Guns for Beginners: Are Manual Safeties Relevant Today?

SIG P365 Manual Safety

Josh Wayner for TTAG

I was among the first to review the brand-new SIG SAUER P365 Manual Safety model here at TTAG. The pistol was so damn good that I put 2,000 rounds through it with zero issues and promptly dismissed all my other carry guns. For me at least, it’s P365 or bust, kids.

That article had some strong opinions in the comment section and I decided to look at the larger question here in its own post: are manual safeties still relevant today?

First, this article is primarily addressed to newbies and beginners to carrying a gun. But safe gun handling has no age limit or experience level and any gun should always be treated with caution and respect. That said, new shooters must know that there are some dangerously stupid ideas being pushed as a result of what I call the “Tactical Polo Bro” culture.

For the beginner, a Tactical Polo Bro (TPB) is essentially a gatekeeper of certain angles of the shooting community. Most of us in the real world see them in a negative light, much in the way that fedora-wearing ‘nice guys’ are viewed in the dating scene. TTAG reader ‘pwrserge’ made this comment and I believe it’s a great example of the TPB mindset:

“Tactical polo bros” aka people smart enough to keep their booger hook off of the bang switch.

It should be noted for the newbie that proper trigger control has everything to do with personal responsibility, not intelligence as you will soon find. Regardless of whether you have a manual safety or not, you should keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire. It’s one of four cardinal rules of gun safety that every gun owner should live, learn and love.

The Four Rules of Gun Safety

There’s a particularly foolish and idiotic meme that resulted from a scene in the film Black Hawk Down where a main character is chastised for not having his rifle on safe and calls his trigger finger his ‘safety’ while being too cool to follow orders. I literally hear this at every gathering of TPBs I stumble into.

This isn’t safe and the people who do this are foolish. As a beginner, you shouldn’t take instruction from these people if you can identify them before you put money down for a class.

Reader ‘WhiteDevil’ had this to say about manual safeties:

Unnecessary. If you have to rely on an external safety to actually be safe, then you should re-examine your safety routine.

This is false. A manual safety is a safeguard against accidental (negligent) discharge which, despite what the TPBs have to say, is more likely to happen with a gun without a safety just as a matter of design. There is also the idea that the gun is physically locked in some way, which brings peace of mind to many people who carry them.

The M17 has a manual safety and is one of the best all-around handguns available today. (Josh Wayner for TTAG)

When I was writing the P365 MS article, I began conducting a survey of both gun owners and prospective gun owners. My initial survey results were limited to about 50 people, but I have since expanded it to 300 of all ages, both genders, and social/family status since I was initially criticized that my group was too small.

Needless to say, the results of the survey didn’t actually change that much. I asked the following questions in this survey:

  • Do you own or carry a gun?
  • Does your gun have a safety?
  • If you don’t have a gun would you consider buying a gun without a safety?
  • Would you feel safe carrying that gun without a safety?
  • Why do you/don’t you want a safety on your gun?

Out of 300 respondents randomly selected, 105 admitted to owning and carrying a gun. That was higher than I expected, but I was in and around sporting goods stores for the majority of questioning.

Out of the group with guns, there were 29 who carried revolvers and none had safeties, but all considered the guns to be safe from accidental discharge due to the weight of the trigger pull. The revolver carriers did say that they were comfortable with buying a(nother) gun without a safety, but would not carry it, as they had, in general, chosen revolvers for the various advantages a revolver has over a small automatic.

The SIG P365XL is currently offered without a safety, but other version do have one. (Josh Wayner for TTAG)

The group that regularly carried automatics had a surprisingly low rate of carry without a safety. The most popular small automatics in my sample group were .380 ACP or 9mm micro pistols like the SIG P238 and P938. Both of those models have safeties. Most people who had a carry gun with a safety also owned a gun without one, but didn’t necessarily carry it for size and weight reasons.

The more interesting part of the survey came from the non-gun owners or prospective gun owners, a group of almost 200 people. The group without guns vastly supported safeties. A total of 173 respondents, or roughly 90% of that group said they would prefer a gun with a safety on it if they were to carry one.

The reasons varied, but most agreed that they would feel unsafe with no manual safety on the gun. They didn’t feel that a gun with no manual safety was safe around their families or on their person due to the perceived risk of accidental discharge.

I have heard that this is a non-issue if you carry in a holster, but a lot of people who carry regularly carry in pockets or off-body. This has led some of the TPB persuasion to look down on those who they consider novices or poorly trained. It’s rare to carry a full size 9mm with three backup mags despite what you see in the gun magazines or ads. Most normal people just don’t do that.

It must be noted here that there’s nothing wrong with you if you want a gun with a manual safety. All three guns I carry regularly have one: a 1911, SIG M17, and SIG P365. I find that the manual safety is a good thing and I have great peace of mind when holstering and unloading my various pistols.

I also sometimes carry in bags and other off-body methods. It should be noted that the M17 and P365 can be loaded and unloaded with the safety on, where my 1911 can only be loaded and unloaded with the safety off, although it does have a grip safety.

The 1911, arguably the most popular American handgun of all time, has a manual safety and is widely trusted to be among the safest and best guns ever made. (Josh Wayner for TTAG)

If you as a beginner are confronted with people who are dead-set on gatekeeping self-defense methods, keep in mind that it’s your life and your gun. If you feel safer with a manual safety, you should get a gun with one. If you feel uncomfortable with a gun with just a trigger safety or no safety at all, don’t buy one.

The TPB types should be ignored because, as reader ‘WhiteDevil’ demonstrates with this classy comment, you essentially have no business carrying a gun unless you are educated to think like he/she does.

Those 90% often are quite ignorant of safety practices and have been led to equate “manual safety” with “actual safety.” If 90% of people believe the world is flat, does that make it so? 

It would be more appropriate to teach people, no drill in their heads, the rules of gun safety, something which a manual safety doesn’t satisfy. (It) provides a false sense of security to these people.

Instead of your pissy, passive-aggressive response, understand that I understand the wants of these people in the gun world.

One guy I know wanted a manual safety on his f**king Glock. I thought that was weird as hell, but I didn’t chide him for it. I knew him to be quite ignorant of firearm terminology, firearms themselves, and the culture surrounding it. Education is key.

The reason SIG, Ruger, Smith & Wesson and other companies make guns with manual safeties is because a large number of people prefer them. These people aren’t the demographic who tend to comment on TTAG, as they see guns as tools of self-defense and not topics of debate.

It should be noted that virtually every rifle and shotgun has a manual safety in some form. AR, AK, M1 Garand, Remington 700, and hundreds of others are all guns with manual safeties and yet there is no debate about their presence on those firearms.

The number of total models without a manual safety are fewer than you might think. Most revolvers lack a manual safety due to their action type and heavy trigger pull, sometimes as much as 20 lbs. Many automatics have triggers in the 5-10 lb range, which makes them much easier to pull if grabbed in a hurry or when tangled in a shirt or pants.

Classic rifles like the 1903 Springfield possess manual safeties. (Josh Wayner for TTAG)

This brings us to the final point here, which is a reoccurring argument that I have heard time and again when listening to this manual safety argument. The major element we have to look at is how GLOCK pistols shaped the idea of what constitutes a safe gun.

GLOCK G43 trigger safety

Trigger safety on a GLOCK G43 pistol (Dan Z for TTAG)

A GLOCK cannot uses a trigger safety only and relies on a striker fire mechanism that has elements of a double-action pull to maintain safe carry. The gun will fire upon pulling the trigger…or accidentally getting it caught in clothing. In my opinion, a GLOCK is not as safe a gun as a 1911.

Don’t make the mistake of assuming that I am throwing shade at GLOCK because of my view of their design. I just don’t believe that a small tab on the trigger should be the only means of preventing a discharge when you take it out of the holster at night or put it in the nightstand in the dark. Yet millions of people own, carry and use GLOCKs safely every single day.

But you are not ignorant if you happen to want a thumb safety on your GLOCK. You just won’t find that they make a model that has one. There are many other guns that do and you’re not uneducated for wanting one.

All AR-15 type rifles feature manual safety selectors. (Josh Wayner for TTAG)

I like manual safeties, but I understand that there are some liabilities associated with them. You had better practice taking it on and off from a draw or else you might just find that it prevents you from firing in a tense, defensive situation.

There is this idea out there that you will never have time to disengage it during a DGU. That simply isn’t true. Training and practice can allow you to present and fire a gun with a thumb safety just as fast as a gun without one.

At the end of the day, I believe that the whole safety/no-safety thing is question a personal choice. That said, guns without manual safeties are in the overall minority.

If you find that you’re comfortable with a gun that has no means of being put “on safe,” that choice is up to you to make. There is no shame in carrying a gun that has the ability to be put on safe despite the negative feedback you may come across from some dude-bro with a polo shirt and edgy facial hair.

