Safe or Not to Safe? Which Mechanical Gun Safety is Right for Concealed Carry?


A 1911 like this new Springfield Armory Range Officer Elite 10mm has the "classic" safety.
A 1911 like this new Springfield Armory Range Officer Elite 10mm has a “classic” thumb safety.

USA –-( I wonder if everyone who carries a concealed pistol goes through the same mental evolution? When I started to carry, I had a subconscious fear that my gun would go off inadvertently while carrying. While I thought about carrying with an empty chamber, I never went quite that far as I recognized that chambering a round in the heat of a self-defense encounter was not a realistic recipe for success. However, I was big on carrying a gun with a manual “safety” of sorts. At the time, my choice was a Beretta 92 FS. I just couldn’t wrap my logical brain around the idea of carrying a gun where a simple trigger movement was all it took to fire a shot.

Of course, with experience, I realized that modern pistols are perfectly safe to carry, with or without a manual safety lever. Whether one prefers an external safety on a pistol is a classic apples and oranges decision. Neither is right nor wrong; they’re just different.

So, what are the mechanical safety choices on the market for today’s concealed carrier? More importantly, what are some pros and cons? Let’s take a look.

Single-Action Safety

The classic example of a true safety lies with the 1911 pistol. I would describe this design as a “hard” safety. When you engage it, by flipping the frame-mounted lever up, it locks everything. The trigger won’t move. Nor will the slide. The gun is essentially inoperable for both firing and administrative actions like chambering a round.

To me, this design represents the definition of manual operation that relies on the care and good habits of the user, kind of like a manual transmission in a car. You have absolute control, but you have to know what you’re doing to run it effectively. From a concealed carry point of view, it’s up to you to train to disengage it at the right time. Just as important, it’s up to you to train to re-engage at the appropriate time – especially before re-holstering.

Striker-Fired Safety

Over the past couple of years, we’ve seen a growing number of previously “pure” striker-fired pistols that have added safety-equipped models to their lineup. For example, the new Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 models offer a variant with a manual safety option. With most, you will notice a difference in the trigger press sensation. Sticking with our example case, the striker-fired M&P 2.0 model I have has a five-pound pull weight with about ½-inch of take-up followed by ¼ of an inch of constant pressure to the break. I also had a manual safety version of the same pistol in for review. The pull weight was heavier at six pounds and there was a detectable slightly gritty “shelf” during the final quarter inch of movement owing to the safety mechanism. Adding a separate safety to a pistol not originally designed for one carries a small cost in this case.

You can order new Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 pistols with or without a manual safety.
You can order new Smith & Wesson M&P 2.0 pistols with or without a manual safety.

Double-Action Safety

Double-action / single-action guns like the classic Sig Sauer P226 and P229 pistols are designed to be inherently “safe” due to their revolver-like heavy and long first trigger press. As with a revolver, there is no technical need for a separate safety device.

If you want to get nitty gritty, that slide-mounted lever on Beretta 92FS pistols isn't technically a safety, but it does disable the trigger.
If you want to get nitty gritty, that slide-mounted lever on Beretta 92FS pistols isn't technically a safety, but it does disable the trigger so it accomplishes the same thing.

However, the double-action first shot feature didn’t squash market demand for a separate safety. For many decades, manufacturers like Beretta have offered double-action / single-action pistols with a safety device – of sorts. The de-cocking lever on the Beretta 92 FS and other similar models performs a “safe” function although it doesn’t lock the trigger and slide like safeties on a single-action pistol. In the Beretta's case, the trigger is disconnected and swings freely until you disengage the safety. The result is similar, it’s just a subtle difference in how the safe function is implemented.

Adding a separate safety to a double-action / single-action pistols isn't a new idea. Walther and others have been doing it for many decades.
Adding a separate safety to a double-action / single-action pistols isn't a new idea. Walther and others have been doing it for many decades.

