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CZ Shadows / TSOs not drop safe


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1 minute ago, MHicks said:

How much worse would dropping a gun on concrete be compared to dirt or gravel as far as increasing the chance of a discharge?

That seems pretty obvious doesn’t it. The softer the surface the less energy gets transferred to the hammer, firing pin etc.

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50 minutes ago, SGT_Schultz said:

 

Somebody got killed because a handgun fell and struck the ground in a way that let the firing pin forward fast enough to discharge a round.

 

In light of that, the popularity of certain handgun designs seems irrelevant.

 

 

My comment was simply an observation, it wasn't a judgement for/against any particular design.

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1 hour ago, RangerTrace said:

This thread is pointed in the wrong direction.

 

Which direction would be the right one?  The one where "accidents happen" is just oh well?

 

A grip safety would not have prevented this one?  How about a firing pin block that won't release and won't let the firing pin move in any direction far enough to fire the gun unless the trigger is physically pulled?  I bet that would have

 

Unbelievable.

 

The OP started a thread to ask if CZ Shadows and TS/TSO pistols were or were not drop safe.  Since they don't have a firing pin block, I consider them not drop safe regardless of which end of the gun hits the ground first.

Edited by SGT_Schultz
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5 minutes ago, B_RAD said:

was the hammer cocked?

 

Does anyone know?

 

 

I read hammer down, but I don't really  *know* anything about it. Just what i have seen here

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8 hours ago, SGT_Schultz said:

That is the reason why I do not own, nor will ever own, a CZ without a firing pin block.  The presumed ever so slightly better trigger pull that can be obtained from them is irrelevant to me when weighed against the risk.

 

Same goes for CZs without decockers since I do not use any handgun in single action.

 

Weird. I'm the opposite.  I refuse to own a CZ with a firing pin block or decocker.  I think the trigger quality is worth the perceived safety risk.

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4 hours ago, FALAR said:

 

Weird. I'm the opposite.  I refuse to own a CZ with a firing pin block or decocker.  I think the trigger quality is worth the perceived safety risk.

The choice might not be yours after any investigations and criminal and/or civil actions are completed.

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This can quickly become a quagmire of "What If" scenarios that never end. In USPSA matches most of the CZ DA/SA guns are super tricked out with home brew trigger jobs, extended firing pins, reduced power hammer springs and usually require soft Federal primers to ignite reliably. They are also heavy guns to start off with and competitors add even more weight to them to reduce the felt recoil. This is a perfect storm scenario when it comes to the pistol failing to be fully drop safe. 

 

Obviously a finger can be pointed at the gun as the root cause of the issue. That can also be said about just about any gun used for competition given the right circumstances. Before we start pulling out the pitch forks and torches to come after the CZ pistols, an honest and realistic assessment of the user failure needs to be understood and evaluated. What was the failure that lead to the gun falling in the first place? Was the competitor in a rush to reholster the pistol after making ready? Were they not looking the gun down into the holster in a controlled and slow manner? Did the holster, hanger or belt fail in some manner causing the gun to dislodge from its secure position?

 

Over my tenure playing this came I have lost count of how many shooters I have seen smash their gun down into their holster after making ready. Doing it blind as well  and not even notice that a portion of their shirt got pulled into the holster as well. I have also seen several peoples holsters literally falling apart and holding on with only a couple very loose screws. Paying attention to what you are doing and maintaining your equipment to ensure its safe and reliable is very low on some competitors priority list. As fellow competitors all we can do is keep an eye on others bad habits or poor maintenance and offer them better solutions.

 

I am not trying to make light of the tragic loss of life that happened due to this dropped gun. It is a very tragic event that shouldn't have happened. At a bare minimum this should be a sobering reminder to us all that we participate in a sport where the tools used are in fact deadly weapons and always need to be treated with respect. I am not sure if we need to change the rules to account for what looks to be an obvious user error. But then again the majority of the rules we already have exist because of edge case scenarios where people had a problem with not doing what is obviously the right thing to do.

