Condition 1, 2, or 3?

Discussion in 'Self Defense Tactics & Weapons' started by Pistolenschutze, Oct 7, 2007.

  1. Once upon a time, a long time ago, a gentleman by the name of Jeff Cooper came up with the "Condition" system to define the state of readiness of a 1911 pattern pistol:

    Condition 0 - A round is in the chamber, hammer is cocked, and the safety is off.

    Condition 1 - Also known as "cocked and locked," means a round is in the chamber, the hammer is cocked, and the manual thumb safety on the side of the frame is applied.

    Condition 2 - A round is in the chamber and the hammer is down.

    Condition 3 - The chamber is empty and hammer is down with a charged magazine in the gun.

    Condition 4 - The chamber is empty, hammer is down and no magazine is in the gun.


    What, in your opinion is the proper way to carry a 1911 pattern pistol for civilian CCW and why?

    My own view is that Condition 1 is the only reasonable way to carry a single action 1911 auto pistol if it is to be depended upon for self-defense. Condition 0 is foolish for obvious reasons: you might accidentally lose a very important part of your anatomy and your wife or girlfriend would be very upset! :D Condition 2, in my view, is even less safe than Condition 1 if the pistol should be accidentally dropped. And even if this is highly unlikely to happen and cause an accidental discharge, manually cocking the hammer is both awkward and time consuming, especially if one has relatively small hands. Condition 3 necessitates racking the slide, which generally requires both hands and is also too time consuming in an emergency. As for Condition 4, you might as well leave the damn pistol at home! ;)

    How do you 1911 pistoleros carry your 1911s for CCW?
  2. travihanson

    travihanson New Member

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    I personally like condition 2...I'm pretty fast at yanking back that hammer in one swift move from holster to hand, and am confident enough to carry like that for self defense.
  3. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    Always Con-1

    It was designed to carry cocked/locked on safe...thus the grip safety etc.

    Carrying a 1911a1 cocked 'n locked is just as safe as a Glock or other striker-fired pistols. (Look at the trigger on a 1911 compared to most striker-fired and notice the 1911 is nearly impossible in comparison to accidentaly snag on cloth.)
  4. Spoken like a true military man, Delta. Don't tell the LT, but I carried mine that way in Vietnam, even though regs forbade it. If you need it, you need it NOW! And you're absolutely right. Browning designed it to be carried that way. Many believe, and I am one of them, that the 1911 pattern pistol is the safest ever designed.
  5. DWARREN123

    DWARREN123 New Member

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    Condition II for my CZ 75 based pistols. I feel comfortable with this.
    Pull the trigger and it goes boom, SA/DA.
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2007
  6. BillP

    BillP New Member

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    I can't speak for the military of the past but the needs of today's military are similar to the needs of police. The problem is that you have to go to condition "0" to fire the weapon and at any time may be required to return to a "safe" but ready condition. Even if you fire the weapon, you may need to return to a "safe but ready" condition. All of this under a high degree of stress. The idea of thumbing back the hammer and then having to pull the trigger and let it down while negotiating with a BG sounds like an accidental discharge waiting to happen. And don't say "that's when you use the safety" because I don't wont to have to try and remember what "condition" I am in. For me there are only two "conditions" "0" and "1". If it's in my hand in "1" my thumb is on the safety so I know. Another way to look at it is that with a 1911 you can't go from condition "3" to condition "1" without going through condition "0".

    I have been in armed confrontations and with only one exception they were solved by negotiation, not shooting. With that in mind, being able to go from a "safe ready" to condition "0" and back again under pressure is a prime consideration.
  7. Jay

    Jay New Member

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    I have carried a 1911 pattern handgun since the mid 70's, and always in condition 1. I was taught that way, I've practiced that way, and I'm proficient that way. I no longer have to think about which condition the pistol is in. My situation will determine what my thumb does with the safety. It's a matter of muscle memory, not making a decision. I feel like the 1911 was designed to be carried in condition 1, and I'm not gonna argue with JMB....... even though my initials are the same as his. :D
  8. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    We might agree on a few things leading to Condition-1 being best for most individual circumstances...

    1. A CCW holder about to use a sidearm is most probably cornered/ambushed and maybe injured bad before he/she even has a grip to start drawing their sidearm...

    2. A pistol/revolver is an 'emergency' weapon; often deployed within spitting distance of a deadly threat...

    3. Assume your nonfiring hand is blocking/shoving/punching or keeping you alive...if not, assume it's shielding someone you care about from an attack you placed your body in the middle of...

