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Thread: 1911 Carry Condition

  1. #1
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    1911 Carry Condition

    Here is a question:

    I bought a Kimber Pro-Carry II, which I really like: light weight, accurate and dependable.

    I realize that Condition I ("locked and cocked" with a round in the chamber, thumb safety engaged) is the preferred method of carry.

    Being a Marine Officer, retired, I was taught to carry in Condition III (no round in the chamber; full magazine)...for safety; thus, I hesitate to carry in Condition I for fear of accidental discharge: to go to and from Condition I, there are two times that the hammer is back, with a round in the chamber and the safety off. Also, I sometimes carry in a Galco Shoulder Holster and the muzzle is pointed to whatever, or whomever, is behind me.

    I also bought a Galco Fletch, with a thumb retention strap, as I carry on a motorcycle and I like a positive retention. The strap does fit in front of the cocked hammer, but when the pistol is drawn, the configuration of the leather causes the thumb safety to disengage. I figure the sight of a open carried handgun is a deterrant, and by using "situational awareness" I could ready the gun in enough time, should I really need it.

    I was showing the pistol and the various holsters to my neighbor, who is an "agent" for Homeland Security. He is also an armor and firearms instructor for that agency. As he was "chastising" me for carrying in Condition III (he favors Condition I), he noticed the way the thumb safety disengaged when drawing from the Fletch, and so he said: "Why don't you carry in Condition II?" (round in the chamber, hammer down). This would require only that the hammer be cocked to make the firearm ready.

    He claims that with the modern 1911s, having the hammer rest on a live round should pose no safety problem. Theoretically that is a bad idea, but have there ever been any accidental discharges when a 1911 is carried in that condition??

    Any thoughts or ideas??

  2. #2
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    I don't know anything about the safety of carrying your 1911 in Condition 2.

    I do, from personal experience, know that it is incredibly unsafe to put your 1911 into Condition 2. There is no safe way to lower the hammer that ensures no discharge. The last time I ever put my 1911 into Condition 2, it went off. Fortunately two things prevented disaster. One, the gun was pointed downrange. Had I not been at a range, there would be no downrange, just whatever "ground" the barrel was directed toward during loading. Two, the round was a hang-fire, meaning that my thumb was clear of the hammer when the round went off, sending the slide rocketing back to where my thumb was moments prior.

    I have never put my 1911 into Condition 2 since. I carry in Condition 1.

    In sum, do not ever put your 1911 into Condition 2.

  3. #3
    Regular Member OldCurlyWolf's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rugerdon View Post
    Here is a question:

    I bought a Kimber Pro-Carry II, which I really like: light weight, accurate and dependable.

    I realize that Condition I ("locked and cocked" with a round in the chamber, thumb safety engaged) is the preferred method of carry.

    Being a Marine Officer, retired, I was taught to carry in Condition III (no round in the chamber; full magazine)...for safety; thus, I hesitate to carry in Condition I for fear of accidental discharge: to go to and from Condition I, there are two times that the hammer is back, with a round in the chamber and the safety off. Also, I sometimes carry in a Galco Shoulder Holster and the muzzle is pointed to whatever, or whomever, is behind me.

    I also bought a Galco Fletch, with a thumb retention strap, as I carry on a motorcycle and I like a positive retention. The strap does fit in front of the cocked hammer, but when the pistol is drawn, the configuration of the leather causes the thumb safety to disengage. I figure the sight of a open carried handgun is a deterrant, and by using "situational awareness" I could ready the gun in enough time, should I really need it.

    I was showing the pistol and the various holsters to my neighbor, who is an "agent" for Homeland Security. He is also an armor and firearms instructor for that agency. As he was "chastising" me for carrying in Condition III (he favors Condition I), he noticed the way the thumb safety disengaged when drawing from the Fletch, and so he said: "Why don't you carry in Condition II?" (round in the chamber, hammer down). This would require only that the hammer be cocked to make the firearm ready.

    He claims that with the modern 1911s, having the hammer rest on a live round should pose no safety problem. Theoretically that is a bad idea, but have there ever been any accidental discharges when a 1911 is carried in that condition??

