Thoughts on Manual Safeties

Thoughts on Manual Safeties

This is a discussion on Thoughts on Manual Safeties within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I know this has been talked about before and I am NOT looking for input on whether you happen to prefer a manual safety on ...

View Poll Results: Regarding actual incidents I witnessed or I am reasonably sure of (vs. opinion) of a

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60. You may not vote on this poll
  • Common

    8 13.33%
  • Rare

    15 25.00%
  • Don't know of an actual incident

    37 61.67%
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Thread: Thoughts on Manual Safeties

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array jmf552's Avatar
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    Thoughts on Manual Safeties

    I know this has been talked about before and I am NOT looking for input on whether you happen to prefer a manual safety on a carry gun or not. That is everyone's personal preference. I am interested specifically in the reality around the common advice that there is a risk of missing the safety on the draw in a real situation. Certainly there is a theoretical risk, but how real is it. This poll is about incidents you have actually witnessed or reliably know about.

    NOTE: I didn't word the poll right and I don't know how to change it. It should say:

    "Regarding actual incidents I witnessed or I am reasonably sure of (vs. opinion) of a defender, or shooting class participant, missing disengaging a manual safety on the draw, my experience is that it is:"

    If a Mod could change it, that would be great.
    CG11 likes this.
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  2. #2
    VIP Member Array Chuck R.'s Avatar
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    Based on my experience in a chitload of matches (IDPA, 3Gun, IPSC) some of which I was SOing, so "up and close" to the shooter and a bunch of defensive classes:

    I've seen it happen, more than "rare" but less than "common". It usually happens to newer shooters, or guys/gals that have recently transitioned to the platform. I have seen it happen to guys I consider to be excellent competitive shooters. The biggest difference is the remedial action, or lack thereof.

    I myself have done it, and that's years and 10s of thousands of draws with a 1911. Just this past year when I went back to shooting ESP (SA, safety) after years of shooting SSP (DA/SA or Striker) I had it happen once in the 1st couple of matches with my new CZ. I've also bumped a safety on while shoot support hand only.

    So, IMHO it can and dose happen. How catastrophic the result is "depends".
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  3. #3
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    I have owned several pistols that had manual safeties. I mostly engaged them. I could release them on the draw without a problem. I carried a M1911 in the Corps. I had to use it. I had to disengage the safety as did all others. The safeties on our rifles had to be engaged until the need to fire. Millions of GIs have dealt with safeties on weapons for many decades. There was not and is not an outcry. So I voted donít know of an actual incident.
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  5. #4
    VIP Member Array hardluk1's Avatar
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    Some dummy playing QD about 3 feet from a target on you tube that shot him self with a 1911 on the draw but no fault on the safety just the dummy's thumb and trigger finger control .. I carry a LW Commander or a m&p with thumb safety and apex trigger group upgrades and both are carried chambered , thumb safety engaged . 1911 trigger has 3.7oz trigger , m&p is 3.10oz and I have no issues with ether . I had my first 1911 around '76 and first several carry handguns had thumb safety's . You learn a handle a firearm properly , keep your skills sharp and your good to go . MY wife says when I shoot other striker fired handguns I have she see's me thumb for a safety even when there is none .
    JAG45 likes this.

  6. #5
    VIP Member Array G26Raven's Avatar
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    I've never made that mistake with a manual safety on a pistol during a draw during practice, but I definitely made that mistake with shotgun during a turkey hunt. When I carry my Sig P938, if I think there is even a remote possibility I may need to draw, I have my hand on the pistol in the pocket holster, I disengage it from the Kydex holster, and have my thumb positioned to release the safety once it clear my pocket.
    Wavygravy, Old Man and bsms2 like this.
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  7. #6
    VIP Member Array LimaCharlie's Avatar
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    I have never seen it happen or have it happen to me with a handgun. I think it is very rare with a handgun because it is an automatic part of the draw process. I have had it happen to me with a long gun due to buck fever after hunting for awhile.
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  8. #7
    VIP Member Array dangerranger's Avatar
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    I have not had it happen with a pistol, But it has happened several times with a shotgun. I have a SxS that has an auto resetting safety. Every time the action is opened the safety is back on. This has caught me several times especially when pass shooting doves. I normally keep old SxS's action's open as a safety, but on this one the opening of the action puts the safety on. It's kind of a cool gun from just before WWII in .410. So I don't shoot it enough to get really used to it. But it's fun to hunt Doves and Quail with. DR
    Old Man likes this.

  9. #8
    Member Array RBI55's Avatar
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    This is why I converted my HK's to the light LEM trigger system, with only ONE external lever: the trigger. Keep your finger off the trigger and it will not fire. The cautionary bonus is the longish initial trigger pull but as a practiced user, I expect that and it's not a liability to being able to properly use the pistol quickly. To the newcomer, that long trigger pull during which nothing happens offers an important measure of safety, being VERY aware that one's finger is actually pulling the trigger.
    Chuck R. likes this.

  10. #9
    Member Array MillennialNorth's Avatar
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    Have seen it happen many times. 2 different people I've been @ a range with. Granted both were "newer" shooters, but I think the big thing here is SIZE OF THE SAFETEY LEVER! The 2 guns I saw it with were a Shield and a EC9S. The "button" type safety on those guns (there are many others) to me are a large temptation to Murphy especially during stress. If you see the large majority of people in favor of a MS they are 1911 owners. Lever type safetys are a really nice type of option if that's the route someone is going.

