Author Topic: Ambidextrous Safeties on 1911's... Good or bad?  (Read 4243 times)

twyacht

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Ambidextrous Safeties on 1911's... Good or bad?
« on: March 06, 2010, 04:23:06 pm »
Welcome mjkelly, as a lefty, my 1911 came with left-side safety only, the easy fix was Brownells ambi-safety, and a quick trip to a gunsmith.

I practice weak hand drills and find it useful, even though my 1911 full size, is a wee bit big to carry in S. Fla.

If this is not an option, what m25 posted is spot on, and practice, practice, practice. The brain learns through repetition and it is totally achievable to become proficient with your weak hand whether you get an ambi safety or not.

tw

Thomas Jefferson: The strongest reason for the people to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against the tyranny of government. That is why our masters in Washington are so anxious to disarm us. They are not afraid of criminals. They are afraid of a populace which cannot be subdued by tyrants."
Col. Jeff Cooper.

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Ambidextrous Safeties on 1911's... Good or bad?
« on: March 06, 2010, 04:23:06 pm »

scott.ballard

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Ambidextrous Safeties on 1911's... Good or bad?
« Reply #1 on: March 06, 2010, 04:58:54 pm »
Mike, We used to do this a lot in the old days, 1st the holster choice must give a solid grip from the weak hand, usually behind the strong hip. You don't want to be 2 fingering the thing out. A full grip on the pistol. Draw from behind the  back of course and when the pistol is coming around ( careful not to point at any body parts ) towards the target, use either your weak index finger or your weak thumb to wipe the safety, small hands make it tough with the index, but the thumb wipe, means you don't have a full grip for a second, so keep the index finger out off the trigger until you have achieved a full grip again. Practice with an empty pistol with no ammo or mags  around, until you get comfortable.

Good luck.

Excellent advice.

If a person is built for comfort more than speed, the draw may be completed by reaching across the front of the body.  If that is difficult, just grab your belt with your left hand and pull it towards your left side, then draw.

While reaching across the front, you can semi draw and then turn the gun while still in the holster to get a good grip, or you can take the gun out backwards and use your knees to hold it for a re-grip.  A more advanced technique is to roll it across your body to re-grip it, but I would encourage you to save that for much further down the road.

Do as M25 said.  Sweep the safety off with your left thumb or left trigger finger but regain your grip before shooting and practice a lot with an empty gun.

Ambi-safety note:  I'm going to open a big can of worms here, but I have not had good luck with any of them.  The reason being is that the connection point between the two halves tends to stretch and the opposing sides of the safety fail to track together.  JMB designed it a certain way and like full length guide rods, they have no place on a defense gun. I know of a few high end 1911 manufacturers, i.e. Nighthawk Custom, who will not warranty an ambi-safety on any of their guns. 

Now I know I just made a lot of you angry, so please consider it just my opinion based on my own personal experiences and not a statement of fact.

Stay Safe,
Scott

There exists a law, not written down anywhere but inborn in our hearts; a law which comes to us not by training or custom or reading but by derivation and absorption and adoption from nature itself; a law which has come to us not from theory but from practice, not by instruction but by natural intuition. I refer to the law which lays it down that, if our lives are endangered by plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies, any and every method of protecting ourselves is morally right.

twyacht

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Ambidextrous Safeties on 1911's... Good or bad?
« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2010, 05:35:41 pm »
I won't let it be too much of a can of worms, but Steve, since there are 1911's on just about every gun magazine in print, many are now offered with ambi safeties from the factory, from a slew of manufacturers. and as its your opinion, I'll take it as such.

My full size 1911 S&W Gold Match, with thousands of rounds fired, and ambi safety installed by a gunsmith, has never, ever, been an issue.

This of course is not my opinion, this is just a testimonial of fact. If I ever had an issue with it, I would have posted about it on this very forum.

Good practice, drills, and utilizing weak hand drills are very important, but the ambi installed by one who knows WTF their doing, can benefit, not just left-handers.

Thomas Jefferson: The strongest reason for the people to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against the tyranny of government. That is why our masters in Washington are so anxious to disarm us. They are not afraid of criminals. They are afraid of a populace which cannot be subdued by tyrants."
Col. Jeff Cooper.

scott.ballard

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Ambidextrous Safeties on 1911's... Good or bad?
« Reply #3 on: March 06, 2010, 06:34:20 pm »
I won't let it be too much of a can of worms, but Steve, since there are 1911's on just about every gun magazine in print, many are now offered with ambi safeties from the factory, from a slew of manufacturers. and as its your opinion, I'll take it as such.

My full size 1911 S&W Gold Match, with thousands of rounds fired, and ambi safety installed by a gunsmith, has never, ever, been an issue.