    4. It's a 'handgun', not 'handsgun', so drawing and shooting it should not require two hands.
  9. motojoe

    motojoe New Member

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    +1
  10. Ursus

    Ursus New Member

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    1 for me
  11. southernshooter

    southernshooter New Member

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    Condition 0 for me
  12. Sheesh, Southern, I sure do hope that butt safety on your 1911 is in very good shape! :eek::D;)
  13. southernshooter

    southernshooter New Member

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    It is in a protected holster so it is of no concern. Also it has about a 4 pound trigger and not one of the high end adjustable real light ones.
  14. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    Just for the record, there IS some question as to how JMB expected his design to be carried...if you understand that his 1893 and 1897 shotgun, and his 1886 lever action rifles and others he designed to be carried with an empty chamber, and to be racked before firing. In fact, I think, EVERY weapon he designed with an exposed hammer with a half-cock notch he expected it to be carried with an EMPTY chamber. Now on the OTHER hand, I believe the 1905/1911 was the first design that he put a "safety" on, and even that was to government specs.

    Now having SAID that, the 1911 in Condition 1 is about as safe as any other loaded weapon with a cocked striker on safe. I say "about" because the hammer is NOT blocked, and if you look at the relationships there actually is very LITTLE bearing surface on that safety keeping the hammer locked...

    Now having competed in IPSC with a 1911A1 that I built, and knew like the back of my hand and trusted, and carried and shot tens of thousands of rounds from a draw from condition 1...

    I ALSO have extensively practiced racking the slide with one hand, which is a skill anybody ALSO needs to practice, because you NEVER know when you might have to...it's not hard, you can hook the front or rear sight on a pocket, or I just put the slide against my leg, and push and you are in business...safely and quickly...and it's even impressive when you see it done quickly too, from the other end...

    So KNOWING I can rack that slide no matter what, with two hands or not, with VERY little time lost, I GENERALLY carry it in Condition 3...then I KNOW it's safe...no matter what...

    If I was an LEO on duty, or in uniform where I'm a target, or in combat, yeah, it's Condition 1, but as a civilian? Condition 3 is plenty in my opinion, if you have PRACTICED.


    Condition 2 on a 1911A1 is plain stupid. ANY Browning Designed weapon will FIRE if dropped, or the hammer snags on something (brush? clothing? Seat belts?) and comes back even a little. The person you kill just might be the one you are carrying it to PROTECT.

    And Southern I KNOW you are joking about carrying it in condition "0." At least I HOPE you are....if not, good luck!:cool:
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2007
  15. HeadHunterII

    HeadHunterII New Member

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    Kimber Custom II, Condition 1. Cocked and locked is the only way to go.
  16. Polish, "very little" is not the same as "none," especially when split seconds may very well count. In addition, you lose one round of capacity if you carry that way. One round is not all that much, I agree, but it can make a difference at times.
  17. polishshooter

    polishshooter Active Member

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    Yeah, PS, you do technically lose a round, but I don't see it that way....

    All my experience and training from my IPSC days when all REAL .45 mags were seven rounds and the only 8 rounder was a Devel, and it was expensive compared to a Colt, a Pachmayr, or a Wilson so you usually only had ONE of them for screwy matches you needed the extra round...plus it is pounded deep into the recesses of my brain the rhythm of 6 shots-dump-reload-6 shots dump-reload that I bet I can do it in my SLEEP;):D....

    I CARRY it with my Devel 8 rounder, also since it's my only mag without a bumper so it's slightly more concealable...and my reloads are then my 7 rounders....

    And even before I bought the Devel, I carried an "extra" charging mag in my back pocket, so I started the same way in condition 1, 8 up, and still dumped after 6....

    I'm not sure I could run a .45 dry without thinking about it, or without running out of ammo completely, it's just so ingrained in me....:p:eek:;)

    Yeah, I remember a few pin matches scrambling on the ground trying to pick up a mag that had a round or two left in it....;):D:D:D

    When I am on the range slow firing I still have to fight the urge to dump after 6....
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2007
  18. Polish, have you ever considered just carrying the 1911 pattern in Condition 4? That would be safer still, and you wouldn't have to bother with all those useless, heavy rounds cluttering up your pistol. At close range you could always throw it and hope for the best. :D;):p
  19. HeadHunterII

    HeadHunterII New Member

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    Or he could use it to bludgeon a BG. Why not just carry Cond 1? If you are freaked out about it, ensure that your pistol is empty, remove magazine, check chamber and cock and lock the firearm. It is not loaded but is cocked and locked. Put it in your holster and wear it around the house and sooner or later you will realize that the firearm will not discharge unless you make it discharge. If you are worried about the hammer not being blocked while on safety purchase holster with a thumb retention strap that is designed to carry in cond 1. The strap will block the hammer if it ever decided to fall.

    I saw a guy with a 1911 on his hip smash into a railing on a stairwell while helping to carry a chest-of-drawers downstairs and the hammer on his 1911 was rendered completely useless BUT... the firearm did not discharge. They were designed that way for a reason.

    I too was like you for a while. kinda freaked out about carrying condition one. Until my best friend got robbed at gunpoint in a parking lot in the middle of the daytime and I took the next step up to condition one.
    Last edited: Oct 10, 2007
  20. I do precisely that, Hunter. Just a bit of added safety that does not compromise the availability of the weapon should it be needed. :cool: