Why so few with manual safety?


March 27, 2007, 12:18 PM
It seems that new pistol designs that are coming out don't feature manual safeties, even as an option, why is this?

Are people not buying guns with manual safeties? Is it that much more difficult to produce?

Looking at the HK offerings the USP has manual safety variants but the P2000, P2000sk and P30 don't

Does SigSauer offer any pistols with manual safeties?

Springfield (other than 1911)?

Beretta Px4 doesn't have a manual safety?

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March 27, 2007, 12:24 PM
For a Glock's stand point, I'm thankful for my Glock 35 to not have a manual safety so I can pay attention to keeping my finger off the trigger unless needed.

Also, it maybe it benefits the smooth drawing of a holstered Glock.

Jim Watson
March 27, 2007, 12:32 PM
Because the level of training the average cop or soldier gets, fast, safe, and dependable manipulation of a manual safety is not feasible. The management types go for a hardware fix with what Jan Stevenson called "the convulsive response" of a DA or similar trigger with long and heavy enough pull to minimize the ADs.

March 27, 2007, 12:38 PM
I agree it's a shame that even as am option so few companies offer weapons with manual safeties.

I personally like having the automatic and trigger safeties in a pistol, but I have always believed that you should take at least one action other then drawing and pulling the trigger that brings the weapons into firing mode.

If the safety lever is positioned right you can disengage it, and draw the weapon bringing it up to fire all in one smooth motion. It took me only a few minutes to get the draw right on the USP's and 1911's that I tried.

March 27, 2007, 12:46 PM
I'm pretty sure it's because more than a few people have been in a gunfight, had a perfectly functional gun, and still not managed to get off a shot because in the heat of the moment they forget to flick the safety off.

Now keep in mind that most guns have some sort of external safety device, like the Springfield XD's grip safety, but the trend is to make a gun that's un-f-upable; hold vaguely correctly, pointed the end with the hole in it towards the threat, squeeze the trigger, it goes boom.

March 27, 2007, 12:53 PM

I can talk about 2 of the pistols you have mentioned.

First, the Beretta Px4.. It was the first handgun I bought, in 40cal, and being new to them, I felt safe with the fact that they do come with a safety and decocker, all in one. However, after becoming familiar with the gun, and all safety rules that apply to all guns, and some 800 rounds fired so far, I found that one small issue popped up.

While using both IWB and OWB holsters, occasionally, with the "bat-wing" design of the safety-decocker of the Beretta Px4, I would/did somehow knock the safety lever down into the safety position without knowing it, and that came as a surprise that I don't need, when you expect to aim and take a shot.

Also, the Sig P229R CT Carry 9mm, I got, as my second gun, does not have a safety, just a decocker, and as I said, once one (in my case) overcomes the fear factor (which is good) that keeps you/one focused on; is my gun armed, or does it have dry-caps only, for dry-firing practice, is it armed and chambered, rdy to go, or unchambered, a form of safety, if you will.

Either way, it is the time invested in getting to know your gun/s, and learning the safe-habits of the 4 rules of safety that, in my case, decided to have my Px4 40 F-model, changed-out to an G-model - decocker only, while keeping the bat-wing lever, which IMO, is much easier to decock with the thumb, while not compromising one's/my 2 hand grip on the gun, as is the same with the Sig P229R, or any Sig IIRC.

So, if you want a safety and decocker lever all in one, to feel safe with, like if you have kids, etc., then a Beretta Px4 9mm or 40cal is a great gun IMO.

But that little surprise of not knowing that the safety is engaged, can cause you/one grief when you need to take the shot, right now, and it's not there, as opposed to a decocker only, which when you activate it down, has a spring that brings the lever back up.

So, as I said, you can use a method of keeping a gun unchambered, so any pull of the trigger, or release of the hammer, *without using the decock lever*, will not cause a discharge that is/was not expected nor wanted.

*Always use the decocker to release a fully, or semi, (like the Px4 offer) cocked hammer, do-not do it manually with your thumb and trigger > NO NO. IMO.

Good luck, hope this helps you out.


March 27, 2007, 12:56 PM
I was wrong about the Px4 it appears that it does have a manual safety.

What I really wonder about is why don't companies offer manual safeties as an option?

I have a USP v1 (DA/SA with manual safety and decocker) and really wonder why HK doesn't make the P2000, or P30 with a manual safety option. Clearly HK could produce such pistols without much additional engineering (and the P2000 and P30 are more expensive than the USP).

