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Back in the day, I was dead set against carrying a handgun with an external safety. I considered it One More Thing to Worry About – in a situation where fine motor skills go out the window, tunnel vision kicks in, trained responses go out and there’s LOTS to worry about. As for an external safety preventing a negligent discharge or a gun grab shooting, I felt confident I could keep my booger hook off the bang switch, and balanced potential gun loss against rapid, seamless presentation. And now I carry . . .

a Wilson Combat X-Tac Commander 1911.

I didn’t choose to carry a 1911 for the reassurance of the external safeties’ safety. I opted for John Moses Browning’s meisterwerk so I can take advantage of the handgun’s glass-rod-breaking single-action trigger pull. Sure, I might forget to disengage the external safety in a defensive gun use. But I don’t think so. I’ve trained myself to instinctively switch off the safety.

That said, as I’m typing, I’m pocket-carrying a Kahr MK-9. The lack of an external safety bothers me not one whit. And when I find a suitable retention holster to open carry my P226 SIG SAUER Legion Series hammer-fired handgun, I’ll carry that without qualms, too. In short, I’m not bothered about external safeties. You?

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  1. To me it simply depends upon the gun and the safety. My EDC, a FNH BHP, needs the safety upsized but I practice my thumb work daily. My backup 1911, well the safety is so big and I use a particularly high grip, that the safety is a natural strong hand thumb rest. With respect to the plastic striker fired new fangled wonders, I say no.

    • This is what matters.
      Know your gear inside and out and it makes no difference.
      If you think an external safety is a liability you aren’t training enough.
      If you think no external safety is a liability you aren’t training enough.

      • Always train , best advise , always , train , train , train . If you want to be as prepared you possibly can , with the exception of shooting someone in defensive combat , you must practice often under stress , as often as possible ,
        so your reaction is habit . Use timers and compete with people .

      • Unless you’re a professional operator, you most likely aren’t training anywhere near enough. Real life’s budget, time and competing priorities tend to get in the way.

        Your gear and personal security practices must acknowledge this reality. If an external safety presents a serious problem in this context, then it’s a problem which must be resolved. It’s up to to the individual to determine for himself the most effective resolution.

        Long term and most thorough would indeed be more, and more effective, training. Realistically, though, ditching that gear and just keeping it simple is the path of least resistance.

  2. External (thumb?) safeties, no problem at all. They can be used if you wish or left in the off position if you prefer. Magazine disconnect safeties??? Don’t even get near me with one! A pistol with one is better than no pistol at all, but given a choice, I would NEVER buy a firearm with a magazine disconnect. Just my 2 cents.

    • Funny you mention the mag disconnect. On the BHP it is a direct trigger impingement. This adds about 2-3 pounds on the trigger. It also prevents the mag from dropping without added pull until it passes the disconnect. Removing it fixes both issues. My wife has a SR9c. I really like all of the safeties on that gun. And yet, Ruger was kind enough to make removal of the mag disconnect simple and easy. One exercise we practice at the range requires removing any mag disconnect. We put in the mag, chamber a round, drop the mag, shoot twice. The second pull allows you to watch your sight picture and see if you are pulling, twitching, or pushing the gun. Obviously this won’t work on a firearm with a permanent mag disconnect like the M&P22c.

      • My EDC is also the SR9c, but I must admit I do not have enough experience with the argument over mag drop safeties to really understand the issue. On the surface I tend to like the concept. When I first started carrying the SR9c I was using a Remora holster and on more than one occasion I had bumped against a desk our counter-top and accidentally depressed the mag release. The result was that when I pulled the pistol the mag fell to the floor and of course the round in the chamber would not fire. Simple fix – I bought a Kydex IWB – problem solved.

        The SR9c also has a (very small) thumb safety, ambidextrous along with the Glock-style trigger disconnect safety. When I carry I ALWAYS take the thumb safety off AFTER I have holstered the pistol since I train to simply draw and fire. When I remove the pistol from the holster for all other non-shooting reasons I ALWAYS flip the thumb safety on before drawing. Works well for me.

        • I often do likewise and put the safety ON when holstering/unholstering. It is always carried OFF. Not once in many IDPA matches or concealed carry excursions has the manual thumb safety been inadvertently engaged. Besides, also shooting a 1911 tends to ingrain in me the natural “swipe” anyway, just in case.