All the Above

Other double-action / single-action pistols take a different approach that combines single-action and double / single attributes. The FN FNX 45 Tactical and Springfield Armory XD-E pistols operate as double-action / single actions but with a twist. The safety lever actually locks the hammer, sort of like a 1911. So, these pistols can be carried either with the hammer down and safety on or with the hammer cocked and safety engaged for “cocked and locked” operation. It sounds complex but the bottom line is simple. If you disengage the safety and press the trigger, the gun will fire. If the hammer is cocked, the press is light. If the hammer is down, the gun fires in double-action mode.

The Springfield Armory XD-E combines double-action / single-action with a traditional safety that locks the hammer. You can carry it hammer down or cocked and locked, but the company recommends hammer down.
The Springfield Armory XD-E combines double-action / single-action with a traditional safety that locks the hammer. You can carry it hammer down or cocked and locked, but the company recommends hammer down.

No External Safety

Ever heard of a company called Glock? Just kidding! But seriously, this pistol is the standard for “safety-less” design, at least in terms of an external lever that either locks or disconnects the trigger. Glocks, Springfield Armory XD series, Smith & Wesson M&Ps, Sig Sauer P320s, and plenty of other popular pistols are designed to be carried and used without an external safety lever. Of course, these pistols almost always have several internal safeties that prevent firing unless the trigger is pressed, the slide is fully in battery, and so on.

Most striker-fired pistols in this class split the difference with the trigger press weight. While double-actions require 10 to 12 pounds of pressure for the initial pull and single-action pistols are usually four pounds or fewer, striker-fired pistols normally operate in the five to six-pound trigger weight range. The thinking is that the internal safeties combined with a heavier than single-action press are adequate for carry safety.

So, what’s the right answer? That depends primarily on you and your comfort level and carry method. There’s nothing wrong with carrying a gun that has no manual safety provided it was designed to operate that way. In fact, most law enforcement officers do exactly that on a daily basis. If you choose a deeper concealment method without the rigidity of a firm leather or Kydex holster (think undershirt) you might want the peace of mind of an extra mechanical safety. If you carry in a purse or bag, you might want the same. Or maybe you just feel more comfortable with that extra step between holstered and firing.

Over the past couple of years, I’ve drifted to the “no manual levers” approach. While I love a good 1911 as much as the next guy, I’ve been favoring capacity and simplicity. While you can get a single-action design with a double-stack magazine, there are far more options on the market in striker-fired and double-action / single-action packages. For me, there’s a lot to be said for “simple, simple, simple…”

How about you? Let us know what style of mechanical gun safety you prefer to carry?

Tom McHale
Tom McHale

About Tom McHale

Tom McHale is the author of the Practical Guides book series that guides new and experienced shooters alike in a fun, approachable, and practical way. His books are available in print and eBook format on Amazon. You can also find him on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.

  • 62 thoughts on “Safe or Not to Safe? Which Mechanical Gun Safety is Right for Concealed Carry?

    1. Your Concealed Carry weapon WONT go BANG !
      IF you keep your booger hook OFF the trigger when you pull it; Just being in the holster wont make it go BANG either,

      1. Anyone who works in professional risk assessment will tell you that you don’t understand risk. Virtually no one would have a car accident either if everyone were 100% careful 100% of the time. Most homeowners claims are not externalities and involve some degree of negligence yet by your logic homeowners liability is a always a waste.
        The fact is over a given decade more than 10,000 ND are reported, and given lots are unreported the number is certainly much higher. Many of those ND are by lifetime firearms owners making on mistake in the tens of thousands of times they handle the gun. ANYONE who claims they have never ever made a mistake that could have resulted in an ND is lying.
        On top of that lots of us have to handle firearms not in a holster. I have to go to the court house once a week for my job, so my gun had to be taken out of the holster, and I have to completely unload it to store it in my trunk. So I am in semi-public view handing a gun, handing the slide while it is outside the holster.
        I do not support laws forcing you to have a manual safety, but the “booger hook” comment is deeply ignorant statement. It is like saying no skydiver should carry a spare parachute. Any system, including your gun, safe practices system has failures when there are enough iterations. Denying that is flat earth.
        Also by your statement no one is served by da/as or striker trigger weight above one lb, right? I bet your handgun is above 3lb trigger. If one lb is as safe as five lbs, why is your own gun nor 1lb?

