Is The Disconnect On a 1911 a Safety? Why or Why Not?

This is a discussion on Is The Disconnect On a 1911 a Safety? Why or Why Not? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; One night, while lying in bed, waiting for sleep to overtake me, I started thinking about the 1911 and how I would explain how every ...

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Thread: Is The Disconnect On a 1911 a Safety? Why or Why Not?

  1. #1
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    Is The Disconnect On a 1911 a Safety? Why or Why Not?

    One night, while lying in bed, waiting for sleep to overtake me, I started thinking about the 1911 and how I would explain how every single little part on the gun operated and what its purpose was.

    Depending on who you talk to the 1911 has anywhere from two to three to even four safeties.

    There is the obvious:
    1. Thumb Safety
    2. Grip Safety

    But the not so obvious:
    3. Firing Pin Block (on series 80s and series IIs for Kimbers)
    4. Half Cock

    But, is not the disconnect a "safety feature"?

    After all, the purpose of a safety is to keep the gun from firing except when deliberately manipulated by human hands.

    The disconnect is designed to keep the gun from firing out of battery. How is this not a safety feature?

    If it's not a safety feature, how?

    If it is, why is it not listed among the 1911s safeties?

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Rob72's Avatar
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    Actually your disconnector prevents hammer-follow and/or full-auto fire. Without a lot of detail, John Dillinger's gunsmith made Dillinger a full-auto 1911, with a Thompson foregrip, and high-cap mag. The mechanism involves the alteration of the disconnector.

    In many modern semi-autos, you will see a disconnector improperly referred to as a "sear" in the owners' manual.

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    Here is an explanation of the Disconnectors function:

    I ran across this a while back, and when I saw this post, decided to share regarding the disconnector on a 1911:

    "The Disconnector is a safety device that prevents a round from being fired before the round has properly chambered, with the slide and barrel locked up. When the slide is out of battery (not completely forward) the lower portion of the disconnector is depressed, causing disengagement of the sear, preventing the hammer from falling if the trigger is squeezed. However, when the slide is in battery and the barrel is locked up, a spring pushes the disconnector up into a machined recess in the rear of the slide, allowing a mechanical link between the trigger and the sear so that when the trigger is pulled, the hammer will drop and the weapon will fire."

    I gleaned this information from Ed Browns' website. In a nutshell, the disconnector is there to prevent a round from cooking off before it has been properly chambered during the cocking or firing cycle; This is one of those devices on a 1911 that should definitely not be modified in any way shape or form.

    Hope this helps....
    "Guard with jealous attention the public liberty. Suspect everyone who approaches that jewel. Unfortunately, nothing will preserve it but downright force. Whenever you give up that force, you are inevitably ruined". - Patrick Henry

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    Senior Member Array tanksoldier's Avatar
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    I would agree that the disconnect is a part which ensures the proper functioning of the firearm, but is not a "safety" in the common usage of the term. I would argue that a "safety" is a feature which is intended to be engaged or disengaged by the conscious actions of a human being.

    There are many parts on various forearms which, were they to fail or malfunction, would cause an unsafe condition but which are not "safeties".

    IIRC many rifles have a floating firing pin and if sufficiently dirty the pin can remain in firing position, causing a runaway gun or slamfire. The SKS is prone to this from what I've heard. The retracting firing pin prevents the weapon from firing, but wouldn't seem to be a "safety".

    On the other hand I've also heard reference to "internal" and "external" safeties...
    "I am a Soldier. I fight where I am told, and I win where I fight." GEN George S. Patton, Jr.

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    I would call the disconnecter a "sort of" safety feature since it does prevent the firearm from discharging unless it's fully in battery.
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    I think there's a difference between a 'safety' and a 'safety feature'. In my mind, at least, a safety is a device that helps prevent a gun from firing unless the shooter wants it to. This can be a manual safety, a trigger safety, a firing pin safety, or myriad other kinds. What they all have in common is they're intended to keep it from going bang until someone makes a deliberate decision to shoot.

    A 'safety feature' is a more general term, encompassing everything that's intended to make the gun more safe. I would call the disconnect on a 1911 a safety feature, because it really doesn't have anything to do with the shooter's decision to fire the weapon. The disconnect does nothing to stop the weapon from firing when the shooter doesn't intend it to, and it can stop the weapon from firing when the shooter does intend it to (if the slide is out of battery). This puts it outside the realm of the traditional safety as far as I'm concerned.

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    Member Array vanilla_gorilla's Avatar
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    The 1911 was invented before the idea of idiot-proofing firearms. It is expected that a person handling one already knows things like "Don't put your finger on the trigger unless you're ready to shoot."

    Hence, no disconnect.
    I'll take a .45 and a large side of JHPs, please.

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    JD
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    Quote Originally Posted by vanilla_gorilla View Post
    The 1911 was invented before the idea of idiot-proofing firearms. It is expected that a person handling one already knows things like "Don't put your finger on the trigger unless you're ready to shoot."

    Hence, no disconnect.
    We're not talking magazine disconnect, were talking about the disconnector that goes through the sear and up in the frame.

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    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    No as a disconnector truly only does its job when a round is chambered or fired other than that what does it do ? wont prevent the gun from firing normally unless it breaks..

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    Member Array Dan M.'s Avatar
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    These are the kind of things one thinks about when one has dropped her gun.

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    OD*
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    John Dillinger's gunsmith made Dillinger a full-auto 1911, with a Thompson foregrip, and high-cap mag.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Diligentia Vis Celeritas"

    "There is very little new, and the forgotten is constantly being rediscovered."
    ~ Tiger McKee

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    I think i read in my latest gun mag a letter from a subscriber stating that the 1911 was originally designed to be carried "half-cocked" and not cocked & locked and was "safer" that way.

    Anyone read that?

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    OD*
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    The M1911 was originally designed by JMB for the Military (not the civilian market), which dictated hammer down on an empty chamber.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

    "Diligentia Vis Celeritas"

    "There is very little new, and the forgotten is constantly being rediscovered."
    ~ Tiger McKee

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    Member Array vanilla_gorilla's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JD View Post
    We're not talking magazine disconnect, were talking about the disconnector that goes through the sear and up in the frame.
    I understand that. However, the idea of calling a disconnect a "safety feature" is a lot like calling a lawn mower without a blade the "ultra-safe" version.
    I'll take a .45 and a large side of JHPs, please.

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    Quote Originally Posted by vanilla_gorilla View Post
    It is expected that a person handling one already knows things like "Don't put your finger on the trigger unless you're ready to shoot."
    And history has shown that is a very bad assumption to make!
    Rick

    EOD - Initial success or total failure

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