Magazine Safety


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Skully
July 13, 2006, 03:47 PM
Could someone please explain what a magazine safety is and why you all seem to dislike them so much as I understand it the gun wont fire unless the mag is inserted am i correct? why is this such an issue? I read somewhere that people special order or even alter guns that have them equipped saying that the gun isn't fully ready with the safety intact:confused: I am extremely new to this having bought my first gun a XD 40Tact.:D only 2 months ago and I'm hungry for knowledge thank you to all that reply

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jacobtowne
July 13, 2006, 04:32 PM
You are correct about how it works.
If you drop and lose the magazine during a fight, or fail to insert it all the way, and there is a round in the chamber, and your adversary is standing over you with a machete....nuff said.
JT

critter
July 13, 2006, 04:42 PM
Likewise, if you have to do a reload in the middle of something, leaving one in the pipe and dropping an empty or partially loaded magazine leaves you with a loaded gun that will not fire. You then have a 'loaded' CLUB.

Jim Watson
July 13, 2006, 04:53 PM
Well, in the typical Internet SHTF scenario, you would want to be able to shoot your autopistol as a single shot after all the magazines were lost.

But then Ayoob says you need a magazine disconnector so you can shut down the gun just before an assailant takes it away from you.

Me?
I just don't want to have to go through the extra monkey motion to Unload and Show Clear a disconnector gun at an IDPA or IPSC match. When IDPA got finicky and declared the magazine disconnector a safety device that could not be removed, I put the bits back in my S&W 5906 and sold it.

Skully
July 13, 2006, 05:38 PM
Thanks now I better understand why most dislike them

Old Fuff
July 13, 2006, 07:57 PM
Magazine disconectors were designed to prevent careless users from shooting themselves or others after getting mixed up and clearing the chamber BEFORE they removed the magazine - rather then the other way around.

It also gave an owner the option of removing the magazine and putting it elsewhere while leaving a chamber-loaded gun in a bedside drawer or whatever. Under those circumstances a child or someone else who found the gun couldn't shoot it.

And of course if a police officer was about to have his/her sidearm taken they could drop the magazine and render the gun unusable.

For these reason the anti-gun movement and some others believe the magazine disconector to be the best thing since sliced bread.

However most professionals don't like the idea. They know enough to correctly clear a weapon, and in an emergency they want to be able to fire the last chambered round after the magazine has been dropped.

With all of this clearly in mind, one can make their own choice - except in California where magazine disconectors will soon be mandatory.

I personally prefer pistols that don’t have this feature.

Hypnogator
July 14, 2006, 11:58 PM
I personally prefer pistols that don’t have this feature.
So do I, but it's not a show-stopper for me.

FWIW, I have an old (approx 50 yrs) gunsmithing book that describes removing the magazine safety feature of the Browning High-Power as the first and most important step to improving the trigger pull.

makarovnik
July 15, 2006, 12:06 AM
Some pistols have a disconnect that won't let you pull the trigger without the magazine installed. Others won't even let you pull the slide back without the magazine installed. Let's say you've chambered a round, now you want to unload all ammo from it including the one in the chamber. Unless you have another mag that happens to be empty, you must first empty the mag then re-install it and rack the slide to empty the chamber. I think in a way this can make the weapon MORE dangerous and LESS safe. It also means that once you've removed the magazine it's difficult to even check to see if the chamber is empty. I think it should alway be simple to check the chamber. Just another mechanism to compensate for some people's carelessness. No amount of safety mechanisms can replace safe gun handling.

default
July 15, 2006, 01:16 AM
I don't own a BHP, so I can't comment on a magazine safety interfering with trigger pull, and it seems that the likelihood of being in a gunfight and having a round chambered but no magazine present is fairly remote.

In any case, my primary objection is that anyone who knows how to handle a automatic pistol (at least any current-production centerfire defensive pistol that I'm aware of) knows that there is only one foolproof and safe way to determine if it is loaded or not - drop the mag, rack the slide and lock or hold it to the rear, and inspect the chamber, breechface, and magazine well. Ideally, twice. Magazine safeties, while well-intentioned, no doubt, encourage sloppy thinking about firearms handling and are by extension indirectly dangerous. To a lesser degree, I feel the same way about loaded chamber indicators - someone who knows what they are doing probably won't think to look for it - they'll either clear the pistol properly or assume it to be loaded and treat it accordingly, and someone who doesn't probably wouldn't even understand or recognize an LCI.