 

 

 

 

 

comments

  1. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Manual safeties are nice to have. Do all guns if handled properly need to have one?? No..
    But any gun without one has one less possible safety feature to it.

    1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

      I’m not a pro. I want a safety for the same reason I want a leash for my dog and a parking break on my car. I don’t really need one, but I feel better having one….just in case I’m not paying attention. Not everyone is running at 100% all the time. ( I gave my driver’s license to the gun store clerk instead of my FOID card. Thankfully, no one was hurt.)

      1. avatar Albert R Tullis says:

        I am from Mississippi (2nd Amendment State) and I have no idea what a FOID card is, please explain.

        1. avatar Geoff WWJWD - "What would John Wick do?" PR says:

          Firearm Owner Identity Card…

  2. avatar enuf says:

    My pocket .380 does not have a safety. It does have a holster that fully encloses the trigger and nothing else goes in that pocket.

    My .38 snubbie does not have a safety.

    All my other guns have a safety that is not part of the trigger. Handguns, rifles, carbines, shotguns, centerfire and rimfire, all of ’em and I do use them.

    A trigger is not a safety no matter how much Gaston F’ing Glock wants it to be one. A trigger is part of the “Make It Go Boom” mechanics, not the “Safe it from going boom” mechanics..

    1. avatar Holdfast says:

      You are so right!

    2. avatar C333 says:

      I personally think that a Glock trigger should be renamed the ‘Unsafe Trigger Mechanism’; real life experiences seem to bear this moniker out. Humans make mistakes all the time and it is too easy to make a mistake with a Glock. IMO, striker fired guns need a safety and all 3 of the striker fired guns I have have them or I would not own them.

  3. avatar I Haz A Question says:

    Ah, another article putting 1911s and Glocks in wet t-shirts and having them strut across the stage for votes from the guys in the audience.

    Can we simply vote for both if they’re both pretty?

    1. avatar billy-bob says:

      But are they both pretty? Really?

    2. avatar enuf says:

      Nope. 1911’s are virile, handsome, fine looking gents.

      Glocks are steaming cowpies by comparison.

      Also, Glocks are inherent thigh and foot shooters among a certain “Can’t holster a firearm without pulling the un-safe trigger” crowd.

      On the other hand, Glocks are great for making geldings out of dumb gang members shoving guns in their underpants. So, they’ve got that going for them.

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        Funny, I still have my thighs and feet intact, despite the fact that I’ve brought only Glocks to every professional gun course I’ve ever taken. I started off with my 1911 in my very first class, but found it much easier to meet the “malfunction clearance” tests and the “draw/shoot” test (from ready position, clear the concealment shirt, draw from holster, place two rounds successfully on target within the box, from the 10 yard line, all within 1.5 seconds or less) with a Glock.

        Love ’em both. Glock for the carry, but 1911 for braggin’ to friends.

      2. avatar strych9 says:

        The counter argument to Glock Leg is Safety Chest.

        You know those news stories where someone shoots themself or someone else but swears up and down that the safety was on/they thought it was on?

        So yeah, an ND can happen either way. Get too slick by half with a striker or start getting slick because you think the safety will save you. Bad things can and do happen both ways.

      3. avatar LifeSavor says:

        Enuf, I like my 2 Glocks (43 & 17). Having ONLY the trigger safety puts me on high-alert whenever I handle them. My next purchase will be an M&P Shield Micro 9. That will give me some experience carrying a gun with an actual safety. Maybe I will appreciate the safety more after training with it and carrying it.
        Either way, Glocks are good.
        That being said, I bought my Glocks when I was a novice gun owner. Now, all of my firearms and munitions, and gear have to be USA made.

    3. avatar Manse Jolly says:

      Yeah agree, It’s also becoming a “Get off my lawn” thing too.

    4. avatar Hank says:

      No. Because the 1911 is still the single best handgun design in the world. I’ve carried and shot everything for both work and play, and the 1911 is my choice above all others as my daily carrier, by far.

  4. avatar Gadsden Flag says:

    Never really thought much about it. Of course, none of my revolvers have a manual safety. Neither do my Glocks. My 1911s and Hi-Power do. My P7M8 is a horse of a different color. Only own two DA/SA pistols. A Sig P220, no issue with a safety there, and a Beretta 92. I don’t consider a decock lever a safety and won’t use one as such. The main thing is practice with your weapon until the manual of arms is something you never think about. It’s something you do.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      LASD moved from the Beretta 92F to the M&P a few years ago. Some of the deputies and detectives have told me there have been a lot of NDs on the training range due to their veteran LEOs mis-drawing the M&P from the holster after carrying the 92 for so long.

  5. avatar StLPro2A says:

    I believe in external manual safeties. I never missed a quail or pheasant because I didn’t get the safety off on my shotgun. Never know when the safety comes off or goes back on……muscle memory from much practice. I shoot trap and skeet from hunting ready position with safety on. Same practice approach with handguns/rifles. I even installed a Sliderlock (??) cross bolt safety on the trigger of a Glock 19 I carry. (Drove my LEO armorer/Dept. trainer friend absolutely nuts….great side benefit!! 🙂 🙂 )Also, I like the extra measure of perceived safety should I be confronted with a gun take away scenario. In that event, the perp would probably attempt to pull the trigger without knowing to disengage the safety. He would instantaneously be confused when the gun doesn’t go boom. He would probably take his eyes off me to look at the gun to attempt to determine why no bang. This might give me a couple seconds to rain violence in return and take back the gun. Just my view, my life, my choice. One size does not fit all.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      Is the G19 a duty carry, or your off-duty personal weapon? Do you use a retention holster or a free-draw? If retention, is the added manual safety even necessary?

      1. avatar StLPro2A says:

        Although many friends in that clique, not LEO myself. G19 is one of my personal EDC. Non-retention holster……Vedder Litetuck…if I recall accurately.

    2. Cominolli Custom at Cominolli.com sells an excellent Glock manual safety kit, and can install for you if you ship them your gun. I recommend doing it that way: trained installers for these are rare, and the one I used didn’t do it right. Cominolli’s fixed that for me.

  6. avatar ATTAGReader says:

    I find this to be a rather silly debate. I have a TCP 738 without a safety and both a Sig 238 and a Ruger SR9C with safeties. I am comfortable with carrying any of them depending on the clothing I am wearing. All in holsters of course. Even early articles on the SR9C, including on TTAG, recommended never carrying the Ruger without the safety engaged. I agree. The trigger is too light, unless condition 3, which I would not advocate with this gun due to the strong recoil spring. But I have no problem with carrying the TCP in condition 1 due to the very long trigger pull. The Sig trigger is heavy enough I can see it being a matter of personal preference, as most things should be.

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      My (unsolicited) advice is that if your gun has a safety you should use it and practice your draw disengaging it. The reason for this is that on a couple of occasions I’ve had the safety accidentally get disengaged and if it can accidentally disengaged then it can also get accidentally engaged. And if you draw and expect your gun to go bang and it doesn’t go bang it can take a couple of seconds to figure out that the damn safety is on.

      1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

        I missed a few clays forgetting to take the safety off. Stared at the gun for a second, thinking, “Waaaat?…huh?”

    2. avatar John Bryan says:

      ATTAGReader – how do you like carrying your SR-C? I’ve been kicking around upgrading to something with a bit more capacity and the Ruger is on the list. Which carry method do you like?

      Oh, and as far as external, manual safety mechanisms go it’s my preference to have one on a non-DA handgun though, from my reading about NDs, the most hazardous occurrences appear to be preventable with correct holstering.

      1. avatar SouthernShooter says:

        I have both the LC9 and the SR9c and carry both (I swipe thumb down on even the LC9 as a matter of habit) and love both. I prefer the 9c but sometimes the LC9 is just easier to conceal. I don’t notice the weight difference between when I carry OWB. LC9 is more comfortable IWB.

  7. avatar Hoyt Claggwell says:

    Regarding my self defense carry firearms: I carry 95% of the time and make full use of manual safeties. My firearm is always loaded with one in the chamber. My holster is IWB. Anytime that I carry, my firearm is fully under my control (manual safety off).
    When I’m not carrying, my firearm is not fully under my control (manual safety on). Too many scenarios in which a manual prevented, or could have prevented an unintended discharge.
    Everyone has their own comfort level, but I would likely avoid purchasing an EDC with out a manual safety.

    1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

      I live in SoCal, so 95% of the time I dream about being able to carry.

      ****
      Fun fact, and true:
      I don’t actually conceal carry, because in CA the consequences of being caught are rather severe and will mess up your life. But I accidentally word-slipped and said “…when I carry…” when talking with an LASD detective about our gun preferences. I meant to say “…when I’m at the range…”

      I immediately tried to backpedal and explain, and he simply held up his hand to wave it aside, and said “hey, a person’s gotta do what a person’s gotta do to make sure he stays alive at the end of the day, no matter what the law says here…”

      Wish there were more LEOs like that here.

