Duck Bill vs Beaver Tail Grip Safety

Discussion in 'General 1911 talk' started by Fogbank, Mar 13, 2020.

  1. Fogbank

    Fogbank New Member

    Jan 13, 2016
    Does anyone else prefer a Duck Bill grip safety to a Beaver Tail safety? Also is there any reason a DB can't be fit in place of a BT grip safety on a 1911? I only see BT's on 1911 sites that sell 1911 parts/components. TY
  2. jakebrake

    jakebrake middle aged white guy

    Mar 27, 2013
    by "duck bill safety", are You referring to a standard 1911 (as John Moses Browning designed) grip safety, or, a Schwartz safety, customarily found on Kimbers?

    not to sound like a creep, but, in either, I believe You would be in the minority.

  3. jakebrake

    jakebrake middle aged white guy

    Mar 27, 2013
    also, if You favor the "classic" grip safety, Numrich has them
    41 Charlie likes this.
  4. Cop_Out

    Cop_Out Pearl Pimp Supporting Addict

    Feb 3, 2017
    I think he means the safety in the bottom gun. The pic isn't mine, it came from a google search.
    blamo, Dub and WC145 like this.
  5. WC145

    WC145 Every day is Saturday and every night's a party!

    Jan 1, 2013
    The "duck bill" is kind of like the the grips safeties that Colt put on the early Enhanced models. Wilson and Pachmayr made their own versions, as did others. I think the point was that they worked with spur hammers instead of just Commander style rowel hammers. They were flatter and angled downwards instead of up like a beavertail. I think the biggest practical difference, other than appearance, is that the DB doesn't allow as high a grip on the gun as a BT does.
    Nick Rice, Dub, Capthobo and 3 others like this.
  6. rmac

    rmac Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Jan 26, 2016
    Still available in the Clark/Wilson style but now made with a .220” radius, for easier fitting to more frames, instead of the old compound radius.
    K.C.’s MEUSOC recreations use them. 8CEB0C43-E355-48A7-A988-371061EBD6E1.jpeg
    41 Charlie and wrmiller like this.
  7. WC145

    WC145 Every day is Saturday and every night's a party!

    Jan 1, 2013
    The one on the Springfield is the old Wilson drop in version, I've got a rubber coated Pachmayr around here somewhere also.
  8. dakota1911

    dakota1911 Well-Known Member

    Feb 19, 2015
    That is an old picture of mine. Colt used them for years on many of their models. A more update picture is my old 2002 Colt Defender in 45 on top and my 2010 Colt Defender in 9mm on the bottom. These both came with the Houge wrap around rubber grips and I have changed those out a couple times and today they have the wood stocks in the picture below. My hand is O.K. with the "duckbill" but I know a lot of folk do not like them.


    Another unloved grip safety is the "rat tail" grip safety that Colt used on many models for many years. Below on a 2007 Colt Commander on which I put some new stocks my daughter ordered off the Colt website years ago as a gift for me back when Colt sold them there.


    I think before the "duck bill" Colt did use a "beaver tail" with a ridge up the back which they sourced from Caspian and which I think Caspian still makes.
    ronin11, Dub and WC145 like this.
  9. Moad

    Moad Edge of Glory

    Sep 4, 2011
    Sorry.....but I think they are Colt GCT.....some day hoping to have a beaver tail installed. IMG_0290.jpg IMG_0291.jpg IMG_0292.jpg
    july19 likes this.
  10. rmac

    rmac Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Jan 26, 2016
    The safety has a compound radius and Colt did not cut their tangs to match.
    The Duckbill’s made now use a .220” radius and are much easier to fit.
    Dub, 41 Charlie and Moad like this.
  11. ZoidMeister

    ZoidMeister Consider my signature line before replying . . . .

    Dec 4, 2014
  12. rmac

    rmac Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Jan 26, 2016
    gps man, Moad and ZoidMeister like this.
  13. 41 Charlie

    41 Charlie Get off my lawn...

    Feb 4, 2014
    Always in style... :cigar:

    gps man, ronin11, Dub and 2 others like this.
  14. rmac

    rmac Well-Known Member Supporting Addict

    Jan 26, 2016
    Ed, that’s my favorite grip safety extension. Next favorite is to grind the extension off even with the tangs.
    Finally mastered the ability to tolerate all others.
    gps man and 41 Charlie like this.
  15. july19

    july19 Womb? Weary? He rests. He has travelled. Supporting Addict

    Sep 16, 2013
    So... the Duckbill resembles a duck with its head pointing down and doesn’t fit Colt tangs.
  16. jcc7x7

    jcc7x7 Well-Known Member

    Nov 2, 2019
    I've got two older builds with "Duckbills" on them and they handle and shoot just fine.
    Somewhere in time past I started buying the "highgrip" safeties and don't remember what era that was LOL
    Think I still have two new ones in the parts bins!
    ZoidMeister likes this.
  17. fieldgrade

    fieldgrade resident crank

    Mar 13, 2017
    356B9283-48D9-4A6A-976E-7AAA2BF66B80.jpeg Late 80’s-early 90’s Colt duckbill before...
    And after, with a few other updates:
    WC145, ronin11, jcc7x7 and 2 others like this.
  18. jcc7x7

    jcc7x7 Well-Known Member

    Nov 2, 2019
    fieldgrade like the updates look snazzy
    fieldgrade likes this.
  19. Nick Rice

    Nick Rice Well-Known Member

    Feb 2, 2017
    Stock or Beavertail for me. Besides being ugly I just can't get a good high enough grip. I bought a used 1989 SA that was bone stock except the previous owner put one on and I immediately had my smith change it back after one range trip along with a tune up. I was glad he kept it and included it with the sale.

    Sent from my SM-G970U using Tapatalk
    Last edited: Mar 16, 2020
  20. Fogbank

    Fogbank New Member

    Jan 13, 2016
    Fellow Addics,
    I am surprised at the number of replies to my query. I was not able to clearly see the many the many pictures sent. 41 Charlie had the clearest picture of a 1911-A1 (thank you for your photographic skill 41 Charlie). The Duck Bill was standard on the original 1911 WW1 but was extended in 1926 when it became the 1911-A1 along with slightly larger sights, scallopped relief at the side of the trigger and the arched MSH.
    41 Charlie likes this.

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