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Discussion Starter #1
I just got a Sig P238, and have a question as to why Cocked & Locked is preferred to Hammer Down, Safety Off? I have never had a SAO pistol with an exposed hammer, and dont understand what the advantage is of the one method over the other. Thanks.
 

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The term 'Cocked and Locked' comes from Jeff Cooper who coined the 'Five Conditions of 1911 Carry'

Condition 0 – A round is in the chamber, hammer is cocked, and the safety is off.
Condition 1 – Also known as “cocked and locked,” means a round is in the chamber, the hammer is cocked, and the manual thumb safety on the side of the frame is applied.
Condition 2 – A round is in the chamber and the hammer is down.
Condition 3 – The chamber is empty and hammer is down with a charged magazine in the gun.
Condition 4 – The chamber is empty, hammer is down and no magazine is in the gun.

Since 1911s don't have decockers, in order to get condition 2 (hammer down), you have to manually lower the hammer onto the firing pin. This alone is dangerous because if you lose your grip on the hammer there is the potential to fire the weapon. Second, the hammer down on the firing pin puts the pin directly against the primer and a sharp blow could potentially discharge the weapon.
 

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Think of the pistol as you would a 1911, they function in the same way.
You can carry it any way you want,
the correct way is one in the chamber hammer back and safety on. Condition ONE
Carried this way the pistol is ready to shoot with just a flick of the safety to the off position. It can be safely drawn and fired in a split second, it's made to be carried this way
and perfectly safe.
Condition two bullet in the chamber, hammer down. Safety cannot be applied with hammer down. Problem with this method of carry is the pistol must be cocked, Hammer must be brought to the rear and the trigger pulled. It will not fire with just pulling the trigger if the hammer is down. Condition two does not allow for a rapid deployment of the weapon For most people it is difficult to draw the pistol and cock the hammer while being held in the strong hand ( shooting hand ) and under the stress of a shooting situation. People UN-familiar with this type of pistol or some that can't get there head around a loaded cocked and locked pistol of this configuration even with multiple safeties
Choose condition 2 ( a poor choice in a gunfight ) It;s difficult under pressure to draw,
cock the hammer and maintain the correct grip on the weapon.
Condition three is no bullet in the chamber, but a loaded mag. You must draw, then rack the slide for the weapon to be ready to fire. To much can happen in that amount of time,
Needless to say it could jam.
Condition one allows the pistol to come out of the holster and the right thumb disengages the safety very quickly, and the trigger pull is very short.
When John Browning designed the 1911 it was carried on horse back by the troops in condition
three, loaded mag hammer down. I guess a lot of things could happen bouncing around on a horse. But for EDC condition one is correct.
 

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Used to work with an old cop who carried his Colt Gold Cup 1911 with a round it the chamber, hammer back and safety on for his whole career. No accidents. I prefer one in the chamber with the hammer down. Lots of people would look at him and scratch their heads. If you carry one in the chamber with the hammer down practice cocking the hammer as you draw the weapon all in one motion.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
I have been carrying it Cocked & Locked. I know this is the way they are designed to be carried. Im just not familiar with this style of a handgun and have in the past prefered a DA/SA pistol. One nice thing about this style pistol is the short, consistent trigger pull. Im getting used to it.
 

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Condition 1 is the way these pistols were designed to be carried. In addition, Sig uses a "Series 80" type of firing pin safety. This means if the hammer drops for any reason without the trigger being pulled, the gun will not fire. The only way these guns will fire (unless it is defective) is for the safety to be disengaged and the trigger to be pulled. Although some people feel the series 80 negatively effects the break of the trigger, it undoubtedly adds to the safety of the weapon.

Condition 1 is the safest way to carry these style of guns. Only word of caution is, do not try and drop the hammer by thumbing the hammer and pulling the trigger with a round chambered. Drop the mag and empty the chamber before dropping the hammer.

Be Safe!
 

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weblance, Thanks for asking the question! I firmly believe ... anyone that buys a new firearm needs to learn how the gun functions and how the safety features work!!! Good info in the above posts.

The Sig P238 shares a similar design with a 1911. It is a Single Action Only pistol, which means the first shot and all after are fired in the single action mode where just a few pounds of trigger pressure will cause the gun to fire. This gun is NOT equipped with a grip safety like a normal 1911, leaving the thumb safety and trigger as the only obstacles between firing and not firing.

Some pistols are designed as a DA/SA, where the gun is carried with a round chambered and the hammer down. The first shot is fired in the DA mode, which means a long and stiff trigger pull ... much like a DA revolver. After the first shot, the hammer self-cocks so the remaining rounds will be fired in the SA mode ... a much lighter and shorter trigger throw. It is very difficult to master marksmanship with a DA/SA pistol because there is such a vast difference in trigger pull. The first round fired is obviously the most "meaningful" so you really need to practice a lot in the DA mode to make the first round count. Most DA/SA pistols can not be carried safely with the hammer cocked, in fact with many DA/SA pistols, placing the thumb safety in the SAFE position will decock the hammer. This type of pistol should be carried in a modified condition 2 ... round chambered, hammer down, and thumb safety in the FIRE position.

One of my favorite pistols is a CZ-75B. It is a DA/SA but also has a thumb safety much like a 1911. This gives the person two options ... carry in condition 1 with the hammer cocked and the thumb safety in the SAFE position or carry in condition 2 and fire the first round in DA ... the best of both worlds.

In most self defense situations where you are carrying a concealed weapon, hopefully the bad guy doesn't know you are armed. When an opportunity permits, you draw your weapon and fire, using the element of surprise to your advantage. If you have to take a few precious seconds to cock the hammer or worse yet, jack the slide, it will be very alerting to the bad guy and will likely get you shot. In the bad guy's eyes, a person with a weapon becomes their number one threat. Not only is it very alerting to the BG, cocking a hammer or jacking a slide places the muzzle in positions where you don't want it to be ... ie aimed at an innocent bystander. Further, under the stress of the situation, you may not get the hammer fully cocked or you may have an accidental discharge. If you do insist on carrying in "Condition 2", practice cocking the hammer with your non-shooting thumb (left thumb if you are right handed). This way you can keep the muzzle pointed in a safe direction or at the BG while cocking.

Just a few comments about pistols with exposed hammers ... Many pistols have an internal hammer or striker that is not visible. As such, most people don't hesitate to carry these pistols with a round chambered and the thumb safety in the SAFE position. The only thing different about an exposed hammer is ... you can see it. Yes, there is a psychological effect from an exposed hammer but mechanically, there's really no difference between an internal or external hammer. Exposed hammers are actually safer because you can see when the hammer is cocked and you can access the hammer to decock it (using QHhorseman's procedure of course).
 
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