To sum up, since we can't guarantee good training or common sense, better that "everyone knows" a pistol can be fired without a magazine inserted, than that "most people know" that some pistols can't.

ugaarguy
July 15, 2006, 01:41 AM
FWIW, I have an old (approx 50 yrs) gunsmithing book that describes removing the magazine safety feature of the Browning High-Power as the first and most important step to improving the trigger pull.

It was the first thing I did to mine - once removed it made the trigger pull feel twice as smooth and half as heavy as it did with the disconnect in.

I also am safer with it out. I'd rather drop the mag and clear the weapon than drop the mag, unload it, reinsert it, and then clear the weapon; or rack the slide and fiddle with the slide lock so I can clear the chamber, lock the slide back, drop the mag, and then release the slide. It's annoying and complicates a simple task. It is not difficult to clear a weapon with a mag disconnect safety, it's just more time consuming. Then again I was also taught to remove the ammunition source then clear to avoid accidentally rechambering a round. Thats my take.

Old Fuff
July 15, 2006, 02:50 AM
The Old Fuff has never let the Browning Hi-Power's magazine disconnect get in the way of his acquiring one... :evil:

However Skully was asking that someone answer his questions, not get into a discussion on how to remove the feature in a particular pistol.

The “if, when and how” concerning removing the Browning's magazine disconnect should be reserved for another thread, and it should be kept in mind that as a matter of policy the High Road forum does not sanction or encourage removing or disabling the safety features in any firearm.

thales
July 15, 2006, 03:05 AM
*


It is my understanding that of the police officers shot on duty, a large fraction are shot with their own gun. This would be a good argument in favor of the magazine safety, since the officer could disable his gun fairly readily by dropping the magazine. I have some retired cop friends who agree with that reasoning.

For the non-cop citizen who carries a pistol, it seems to me hard to tell if it is better to have a magazine safety, largely for the previous reason, or if it is better to not have a magazine safety, in the expectation of needing to fire a pistol with a loaded chamber but no magazine. I would tend to favor the former position because that sort of situation seems more likely, but I do not know of any data that would shed light on the issue.


*

Uzitiger
July 15, 2006, 09:02 PM
Many years ago I remember Massad Ayoob saying that magazine safeties are unnnessary but today he says that an officer losing his pistol can drop the magazine and render the gun useless. I have pistols with magazine disconnects and without. To me magazine disconnects are more attempts to make the guns idiot proof.

The anti gun Nazis prefer to make the guns more difficult to fire and that's why they want to impose them on us. They'll pass anything to incrementally disarm us.

Captain America
July 15, 2006, 09:19 PM
Yeah... I hate hippies. Don't they know that as legal firearm sales increase, crime rates drop? :cuss:

massad ayoob
July 15, 2006, 10:38 PM
Uzitiger

Many years ago I remember Massad Ayoob saying that magazine safeties are unnnessary but today he says that an officer losing his pistol can drop the magazine and render the gun useless. I have pistols with magazine disconnects and without. To me magazine disconnects are more attempts to make the guns idiot proof.

The anti gun Nazis prefer to make the guns more difficult to fire and that's why they want to impose them on us. They'll pass anything to incrementally disarm us.

Uzitiger has a good memory. In the early 1970s, trained in the conventional wisdom of the time (which doesn't seem to have changed much), I saw no reason not to pull the disconnector out of a Browning or S&W 9mm for the same reasons being articulated on this thread.

I had to change my mind when, in the mid-1970s, I started hanging with Illinois State Troopers and their armorers and instructors. At the time, they taught troopers to use the issue Model 39's mag release as a "kill button" if it appeared that the gun was about to be ripped out of their hands. They documented multiple "saves" due to this strategy. I later learned that Las Vegas had had similar experiences with their Model 59s, and Salt Lake City had experienced at least one such save with the Model 39.

From then to now, I've found NO cases where someone had to fire their one chambered round with no magazine in any sort of survival situation. I had to go with the reality, and changed my mind accordingly.

While it's not a deal breaker for me personally if a pistol doesn't have a magazine disconnector safety feature (at the moment, I'm on the road teaching and carrying a couple of Glocks, which of course are not so equipped), we can't deny the reality that this feature has saved a number of good people in gun retention situations when every other strategy went to crap.

What I HAVE run across a very few times over the decades has not yet been mentioned on this thread, or I've missed it: cases where the good guy accidentally hit his own mag release and deactivated his pistol when he needed to fire it. However, I've documented far more "saves" due to use of the "kill button effect" of the disconnector feature in struggles for the gun.

You assesses your needs, and THEN you pays your money and you takes your choice.