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3 hours ago, CHA-LEE said:

This can quickly become a quagmire of "What If" scenarios that never end. In USPSA matches most of the CZ DA/SA guns are super tricked out with home brew trigger jobs, extended firing pins, reduced power hammer springs and usually require soft Federal primers to ignite reliably. They are also heavy guns to start off with and competitors add even more weight to them to reduce the felt recoil. This is a perfect storm scenario when it comes to the pistol failing to be fully drop safe. 

 

Obviously a finger can be pointed at the gun as the root cause of the issue. That can also be said about just about any gun used for competition given the right circumstances. Before we start pulling out the pitch forks and torches to come after the CZ pistols, an honest and realistic assessment of the user failure needs to be understood and evaluated. What was the failure that lead to the gun falling in the first place? Was the competitor in a rush to reholster the pistol after making ready? Were they not looking the gun down into the holster in a controlled and slow manner? Did the holster, hanger or belt fail in some manner causing the gun to dislodge from its secure position?

 

Over my tenure playing this came I have lost count of how many shooters I have seen smash their gun down into their holster after making ready. Doing it blind as well  and not even notice that a portion of their shirt got pulled into the holster as well. I have also seen several peoples holsters literally falling apart and holding on with only a couple very loose screws. Paying attention to what you are doing and maintaining your equipment to ensure its safe and reliable is very low on some competitors priority list. As fellow competitors all we can do is keep an eye on others bad habits or poor maintenance and offer them better solutions.

 

I am not trying to make light of the tragic loss of life that happened due to this dropped gun. It is a very tragic event that shouldn't have happened. At a bare minimum this should be a sobering reminder to us all that we participate in a sport where the tools used are in fact deadly weapons and always need to be treated with respect. I am not sure if we need to change the rules to account for what looks to be an obvious user error. But then again the majority of the rules we already have exist because of edge case scenarios where people had a problem with not doing what is obviously the right thing to do.

 

Most elegantly stated.  This is So true in so many ways. I have asked people if they have a different holster to use or even different gun due to condition of the gear or their inability to use it comfortably and safely.

 This was a Horrific accident and my heart goes to the families involved.

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I'm a CZ Shadow shooter, and I have the extended firing pin in mine as well.  Although I am absolutely confident in my safety and handling skills, my biggest concern is making other shooters uncomfortable just by having a Shadow at matches after this....even though technically the same concern should apply to all Series 70 1911/2011's as well as any CZ Shadow 2, Tactical Sport Range/Czechmate.  I don't want to get into a conflict with other shooters but at the same time I don't want to make them uncomfortable.

 

Only thing that somewhat eases the concern is that I won't be shooting many more matches for a while because of conserving ammo, so maybe it won't be such an issue when/if things pick back up.

Edited by MoRivera
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As someone who just invested in a Shadow 2 OR for Carry Optics, this is concerning.  I wasn't aware of this potential drop issue until now.  Is there anything I can do to mitigate the risk, besides putting on aggressive grips and being extra careful?  This has me considering whether I should change platforms.

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Wouldn't a CZ/Series 70 have to be dropped on its muzzle to provide enough momentum for the firing pin to keep going and ignite a primer?  If so, then it sounds like the bullet ricocheted up to hit the SO.

 

Edit: scratch that...if the hammer was fully down and resting on firing pin, then drop on hammer could have done it.  If so I agree with the aforementioned idea of at lest letting the hammer start on partially-cocked position.

Edited by MoRivera
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In my experience, if/when the thumb safety is engaged the 1911/2011 and CZ's, Beretta's and Witness's are all safe even if dropped-- that said, of course anything can be broken. Also, I have seen many people drop a this type of gun cocked, without the thumb safety engaged and the gun did not discharge.