    Any thoughts or ideas??
    Two thoughts.

    1. I have been carrying a 1911/clone since 1979, always in condition 1 in a thumb break holster. No problems and I consider myself something of a firearms safety nut.
    If you safety is disengaged upon drawing and that is caused by the holster, modify your holster to eliminate the problem or get a different one.

    Or your safety might be too easy to disengage.

    2. The modifications put in the Colt 80 series and later models are supposed to eliminate drop discharges by not letting the firing pin strike the primer unless the trigger is pulled. I haven't tested it and don't intend to do so.
    I do not know if those same modifications have been included in the designs of the Clone 1911's, as the last clone I owned was bought in 1979.

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  4. #4
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    I agree with eye95. Putting a 1911 into condition II is simply asking for trouble. Either continue to carry it in condition III or start carrying it in condition I. But don't try to put your 1911 into condition II.

  5. #5
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    Condition 1. First carried a 1911 back in 1992 as a sidearm flying (still being issued well after the M9 was the "official" pistol). While Condition 3 doesn't have one in the chamber, Condition 1 chambered also allows the use of the thumb safety. If carrying a Kimber with the Swartz safety, you now have THREE safeties engaged instead of only the grip and firing pin safeties. Condition 2 will not allow the thumb safety to be used, and as previously mentioned by Eye95 rests the hammer down on a live round. Sure the Swartz SHOULD do its job, but I'd rather err on the side of safety (no pun intended) an have the thumb safety engaged as well.

    Condition 1 allows you to draw, thumb the thumb safety off, squeeze the grip safety, and pull the trigger quickly (but deliberately), while Condition 3 forces an extra step plus associated slide racking noise that could be dis-advantageous. There's no danger in having the hammer back with the thumb safety on. I'd stick with Condition 1 - just my .02.

  6. #6
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    I think 1 or 3 is perfectly safe.
    2 on a Series 80; safe, but prone to AD while getting the hammer down.
    2 on a pre Series 80; is not safe drop safe, and it doesn't even need to be a drop on the hammer.

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    As you know, the pistol still needs to have the grip safety fully depressed to discharge-so even with the other safeties disengaged, it should be ok.

    But, there;s nothing wrong with Condition III, if you've trained with it that way, and train that way still. It;s only a fraction of a second slower into action-the only real issue being if the other hand is otherwise engaged, or is injured-you could have some probs racking the slide...
    But the Israelis carried and train in Condition III in all semi's including 1911's with no probs.

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    You're Right

    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    I don't know anything about the safety of carrying your 1911 in Condition 2.

    I do, from personal experience, know that it is incredibly unsafe to put your 1911 into Condition 2. There is no safe way to lower the hammer that ensures no discharge. The last time I ever put my 1911 into Condition 2, it went off. Fortunately two things prevented disaster. One, the gun was pointed downrange. Had I not been at a range, there would be no downrange, just whatever "ground" the barrel was directed toward during loading. Two, the round was a hang-fire, meaning that my thumb was clear of the hammer when the round went off, sending the slide rocketing back to where my thumb was moments prior.

    I have never put my 1911 into Condition 2 since. I carry in Condition 1.

    In sum, do not ever put your 1911 into Condition 2.
    Good point...I didn't think of that.

    I suppose it would be more dangerous than going to and from Condition I.

  9. #9
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    I carry my 1911 chambered on halfcock. I will admit I was not comfortable lowering the hammer from cocked to halfcocked. I block the hammer with my off hand while lowering it, riding the hammer till is resting. there should be no chance of a AD with the hammer in the halfcocked position.

  10. #10
    Regular Member elixin77's Avatar
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    The 1911 was designed to be carried in condition 1. It is night impossible for the gun to have an ND (since there is no such thing as an AD) in condition 1. I'd even go so far to say that you can twirl the 1911 cowboy style in condition 1, and it won't go off unless you flick the safety (do not try this at home, just saying this as a statement - do at your own risk)

    Condition 2 is very dangerous for a 1911, because the firing pin is resting right on the primer. If you knock the hammer hard enough, it will fire.

