1911 Ambidextrous Thumb Safeties
Being a left handed shooter the ability to operate a pistols safety with efficiency is always a concern. Fortunately for 1911 shooters there’s a wide variety of ambidextrous safeties available for the 1911. Below we will look at a few examples available from typical sources such as Brownells.
The ambidextrous thumb safeties come in what can be classified as four basic categories.
Compact thumb safeties are what is typical of most GI 1911 pistols. The length usually does not surpass the notch in the slide. The body is well radiused. The ambidextrous version is simply a mirror of the stock right handed thumb safety. The compact thumb safety is a good choice for concealed carry and informal shooting . It would be a poor choice for competitive shooting.
Extended thumb safeties as their name implies are substantially longer than the stock GI safeties. Additionally depending on the manufacturer the wight of the thumb pad might be increased over the typical stock thumb safety. These are probably the most common aftermarket thumb safety for the 1911. The extended thumb safeties are suitable for target and competitive shooting. If an extended thumb safety is used on a pistol for concealed carry purposes care should be taken to select a model with a narrow profile as to not snag on clothing or accidentally actuate while holstering and unholstering the weapon.
Tactical extended thumb safeties are similar to the extended thumb safeties mentioned above. The difference being the tactical models are a narrow profile and contoured for concealed carry, law enforcement and similar uses.
The wide extended ambidextrous safety is exactly as its name implies. These thumb safeties are long like the extended thumb safeties but have very wide pads for your thumb. The wide extended thumb safeties have one purpose. That purpose is competition and action shooting where speed is counted in hundredths of a second.
Safety: Like many other firearm accessories are not “drop in” even if advertised as such. The ambidextrous safeties do require some fitting and that fitting should only be performed by someone who knows what they are going. If you choose to install it yourself at the very least have a qualified gunsmith review your work