Being a southpaw shooter, ambi safeties are a must for me when it comes to pistols. But when it comes to 1911′s, the traditional ambi safety just isn’t all that durable. It works great for right handed shooters who want to be able to operate the safety using their lefthand on occasion, but they don’t tend to hold up all that well for a left handed shooter. Over time, the tongue and groove type joint that mates the two halves together, tend to losen up and are prone to failure. I’ve had to have a safety refitted or replaced more than once over the years. So when Wilson Combat released their Bullet Proof Ambi Safety a while back, I was so impressed by the design, I promised that the next 1911 I got would be equipped with one.
So what’s the big deal? Two things. One, the tongue and groove joint design has been replaced with a half-lap joint that spreads the torsional forces of operating the safety across the entire length of the pin between the two halves of the safety. Where in the traditional design, the tongue and groove joint is the weak link. The second feature that I love, is how the right half of the safety is retained. Instead of the little tab that rides behind the right side stock to retain the right half of the safety, the Wilson Combat BP Ambi Safety uses a special hammer pin with a screw in one end to retain the right half. It’s a little difficult to describe, so I’ll let the following picture do it for me. Note the slot on the inside face of the right side safety switch that engages the screw in the hammer pin.
Wilson Combat did a excellent job on the finish.
The fit between the two halves of the safety is extremely precise. So precise, that it is very difficult to see where the two parts join together.
Here the Hammer pin has been inserted. Note the little screwdriver slot in the pin which is used to keep the pin from rotating when adjusting the retaining screw on the other end.
This little screw in the end of the hammer pin is used to retain the right half of the safety. You install it with blue lock-tite, adjusting it so that the safety operates smoothly with very little end play. The hammer pin can be removed with the screw in place.
The retaining screw has been adjusted and the right side tested for fit and function.
Testing the fit of the left side. I was fortunate that the safety fit perfectly right out of the package, and passed all function and safety checks. I was not looking forward to fitting the safety, but it turned out to be a non-issue. In fact, if any fitting had been required, I probably would have started to search for a qualified gunsmith to fit it for me. The price to have a gunsmith do it right, would be a lot less than spending another $160 to replace the one I screw up.
Here it is with the left side installed, getting ready to put everything back together. Make sure you do a full function/safety check before fully reassembling, or you’ll just find your self tearing it apart again.
All Done an looking pretty. The factory blued safety looked pretty good, but the Wilson Combat Bullet Proof safety make it look pretty lame.
How does it operate? It is fantastic. The safety flicks off and on with authority and has just the right amount of resistance between engaged and disengaged. There is no play in the safety whatsoever. The levers are significantly smaller than the factory lever, but it is just about perfect for me. They give just the right balance of enough to operate easily, but not so much that it interferes with carry or increasing the chance of accidentally disengaging the safety while carrying. I really like it.
For me, since I’m a lefty shooter who must rely on that safety lever to work 100% of the time, the Wilson Combat Bullet Proof Ambi Safety is worth every penny I paid for it. I’m not saying other safety designs are crap, but I will never work with with the traditional design ambi safety again. Yes, this one is that good.