I really like the flexibility of cocked and locked, decocked or decocked and locked.

March 27, 2007, 01:31 PM
IMO - the manual safety isn't needed. I carry (in theory) my USPc round chambered, hammer decocked, safety off. Guns that are DAO don't need'em and as long as you use a quality holster & maintain proper handling ettiquette, you'll be fine.

March 27, 2007, 01:33 PM
The new HK45 will be available with a safety and Sig Sauer now has Single Action Only pistols that have a manual safety. CZs also have safeties
Another reason a safety is nice is for those that are concerned with a gun grab situation. The safety could save your life if the gun gets out of your hands and the BG doesn't know how to operate it. Passive safeties like grip safties and trigger safeties do nothing to prevent that

March 27, 2007, 01:44 PM
Pistols nowdays are more likely to be DAO action so no manual safety needed , like a double action revolver .
I was in LE and transitioned from revolver to auto , back then da/sa was the thing most went to and you needed a safety/decocker for them as you did for a single action . Then came DAO ( which i predicted would go no where lol ) . I underestimated the forces that be ( from an average officer training/liability standpoint ) and what would soon be mandated for most officers . We have come full circle imho back to the old double action revolver that i started out with except now it takes mags and is quicker to reload . Oh and nowdays my carry gun is a DAO , so i guess even old dogs can learn , or maby not since i never could shoot as good with a da/sa as i could the old revolver. I still feel that the single action auto is most likely the best of all possible worlds to actually use gunfighting and gameplaying , but not every draw ends up as a shoot , and for the great unwashed among officers and ccw holders who dont train rigorously, myself included any more , the DAO is a safer choice with almost no loss of practical accuracy . Grab and go guns are good for ME , but you pick your own poison .

March 27, 2007, 02:07 PM
Quote: I really like the flexibility of cocked and locked, decocked or decocked and locked.

Well, that was the exact reason that I ruled out any guns that are hammer-less, like Glocks. With an external hammer, one can have a gun chambered, rdy to fire, with the hammer down, and in DA mode. And, if you need to draw out, for the right reason, the manual "clicking and sound it makes" to SA mode, can set the tone, to whomever is at the other end of your muzzle.. IMO.

DA only usually have a 6.5lb/4.5lb pull weights IIRC, as compared to say, an avg of 10lbs DA pull weight, and 4.5lbs SA pull weight (Sigs) or like the Beretta Px4, DA pull weight of 7.5lbs IIRC, and slightly less in semi-cocked position, and a pull weight of 3.5lbs IIRC in SA mode.

Personally I just could not feel comfy with, like most DA only guns that most carry, with, a fully-cocked hammer, rdy to go. But, again, it all comes down to personal choice, along with being time-spent/educated with what type gun one has IMO, including never put your finger on the trigger, until you have your sights on a target, and you're gonna shoot it.

This applies in holstering and un-holstering (finger off trigger) as well and, any handling of a gun in general, always assuming that a gun is loaded > a safety feature, learned, thru good habit/s.


Master Blaster
March 27, 2007, 03:08 PM
Most new guns are double action/, Da/SA, or striker fired and are cocked by the trigger at least for the first shot. Most have a firing pin safety to block accidental discharge if the trigger is not pulled.

IMHO only a Single action auto needs a manual safety.

Idiots who are unsafe with a firearm will not use the safety anyway, or will turn it off before they pull the trigger while not following the safety rules. So with the exception of Single action only pistols, manually operated safetys are unnecessary and may even be a liability in the hands of an untrained or careless user.

March 27, 2007, 03:21 PM
IMHO only a Single action auto needs a manual safety.


I am left handed, and while my 1911's all wear ambi safeties I have never bothered to install such an item on my DA guns (like my Makarovs) due to the fact that I don't find them necessary. I can carry a DA or DAO safely decocked without engaging the safety. I pocket carry a Kahr, and also carry Glocks without worrying about a manual safety lever.

With the exception of SA semi-autos, the only safety you need is between your ears.

March 27, 2007, 03:29 PM

Best manual safety out there.
(Googled image.)

Finger off the trigger.

March 27, 2007, 03:50 PM
With something like a Ruger .22 with a 1 lb. trigger, I like having a safety. With any striker-fired or DAO gun, I just can't imagine when I'd ever use a safety. Anytime I would feel the need for a safety, I would actually prefer not to have a round chambered at all.