      1. avatar Billy Bob says:

        I hope there are a lot with that attitude.

  8. avatar Philip says:

    Great article, guaranteed to rub a lot of people the wrong way… 🙂

    As for the “Safeties are for sissies” crowd: So, you think that one does not have enough brains to remember ONE thing, i.e. to flick off the safety on the draw, but you want us to believe that you have a brain infallible enough to NEVER stick your finger close to the trigger, whether retrieving a gun from a drawer, drawing fast from a Serpa holster, or simply during administrative handling in stressful circumstances?

    Well, my own uneducated brain has succesfully managed to deal with safeties for fifty years, it’s not that hard, just try, I’m sure that you’re not as dumb as you may think.

    In addition, my uneducated brain has noticed that 99.9 % of accidental deaths occurring when a kid, or toddler, or any dummy grabs a gun from a purse, or a glove compartment, or under a bed, happen with safetyless handguns.

    And yourself, Mr. “Keep yer booger off…”, did you ever think about what would happen if one day you got to hit a low beam and fall on the ground like a sack of potatoes, and your High Tech Shootin’ Iron With No Sissy Safety rolled down the stairs? Have you ever seen how people unacquainted with firearms grab a handgun? Yep. With the finger on the trigger. Bang. How smart do you feel now?

    The whole “Real Guns Don’t Need No Safeties” started with Glock’s aggressive marketing… The best way to get people to swallow an absurd concept is to ridicule the opponent, works every time.

    And, BTW… A safetyless handgun does have a safety. The holster IS the safety: anytime you draw the gun from its holster, you are flicking off the safety. Unfortunately, most people can’t recognize the fact that instead of simplifying the shooting system, by removing the gun-mounted safety you actually complicate it by adding an essential element that is not attached to the gun.

    Think again. And do whatever you think is smart, bless your heart.

    1. avatar StLPro2A says:

      We can all recall the highly trained, competent LEOs that shot themselves in the ass or calf putting their “safe” Glock back into their 5 o’clock IWB holster.

      1. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

        Hahah, that was the best argument for having a safety. That video should be shown at all safety classes. Every makes mistakes, only some are fatal.

      2. avatar Curtis in MT says:

        I seem to recall a highly trained [sic] FBI agent doing back flips on the dance floor a couple years ago managed to drop a Glock, and pick it up with his “boogerhook” on the trigger, resulting in the gun doing what it was designed to do when the “buggerhook” hits the trigger.

        Stuff happens, stupid stuff happens when you are stupid.

        {!-{>

        1. avatar Philip says:

          Curtis, exactly… This is one of the best example proving the point for safety. The FBI agent did a series of stupid things: got intoxicated, with a handgun, in a holster with poor retention, in a public place, did a backflip, grabbed the handgun, and finally put his finger on the trigger. Well, despite all these mistakes, if the handgun had a safety, or was a decocked DA/SA, it would NOT have fired, saving an innocent bystander. Quod erat demonstrandum.

  9. avatar uncommon_sense says:

    I only see two drawbacks to a manual safety on a semi-automatic handgun:
    (1) You have to train a fair amount to disengage the manual safety when drawing for self-defense. Failure to master this minor point of skill could cause you serious bodily harm or death.
    (2) You have to handle your handgun as though it does NOT have a manual safety anyway since any number of events (such as clothing snagging on the safety lever) could inadvertently and unknowingly disengage the manual safety.

    If you ALWAYS keep your semi-automatic handgun in a quality holster which securely holds your handgun and securely covers the trigger guard, it will NEVER discharge (unless it is mechanically defective or not drop-safe). Such a holster IS providing the function of a manual safety as it prevents unintended operation of the trigger and hence unintended discharge of the handgun.

    Given these facts and the fact that I ALWAYS carry my semi-automatic handgun/s in a secure holster which securely covers the trigger guard, I do not want manual safeties. Having said all that, I do not begrudge anyone who wants a manual safety on their handgun as long as they have evaluated their application against the factual pros and cons of a manual safety.

    Important distinction: mechanical safeties on shotguns and rifles are an absolute must for these reasons:
    (1) Their trigger trigger pull force is often extremely light (some as low as 2.5 pounds) with zero take-up which means their triggers are much easier to actuate (whether intentionally or unintentionally) than virtually all handguns.
    (2) We never carry shotguns or rifles in a secure “holster” which securely covers the trigger guard. Instead, we carry them in hand or on a strap against our bodies where anything (including our clothing, sticks, and even our fingers) could snag the trigger and actuate it.

    1. avatar Username says:

      Excellent points.

    2. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      Also, guns with safeties tend to have the same short, crisp triggers as the rifles you mention. Short crisp trigger is great for the range but for carry it makes me nervous as hell. For carry purposes I’d much rather have a single hard, long trigger pull instead of two very short, very crisp motions to make the gun go off.

      So, guns with safeties actually make me much more nervous than the Glock types. JMO

      1. avatar Bigus Dickus says:

        You do know that any striker fired hand gun (like a Shield) has just as light a trigger as does you fabled Glock without a safety, right?

        1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

          This comment is pure ignorance. Compare the trigger pull to a (say) Sig 938.

    3. avatar Bigus Dickus says:

      The “you have to train to disengage the safety” argument against safeties is rather weak. You also have to train yourself to aim and pull the trigger, how is adding a safety to your manual of arms at all difficult or complicated?

      1. avatar Darkman says:

        Agreed…

      2. avatar uncommon_sense says:

        Bigus Dickus,

        Pointing a handgun at an attacker and squeezing the trigger requires no skill, no practice, and no high-level (cognitive) thinking at all. Why?
        (1) We instinctively face an attacker with hands in front of ourselves to either shield ourselves or strike back.
        (2) Our trigger fingers naturally go to the trigger area when we grasp a handgun because the grip forces our trigger finger into the trigger area.

        That second fact is so profound that we have to actually train people to NOT automatically put their trigger finger on the trigger when they pick up a handgun. (Instead, we train people to “index” their trigger finger along the frame / receiver / slide / barrel of a firearm when they pick one up for casual handling or target practice.)

        Do you know what is NOT natural, instinctive, or ergonomic at all? Moving your thumb away from your fingers to a somewhat awkward position and reducing your grip strength to actuate (disengage) a manual safety. While I agree that flicking a manual safety is most certainly NOT a difficult task to master, it is nevertheless a task that someone has to train to master.

        The only two manual safeties which are completely natural, instinctive, ergonomic, and require no high-level thought to disengage are trigger blade and grip safeties. But those are not the topic of this article.

        1. avatar StLPro2A says:

          If a person hasn’t trained enough to muscle memory instinctively flick the manual safety off, the person hasn’t trained enough to be using a handgun in a defensive situation. Plain and simple. And, yes, I know that includes most individuals with a gun on their side.

      3. avatar Random says:

        I can’t see where a manual safety would be a problem. When drawing the pistol from the holster you sweep the safety off with you thumb. It’s all the same motion.

  10. avatar Username says:

    Mechanical safeties give users a wider margin of error when it comes to incorrect handling. Whether that is good or bad depends upon your doctrine/intended use. That margin of safety may be useful on a solo hike. It may also slow you down when you have to activate it after the draw from a duty-retention holster facing down someone not similarly encumbered.

    No such thing as “accidental” discharges. Either the user effed up and pulled the trigger when he shouldn’t have, or faulty design/materials produced a similar result. In both cases there is negligence. Whether or not that negligence can be excused depends upon the circumstances.

  11. avatar BobS says:

    Do you consider the decocker on a DA/SA pistol to be a manual safety? Or is it in the same category as a DA revolver – no manual safety and none needed?

    1. avatar GS650G says:

      No and yes.

    2. avatar John Bryan says:

      Depends on the length and weight of the trigger pull. And the users familiarity with the gun. And level of training. And state of mind.

      External, manual safety mechanisms are included in what I like to call “field conditions” – factors that can only be dealt with by the individual and their willingness to account for them through effort. That effort is typically training and practice. Just like the lack of external manual safeties.

    3. avatar Philip says:

      Personally, yes, I consider a decocker as a safety, sort of, and have no qualms carrying a loaded-and-decocked handgun. The long and heavy DA pull prevents an unintended activation of the trigger in almost any circumstances.

      Some years ago I did a test with three children, aged 6 to 10. I gave them a variety of handguns, and asked them to try and get them to shoot (of course unloaded…). The only one they did not manage to get to “click” was a decocked DA/SA, although if the eldest had been a boy instead of a girl he’d have propably got it. But long before age 10, my kids know better than to play with an unsupervised firearm…

  12. avatar dph says:

    Ah, the daily click bait. You really need to up your game to catch up with Zimmermans post on commenting from yesterday. https://www.thetruthaboutguns.com/a-few-words-on-ttags-comment-policy/ That said, safety or no safety, carry what you’re comfortable with and either way keep your damn finger off of the trigger until you’re ready to fire. It isn’t that hard to do, this isn’t brain surgery.