This of course is not my opinion, this is just a testimonial of fact. If I ever had an issue with it, I would have posted about it on this very forum.

Good practice, drills, and utilizing weak hand drills are very important, but the ambi installed by one who knows WTF their doing, can benefit, not just left-handers.



Scott.  Not Steve.

Opinions.  Mine, yours, etc.  Just opinions.  Mine is based on a lot of different guns, i.e. Kimbers, Wilsons, Les Baer, S&W, Brown, Novak and Nighthawk, that either my friends or I had ambi-safety issues with; which is really not worth much beyond the thought it provokes.  Those are just individual experiences that most likely mean nothing.  I guess I could call them empirical fact as I have a broad test base to pull from, but I'll stay with an informed opinion based on experience for this one.  I imagine that their gunsmiths just didn't know what they were doing. (SIC)  Although, in every case that I can remember, except for Kimber, they all recommended a single sided safety as a more reliable replacement.

Even my father's Richard Heinie gun is a single sided safety because the ambi is less reliable.  Not un-reliable.  Just less reliable.

Landing your gun on the cover of a magazine does not always mean it is the greatest.  The mags need content to sell.  The writers know that any fully honest comments could land them without a job.  Doubt me.  Go back and look at the reviews that some of the less than desirable guns received when they first came out.  Be honest.  Sometimes manufacturers produce a bad design.  Is it in the best interest of the advertiser driven medium to say so?

Sorry if I offended the ambidextrous safety on the 1911.  I tend not to buy risk when not necessary.

I guess the question to be asked here is:  Does the benefit outweigh the risk?  Of course that is totally subjective so it may lead to more fun.

Stay Safe,

OBTW:  My S&W 1911 PD came with an ambi and it is the only one I haven't broken yet so there may be hope after all.
Scott

There exists a law, not written down anywhere but inborn in our hearts; a law which comes to us not by training or custom or reading but by derivation and absorption and adoption from nature itself; a law which has come to us not from theory but from practice, not by instruction but by natural intuition. I refer to the law which lays it down that, if our lives are endangered by plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies, any and every method of protecting ourselves is morally right.

twyacht

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Ambidextrous Safeties on 1911's... Good or bad?
« Reply #4 on: March 06, 2010, 08:44:10 pm »
I sincerely apologize for the mix up in names, Scott. My bad.

Les Baer & Kimber, S&W, Para,STI, and a few others,  provide factory ambi safeties on several models, and I'm sure they don't do this expecting some "sketchy performance", or a "reliability issue", that you opine they have. It is simply an addition and enhancement in components, and options especially to those that are left handed, or may not have the dexterity, or are in need of something that facilitates an option for weak hand drills.

You posted:

"JMB designed it a certain way and like full length guide rods, they have no place on a defense gun. "

That's a relatively close minded vision. Look at golf clubs, look at hand tools, a myriad of other examples can apply. Technology has a way of creating better and better platforms and tools. That's the nature of the human condition. There were no 340yd drives in the 1920's.  Now they are pretty consistent.

The point is the safety is not changing the mechanism in which it is engaged, it merely allows it to be done from both sides.

Nothing special, nothing fancy. 

Again, I apologize for mistyping your name, it won't happen again.

Good shooting and Stay Safe as well.

tw



Thomas Jefferson: The strongest reason for the people to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against the tyranny of government. That is why our masters in Washington are so anxious to disarm us. They are not afraid of criminals. They are afraid of a populace which cannot be subdued by tyrants."
Col. Jeff Cooper.

scott.ballard

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Ambidextrous Safeties on 1911's... Good or bad?
« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2010, 10:40:10 pm »
I sincerely apologize for the mix up in names, Scott. My bad.

Les Baer & Kimber, S&W, Para,STI, and a few others,  provide factory ambi safeties on several models, and I'm sure they don't do this expecting some "sketchy performance", or a "reliability issue", that you opine they have. It is simply an addition and enhancement in components, and options especially to those that are left handed, or may not have the dexterity, or are in need of something that facilitates an option for weak hand drills.

You posted:

"JMB designed it a certain way and like full length guide rods, they have no place on a defense gun. "

That's a relatively close minded vision. Look at golf clubs, look at hand tools, a myriad of other examples can apply. Technology has a way of creating better and better platforms and tools. That's the nature of the human condition. There were no 340yd drives in the 1920's.  Now they are pretty consistent.

The point is the safety is not changing the mechanism in which it is engaged, it merely allows it to be done from both sides.

Nothing special, nothing fancy. 

Again, I apologize for mistyping your name, it won't happen again.