 

The issue in my opinion is putting the hammer past half-cock onto the firing pin as a start position. This is a rule change that needs to be addressed ASAP. 

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10 minutes ago, Koppi said:

In my experience, if/when the thumb safety is engaged the 1911/2011 and CZ's, Beretta's and Witness's are all safe even if dropped-- that said, of course anything can be broken. Also, I have seen many people drop a this type of gun cocked, without the thumb safety engaged and the gun did not discharge.

 

The issue in my opinion is putting the hammer past half-cock onto the firing pin as a start position. This is a rule change that needs to be addressed ASAP. 

The issue is that the thumb safety on CZ Shadow/TS and Series 70 1911/2011's doesn't block the firing pin, only the trigger/sear mechanism.  So theoretically under inertia it can still move forward enough to make contact with the primer.  At least that's why manufacturers include firing pin blocks in pistol designs, something that isn't incorporated in CZ Shadow/TS's and Series 70 1911's.  Combine that with extended firing pins and lighter firing pin springs for more reliable ignition with lighter hammer springs, and again theoretically you increase the chances of a discharge from momentum if dropped.  From the sounds of it, it's happened.

Edited by MoRivera
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26 minutes ago, Eric_T said:

As someone who just invested in a Shadow 2 OR for Carry Optics, this is concerning.  I wasn't aware of this potential drop issue until now.  Is there anything I can do to mitigate the risk, besides putting on aggressive grips and being extra careful?  This has me considering whether I should change platforms.

Don't run an extended firing pin, use the factory short one.  Use the factory firing pin spring.   Short "inertial" firing pins are for this kind of situation.

 

Yeah, you might need a heavier hammer spring. That's the tradeoff.

 

IIRC when CA mandated drop-testing of 1911s, some got by using titanium firing pins.  Maybe something else to look into, although that might help more with muzzle-down drops.

 

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2 minutes ago, MoRivera said:

The issue is that the thumb safety on CZ Shadow/TS and Series 70 1911/2011's doesn't black the firing pin only the trigger/sear mechanism, so theoretically under inertia it can still move forward enough to make contact with the primer.  At least that's why manufacturers include firing pin blocks in pistol designs.  Combine that with extended firing pins and lighter firing pin springs for more reliable ignition with lighter hammer springs, and again theoretically you increase the chances of a discharge from momentum if dropped.  From the sounds of it, it's happened.

 

Exactly.  On a 1911/2011, the grip safety blocks movement of the trigger, and the thumb safety blocks movement of the sear.  If the hammer falls off the sear, it should end up in the half-cock notch.  Neither safety blocks movement of the firing pin if there's sufficient inertial force.  As Mo stated, the combination of extended firing pins and light firing pin springs increases the risk if dropped.  Unfortunately, that combination is very popular because it's an easy way to get a lighter trigger vs. proper hammer/sear work.

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I might replace my extended firing pins with stock in my Shadows.  Unfortunately yeah, I might have to up the hammer spring as well since I run a lot of Blazer Brass with CCI primers, one of the reasons why I went with the extended pin to begin with.

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The other thing is if this was USPSA and it was a CZ Shadow, then he had to start hammer fully down which is resting on the firing pin.  So even though it would take a fall straight on the muzzle provide forward momentum of a firing pin, a drop on a fully-lowered hammer might have been enough to push the firing pin it was resting on (although once the hammer is down there's not a lot of extra rearward space to move).  So either the bullet ricocheted up from the floor, or the gun landed on a lowered hammer.  So in the case of the latter, I also agree with the earlier suggestion of allowing the guns to start in the partially-cocked position.

Edited by MoRivera
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14 minutes ago, ltdmstr said:

 

Exactly.  On a 1911/2011, the grip safety blocks movement of the trigger, and the thumb safety blocks movement of the sear.  If the hammer falls off the sear, it should end up in the half-cock notch.  Neither safety blocks movement of the firing pin if there's sufficient inertial force.  As Mo stated, the combination of extended firing pins and light firing pin springs increases the risk if dropped.  Unfortunately, that combination is very popular because it's an easy way to get a lighter trigger vs. proper hammer/sear work.

