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Old 08-04-2009, 01:29 PM   #1
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Condition two debate

Guys,

When I was a pup, condition two was THE way that most gun toters carried their Hi Powers and 1911ís. Most other gun owners I knew seemed to have a .30-30 lying around, so everyone was well acquainted with the practice of raising and lowering a hammer (which is admittedly a bit trickier with a handgun). I do note that for those pistols that are not equipped with a firing pin block, that having the hammer all the way down on a loaded chamber makes it pretty darned difficult to set a cartridge off accidentally under just about any circumstances.

And way back when I first began carrying a handgun, my first practice was to carry condition two, drawing the hammer back during presentation.

Itís been a LONG time since Iíve carried condition two, and as best I can tell, this seems to be somewhat of an obsolete practice. Am I wrong in this assumption?
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Old 08-04-2009, 07:26 PM   #2
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Re: Condition two debate

I think that is a good point and generally true.

The idea of lowering the hammer on a live round has always bothered me- even more when a friend shot a hole in my desk while doing it.

When I was getting out of the USAF in 1962 my teacher Bob Day and I were building me a gun with S&W sights. As a southpaw the safety was an issue for me and he made what I believe was the first ambi safety for that gun. And from then on I carried it cocked and locked. When Swenson safeties came along some years later I got one.
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Old 08-05-2009, 04:41 AM   #3
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Re: Condition two debate

Wow Bob Day, now there's a name that goes way back. I met him at the Pomona Gun Show I don't know how many years back. He showed me one of his bullseye guns that was built on a pre-Series 70 Colt, and man was that a nice gun. Then he began to explain all that went into the building of that gun and today's gunsmiths would be appalled if they knew how much work had to be done when you didn't start with oversized parts. I was so impressed with the talent of that man. If you learned from Bob Day, then you have truely been blessed with exceptional teaching.
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:10 AM   #4
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Re: Condition two debate

With my first 1911, acquired way back in the early 80's, I was spooked by the thought of carrying a cocked handgun. My experience was all revolver, all the time, and it just didn't seem...[i]right[i]. I came around after a few years, and have not carried my 1911 any other way in two decades.

I did find out over the years that a poorly designed holster seemed to facilitate the thumb safety sometimes becoming disengaged...seemingly by itself. I still find myself checking it's status throughout the day when carrying a 1911, but not finding a problem since I started investing in quality leather.
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Old 08-05-2009, 07:25 AM   #5
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Re: Condition two debate

I've just got too much military time not to realize that Murphy lurks around everywhere. If something can go wrong it will. Like Charlie I had a friend put a round into my garage floor when his sweaty thumb slipped. Condition One or Israeli carry, nothing in the middle.
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Old 08-05-2009, 11:37 AM   #6
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Re: Condition two debate

"If you learned from Bob Day, then you have truely been blessed with exceptional teaching."

I did and you're right. I miss him every day. One of the proudest moments I ever had was when Bob inspected one of my guns and finally said, "that'll do."
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Old 08-06-2009, 11:59 AM   #7
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Re: Condition two debate

I think of the danger of Condition 2 as the problem with trying to cock the pistol in the stress of a defensive situation; loss of fine-motor skills and all that.

Of course, the lowering part is hazardous. Many years ago, when I carried my Commander, my job required that I leave it in my car. I figured that lowering the hammer would reduce wear on the hammer spring, so I would carefully lower the hammer before I left it in my car. Well, one morning I carefully thought through each step: "Grasp pistol firmly, release safety, hold hammer with thumb, press trigger and carefully lower hammer to full rest".

What happened was: Grasp pistol firmly, press trigger, release safety, BANG!