I personally like having the automatic and trigger safeties in a pistol, but I have always believed that you should take at least one action other then drawing and pulling the trigger that brings the weapons into firing mode.

Wouldn't racking the slide be one such action you could take?

Seriously, with a defensive weapon, I think people are just about as familiar with the sound of a slide racking as they are with the sound of a pump shotgun chambering a round. If you're going to use a safety, it might as well be one that screams "I'm prepared to shoot you."

March 27, 2007, 03:52 PM
I prefer to keep a round in the chamber. Racking the slide is not something that is quickly done in a firefight, unlike turning off the safety.

March 27, 2007, 04:20 PM
Suddenly becoming "in a firefight" with no warning just doesn't happen as often as people on internet forums like to think. Let's try to come up with realistic hypothetical situations.

If there was potnential to be suddenly in a firefight without the 0.5 seconds to spare to chamber a round, then you should definitely already have one chambered. If such a situation was a possibility, there's no way I would have the safety on to begin with. But then there's also no way I'd be using the IWB holsters and ridiculous fanny-pack-like things that people seem to like so much, either.

March 27, 2007, 06:07 PM
Suddenly becoming "in a firefight" with no warning just doesn't happen as often as people on internet forums like to think

So how often do they happen?

March 27, 2007, 06:26 PM

Only 2 ways to get involved in a firefight.. Looking for one, in which I would suggest taking a shoulder weapon as your primary weapon.

Being at the wrong place at the wrong time, and being a lousy shot, and outnumbered, with 2 shots left in your last mag.. You should've gotten out of Dodge after no effect/s when the first mag emptied while loading your last mag and slipping away asap.. IMO

With the exception of SA semi-autos, > the only safety you need is between your ears.

> Wish I'd said that.. That's it in a Nutshell.


March 27, 2007, 06:38 PM
Suddenly becoming "in a firefight" with no warning just doesn't happen as often as people on internet forums like to think.

I think that it was Jeff Cooper who said something to the effect that you hoped that the goblins never showed up, but when they did it would be quick and violent.

When the "excrement hits the oscillating device" your fine motor skills will go out the window, and you will be very happy to already have one in the pipe. I have only had one experience in my life when I had to produce a handgun in order to defend my life, and I am glad that all that was required was to put the front sight on the center of mass and flip the safety off with my thumb. Fortunately my attacker decided to stop dead in his tracks before I took the last few ounces out of the trigger pull but I am very thankful that I didn't have to rack the slide.

I hope that I never have to pull a handgun again (I shook for 30 minutes following that encounter), but if I do it will be with a weapon that is ready to go.

March 27, 2007, 11:47 PM
I wish that the "safety between the ears" and "booger hook off the bang switch" phrases would just drop off the earth. :banghead: The concept of complete concious control over the trigger is a MYTH.

In bad situations, a long trigger is the only safeguard you'll have against NDs. Heavy triggers help, but long is what matters.


At the risk of blowing my own horn, I like the way I explained it a while ago:
In many ways it's very much like the four rules. If you break one, just a little bit, there will probably never be any accident due to the redundancies of the other three. However, it will always be just a fraction less safe than if you were following all four.

Glocks use maybe three out of the four rules, and the more classic designs use all four. That's just the way it is, plain fact.

March 28, 2007, 01:17 AM
I currently do not carry, but if I did I would like the fact that my 9mm Smith and Wesson has a long trigger pull, no safety. The safety will probably cause you to get shot, as would racking the pistol.

In my life I have ony had one need to have a loaded and ready to fire gun. While working in a liquor store a few years ago I was robbed at shotgun point by two men. As they entered the store the gunman racked the shotgun. Had I been carrying, racking the pistol or flipping a safety switch would have been too late. End result most likely would have been losing my gun to a felon, and por being shot. Had I been carrying, I could have pulled and shot. Thinking back this would have been my option. Much better than laying on the ground with a shotgun to my head.

The long trigger pull of my S&W 9mm would not have come into play. But the long pull would keep an accidental shot from firing.

Believe me, I had time to pull and squeeze, that is all the time I had. Don't know or care if their gun was loaded. (DA would not tell me)

I am preparing to get a carry permit. (No CCW in TN, just carry) I practice daily. I am not getting caught unarmed again. (once i am properly practiced and legal). Next time somebody gets shot.