    Condition 3 is a waste of time, and you'll be dead, stabbed, or wounded by the time you draw, rack, and present.

    Condition 4 is a paperweight.

    Condition 0 also works, and the gun still won't fire unless you want it to (pull the trigger).

    I personally carry my 1911 on condition 1, as all I have to do is thumb the safety, and if anyone asks, it can help calm the sheeple just a little bit more. I am not telling anyone how to carry their 1911, as it is a personal choice.
    Taurus PT1911 .45 ACP. Carried in condition 1, with a total of 25 rounds.

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  11. #11
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    "Condition 3 is a waste of time, and you'll be dead, stabbed, or wounded by the time you draw, rack, and present."

    Unless you train properly.

  12. #12
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    Theoretically...?

    Theoretically Condition II Carry could result in an accidental discharge if the hammer is struck; but has it ever happened?

    I heard it is virtually unheard of...?

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    I also carry a Kimber ( when out of Illinois ) condition 1 .

    I bought my first Colt Combat commander in 1977 and carried it in the fields and woods anytime I was out walking , which was quite often back then. I normally carried in a Bianchi X-15 shoulder holster.

    I also owned a Colt Gold Cup for many years. I traded the Gold cup in on my Kimber.

    I have carried every one of these pistols cocked and locked and never had one go BOOM unless I had my finger on the trigger and wanted to fire.

    rugerdon , have you ever tried cocking the 1911 as you draw from condition 2 ? What happens if your thumb slips while trying to cock it from #2 ?

    If there were a problem with carrying a 1911 with a round in the chamber , I am sure there would be all kinds of warnings telling everyone NOT to do it. It is , ultimately , your decision to make though.

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    from condition 2 I can draw and cock pretty smoothly. but isn't that what the halfcock feature is for? condition 2 carry?

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    Regular Member Felix's Avatar
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    I think you should work to overcome your hesitation of carrying in Condition I. The 1911 was designed to be carried that way and it's completely safe to do so with the inherent safeties. Other than looking "scary," a Condition I carry is perfectly safe and certainly the fastest way to put your weapon into action.

    Lastly, although this doesn't apply to the OP's Kimber, for lurkers who might be considering an older 1911 and worry that accidentally dropping the weapon on its muzzle might cause an accidental discharge, this test should put that fear to bed.

    As far as the holster thumbing off your safety when drawn, look for a new holster before you shoot yourself in the leg!
    Last edited by Felix; 03-26-2011 at 11:32 AM. Reason: Forgot to address the holster
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    don't own one but if I did cocked, locked, and ready to rock is the only way I would carry it
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    Regular Member Curmudgeon's Avatar
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    I carry a Kimber 1911. I carry condition 1.
    While many claim to support the right to keep and bear arms, precious few support the practice.

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    i actually was carrying in my AMS shoulder holster last night, I carried condition 1. I had the thumb break covering the back of the slide so even if for some unseen reason the hammer fell, the retension strap wouldn't allow it to strike the firing pin. I felt comfortable like that. my hip holster has no retension straps but I've never had an issue with the safety being triped while holstering or drawing the weapon so I'll just start carrying it condition 1.

  19. #19
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    well,,,

    my friend has a new galco shoulder holster!!!
    his old one acted up two times!
    spit his colt compact out on to the floor,
    at a restaurant,
    and the doctors office,
    nobody laughed, or screamed,
    and it didnt go off, "condition 1",
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by j4l View Post
    Unless you train properly.
    Even if you do train properly, there is still that extra 1.5 seconds of you doing something before you can even prepare to get a shot off.

    Also, keep in mind that you will have adrenaline pumping through you, and you will not be able to do small motor functions easily, even if you do train.

    There have been several training scenarios where people who are carrying in condition 3 are unable to pull off a 'shot' before they get stabbed, if not multiple times.

    What if your second arm is wounded, and your unable to function with it? How are you going to draw the slide on the gun? Remove all extraneous variables, and the only thing that you'll have to do is thumb the safety.
    Taurus PT1911 .45 ACP. Carried in condition 1, with a total of 25 rounds.