        • Great idea! I have a couple guns with external safeties. One is frame mounted and one is slide mounted. The frame one is a natural to flick off when drawing. The slide mounted one I would prefer to have off while carrying, but I like the idea of added “safety” while holstering.

        • Ben, Please do tell me how to accomplish that. This is a range only gun and the mag disconnect is driving me CRAZY!

        • Gman, I removed mine over a year ago, so I don’t recall exactly offhand. I believe there was just a spring that had to go. Im sure a Google search would turn up some pictures of the offending parts. Best of luck.

      • I removed my mag disconnect from my SR9 for the same reasons and I’m not law enforcement.

        If I want the gun to go bang, it had better go bang – in all sorts of sub-optimal situations.

        • I like my SR9 and my SR9c’s just like they are . I like my manual safety’s . I have no issues with using my thumb to push a lever before pulling a trigger .

      • California mandated mag safeties for the simple reason that there are enough idiots out there who think if the mag is dropped, the gun is (magically) unloaded. I have one on a Mosquito, and it is more of a pain than a use.

        • The California government mandated mag safeties because it was another mandate the government there could make. And because the population is sufficiently clueless and indoctrinated to believe their government is some sort of useful institution, that has even a fraction of a sliver of concern for anything whatsoever aside from their own self aggrandizement.

  3. This question makes me think of the mag release debate I see on other sites. The VP9, as an example, definitely takes some getting used to – but if that’s all you know, then you are good to go. As for external safeties, I don’t use them because the guns I carry, or that I use for home defense, need to be used by wifey too. And wifey likes the “pick it up and shoot” versions of the collection. Happy wife, happy life!

  4. I have no problems with my LC9s’s safety switch. What I do dislike is the magazine disconnect. I’ve had to get rid of two holsters because they rub the mag release and pop the mag out. That’s bad anyway, but doubly so if it disables the gun entirely.

    • Hey just a quick thing about the mag dropping out. I have an LC9s too and would often find the mag popped out while carrying it at about 4 o clock IWB. With some investigation, I found it’s not the mag disconnect but actually because the magazine can cant just enough in the mag well to slip by the mag disconnect hook. A very easy fix is wrapping a piece of electrical tape around the magazine at the bottom. This prevents it from moving enough in the mag well to slip out but doesn’t prevent the magazine from being ejected easily when you actually want it to.

      Give it a shot.

    • Choosing between the LC9 and the LC9s, I chose the LC9 because I intended to remove the safety and the mag disconnect, and I ground off the LCI while I was at it. Now it operates just like my LCP, which I had carried several years. OTOH, years ago I carried a 1911, and never had a worry about sweeping the safety if I drew it.

        • I think you guys are missing my point. I could have removed the safeties of the LC9s just as easily, but I wouldn’t trust that trigger without a safety. I played with the LC9, LC9s, and LC9s Pro, and chose the trigger on the LC9 because I intended to remove the safeties. The LC9s without safeties I consider as safe as a Glock, which is to say “not”. To each his own.

    • You should look at the lc9s Pro. Same great trigger as the lc9s, no safety or mag disconnect. My buddy’s got one.

    • It took me about 30 minutes to remove the mag disconnect on my wife’s lc9s.

      The external safety doesn’t bother me at all. It’s just a training issue.

  5. All my firearms have 2 external safeties, the one between my ears and my trigger finger which only gets applied when I want it to go bang.

  6. All of my pistols are either decocker only or no safety. I am considering adding a traditional safety pistol to my collection, however. I recently needed to let a friend borrow one of my pistols for carry, and his lack of experience made him very nervous about carrying a safetyless pistol. I never looked at it from a novice perspective, and all of my early pistols had safeties. It would be nice to have something a novice shooter could carry comfortably.

    • An empty gun? Seriously though, I understand. When I first started carrying, never one in the pipe. I was too scared. As time goes by, training builds confidence and muscle memory. I understand the decocker though. I’m a really big Sig fan. DA/SA is a great feature.

      • Depends on concealed or open for me. I’ll carry with a loaded chamber in my SIG pistols, but when I open carry I carry a 3-screw Super Blackhawk – to be drop safe I have to leave an empty chamber under the hammer, since there is no transfer bar.

  7. I have one. I practice drawing and laser dry firing every day. It might be reliably automatic now. My previous edc was a P7 so this was new learning.