Finally, I don't think that the Browning Hi-Power of 1935, the S&W's introduced in the '50s, or any other pistols equipped with disconnector safeties are manifestations of anti-gun Nazi plots.

Just one more guy's opinion...

ugaarguy
July 15, 2006, 10:55 PM
Finally, I don't think that the Browning Hi-Power of 1935, the S&W's introduced in the '50s, or any other pistols equipped with disconnector safeties are manifestations of anti-gun Nazi plots.
Agreed.

I also might put the mag safety back in my BHP if I decide to intall the C&S kit that retains it while still greatly improving the trigger pull. Disabling the trigger isn't the thing that bothers me most, its the fact that I must insert a mag to rack the slide - clear the chamber. I'm sure I could train to get used to it though. The safety of the "kill switch" is appealing just in case - just in case being the same reason most of us go armed, carry a good light, carry pepper spray, etc. It may become something I'd like to have. Good thread.

default
July 16, 2006, 02:43 AM
Good points, Mr. Ayoob, and if I may say so it's very nice to have someone with your experience and expertise posting here at THR. No doubt the magazine disconnect was not introduced on the pistols in question (BHPs and classic Smith autos) to appease anti-gunners, and its de facto utility as a general "deactivator" to aid in officer safety in a gun retention situation is not something that I had really thought about.

In any event, I think we'd probably all agree that any instruction or training (including owner's manuals for firearms) should emphasize the fact that not all pistols, nor even a majority of them, have magazine disconnects or loaded chamber indicators and that the four rules always apply.

I wonder if the inclusion of a magazine safety on the new Smith & Wesson M&P line of pistols, which appears to be a concerted attempt to regain LEO market share from GLOCK, SIG-Sauer, and HK, is at least a partial result of the "kill button" theory about mag disconnects?

massad ayoob
July 16, 2006, 07:21 AM
Default, I have no doubt that it is. S&W has a long institutional history of feedback from the field that the disconnector safety had been known to save lives.

THere has also been a spate of lawsuits against the various manufacturers for making pistols without disconnectors, on a "negligent design" theory, involving accidental shootings that have occurred with pistols whose users had removed the magazine but neglected to clear the chamber before "the trigger got pulled."

Producing the pistol with a customer option of disconnector safety OR NOT, in theory, could be a strategy that would allow the defendant manufacturer to say, "Look, if they wanted it they could have had it. It's not our fault that they wanted it without."

The very fact that we're arguing here is a microcosm of the "damned if you do, damned if you don't" mentality that the handgun manufacturer can face in court.

ugaarguy
July 16, 2006, 07:45 AM
It's been a while since I was around S&W third gen autos. Does their mag disconnect disable the trigger and slide, or just the trigger? What of the new M&P auto on that note as well? I think disabling the trigger only would be ideal since you could clear the weapon with the mag removed and still retain the "kill switch" feature disabling the weapon from firing.

massad ayoob
July 16, 2006, 08:50 PM
Disables trigger only.

One point to note, for any relying on this tactic: if pressure is applied to the trigger, whether in DA or SA mode, when the magazine is released, the disconnector is bypassed and most pistols with this feature can still fire the chambered round. Once trigger comes back forward, however, chambered round cannot be fired until magazine is reinserted.

Brian D.
July 17, 2006, 09:09 PM
Why'd you have to go and let the cat out of the bag concerning that trick of keeping pressure on the trigger to overcome the mag disconnect on S&W semi autos? There goes a "sucker bet" that has won me cash or alcohol, many, many times! :)

Noted pistolsmith Wayne Novak showed me another way to beat those mag disconnects on the Smittys, but my finger isn't long enough to perform that bit of prestidigitation!

Sylvan-Forge
July 18, 2006, 08:53 AM
IMO, the mag safety is just one more thing that could possibly malfunction.

SuperNaut
July 18, 2006, 11:31 AM
Didn't the video of that female cop shooting from behind her moving patrol car show her drop her mag accidentally?

I know that lots of people when under stress get their wires crossed in their heads. The guys who run the training courses probably have way better anecdotes, but the one that comes to my mind is when on a deer hunt with my older brother he saw a good sized buck and promptly pulled his bolt all the way out. The look on his face was priceless, you could tell that one part of his brain was saying "shoot!" and another part was saying "what the hell?"

massad ayoob
July 18, 2006, 11:59 AM
Supernaut, it appeared to me that she was intentionally using a "reload with retention."

SuperNaut
July 18, 2006, 12:06 PM
I defer to your expertise.

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