    1. avatar dph says:

      As an aside, especially keep your damn finger off the trigger when you’re handling/waving around a gun at the LGS. I really hate getting muzzled and I get down right pissed when I get muzzled and they have their fat finger on the trigger.

      1. avatar I Haz A Question says:

        I once witnessed someone turn around at the skeet range (only ten feet from me) with his finger still on the trigger, talking with big smiles to his group and unaware that the open end of the bang stick was now pointed only twelve inches above the head of the guy standing right behind him. The shotgun discharged.

        The idiot was removed from the facility by staff and barred from coming back. The buddy pretty much crapped his pants. Everyone else shook their heads and muttered “Rule #3, man…Rule #3”.

        1. avatar Cloudbuster says:

          He basically blew through all four rules with that stunt. I mean he was probably aware of #1, but apparently it wasn’t enough impress on him the importance of the other three.

        2. avatar Victoria Illinois says:

          How did he have another shell in the chamber? We are only allowed to have one loaded, just before it’s our turn….and 2 if it’s a report. Inquiring minds want to know…and I wish the” Notify me of follow-up comments…” worked. I’d like to know what happened.

        3. avatar I Haz A Question says:

          Good question. This was double-bird skeet (two clays launching at the same time from both the left and the right to criss-cross in the air), and he apparently had an unused shell in the chamber he didn’t account for when he turned around.

          That was years ago, and I still remember it every single time I bring out my shottie for practice. Watch the muzzle…watch the muzzle…watch the muzzle…

  13. avatar GS650G says:

    I have a Sig clone with a decocking lever which t axes the gun from S.A. hair trigger to DA long heavy trigger. It still fired if the trigger is pulled but takes 10 lbs or more to do so. That makes it safer but not locked safe like a block mechanism does.

    I would not criticize anyone for wanting or using manual safeties nor carrying without a round in the chamber. Its their gun and these actions don’t increase danger for me. So if it’s not unsafe I let it be.

  14. avatar MLee says:

    Personally, I wouldn’t carry a GLOCK or any striker if it was given to me. I carry a Sig P229, a real gun!

    1. avatar B.D. says:

      A real gun?

      get real. Even a .22 is a REAL gun. Safety, or not.

  15. avatar Nate in CA says:

    I’m far more comfortable with a DAO revolver for carry (simply because that’s what I’ve always played with) and I take comfort in my Shield having a manual safety available should I choose to use it. That being said, I do appreciate my Glock for it’s simplicity, but it really only accompanies me during the winter when I can wear a good holster.

  16. avatar tdiinva says:

    The problem is that a decreasing number of instructors know how to properly use a manual safety so they can’t train people properly so as a result they say you are likely to fail to disengage it in a DGU.

    The tiny safeties on modern striker fired pistols are also small and hard to manipulate. A proper 1911/BHP safety makes it easy train and almost mistake proof. The Army knew this and you can see it on the 1911 style safety on the M17.

  17. avatar Hasaf says:

    For work-related reasons, I have the need to frequently remove and reinsert my pistol. This is to place it in lockboxes as I enter buildings.
    Once, not too long ago I had a hair raising experience. The pistol felt odd going into the holster and for a moment I thought something had fallen in my holster. There was nothing, there was also no ND. However, that was enough to steer me away from the modern safetyless pistols.

    1. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      That’s on you, not the gun. If you’re relying on the safety to save you from bad practices then you should practice better.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        What bad practices?

        1. avatar B.D. says:

          Really?

          Just to name a couple: Not paying attention while reholstering. Keeping your booger finger off the bang switch until ready to fire, especially when unholstering. Muzzle awareness. Lack of practice/training.

          C’mon gov. Are you really that thick headed? Or just that biased.

        2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          If you actually read his post you’d find he did none of these things, and in fact the gun didn’t go bang.

        3. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

          Gov, “That was enough to steer me away from modern pistols” = “I rely on manual safeties to make up for my careless practices”.

        4. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          In your imagination maybe.

        5. avatar Philip says:

          In all similar debates, I see a trend, and this is no exception…

          You end up with two schools of thoughts. One says, in essence: “Safeties are useful because humans are fallible critters, and because things go wrong anytime they get the opportunity”.

          The other faction replies: “If you are so insecure as to doubt your infallibility, you need more practice. As for me myself, I’m so far above fallibility that you’re a moron compare to I-the-guy-who-never-makes-mistakes.”

          Interestingly, the first group usually explains its views in an articulate manner, and often cites a long acquaintance with firearms – and life in general.

          The second group is quick to use expletives and insults, and sounds more like it is regurgitating things heard from The Best More Badass Tactical Master, but never really reasoned things through – using name-calling in lieu of arguments.

          Life has its own way to teach lessons, and the higher you think you are, the harder it hurts when the ground jumps up and slaps you.

          Just sayin’.

  18. avatar Seriously Go Check says:

    The debate about safeties often revolves around training or usage in a dangerous situation, but more discussion of them needs to center around the guns’ engineering. For instance, the sear on a Springfield XD series is retained under tension in an upward position, holding the striker from release, ONLY by a tiny, almost negligible spring that (I kid you not, go check) rests on the other end under a plastic shelf. Do I think it will fail? Not likely, but some of these guns have very dubious engineering that increases the likelihood of a discharge under failure or a strong jolt. My question about a gun is: if ONE part fails, will it go off?? I prefer to have more than one piece in the way. The grip safety of the XD adds an additional layer of protection against the tiny spring, but when I look at a Ruger LC9 is has the SAME engineering, but without the grip safety. So on that gun, I definitely have a safety so that there is a block for that sear that prevents it from coming down. Some of these guns are dangerous by their very design. The Glock is pretty good because after all the cruciform has to move rearward and then downward to go off, but then anything actuating the trigger moves that cruciform back and down, lol.

  19. avatar Scott says:

    I always want my guns to have safeties.

    It’s one reason I prefer Taurus revolvers…the safety lock mechanism on the back of the hammer. One simple quarter turn, and the gun is totally safe. Nice for when you have kids over to visit, among other things.

    Even my Glock has an after-market safety…a Siderlock trigger. Very simple yet effective cross-bolt safety built into the trigger mechanism, just like you see on many old school rifles and shotguns. Takes only a second to disengage with my index finger.

    In the day and age in which we live, with so many careless fools running around, there’s something to be said for having an extra level of “idiot proofing”.

    1. avatar ZA says:

      If you have careless fools running around, then the gun should be on you or locked up in a box/safe. A manual safety is not sufficient as many idiots have proved.

  20. avatar KSinIA says:

    My carry piece is equipped with a manual safety. However, it will not engage unless the pistol is cocked with the hammer back. It is for use when a normal firing sequence is interrupted and a return to DA is not desired. The decocker is used to return to DA. If the pistol is removed from the holster, it can be fired by just pulling the trigger. If a pause in the shooting is required, the safety is engaged and disengaged if firing resumes. If it goes back in the holster, it is decocked. This seems quite adequate to me.

  21. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

    It’s a simple equation. The lighter and crisper you want your trigger the more you need a manual safety. On one hand, who would carry a 1911 with a 3-1/2# trigger without a safety, on the other a DA/SA revolver would seem silly to have one (although slightly less silly on a Beretta 92). Glock occupies the middle ground where half the people feel it’s too light to carry without a safety and half feel it’s just fine. The reason almost all rifles and shotguns have manual safeties is that none of them have 10# triggers with 1/2″ of travel. Take your pick and train accordingly.

  22. avatar Southerner says:

    Just to note, the return of the concealed hammer single action autoloading pistol has added a “new” paradigm to the current perception of manual safeties. Specifically, I see the S&W Shield EZ as the best example.

    Here’s why:

    The Shield platform safety system starts with a passive grip safety that disengages the trigger linkage, and engages the firing pin lock whenever the handgun is not held with a firing grip. The addition of an ambidextrous thumb safety further locks the single action sear. The thumb safety falls conveniently to the thumb with downward off safe or upward on safe movement.

    So with all available safeties engaged, the trigger is completely disengaged, the firing pin locked and the sear blocked. All this with the superior trigger pull inherent in single action hammer fired designs. Quite a design achievement.

    I certainly would like to see S&W extend this safe and efficient fire control system to a line of larger caliber compact and service size handguns.

    As it is, the ease of all operational aspects inherent in the S&W 380 EZ design, make it, (in my view), the premier choice for those for whom hand size or strength issues preclude the effective use of most other handguns.

    1. avatar Random says:

      Ruger has the same system for the Security 9.

      1. avatar Random says:

        Sorry, it has everything bot the grip safety. I wish it had that also.

