Safe Storage of a 1911

Safe Storage of a 1911

This is a discussion on Safe Storage of a 1911 within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; When forced to carry something other than a 1911, I am always concerned about safe storage practices. When a j-frame is the only gun I ...

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Thread: Safe Storage of a 1911

  1. #1
    Member Array whw's Avatar
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    Safe Storage of a 1911

    When forced to carry something other than a 1911, I am always concerned about safe storage practices. When a j-frame is the only gun I can properly conceal, the 1911 stays home in the safe. I remove the magazine and eject the round residing in the tube and place it back in the magazine. When I'm able to carry the 1911 again, I insert the magazine, rack the same round into the tube and holster.

    In this scenario, I'm concerned about "setback" of the round that resides in the tube. Without knowing much about setback, I wonder if my concern is legitimate? If so, how do you deal with those concerns? I also wonder if my safe handling practices are common among those reading this post?

    Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    whw


  2. #2
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    I personally unload as little as possible since I did find setback on a few rounds of hydrashocks thru my SA Champ. Some say never load directly to the chamber , but others say its o.k. as long as you have a good high quality extractor. In an case I would be sure to measure for setback after a few loadings.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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  3. #3
    Senior Member Array Sarge45's Avatar
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    I understand your concern for safety as well as setback. If you decide to not carry the 1911 the safest thing to do actually, is to remove the gun loaded (cocked and locked) and leave it stored in your holster in the safe. This is what I do. You keep the safe locked so it shouldn't be accessible.

    Setback needs to be monitored closely. In a round such as the .40 S&W, a little setback can be catastrophic. The .45 has a little more margin but is still critical.

    Your 1911 guru's will tell you to never load a cartridge directly into the chamber and drop the slide. The resulting impact of the extractor on the case rim can chip or break the hook and as it rides up and over the rim and places undue stress on the extractor which can throw it out of tune.

    The best, and safest way is to just leave it loaded.

  4. #4
    VIP Member Array raevan's Avatar
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    Since we all need to practice, if you feel the need to unload, set aside the round that was in the chamber and use it for practice. Top off the magazine with a new unchambered round. Measure the once chambered rounds before using to check for setback. after chambering just once there will probably be no noticble set back. If the round has been chambered more then once then there is more cause for concern. By placing the once chambered rounds in their own box that is so marked you will then be able to avoid chambering it again by mistake.

  5. #5
    Member Array whw's Avatar
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    Thanks for the thoughtful responses. The need to frequently make my weapon safe has led to the concern with setback, which has led me to world of revolvers, which I don't necessarily like.

    It's much easier to avoid the setback issue by dumping the rounds out of a j-frame before storing it in a bedside safe. The trade off is having to carry a less powerful gun with a limited number of rounds. That is giving up a lot.

    I just can't leave a loaded gun in a bedside safe. If something were to happen to me, I can just imagine some unsuspecting person (my wife) pulling the loaded 1911 out of the safe and accidentally sending a round to parts unknown.

    I've considered leaving a round in the tube of my HP, since it has the magazine disconnect, but I'm still less than comfortable with that scenario. At some point, someone might just insert a magazine and accidentally send another round to parts unknown.

    To get around this issue I've even carried without chambering a round. I've found that option to be less than comforting. I'm sure if things go bad, I'll barely have the chance to draw and fire, much less rack the slide appropriately.

    Again, thanks for the feedback. I'm glad to hear others are giving this issue a significant amount of thought. That tells me that my concerns are reasonable and do require attention.

    thanks,
    whw

  6. #6
    Member Array JAG45's Avatar
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    +1 for Sarge45, that is some of the best advice to follow. He told it like it is. I have been shooting a 45 for over 50 years now, and help in several of the best custom shops in the country.

  7. #7
    Member Array echo5tango's Avatar
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    Just leave it loaded ... but for Pete's sake, don't store a pistol in a holster for long periods of time, especially a leather holster.

