Despite having written somewhat prolifically on the topic, I have only ever carried two models of firearms in public – the Beretta M9 when I was standing quarterdeck watches in the Navy, and my current Walther PPS. While I was in the military, the condition at which I carried the firearm was dictated by my commanding officer and the limitations of the platform – for most of the time I carried in Condition Two, but my last CO dictated Condition Three. Now, how I carry is purely dependent upon my own personal choices… and the limitations of the hardware again – given that the Walther PPS has no manual safety, and given that “hammer down” is not really an option for it, I guess I carry at Condition 1.5 (though a valid argument could be made for my carrying at Condition One, given that a round is chambered, a full magazine is inserted, the hammer is (half-)cocked, and all three safeties (drop, striker, and trigger) are engaged).
Unfortunately, none of that helps me answer this question, posed by Dennis of Dragon Leatherworks (the gentleman who crafted the amazing holster for my new SSR), because I have no experience with 1911s:
Now…I’m looking to make a 1911-specific holster. Not sure if I’m going to go the route of exotic skins or not yet, but what I need to know is your opinions (along with the opinions of your readers, if you’re so inclined) on if a 1911 specific holster must have a thumb break, so as to allow the gun to be carried in Condition 1. (My understanding is that DefCon 1 is cocked, safety locked, live round in the pipe…feel free to correct me if I have it backwards…)
Personally, I don’t carry with one in the pipe if the gun is SA only. On the sidearms I have that are DA/SA, I will chamber a round, then drop the hammer and keep the safety on.
So there’s the question for you guys…I’m fleshing out a design that is a hybrid of the Flatjack and the Snakebite, made only for the 1911, and the thumbbreak question is one that I need to resolve.
Any help that you can collectively offer would be greatly appreciated!
If given the option, I would carry a 1911 in Condition 1, on the premise that discharging the firearm would require the active disengaging of two separate safeties – the grip, and the actual switch. That said, personally, I would not want a thumbbreak.
Why? None of my other holsters have one, and I do not want to be mucking around with a seatbelt for my heater when said firearm’s presence is being immediately requested – basically, commonality of training/practice (which is also a reason I might never actually carry a 1911, but that is another topic for another post). Likewise, what purpose is the thumbbreak serving? Any good holsters can retain a firearm without the need of a strap (and Dennis’ holsters are that good), and using the strap to block off the hammer from falling would imply the relatively high likelihood of at least three simultaneous mechanical failures in your firearm… not sure I would carry something that prone to breaking. (And has anyone actually heard of 1911s going off spontaneously in their holsters? I mean, it is not like they are Glocks… *cough*) I cannot really speak as to how thumbbreaks affect draw speed, given my military holster had the “rotate-out-of-the-way”, non-snap style strap, but I would imagine that also comes into play.
So my vote is “no”, but I am writing as someone who has very limited experience with both 1911s and thumbbreaks – Jay G.’s take on them may be a bit more… experienced-based.
What say you?
(General reminder for those who have forgotten – firearm Conditions are as follows:
Condition Four: Chamber empty, no magazine, hammer down.
Condition Three: Chamber empty, full magazine in place, hammer down.
Condition Two: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer down.
Condition One: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety on.
Condition Zero: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety off.