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external safties on a handgun?

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This topic contains 10 replies, has 8 voices, and was last updated by Profile photo of First Sergeant First Sergeant 1 year, 8 months ago.

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  • #45109
    Profile photo of jwf
    jwf
    Participant

    What are the pros and cons of external safties on handguns from a
    combat/defensive use standpoint? Are they recomended?

    #45114
    Profile photo of DuaneH
    DuaneH
    Participant

    I can think of alot of cons. Additional motions/decision making to get your gun into action. Additional thing to mess up. Google beretta 92 safety issues. Dependence on safety vs dependence over trigger control. Google negligent discharge when police departments switched to glocks.

    Pros? I guess it depends on your perspective. If you are a 1911 fanboi then the grip safety will likely save your ass or toe as the thumb safety sometimes likes to self disengage mysteriously.
    I already wear my body armor when i go to the range with my reserve unit, but if our assigned handguns were glocks i would take out an additional million dollar life insurance. The odds would not be in my favor. I am quite sure the long double action trigger pull and the command to engage safeties has saved many a soldier. Except when rotating the safety causes the malfunction of the hammer dropping, then things get interesting. Like LOD interesting and why i bought multicam body armor.
    Note: the only training the medical side of the army does is a powerpoint before sending them to the qual range so ymmv.i dont know how the traininh is in the rest of the military.

    I will let the real experts chime in on if there are any other pros.

    Appleseed.
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    #45124
    Profile photo of wheelsee
    wheelsee
    Participant

    Remember that handguns are/were designed as defensive weapons, meaning caught by surprise and you weren’t/aren’t carrying a long gun (designed for offensive operations).

    “The shooting distance in the vast majority of cases was slightly in excess of arm’s length.” citation – http://thinkinggunfighter.blogspot.com/2012/03/self-defense-findings.html

    Since we are talking defense, we are also talking (many times) of reaction to fire/threat. This places us behind the reactionary curve.

    While I haven’t studied the various response times of using or not using an external safety (loosely defined as similar to the 1911), MY assumption is that it would take longer to get a weapon with an external safety in the “on” position engaged (I acknowledge I can be wrong on this).

    I CHOOSE to use handguns without an external safety (again, as found on a 1911) and prefer to train/operate maintaining muzzle/situational awareness.

    footnote – yes, I’m aware that Glock has external safety. I’m talking about those found on 1911s and similar.

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    #45129
    Profile photo of JustARandomGuy
    JustARandomGuy
    Participant

    I can think of alot of cons. Additional motions/decision making to get your gun into action. Additional thing to mess up. Google beretta 92 safety issues. Dependence on safety vs dependence over trigger control. Google negligent discharge when police departments switched to glocks.

    Pros? I guess it depends on your perspective. If you are a 1911 fanboi then the grip safety will likely save your ass or toe as the thumb safety sometimes likes to self disengage mysteriously.
    I already wear my body armor when i go to the range with my reserve unit, but if our assigned handguns were glocks i would take out an additional million dollar life insurance. The odds would not be in my favor. I am quite sure the long double action trigger pull and the command to engage safeties has saved many a soldier. Except when rotating the safety causes the malfunction of the hammer dropping, then things get interesting. Like LOD interesting and why i bought multicam body armor.
    Note: the only training the medical side of the army does is a powerpoint before sending them to the qual range so ymmv.i dont know how the traininh is in the rest of the military.

    I will let the real experts chime in on if there are any other pros.

    Remember that handguns are/were designed as defensive weapons,……
    Since we are talking defense, we are also talking (many times) of reaction to fire/threat. This places us behind the reactionary curve.

    While I haven’t studied the various response times of using or not using an external safety (loosely defined as similar to the 1911), MY assumption is that it would take longer to get a weapon with an external safety in the “on” position engaged (I acknowledge I can be wrong on this)…

    IMHO….
    All the above can be distilled down to one thing- training issues.

    A handgun with a safety is NOT going to take any longer to deploy… if you’re well trained.
    The same people that complain about safeties affecting the speed of handgun deployment probably also get consistently screwed over by the safety on their M4, ie, lack of training.

    A handgun without an external safety or a 10 pound trigger pull is NOT going to lead to endless negligent discharges (like some fudd-tastic states and PDs think)… if the user is well trained.

    Now… you can also make a third argument-
    If you have a poorly trained or irresponsible person/group, at some point it probably doesn’t matter if your gun had 43 safeties, nitwits gonna nit…
    Or the same way some kid manages to shoot themselves with daddies 1911/HK/SIG/insert any gun with external safeties…

    Take DuaneH’s post up there for consideration-
    His unit issues guns with safeties and long-ass trigger pulls.
    And he’s wearing body armor to the range religiously because *despite* that, the risk of getting shot is STILL that high, because the training/competency level of the personnel in that unit is so low they have to be TOLD to re-engage their safety after firing…
    (D, if I’m reading into that wrong, feel free to make corrections)

    Ergo, an external safety is (theoretically) useless unless the user is disciplined enough to use it, and if the user is disciplined enough to use it, they’ll probably also be fine using a gun without an external safety, ie…. this is all a training issue.
    :unsure:

    "Time come Kimosabe, when good men must wear masks."
    ~Tanto

    #45130
    Profile photo of
    Anonymous

    “Fanboi.” Jeebus Crispy…

    #45143
    Profile photo of DuaneH
    DuaneH
    Participant

    No, are not reading it wrong and that was the point i was trying to make while my wife was driving in iowa. I also wasnt thinking linearly at the time, i was thinking spherically.
    So yes, a safety will not save you from lack of training or stupidity.