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    Old Man likes this.

  11. #10
    Member Array pskys2's Avatar
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    I replied rare as it relates to decades of action pistol competition I have been involved in and R.O.'d.
    Bad equipment, i.e. really small levers or overly stiff ones, can definitely cause issues. Most of what I've witnessed were 1911 type safeties, an original GI safety is so small as to be useless and many other types sometimes have a tendency to be very stiff. Too stiff or small and too large or easy can all be serious problems.
    Once a new shooter has a couple of matches under their belts I've never seen it. Only rarely do new competitors have trouble, if they do they probably haven't the time handling the pistol to even be there. And I've seen a lot of strange reactions under the pressure of the timer and the pressure of performing in front of others, of course never seen someone relieve themselves there either.
    With good equipment it's all about the training time.
    I have a S&W M&P 45 2.0 as my primary EDC with thumb safety. It's a good size, a little on the light side (but it also has the trigger safety and is striker fired) but I've never missed it in practice or a match.
    Old Man likes this.

  12. #11
    Senior Member Array Scouse's Avatar
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    My IPSC 1911, was built in 1913. Accurized by Dynen? Stolen from a collector in Toronto, it was buried in a sock, in the thief's yard, found by some one later, some light rust. Went back to owner, he sold it to a friend of mine, he sold it to me, for $60.00 Canadian (according to our Canadian pensions, $12.00 US!) I had Harry Hickey reblue it. Not too bad. It had a 3lb trigger, a fantastic trigger! U know how it is said, like breaking a glass rod? That was it. It had target sights fitted.

    Took it down to my Gun Club in Toronto, loaded 5 rounds (Range limit) fired those at 20 yards, bullseye target. I could only see one hole! Brought the target back to the bench. A two inch hole, 3" to the left of center. 3 clicks later, tore the middle out of the target. Forgot to mention, in my early 40s, champion bullseye shot.

    Missed the safety, at a big IPSC match in the States, it had the little nubbin type safety on it, original?

    The course of fire, carrying a Pizza, in shooting hand, at the sound of the buzzer, drop pie, open door, same hand, two IPSC targets, lieing down were then released, and came off the ground, came up at you, continued, then fell forward. I missed the safety! At that time, my carry pistol (only in the USA) was a LW commander. When my next trip took place, I had a Glock 17. 18 rounds of Black Tallon. Down memory lane a bit further... A Glock 19.
    Old Man likes this.

  13. #12
    New Member Array monty_d_33's Avatar
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    Well, bunch of good comments but no one has mentioned stress. I work in a Training Unit for a PD and have personally had it happen to me and seen it many times under ranged induced stress. I know longer carry a 1911 for that reason. The chances of seeing real world instances are greatly reduced in modern times as most PDs carry something polymer with no safety. I would still be interested in some documented instances though.


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  14. #13
    VIP Member Array Havok's Avatar
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    More than just knowing the number of occurances, the level of experience that the user has with that firearm is relevant as well I think.
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  15. #14
    Senior Member Array Scouse's Avatar
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    Monty- Stress? I have pointed Pistols at a few people, once in the UK, once in Australia. Several times in the US of A. Working as a Bouncer in Liverpool for 5 years, countless scraps, and in my Dads Pub.

    After the pointing incidents, no nerves. Cool. After being stabbed twice, no shakes. Two separate occasions.

    It is as though you get inoculated. But things go into slow motion, you can pause, kind of, then select your response. A young (12 or 14 year old boy) watched me fight in a Indian Resteraunt, and after they had left, beaten up, the 4 would be hard cases. He said "Mister, you never stopped smiling all the time you were fighting" 1968 St Helens Lancashire. Early 60s were good years for violense.

    Now at 83 YOA, not so much, but I am thinking to move from my trusty Glock 19 to my new Glock 43X, with Glock fitted night sights, big red circle around the green dot front sight, so much lighter to carry.

    Is 11 enough?
    Grizzly2 and bsms2 like this.

  16. #15
    Member Array Grizzly2's Avatar
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    I'm not sure if this counts, but it was and incident and it had many of the criteria.

    Our club range was on a secluded river bottom, alongside a small river. We had recently heard reports of a pack of mixed coyote dogs treeing a fisherman, so I was not on edge, but had that in the back of my mind whenever I went out to practice. I remember one day having my Gov't model with me in an older strong side Rogers Competition holster. I wasn't shooting it that day and was practicing with something else. As I was walking towards my targets, I saw movement on my left, knew it was a dog and without hesitation drew, wiped the safety and began to point as I realized it was a friendly German Shepard coming to say hello. I applied the safety and holstered. Then got down and said hello to this curious stranger. Back then, I used my 1911 quite alot, and the safety was second nature to me. That was in the mid 80's. Today, at 71, after decades of not using the 1911 I'm not so sure everything will be quite so automatic - especially reapplying the safety under tension. I think wiping it off would still be second nature.

    I've just discovered an outdoor range that has very reasonable rates of only $6.00/hour. I may just put some time in with that old friend and if and when I feel more comfortable with it again, include it in my rotation.

    To solve any possible safety or overly light trigger issues for carry, I bought a dao Sig P250sc, a LCP Custom (would have bought the S&W BG, but it would have cost too much to get the trigger where I wanted it) and a 3" Bulldog .44spc.

    I voted rarely if ever knowing of safety issues, other than teaching that they can fail.
    ETXhiker likes this.
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