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A guy I know has a 1911 that he tweaked a bit a long time ago. It has a safety on it that I'd never seen before; I'll try and describe it.

It's defining characteristic is the short thumb pad. While it's dimensions were those of a std milspec safety, it seemed that the rear half of the pad had been cut out leaving just a 1/4" block of material to actually press on.

This looked a little weird, but it felt great. I have smallish hands and some safeties push uncomfortably on the inside of my thumb; this applied no such pressure.

The guy doesn't remember what model it is but does know that it came like that; he didn't modify it, tho I think it would be easy enough to do.

Anyone have any ideas?
 

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Sounds like a standard tumb safety, of the type used before the late '40's.
 

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Here's a picture of a 1911 of the kind PvtColt referred to with the thumb safety you've described. I have one and the thumb pad is checkered. It's from a Remington Arms-UMC manufactured in 1919.
 

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The safety pictured is the standard M1911 and M1911A1 safety. There are a few small variations of interest to collectors, but the basic size and shape are the same for all GI pistols.

The safety with the longer tapered thumbpiece is a Colt commercial safety, that was never put on GI guns except for a few as replacement parts.

IMO, the GI safety is actually better and easier to use.

Jim
 

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I've also taken a liking to the milspec thumb safety. It actually feels better and is more "ergonomic" for me.
 
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