    The other points i was teying to make are
    1. A safety adds an additional mechanical thing that can go wrong from an engineering perspective. Granted it is a statistically small chance, but i have seen safeties mess up. Not just the beretta 92 malfs i saw in basic either. While not perfect, if you look at themechanism for striker fired guns, it has a lot lesss moving parts.
    2. I agree that you can train to a point where swiping the safety off is a part of your draw stroke from the holster. Under perfect circumstances, a safety will not be an issue. I tend to think in terms of less than perfect circumstances. I have seen highly skilled and experienced individuals lose fine motor control and become all thumbs under stressful situations. Particularly if the sits are new.

    3.In the case of safeties, what is going through my mind is this: will i still be able to operate a safety everytime, all the time after getting blown up, knocked on my head, dominant hand injured and using my non dominant hand that is slippery with blood?

    This was brought to my attention a few years ago when i was at that school that shall not be mentioned on this forum doing non dominant hand pistol drills. And the pistols were coated in karo syrup to simulate blood. I was using a glock, but those that had safeties had problems. Even without the syrup, those that had grip safeties like xd and 1911 sometimes had problems getting the shot off unless their grip was perfect.

    4. I am not trying to bash the above posts. Keep in mind this is my opinion only and my opinion is constantly evolving. The comparison between an M4 and a pistol is imperfect. Pistols are designed to be holstered and rifles are designed to be carried. In the case of the M4, i have my thumb on the safety while carrying. So in a sense the holster is a safety.
    6. All this being said, i wouldnt sweat it too much if i was carrying a handgun with safeties, just train a lot.

    Appleseed.
    NOV2008 IBC
    OCT2009 FT Stewart
    OCT2010 RBC Known Distance Rifleman
    OCT2014&2015 Long Distance Rifleman
    JUN2015 1000 Yds

    I.C.E/JAN2011 Combat Focus Shooting

    Tactical Response
    JUN2009 Fighting Pistol
    JUL2009 Fighting Rifle
    AUG2010 Immediate Action Medical
    NOV2012 Way of the Rifle

    Mountain Guerrilla/JUN2013-Irregular Warfare

    MVT
    SEP2013&2014-CRCD
    OCT2014-CP
    MAR2015-RC1=RIFLEMAN!
    AUG2015-CCC
    SEP2016-CTT
    OCT2016-FOF
    TEAM COYOTE!

    #45144
    Profile photo of Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Joe (G.W.N.S.)
    Moderator

    I would suggest the difference is one of philosophy.

    Handguns whether a revolver, active safety, or passive safety have a proven track records in actual combat situations in every known environment.

    With proper training they all excel and have been used to defeat people equipped with the different handgun variations.

    As is normal, the operator makes the difference.

    #45146
    Profile photo of jwf
    jwf
    Participant

    Good info thanks guys. :good:

    #45147
    Profile photo of HitsCount
    HitsCount
    Participant

    If you are in a situation where you have a lot of administrative handling required then maybe having an external safety makes sense. When I lived in a very cold location, I had to go into a gun free zone on a regular basis. Before entering the checkpoint, I had to remove my gun from its holster, clear the chamber, and secure it in a lock box seperate from the ammo. That’s a lot of admin handling in a compact car wearing winter clothes. So I carried a M&P with the thumb safety.

    Another example is people that carry IWB or appendix carry. An external safety lets you engage the safety before holstering the sidearm — even if the trigger gets caught on something during the act of holstering, its less likely to go BANG. When I carry IWB with a pistol lacking an external safety, I usually take the holster off my belt, holster the gun first with the muzzle pointed in a safe direction, then strap the holster onto my belt. The external safety makes that administrative holstering a tad bit safer if you can’t remove the holster from your belt and have a need to repeatedly draw and re-holster (again, maybe going in and out of gun free zones or something).

    If you have an external safety you need to drill with it to master sweeping it off.

    I personally greatly prefer the simple “point and click” interface of pistols lacking an external safety for personal use.

    #45148
    Profile photo of DuaneH
    DuaneH
    Participant

    I will forwarn you that i overthink things on occasion. : ;-)

    Appleseed.
    NOV2008 IBC
    OCT2009 FT Stewart
    OCT2010 RBC Known Distance Rifleman
    OCT2014&2015 Long Distance Rifleman
    JUN2015 1000 Yds

    I.C.E/JAN2011 Combat Focus Shooting

    Tactical Response
    JUN2009 Fighting Pistol
    JUL2009 Fighting Rifle
    AUG2010 Immediate Action Medical
    NOV2012 Way of the Rifle

    Mountain Guerrilla/JUN2013-Irregular Warfare

    MVT
    SEP2013&2014-CRCD
    OCT2014-CP
    MAR2015-RC1=RIFLEMAN!
    AUG2015-CCC
    SEP2016-CTT
    OCT2016-FOF
    TEAM COYOTE!

    #45189
    Profile photo of First Sergeant
    First Sergeant
    Moderator

    Safeties on a handgun are strictly a training issue.

    A pistol with a safety is no different that an AR with a safety. People tend to over think this and make it into something it is not. Especially the window lickers on the internet.

    I carried a 1911 for years and never once was the safety an issue. I have also carried an M-9 a lot. I never had any issues with the safety on that pistol. The only thing about an M-9 is the safety is in the wrong place.

    Don’t over think this. It comes down to personal preference. Whatever you decide on, spend the time learn how to correctly run the pistol.

    FILO
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