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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Who invented or first popularized the beavertail type safety? Was it a gunsmith, or a competition shooter, or some combat type guy? I don't follow the world of 1911 all that much, but it seemes to me like all of a sudden beavertails just appeared and now it's hard to find a 1911 without one. I still don't like the looks of them, but then I'm an old stick-in-the-mud.--Leigh
 

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Yeah, early '70s.....

The purpose of the beavertail safety is to prevent hammer bite. I still have my scar, but it's faint these days.

I remember seeing them on Swenson guns, but I don't think he invented them.
 

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I like the way they look. And as others pointed out the point is function. To protect the hand and to protect the hammer somewhat from blows that could cause a part failure and discharge.

That said I dont get bite that bad from standard GI setups.
 

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Function over fashion...that's the way I look at everything in the gun world. It makes me laugh when somebody says something like "I couldn't live with the way that beavertail has a gap between the frame tangs...Can't I get a blended tail for $100 instead?" or "I don't like the way those AKs look, I'd rather reach for my pistol when the SHTF! :rolleyes: Beavertails aren't particularly good-lookin' but they keep you frm bleeding it out!
Street
 

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There was a thread that discussed this in the Gunsmithing forum earlier this year titled:
"Who came up with the Beavertail Grip Safety?"
There was never a definitive answer but it seems like it probably first appeared in the early to mid-seventies.
 

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You can just shorten the hammer a bit to prevent hammer bite. The beavertail is just an alternate, fashonable way to do the same thing. Some beavertails give you a higher grip on the gun as well, but many don't raise your grip any more than re-shaping the Colt grip safety a bit would.
 

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CastleBravo said:
You can just shorten the hammer a bit to prevent hammer bite. The beavertail is just an alternate, fashonable way to do the same thing. Some beavertails give you a higher grip on the gun as well, but many don't raise your grip any more than re-shaping the Colt grip safety a bit would.
tried that...still got hammer bite...some peoples hands are just built differently, i happen to have very fleshy webs that get caught up. And i need a big safety because of the same reason (cant reliably release the safety in a rush)
 

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NJKimberSS said:
tried that...still got hammer bite...some peoples hands are just built differently, i happen to have very fleshy webs that get caught up. And i need a big safety because of the same reason (cant reliably release the safety in a rush)
Um... you can grind the entire spur off and the gun still works. If you get bit by a spurless spur hammer, you got some hella big hands, man. :D
 

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CastleBravo said:
Um... you can grind the entire spur off and the gun still works. If you get bit by a spurless spur hammer, you got some hella big hands, man. :D
i do have hella big hands...a DE looks small in my hands...and a 1911 looks like a toy

I also dont like the idea of a spurless hammer on a SA only gun:biglaugh: ...could be interesting ya kno? So the beavertail is a nice middle ground...
 

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"Hammer bite" isn't always....

Sometimes it's the end of the conventional grip safety that digs into the web of the hand. I've had it happen. Good shooting gun otherwise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
I know that form follows function and all of that, but I'm one of those people who can shoot all the notorious biters (Hi-Power, PPK, 1911) with no problem. To me the beavertail just gets in the way. My inclination has always been to go the opposite direction and completely bob the GS tang and pin it (as in the Detonics for example). I wish makers such as Kimber would offer all their pistol models with and without beavetails. I think some new 1911 shooters probably think that ya' got to have a beavertail or the gun ain't worth having, but taint so IMO. And, yes, I also like the standard 1911A1 style thumb safety.--Leigh
 

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Re: "Hammer bite" isn't always....

Archie said:
Sometimes it's the end of the conventional grip safety that digs into the web of the hand. I've had it happen. Good shooting gun otherwise.
So round off the stock part's edges and be done with it.
 

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CastleBravo, what is with this insistance that he not have a beavertail grip safety. What difference does it make to you? For heaven's sake, let him modify his gun the way he wants.
 

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Dave T said:
CastleBravo, what is with this insistance that he not have a beavertail grip safety. What difference does it make to you? For heaven's sake, let him modify his gun the way he wants.
I'm not insisting on anything. I'm suggesting an alternative that most folks don't seem to consider. That's all. I've owned guns with beavertails, they work fine and are quite neato. But people consider them the only way to deal with certain 1911 issues, which is often not the case.
 

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I don't get bit by the hammer, I get bit by the GS. I have not shot a totally dehorned standard pistol and GS, and that may not do it.
Here is a pic of my hand after shooting a newly acquired Commander. You can see the imprint of the left end of the GS.
The blood and hole did not bother me, it actually felt good. It reminded me of when I used to shoot a thousand rounds in a week in the pre-BT days.
ML
 

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A long time ago Ross Seyfried wrote about a South African gunsmith he knew, who welded up a standard Colt grip safety and then blended it to the frame. It was a total eyesore IMO, but Ross liked it and said it really worked well for him. It's possible that South African dude was the first one to weld up grip safeties, but the truth is the very first one could quite possibly have gone back as far as before World War Two. Back in the early days anything you wanted done to a 1911 had to be made from scratch or welded up from existing parts.
 
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