De-Cocking a 1911

Discussion in 'The 1911 Forum' started by Insulation Tim, Mar 1, 2009.

  1. Insulation Tim

    Insulation Tim Well-Known Member

    Oct 29, 2008
    I just purchased a RIA 45 1911 awhile back. The question I have is if the round is chambered and the pistol is cocked and locked, is it possible to decock it? Can you depress the trigger while holding the hammer then slowly lowering the hammer with your thumb? Or, must you remove the mag, eject the cartridge, then depress the trigger on an empty chamber?
  2. carver

    carver Moderator Supporting Member

    Personally, I use both hands for this, the left thumb and index finger to hold the hammer while easing the trigger with the right index finger, and let her down slow! I really don't do this often, there is no need. If I want to unload the gun, just drop the mag, then take the safety off, and rack the slide. Why would you want to de-cock this gun? Is it for condition 2 carry?
    Last edited: Mar 1, 2009

  3. TranterUK

    TranterUK Guest

    I am with carver, lowering the hammer is not in my opinion necessary.

    Going to action from Condition two is in my opinion awkward, inviting a slip of thumb before the hammer is all the way back. Especially under pressure.

    If you are uncomfortable with condition one, my preference, go to three, no round in chamber. You will have to cycle the slide to fire, but I think that is more fumble proof and safer than two. Condition three used to be very popular with the Israelis., so cant be too bad!
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 1, 2009
  4. Insulation Tim

    Insulation Tim Well-Known Member

    Oct 29, 2008
    It was more of a hypothetical question. The old cowboy movies of my past (I think they were "talkies" back then) showed them "decocking" their revolvers by pulling the trigger while holding the hammer.

    I just wondered if it was different with a 1911. Since acqiring a paddle holster this week, I'm keeping mine in Condition 1.
  5. Brian48

    Brian48 New Member

    Dec 14, 2008
    Yes, you can decock by lowering the hammer with one hand and gently squeezing the trigger with the other. Personally, this is not my preferred method of keeping the gun ready as I've found condition 2 to be the most fumble prone. For home protection, I like condition 3, chamber empty, full mag, and hammer down. It's fast to get into action and it offers a little bit safety as I have small kids. Although I keep the guns secured, you never know. For carry, I prefer condition 1, chamber loaded, hammer cocked, safety engaged.
  6. jacksonco

    jacksonco New Member

    When decocking place web of your hand between the thumb and index finger between the hammer and firing pin then pull the trigger then remove the finger from the trigger.. The hammer will fall on your hand. Slowly remove your hand while lowering the hammer with your other hand. The web of your hand will slip out and slowly lower the hammer to 1/2 cock. These are the instructions that came with my Browning Hi-power. They work on 1911 models also. You should practice this on an unloaded firearm.

    I always keep my 1911 in cocked and locked state. It is of rare occurance that I need to perform a manual decock.
  7. SgtGing

    SgtGing New Member

    May 10, 2009
    Central Illinois
    No matter how careful you think you are, one day your thumb will slip and BANG! Loudest noise in the world!!! Remove magazine and eject round first!!! Condition 3 can be just as fast as condition 2 with practice.
    Last edited: May 10, 2009
  8. Goneracin

    Goneracin Member

    Jan 18, 2009
    im with Sgt Ging, i dont really have any known enemys around here, so i carry in condition 3, its not hard to rack the slide, and you loose your point of aim anyway by pulling the hammer back, so i prefer safe and easy.
  9. ARB

    ARB New Member

    Jan 23, 2009
    Mid Missouri
    This happened to me two weeks ago. After making sure my thumb was still attached, I promptly unloaded and packed up. Nobody at the range seemed to notice, but I felt pretty amatuer and had to go home and ice my thumb and bruised ego.:eek:
  10. Rodrigo

    Rodrigo New Member

    Mar 23, 2009
    Lima, Peru
    I've seen this discussion before in another forum. Although I agree with most of you guys, I do believe that any experienced shooter should be able to perform a decock safely. My opinion Tim: try first with an empty gun, use many methods for this (described here or not), and when you feel confortable enough, try at the range with live ammo. Remember to ALWAYS point in a safe direction, empty or not.

  11. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

    Apr 28, 2008
    i used to keep my 45 hammer down on a live round by my bed, if i had another one, i would keep it the same way... carry would be cocked and locked.

  12. Goneracin

    Goneracin Member

    Jan 18, 2009
    correct me if im wrong, but with the hammer down, couldnt you hit the back of the hammer and possibly fire the weapon? (it would have to be hit fairly hard ofcourse, but just a thought)
  13. XShooter

    XShooter New Member

    Mar 30, 2009
    You're not wrong. You are smart! I would never even consider carrying my 1911 with a round in the chamber and the hammer down. I carry cocked and locked.
  14. It is different.

    A single action revolver has ergonomics that lend to lowering the hammer easily with your thumb. It's the leverage of the long hammer spur.

    A 1911 has a different grip angle with a short hammer backed by a stout spring; not very forgiving. Put simply, the hammer can easily jerk free of your thumb and fire.

    A 1911 was never meant to be "decocked" with a chambered round. That's why the safety level will only engage a cocked hammer.

    Not to insult anyone's intelligence, just saying for any younguns out there: don't try the cowboy stuff with a semi-auto.
  15. yellerdawg

    yellerdawg Former Guest

    Apr 5, 2009
    There are many opinions and different things work for different people. But as stated before , gun safety is paramount. It is perfectly normal and acceptable when a LEGITAMATE need arises to not fire the chambered round after previous shot...range ..etc....

    My IMHO advice is...I always perform this with BOTH hands..being a righty..make sure trigger thumb plays the dominate role here..IE -plenty of thumb and agility of thumb on trigger.

    I use my LEFT hand to - let L index finger position over trigger , while L thumb depresses Safety lever...Trigger only depressed when Right thumb confidently handling hammer fall...all this taking place with weapon safely pointed down range...of course practice dry many times. I think you will see this can be effectively and safely done with ease and confidence. Of course , diff things for diff folks. But safety always.

    And yes , unless on an active duty such as LEO , Im for my carry unchambered. As stated earlier , simply too easy to rack when needed.

    note - a=on above ,per right thumb..when i DO wish to decock.I not only let at least half thumb over hammer , but is positioned with tip area in front of hammer a bit, and slowly slides OUT at last final slow drop when hammer closest to home....practice dry and you will see. Always point down range or have weapon pointing in area as if you expect a disharge chance...!

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