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Grip Safety issues?

Discussion in 'Handguns: General Discussion' started by Carbonator, Mar 13, 2011.

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  1. Carbonator

    Carbonator Member

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    Referring to the grip safety lever on the back strap of the grip such as those found on XD's, 1911's, and some revolvers... Has a grip safety ever prevented you from pulling the trigger when you wanted to? Perhaps you didn't have a perfect grip to disengage the safety to fire, or the grip safety mechanism itself failed or broke...
     
  2. altitude_19

    altitude_19 Member

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    I got the impression the safety on my XD is designed to be quite forgiving. I have purposely handled it with a VERY sloppy grip, and it still goes off. You have to pretty much eliminate contact with the backstrap for it not to work, otherwise the weight of the gun pushing the grip down in your hand is enough to make it work.
     
  3. AOK

    AOK Member

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    Last year I read a story about guy that got in a gun fight and he had a 1911 (I believe I read it on AR15.com website). He got shot in the hand which naturally made his hand very bloody. He got off a hand full of shots but eventually couldn't fire anymore. Luckily the assailant ran off. The gun owner believes it was because he couldn't get a positive grip and as a result couldn't depress the grip safety. I'm not saying this is common, but it is possible.

    One of the main reason's I wouldn't carry a firearm for self defense with a grip safety is for fighting at "bad breath" distances. If you have your firearm muzzle in direct contact with the assailant there is a possibility the gun could get pushed out of battery. If this happen you may need to hold the slide in place to get a shot off into the assailant. With a grip safety you have to take your off hand and hold the slide in place, whereas a gun without a grip safety you can firmly put your thumb behind the slide and get you shot off. (No it won't take you thumb off or hurt it if you you do it correctly, I've done it numerous times with my Glock 23's). Personally if we are in tight quarters I want to keep my off hand as free as much as possible for defensive and striking purposes.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2011
  4. chris in va

    chris in va Member

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    Yes, on an XD9 I had. My hands are large and to reliably disengage the safety I needed to really squeeze the grip hard. Sold it a couple months later.
     
  5. Silent Sam

    Silent Sam Member

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    "If you have your firearm muzzle in direct contact with the assailant there is a possibility the gun could get pushed out of battery." If this is of concern, I would submit a double action revolver is a much better solution than holding a slide with your shooting hand thumb, or any thumb for that matter. Wouldn't be a decision point for me against using a semi w/ a grip safety.
     
  6. OneBagNomad

    OneBagNomad Member

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    I was never a fan of a grip safety. Really is unnecessary if you follow basic firearm safety and it's just an additional part that can break or interfere with me firing my weapon when I need to.
     
  7. Hk Dan

    Hk Dan Member

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    I've seen it happen in USPSA and IDPA. Turn the pressure up and who knows what your hands are going to do?
     
  8. AOK

    AOK Member

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    It's a part of the decision for me in addition to the safety being unnecessary in general. Your right, the revolver would solve this problem in that situation, however I'm not a wheel guy for multiple reasons unless it's a BUG. To each his own. No firearm is perfect.
     
  9. Winkman822

    Winkman822 Member

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    The only time I had issues with one of my 1911s not firing with the grip safety disengaged was with a Series II Kimber Custom Royal, though the issue was with the Kimber firing pin block rather than the gripsafety itself (slightly out of timing).

    As far as the gun not firing when out of battery with the gun pressed against the target, in my experience NO autoloader will fire if the gun is out of battery.

    If you like the ergonomics of the 1911 buy don't care for the grip safety, ship the gun to Novak's and they have a beavertail/backstrap conversion that completely defeats the grip safety.
     
  10. 2WheelsGood

    2WheelsGood Member

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    Nor would you want it to.

    I don't have much experience with a 1911, but on an XDM it takes so little pressure to deactivate the grip safety, I truly can't imagine how it could be a problem. Basically you'd have to hold the gun in such a way that it would fly out of your hand if it did fire.
     