In terms of the trigger, from what I can tell it's really more about the double-action pull when it comes to lighter hammer spring.  When I had a Tac Sport (Blue...essentailly same as Orange), I actually preferred the 16- to 18-lb spring because it gave a bit more crispness to what was already a crazy light single-action-only trigger break.  Whereas in my Shadow I prefer an 11.5-lb because I'm often firing that double-action.  I've felt some with 8-lb hammer springs that bring the double-action down to like 5-6lbs, and that's nuts.  No wonder they need an extend pin.

 

So for my Shadow, I might go with standard firing pin/firing pin spring and up the hammer spring to 13-lb and see how reliable the ignition is with CCI Blazers which I shoot a lot.  May have to switch to Federal while I'm still shooting factory stuff.  If it turns out the the rules will allow starting from the partially-cocked double action hammer position, then it will at least ease the heavier double-action pull a bit.

 

But let's not panic yet.

Edited by MoRivera
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9 minutes ago, Racinready300ex said:

Having them start at half cock seems like a reasonable thing to do if something must be done. The decocker guys are running from half cock anyway aren't they? I guess it's something to bring up to a AD. 

Yes, a CZ with a decocker is allowed to start at half-cock because that is where the decocker lowers to.  Strangely, a Beretta doesn't lower to its half-cock even though it has one, and a Sig has a hammer that 'rests' back from the firing pin unless trigger fully depressed.

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1 hour ago, Koppi said:

In my experience, if/when the thumb safety is engaged the 1911/2011 and CZ's, Beretta's and Witness's are all safe even if dropped-- that said, of course anything can be broken. Also, I have seen many people drop a this type of gun cocked, without the thumb safety engaged and the gun did not discharge.

 

The issue in my opinion is putting the hammer past half-cock onto the firing pin as a start position. This is a rule change that needs to be addressed ASAP. 

 

Hammer position (fully-cocked, half-cocked, or "fully down on the firing pin") would make no difference in preventing a discharge if the gun is dropped onto a hard surface.  There is one exception that I'll hit later, although it's not really in the realm of plausible.

 

Most modern guns have a floating firing pin that uses inertia to actually travel past the point of contact with the hammer, going that last 32nd of an inch or so until impact with the primer.

 

When a pistol is dropped and all the stars align, the impact onto the ground stops the gun.  That inertial firing pin can keep moving forward, no matter where the hammer is at the moment or whether a Thumb Safety or Grip Safety is engaged, and discharge the chambered round. 

 

Firing Pin Safeties do prevent this type of discharge, but like has been mentioned before, a gamut of guns that we use in competition don't have this feature (STI's, Series 70s, Shadows, Hi Powers, just to name a few.). 

 

As far as Extended Firing Pins, I would go so far as to say that they actually might be safer.  As long as the Pin is not so long that it actually protrudes out of the breechface while the hammer is resting upon it, then it would have less room to get a running start and gain momentum before impacting the primer. 

 

Here's the aforementioned exception:  Some Open guns do have firing pins that protrude when the hammer is resting on it.  This is done to regulate primer flow back into the Firing Pin Hole.  If a round was loaded in the chamber and the hammer was lowered to fully-down (Jeff Cooper's "Condition Two"), and the gun was then dropped in such a way that it landed on the hammer, we'd likely have a discharge.  But, that is a scenario that would likely never happen.  I can't see any reason to load a gun in that manner, especially in the competition arena.

 

I say all that to say this:  This incident, tragic as it is, doesn't require rule changes or equipment changes.  I will never be flippant about safety issues, but this was simply an unfortunate accident.  Like has been said before, we are utilizing deadly weapons in an athletic manner; there is a certain amount of inherent risk.

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