manual safety facts

Having A Manual Safety Will Not Get A Person Killed

Something that inspires a whole lot of argument out there among gun owners is a manual safety on a carry gun. The argument is not exactly new and goes a little something like this:

"Disengaging a manual safety takes time; it'll get you killed!"

People have been making this erroneous claim for decades. While formerly it was the argument for carrying a double action revolver over a single action pistol like a 1911, today it's a purported reason to carry a striker gun with an integrated trigger safety over any other type of gun.

The reality is that a manual safety is perfectly fine to have on a concealed carry gun.

Manual Safeties Have Actually Saved Lives

manual safety

Believe it or not, manual safeties have actually been saving lives for years, specifically those of police officers. You see, what not everyone counts on in a defensive encounter is whether the person that's threatening you will try to grab your gun. Police officers DO have to worry about that.

Suspects can and have disarmed and murdered police with their own weapons. Double-action revolvers back in the wheel gun era lack a manual safety and thus can be turned on an officer in an instant. The same is true today of Glock and other striker pistols that only have integrated trigger safeties.

More than one police officer is alive today because of the safety on their Beretta 92 (or 1911, Hi-Power or S&W double-action when in vogue as police guns) was engaged when a suspect got a hold of it.

Then There Are Those Pesky Negligent Discharges

prevent negligent discharge

A manual safety is not a panacea against negligent discharges; the only thing that does that is using the grey matter, practicing mindfulness when handling or carrying firearms, and abiding by the 4 laws of gun safety. This goes for any gun, be it a Glock, S&W M&P, 1911, Beretta 92, Ruger revolver and every single other firearm out there.

If you don't handle guns with the utmost of care, then you increase the chances of something happening, regardless of what make, model and design they are.

With that said, there seems to be a greater propensity for plastic pistols to go "bang" when they shouldn't. Let it be clear that it's due to operator error. If you handle a poly striker gun poorly or inattentively, accidents will happen.

Check and clear, nothing to fear. if you merely assume...it could go "boom."

While a manual safety is not supposed to act as a safety net in lieu of safe handling practices (any mechanical device can fail) having one may prevent them at times. A manual safety, however, is no replacement at all for observing proper safety procedures and principles.

A Bit Of Training Makes A Huge Difference

gun safety training

As to whether a manual safety on a concealed carry gun keeps the gun out of the fight...it's only true if a person doesn't practice with their handgun. All a person has to do is incorporate deactivating the safety into the draw stroke, which is not exactly performing rocket surgery for most people.

You just have to practice the draw and the motion. Activate then deactivate the safety during dry fire and at the range.

A bit of practice and it becomes second nature.

The notion that somehow it's unsafe to carry with one just isn't true. Even Massad Ayoob could only find one instance of a person being injured, shot or killed because of fumbling with a manual safety when confronted with a threat, according to a 2009 article in Tactical Life and it was because they hadn't practiced or trained with their pistol.

Arguments online between people who carry with a manual safety and those that don't are just people that carry "Gun A" bashing people who carry "Gun B" because the people who carry "Gun A" don't like "Gun B."

Sam Hoober 

About The Author


Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.

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