  23. avatar Cloudbuster says:

    My perspective on this as a left-hander may be a bit different. There are a lot more things to take into consideration with regard to safeties when you’re a left-hander.

    First, and most obvious is that the vast majority of safeties are designed to be operated by right-handers. They are often in locations that are extremely difficult for a left-hander to operate smoothly. This goes for both handguns and rifles. Rifle crossbolt safeties are particularly annoying. Of course, they sure are easy for a lefty to put on safe, so there’s that. There are quite a few that do have ambidextrous safeties now, but this leads to:

    Second, on handguns, most ambi safeties are thumb-operated and the right-hand safety lever is still there, whether you are a left-hander or not. Consider your handgun in a typical holster, whether hip, appendix, crossdraw, IWB or OWB, in all cases for a right-hander, the safety is shielded by your body. For a left-hander the right-handed safety is out and exposed. For some safeties, like my 1911, it’s really easy to bump into something and take the big thumb-rest safety off-safe.

    The dual safeties also make the gun wider. Quite a bit wider in some cases, at a spot where you are usually trying to make the gun thin.

    Of the three guns I most commonly carry, none have safeties. It’s just easier than trying to find a gun that feels like it was designed for a lefy. One is a revolver, one is a DA action semiauto pistol and it feel no more likely to ND than a revolver. The last is a Glock 26. I’ve never even come close to an ND. I always carry it in a good quality holster and I’m always careful when reholstering.

    I don’t have anything against safeties, and I know a lot of lefties carry guns with safeties, but for me it’s just one less thing that I have to try to select for. I don’t own an XD, but I kind of like the idea of their grip safeties.

  24. avatar Tec's Dad says:

    TRAINING is of the utmost Training….

  25. avatar James W Crawford says:

    I am alive because the Third Generation Smith and Wesson pistols that I habitually carry all have manual safeties.

    The incident in which that manual safety saved my life was not a case of me being stupid. It was an incident in which a Clackamas County Sheriff’s deputy was either being stupid or homicidal, I am uncertain which. The incident occurred only a few days after the attempted mass shooting at the Clackamas Town Certain. Although the Sheriff’s office and the shopping center share a common parking lot, they actually took time to bring in their Mobile Command Post before entering the mall. This gave them an excuse to cower in the parking lot while they waited for the shooting to stop. It also seemed to give them license to accost every potential victim at gun point as they attempted to escape the building. The timing might offer insight into their hostility towards a father, who had been pulled over for a minor traffic issue, was carrying while taking his daughter to school.

    As these two deputies were disarming this obviously homicidal father at the side of a busy road, one of them who was ostensibly removing my pistol from my PagerPal holster REPEATEDLY squeezed the trigger while the muzzle was pointed towards my genitals. Since I am on anticogulants because of a displaced Pacemaker lead, my prospects of surviving such a wound were negligible.. I remained calm only because I knew that my pistol was on safe. However; I resolved that if Deputy Dipshit touched that lever on the slide of my CS 45, his partner who was standing behind me presumably ready to Tazer me or shoot me, was going to take a ride under a passing truck and Deputy Dipshit was going to get an ass kicking.

    Interestingly; over a year after a Clackamas County Judge dismissed the chicken shit case, Deputy Dipshit showed up at my door to give me a citation for the same chickenshit case to be prosecuted in Washington County. Deputy Dipshit lost bowell as well as bladder control then bravely ran away when I told him to get the fuck off my property. The incident reminded me very much of Brave, Brave Sir Robin’s encounter with the three headed giant in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.

    Only a few weeks after a Washington County judge dismissed this second chicken shit case, Deputy Dipshit was involved in a confrontation with an apparently suicidal man armed with a knife and a hatchet. A group of officers were compelled to shoot and kill the subject because Deputy Dipshit lost bowel as well as bladder control when he dropped his Taser and drew his pistol, leaving the officers with no option to use lethal lethal force.

  26. avatar strych9 says:

    As with so many other things it’s all about what you’re comfortable with.

    I would suggest that a manual safety, for some, may be a good place to start until you’re more comfortable with administrative handling. Personally, I don’t like having a manual safety and when I carry a gun that has one I leave it off. But whatever, that’s just me.

    I would further point out that pistols and rifles are different kettles of fish so the comparison is faulty. If the article is meant for new gun owners or prospective gun owners the difference here should be openly and honestly discussed, not hidden in a nonsense comparison for the purpose of advancing one side of an argument.

    Oh, and also I’m not completely sure what a “tactical pool bro” is. Sounds like yet another term to divide gun owners along lines of what kind of fuckery you personally prefer.

    1. avatar strych9 says:

      *polo

  27. avatar Nanashi says:

    My carry gun has a safety because I got it on sale and didn’t have a choice in the matter unless I wanted to spend 50+ bucks more.

  28. avatar Texican says:

    I believe you Josh are coming at this from your experience as a rifleman. Yes, rifles have safeties due to them typically having lighter triggers than pistols. As do shotguns. And I think a safety on a light trigger single action pistol makes sense. But on a revolver or even a Glock it’s not necessary. As a side note, many mfrs. have added a trigger safety to their rifle i.e., Savage, Ruger and Mossberg. Proper safety training and practice until it’s part of your muscle memory will prevent NDs. If someone buys a pistol, loads it up and puts it in a drawer for whenever, they will never be proficient in safe gun handling. And that includes all other handling such as holstering.
    IRT polling non-gun owners about gun related topics I don’t see the point. Why would you poll those who are ignorant of the topic to make a point? The ignorant want UBCs but we as informed gun owners know they are useless for preventing crime. If a person wants a safety or not, great! Learn the manual of arms for that gun and drill until you can operate it without thinking.

  29. avatar B.D. says:

    This again.

    SMH.

  30. avatar Hilliam says:

    I earned $5000 last month by working online just for 5 to 8 hours on my laptop and this was so easy that i myself could not believe before working on this site. If You too want to earn such a big money then come and join us.➥ http://www.indeedgold.com

  31. avatar Not my usual finger says:

    If calling a finger a booger hook is a reliable indicator of TPB thought processes, I think that pretty much settles the issue.

    1. avatar B.D. says:

      what? It’s a quote from a movie dude. And keep your booger finger off the bang switch.

      1. avatar Not my usual finger says:

        Oh, well, OK then, if it’s a movie quote — recognized by one and all as the distilled wisdom of the ages. I will immediately start calling my fingers bang switches, but do you have any movie wisdom for my toes? I don’t want them to feel left out.

  32. avatar Raimius says:

    Safety is, ultimately, up to the user. Following the Four Rules and making sure the trigger does not snag a foreign object will keep one safe. However, utilizing a manual safety and proper holster decreases the chance that operator error will lead to a ND. Since we are all capable of mistakes, using a manual safety and good holster is definitely not a bad idea. Personally, I prefer the additional margin of safety more than the training time cost of learning to use one consistently.

  33. avatar Gliderguy says:

    One thing that I did not see in my quick scan of the above comments about safeties is that extra second or two they might give you if someone successfully goes after your holstered weapon. I try very hard to be diligent, but when you have both hands on your kid lifting them into a vehicle, there is a window for someone to surprise you. That incident where someone caught a large zipper pull inside their trigger guard as they attempted to holster their weapon might also have ended better if there were a manual safety in use.
    It blows my mind that most of the Tacti-cool people here are so black or white in their analysis of the need for something that they fail to realize some choices are simply playing the odds. Is a 7 round single-stack enough? Is 10+1 enough? Is this safety more likely to prevent an unintended injury once in the thousands of times I holster or handle the weapon, or get me killed the one time I need my firearm RIGHT NOW and fumble the disengagement? Or might it save me the one time someone goes after my gun that I was 100% sure was concealed and gives me two or three seconds to resolve the situation.
    Everyone will have a different risk analysis, and a select few of us will end up looking as foolish as that cop giving the seminar on firearm safety and literally shoots himself in the foot. I think most of us would find our life outcome exactly the same whether or not our carry arm does or does not have a manual safety.

    1. avatar James W Crawford says:

      AMEN!!!!

  34. avatar Foghorn Leghorn says:

    Dude – you are a shitty writer – just saying

  35. avatar "keep yur paws off my dead guy" possum says:

    An AK’s safety is pretty robust, I carry mine chamber empty. My EDC’s are carried chamber loaded hammer on half cock. Safteys are nice but I don’t trust them either

    1. avatar Cloudbuster says:

      I don’t know about whatever pistol you’re carrying, but I have been specifically warned and seen demonstrations against relying on half-cock as a safety for a single-action revolver. The “ledge” the hammer sits on for half-cock on an SAA revolver isn’t terribly robust, and gets less so with use. It’s not drop-safe to carry that way.