    2. I can tell you, if you Can Not draw your weapon and place the first round on Target in less than 3 Three {3} Seconds, your probably in trouble anyway.
      Practice, Practice, Practice, The Most Expensive Round You Shoot Will Do No Good Unless It Hits It’s Target !

    3. What I’d like to see is many typical polymer striker fired designs WITH a DA/SA trigger AND a decocker mechanism of some sort built in, just as a matter of a “standard available option”. At the end of the day, you should not have to do a daily routine of: Drop the magazine, rack the slide to empty the chamber, and then DRY FIRE the firearm to release the compressed striker / firing pin spring. That is unnecessary wear and tear on a daily basis, and the alternative of simply keeping the firing pin spring fully compressed for days / weeks at a time rather than emptying and dry firing to release it is simply not a good option, but that is all there seems to be in the striker fired world.

      I should probably mention that for many, the carry gun is not the preferred home defense gun. As so many folks like to say, the handgun is something that you use to get to your rifle or shotgun. I.E. – The normal routine for many ccw holders is to safely put that carry gun away at the end of the day – other larger firearms more appropriate for home defense use are kept handy for that particular purpose.

      Why isn’t this simple seeming “striker fired SA/DA trigger with decocker” design a standard available option from most manufacturers already? I don’t know, but it seems to me that many of us out here would be happy to buy one, IF they can manage a good trigger action with all of the above and do so at an attractive price point… Lots of $$$$ just waiting to be made if you ask me. All those gun designers out there looking for new ideas, and they all seem to be overlooking the obvious. Are the working mechanics & physics behind a DA/SA trigger with a decocker really _that_ hard to do well in a striker fired design? Really? Seems like a good professional design / engineering team needs to step up and solve this issue once and for all, and possibly get themselves a lot closer to financial independence as a reward for doing so.

      1. Canik makes a striker fired polymer framed 9mm handgun with a decocker and a double action trigger, the TP9DA.

      1. 99.8% of people will NEVER be good enough/disciplined enough to remember or not fumble with a manual safety under extreme stress. Rob Leatham (if I remember correctly; my apologies if I did not) recently lost a match because he forgot to disengage his safety and I’ll guarantee that he has and DOES shoot more than any of us here. I like the grip safety on the Springfield Armory XD series, the XDe excepted. Virtually idiot-proof and completely automatic. ALSO, do NOT get a pistol with a magazine disconnect safety! Numerous reasons as to why that arguments to the contrary do not negate.

        1. Firstly my sr22 has a mag disconnect and I am glad it does. It is a target and training pistol.
          Even for carry gun, especially for open carry, it can be helpful since the gun owner is aware of its presence and in a struggle for the gun, if good guy getting a finger on the mag disconnect is easier that pulling the whole gun away, they can reduce risk of being shot with their own gun (this is why a lot of beat cops prefer mag disconnect guns).
          Also everyone’s home defense scenario is different, for some people with kids there are scenarios where this could reduce risk.
          As far as your claim that 98% of people won’t handle a safety under stress, where is your data? If you do sea and dry fire practice for 15 minutes every month or every couple of months I would contend 99.9% of people will handle the safety fine.
          Do you realize your example from a match a few years ago is within a data set of hundreds of thousands or millions of draws in matches over the past five or ten years?
          Lastly under 0.5 of defensive gun use, under 1/200 ever involved even firing the gun at all.

    4. I have a sig double over single 45 auto, you can carry on a loaded chamber ready to go, long and heavy trigger pull you are not going to fire accidentally. I also have a Ruger 357 revolver it is always ready to fire, no safety but very safe to carry. As far as I am concerned those are the safest and most effective options.

    5. Great article! I’m glad to hear that I’m not alone in my carry evolution!
      My first concealed carry was a small revolver and I never worried much about the lack of a manual safety. Then I discovered the world of striker fired pistols. I didn’t feel comfortable carrying IWB without a manual safety so I opted for the shield with a safety, great little pistol by the way. My good friend and shooting buddy has always been a glock guy and we have had a lot of fun and “colorful” discussions about the need or want of a safety. Well after years of cc I now prefer my draw to be as simple as possible ie no safety. Don’t tell my buddy though, it’s to much fun to argue with him!

