De-Cocking a 1911

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

  1. Insulation Tim

    Insulation Tim Active Member

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    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

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    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 Active Member

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    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

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    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

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    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

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    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 New Member

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    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

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    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

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    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.

    Regards,
  11. johnlives4christ

    johnlives4christ Former Guest

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    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.

    ~john
  12. Goneracin

    Goneracin New Member

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    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

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    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. delta13soultaker

    delta13soultaker New Member

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    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

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    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...!

    :cool:
  16. johnboat

    johnboat New Member

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    well really rarely necasary, if ever ,some of the hammer type models such as breach loaders ect.have a transfer bar safety that could only be struck if the hammer falls rapidly ,if the hammer is lowered slowly the transfer bar is moved down at wich point if control is lost ,the hammer will not strike the fireing pin ,nor could it function if struck in a drop situation,if a drop fire happened it would almost undoubetly be ,if ever, would be from inertia acting on the fireing pin itself, the 1911 style if it is a tru copy does have a partial cock notch about 1/8 inch from full rest droping or strikeing a hammer on a 1911 has an extremly low chance of fireing due to the grip safety whould also have to be depressed esspecially if it was on this first notch , how ever as most have said condition 2 is not usually a good idea ,if it is nessary to carry unless mandated by your company s.o.p. condition 1 makes way more sense have u ever considered how would u rack the slide if your other hand became unavailable , further more please rember good training does not always mean live ammo .some "cowboy " type also have a partial cocked notch wich acts a a effective safety hope this help,
  17. muddober

    muddober Active Member

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    Never, and I mean never let the hammer down on a live round in any 1911 gun. While it can be done it is just a matter of time before the hammer will get away from you and the gun will go off. I learned that lesson the hard way and got off so lucky it was unbelievable. How about what looked like a wide pencil mark about 6" long across my Levis on my upper leg. I was sitting in my car when it happened and it got my left door and window because it was rolled down. Admittedly it was one of those rounded commander hammers but I wouldn't try it again if the gun was fitted with a single action hammer.

    Ron
  18. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Active Member

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    People have been safely lowering the hammer on 1911s for about a hundred years. Guess what, guys? Guns are DANGEROUS. You have to know what you are doing. The 1911 was meant to be decocked with one hand, if the owner wishes. It was designed that way. They are perfectly safe with the hammer fully down-NOT on half-cock. The 1911 has an inertial firing pin.
    Personally, I carry in condition 2 (on the rare occasion when I carry a 1911,) but I have trained that way. I'm not recommending condition 2 carry for everyone, but it has it's place.
  19. muddober

    muddober Active Member

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    Bill I am one of those who did it for 25 of those 100 years and have not in the last 25 and I can do it with one hand which no big deal. But it only took once to learn my lesson and that is what I am sharing. There are maybe 18 of us who have posted on this subject here and two of us have admitted having had the hammer get away from us. That is over 10% which is about the same odds as playing Russian Roulette. As for guns being dangerous I think you missed your own point meaning why make them more dangerous. I cannot even think of a good or safe reason to lower the hammer on a live round on a 1911 in the first place. It begs the question if you think it is so safe would you point the gun at yourself while you were doing it? That should make my point, if not it is just a matter of time before you will learn your lesson as I learned mine and I hope your worst result is just embarrassment. Also who told you the gun was designed to let the hammer down the way you suggest? I suppose you think thats what they were thinking when they designed the rounded hammer on the commander. I think if Browning had wanted or intended that the hammer be put down as you suggest he was most certainly smart enough to have designed a decocker. Meaning you are doing something with gun that was not meant to be done even though it can be done it is NOT safe to do.

    Ron
    Last edited: May 17, 2009
  20. Bill DeShivs

    Bill DeShivs Active Member

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    I won't point an UNLOADED gun at myself.
    You simply have to be careful.
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