      1. avatar "keep yur paws off my dead guy" possum says:

        I EDC a 54-1 with the import safety removed. The reason I use half cock is that’s all the gunms my grandpa had were half cock safety, well cept the Iver Johnson .22. . And I’ve dropped my 1911 on concrete once, landed right on the hammer, nothing happened. That don’t mean it can’t. Be safe or be sorry.

  36. avatar Retro says:

    The default failure numbers we used in engineering risk assessments was 1 in a 1000 for electronics, 1 in 100 for mechanical devices, and 1 in 10 for humans. Training, familiarity and repitition would lower that number to the mid to low single percent. However, if a person made one mistake in a series of actions, like the four rules, it would increase the chance of making another by 70% for each subsequent action.

    So sad to say, mechanical safeties are more reliable than even trained humans.

    Another way to look at manual safeties is that they are an addition layer of defense in depth. 4 rules, holster AND manual safety.

    But all risk management comes down to what level of risk are you comfortable with. I’ve owned and used about all action types. There is only one of my handguns I wouldn’t carry, and that is a PPQ I use for competition. It is a fully cocked striker design with a Glock style blade on the trigger, which is nice and light. So in my mind it just isn’t safe enough for carry.

  37. avatar Gridley's not ready says:

    The question of separate safeties is not a personal choice, and framing the debate that way is invalid. A safety and a trigger are two completely different and opposed things. Combining them into one function violates every good design rule in the known universe. You try telling the Navy and Air Force “hey, if you don’t want to fire a nuclear missile, just keep your booger hooks off the big red button.” Or, if you think that an ND is too radically a different scale than a nuclear explosion (as if an ND won’t ruin your whole day), let’s have auto makers combine the brake and accelerator pedals and tell drivers “hey, if you don’t want the car to move, keep your foot off the accelerator pedal.” TPBs think they’re good when really they’re just lucky.

      1. avatar Gridley's not ready says:

        Sorry dude, reading is hard. Look up the big words.

    1. avatar Tad says:

      “TPBs think they’re good when really they’re just lucky.”

      Spot on. I think a gun without a manual safety is perfectly fine in many situations. Being careful WILL keep you safe. That said, a vital part of being careful is recognizing that you are capable of making mistakes. Once you start thinking, “It can’t happen to me,” you are in the most danger. People like “WhiteDevil”, cited in the article think they’re being careful, but as you say, they’re really just being lucky. They are incapable of truly being careful because they’ve convinced themselves that their training and their infallible trigger discipline have made a negligent discharge virtually impossible. If you’re going to carry a gun, with or without a safety, you need to be of the mindset “I am only one slip away from killing myself or someone I love.” Screaming, “Only stupid, careless people have NDs and therefore manual safeties shouldn’t exist!” is the exact opposite of that. People who think they are incapable of stupidity or carelessness are really the stupidest. most careless people in existence.

      1. avatar strych9 says:

        Which is exactly how a lot of accidents occur with a gun that has a safety.

        “I thought the safety was on” or “I thought it was unloaded” is a common thing to see said following a tragedy.

        They thought the safety was a license to be reckless, did something stupid and someone ended up hurt or worse.

        Regardless of the gun type it’s still a goddamn gun. A tool that comes with serious risks. The moment you take that fact for granted is the moment you start begging for something bad to happen.

        So is a manual safety necessary? I would say no, it’s not. The real safety is between your ears. But, as you pointed out here that means you need to be on the ball when handling this thing regardless of configuration and being on the ball means paying attention to what you’re doing and not starting from the assumption that you’re so good that you can’t make a mistake.

  38. avatar Jeff says:

    Maybe the way to look at pistols with light trigger pull and no manual safety is that the holster *is* the manual safety.

  39. avatar Gridley's not ready says:

    And about that “the tenth of second it takes to switch off a safety could cost me my life” — then the correct thing to do is to reduce your OODA loop by a tenth of a second and your weapon handling by a tenth of a second.

    1. avatar B.D. says:

      wut? again.

      pretty sure that 10th of a second should already be the reduced number… but ok dude.

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        That 1/10th second doesn’t exist because you disengage the safety while you’re presenting your weapon not after.

        1. avatar Darkman says:

          I disengage the safety before the firearm leaves the holster. It is done as part of the gripping process.

        2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Some people can’t chew bubble gum and breath at the same time.

      2. avatar Gridley's not ready says:

        Sigh. Always that 10% that don’t get the word.

  40. avatar Chuck says:

    Upon reading this article, I pondered for a moment and went to my gun safe. I didn’t count the revolvers, for the obvious reasons, and looked at my collection of auto loading guns only. Of the 7 guns I routinely take to and shoot at the range, only two are sans a mechanical safety. Those two were recent purchasrs (within the last 6 years). One a Walther PPQ M2 in .40 S&W, the other a Sig P365 (the Sig is available with or without) which was purchased in the last 6 months to replace my CC weapon of 25 years. I had no qualms about purchasing either without a mechanical safety (not counting the blade safety on the trigger of the PPQ). Walther designed the PPQ for the police market,, thus simple and reliable was what they were aiming for. The Sig P365 (my dealer didn’t have the safety version on hand and his distributor was out of stock with no estimate of when it would be available) was replacing my Walther PPK/S in .380. I decided to replace the PPK for 3 reasons. One being the sights. The sights on the PPK were becoming increasingly difficult to see (at 58) without the special and very expensive shooting quadrifocals I had made up as my arms shortened. I use the quads at the range, but don’t wear them everyday around town, or hardly ever when I’m carrying. PPK/s do not lend themselves to sight upgrade and Crimson Tracr discontinued the laser grips several years ago. Two, it was either change to a different pistol, or respring a gun. Adding one and two, the PPK was heading to the safe. Three, I wanted to step up in caliber. .380 is not a well supported Defensive Round. There’s very few options of defensive .380 on the market. 9mm has a much larger selection of ammo available. I went with the Sig, because even without glasses the tritium sights are visible. The capacity is increased 12+1, and it just felt the best in my hand. I’ve carried it now for almost 6 months in an Alien Gear 3.5 IWB. It goes in and out without a problen. Even though the PPK had a safety, I didn’t use it, depending instead upon the first shot being DA. So I’d already gotten into the habit of watching the trigger when reholstering, it wasn’t a big hurdle to overcome. The key is paying attention to what you’re doing if you’re going to carry a gun that has no safety.

  41. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Sometimes, safeties on a firearm are there because lawyers put them there.

    eg, the firing pint safety on a Colt Series 80. The magazine disconnect on the S&W all-metal semi-auto pistols.

    Firearms manufactures have been sued multiple times over the years because some gomer shot himself or someone else while holstering/cleaning/doing something with a gun. The reason why S&W put in those magazine disconnect safeties on their semi-autos was because they were getting sued too often by police widows after their husbands suffered a fatal GSW to the cranium “while cleaning” their guns. So they put in the mag disconnect, and now the last round in the pipe could not be triggered with the magazine out of the pistol.

    This argument over manual safeties is so laughable to us older shooters, because there was never, ever any such argument about this issue until we had a convergence of two things: the Glock and its imitations, and spec-ops vets setting up shooting schools. Until then, it seemed as tho there were two classes of handguns: those with safeties and those without. We called the ones with safeties “pistols,” which were semi-automatic, and the handguns without manual safeties were called revolvers, and they had 12+ pound, long-pull double-action trigger pulls.

    It used to be that pistols had more than one manual safety. eg, 1911’s, 1903’s, 1908’s, Lugers, Remington Model 51, etc – had a grip safety as well as a mechanical engagement safety. You could leave off the manual safety and you still had the grip safety. Somewhere, some people decided that even a grip safety was also too complicated – and the idea of the Glock-type safety was born.

    Somehow, pistol shooters used to be able to navigate not only one, but two safeties.

    1. avatar Southerner says:

      Perhaps the first partially cocked, striker fired autoloading pistol w/o an external safety was the Roth-Steyr Model 1907. The now ubiquitous Glock came along much later – much later. Interestingly though, both the Roth-Steyr and the Glock designs were adopted by the Austrian military.

      https://modernfirearms.net/en/handguns/handguns-en/austria-semi-automatic-pistols/roth-steyr-krnka-m7-m1907-eng/

    2. avatar This Guy Understands says:

      Dyspeptic (Sorry to hear it, lol) Gunsmith, Can’t say enough how much of a service you are doing by saying this. Thank you! The spec-ops guys (or perhaps more frequently, those who imitate them) are telling everyone all kinds of things that are now being “assumed” by shooters who have been through these schools. Much of it is sales. You create a problem, people get scared: they pay you to help alleviate the problem. Safeties are now “too much” to handle. Your hand will shake and fumble and you’ll fill your pants (as if this wouldn’t affect everything, much less the safety). .40s are “too snappy” and you’d best stick to the 9 so that you will be able to shoot (despite everyone and their brother I once knew shooting the .357 magnum all day long). There is no need for any caliber except the 9mm, because it can do everything (clearly people who have not shot at much; shot much, maybe, but not shot AT much). What scares the crap out of me is the realization that most people will react as they have been taught, meaning if they think what you do under stress and flibble-flab and jam everything up that is what they will do. If you are taught that safeties are just too much then that will become your mindset. It’s probably anathema to say out loud, but it seems like modern shooting schools are mostly teaching people fear and fumble as a mindset. In short, how to be a shitty shooter.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        The biggest reason I’m wary of these ‘modern’ shooting schools is their seeming dogmatic insistence on semi-autos, and then Glock semi-autos at that. I’ve got a news flash for all the Tactical Timmy types out there: sarcopenia is a real thing, and one day, it will happen to you, too (unless you die before the age of, oh, about 50). For some people with lack of upper body, arm or hand strength, a revolver is better indicated than most any semi-auto. First, because the lack of muscle strength compromises their ability to rack a slide, but also as the muscle mass in their arm decreases, some semi-autos start to exhibit the failure to fully eject, because their slide short-strokes.