March 28, 2007, 01:24 AM
According to the rapper 50 Cent, in a 2003 interview with Mass Appeal magazine:

"And forget the safety, *****s get killed with their gun on safety."


March 28, 2007, 02:20 AM
Speaking of 50pence,
When unholstered I like to point mine downrange with my palm facing downward, so I can see my squeeze digit.

March 28, 2007, 02:32 AM
A lot of people used to recommend revolvers for people who are just starting to carry. All you have to do is point it and pull the trigger. It's easy to use. Now we have double action only, and with a good internal blocking mechanism they are safe to carry a round in the chamber. Just as ready and safe as a revolver and easy to use. Often times more experienced shooters like a single action auto with a manual safety. It's nice to have the choice though.

March 28, 2007, 02:49 AM
Everything I carry is carried in the condition-0 state.
Most all DA or DAO stuff is too far of a reach for me and most safety levers are not ergonomic for me either. Plus, I like things simple when it gets hectic.
I have very small hands, so that is just the way it has to be.

"Booger hook off the bangswitch!" :neener:
Finger off the trigger when drawing.
Finger off the trigger until ready to fire.
Finger off the trigger when finished firing.
Clear path to holster.
Finger off the trigger when holstering.

I've been doing this for a long time without a ND.

I also make sure that the action mechanicals will provide for safety if dropped from a height of at least three feet.

March 28, 2007, 04:07 AM
I don't really want any of my defensive firearms to have a manual safety, I want them to fire when I pull the trigger. I would probably make an exception for a 1911 since turning that safety off can be more of a funciton of taking a firing grip than some of the smaller slide mounted safeties.

1911 guy
March 28, 2007, 07:35 AM
So many pistols are made now without basic controls because the accepted level of training is so low. These handguns themselves are perfectly serviceable and useful, but they are designed to fill a need for operation by generally firearm ignorant people. The fact that savy folks use them, too, is inconsequential to the design.

I agree with the statement made about concious control over the trigger, but I disagree with the conclusion made. The proper conclusion (IMHO) is that trigger disclipline must be made habit and muscle memory.

As for the aforementioned supposed musician, we are now using thugs and "bling" wearing goons as role models for our gun handling aspirations? Yikes.

March 28, 2007, 08:29 AM
There are far too many people with a fantasy view of handguns.Those that think cops and soldiers of old slept with a 1911 in their cradle,used it to hunt and plink crows off fenceposts from 100 yards on their way to school and in general were such good pistoleros that the Army and police agencies reckoned the only way to give the bad guys a fighting chance was to make them carry their .45 with an empty chamber or a .38 revolver.The reality of the single action auto as used in military and law enforcement and the myth are a long trip apart.Likewise,you'd think in the old days the bad guys were made of tougher stuff but to show the cops' admiration,they only winged em in the shoulder with their .38's.

Modern pistol designs simply do not need a manual safety.The luddites that decry the lack of a safety are a half step ahead of those that exclaim " OH MY GOD- you carry a _loaded_ pistol? Won't it _JUST GO OFF?".No,my Glock or SIG is not going to " just go off" any more than a cocked and locked 1911 or Barney's S&W with no rounds in the cylinder.I don't carry them because I'm not willing to train or can't be trained,it's because they are exceptionally reliable,accurate and easy to use firearms that do not need any external safeties.

March 28, 2007, 01:11 PM
I did not read all the posts, so if I repeat some one, I apologize.

The only safety that matters is the one between your ears. Extra safety gadgets will NOT make any tool any safer. Disengage your brain and you'll have problems, no matter how many safetys you have on how many tools.

March 28, 2007, 01:56 PM
Gun makers make what consumers want and most gun buyers prefer semi-auto's without a manual thumb safety. If Glock or Sig thought that a thumb safety would increase their sales, they would offer models with a thumb safety.

March 28, 2007, 05:01 PM
To piggyback on RNB65's post, Gunmakers make what they make money on. The civilian market is a large segement, but gov't (be it fed/state/local) tends to drive firearm design for a few reasons. One the major ones is the volume of potential sales for large agency (FBI, Military, etc).

From there the civilian world see's, hmm the Marshall's are carrying X I want one now. Very rarely does it go the other direction.

The biggest influence on most large agency/gov't purchases is liability. Fortuneately most agencies have at least halfway decent testing procedures to weed out the really unsuitable choices, but most of the time the choice is made by someone with little understanding of firearms. Even if they do know firearms they have to choose for the lowest denominator in their agency, because a firearm is usually cheaper then the training it would take to bring people up to a certain level.