Good shooting and Stay Safe as well.

tw





Hey TW,

I agree that technology has a place in the advancement of the 1911.  I also agree that I am closed minded about the concept of the ambi-safety on a 1911 because I have had too many of them fail.

The left side of the safety actually engages or disengages.  The right side lever is nothing more than slave which follows along.  The connection point between the two is where the slack occurs over time.  This is a significant difference between the original design and that of the modern ambi-safety. The slack causes inconsistent tracking between the two sides.  That is my experience and my reason for bringing it up in the first place.  I'm not saying that you, or anyone else should not use them.  That is up to each person to decide.

Many manufacturers offer guns with ambi-safties because that is what the public wants.  Much like the full length guide rod.  Both are cool looking and add some value.  The question is whether or not the value is worth the potential risk.  I did not mean to imply that ambi-safeties were not offered by manufacturers.  Just that they are an added risk that some high end manufacturers will not recommend.  However, if the customer wants it and it means moving units, they will deliver the guns that way.

Please, don't take my word for it.  Ask people like Clint Smith, Ed Brown, Richard Heinie, Bill Wilson or the gunsmiths at someplace like Nighthawk or Gunsite what they think.  The two 1911 pistols offered by Gunsite on their web page, a Colt and a S&W are single sided WC extended lever safeties.  None of Les Baer's Thunder Ranch guns, designed by Clint Smith come standard with an ambi-safety. 

This is taken directly from the Nighthawk Custom Web Site FAQ page:

Q. Do you offer an ambi-safety on your 1911's?

    
A. If you choose to have an ambi-safety on your 1911, we will install one, but it will not be covered in our lifetime warranty. The 1911 was designed for a single side safety. The axle of the single side safety goes all the way through the frame. In order to create an ambi-safety, it requires taking that solid steel axle, cut it in half, and making some type of dovetail in order for it to un-snap to take the gun apart. By doing this, you have created a natural weak point. They have a tendency to work themselves loose over time, and that is why we do not cover them under warranty.



Gunsite offers an improved version of the 1911 thumb safety.  It's not ambidextrous.  The lever is lower.  I imagine that if there is enough demand they may offer an ambi version but who knows.  The point being that even when they decided to improve on the 1911 design, they still kept it as a single sided item.


I am open minded enough to keep the ambi-safety on my S&W 1911 PD because it still works, but don't think that I'm not wondering how long that will last.

Ambi-safeties have a place.  I'm all for them if the shooter wants it and knows what he or she is getting into.  It really is a personal decision.  I prefer to avoid them and offered that opinion.  I think that you are well informed enough to decide for yourself.

I have enjoyed discussing this with you and look forward to hearing from you again.  However, I think it is time for us to just agree to disagree on this one.  I'll leave the last word to you.

Thank you!

Stay Safe,

Scott

There exists a law, not written down anywhere but inborn in our hearts; a law which comes to us not by training or custom or reading but by derivation and absorption and adoption from nature itself; a law which has come to us not from theory but from practice, not by instruction but by natural intuition. I refer to the law which lays it down that, if our lives are endangered by plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies, any and every method of protecting ourselves is morally right.

tombogan03884

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Ambidextrous Safeties on 1911's... Good or bad?
« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2010, 11:39:47 pm »
 I'm a righty, if I acquired a 1911 w/ambi safety, I would change it for a single extended, but that is personal preference.
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Re: Ambidextrous Safeties on 1911's... Good or bad?
« Reply #7 on: March 07, 2010, 06:16:01 pm »
I'm a righty, if I acquired a 1911 w/ambi safety, I would change it for a single extended, but that is personal preference.
If you do, I can always use another ambi safety.
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m25operator

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Re: Ambidextrous Safeties on 1911's... Good or bad?
« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2010, 06:42:31 pm »
I install them, and have my preferences, Ed Brown is my favorite, BUT, I have been a range officer for over 20 yrs, and have seen all of them fail, 1st they get loose, then they break, the design is weak, properly fitted, it takes a lot of stress off of the effort, but in the end, they are just a weak design.
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scott.ballard

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Re: Ambidextrous Safeties on 1911's... Good or bad?
« Reply #9 on: March 07, 2010, 08:02:59 pm »
If you do, I can always use another ambi safety.

Send me a message if you are serious.  I have at least two I can send you.

Stay Safe,
Scott

There exists a law, not written down anywhere but inborn in our hearts; a law which comes to us not by training or custom or reading but by derivation and absorption and adoption from nature itself; a law which has come to us not from theory but from practice, not by instruction but by natural intuition. I refer to the law which lays it down that, if our lives are endangered by plots or violence or armed robbers or enemies, any and every method of protecting ourselves is morally right.