  8. I’m not pro or con either way. When it comes to carry guns though, pick one and stick with it. Having to think about operating sequence in a DGU is probably not a good thing.

    • Heavy guns , heavy triggers .
      Just my opinion .
      I like lite , personally , and I sacrifice knock down with bounce around so I can keep it lite .

    • The XDs, as do all XD series guns, has an external safety–it is called the grip safety, the same as JMB designed for the 1911 (before the Army mandated a thumb safety). My first gun was a Springfield and not a Glock for that very reason.

      • That’s why I bought an XDM. I want something more than just the trigger safety in a carry piece. My Taurus PT111 G2 has a thumb safety and I practice drawing it and thumbing the safety off a dozen times a day. It’s just part of my routine when drawing it from the holster.

        As for my Taurus TCP, well, that trigger is stiff enough I’m okay not having a safety. That’s never going off by accident…

      • +1

        That’s the external safety on any XD model. This is part of why I chose to rid myself of a Glock and get an XDm, when holstering keep your thumb on the striker pin and you’ve got nothing to worry about, and then draw naturally and you’re ready to go bang, whether it’s at a target or the guy in your house, no need to adjust your grip to get that pesky thumb safety deactivated.

  9. YES to external safety for my explosive vest. And I appreciate the magazine safety as who wants to go boom in the midst of a gripping article.

    My handgun, on the other hand, is the decocker model of CZ75 PCR.

  10. After a few years of carrying a manual-safety-equipped Commander, I’ve become less and less comfortable carrying a non-safety-equipped revolver, as I sometime find myself doing when the .45 just won’t disappear (or will be discovered during a slow dance with a relative not enamored of carrying protective devices).
    So now, when I read a gun review that extols the virtues of a gun without a safety as being easier to operate, I dismiss that notion without even contending it’s mistaken.
    But then I haven’t changed to carrying a 30-round .25ACP since we now know it has exactly the same stopping power as a 255 grain Keith in a .45 Colt. I read it on the internet.

    • You are VERY closed-minded, sir. It’s simple math that two hits with a .25ACP = one .50ACP. How is that not better than a single .45ACP? Inquiring minds want to know.

  11. No big deal. My CZ’s don’t engage with hammer down and my 1911’s they’re kind of required. I shoot 1911’s in competition and my thumb rests over the safety on my CZ’s.

    I also don’t think you have to overhand rack slides on reloads under stress.

  12. Yes. 1911, of course.

    I’d consider a da/sa with either thumb safety or decocker if shopping for a nine. Though I’ve carried Glock-types in the past, the advantage escapes me. Having used 1911s since around 1968, the thumb safety is fine.

  13. I have one on my EDC, but I leave it in the “fire” position. It’s a decocker, so it’s handy sometimes.

  14. I mostly carry an XD .45 now.

    When I carry by Bersa, I carry it with one in the chamber, hammer down, and safety off.

  15. I’m not inherently against or for it. I’d generally prefer to not have to deal with one, but it’s not a deal-breaker for me. My EDC has an external safety, and my only complaint is that it’s barely the size of a tic-tac, and thus took a long time to get used to. If it has an external safety, I’d prefer for it to be a nice flipper, not a teeny little nub.

  16. Will only carry a SAO with a safety – everything else I generally avoid a firearm with an external safety

      • “Is there such a thing as a SAO without a safety? Other than a revolver?”

        The Tokarev TT-33 comes to mind….. unless it’s been “improved” with an import-added safety, or you consider the half-cock notch as one.

      • The safety on a SAA is at the back above the grips. Big lever behind the cylinder, you can’t miss it. Pull it back with your thumb and the gun is off safe, leave it down it’s on safe.

  17. FNX 45 with hammer down and safety off. With a proper holster, I don’t need to worry about something engaging the trigger, so disengaging the safety simply becomes an unnecessary delay.

  18. No. When S&W started selling M&P Shields without external safeties I traded my original, external safety model for one without.

  19. FNX.45….con 1 at all times.
    Safety never an issue.
    Draw and safety off….just train with the weapon you choose.
    I don’t suddenly forget how to steer my truck to avoid a fender bender now do I?

  20. This is what I like about the grip safety on my XD. It’s an external safety that I don’t have to think about.

    • x2. It’s why I bought one over a Glock. (Actually, I gave it to my son a year ago after many years of faithful service.)

