mark in the video.
    Yes, this is the common old school way of doing this. And with all due respect to Ed and the Gunsite way of doing things, it's antiquated thinking. Both from the full firing grip (see point above) and getting on the thumb safety while the gun is in the holster.

    The 1911 is a weapon with a light, short, trigger pull and two redundant safeties - we all know this.

    And both safeties can easily be deactivated while the gun is in the holster following the method that Ed Head demonstrates. In my opinion there is no a priori reason for that to occur. Between the time the gun muzzle breaks the front of the holster and moves upward in the drawstroke to The Two, there is more than enough time to get on the thumb safety and activate it. We know that to be true, from the perspective of 1911, BHP, and AR15 shooters.

    By getting on the thumb safety early, particularly when the gun hasn't cleared the holster, you increase the likelihood of deactivating the safety early while the gun is pointed someplace you don't want it to be. We can avoid this by not jumping onto the pedal before we need to.

    Now - I want to be clear, I'm not saying what I do is the way of doing it, it ain't. It is a way of doing it. And clearly, some folks here can't do it 'my' way because of hand size/grip/preference/etc.

    But - You're not going to see me advocate for jumping on the thumb safety early. I would advocate you index the thumb on the back of the slide and once the gun muzzle has broken the holster is moving to where you want it to go, roll over onto that thumb safety and if you're getting to shooting, mash that sucker down and get to it.

    That said, to each their own, whatever you choose, you have to drill it. Which is really the thing with the 1911 carried in Condition 1 as a defensive weapon. You can't not train that safety activation/deactivation. Whether you do it from the holster or not - repeat, repeat, repeat - and that's true for any firearm we're carrying, but because the manual safety is so thoroughly integrated into the safe(st) manual of arms for the 1911, it really must be worked on.

    Edit: To clarify - Once the muzzle is clear of the holster (and your body) - ride the thumb safety to your heart's content. Riding it starting in the holster is the thing I, personally, frown on. And I'm no 1911 guru or grandmaster shooter or whatever. So value my thoughts to what you're paying for them.
    Seriously guys, are we not doing 'phrasing' anymore?

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