View Full Version : Drop-in ambi thumb safety for Colt 1911's?

12-24-2014, 12:58 PM
A well-known retailer in Southern California recently had a special one-day price on new 1991 Series Colts.

Because I am left-handed, I've avoided all 1911s except those that have ambidextrous thumb safeties, so I did not seriously consider such a purchase. However, it was suggested the simple solution would be to purchase an ambidextrous thumb safety and 'drop it in'.

For future reference, I'd like to know if it's really that 'simple' and what would be the estimated cost of doing so, with separate recitation of parts and gunsmith services, if necessary?

And does such a modification really work okay on Colts?


12-24-2014, 1:15 PM
You really should get one of these ambis, you'll find that the rest of the 1911 controls are actually very easy for a lefty to operate.
You can also get an ambi or reverse mag release.

There are two fitting operations that may be needed for a "drop-in" ambi.
This is more because of all the different makers of 1911s, not that the parts are bad.
1. There is a nub on the left side piece that blocks the hammer.
This nub may require some slow and careful filing to make it just clear your hammer.
It might drop right it and need nothing, but you must be sure it functions correctly.
2. You will likely need a shallow relief / notch at the inside top rear of your right grip for the paddle that holds the right side of the safety in.
You might find that your grips already have the notch.

There are ambis that don't have a paddle but these require some minor frame mods to fit.

Ambi pricing is $40-100 depending on style and finish.
On many the right side lever is narrower than the left, they do make wide right side versions that may be better for you.

I have no idea what a smith would charge, it's about an hour's work.

12-24-2014, 1:20 PM
No such thing as a "drop-in" 1911 thumb safety unless it has been pre-fit by someone for another gun and miraculously it fits your gun as well. They are all made a little big to be filed/fitted.

12-24-2014, 1:21 PM
There should be a drop-in but I would research them and would not buy
the cheapest one(calguns style):rolleyes: that comes up.I would look at getting one
from Wilson and I'm sure it won't be the cheapest but will probably be
more reliable.:cool2: I'm not left handed and I removed the one from my Colt XSE
to go with a regular Colt safety. I don't know who makes the Colt one but
as I recall,I did not like the way it fit.:( Your right grip panel will also have to be cut
to allow the ambi safety to function. I've got some nice Colt wood grips that
are already cut,if you go that way send me a PM I will give you a pic and price:) Pete


12-28-2014, 2:43 PM
Thanks for info, guys! I'll just stick with my Citadel 1911 for the time being.

Too much involved price and time-wise to consider ambi safety with traditional 1911s, but thanks! This is why I avoided 1911s in the past.

It ain't all that 'fun' being a leftie. :(

12-28-2014, 5:18 PM

Not that big of a deal. Purchase the one you like, get a pair of ambi grips, find a local 1911 lover (that knows how to work on them) and get it installed.

12-28-2014, 6:03 PM
Generally, there is no such thing as a drop-in safety and rightfully so. That said, my Kimber ambi dropped into my Kimber 1911 right out of the packaging and yes, it passed all the checks.

12-31-2014, 11:33 AM
Wilson 'bullet proof' ambi dropped right in on my Colt defender. Expensive, but functions flawlessly.

12-31-2014, 11:40 AM
Yep, I've fitted many thumb safeties from Ed Brown, C&S, Wilson Combat, and Colt, and I have always had to hand shape the lug to properly function.

12-31-2014, 12:36 PM
No such thing as a "drop-in" 1911 thumb safety unless it has been pre-fit by someone for another gun and miraculously it fits your gun as well. They are all made a little big to be filed/fitted.

This. But that being said, I'd highly recommend the Wilson Combat Bulletproof Ambi.

01-08-2015, 11:32 AM
I was just in your exact position a few days ago when got my non-ambi colt 1911 LWT commander .38 super. bought the kit from Amazon for 58 bucks shipped (2day shipping). Installed it in less than an hour while watching an episode of Sons of Anarchy. no problems at all very little effort needed. maybe too much info on my lack of consentration on just that one thing but its meant to help u understand how easy it is. Now u gotta know that I am a sheetmetal/machinist for a living but on aircraft parts not guns at all. easy to understand. Half the battle honestly in my opinion is remmbering how to put the thing back together lol. I got Another gun to do in the next few days..

01-08-2015, 11:34 AM
If you find a truly universal drop in 1911 safety, please let me know.

01-08-2015, 11:34 AM
oh and my ambi kit from amazon is a wilson combat extended wide kit in stainless to match my guns.

01-08-2015, 11:45 AM
Since I am also left handed, I'd highly recommend something like the King's safety. It uses the hammer pin to stop the safety's rotation (doesn't put additional stress on the clevis joint and it doesn't need the grips to be relieved.

01-08-2015, 1:40 PM
Look at the rock island armory safety. It uses a different sear pin to secure the right side lever. Still going to have to possibly fit on the hammer. But no mods to any part of gun or grip. Just change safety and sear pin

01-08-2015, 8:20 PM
They are very easy to fit.

Follow the directions, and check function OFTEN. Just replace the left side lever by itself without the spring system to check- it goes much easier and quicker that way.