At least I followed Rule #2, so I only shot the right front tire through the footwell.
----
Regarding holsters, I found a thumbstrap that went under the hammer comforting.
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Old 08-07-2009, 03:20 AM   #8
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Re: Condition two debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Charlie Petty

.....When I was getting out of the USAF in 1962 my teacher Bob Day and I were building me a gun with S&W sights.....
As I recall the one picture I've seen of this pistol, the GI rear sight was still in place, with the S&W sight milled right through it, rather than the usual welding or use of a blank to fill the dovetail.

Why? Was there a functional reason to leave the old sight?


One thing to add a bit of safety when lowering a hammer or even merely going off-safe -- put the off side thumb in front of the hammer.
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Old 08-07-2009, 04:53 AM   #9
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Re: Condition two debate

I remember Bob saying he used the GI rear sight as the blank. IIRC (Charlie could clear this one up), he would weld the old rear sight in place, mill as needed, and then re-shape everything to match the countours of the slide.

I also distinctly remember Bob saying something that would make collectors cringe. When he welded up a barrel hood, he used a torch and rod method, and his preference for weld rod was the spings out of the old two tone GI magazines. He said that the metal properties were just right. Back then, I never thought to ask him what he did with the rest of that two tone magazine when he was done robbing the spring.

I also remember shooting a pistol that the owner claimed was built by Bob Day. Now I was barely out of my teens when I shot this gun, so from the standpoint of performance, I wouldn't be able to tell a Bob Day from a Raven when I was behind the trigger. But from an aesthetic appeal, if you were to compare the workmanship to that of the $3,000+ pistols today, you would be appalled at what your $3,000+ is NOT getting you.
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Old 08-07-2009, 05:42 AM   #10
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Re: Condition two debate

Actually it was silver solder. At first he just ran the mill through the sight and used the remaining sides to protect the elevation area of the S&W sight. I just dug out mine and that's the way it is. The original sights are usually tight in the dovetail and don't need anything else although I did see him put a pin on each side with one that was loose.

I do remember seeing him use magazine spring for welding but don't know where it came from. I had been at the shop almost a year before Bob got there . All we had was oxy/acetelyne and when I got there we were using coathanger wire for rod. Later we got commercial rod.

He was simply the most gifted craftsman I've ever seen and seemed to master everything he tried. One of the hardest jobs was to fit slide to frame and he designed and built a tool he called a "rail roller" that made it ajob that took minutes instead of hours and gave a better fit too.

Sadly Bob did not normally mark his guns. I like to thnk I could identify his work just by look and feel and when I was getting to be a pretty good shooter he built a couple that I used for years... even though I knew how to do it too his were always better.

He was telling you the truth when he talked about the work people were NOT getting from other shops. Over the years I have collected quite a few guns from big name shops and- using Bob's standards- many would never have gone out the door of the gunsmith shop. He was a tough critic...but he was also a great teacher.

Les Baer told me of how much Bob helped him when he was getting started. He just called Bob on the phone and Bob would tell him how to do this or that.

Like I said, I miss him every day.
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Old 08-07-2009, 07:25 AM   #11
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Re: Condition two debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Kevin Gibson

Itís been a LONG time since Iíve carried condition two, and as best I can tell, this seems to be somewhat of an obsolete practice. Am I wrong in this assumption?

Everyone I know that carries does so in Con. One.
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Old 08-18-2009, 10:56 AM   #12
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Re: Condition two debate

Many years ago, I had a Lt. who carried his Star 9mm in Condition 1.5 (half-cock). He was the oldest guy in the Department, if not the world and no matter what I told him, he would not change his method of carry. He also wouldn't let me check hid firing pin to see if it was long enough to reach the primer with the hammer down.

On the range, he used to cock it for the first shot and continue shooting from Condition Zero until the shooting was over, de-half-cock and go back to work.

At that time, as Range Officer, I didn't have the clout or support to do anything about him.