    6. Springfield XD9. It won’t go bang unless the backstrap safety is depressed and the glock type trigger pulled. Pretty much the same function as my old 38 special snubbie. I don’t want to have to think too much about how to make the gun shoot. If I need it, it should make a loud noise when I pull the trigger.

    7. Excellent editorial. Let your situational awareness decide. No wrong answers here. Here in the USA, we are fortunate to have many options available to us.

    8. All the “resident pro’s ” have weighed in on this I see.
      I say, “to each their own”. But…..the next time one on you mental midget’s with yer Glock, get in the stall next to me in the Walmart and drop your rig on the floor……I’m just gonna shoot YOU thru the stall!
      If you think you’re that infallible, you can carry a piece without a manual safety………just kindly keep your distance! And practise a whole bunch.

      1. Glocks, and many other striker-fired pistols have firing pin blocks that only move out of the way when the trigger is pressed. One of the reasons for this is to prevent the gun from firing when dropped. With modern handguns, this is why it’s safer to allow a dropped gun to fall to the ground rather than try to catch it.

        The video below (at about the 3:10 mark) shows exactly how it works.

      2. “All the “resident pro’s ” have weighed in on this I see.”

        Not true until after your post.

        Your gun ignorance is astounding!

      3. Glock firing when dropped?? You’ve been watching too much TV. (The new version of SWAT showed that exact thing in an early episode. Shame – but of course Hollywood has none.)

    9. I carry a 1911 action Para 12+1 cocked and locked. I do NOT use the thumb safety except when I’m removing it from the holster with no intention to fire it. The first safety is keep your damn finger out of the trigger guard, and the grip safety is good after that. Point of historical perspective: JMB developed the pistol as the 1910 with no thumb safety. He added it only when the cavalry generals demanded it.

    10. well.
      my carry guns vary depending on the year and weather, mostly i carry a wheel gun, but at times i carry one of my 1911’s or a 9MM.
      and when i carry a wheel gun it’s a 357 mag loaded with 38 special 125 grain hydro shock ammo.
      muscle memory is automatic with me, like putting your seat belt on before i even start up my truck.
      all folks are different with different experiences when it comes to firearms, i am no different, one does what BEST suits them.

    11. I’m with Bill G. It is ready to go. I carry a 9 IWB in the back, a Ruger LCP II in front pocket both with one in chamber and full clip. When it is cold weather I some times carry my Ithaca 45, I love that pistol, in a big jacket pocket. I carry any of them with jacketed hollow points. I have a green dot armalaser on most of my pistols also. Some of the pistols have the slide and sights the same color, I fix that with finger nail polish, front one color and rear sight another. There is a salvage store that I can usually get the polish for 10 cents a bottle. I have a firing range out the back door, I’m out in the country, can shoot pistols or long guns like BAR 300 Win mag with Hornaday SST rounds. Good shooting and be safe
      Joe D

        1. Well, Steve when I got back from Nam oh better spell it out for you, Vietnam, I did grow my hair long and a beard also. I didn’t every use a hair clip though, just a head band. If you are referring to the finger nail polish. Try seeing the sights on a pistol that the slide and sights are the same color. A clip is the same as
          a magazine and I am not referring to the magazine you may read, it’s the one that holds more ammo in case you may need a back up shot.

          1. Joe D, no a clip is not the same as a magazine, and in ‘nam, if you used an M-16, it wasn’t clip-fed, it was mag-fed. I understand older guys still refer to mags as clips, but the last firearm that our military used, as far as I am aware, that was clip-fed was the Garand.

            Steve was just pulling your leg. We all understood that you meant mag. Do you also call your spent brass casings or properly call them cases? If you look at a cartridge diagram showing the parts of a cartridge, it shows primer, case, propellant, and bullet, no sausages, and no casings.