  21. Nope, except for a 1911 platform gun. My wife likes an external safety and practices releasing it on draw. I’d rather she didn’t but, that’s not a fight I’m willing to have with her.

  22. It ain’t the gear, it’s the person. If you’re going to brain fart over something as simple as a safety come crunch time, likely they’ll stamp “The End” on your medical records.

  23. Personally I’m a fan of external safeties, but I haven’t found any revolvers equipped with one. I’m not sure where they’d put it if they tried. But even with the 10# hammer spring and 8# trigger return spring I installed my GP100 probably has about a 7-8# trigger pull in DA and I’m pretty confident it won’t go bang unless I really mean it to.

    I would recommend that if your EDC is equipped with one that you use it and practice disengaging it on your draw. I carried a Beretta 92 and a Ruger P95 for a while with slide mounted safeties and found a couple of times that the safety had been bumped off safe. If it can be bumped one way it can be bumped the other. In a DGU you could panic and it might take several seconds for you to figure out why your gun isn’t firing.

  24. My holster is my safety.
    If I need to clear leather (kydex), the last thing I want is one more lever to engage.

    Whatever you carry, practice drawing and firing. A lot. With a shot timer.

  25. in that area, all are similar manual of arms.
    first: hungarian hi power 9mm. (mag safety removed).
    next: 1911 10mm.
    third: p938
    finally (so far): 75b 9mm. possible second strike capability, hope i never need to utilize. i used da once the first time i fired it. bullseye. never again.
    cocked and locked, all.
    all are frame mounted safeties that are off in the same down position.

  26. XDm.

    I’m one of the vocal minority that loves the grip safety. Provides an external safety beyond the trigger blade but if you’ve got the firearm in a firing grip it’s ready to go, no extra thought needed.

  27. Yes, but only on a 1911. I also don’t mind the grip safety on Springfield’s various XD series. I’m not sure if I’d trust an external safety on anything else.

  28. I prefer no external safety.

    As Mr. Farago stated, it is one less thing to be defective and one less aspect for which you have to account in a self-defense situation.

  29. Nope. I didn’t buy a Shield 9mm (my EDC) until they came out with one with no thumb safety. For the rest I have glocks and revolvers, also with no external safety

  30. I’m really like my Squared Away Customs kydex OWB holster in Kryptek Mandrake. It’s fits my Sig 226 Tac Ops / Streamlight TLR-1 combo quite nicely. Hope you’re not in a hurry, because it took about 6 weeks for me to get my holster.

  31. Depends on the gun and how you train IMO. I don’t think an external safety is a bad thing if you make it muscle memory to switch on the draw. I don’t think its really a necessity to have one either.

      • Amen! The Glock fanboys don’t understand my position on this issue, but it’s what I firmly believe. Not really totally comfortable with “cocked and locked” on a 1911 either but at least they are real safeties. With a Glock it is just too easy to violate safety rule #3. Ask the Knoxville, TN PD. IN 1989, IIRC, they switched wholesale from revolvers to Glocks and had 3 negligent discharges, one fatal, in about 2 months. I think they were drawing with their finger on the trigger, which probably became habitual with the revolvers they had been carrying. I don’t want to take even that split second to try and remember that if I am in a self defense situation.
        I carry a Kahr PM9 but the looong trigger pull serves as a safety to me.

    • Indeed. The superfluous Trigger Dingus (TM) is not a “safety” since it is disengaged by pulling the trigger.

      (OK, technically thinks like firing pin blocks, etc. that are internal and make sure the only way the gun can fire is if someone pulls the trigger, are “safeties” too but they aren’t human-controllable.)

  32. I was back from Vietnam about two weeks and went quail hunting with my dad and brother. Shotgun in the crook of my left arm, safety on and finger off the trigger. We accidentally flushed a covey right in front of us and my shotgun fired without me doing anything (that I remember). In the stress of using a pistol in a defense situation I will take the external safety and almost wish I had a second external safety. Sure don’t want to shoot myself in the foot as I’m drawing.

  33. Just a tip: Meisterwerk should be capitalized because all nouns in German are capitalized. But no, safties in general don’t bother me. However, I HATE the saftey/decocker on the 92fs. Double action guns don’t need safties and if they do have one it should at least let you carry cocked and locked.