  11. ForumSurfer

    ForumSurfer Member

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    I'm confused and not trying to be argumentative.

    If we are fighting up close and I've got the muzzle in your gut, wouldn't my other hand be tied up with fighting you? And if it is...what exactly is holding the weapon in my hand while you are pushing against it with your body weight? If my thumb is on the slide with enough force to keep it in battery with your body weight against it, it will be hard to pull the trigger.

    Two handed grip, sure...I can see it. But I'm having a hard time picturing a scenario that would have me putting a gun in someone's body cavity with a two handed grip while fighting face to face. I don't have large hands, so once I move my thumb it is going to be next to impossible to manipulate the trigger given that there is a hug amount of force pushing in the same direction and only my thumb offering resistance.

    Edit:: No, I've been shooting since my pre-teen years and I've never had a grip safety incident that prevented firing. But I've also never been in a life or death struggle while trying to manipulate a handgun.
     
  12. InkEd

    InkEd Member

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    On the Xd platform, the guide rod sticks out slightly just past the muzzle. This feature allows you to put the gun right up to something, pull the trigger and still have it cycle properly. The grip safety on it has never given me a problem. If it wasn't there, I would care either way.

    The 1911 has one too and it has always been reliable for me. However, I forgotten to engage or disengage the manual thumb safety lever.

    The only times that I have personally seen problems with grip safeties on either of those two platforms, it was with 1911s with flat mainspring housings. The XD grip and 1911 with an arched mainspring housing are contoured to basically "make you hold it right" with a good high grip.

    In regards to revolvers with grip safeties, I find them a little bit overkill and never bothered actually owning one. Then there is the H&K P7 that has it's front grip squeeze cocker design. I played around with one a few times and it felt very unnatural and that was the end of my experiences with it. (Plus, I feel a gun that size and weight should be either a higher capacity or larger caliber.)
     
  13. Just One Shot

    Just One Shot Member

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    I've had this problem with the XD line of handguns (I've owned at least 5) but not the 1911's. I've never had the grip safety itself malfunction but due to the size and shape of my hand I have had instances at the range where the XD would not fire when practicing a hurried draw.

    The Grip safety is too short and too narrow for my grip. I have a gap in the web of my hand that makes me have to readjust my grip even though I have a good purchase on the XD. I have traded or sold all my XD's over the years because I don't trust them to go bang every time.

    The sad thing is, I like the guns. It's such a simple fix. All they would need to do is widen the safety and make it slightly longer like a 1911 and the problem would be gone. I've even posted this on the XD site but it's still an ongoing issue for me.

    I would suggest that anyone considering an XD or XDM to shoot one before purchasing it, especially if it's going into your CC rotation.
     
  14. InkEd

    InkEd Member

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    First, I would suggest you try an XD(m) with either the smallest or largest backstrap in place. This could fix the problem for you and you could enjoy shooting them.

    Another simple solution is to get a Hogue slip on grip that covers the grip safety and keeps it depressed at all times. This isn't a problem because you still have the trigger saftey and the safety between your ears.

    Lastly, I don't know if any makes them but perhaps you could find or have someone make a flared grip safety (with the lit bump at the bottom) like you see on alot of 1911s.
     
  15. AOK

    AOK Member

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    This is correct, however you may be able to simply push it back into battery. If you have a grip safety this requires two hands. If you don't have a grip safety you may only need your hand you are holding the gun with.
     
  16. Winkman822

    Winkman822 Member

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    Assuming the situation is as referenced in the post raising the out of battery issue, simply moving the weapon away from what it is in contact with ought to put the gun back in battery assuming that the gun is in good repair (i.e. recoil springs have plenty of life left in them and the gun is clean/properly lubed and loaded with good ammo).
     