  8. #8
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    My 1911 gets unloaded for cleaning/relubricating if I've been carrying it for a few weeks or it gets unloaded by going to the range and being shot.

    Whatever ammo I do carry initially gets chambered and ejected before I carry it. I like to run it through the weapon to be sure it will feed and eject properly.

    Even with the initial chambering and subsequent unloading to do a clean/lube once a month or so, my duty ammo doesn't get cycled more than a couple three times before it's rotated out anyway. I like to rotate my SD ammo about every six months and I'll mark the box for the next range trip. In the last two years I haven't seen any set back rounds at all.
    ALWAYS carry! - NEVER tell!

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  9. #9
    Senior Member Array Pete Zaria's Avatar
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    It's a legitimate concern. I have a Springfield Mil-Spec 1911.
    Using a dial-caliper micrometer, I've measured setback on my carry rounds (200gr Hornaday TAP's and 230gr Gold Dot's).
    Both show a few thousandths of setback after being chambered 2-3 times, and it gets progressively worse the more you re-chamber the same round.
    As a result, I never chamber the same round more than 3 times max.

    As Sarge45 said, just leave it cocked & locked and in your safe. My 1911 pretty much stays cocked and locked between range sessions.

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    Pete Zaria.
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  10. #10
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    If you are worried about the wife getting to it train her how to properly load/unload and handle it. If she is not willing then trigger lock it in the safe and don't give her a key or combination.
    as said don't store it in a leather holster either.
    "In matters of style, swim with the current; in matters of principle, stand like a rock." Thomas Jefferson


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  11. #11
    Senior Member Array KevinDooley's Avatar
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    I'm with Rocky... either teach her how to properly handle the firearm or restrict her access. Before my wife came around and learned how to handle firearms she was under explicit orders to never handle any of my firearms because they might be loaded. Once she learned how to unload them and handle them safely she was also taught how to use them, so now she can defend herself if need be (as long as she's in the house, since she won't carry...)

    It's a very odd thing for me to tell my wife that she is under no circumstances allowed to touch something of mine, since we're equal partners in everything in life... but she didn't want anything to do with my firearms at the time anyways... once she was open to them she wanted to know as much about them as possible.

    I store my 1911 loaded and cocked and locked at all times because it's either on me, in a lock box, or in the nightstand while we're sleeping - the only people that have access to it are the wife and I, so I see no point in not keeping it loaded.
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  12. #12
    Member Array 1911packer's Avatar
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    Good advice about not storing in leather and training the wife. When you do need to clear the firearm, just cycle the chambered round to the bottom of the mag and shoot the carry ammo once in a while.

    My rotation consists of three mags and replacing the carry once a year. The number of times I dry fire in 12 months allows any given round to get chambered no more than twice.

  13. #13
    Distinguished Member Array T Bone's Avatar
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    Years ago, I came to the conclusion that my 1911 was best left loaded for the same reasons stated elsewhere in this post. Also agree that storing it in a holster (especially leather!) is a bad idea. Just get a pistol rug or nylon case, and put it in the safe. As to others having to deal with it, I've left instructions with others that if something happens to me, my firearms are to be first handled by someone capable of safeing loaded/chambered weapons. They are likely to find more than one with a round in the chamber.
    Regards, T Bone.


    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety". Benjamin Franklin

  14. #14
    Senior Member Array Sarge45's Avatar
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    Let me back and reiterate what these guys say about long term storage with leather. They are right. Short term, like rotating out for a day in favor of another carry rig would be ok. At any rate, a good maintenance plan on your guns will keep them pristine and ready for duty.

    If I decide to shelve one for the day and use another rig that day, I have no problem leaving the rig as I took it off. Longer term storage though and it needs to breath. The leather, or for that matter nylon, can hold moisture.

    Good luck with your decision.

  15. #15
    Senior Member Array adaman04's Avatar
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    If it's going in the safe, why unload it? I used to unload often too. Not any more.

    There shouldn't be much of a reason for her to touch it if it's in the safe.

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