    • I agree, which is why it was nice to see Beretta bring back the 92G (decock only) model. If I were in the market I’d probably opt for the G over the FS but it’s not worth the switch for a pistol that sits in the safe condition 3 most of the time. I have large enough hands that the FS safety never really bothered me, but with that 11# trigger it’s hardly necessary.

  34. I have no issue with the thumb safety on a 1911, if that is the platform that you consistently use you will work the safety. However, I have found that if I am not training with a 1911 and just switch to carrying it on a whim, that is where I can run into the issue of not sweeping off the safety. It is simply a training issue. However, one of the reasons I don’t carry a 1911 anymore is because I will sometimes encounter an issue with my grip not disengaging the grip safety. It is a common issue with people who use a high-tang thumbs-forward grip. For me it happens us enough that I am not comfortable taking the chance.

    • A grip safety is a good idea…provided you get along with it. I found out in a hurry I didn’t get along with the one on the XDS, fortunately before I bought the thing.

      In general, I’d prefer to train myself to sweep off a safety…even if it isn’t there. That way if you ever find yourself using a 1911 or a CZ (safety style), you’ll probably do the right thing. On the other hand, I saw a 1911 person try out a CZ (decocker style) and the decocker drove him nuts. He kept decocking the pistol when he habitually swept the “safety” off. I wish he could have tried a safety style CZ, but as it was, he walked out of there hating them. and he shouldn’t have.

  35. In a recent near-might-hafta-shoot-somebody-but-didn’t-because-they-saw-me-draw-and-changed-their-mind experience, I was carrying a gun I usually don’t. It has an external safety and my usual carry gun doesn’t. I flipped it right off.

    I was very self conscious about it being a new carry gun, carried in a new way. When my hand touched it, the thought was instant “this gun has a safety, flip it off” in my brain. It was flipped off before I cleared leather.

    Bad guy saw it, said “Oh shit!” and hauled ass.

    Would have rather been Open Carrying and avoided the entire incident…

  36. I can handle either. No stress with a Taurus Tcp or 85 revolver. Or a Keltec PF9. And I liked the safety on the Taurus 111. The grip safety kept me from buying a Springfield XD 40 Compact(although NOW I wish I had gotten it-It was a good deal). Didn’t like how it felt…

  37. I carry a Ruger SR9C. The external safety doesn’t bother me one bit because I always train with it on. It is second nature to disengage the safety when coming on target. That mag drop safety though, can’t think of a single situation where it would be a benefit to me. If the mag were to become less than seated or dropped the round in the pipe is useless. That’s why it is in my drawer and not my gun.

  38. The only mechanical safety that Browning felt necessary was a grip safety on the theory that you only need to grip the gun in a firing position when you intend to shoot it. All administrative actions on the 1911 can be done with grip safety engaged. Then the going out of business horse cavalry decided that holding an unruly horse could lead to an ND so they put on the thumb safety. Now everybody thinks that you have to carry a 1911 with the backup thumb safety engaged. Eighty years later Croatian designer Marko Vukovic thought that Browning guy had a great idea so he included a grip safety into the HS 2000 design. Since the horse cavalry went away there was no one worrying about handling a pistol while holding his horse that’s only safety that is normally found on a XD series pistol. I say normally because I inadvertently purchased an XD 45 service that has thumb safety.

    So, if your pistol has a grip safety the only reason to engage a manual safety, if your pistol has one, is during administrative handling. Of course you can’t clear the weapon with thumb safety engaged and on Vukovic’s design you have to disengage the grip safety to clear the weapon. In other words, if you carry a 1911 you don’t need to engage the thumb safety if it’s in the holster.

    Now there are those who think it’s ok to carry a Bersa with a 3-4lb trigger with no mechanical safety at all but somehow it is insane to carry a 1911 in the original design configuration

  39. MY EDC gun is an XD-S, which has a grip safety in addition to the rest of the integral safeties. But I also carry, on occasion, a full sized XD, an S&W 329, and various 1911s. I’m familiar with, and practice, the manual of arms with each of them.

