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Safeties, triggers, and the ultimate safety?

2243 Views 19 Replies 11 Participants Last post by  KenpoTex
What is the purpose of an external manual safety on a gun?

Other than the obvious, to keep the gun from being fired, I think it has several uses. One is to make it a bit safer when it's out of the holster and especially when it's placed in a glove box, slid under the seat, or put in the console to quickly step into that no gun zone we couldn't avoid.

A great use for a safety is in the event of a gun grab, if the gun has the safety engaged, it will take the BG longer to figure out how to fire the gun and he may never figure it out - well not in time to do harm anyway.

But you know one thing I've found about safeties? They're on when I thought they were off and off when I thought they were on. Don't know how that happens anymore than I know what makes socks disappear.

I can take or leave an external manual safety on a handgun, the 1911 not included. That brings me to "safety" that is built into triggers and the ultimate safety - the brain. That ultimate safety brings me to near frenzy and ranting about "the brain is the real safety". BS, BS, BS!

I wonder when we say that in reference to guns if we realize how many fingers and hands have been cut off with power tools, simply because someone's "ultimate safety" failed? Industries have long admitted that the brain is NOT so safe and they put mechanical safeties on every power tool and machine manufactured.

If the brain is such a great safety device, how come there are so many automobile accidents? Brain failure. How come we "knew better than that" but still had an accident? Brain failure. And as we get tired, distracted, and startled on top of frightened under stress, that "ultimate safety" seems to have real problems like, tunnel vision, deafness, inadvertent finger on the trigger, grip strength, sympathic reaction, and on it goes.

While can take or leave an external manual safety, I don't much want to trust my life solely on somebody's brain. I've simply seen too many brain failures to believe the brain is so great. I find much more comfort in a long, heavier trigger pull as a compliment to, or many times an over-ride to the brain. Ernst Landgon once told me that a government agency he worked for found that heavier trigger pulls was a deterant to ADs, but pull length was a much more important factor than pull weight. The two together, well...

When I'm using power tools, I find myself, removing guards sometimes for convenience or time sake, and when I do that, I am totally reliant on my brain to protect me. If something happens that my brain didn't expect or couldn't respond to correctly or quickly enough, I could get hurt. If I hadn't removed the guard(s) maybe the guard would compensate for the the brain's fallacy(s).

I believe the same is true for guns, if your brain is the only safety and it's tired, confused, frightened, distracted, stressed, etc. I wonder how "safe" it really is?

Hmmm, that was a little harsh wasn't it? But, man, do I feel better!!!
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To expand a bit on the discussion here, what type of external "safety" would everyone prefer if they could pick and choose one for their favorite guns? I know there are quite a few people who like no safety at all except the one that's between their ears, but I personally prefer some sort of safety system. If nothing else, it's simply because to me they're an added layer of protection when trying to prevent accidental discharge. However, that doesn't mean they're fool proof or your brain doesn't need to be engaged and fully functional when handling a firearm. Besides, a little redundancy doesn't hurt and while I may get some negative comments about this next statement, I'd rather have a gun not go bang when I expect it to (because I forgot to disengage the safety) than have it fire when I DIDN'T expect it to. It's a quick and easy thing to flip the safety off, but once a bullets been fired there's no calling it back. I want to make sure that in all cases possible, that bullet is being fired at something I'm aiming at and not in a direction - and at a time - I never intended!

I have numerous handguns, including autos, single and double shot - think Derringer - and revolvers. Some like my S&W revolvers have no external safety at all, other's have a bolt that blocks the hammer from striking the firing pin.

Most of us seem to use auto's and they all come with some sort of "safety". Among the autos, a few have decock only, some have a slide or trigger lock and several incorporate a variation of all the above. My personal favorites are the decock only that's on my CZ40P and the decock/safety combo on my Taurus PT945. With the 40P, it's like carrying a revolver without a safety, only you can decock the gun without pulling the trigger. The gun remains at half cock and being a DA/SA pistol, all you do is pull the trigger to fire.

My favorite overall is the design of the Taurus. It's a three position switch that in the up position locks the slide, 1911 style. In the center it's disengaged and the down spot decocks the gun, then returns to the center. I think it's the best setup because you can carry cocked and locked, locked and uncocked but can fire DA by disengaging the safety or you can decock if you want, but still fire DA if required.
 

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The Taurus seemed to offer the best of all worlds, that's why I decided to get it. The price was right too, $350 NIB. It's like a 1911/Sig226 hybrid. It only has a 8+1 capability, but I have a spare mag. If I need to fire off more than 16 rounds, especially with a 45, I'm in deep poop and will probably need more than a few extra bullets to pull my butt out of the fire.
 

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KENPOTEX...

I've only had the Taurus a few weeks and put about 100 rounds through it, so the jury is still out on reliability. So far though, I think it's great and I'm very happy with the purchase. If John Browning had made his 1911 a DA, I think he'd have made this gun. It feels and handles much like the 1911 but is DA/SA vs. SA only and much easier to take down... no barrel bushings, the slide release is a button instead if a pin and all the other stuff that makes the 1911 a pain the take down and reassemble has been simplified or eliminated. The inner workings are more like a Hi Power or a SIG. I wasn't trying for accuracy at the range, rather I was just getting a feel for the gun, how it works and trying to break it in a bit. Still, using WWB ball ammo I had no failures from the 100 rounds I shot and at 10 yards, I averaged groups of less than 3" firing 5 shot strings offhand. There was the occasional flyer that bumped a group to about 5", but more often than not most shot groups were 2" or less. The gun will probably shoot better than I'm capable of shooting it when it's broken in a bit more. One drawback, at least from the standpoint of concealed carry, is it's a relatively large and heavy gun... about the same size and weight of a combat commander. Still, if you're comfortable carrying a gun that size, it should be no problem. Fit and finish are excellent and there are aftermarket accessories available (grips, extra mags, sights, holsters, springs, etc) for it if you want to do a bit of customizing

Bottom line - It shoots and feels like a 1911 that was mated with a Hi Power. It's been accurate, reliable (at least after 100 rounds), has "modern" extra's like improved sights, DA/SA trigger and a decocker with the familiar feel and safety of the 1911. Also, at $350, I think it was a steal.
 

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One more thing about the PT945 (actually 2 more things).

First, they come with the built in Taurus safety lock. Insert a hex type key into a small screw in the rear of the grip and it locks/unlocks the trigger. Some folks like 'em, some don't. My view is it's great if you want to keep unauthorized little hands from playing with the trigger and if you don't like them, just don't use it.

Second, I read up on the PT945 a bit before I bought mine. I checked the web and looked at some forums/newsgroups. The only problems I saw mentioned were a couple of posts about the guns not have good accuracy and they involved guns made prior to about 2000. They also said that they returned the guns to the factory to be checked or got new barrels and the problem went away.

Even with those gripes, 9 of 10 people said thay loved the gun.
 
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