Cylinder & Slide's `Safety Fast Shooting Kit'   by David W. Arnold
Originally published in
1911 Handguns February 2000 Issue
Click on images to see larger size.

Carrying a single-action auto pistol like a Colt 1911 or a Browning Hi-Power is not something that everyone feels comfortable doing. Yes, I know the so-called "experts" claim that safety is in the mind and not in the gun. I have witnessed more accidental discharges with cocked and locked autos to convince me that it is not for everyone.

Over the years there have been several attempts to provide alternative methods to bringing auto pistols into action, such as the double-action trigger. Unfortunately, this system also has its detractors. Other methods that have had a limited amount of success are devices resembling thumb and grip safeties that are used to mechanically cock the hammer.

Several years ago FN introduced what the firm called a "fast-action" pistol. This was a Hi-Power with an action where the cocked hammer could be push-lowered and then raised and fired by pulling the trigger. Unlike conventional double-action autos, only a very light trigger pull was needed to do this. While these "fast-action" pistols were never produced in any great numbers, the Daewoo auto pistols from Korea have adopted this type of trigger.

Cylinder & Slide is importing the SFS (Safety Fast Shooting kit), which is a combination of the "fast-action" and the thumb safety cocking systems. The one shown here is a drop-in kit for the Browning HI-Power pistol, although a similar kit will be available later for the 1911 and its various clones. Although the unit is called a "drop-in" kit, Cylinder & Slide does state that it needs to be installed by a qualified gunsmith who is thoroughly familiar with the Browning Hi-Power pistol.

I was given a kit to evaluate as well as a Hi-Power with the kit already installed. The latter work was done by Cylinder & Slide. The kit, which is manufactured in Belgium, comes in a box complete with instructions and consists of a slide stop, hammer, hammer ring, return spring, sear, sear spring, SFS lever and left-cocking lever. All the parts displayed a very high quality of workmanship and had a black oxide finish. The pistol with unit installed looked just like any other Hi-Power except for the rather slim new hammer, slide stop and the ambidextrous cocking lever that looks just like an aftermarket ambidextrous thumb safety.

Although I did not actually shoot the pistol, I was very impressed with its operation. It is loaded in the normal way by inserting a magazine charged with ammunition and cycling the slide to charge the chamber. Once this is done, the hammer is cocked. It is easily lowered by pushing it forward to what would normally be the safety notch. To fire the pistol, the cocking lever is depressed with the thumb just like the thumb safety would be. It is operated with a surprisingly little amount of effort to cock the hammer; and now the pistol is ready to go. One interesting feature of the unit is that the safety  cannot be applied when the hammer is cocked, so Condition One carry is not an  option. The single action trigger pull that released the hammer was just on 41/2 pounds, although it seemed a lot lighter. In fact, it is one of the best trigger actions that I have experienced on any Hi-Power that I have handled.

"... it does everything
it claims it does by
providing a safe and
very easy way to fire
the first shot in a
single-action pistol..."

From my examination of the SFS kit, as installed in the pistol, it does everything it claims it does by providing a safe and very easy way to fire the first shot in a single-action pistol. The kit comes with a two-year guarantee, and the cost of having it installed by Cylinder & Slide-including shipping-is $62.00. (This price has changed, since the publication of this article, please visit our online store for the latest pricing.)  To order the kit or for more information, Contact Cylinder & Slide, Dept. GAH, 245 East 4th Street, Fremont, NE 68025;