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  21. #21
    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eye95 View Post
    ...The last time I ever put my 1911 into Condition 2, it went off... the round was a hang-fire, meaning that my thumb was clear of the hammer when the round went off, sending the slide rocketing back to where...


    Talk about luck! What are the odds of the first followed by the second?

  22. #22
    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mjones View Post
    2 on a pre Series 80; is not safe drop safe, and it doesn't even need to be a drop on the hammer.
    No, in fact, dropping it on the hammer is about the least likely thing to make it go off.

    Contrary to the implication engendered by your use of the word "even", the only way to make a pre-series 80 1911 fire upon being dropped is to do all of the following:

    A: use a steel firing pin, B: drop it precisely onto the muzzle, C: drop it from at several feet up, and D: drop in onto a hard surface.

    This does not represent a significant risk.
    Last edited by marshaul; 03-27-2011 at 04:57 PM.

  23. #23
    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    This thread comes up every couple weeks. The opinions are the same, and the same slightly incorrect facts need to be corrected for history's sake every time. I wish people could search.

    Quote Originally Posted by elixin77 View Post
    The 1911 was designed to be carried in condition 1.
    Secondarily, and only after the army requested the addition of a thumb safety (not the grip safety, as is frequently and erroneously repeated -- see the 1910 prototype) for use by cavalry troops. Condition 2 was the primary intended mode of carry by JMB, unpopular today though that may be.

    This really isn't open to dispute. If 5 seconds of looking at the design don't reveal this truth, JMB's patent application should take care of it:

    http://forum.opencarry.org/forums/sh...=1#post1449717

    I'd even go so far to say that you can twirl the 1911 cowboy style in condition 1, and it won't go off unless you flick the safety
    Try it out with an empty gun. The grip safety prevents the trigger from depressing unless it is depressed by the palm.
    Last edited by marshaul; 03-27-2011 at 05:06 PM.

  24. #24
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    There are serious things to consider if condition 3 is your choice. Can you draw, rack the slide and fire 2 shots center mass in less than 2 seconds from condition 3? Can you do this if in a hand to hand struggle with an attacker? Can you do the above with only your weak hand or one handed only? The average person can easily clear 20 feet in less than 3 seconds from a standstill and stab or attack you. Hence the need for the ability to draw and fire accurately in 2 seconds or less. Doing all this in less than 2 seconds is not easy if you don't practice.

    Comparing military carry of a sidearm to a personal defensive sidearm is apples to oranges. The military pistol is generally a last ditch weapon for a limited number of soldiers and not a primary focus of weapons handling for them.

    I will suggest that you either train to become confident in your ability to safely carry condition1 with your 1911, or get a pistol that you do feel confident in carrying condition 1. It's obviously your choice how you carry, but your life or the life of someone else might be saved by that half a second or more that it takes to ready your pistol from condition 3.

    It's a little funny to me that people worry about a 1911, or other single action pistol being safely carried condition 1, but I've never seen a post about a double action revolver being unsafely carried with all cylinders full.

  25. #25
    Campaign Veteran marshaul's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by irish52084 View Post
    Comparing military carry of a sidearm to a personal defensive sidearm is apples to oranges. The military pistol is generally a last ditch weapon for a limited number of soldiers and not a primary focus of weapons handling for them.
    If you're referring to my post, I agree with you. The thing is, any time anybody mentions the original design intent of the 1911, they are referencing a military context. In which context conditions 3 & 2 were (originally) preferred. The pistol is clearly designed to be carried in condition 2 (see the patent, see the serrated thumb spur), and condition 1 was an afterthought. The only point of this is that the original design intent doesn't provide a reason to carry in condition 1, yet people use it regardless. There are other, better, and actually valid reasons.

    I agree, however, that none of that matters in a civilian context, and regardless of original design intent, JMB did a good job implementing the thumb safety and therefore condition 1 carry (afterthought though it was). I also agree that condition 1 is the best way to carry, for the reasons others have articulated.

    But clearly, once upon a time, people considered condition 2 safe. Probably coming from the era of revolvers, nobody thought much about lowering hammers on primed & loaded chambers. Personally, it makes me leery.
    Last edited by marshaul; 03-28-2011 at 02:12 AM.

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