A Nurse with a Gun

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Defender/Commander Grip Safety

I was unable to find a source for an old style "nubbin" Commander grip safety, so I decided to make my own. I found an old "duckbill" grip safety, and I trimmed the tail so the tang was the width of a standard GI style part. Click to enlargeNext, I removed the grip safety from an early Commander that had the profile I desired.

I transferred the profile from the Commander safety to the work piece with a fine point marker. I roughed in the shape with several cuts using a cut-off wheel on my Dremel. Finally, I used a sanding wheel to give myself the finished profile, going slowly and checking the appearance frequently.

I dehorned the underside of my new grip safety, as well as the slide of the pistol. I reinstalled the safety along with a Nowlin "Speed Demon" hammer and went to test fire the pistol. The narrow Nowlin hammer combined with the wider tang of the attenuated grip safety was enough to prevent hammer bite. A trip to the local motorcycle shop with five bucks a six pack of Bud yielded a bead blasting to the part so it will match the rest of the pistol.

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Blogger Mark said...

Wow, that's a lot of work. The easiest way to make a Commander safety is to take a Government safety and then just mill a small notch into it.

At least this is how the safety on my Colt officer looks, there is a small "swoop" at the end to allow clearence for the Commander type hammer.

5:40 PM  
Blogger Old NFO said...

Nice! Hopefully you gave him the beer AFTER the part was done :-)

7:20 PM  
Blogger Xavier said...

When you already have one type of grip safety in your parts box, why order another type just to change it? Modify what you have to make it what you want.

7:50 PM  
Anonymous OrangeNeckInNY said...

I just recently got a Kimber 1911 Custom Eclipse II and I have no idea what hammer bite is. Then again, I have small hands and went with slim grips on the gun, so would that be the reason why I don't have to worry about hammer bite?

12:20 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Hammer bite

1:03 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nice work!

5:24 AM  
Anonymous OrangeNeckInNY said...

Ah, the hammer on my 1911 doesn't look like the one you linked me to. The hammer on my gun is round and looks like this: http://www.kimberamerica.com/pistols/eclipse/eclipse_custom_II/
No chance for the hammer to bite me there, but it looks painful.

4:55 PM  
Anonymous Nancy said...

Sounds like a lot of work but it seems worth it.

5:00 AM  
Blogger Dave said...


It looks great! Does your defender have a composite (i.e., plastic) main spring housing?

Shortly after I got my New Agent this last summer, I found that Brownells carries an aluminum MSH, made by VZ Grips, for Officer's ACPs ( http://www.brownells.com/aspx/ns/store/productdetail.aspx?p=23737 ). I changed that out, just as a preference.

10:56 AM  
Blogger Xavier said...

Dave, both the Defender and the New Agent have the plastic MSH. I was keeping them just to keep the weight down. If I can get an aluminum MSH though.........

Thanks buddy, you're costing me money!

3:35 PM  

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