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When discussing "cocked & locked" carry, most folks only talk about drawing and holstering the gun. Well what about when you already have the gun in your hand but you're not yet ready to fire? Do you only take the safety off when you see a threat and your finger moves to the trigger, or is the safety off as soon as the gun leaves the holster?
 

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Since the only experience I can base my reply on is IDPA I would have to say the safety goes off after drawing the pistol and stays off until I am preparing to re-holster
 

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I agree with eljay45, gun out safety OFF.
If you practice this then you won't have the experience of the Florida Jeweler that actually got the drop on an armed robber but neglected to disengage the safety. Oops! Got shot 6 times because of that little oversight. (caught on video)
If the gun is in your hand for anything other than cleaning or storing you probably feel a threat. That is not the time to wonder if the safety is engaged or not. If you are in fear for your life you will be in your "little brain" get the safety off as part of your normal draw or you will NOT disengage it in a fight.
Practice, practice, practice. Safety comes OFF as part of the draw, trigger finger is OFF the trigger until sights are on the target. YOU still have the option of NOT squeezing off the shot if things change.
 

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Originally posted by bcgunner:
Do you only take the safety off when you see a threat and your finger moves to the trigger, or is the safety off as soon as the gun leaves the holster?
OK – we’re talking about a holstered firearm while in a conscious state, not waking up in the middle of the night because your two year old is a nightwalker (I had one of those – he’s 21 now - but I digress).

When the (expletive deleted) hits the fan your training takes over on an unconscious level. In other words you do as you have trained. In my case the safety Always comes off when the gun comes out of the holster – it does so automatically and without thinking. Rule #3 (keep your finger off the trigger until the sights are on the target) also comes into play.

IMHO and according to at least some state CCW laws, you should never draw unless you have determined it’s your only recourse to save you life.

In this state “brandishing” a weapon is considered aggravated assault and the "assultee" can press charges. [Someone stopping you on the street to ask for directions might really just be lost.] Remember – God obviously loves stupid people, because he made so many.


Placing your hand on your gun (under your jacket -out of sight) might be a different story and could be the only thing needed to deter an attack. Plus, in this mode you have already negated most of the time/motion need to complete the draw. Ever get stopped for a traffic violation and notice the cop’s hand resting on his pistola as he walks up to your window? –Same thing.

Unconscious competence (and likewise unconscious incompetence) is taught in my club’s CCW class and is not original thinking on my part. BTW Massad Ayoob (in whom I have great respect – others on this board do not for some reason) has an article on same in the Nov/Dec issue of American Handgunner. It’s worth a read.




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Whoever said you can’t buy happiness never owned a good 1911.
 

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bcgunner,

Unconscious competence (as shootist87122 stated) of your draw stroke, including thumbing off the safety, requires NUMEROUS repetitions to be reflexive. Regular dry-fire practice will help develop it.

After the "grab and lift" steps, and as your gunhand comes up on target (either one-handed or as your support hand mates with your gun hand), or if you are presenting to the "ready" position, that's when you thumb off the safety. Finger on trigger when sights are ON TARGET - finger off trigger when sights are OFF TARGET. Thumb the safety on right before you reholster.

Hope this helps.
 

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When I draw the gun, as it rotates to horizontal over the holster, the safety goes off and I ride the safety. The two hands then meet and I have my combat ready grip with the gun ready. That is SOP that if I draw the gun, it is ready to fire until I decide otherwise. If I deptermine that I may not need to fire, I may engage the safety while remaining at scan position. Whenever searching, the gun is on safe. Regardless of circumstance, trigger finger stays off trigger until the decision to fire is made.

Having the safety come off as the gun goes to horizonatal is part of the draw sequence that many people don't follow and who often have a bowling ball draw or fishing pole draw. As the gun is raised from the holster, it is then rotated to horizontal over the holster. Off hand is at the center of the chest and is reaty to accept the gun and gun hand or to perform other tasks such as fending off blows, opening doors, etc. Many people fail to realize how important the off hand is. In this position, the gun can be fired at the opposition, albeit from the hip which may be necessary if the off hand is fending off the opposition. If the gun isn't fired, it can be kept trained on target as the gun and gun hand meet with the off hand at the center of the chest. The hands come together, grip is established, and arms extended as necessary. At any point in the draw once the gun is horizontal, it is ready to go.

This is contrary to some teaching I have received that went with the idea that the gun is always on safe until the need to fire. The idea of keeping it safed is to prevent accidents.
 

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I have carried the 1911 for the past 14 of my 23 yrs as LEO. Gun out=safety off and the finger is off the trigger. Target/threat appears........sights on then finger on the trigger as the others have stated. Safety on just before reholstering.
 

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Sounds like a consensus, so I'll just second it, .....or third or fourth it, as the case may be. If you've drawn it, perceiving a threat, then the safety is off.
 

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What everyone else said.

I have met few 1911 swhooters who advocate otherwise. Those that have seemed... less than informed upon further questioning.
 

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I agree with gun out safety off. As far as weak hand goes, it should be center of chest awaiting the meeting of the manos however I'd disagree that it is helping fend off the assailant. If the off hand is allowed to move away from the body it presents potential problems. It can get into the line of fire being directed from a grip locked to the ribcage or it can be captured and used against you. If it is not going to become part of the grip, as when shooting from a retention position that precludes it, it should be held against the side of the neck. That position keeps it out of the line of fire and positions the arm so it can be a much better defensive tool. While the assailant is allowed a foot closer than a stiff arm allows there is also an extremely hard and unforgiving elbow pointed out to meet him. Lunging forward can drive the elbow violently into the assailant's torso. If the assailant is attacking with a knife the upper portion of the arm which can be struck while in this position has no major arteries or tendons which can be damaged. Above all else, practice and consistency of all training.
 
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