honor guard

Earlier today, we ran a post on The Firearm Rack’s outing of Honor Defense’s Honor Guard pistol as failing the most basic impact and drop safety tests. Just as TTAG did when we heard the same reports about the SIG P320, we grabbed a gun ourselves and tested it . . .

Sure enough, I was able to duplicate Patrick’s results. The Honor Guard is not, in fact, drop safe. In my tests, it couldn’t sustain even a relatively minor impact to the rear of the slide without releasing the striker.

Forget the inevitable debate about whose fault that is and how “stupid” you have to be to drop a gun (just see the comments under our earlier post). I’d now be concerned about simply carrying an Honor Guard in a holster.

If the gun is hit by a door or if you trip and fall the wrong way or get hit by a fly ball, it’s at risk of discharge. Sure, those scenarios are relatively unlikely. But the Honor Guard discharging from a strike to the rear of the slide isn’t all that unlikely. And that’s a problem.

To test the pistol, I pulled bullets from a few rounds of 9mm ammunition and dumped the powder out. That left me with primed, but otherwise empty cases.

I inserted a case into the Honor Guard — this one sent to me by Honor Defense, by the way, to replace a malfunctioning Honor Guard that had trigger problems (see video above) — then dropped the slide and proceeded to whack it with a rubber mallet.

Boom! It was shocking how light of an impact was required to drop the striker.

I put a pair of socks over the muzzle to act as a suppressor — a sockpressor, if you will — so as not to disturb the neighbors. The results of one primer-only discharge can be seen above. Lots of carbon out the muzzle.

Patrick of The Firearm Rack (previously of TFB) informed Honor Defense of the drop safety problem earlier this summer. So I found the note included in the Honor Guard’s case regarding their gun lock ironic, under the circumstances.

“But, safety should be your utmost concern.”

Yes. Yes it should. For consumers and manufacturers alike.

Patrick’s video:

57 COMMENTS

    • “I inserted a case into the Honor Guard… then dropped the slide and proceeded to whack it with a rubber mallet.

      Boom! It was shocking how light of an impact was required to drop the striker.”

      • A bit misleading article. The Honor Guard had previously submit this gun for drop test and it passed at 4 ft drop to all sides of the pistol.
        I calculate about 5.5 foot pounds of pressure from this test.
        Your hammer test is most likely over 10 foot pounds. Double the standard for guns.
        The question should be “should the standards be revamped?”

    • @Texheim — How hard of an impact do you require before you consider a gun to be unsafe? Falling from two feet up? Waist height? Top of safe height? The P320 would discharge when impacting a hard floor from waist height. The Honor Guard goes off with less.

    • The California standard for drop safety testing is 1 meter + 1 cm (39.8″), so roughly 4″ higher than waist height, on to a concrete slab.

  1. My low cost, cheap, affordable, Hi Point 45 has no problems. It seems these guns from “high quality” gun makers seem to have problems.
    Are the big boys cutting corners???

    • Apples and oranges, my friend. The Highpoint is also twice as heavy and large. A better comparison would be Taurus 709 Slim.

    • The short answer is probably. I’d be surprised if Honor Guard didn’t know about these issues.

      Hopefully they do the right thing and issue a recall ASAP.

    • ANY GUNMAKER controlled by ‘the freedom group’, Cerberus Asset Management, or in any other way connected to George Soros make shoddy, worthless products that should never be used or carried. Jennings, Hipoints, and Tauruses are worlds better than anything made by soroscorp…

  2. whats that? you say your car has faulty seatbelts and if the airbag deploys it could jettison a metal plate capable of decapitating you? quit your whining. simply dont crash your car, idiot. duh.

  3. Being as huge of a fan of striker pistols as I am, and being too lazy to look it up, do the Honor Guard and P320s fully cock the striker? Because I have a hard time seeing a Glock style striker that leaves the striker half cocked igniting the primer even if the firing pin dropped.

    • As far as I know the XD pistols are only striker fired pistols that fully cock the striker when it cycles. That is why it has a grip safety. On the SiG the trigger’s inertia actual fired the gun if it was dropped from a sufficient hieght at the right angle. SiG fixed it by reducing the mass of the trigger. I assume the Honor Guard has the same problem.

      • Negative. Many pistols have the striker either fully cocked or cocked sufficiently to fire the primer from there. The P320’s trigger was not traveling far enough to fire the gun, nor is the Honor Guard’s. On the P320 — and this was especially apparent in SIG’s own high speed video footage — the trigger was barely moving rearward enough to clear the striker block plunger safety. The impact pops the striker off the sear, and because the plunger is out of the way the striker reaches the primer. I assume similar is happening here, as there’s no way these little mallet whacks are overcoming the 8.25 lb trigger in this gun. For reliability reasons, guns have to be capable of firing short of being 100% cocked as the striker/firing pin has to be able to ignite even a harder-than-usual primer. The difference in these photos between the soft Federal primer and whatever is in the SinterFire rounds is apparent. I’m confident the striker here was releasing well before it was fully cocked, but clearly still has enough energy to ignite a round.