Luck reigned, and he retired with his feet intact.
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Old 08-23-2009, 05:11 PM   #13
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Re: Condition two debate

Lowering the Hammer on a live round is why until very recently I had a Wide-Spur Hammer on my carry 1911A1. There's alot more metal to grip with one, mucho safer. however, as fate would have it, my son broke the sear ledge while shooting it(Still trying to figure that one out. Of course, he could break an anvil). So, it now wears a Wilson Combat skeletonized Commander Hammer. As for the original question, I never carry any other way, never have. El Jefe trained.
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Old 09-19-2009, 10:29 PM   #14
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Re: Condition two debate

In the late 70's my daily carry was a Combat Commander which was carried cocked and locked. About 1978 or 1979 Sig Sauer came out with their P220 which was being imported by Browning at that time as the BDA .45 with a European heel released magazine. I purchased three of these and carried the Sig as a daily carry until I became an LEO in 1988 and had to start carrying a revolver for a year. After that year it was immediately back to the Sig. The Sig had the first hammer drop safety that I had ever seen and the first several times that I dropped the hammer using it was a bit disconcerting, to say the least. I became comfortable with it after a few months of repetition. Now I carry a Glock 22 and a Glock 27 backup as those are the issue guns for my department. At least they are .40's.............
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Old 09-20-2009, 03:46 AM   #15
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Re: Condition two debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by Retmsgt.
As for the original question, I never carry any other way, never have. El Jefe trained.
Missed this when it was posted. Who is El Jefe? My first thought was Jeff Cooper, but I didn't think that there was ever a time that he taught that one should carry a 1911 Condition 2. I am aware of him suggesting that it may be an appropriate storage condition.
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Old 09-20-2009, 05:01 PM   #16
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Re: Condition two debate

Tim, my bad. I mean that as saying I carry Cocked and locked. It's a brain-hand problem I sometimes have. Sorry for the confusion. The only times I've ever lowered a hammer on a live chamber is when the Cops arrived. It seems that clearing a 1911 is disconcerting to our local Constabulary.
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Old 09-21-2009, 03:53 AM   #17
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Re: Condition two debate

Never could, never would...

Don't care what I'm carrying.

Just seems like you're encouraging Murphy's Law.

Too many things to happen/go wrong.

Only time it gets cocked or unlocked (mostly just unlocked) is if the situation is questionable,
and that's not too many times in the past years. Unsnap the holster strap, sure, unlock it, only if the situation warrants it.
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Old 09-21-2009, 06:19 AM   #18
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Re: Condition two debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by ExSarge
Never could, never would...

... Only time it gets cocked or unlocked ...
So, you saying you don't carry in Condition two, but you don't carry in condition one either?

How do you carry?
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Old 09-22-2009, 04:25 AM   #19
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Re: Condition two debate

Well Mushinto I really don't know what condition 1 is so the best I can say is that when in the woods or walking my dog I carry in a holster/gun belt configuration and either openly or under my coat depending on the weather. My S&W revolver is fully loader with 6 rounds and another 6 on my gun belt.

When out I carry a .380 in a clip on holster usually in my front pocket with a shirt or jacket over it to conceal it. I have 4 or 5 rounds in a clip and one in the chamber, uncocked and with the safety on.

So what "Condition" am I carrying in?
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Old 09-22-2009, 06:05 AM   #20
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Re: Condition two debate

Quote:
Originally Posted by ExSarge
... When out I carry a .380 in a clip on holster usually in my front pocket with a shirt or jacket over it to conceal it. I have 4 or 5 rounds in a clip and one in the chamber, uncocked and with the safety on.

So what "Condition" am I carrying in?
Hammer down over a loaded chamber is considered Condition Two.

Jeff Cooper's carrying conditions apply to a semi-autos and are as follows:

-- Condition Zero: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety off.
-- Condition One: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer cocked, safety on.
-- Condition Two: A round chambered, full magazine in place, hammer down.
-- Condition Three: Chamber empty, full magazine in place, hammer down.
-- Condition Four: Chamber empty, no magazine, hammer down.

There you go.
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