        Many of these shooting schools don’t work with older shooters. Many older shooters can’t afford the prices on these shooting schools (medications and medical care drain their budgets). Many older shooters are in much more need of a gun, because criminals prey upon those that the criminals evaluate as being the easiest targets. There are times I’ve wondered if I should start a shooting school that focuses on the Real World, where some people are in their 70’s, they don’t have a lot of disposable income to fritter away on the latest gadgetry for shooting (including the latest hot lick ammo), and maybe all they can manage is an old S&W Model 10 and RNL ammo.

        Can an old turn-in Model 10 with RNL loads work in a home defense situation? Absolutely. Can a sporting shotgun work in a home defense situation, loaded with a AA load? Absolutely. The Tactical Timmys would tell us “NO! It’s absolutely under-penetrating!” and my response is: Aim for the attacker’s nuts or his eyes, and he’s going to change his mind about being in your house Right Now. Then, the invasion done to the attacker by surgeons trying to remove the 7.5 shot is probably going to exceed the damage done by the shot, so even one shot in the right place with a AA load can be the “gift that keeps on giving!”

    3. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      ‘The reason why S&W put in those magazine disconnect safeties on their semi-autos was because they were getting sued too often by police widows after their husbands suffered a fatal GSW to the cranium “while cleaning” their guns.’

      Which is odd, since I’ve heard that the reason so many LEOs end up accidentally shooting themselves while cleaning their guns is because their fellow officers investigating their deaths tend to rule suicides as accidental deaths so that the widows won’t lose out on the benefits. I wonder how many times S&W got sued over a suicide.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        Who knows? It ends up in additional safety mechanisms added to a product line.

        What we need is some honesty here. If you have minimal competence in handling a semi-auto, you won’t have a round in the pipe when you’re stripping it for cleaning. If you have minimal competence, you won’t have the muzzle pointed at your head before you’re certain the gun is completely unloaded.

        I look down muzzles of guns literally every day. Literally. Not in the liberal/leftist use of the word ‘literally’, but in the literate, classic, concrete meaning of the word ‘literally.’ I’m still here, and ain’t going anywhere as a result of an “accidental discharge” while they’re pointed at my head. Every single day I’m in the shop, I’m looking down both ends of a barrel. Sometimes, I’m using a bore scope. Sometimes, I’m looking at a muzzle/crown with 10X loupes or magnifiers. The muzzle is pointed at my face… and I live to tell about it, because there are no loaded guns in the shop, save the one on my hip. If someone tried to tell my wife that a gun discharged while I was cleaning it, her response would be a rather vehement “bullshit!” in response.

        This business of guns just isn’t that difficult, assuming one has an IQ higher than room temperature.

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          My guess is that if it meant losing your pension or your life insurance policy your wife wouldn’t be saying ‘bullshit’. At least not aloud.

  42. avatar HuntingtonGuy says:

    Potato, Potato. A manual safety should as much a consideration as any other component of a EDC. Each argument has its merits and like most things, comes down to personal choice.
    My greatest concern with noobs is switching back and forth between platforms and confusing mental and muscle memory.
    If a noob decides to EDC they should train, train, train first. Competent instruction, honest critique and repetition. Range time, home drills with dry fire and even (not a huge fan) a quality bore laser/targeting system should be no brainer.
    I’m not challenging anyone’s right to EDC but it should be done responsibly and with a very full and clear understanding of the responsibilities that accompany carrying a gun.
    An automatic, reflexive draw shouldn’t be complicated by the risk of confusion about which gun you are carrying. And yes, in a SHTF self defense scenario it can come down to automatic response…a brain fart that sends someone looking for or forgetting about a manual safety costs valuable time.
    Carry what you are comfortable with but carry it consistently.

    1. avatar Manse Jolly says:

      Politely saying, I don’t think the term ‘noob’ is useful to the exchange of information in the shooting world.

      There has to be a better word.

      ‘just sayin’ and no offense meant.

      1. avatar B.D. says:

        don’t get pc.

  43. avatar HuntingtonGuy says:

    I’m a fan of FNG but though noob was a reasonable compromise. I’m not a guy who gratuitously offends, I don’t see “noob” as derogatory.
    Call them what you like, new shooters are both the future of these sports AND the armed citizens of tomorrow. As an instructor I have great respect for any person taking the initiative to get training of any kind. Every hour of instruction and practice makes all of us safer…and more proficient.

  44. avatar Tad says:

    I have no problem with anyone open carrying a gun without a manual safety or even conceal carrying one IF they have the luxury of leaving it in their holster all day. When I decided to start carrying concealed; however, my job required me to make visits to some of my employer’s clients. I carried in a lot of businesses that didn’t allow it. For these, the worst possible legal consequence of getting caught would have been a small trespassing fine. But, our clients also included schools, police stations, courthouses, the local Secret Service office, the local airport, and one or two correctional institutions. These are all places where carrying is a felony in my state, and some were places where I would almost certainly be caught if I carried. Not wanting to risk prison or worse,—i.e. having my guns taken away—I decided I would leave my gun in the car when I had to visit these places.

    Have you ever tried discretely unholstering and (even worse) reholstering your CCW while seated in a compact car? It’s not ideal. There are a lot of things that can snag a trigger between my waistband and the lockbox under my seat. And openly pulling out a gun in a police station parking lot is only slightly less stupid than informing a police officer you’re carrying a concealed firearm by waving it in the air and shouting “HEY! LOOK! I’VE GOT A GUN!”

    I have a different job now, and I would feel perfectly safe carrying a Glock in an IWB holster in my current situation. I’ve become a pretty good shot with my Beretta, though, and flicking the safety during my draw is second nature (it really wasn’t hard to learn). I’m comfortable with it, and it’s still nice to know that if I ever need to, I can safely pull it out and put it back while in my car without alerting everyone around me.

    People’s situations differ. Something to think about.

    1. avatar B.D. says:

      Why didn’t you just take the whole holster off? That’s what I do… Kinda keeps things safer and makes more sense. Also, not as awkward when going through a metal detector.

      1. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

        When I take off my carry rig, the piece stays in the holster. Since the retention strap is under the 1911’s hammer, it’s yet another layer of safety if the whole thing is dropped.

  45. avatar Slowhand says:

    Since this article was meant for beginners, shouldn’t you be a little more careful by not referring to semi-automatic handguns as “automatics”?

  46. avatar B.D. says:

    I carry with no manual safety. Always have. Always will.

  47. avatar Richard Steven Hack says:

    “A manual safety is a safeguard against accidental (negligent) discharge which, despite what the TPBs have to say, is more likely to happen with a gun without a safety just as a matter of design.”

    Nothing like saying something utterly obvious. It’s like saying “a gun with no way to insert bullets is safe by design.”

    You can’t pull a trigger on a gun with no trigger. Does that mean we need guns with no triggers?

    The bottom line remains the same: The *only* two ways to get a negligent discharge is 1) your finger is in the trigger, or 2) you have an obstruction in your holster (or you’re doing pocket carry without a holster).

    If you are a *beginner” – which this article is supposedly addressing – you should *not* be carrying concealed until you have trained your finger to stay out of the trigger guard until you are ready to engage the target (and that includes under stress conditions which you should emulate as far as possible in training.)

    There’s absolutely nothing wrong with carrying a firearm with a manual safety – as long as you have trained yourself to remove said safety religiously when engaging the target – which is exactly the same process as training your finger to stay out of the trigger guard. when engaging the target.

    What this article is really trying to prove – although he doesn’t say so because he knows he would be called out if he did – is that manual safeties are the *only* way to conceal carry.

    And that isn’t true.

