Many of you know that my carry gun is John Browning’s superb model 1911 pistol. After 95 years of service it remains the premier defensive weapon of the world. However, all things man has made have their imperfections. One of its flaws is that in a fast draw and presentation, shooters with small hands may have difficulty ensuring that the grip safety on the 1911 is fully depressed. This prevents the trigger-sear linkage from properly engaging and prevents the weapon from firing. Many manufacturers and gunsmiths have added a hump to the bottom of the grip safety to help reduce the instance of this problem, with moderate success.
A new product called The Answer from gunsmith Wayne Novak promises to eliminate this situation. It is a single piece replacement for the customary grip safety and mainspring housing of the weapon which does away with the grip safety completely. Before you go crowing about the danger of such a modification or crying that it is sacrilege to alter John Moses Browning’s near perfect design, I should point out that the grip safety was not part of that design in the first place; Browning added it at the request of the Cavalry Board. Jeff Cooper has talked for years of pinning the safety in place to prevent this trouble, especially for shooters with small hands. Remember, the crucial safety on your firearm is between your ears. If that one is disengaged or faulty, no manner of mechanical contrivance is going to have any effect.
At left is a picture of a typical 1911 grip with the grip safety in stainless and the mainspring housing in black, while at right we see a shot of a 1911 with Novak’s new product installed.