Condition five? What's this?
Has Handgunner gone loony? No quite, although there'd be
those who might argue the point. That ner-do-well,
Bill Laughridge of the Cylinder & Slide Shop offers
the SFS kit that gives you a new option for safe, low
profile carry of your single-action auto. Really.
Let's say I told you there was and
easy-to-install "thingy" which would magically
transform your car or truck from manual to automatic
transmission. Better yet, it's reversible, so you
could go back to shifting and such. Well, I'd be
lying, because there isn't such a thing.
But, this being American Handgunner, and
not Wheels and Tires Magazine so let's talk pistols, not
trucks. As it happens, there is a
"thingy" that makes and equally dramatic
change in your 1911 or Hi-Power. Bill calls it the
SFS (Safety Fast Shooting) kit and he professes it has a
bit of magic inside. Typical Bill, of course.
Once installed, this clever conversation
allows you to place your pistol in the instant-readiness
of "condition one," but without a visibly
cocked hammer. Huh?
Why does it matter, anyway? In a
day where double action and striker-fired autopistols
are the norm, carrying a cocked gun raises eyebrows
among the uniformed. Also, there are circumstances
--- a pistol stored in a bedside drawer for example ---
where "cocked and locked" may not be the best
choice, yet the pistol must be instantly ready.
Easy as Eatin' Peanuts
Here's how it works. After
installing the SFS conversion in your Hi-Power or 1911
(fits series 80 pistols too), you make-ready by loading
the pistol in the normal manner, then simply push the
hammer spur forward until it rests against the
slide. The larger ambidextrous safety will rise
automatically into the safe position. When ready
to fire, simply disengage the safety and the hammer will
snap smartly to full-cock. Ready to make
safe? Just push the hammer forward --- it's that
The next question you should be asking
is, "Will I have to retrain?" The answer
is a big "no," and a smaller
"yes." Because wiping off the safety
makes the pistol ready to fire just as it always has, there's
no danger of flubbing under pressure if you are forced
to shoot for your life. However, old salts may at
first find themselves trying in vain to snick the safety
on before holstering. No worries mate, that's just
your reminder to reach for the hammer spur and press it
home to the safe position.
Double Safe & Good
There's another significant advantage to
installing the SFS conversion. It adds a positive
hammer block safety to pre MkIII Hi-Powers and to 1911's
lacking such a feature. Is this a big deal?
Virtually every modern pistol design incorporates some
way to block the hammer from firing the pistol, so maybe
there's some merit to the idea.
Can you install the SFS kit
yourself? Yes, if you're capable of detail
stripping and reassembling your pistol --- that means
down to the last pin. Otherwise, have your local
'smithy do it. It's a simple job and the cost will
be minimal. Have him scrub the cobwebs out while
he's got it apart and you'll be doing two good things
for your pistol.
I'm not one to latch on to every
"latest and greatest" whizbang that comes
along (there's no Kydex in my holster drawer), but when
it comes to the SFS conversion, I'm well,
converted. Try one and you'll be too!