Ambidextrous Safety, 1911s & Concealed Carry

This is a discussion on Ambidextrous Safety, 1911s & Concealed Carry within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I am considering a 1911 for concealed carry. Unfortunately, the one I seem to like the most has an ambidextrous safety. It seems to me ...

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Thread: Ambidextrous Safety, 1911s & Concealed Carry

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    Ambidextrous Safety, 1911s & Concealed Carry

    I am considering a 1911 for concealed carry. Unfortunately, the one I seem to like the most has an ambidextrous safety. It seems to me that having the safety lever on the outside would periodically result in the safety getting bumped into the “fire” position inadvertently. I am interested in hearing from those of you who actually carry a 1911 with an ambidextrous safety whether this has been a problem for you.

    Also, if anybody has had a Springfield Loaded converted to right-hand safety only (safety on the left side of the gun), I would be interested in knowing what that cost and how long it took them to do it.

    I appreciate your input.
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    Ex Member Array MadMac's Avatar
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    I have a Kimber Ultra CDP II with an ambi safety that I used to carry in a SmartCarry. That is, until I found the safety snicked off two different times. This doesn't happen with my wife's Kimber Ultra Aegis II that has a smaller safety lever only on the left-hand side for a right-handed shooter.

    There's nothing like finding a loaded, cocked 1911 pointing at your family jewels with the safety off.

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    I have not had this happen with my 1911, but it did occur with a Browning HiPower. It was not real safety problem for me as my holsters fully cover the triggers, and I train to snick off the safety on the draw. I admit I do think less about it on the 1911 because of the grip safety.

    Cannot help on the "lefty switch."
    "A gun is a tool, Marion. No better and no worse than any other tool - an axe, a shovel, or anything. A gun is as good or as bad as the man using it. Remember that." --from "Shane" (Alan Ladd) -1953

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    JD
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    I've had it get disengaged before while carrying a Kimber CDP ______. Holster makes a big difference, a well molded holster w/ body shield may keep the lever from moving when it's not supposed to.

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    Senior Member Array JohnLeVick's Avatar
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    While I usually carry 1911s with a single-side safety, I have and sometimes do carry one with an ambi. I've also carried one on each side, with the one with the ambi on my left. I have had the offside lever bumped and snicked off a couple of times, but did not get overly concerned. After all, British SAS used to carry their BHPs in Condition 0, cocked and unlocked, and the BHP has no grip safety. (If you want to see lots of opinions about Condition 0 carry, there's another lengthy thread nearby.) If the possibility bothers you, you have a couple of easy choices: 1. Pull the ambi safety, grind off most of the lever on the offside, and put it back in, or 2. Have a single-side safety installed. A new safety will cost anywhere from $20 to $35, and installation is simple, but requires a little file work. When I fit one, I typically charge $45-50 total, part and labor included. If you have skills with simple hand tools, it's easy, but if you aren't comfortable, most pistolsmiths are reasonable for this task. Just be sure it will pass a YARF test after it is installed. If your smith doesn't savvy "YARF," find one who does.

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    Distinguished Member Array SpringerXD's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JohnLeVick View Post
    Just be sure it will pass a YARF test after it is installed. If your smith doesn't savvy "YARF," find one who does.
    Can you savvy the rest of us as to what YARF means?
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    Thanks for the answers so far. Unfortunately they confirmed what I thought was a potential issue. I currently carry a gun with a single side safety and have had no problems. I want a 1911 and I want to carry it, or at least have that option. I am not interested in the condition 0 approach noted above and in the other thread and I don't appear to be alone in this, but it has its followers.

    It is interesting and encouraging that the mod can be done for not a whole lot of $$$. I am looking in the mid range for pricing and it seems that the ambi safety is considered an upgrade. Cheaper guns don't tend to have it while most of the +/- $1K guns do.

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnLeVick View Post
    If your smith doesn't savvy "YARF," find one who does.
    I don't understand YARF, can you elucidate?
    It's the Land of Opportunity, not the Land of Entitlements - Vote America!!!

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    I haven't dealt much with ambi safeties and have installed only one. However converting an ambi to a right hand (standard) safety should be no problem. The ambi can be easily removed by removing the right side grip and pulling out the lever. To remove the left side lever, the gun must be cocked. The lever is set half way between safe and fire and pulled out. The new safety would need to be fitted to the gun and is easily installed. I imagine a pro would charge $50-$75 which would include the cost of the new safety. The whole operation could be done in a half hour or so. Some disassembly of the gun is required.
    Additionally, a properly installed safety should not just go from safe to fire with the least amount of effort. Properly installed, a safety will "snap" off and on crisply.
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    Senior Member Array JohnLeVick's Avatar
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    You betcha: Yank And Retain Function. After a safety is installed, with unloaded gun, of course, one applies the safety and pulls the trigger, hard. Then, drop the safety and slowly pull back on the hammer, assuming the hammer did not fall when you snicked off the safety. If you hear a click, or if the hammer fell when the safety was pulled, it failed YARF, because too much steel was filed off the sear engagement lug of the safety when it was installed. Any good 1911 smith knows about YARF. It can often be remedied by judicious peening of the lug, but sometimes not. I recently worked on a brand new Para-Ord 9mm that failed YARF, right out of the box, so it's not limited to monkeyed-with guns.

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    Pardon the incoming noob question here but what about a holster with a thumb snap? I see a lot of thumb snaps that will block the hammer from dropping. Granted, once it's drawn the thumb safety may be switched to "fire" but isn't that what you normally want anyway?

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    If you don't actually need an ambidextrous safety then get rid of it. It's a fairly painless swap out of a part. A local gunsmith can do it for the price of the new safety plus a few bucks in labor.

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    VIP Member Array dukalmighty's Avatar
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    I carry a 1911 left handed ambi safety,my Colt has never got bumped off,A lot depends on how the detent pin engages the safety,if it has very little resistance it can get bumped off easier than if there is a "pocket" the detent sits in which requires a positive force to snick it off
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    If you do not like it you can always take it out.
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    I carry a 1911 all of the time and do not like the ambi-safety exactly for the reason you mentioned. As stated already if you do not like it, is any easy fix.

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    I have a Kimber Pro CDP 2 that is my EDC; never had a problem with the ambi safety, which being a lefty I need.
    "...whoever has no sword is to sell his coat and buy one." (Luke 22:36)
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