A Nurse with a Gun

Friday, July 04, 2008


Robb Allen has a compelling piece to read when considering mechanical safeties on defensive weapons. Forgetting to disengage the mechanical safety on a defensive weapon when the adrenaline spurts and the vision tunnels is an oft cited rationale for the trigger safety on a Glock pistol. The argument has merit.

My argument is that we fight as we train. If a person goes to the range and loads and shoots their pistol without ever disengaing the safety........Because they never engaged the safety, the liklihood is fair to high they will forget to disengage the safety in a crunch.

However, if a person loads their pistol, chambers a round, engages the safety, and then holsters the weapon prior to drawing and shooting.......Every time they fire the weapon, then disengaging the safety becomes as natural as placing a finger on the trigger to fire the gun. If holster draws are not allowed at your range, load the pistol, chamber a round, engage the safety and table the weapon. Step away. Clear your head. Then step forward, pick up the weapon, bring it on target, disengage the safety and fire the pistol.

The answer is not one of safeties that disengage when a finger presses the trigger. The answer is one of training.

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Anonymous Capt. Harley said...

Well Said!

6:05 PM  
Blogger MauserMedic said...

Every time the slide is racked, the safety goes on. Far better to sweep the safety off when it's already there than find out it's on when the round doesn't go off.

6:26 PM  
Blogger Jerry The Geek said...

You are absolutely correct in every word and sentence.

I've hear people say that they would choose (pick your brand)over a pistol with a thumb safety for a defensive weapon because "it's easier to operate, fewer things to forget".

Folks who choose to own a firearm specifically overlook that it's as important to accept responsibility for being completely comfortable and familiar with using that firearm under conditions of stress.

While they acknowledge the stress, they ignore that remembering to switch off the safety is just another part of regular and frequent training with their firearm. Its usage should be as automatic as riding a bicycle ... operating it and controlling it are part of the same thing.

The difference is that you will likely never use your bicycle to defend yourself.

The answer may be to bicycle to the range at least once a week. Good for me, good for you, good for America.

(I think I've just convinced myself to buy a bicycle. Know any good Bicycle Instructors?)

8:55 PM  
Blogger Jerry The Geek said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

8:56 PM  
Anonymous ditto said...

This should be a given!
Even when dry firing the safety should be engaged for practice.

2:00 PM  
Blogger Matt G said...

I still "wipe the safety" off of my duty Glock when drawing and shooting. It costs me no time.

The transition from my 1911 to Glock shooting to revolvers is just like getting out of my PD automatic transmission cruiser and getting into my personal manual transmission car.

1:15 AM  
Blogger Montie said...


I have been involved in 4 shooting incidents with 1911 pistols, both as a civilian and as a police officer over tha last 30 years. At no time did I fail to disengage the thumb safety when having to deploy the gun (twice from concealment and twice from a duty holster). I also do not remember even consciously thinking about the safety, I just subconscously disengaged it during the draw. My first shot was as quick or quicker than the one shooting I was involved in while carrying a traditional DA/SA pistol.

I have also drawn my gun several times to hold someone at gunpoint or to react to someone doing something that might cause them to need to be shot. On those occasions, I DID NOT disengage the thumb safety during the draw, and do not remember consciously thinking that I should not yet do so.

With proper training it is natural, even under stress. At least in my humble opinion.

2:03 AM  
Blogger alath said...

I think you are correct about training ingrained habits.

I carry a DA-SA SIG, so I'm not ingrained on the manual safety. However, I do have a very strong decocker habit. Whenever I have occasion to holster a non-SIG pistol - range play for instance - I find my thumb reaching for the nonexistent decocker on 1911s, CZs, and others.

4:20 PM  
Blogger JJR said...

I like my grip safety feature on my Springfield XD, but Xavier is absolutely right that it's an issue of software (training brain/body) not hardware.

I do sometimes carry a Bersa Thunder .380, though, so I will practice this technique next time I go to the range with it (i.e. table the weapon, clear my head, then flick off the safety before shooting--my range doesn't allow draw from the holster shooting, unfortunately).

11:35 PM  

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