Big hands, short digits - "fitting" a 1911? - Pistolsmith
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Old 05-17-2013, 05:11 PM   #1
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Big hands, short digits - "fitting" a 1911?

My first handgun was a S&W Model 10 snubnose, square butt. Fit my hands pretty well. Wanted more power so bought a S&W 39-2 9mm. Soon after became enamored with the .45 ACP cartridge and bought a Colt Series 70 Gov'ment model. Within a year I found a slightly used West Hurley AO .45 with detail strip instructions in the box, couldn't resist.

Now 20+ years later I find myself carrying a Colt Pony Pocketlite .380 DAO all the time. It is an "always" gun.

I want to carry more power and either "get with it" with the 1911 or go to a different platform. Trouble is, my hands are big in the sense I wear gloves that are XL or XXL, depending on the type. My fingers and thumbs are not particularly long. I like the short trigger in a 1911. I have never been particularly smooth or fast knocking the safety off on either of my 2 5" 1911's. Maybe I just haven't practiced enough.

Is there a way of gaining space/clearance that will help in this regard? Do I need to change to a different thumb safety from the factory ones? Would a different grip safety than the factory GI type help?

Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 05-17-2013, 05:42 PM   #2
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There are a lot of aftermarket safeties available for 1911 style guns. You could also have a 'smith modify one to your taste.

There are even some who can trim the frame but they obviously have to charge a lot for that.

You say you prefer the Colt Pony Pocketlite .380 DAO. Big difference between that and a 1911 style in more than just size. There are so many styles/options in present and past guns, you need to be more specific about your needs and preferences.
 
Old 05-17-2013, 06:39 PM   #3
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retDAC,
I like the Colt Pony because it is convenient, pocketable, in a decent caliber and reliable. It is fairly small, my hands have no problems operating it, and it has a simple manual of arms. It is carried a lot and shot a little.

The Colt Series 70 Gov'ment .45 is all I have to work with right now, there is no money for anything else. The West Hurley AO is a non-starter.

I want to make a go of the Colt 1911. I was hoping someone with the experience in fitting different grip safeties and/or thumb safeties could shed some light on this. I am not opposed to thinning the frame if that is what's needed. I will be doing my own work, I have the 2 part Kuhnhausen 1911 manual. I think it is a matter of modifying the gun I have to increase or aid manual dexterity.

Thanks.
 
 
Old 05-18-2013, 03:57 PM   #4
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You can help things out some, but you're still limited by the size of the frame.

For the grip safety, these are fairly thick and can stand some grinding down to reduce the distance from the grip safety to the trigger.
As long as you stay away from the hole in the left side of the frame where the thumb safety stud enters it, you can do a good bit of blending the frame and reduced grip safety.

A even shorter trigger can help, and most modern short triggers are still longer then the old WWII stamped short triggers. Just grind the face down.

You might look into a set of the now-popular thin grips people are using.
These will require new shorter grip screw bushings and grip screws.

The thumb safety can be changed out to a form with a paddle that's easier for you to operate. There's so many types it's hard to recommend one, since it's very much a personal preference.
I'd suggest looking through Brownell's and Midways sites for thumb safeties for one that looks like it might be better.
There's types with extended paddles, low set paddles, and wider paddles.
 
Old 05-18-2013, 04:05 PM   #5
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dfariswheel,
Do you advocate using the GI grip safety or a beavertail type? I take it a memory groove type would be contraindicated?
 
Old 05-19-2013, 04:19 PM   #6
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The only things the beavertail types do is prevent hammer bite and most allow positioning your hand higher up on the frame.

The memory pad or groove only make it thicker still and lengthen the reach to the trigger.
To get the absolute maximum out of a 1911, I'd block out the grip safety, grind it down to reduce the reach to the trigger and do a limited amount on the frame to blend it.

I'd shorten the trigger a little more, and install thin grips.

You can still go a ways without blocking out the grip safety if you feel uncomfortable without the added level of safety.
 
Old 05-19-2013, 11:48 PM   #7
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A memory pad is simply extra metal at the bottom outside of the grip safety to make it easier to push in.

I recall an article years ago where someone showed it is also possible to judiciously remove some metal from the inside of a grip safety to make it easier to push in when gripped.

Whether somebody chooses one of the above or entirely deactivates a GS, the point is to make the gun reliable to fire in an emergency with a less than perfect grip.
 
Old 05-24-2013, 02:18 PM   #8
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Glock?
 
Old 05-25-2013, 07:02 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by George M. View Post
Glock?
How does that help fit a 1911?

Which Glock did you have in mind? 36? 30SF? 30S?

I know a lot of Glock owners think - "Thumb safety? We don't need no stinkin' thumb safety!"
I do like the Cominolli MSK for the Glock, fits all models except Model 36 - I've never seen the MSK on a Glock in person. The primary interest in a thumb safety on a Glock, for me, is when the gun is holstered. That seems to be when many Glocks discharge accidentally or negligently. After holstering, then knock the thumb safety off.

Last edited by NewsFlash; 06-20-2013 at 05:48 PM.
 
Old 11-19-2013, 03:03 AM   #10
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You'll have to contact them for details on sales policy and whether they'll ship to you.
Selling and shipping firearms related items to other countries can be "sticky" due to US export laws and the import laws where you are.
 
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