    I probably shoot the 1911 the best of all of those, and I used to frequently carry a Kimber Elite Pro or an S&W 1911. The only issues I ever had with those was, despite using good quality holsters, when carrying in cars and trucks, and doing other active stuff, I would on occasion find the thumb safety had disengaged. Now, as long as the gun remains in the holster and the grip safety is disengaged, the gun is still safe, but I will admit that was a bit disconcerting. Now when I carry a 1911, it’s generally a Para Ordnance with the LDA trigger. In general, the best of all worlds for me – 1911 ergos and shootability, only a small increase in parts count, same manual of arms (including disengagement of external safety) but, the hammer is down while carrying, so there’s no way for it to drop on a live round, even if the sear was to magically shear off.

    • All right , here we go , laughs and giggles everyone , and some advise about rim fire ammo and no knock down power and reliability issues . Ok .
      I like 19 ounces , fully loaded with 30 rounds of 22 magnum , in the grip , in the PMR30 , with a manual safety and a one pound trigger .
      Not trying to convince anyone .

  40. All my guns have safeties. I’ve been hunting since I was 10, using numerous different shotguns with various safety types and locations. My brain automatically thinks to “disengage” safety while bringing a gun on target. I don’t even think about it since it’s a natural response. I even think at this point l, if I did carry a Glock, I would lose a split second trying to disengage a safety that isn’t there. It’s about training your mind with whatever you carry. The only time I failed to disengage a safety was in a So. Illinois goose blind…. 1989…. Forgot my gloves and a gander survived while I tried to off safe my A-5 with damm near frost bit fingers. My grandpa was pissed… And that was the last time that happened ?

  41. Since I appear to be the only person on the planet that is aware of the stark reality that anyone I repeat anyone can and probably will eventually make a mistake the manual safety just makes common sense. With my H&K P30S I can also load and unload the gun with the safety on, again another way to avoid an accident. ALTHOUGH NOT RECOMMENDED I have been in some places so dangerous I had to take a gun to bed. Not possible with a Glock or Glock copycat but possible with a gun with a manual safety or single action gun with the hammer down.

    When moving quickly over rough and uncertain terrain again the manual safety just makes common sense in case you slip and fall.

    During WWII in the Pacific G.I.’s often slept with a 1911 cocked and locked. Not possible with a Glock or copy cat pistol. Even with the hammer down the 1911 is safe in this type of use but not with a Glock or Glock copycat design.

    When riding in a rough end of town if you do not happen to have a holster that allows you to get at the gun quickly placing the gun on the seat next to you is possible with a manual safety or single action gun with the hammer down. Not possible with a Glock or Glock type gun as the Glock will go off when it flies off the seat in a quick stop. Ask me about this I know this for a fact.

    When an unauthorized person gets ahold of a gun with no manual safety especially the light short stroke Glock chances are almost certain he will trip off the trigger and shoot himself or someone else. With a manual safety coupled with a long hard double action pull the accidental discharge goes way down.

    In a scuffle if your gun is grabbed most crooks will take a second or two to figure out how to move a safety off into the fire position giving you plenty of time to gouge their eyes out and or get the gun back off of them.

    If you use the argument you will not have the time or remember to take off the safety then you have no business carrying a gun as you have not mastered its operation or practiced enough with it to be proficient.

    Fact: When police departments dropped the Glock or copy cat guns accidental discharges went way down with the double action only guns with their long hard pulls.

  42. I’m fine with either when it comes to firing them but since I’m just about to start carrying for the first time, I’m more than likely going to go with one that has an external safety just for peace of mind and as I get more comfortable carrying, then I’ll go with whatever I feel like carrying, external safety or not.

  43. It seems to me that those that complain the loudest about a safety on a handgun are people that have no problem with one on a carbine. If it’s not a problem on one why is it a problem on the other?

    For me, my preferred carry is a 1911. I like my other guns to have a thumb safety as well, so that the manual of arms is the same for each. Every time I draw it’s the same thing. The safety goes off as soon as my muzzle is in front of me.

    • The safety on my AR remains in the off position. The only time it’s on is if I’m handing it off to a buddy to shoot, and even then, it’s with the mag out and nothing in the chamber. It’s behind my bedroom door right now with one in and safety off. I work nights and my wife is proficient enough to use it better than my XD should the need ever arise, and I don’t want her worrying about turning a safety off in the HOTM.

  44. I don’t prefer them, but if I liked a gun with an external safety enough I wouldn’t mind training to master it too awful much.