  48. avatar ZA says:

    For self defense: single actions = manual safety; double action = no manual safety. What’s wrong with that rule of thumb? Choose what you like and TRAIN for it. Having started shooting with a revolver, I then went to DA/SA semi auto with decocker (NOT safety). Once in high stress training I reholstered without decocking. Nothing bad happened, but it made me appreciate the benefits of DAO in either revolver or semi auto ( I presume I would have made the same mistake in training by not engaging a manual safety). I also think that starting shooting with DA revolver helped my shooting since I have never “gotten” the trigger thing a lot of people complain about. Anything under 10lbs is a dream to shoot 😉 DA teaches trigger control whether you like it or not. The other factor important for new shooters to consider is trigger reset. On a DA revolver it is long and fail safe, on some semi autos, the Walther PPQ comes to mind, the reset is so short that unintentional discharges are likely without practice.

  49. avatar ChipBurn says:

    Everyone should buy, carry and train with the weapon they prefer. I have several handguns with manual safeties, and several without. My usual daily carry (Hudson H9) does not have a safety, and I carry AIWB with a round in the chamber – in a multi holster, not gangsta style.

    If you are not comfortable toting around a firearm without a safety, by all means, get one with a safety. But then train – with the safety, so you do not have to stop and think about what to do to make the weapon go bang. It should be a reflexive action to draw, aim, and fire

  50. avatar former water walker says:

    Ehhhh…I got into guns some 8 years ago. Now I’m over 65. I carry a lowly Taurus 709 with the safety on & chambered. I honestly don’t give a damn about anyone’s opinion. I’ve trained to flick the safety off. I’m learning a whole new manual of arms with AR15. You CAN teach an old dog new tricks!😏

  51. avatar Aaron says:

    i am the only person in this room professional enough to carry a gun…https://youtu.be/S7ufT_6Kgy0

  52. avatar Darkman says:

    Way late to this convo. Just a minor point on external safeties. Had a 12 yr old in the Quad Cities pull a hand gun (22) on a teacher. Stuck it in her face and pulled the trigger. Either luck or his lack of gun knowledge saved her from being shot. The safety was still on.

    1. avatar B.D. says:

      So… first question is how did the 12 year old get it? And second question is how is this relative to responsible carriers?

      1. avatar Darkman says:

        When/If you ever face the same situation. Will those questions Really matter? Just a fortunate ending to a near tragic case. Due to an external safety. As for responsible shooters. Safeties are just one more way to prevent an AD/ND. My opinion goes both ways on safeties. I have guns with and without. As well as DA/SA Decockers. Carry them as I like. As everyone should. Just like brand,caliber and style. There is no 1 sizes fits all answer.

    2. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      This is a valid point. I once read an article detailing about a half dozen cases where cops had their weapons taken from them and their lives were saved by the perps’ ignorance of weapons when they couldn’t figure out the safety was on. The increased likelihood of someone ignorant of firearms not being able to make the weapon fire would be considered a good thing in most cases.

  53. avatar You WILL be around an ND if you Shoot Long Enough says:

    I had an old teacher who had shot his entire life say something really brilliant one time (he was a Korea vet and lifelong firearms competitor and shooter): “If you shoot enough, you WILL be around a negligent discharge. It is not a matter of if, but when.” Even the greatest teachers, who have the steadiest, most disciplined minds, WILL make an error sometime. This is why the primary rule is so important: don’t EVER point one at anything you don’t intend to destroy. Eventually it might go off, and on that day you will be very happy that it wasn’t pointed at anything important. Things like safeties reduce the danger of the outcome of a slip of mind. More likely it will be something you couldn’t have foreseen. I have been around two NDs now in my many (and yet half as many as his) years of shooting. Neither was me. One went into the dirt. The other took a .45 ball down a guys thigh under the skin and then his calf and stopped by his ankle. You WILL be around one, and having a safety helps insure that it isn’t you.

  54. avatar 33Charlemagne says:

    One of the things that I like about the two SP101s I have for concealed carry is the combination of a simple manual of arms with the safety of the D/A trigger and transfer bar ignition. They are totally ready to go at an instant’s notice, with a round in the chamber and nothing else to manipulate but the trigger. At the same time they are totally inert in that the hammer and firing pin are not under any tension. Also unlike a DA/SA semi-auto, they “decock” themselves after every shot. When I have shot striker fired pistols, like the M&P 2.0 (wihout the safety), the Walther PPQ and the CZ P-10C, I am struck with the realization that “this thing is “hot” as soon as I release the slide.. With my Rugers I have to cock the gun first,either with the heavy D/A trigger or with the hammer, whereas a striker fired pistol without a safety will fire with only that light trigger pull.

  55. avatar The Crimson Pirate says:

    Safety, no safety, 1911, Glock, .45, 9mm, another of the usual BS (non) debates by people playing whose is bigger.

    think this is telling “The group without guns vastly supported safeties. A total of 173 respondents, or roughly 90% of that group said they would prefer a gun with a safety on it if they were to carry one.”

    The same people continually derided by commenters here for being ignorant and not knowing what they are talking prefer manual safeties. That says something.

    Carry what you like and are good with.

  56. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

    “””””””””””””””””””””””””At the end of the day, I believe that the whole safety/no-safety thing is question a personal choice. That said, guns without manual safeties are in the overall minority.”””””””””””””””””””””””””””

    The Author made a broad generalization after taking only a small survey. The real facts are that many guns being made today are either safety-less Glock clones or small automatics with very heavy double action only pulls that also have no manual safety. They remain the most popular choices for the ignorant and the uneducated who often own many guns but not with the people buying guns for the first time. Without taking a survey of all the handguns sold in the U.S. in one year it remains unknown which group of guns are the most popular but seeing what is available in gun stores tells one that the new guns with manual safeties are usually in the minority that are sitting in the glass gun cases in stores.

    The small auto in double action only is an extremely difficult gun to master and most people when using them will either end up missing the target and getting themselves shot by return fire or accidentally shoot some innocent bystander.

    The Glock crowd on the other hand will usually end up shooting themselves while carrying or handling the unsafe weapon or leave it laying around loaded for some non gun owning person to find and pick up and accidentally shoot themselves with or someone else.

    The Glock crowd would be terrified to carry a revolver with the hammer cocked back (as well they should be) but they do not understand that carrying a Glock is just as dangerous because it is cocked internally but the Glock crowd is to ignorant to understand how their Glock actually works. In other words if you accidentally snag the trigger on either gun it accidentally fires off but the Glock crowd in their total ignorance “do not fear what they cannot see” i.e. the gun with the cocked back hammer frightens them and the gun without the hammer does not even though both are equally as dangerous to carry with no manual safety engaged. This is a simple concept totally beyond the mentality of the back woods out house Glock crowd to fathom.

    THE ORIGINAL VLAD TEPES

  57. avatar readytheharpoon says:

    A big part of what gets left out of this discussion is the user’s personal situation and risk assessment.

    Me: I have small kids. If my 2 year old somehow gets her hands on a loaded weapon, I want her to have to do something beyond pull a light trigger to fire it. So I carry either a 1911 or a J frame. I know, I know — keep it holstered or in a safe! But what if I slip up?

    All the parents I know who carry prefer revolvers, DA/SA, or 1911s for this reason. I assess the risk of a child getting a gun as greater than the risk of being involved in a deadly force encounter. I’m around my kids every day, but I’m not around muggers every day.

  58. avatar Alan says:

    I always carried my duty pistol with the safety on, First the 5906 with the back assward safety then the H&K USP with the proper up safe, down fire selector. With both I shot just as fast from the holster as everyone else (and faster than some). I have read many stores where a safety saved an officer during a gun grab, I have never heard of an officer being hurt because they didn’t have time to disengage the safety.

  59. avatar Derringer Dave says:

    The article says, “A GLOCK cannot uses a trigger safety only”

    Huh? A Glock cannot what? Are you saying that every Glock also has a thumb safety in addition to a trigger safety? You might want to run this article past an editor next time!

  60. avatar David Bradford says:

    3 out of 4 of my pistols have manual safeties. When I first started shooting pistols I wanted and used the safety all the time. But after some time at the range I found I would forget at times to deactivate the safety, pull the trigger and…NOTHING! Now I imagine with more practice I could develop the muscle memory to flick that safety off when I draw (maybe). The range I go to does not allow drawing from the holster so I miss out on practical experience of draw and fire where the safety is engaged. If I continued to use the safety during carry I run the risk of failing to disengage it and pulling a dead trigger at the worst time possible. I find personally that it is easier to not only assume every gun is loaded but that the safety is off TOO. This way I will never get complacent when handling one of my guns assuming it’s safe because it never is. I make a point to never holster a pistol with the thumb safety engaged. This is what works for me, please feel free to do what works for you.

  61. avatar BusyBeef says:

    Go shoot an IDPA match in BUG class with a manual safety.

    Then come back and post your opinion.

  62. avatar adverse6 says:

    Don’t need a safety pin in a grenade either.

Write a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

button to share on facebook
button to tweet
button to share via email