Home » AZ CCW Laws »Defensive Tactics »Firearms Safety »Firearms Training » Currently Reading:

Carrying a "1911 style" Semi Automatic Pistol while "Cocked and Locked"…

Question:  I recently purchased a Springfield Armory 1911 Mil Spec. My intended use for it is the defense of my family while on remote desert trips. I took your excellent CCW class and I’m very experienced in gun safety, but this is my first 1911.  The internet blogs are full of conflicting opinions about the safest way to holster-carry a .45 of this type. The “Lock and Load” (hammer at full cock) faction point out that there are trigger, grip and manual safeties so this is plenty safe. Opponents of ‘Lock and Load” recommend a full magazine below an empty chamber, saying that there’s usually plenty of time to work the slide to arm the pistol. I would very much appreciate your comments about this.

Answer: If you are planning on carrying a 1911 style pistol, it can be safely carried in “cocked and locked” or what is typically referred to as “Condition 1″.  There are a couple of things to consider.

First you should insure that your holster completely covers the trigger and retains the gun well.

Second, you will need to make sure that you practice disengaging the thumb safety as you draw so that it will be automatic.  The biggest issue I see for 1911 shooters is that they don’t practice disengaging the safety which will most likely cause them to forget to disengage it under stress.  This can obviously have catastrophic consequences in a potential gunfight situation.

Third, despite what some might say, in my experience you will absolutely not have time to work the slide and arm the pistol.  It is very frustrating for me to find these ‘arm chair firearms experts’ telling people stuff that could literally get them killed.  When confronted with a lethal force situation, you will literally have a couple of seconds to reach.  When you consider that even practiced shooters require 1.5 – 2 seconds to get their gun out of the holster and on target, having to rack the slide and chamber a round will add .5 seconds to the draw at a minimum.  Now you are talking about a reaction time of 2-3 seconds to get your gun into play.  By that time, you may find that the gunfight is over because the bad guy had the advantage of starting first.  Remember, you are reacting to some sort of ‘triggering event’ that caused you to reach for your gun.  You can also lose the tactical advantage as racking the slide will make noise.  If your potential adversary is not yet aware of you, they likely will be after you rack your slide.  The sound is pretty unmistakable.

Carrying “cocked and locked” is definitely the way to go in my opinion.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 10.0/10 (1 vote cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: +2 (from 2 votes)

Carrying a "1911 style" Semi Automatic Pistol while "Cocked and Locked"..., 10.0 out of 10 based on 1 rating

Currently there are "3 comments" on this Article:

  1. Jonathan says:

    What about chambered and half-cocked? Is there a ‘safe’ way to release to half-cock when chambered without risk of accidental discharge?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  2. Mike says:

    Is this where the term, ‘going off half-cocked’ came from?

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)
  3. Doug Little says:

    Jonathan,

    Carrying a 1911 style pistol in half cock is not considered to be a safe method of carry. On most mil-spec 1911 pistols, pulling the trigger while half cocked will not result in the gun firing. You should understand that in some cases, 1911 style pistols might not have a firing pin block which could result in a discharge if there is a sharp impact on the half-cocked hammer. The safest way to release the half cock is to remove the magazine from the gun, cycle the slide to clear the chamber, then after verifying that the gun is unloaded, pull the trigger to drop the hammer. It is possible to simultaneously pull the trigger while slowly letting the hammer down with the thumb, but it is quite dangerous. If your thumb were to slip off the hammer in the middle of this process, the gun could discharge.

    Bottom line…don’t use half cock as a carry method for any 1911 style pistol.

    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0.0/5 (0 votes cast)
    VA:F [1.9.22_1171]
    Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)