    I started out carrying and shooting a 1911 before I switched to a Glock; so I know it’s not very hard to master. Not very many benefits, but I think it’s an extra measure of safety should someone manage to get the gun away from you.

  45. External safety not an issue for me. EDC is Ruger LCR 9mm revolver now. Due to how light the double action trigger feels, do have a trigger block on it, if need to defend myself, takes less than a second to push it out to free up trigger. Pistols for the range, all have external safety flippers.

  46. At the range, I see many more unintended discharges on guns with external safeties than on ones without them. Not unintended initial shots, but quite a few unintended double/triple/…. taps. Not because of the safety itself, but because the reason it is there in the first place, is often to allow for a very “expert friendly” trigger pull. Does not apply to M&Ps, SRs and the like…

  47. My EDC (Ruger SR9C) has an external safety. It comes off as soon as I holster the gun and remains off until I unholster.

  48. My opinion: doesn’t matter. As the USAF pistol training claims, you shouldn’t depend on a lever safety, as this feature is also mechanical, and could fail. I don’t put it on safe with a round in the chamber and point it at people and pull the trigger. It’s unsafe because a lever safety isn’t perfect.

  49. No external safety on a defensive tool. In every IPSC or IDPA competion I have been in or obseved, some 1911 shooter misses a shot because his safety is still on. That is not acceptable in a life or death fight.

  50. No pride or pretension here – my M&P Shield and M&P 9 each have a thumb safety. Training makes it a non-issue.

    I bought the full-size M&P first without the thumb safety, but I installed it a year later after wanting more protection against misplaced fingers, lanyards, and other rare opportunities for a negligent discharge.

  51. I’m left handed and left eye dominant and all my handguns with a manual safety are not ambidextrous so I carry the glock 30 and keep the others just for the range. Some day I might get an ambidextrous safety for the 1911 but the glock 30 carries more rounds of .45 than the 1911 with a good enough trigger to do the job so I’m in no hurry.

  52. I had 1911s since I was in Vietnam but they are to bulky to conceal carry I now have 3 glocks G19 ,G26 and a G43 I can carry any of them depending on the situation. I do practice with them once a week shooting about 500 rounds on average I use FMJ and 147 grain XTPHP . I only use kydex holster, practice makes perfect and remember it is easy to shoot at a target that it is not shooting back at you.

  53. I’m coming back around to this one to point out the reason I much prefer a manual safety on my carry gun- not because it makes the gun “safer” in my hands, or that I’m less likely to have a negligent discharge because I’ve deployed a manual safety.
    The reason I, and some others, want the manual safety is to disable the gun to some extent should it fall into the hands of someone it shouldn’t.
    My hope is that heaven forbid I lose control of my gun, dropped, grabbed away, left behind in the glove compartment due to some foolish law, that the next handler probably won’t know enough to turn the safety off, perhaps for a second or two during a crucial moment in a fight.
    Knowing that Joe Badguy can just smash the trigger on my revo that he wrestled away from me and shoot someone with it is a bad feeling.
    Yes, yes, I’m not ever supposed to lose control of my gun and it’s all my fault if I do.
    Still, having a little time to go for #2 or perform some evasive manuever seems very valuable.
    Since the presence of the safety does not impede my use of the gun- and it won’t on yours, either, just don’t turn it on to “safe”, I have no qualms about my use of it. I can honestly state, as a very busy USPSA shooter who does practice both that and carry draws, I have not failed to disengage my 1911’s safeties in many thousands of reps- so many years I can’t even recall the last time, probably more than ten years.
    The safety is a trigger lock of sorts, then.

  54. Currently carry a PT111 G2 holstered, with one chambered and safety off. When I unholster it at night and put it on my nightstand, the safety is engaged.

  55. I carry a Shield every day and keep the safety on while doing so. i feel like the safety is well designed in that it is extremely easy to disengage the safety while drawing the weapon. I practice that religiously to the point that it is second nature to when I’m drawing. I occasionally carry a CZ P07 though and switched that over to the de-cocker.

    I don’t mind them as long as they are easy to disconnect. A poorly done safety and I’d rather it not be there at all. My wife’s LC9 for instance I feel like the safety lever is too small and stiff, I’d never carry it with the safety on….if for some reason I was forced to carry that as I don’t care for the gun.