    12. No thinking, no ‘fine motor skills’ required, I want one thing to happen as fast as possible, without any added movement, and that is that my ‘border repeller’ go BANG when I want it to! The average gunny should develop enough skill to get at least one round on target in under 2 seconds from his CCW. The more skilled can do 2 rds on target consistently in 1.5 seconds, give or take a tenth or two; the ‘best of the best’ regularly git-er-dun in 1 second or slightly less! I’m just in the middle of the pack, certainly no Jerry Miculek, and I only wish I could burn ammo like he has over his career;) Everybody should watch Jerry put 12 rounds on target with a ‘revolver,’ one reload, in under 3 seconds – it’s a hoot:

      Almost forgot, my CCW has been the G29 for the past dozen years. Why, Glock builds the only concealable (28oz), high capacity (10 rd carry mag/15 rd reload – for 26 on tap), with almost the power of a .41 magnum. Carry in a Crossbreed Super Tuck (combat cut) – comfortable, all day, EDC! I wear it 24/7, except when it rides in my bedside holster.

      1. Firewagon, I like my PX4 Storm, full-frame in .45 cal. Using the right cover garment, I can carry CC both Summer and Winter. A good gun belt and holster, it is quite comfortable all day. I have two 10-round mags and one 9, but typically just carry the two, giving me 21 rounds (one chambered, of course).

      2. A decent (not proficient or even VERY good) shooter should be able to place six shots on target at six yards from the holster in two seconds or less. Practice, practice, practice . . . .

    13. As I’ve moved to more intensive training and drawing from concealed, I’ve also transitioned from a Sig P220 Carry SAO, with a mechanical safety, to the Sig P320 RX, full size, with no mechanical safety.

      The ease of quick, flowing presentation, and getting on target, without having to make that safety move, has made a significant difference in my confidence and shot result. (I also lightened the trigger so that its at the same level as the P220)

    14. I have shot and carried all types. Whatever you choose to carry that day just be proficient and safe with it. That is all that really matters. I’ll tell a story on myself. Long ago I was shooting an IDPA match. I had been using a KP95DAO and had recently switched to a KP95DC. I loaded up for the string and holstered. Before the RO activated the timer I had a funny feeling and looked down at the gun in the holster. The hammer was cocked. I corrected that but it shook me up so badly that I missed the easy five yard mandatory head shots on the first target. Never happened again; but, I was not ready to use that gun that way. I have always been lucky/fortunate and am thankful for it.

      1. “….shot and carried all types….” True story, Reader’s Digest compressed (I hope): Sheriff was a fast man with his duty sidearm. One day, at home, he was asked to escort a stranger to check out some ‘non-dangerous’ situation – don’t recall exactly what that was – or, so the Sheriff thought it was fairly safe. Instead of strapping on his duty rig, he opted to just stuff a revolver in his waistband. After some distance walking, the ‘stranger’ turned on the Sheriff, pulled a .38, and shot him. The Sheriff, with his regular gear, probably could have shot the guy before getting shot; however, upon seeing the threat, he initially (muscle memory) reached to draw from his service rig, only getting back to that waistband revolver too late, after taking one in the chest. Said all that to say, I also shoot ALL types (play time); however, I ONLY carry ONE and practice with it religiously! When the AHH SHUCKS moment arrives, there should be no issues with what type gun, what action, what safeties, where it is, muscle memory should have at least ONE shot on target in under 2 seconds, and faster, with more shots on target, is always better….

    15. No need for a safety on a carry gun with the trigger guarded in the holster. Check out this video about how glock safe action works. I’d still never appendix carry and have it pointing at the boys.

      1. Last year I replaced both the striker and trigger bar on my 2006 Glock 19. They were both worn enough that it had started doubling. Replacing just one of those didn’t work, it took both of them for it to run correctly. Probably 30,000 rounds a good many of which were +P+ or +P++ (125 JHP at 1330 fps). It was not safe to shoot much less carry in any manner but it is just like new now.

      2. Appendix carry is fine, even with a Glock, but you must (or at least SHOULD) remove the holster, insert pistol and then reinsert the holster with the pistol in the holster. Every time.