    • Please no.

      I don’t want to be that guy.

      I would prefer to be the guy that really tries to see if something has a flaw and shares it as accurately as possible. I don’t monetize my videos and really don’t care about subscriber numbers for any other reason than to get my message out to people that spend real money on this stuff.

    • Correcto mundo, as someone famously says. Either a revolver or a pistol like the SIG P-250, hammer-fired with no spur on the flush hammer and DAO. There is simply no way for that weapon to fire if dropped, even from the roof of your house. Hammer-fired weapons are inherently safer than those that are striker-fired. I’ve always thought that and this video only strengthens my conviction.

  4. Thank you for establishing the not so much used any more scientific principle of duplicating the experiment to establish the validity of reported results.

    I’ll stick to my 1911’s and CZ’s.

  5. I think I’ll stick with my (striker fired) DA/SA Walther P99 carried decocked. Never did like the idea of having the energy to fire the first round stored in the gun, I’ll provide it with my trigger finger when needed.

  6. No different than a Govt Model with series 70 lockwork.

    Series 80 had a firing pin block. Not as crisp as a 70 series, but drop safe.

    • Very true, an original pattern (Series 70) 1911 is not very drop safe either. That is why I always prefer to buy a Series 80 or one employing the Swartz system that uses the grip safety to deactivate the firing pin plunger. But given the “Series 70” 1911 was a design born during the Edwardian era, one would think that over 100 years later in the 21st century,, a newly designed gun would and should successfully address such a shortcoming.

  7. Herein lies an object lesson to All Those Who Would Copy Glock: COPY them, already, and copy them CORRECTLY. Suck it up, and PAY the bloody royalty payments!
    Schadenfreude is a BITCH.

    • Glock’s design is out of patent protection, so you don’t even have to pay a royalty, its public domain at this point, Gen 5 and 42/43 have some new patents, but just copy the G1-x design.

      • Emailed Honor Defense about intetest in a pistol but concern of their drop safety. Got the following reply:
        Hi Xxxx, Thanks for your note. 
        The truth of the matter is that all firearms will discharge if handled abusively. That is true for any brand or model. 
        We believe that Honor Defense makes the best single stack 9mm pistols. We have tested internally and submitted the firearms for testing by independent labs. The product exceeded all industry abusive handling tests and proven to be more accurate than other similar sized firearms. Gary 

        • Well from the test the owner of Honor Defense posted, he clearly has no grasp of simple Newtonian physics. It takes a big person to admit they made a mistake, and this gent clearly is going to double down on his current tactics of mudslinging in the hopes of discrediting reviewers instead of doing the right thing. If the design was sound, it would be able to stand on its own merit without the attempted character assassinations.

      • That is disappointing. And dishonorable.

        I wish you the best in your future endeavors and hope you will continue to advocate for us “gunsumers”.

      • I remember when the whole “Honor Defense uses M&P magazines” thing was making the rounds and Gary was out crusading against the Facebook trolls personally.

        “The problem with wrestling with a pig is you both get covered in sh*t, but only the pig enjoys it.”

  8. I wondered what the point of the Honor Guard was in the first place. It doesn’t break any new ground in terms of price, size or engineering (obviously). Just another pistol in a market full of already proven products. I’ll stick with my CM9….concealable, reliable, and most important if all…safe…for me and the people around me when I carry.

  9. I wouldn’t worry so much about bumping against a door from the side. He whacked it all over with a mallet and only hitting the back of the slide set it off. Maybe a side bump could set it off, maybe not, but at least it’s not as easy. Someone with that model pistol: please extensively mallet test side bumps and let us know how it goes.

    Have any of you mallet tested a S&W Shield yet? What about SA-XD? Starting to think I should get a bullet puller and rubber mallet for my own peace of mind.

  10. I have an Honor Guard pistol which I like very much. It has been very reliable and shoots very well, better than I do, probably. With all of the concern about it’s “drop saftey”, I decided to test mine. I pulled the bullet from a live 115gr target round, dumped the powder and inserted the casing into the breech. I let the slide go to battery and inserted an empty 7 round magazine. Placing a shop towel on the cement garage floor, I then layed the pistol on it and pounded it on both sides with a medium sized rubber mallet. No fire. I then held the pistol in my left hand, pointing away, with my finger off of the trigger and gave the rear of the slide a firm smack with the mallet. Bang! She fired.

    I like this pistol a lot so I guess I’ll either have to carry without a round in the chamber, or refrain from smacking the back of the slide with a mallet while it’s holstered in my waistband.

  11. Ok, I got a mental picture from the 60’s. If I’m Wiley Coyote & packing this pistol while at the bottom of a cliff, & then the Roadrunner ‘drops a safe’ down from the top onto me, as it crushes me, it’s going to hit the back of the pistol causing it to fire. The discharged bullet may ricochet off the ground, striking me in the groin as the ‘safe’ mashes me. Darn that’s gonna hurt!
    Please don’t ‘drop safes on me!

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