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Thread: 1911 Question

  1. #1
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    Are all 1911s single action? I'm a little confused about how they function.

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    Yes, but some elaboration is needed. A "purist" 1911 would be a 5" barreled single action, single-column-magazinepistol. Many refer to all the later chopped down, or even double-column-magazine single action variants as 1911's also. Since the basic mechanics and parts are about the same as the original, you can look at it either way. Unless you want to choose a side and spend hours in pointless debate on the matter.

    Para Ordnance has a line of 'LDA' pistols that resemble (and share most all parts with) 1911s, but have a short, light double action trigger system. There were earlier aftermarket offerings that were similar. To me, those go beyond the fold of the 1911 design, but once againI won't have Internet donnybrooks or lose sleep over those who think the LDA's are1911s too.



    Hope this helps...and I'm sure more info is forthcoming, stay tuned.

  3. #3
    Regular Member shad0wfax's Avatar
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    Matty wrote:
    Are all 1911s single action? I'm a little confused about how they function.
    For all intents and purposes, yes 1911's are single-action. You can carry them safely in condition 1 and condition 3.

    Condition 1 is cocked and locked, meaning you have a full magazine in the pistol as well as a round in the chamber and you have the safety engaged. This is the most common method of carry and is usually the most common method of carry.

    Condition 3 is a full magazine in the pistol with the hammer down on an empty chamber.

    From condition 1, you just disengage the safety and then squeeze the trigger to fire. From condition 3 you just rack the slide and then squeeze the trigger to fire. From there on out every shot you take is semi-automatic with a the same trigger pull and trigger reset distance as the first shot. This light trigger pull and tight trigger reset contributes to the popularity and accuracy of the 1911 design.

    Condition 2 is with a full mag and a live round in the chamber with the hammer down. This is not a safe condition, mostly because the only way to get to this condition is to very slowly and gently lower the hammer after you've put a round in the chamber; any slips here mean an accidental or negligent discharge. Once it's in this condition it's relatively safe; there's a nearly negligible chance that if you dropped the pistol on concrete on its hammer it could discharge.

    Condition 4 is no magazine and no round in the chamber. (California carry)

    Condition 0 is a round in the chamber and no safety engaged. You really only use this as a transition before you drill the target.

    There is a half-cock built in to the sears on 1911's but it's not meant as a safe carry position. The half-cock notch in the sear is meant to reduce the risk of an accidental or negligent discharge while cocking the pistol. It's meant as a mechanical backup and deliberately finding and using the half-cock position can wear out the sear, making the pistol more unsafe. The moral of the story is; there is no half-cock position.

  4. #4
    Campaign Veteran deepdiver's Avatar
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    shad0wfax wrote:
    The moral of the story is; there is no half-cock position.
    Hence the term, "Don't go off half-cocked...." :celebrate
    Bob Owens @ Bearing Arms (paraphrased): "These people aren't against violence; they're very much in favor of violence. They're against armed resistance."

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