      3. Again, practice, practice, practice. My first two duty holsters, a Don Hume “Jordan” holster with my 4″ HB stainless GP100 and a Safariland with a Glock 22 did not cover the trigger. Placing my finger into the trigger guard after clearing the holster was my standard practice. No problems in many stressful “at gunpoint” situations. One with every last possible ounce of pressure on the trigger used up. (Very uncooperative individual driving a car belonging to the victim of a shooting a few hours earlier with the sawed-off rifle that was used alongside his right leg.)

    16. It never ends of course ! You are always going to have doubts about safety vs speed and power. I can’t get myself to trust a striker fired weapon without a real manual safety. And I won’t carry a gun with an empty chamber either. In the sixties I carried a Beretta 34 hammer down, safety off for years . A mechanical failure got me out of that and into a Walther PPK .380 w/ Super Vel for decades after that . A round in the chamber manual safety off , I relied on the hammer block internal safety for no problems and I had none. Times change I felt I needed more power and the P-5 seemed fine , a great shooter but bulky . I tried the CCP 9m/m , didn’t trust it even with with the tiny manual safety. So I bought a second issue Remington , all metal , grip safety, shot fine Nice gun, cheap, reliable , 9m/m +P , and internal hammer ! Next came the Beretta 84 14 rounds , external hammer , manual safety , reliable as sin , alas, it’s bulky ! Dug out 1967 PPK and three remaining boxes of .380 Super Vel 🙂

      1. Guess I am not as hard to please as many…After having a 380 in my dinner bucket, then a Springfield 45 on belt for a few years, I was able to have a 9 mm model 17 Glock…It feels good, safe, secure, has original trigger…Was offered a new improved trigger, but stihl think more magazines are more important to spend extra money on than a light trigger…I do find it difficult to go back to a 9 mm ‘short’ again…Maybe that has to do with a short term affair with the 45…9 mm does have some nice loads available now..

    17. Carried a Kahr K 40 for quite a few years, much to like about that piece. No safety of any kind except for the one between my ears. Never even a close call.

      But, the constant news stream since about the time the Ferguson nonsense began to accelerate, I thought.. WHAT IF I were to become, through no unsafe decision on MY part, I found myself in a jam with a couple dozen toughs bent on mayhem. The Kahr, with one spare mag, only gives me 13 chances.

      SO I dusted off an old Belgian built =Browning Hi Power. Stock mag holds 13, times two plus one in, makes 27 chances. Granted, they are slightly smaller chances than the SW .40 the Kahr afforded me. But in most such actions, the perps are rarely very skilled or persistent, so perhaps the smaller chances times twice as many would be an asset. One area I used to go any time on a regular basis has, since that time, turned into an “I won’t go there at all” place… and others that were totally safe are not safe at night, or dicey.

      Anyway, the BHP feature the slide-lock type of safety, but I never use it. One round in, very secure holster, draw aim fire, no new habits to make or break. I carry with hammer cocked.

    18. I am a firm believer in no external safeties. I remember when I was very little, my father telling me to never trust a safety, and in my firearm training classes, that is also always a point drilled home – safeties are mechanical devices that can fail.

      My favorite handguns are my Beretta PX4 Storms in 9mm, sub-compact, and .45 cal., full-frame. Neither has an external safety, and both are DA/SA and I really like them. I got my .45 about a 1 1/2 ago and like it even more than my 9mm. Heavier recoil, but the recoil is more straight back, doesn’t flip as much as the 9mm. I can fire it almost as fast as my 9mm, which I can fire just as fast as my .22LR. I have learned with the right cover garment, I can carry it OWB both Summer and Winter, and initially, I thought it would be a good home defense gun, but it also is a good CC gun.

    19. In the heat and confusion of a real self-defense encounter, you lose fine motor skills and can fumble with a manual safety (or worse, trying the rack the slide to fill an empty chamber) and get yourself killed. Anything that stands in the way of drawing and firing your weapon is too great a risk. As mentioned earlier, get all the training and practice (dry fire drawing and shooting is great) you need to feel fully comfortable in your abilities and to build muscle memory so you don’t have to think about drawing, sight picture (if there’s time) and firing so you can respond instantly and consistently.

      A firearm (in the self-defense role) is an insurance policy, and you want to go bang everytime the situation calls for it (hopefully never) so skip the manual safety and empty chamber.