If agencies were able to train all their personel to a certain level then I think most agencies would allow a much broader selection of weapons, rather then mandating one platform.

Manufactures continue to produce and design to get these lucrative contracts and the press that goes with them.


March 28, 2007, 06:13 PM
So many pistols are made now without basic controls because the accepted level of training is so low.
Or is weapons training better than ever and people no longer need the crutch of a "make the gun nonfunctional" switch and are actually capable of responsible gun handling without them? :evil:

Seriously though, I can't imagine law enforcement has ever been better trained and more skilled with firearms than they are today. They may want/need even more trianing but when in the past have they received more or better training?

March 28, 2007, 07:59 PM
Wish you get a pistol with a "removeable" safety. Strip it, flip a "thingy," slide the safety out if you want. Or leave it in.

After 1911-land, it took awhile to get used to non-safety-land. Probaly feel more comfortable with an XD chambered than my Sig 229 --- only because the 229 needs the extra de-cock action to get it tame.

I guess the real key is to think about the darned thing every time you think about it. Brain safety.

March 28, 2007, 08:06 PM
I believe that you can do that to a USP. I believe it requires a gun smith though.

March 28, 2007, 08:53 PM
I have and had handguns with and without manual safeties.

The only handguns I have ever owned that "need" a manual safety are C&L SAs, be they 1911A1s or CZ-75s.

I perpetually find the Glocksters amusing. "IT" (being a negligent discharge) CAN'T HAPPEN TO ME. It's just a variation on the dumbass DEA agent who shot himself on film proclaiming his own professionalism ahead of the unexpected BANG. Of course there is no phenomenon called "Revolver Leg" or "Sig Leg," only "Glock Leg."

The common denominator in handguns without "active manual safeties" is that they have something else that mitigates against an unintentional pull on a short trigger travel. Only the Glock series defies this convention wholly, hence "Glock Leg," and Glock's "NY Trigger." Hmmm. NYC has a hardware solution for a problem that doesn't exist? Maybe, but in this case, training has not proven adequate over the past twenty years to shake the Glock of its ND waiting to happen image.

A Sig-Sauer traditionally has a long first trigger pull, usually in double digit poundage. More recently, they and other manual safety-less makers have gone to a "constant pull" solution that is lighter than the old DA pull, but still has a relatively long travel compared to the old SA mode, which no longer exists in CA or DAO weapons.

Of course, revolvers did and still rely on a much longer and, in stock form, a heavier trigger pull than does a partially cocked Glock. Finger off of the trigger is great, but if the finger, or the unwanted finger of a BG, or foreign object, is on the trigger, about 5.5 pounds or less coupled with a short trigger travel hasn't proven itself to be much margin for safety. People get complacent, so I begin to wonder if, as designed for the military, the Glock too wasn't intended to be carried in Condition 3, just like Uncle Sam's dangerous 1911A1 was to be carried outside of imminent action.

There is nothing "luddite" about that. I scarcely doubt many would volunteer to carry a C&L Series 80 1911A1 with the grip safety pinned and the thumb safety off. Well, why not, if you keep your finger off the trigger? My feeling is that no one could be long comfortable being millimeters from an instant BANG with such a rig, even with a firing pin safety. Yet the Glock just gives one some more millimeters of trigger travel as a margin before the striker engages the primer.

A Glock reminds me of strapping on a fixed blade knife with only a frog as its carry method. Yes, if careful, the blade wouldn't slice you, but the moment you brainfart, or get complacent, it's time for a trip to the ER for stitches because you one day may find the naked tip penetrating deep into your leg.

The XD gets around the problem with a passive grip safety. No "XD leg" yet I have heard of, though I suppose it is still entirely possible given that reholstering could trip the grip safety.

Most pistols without manually activated safeties don't need them. Revolvers don't need them. Glocks arguably do, for the masses. If that weren't at least plausibly true, the Cominolli safety wouldn't be a factory approved Glock modification.

March 28, 2007, 09:26 PM
I prefer semi-autos with a manual safety. It's just my preference. Sorry.

March 28, 2007, 09:43 PM
I take the opposite side really.

I believe that manual safeties were to make up for a lack in design.

The revolver was always "better" but now, as some have mentioned, the auto has caught up with passive safeties making it as safe as a revolver but without the need for a manual device.

It's about time....

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