  56. Once I became proficient with a rifle and shotgun as well as a handgun I found that I could easily adapt to each weapons manual of arms once learned. Today I commit a sin many trainers warn about. I carry a double action with no safety on my waist and a small single action cocked and locked in my pocket. Sleeping well at night.

  57. I used to carry a 1911 in con 1 and practiced flicking the safety off during the draw stroke, but after selling it and my Glock and going with the XD, it’s a non issue. Draw and bang. The only thing I’d say is a bit of a disadvantage is the lack of a memory bump on the XD. You have to have a full grip to rack or fire it. I could see how this could be a potential problem in a sticky situation, buy again, better than forgetting to flick that thumb safety off. I could have the best grip possible and still be killed in the HOTM because my brain didn’t work right (go figure) and I forgot to thumb the safety. I know, I know, train, train, train, but I’m not in the military or LEO so my training is relegated to the weekends, if I’m lucky. No thumb safety = one less thing to think about when I can’t think.

  58. I’ll go with Fairbairn and Sykes, “safety’s” are dangerous, reliance on them during non-stressful situations and confusion using them during stressful incidents have probably caused/contributed to more injuries and deaths than we will ever know. Better to treat ALL firearms as loaded at ALL times and if you’ve got an external safety, “pin it”.

  59. It’s not a good choice for the “average gun owner” who practices and shoots twice a year or less.

    It’s a valid, often wise choice for highly motivated beginner and intermediate-level shooters in a low-crime area who practice at least once a week but don’t yet have completely reliable mastery of the basic rules of gun safety. These shooters are at a higher risk of shooting themselves than of being injured in a gunfight because they didn’t flick off the safety. Especially when someone is engaged in a high-risk activity like beginning to learn to quick-draw and shoot, having the gun in a disabled state until it’s pointed downrange is a good idea.

    It’s not a good choice for very experienced shooters who regularly shoot under stress who exhibit excellent trigger control and are sure they won’t shoot themselves. For these shooters, it’s just another thing that can go wrong and requires much expertise to master beyond the point where there is perfect reliability under stress.

    An expert user of a pistol with an external safety can be sure they’ll switch off the safety. Similarly, a handgun master has no doubt hindered by an external safety in any way. I’d trust Jeff Cooper to swipe off his safety every time. Doubt of the ability to reliably use the safety is a non-factor if you’ve truly mastered both how to operate an external safety and how to safely handle a firearm. If you’re really a master of the pistol and it doesn’t make a difference to you, you might even prefer the safety just in case your gun is stolen from your control.

  60. DA/SA all the way! An external safety is one more thing to worry about at a time when you need zero things to worry about.

    I’m not going to ding anyone for carrying a 1911 style handgun, I have owned three of them (two 1911s and a Hi-Power), but they’re not my cup of tea. The moment I picked up my first Sig (a P226) it was love at first sight. That was 31 years ago, and I have seen no reason to change. If I tried to carry a different style at this point I’d flub every move!

  61. Pocket carry Sig P290RS, car carry G26, nightstand carry Ruger Security Six…so no, no and no. No external safety, no problem.

  62. No safeties for me. You can train yourself to the point where it is second nature, and that’s fine if you do. I like having a gun w/o ext. safeties because when I pick it up on day one it is the equivalent of hours and hours of drawing practice with one. And that’s before I even get to the range for real practice.

  63. I doesn’t matter to me. If I want to switch back to my 1911, I’ll practice a bit more with it to “refresh” my action on drawing. Though last week I used my 1911 in a match and never forgot how to flick the safety off. I think that proper grip can make clicking the safety off almost automatic.

  64. I like the external safety. It grants a bit more control in grey areas of handling, such as wanting the safety off for checking the house at 3AM, and wanting the safety on for doing some dry practice at home.

    • Dry firing is near worthless. You aren’t addressing flinching that only live firing can induce. You aren’t even addressing trigger control, with your safety on, with most guns, because the safety prevents full range of motion of the trigger.

      On top of that, you’re specifically practicing attempting to fire with the saftey engaged: not a good standard when DGU Day comes. Moreover, from a safe handling standpoint, you’re conditioning yourself to rely, albeit in an additional layer of back-up sort of way, upon a mechanical safety for your general safety. That’s a dangerous mindset to get into, as it opens the door to straying from the four rules of gun safety.

      Start relying on mechanics, as opposed to behaviors, and you’re asking for trouble.

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