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Joshua M. Smith 07-29-2008 02:46 AM

Interesting Thumb Safety

As you may recall I ordered a thumb safety for right around $20 shipped. It's ambidextrous, and I was curious as to what kind it was.
It turns out it's an Auto Orndance ambi with wide paddles.

It looks like it's cast, not MIM, and it's strong. It is held together with a screw. I'd recommend a bit of proper color Loc Tite.
The components...

A few swipes later and it was fitted. I like how they did this - even without the right side installed, the primary safety will fully support the grip safety.
As you can see, the safety pin goes partially through the left side hole.

The right side paddle has a stunted stud like pin made up mainly of a groove.
Illustrated here.

After I had fitted the safety, I fully installed it and tightened the screw. It would barely move with the right side installed. I worked with it for a bit and then gave up. It would work fine with the screw loosened just a bit, but not when tightened down.

After I took a break, I put it on my Charles Daly. It worked fine!

I do not know if the frame was a bit thinner than on my RIA (the Charles Daly is an early Armscor model, just over serial number CD1000) or if the tolerances are a bit larger in the CD. The two theories I was working from were 1) The safety clamped too hard to the sides of the frame and 2) the groove's ears would spread out when things were tightened. I've not been able to confirm either of these theories though, so it remains somewhat of a mystery. At any rate, since it fit the CD, that's what I put it on.

The safety itself looked almost like they just sent it fresh from the cast - rough edges and flash. If you want it to look professional, you will have to clean it up. I used 1000 grit sandpaper to make it shine.

Regardless of whether it's finished when sent, it does feel like a quality part. Maybe the additional $50 other manufacturers charge is for finish? Regardless, with no grips to support it, I put full thumb pressure on it to try to break it. Then I flipped it on and off 100 times or so, and it didn't loosen up. I believe that, by being held together with a screw and the tongue-in-groove setup being supported by the frame, it has an inherent strength other ambi safeties do not.

I would very much like to see someone like King's or Kimber take up this idea. If they combined this idea with their hammer pin retaining system, I believe lefties would finally have an excellent, extremely strong thumb safety which they could count on not to break. It would likely be way more durable than anything we have today.

I give it a 10 for quality, 5 for finish and a 7 for execution, but only because it wouldn't fit the RIA well, and I know the RIA to be in spec.

If you're looking for a good ambi safety and don't mind finishing it yourself, I'd recommend it highly due to the price. However, if you don't want to take the chance of it not fitting and don't want to be out $16.30 plus shipping (though I believe Numrich would let you return it), I'd recommend a King, Brown's or Kimber instead.

Josh <><

BigO01 07-29-2008 03:31 AM

Interesting , I have a question though .

Why didn't you just call Ivan at Armscor and ask if he would sell you one of the ambi safeties along with the extended frame pin they use on the Charles Daly's and I assume the tactical RIA's ?

Both of my Daly's have the ambis and I haven't had a complaint with either .

Never know he might have even sent it to you for free since you bought the gun .

Joshua M. Smith 07-29-2008 04:11 AM


I've had two break on me. The pin is supposed to be the weak link, but I've broken two at the joint, both in less than a week.

If you want a pin retained one (I prefer them), a King's is the best, followed by Kimber (what I went with as King's is backordered.) They both have the hammer pin as the retainer, and the setup is uber strong.

Josh <><

BigO01 07-29-2008 04:53 AM

HMM as much time as I spend on 1911 forums I have never heard of a rash of those parts failing or any for that matter on the Armscor made weapons .

Was the safety moving as freely as they are suppose to prior to breaking ?

Did it seem to you you had to exert an unusual amount of force to engage and disengage it ?

I am wondering if the off side that you don't use is perhaps poorly fitted and is hanging causing an unusual amount of pressure to be exerted on joint as you have to push harder to move it .

Other than your gun do you have experience with the 1911 design to have a feel for what is a correctly working safety ?

A correctly working 1911 safety should "click" as it is moved on and off with intentional pressure but not to be excessive at all , nor should it move so easily that you can do it by accident .

I ask because I have read a few posts of sticky safeties and Ivan has always asked the customer to send it in for repair .

I am assuming here that perhaps they had a period in which the frames weren't correctly cut for the safety's , causing these problems .

Joshua M. Smith 07-29-2008 09:05 AM

It's the safety. I did verify spring tension by handling every 1911 at the gunstore. As well, I've done extensive mods to my RIA 1911, including an STI ambi safety, then later when they got them in, a Kimber.

The safeties used by Armscor seem to be made by Mueschke. Those folks are not known for their quality.

There are three major types of safeties out there

Swenson style - this has the retaining tab which goes behind the grip panel

King/Kimber style - retains using a special hammer pin T/G setup

Colt style - retained by the sear pin, abandoned by Colt due to its fragile nature, now manufactured by Mueschke.

You might do a google search on the three.

I just use my 1911s hard. My carry pistol is regularly submerged in water while I'm working with my retriever. I get back to camp (where I'm usually at when working with my dog) and clean it with an Otis kit.

The two ambi safeties that I've used extensively and not failed on me thus far are are the Swenson style STI (made from bar stock from what I understand) and the Kimber (which is surprising as it feels cheap.)

The paddles are properly supported at the front as well. This is a must for extended and ambi safeties.

Josh <><

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