  17. AOK

    AOK Member

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    The link is an example of how the firearm can be held while keeping the gun in battery. The first couple shot this guy placed the base of his thumb firmly behind the slide. He is having no problem pressing the trigger. This technique can't be performed if you have a grip safety. The last couple shots demonstrates him taking his off hand to hold the slide in place. This is the technique that would have to be performed if you have a grip safety which gives up your off hand momentarily that could be used for striking for defense. Who knows, your off hand may be even pinned so you would not be even able to hold the slide.

    http://m.youtube.com/index?desktop_uri=/&gl=US#/watch?xl=xl_blazer&v=Gw8sbb8eDjg
     
  18. 2WheelsGood

    2WheelsGood Member

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    Although your link isn't working, I really can't imagine how that works. If you put pressure on the slide from the back with your thumb, your thumb is going to be pretty torn up after the first shot. And if your thumb absorbs much of the recoil, the next round isn't going to chamber anyway. Seriously, if you're that worried about it, you need a revolver.
     
  19. AOK

    AOK Member

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    Certainly possible, if there isn't someone or something behind you keeping you from doing that. I don't mean to "what if" this to death. Obviously we could do that all day. Bottom line is IMHO this is a short fall with the grip safety. As they say many gun fights are within a few feet and many fights end up on the ground. If that happens for some reason its a good technique to be familiar with and have in the tool bag.
     
  20. 2WheelsGood

    2WheelsGood Member

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    The 1911 is the most copied and most successful semi-auto design ever. Used for many years by both the military and the police. And with the military especially, these are the guys who REALLY use the guns day in and day out. If the grip safety was really a shortcoming, the design would have been changed a long time ago.
     
  21. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

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    Never had a problem in over 50 years of shooting 1911's, XD's, and other grip safety equipped guns.

    The only grip safety I ever did have a problem with was with the Browning 1922 .380.
    The grip safety on them is hinged at the bottom rather then the top, and is powered by a stiff flat spring that also powers the trigger, sear, and everything else.

    It takes a gorilla grip all the time to keep a 1922 Browning grip safety fully depressed.
    And my hand has all the meat in all the wrong places.

    As for pushing the gun out of battery?
    If that happens you got too close and used the wrong technique to fend off the attacker.

    Oh BTW: An out of battery 1911 can be pushed back in battery with the thumb of the shooting hand, just like any other auto pistol. But if it stays out of battery and has to be pushed back shut when you pull it away from the BG, you probably should have your gun repaired, because it isn't working right.

    rc
     
  22. AOK

    AOK Member

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    Hmmm, link works for me. If you do it correctly your thumb wont even move an
    inch. With that said, you are correct you wont chamber a round. However I'd rather inject one round into my assailant than none. Wouldn't you?

    I'm not worried, I've just been taught through instruction that this situation could arrise and this is one way to handle it. Nothing more than that. Again, I would only carry a revolver as a BUG versus my current EDC.
     
  23. AOK

    AOK Member

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    Excellent point!

    In regards to the 1911, I would think that would be pretty tough depending on the beaver tail/grip angle. Would you be holding the slide in place with the top of your thumb or down at the base of your thumb?
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2011
  24. Drail

    Drail Member

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    Grip safeties can be adjusted for required movement before release. Most don't require it. Some absolutely do. The problem is not the design or the concept of the grip safety - it's the execution of its manufacture and fitting. Companies that throw guns together like cheap toasters will happily sell you a gun that needs some work done. (Or they'll tell you to keep shooting it til it "breaks in".
     
  25. earlthegoat2

    earlthegoat2 Member

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    In Ed Lovette's book The Snubby Revolver there is mention of an unwounded person not able to engage the grip safety on their 1911. They eventually resolved the issue but there you go. The grip safety is the number one detriment of the 1911 in my opinion and is the reason I would rather be in the company of such pistols as a Browning Hi Power (which has a mag interlock) so it has to be a CZ-75.

    Usually it is a revovler though. Without a lemon squeezer safety.
     
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