    20. I have carried a 1911 since issued one in 1979-daily. Having competed with it both in the military and as a civilian, I have never had an AD, never a safety failure. Wither you have a 6 round version or a 14 round version, it is THE weapon against which all others are judged. The series 80 types have an internal safety that supplements the grip and thumb safeties. Cocked and locked carried for many many years and never a problem. To give you an idea about round count I would typically send 2,000 rounds down range each weekend when I was competing and never a safety issue. Very safe and quick to get into whatever work you are doing. Three safeties: Grip, thumb and internal firing pin block yet into operation in the blink of an eye.

    21. @Tom McHale That is exactly what I have been thinking, it doesn’t take a thought process to drop the safety then fire. It just takes getting use to. My worse problem was getting use to carrying with one in the chamber. Time is of the essence.

    22. You also have to consider the possibility of someone else pulling the trigger. Even a playful child. If someone grabs my sidearm at least they will have to disengage the safety, giving me that split second (or longer!) to react.

    23. I personally been shooting for 54 years. I was a hunter education instructor for 20 of those years. I don’t own a gun that doesn’t have a manual safety other than my revolvers. I just have always believed that you can’t be to safe. Once the trigger is pulled, whether intentionally or accidentally, you can’t get that bullet back. And always practice good firearms safety!

    24. Have you ever tried a Para-Ordnance LDA? It’s built on a 1911 frame but is a double-action with an extremely light long pull with every shot fired. It cannot be “thumb-cocked.” It has both a thumb safety as well as grip safety. I carry it with the thumb safety engaged. When deployed, the thumb safety is easily disengaged…ready to fire. I have long since put away all the standard 1911 style firearms in strong preference for the Para-Ordnance LDA’s. Safe, Simple & Quick! I highly recommend them!

    25. What about the HK p7. Squeeze cocker. If not squeezed cannot be shot. Heavy, complex but safe.

    26. S&W 39, 696, 5904. Formed the habit of engaging the hammer block/safety when holstering, dis-engaging once holstered. Took just a few days to form the habit back in the 80’s and insures that there’ll be no bullet in the foot or other undesirable places. I replaced the hammer spring and did a trigger job so that first shot is quite a bit lighter than stock. Light triggers dictate additional precautions.

    27. I recently acquired a Sig Sauer P320 M17. I had the option of getting one wither with or without a manual safety. I got the one with the manual safety because I wanted the model as close as possible to the military issue variant. I use it now but how much I do in the future remains to be seen.

    28. I carried a HI Power all my life, after starting with walther P38 about 60 years ago…I put up with the coked and locked and it was somewhat dangerous, but in a shoulder rig, with a safety button snap, it worked..I have tried all kinds of 1911 models, and hated them all, 45 is too much to begin with, and never liked them…I settled on CZ75 years ago, they are reliable as a hi power, 9 mm , with a d cocker..CZ75D C, hardly a compact with 15+1, and slightly lighter with aluminum frame…I tried the FNS with safety trigger, and this piece is a design for disaster with the safety trigger…
      FNS 9 , 17+1 with a safety is my second favorite cary weapon…At 80 years, looking to cary my CZ 83, a wonderful piece, with safety, 12 rounds, all steel…Wow, things have sure changed, old hard heads like me never change.

    29. 1911 cocked & locked or Hi-Power, round in the chamber with the hammer down & safety on.
      That extra movement to cock the hammer doesn’t take a split second.

      1. Way bak-in-tha-day, I used to carry a Browning HiPower, cocked & safety on, in a strap over snap holster – the strap in front of the cocked hammer. Got decent at getting it going; however, it was still SLOW. Too much going on, including that safety, which on the HiPower is not that intuitive to get ‘disengaged.’ Under some stress induced adrenalin dump, I could envision all manner of ‘stuff’ taking place capturing those “split seconds.” I carry a far different animal than my ‘trusty’ old pal, and can easily get two shots on target, @ 22ft, in <2 seconds from concealment – which was all but impossible with that original, pretty thoughtless, carry rig. Just a note to note that a "split second" may make the difference between living or dying….

    30. Have carried a 1911 cocked-n-locked for 40 years, have never had a negligent or accidental discharge and still have all my body parts. Don’t listen to the fear mongering negative Nancy’s

    31. Series 80 1911s have a trigger safety. All 1911 have a grip safety. Dont touch the trigger and the gun won’t go boom.

    32. Best safety combination is the Colt automatic double safety. Standard style lever trigger lock combined with a pistol grip safety. Can carry confidently with a round chambered. Have been carrying for 40+ years with no accidental discharges.

    33. There is another approach that I am surprised others have not thought of because I’m not that smart. I carry with a “varmit round” (small shot) chambered. In the unlikely event I have an accidental discharge (has never happened yet), it will do far less damage than a HP or FMJ. With a semi-auto a follow-up round is a split second away if needed. Not a perfect idea but it makes me feel more comfortable.

      1. The reason this isn’t viable is that when you intend to fire that “varmit round” you will be intentionally reducing the effectiveness of your first shot. The split second you waste trying to get your effective ammunition into the fight might be your last.

        You would be much better served getting some quality training so you have confidence and skill to use your firearm properly. As far as it “has never happened yet” sounds like you are just waiting for your negligent discharge. Whoever gets hit by your negligence won’t care if it did less damage, they will sue you for the same real money.

        1. Most defensive gun uses do not involve firing a single shot. You are correct, it does reduce the first rounds effectiveness but a second shot is a split second away. I have been around firearms all my life and continue to train regularly. The moment you believe yourself sufficiently trained and “immune” from accidental discharges, you are in trouble.

    34. I’m just wondering why this philosophy doesn’t appear to apply to long guns which are inherently safer than handguns? I can’t think of a long gun that does not have a manual safety ( I’m sure there are some). I don’t care how you carry if you are willing to take the responsibility of carrying a gun without a manual safety when you shoot yourself or someone else when you drop it and reflexively try to catch it (I personally know two guys that shot themselves with Glocks doing this) or have it hang up on something when you are holstering it.

      1. Excellent question!! I guess the answer would be because we don’t usually holster or “scabbard” our long guns. Regardless and great question and should be a great conversation starter at the club, range or LGS. Kudos!

      2. Pardon me for posting more than once, as far as carrying the lessor dangerous round in case of a miss fire=I see absolutely no point in doing that…If one is scared of a mis fire=buy a pistol with a hammer and decocker, they work well…Friend bought a .22 Ruger with hammer and decocker built into the safety-I found that as safe as ‘my long guns’ probably more so…Carry with hammer down, modern hand gun works as it is double action the first shot then single onward…A very handy little hand gun, the Ruger with hammer-decocker, safe as any gun that I have ever been around…Even so, the shooter is stihl the most important part of the safe operation of any tool, including fire arms, nail guns, and semi trucks…None of our tools are stupit proof…We have two-three bolt actions with ‘soft triggers’, those I keep the bolt handle up until on target-ready to shoot…That has grown to include all bolt actions that I use…Almost always it is not imperitive to come on target and shoot quick, so the added second is not a danger to the shooter=safer to others within range…I continue to never trust a safety, of any kind, however I now trust the single action-double action hammer side arm of modern construction…Will not feel guilty carrying round in the hole with those…I continue to find the 380 (9 mm short) unnecessary for my use, as well as the .40 (10 mm short)…I carried the 380 when I didn’t know about the 9 mm modern sub compact side arms exist, my fault, not yours…Unless handicapped, why not carry the larger case round in less than full charge if that is needed, as the full size case is always there if needed in the future…Initial cost is still the same, in many cases loaded factory rounds are more costly in the short calibres…Then we must condition ourselves to let a side arm fall when we lose control of it, it will not fire when it hits the concrete, as noted it is dangerous to grab at it…It is designed to not fire unless the trigger is pulled..If a scratch on our purty pistol is valued more than the lives of our comrades, there is something dangerous wrong about that adventure..

      1. It kind of stumped me for a while, then I grew to like the concept. When you forget about all the modes, it’s still “drop the safety and press the trigger” and the gun will still go bang 🙂

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