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is it necessary to train for/around a manual safety/decocker?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by anonimoose, May 19, 2011.


should you carry a firearm similar to what you're issued for duty?

  1. Yes: your duty carry should be similar to your civilian carry (even if .380)

  2. No: you can train one way with your civilian carry and another way with your duty carry

Multiple votes are allowed.
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  1. anonimoose

    anonimoose Member

    May 18, 2011

    My question concerns the necessity to train for/around a slide-mounted manual safety/decocker. For background, I am a Marine stationed in Yuma, AZ. I am not an infantry grunt or a recon stud or some SOCOM commando -- just a plain-jane communications officer. Because of my job/position, I have sought to become very familiar with the M9 pistol, known in the civilian world as the Beretta 92FS.

    I believe that familiarity/good practice is far more important than the caliber/specific traits of a firearm. I daresay most people on this forum would agree that a marksman who trains realistically and often with a .22LR is better prepared to use deadly force that the casual enthusiast who buys a .44Magnum hand cannon, fires off a few rounds, and considers himself "ready". Thus, I bought a Beretta 92FS for personal practice and have developed quite a bit of muscle memory/familiarization with this type of firearm. Specifically, since I am/will be forced to carry the M9 on safe, I have practiced over and over again drawing my Beretta 92FS from a holster and sweeping up with my left thumb to take the firearm off safe as I establish a good two-hand grip -- it's become an almost instinctual action. Moreover, I've become accustomed to (and learned to train around) the heavy DA trigger followed by the light SA pull.

    The dilemma:

    Because of this desire for familiarity with the manual of arms and the (hopefully) superior performance that repetition of movement will achieve, I have refrained (with a heavy heart) from carrying any number of wonderful firearms in my civilian life -- from the Glock (DAO trigger, no manual safety) to HKs (the safety is opposite of the M9) to 1911s (SA trigger only; the safety-system is non-intuitive because I've gotten so used to the M9 safety). My rationale was/is that I didn't want to build up one type of muscle memory in my civilian concealed carry (like being able to just draw and fire as with a Glock), but then deploy overseas, be issued an M9, and forget to take the weapon off safe at the worst possible time because I didn't train for it.

    My current carry weapon is the SW 6906...a wonderful firearm, but it's heavy, and any of the "modern" accessories that would enhance its defensive capabilities -- from extra magazines to frame-mounted lights to Crimson Trace grips to concealed holsters -- are rare (the market just isn't there). Been reading some glowing reviews about the Bersa .380 -- yes, it fires a smaller round, but I'm willing to make that compromise in order to get CT grips (I think the training and deterrent value of a laser is priceless). Other than that, if you're committed to a "traditional" slide-mounted safety/decocker that you find on the M9...you've got other Beretta models (including the PX4), the Ruger P-series and the Walther PPK, and that's pretty much it!

    So, after seeing that CT had a promotion and made grips for the Bersa .380, I was pretty much set on the Bersa .380 as a compromise carry piece. Both sootch00 and GunBlast had very positive reviews. But then I saw nutnfancy's most recent video in which he literally says that the ".380 ACP sucks", which seems to match some of the conventional wisdom out there that says that in a semi, 9mm is really the lowest you should go. So once again, like Natalie Imbruglia, I am torn.

    My question: (and the one represented in the poll)

    1. Should I continue to insist on consistent muscle memory and train exclusively with the M9 manual of arms -- a slide-mounted safety/decocker (flick up to fire, DA/SA trigger, etc)? This means sticking with the third gen SW auto (no frills and all) and even be willing to "move down" to a .380 (the Bersa with CT grips)?

    2. Should I abandon this desire to remain consistent and just get on board with the latest and greatest 9mm technology -- the Kel-Tec PF9, Ruger LC9, Walther PPS, Kahr PM9, etc?

    My apologies for the very long question. Thank you for reading, and thank you in advance for your counsel.

    Very Respectfully,
    Moose, USMC
    Last edited: May 19, 2011
  2. mgmorden

    mgmorden Member

    May 22, 2009
    Charleston, South Carolina
    I vote #2. Just my personal opinion, but I try to strive for versatility. I want to be able to pickup just about anything on the market (or from decades past), instantly know what I'm holding, and how to handle it.

    You won't get that sticking with 1 control scheme.
  3. Steve C

    Steve C Member

    Jan 5, 2006
    Why do you keep your safety on with a DA semi auto? Is there some regulation that says you must?

    On guns I carry for self defense the only thing I want to do to make it work is draw, aim, and squeeze the trigger The only guns I carry for SD any more are DA revolvers and semi autos. To that end the DA semi auto's I carry either do not have a manual safety or those that do the safety is left off, round chambered and hammer down when the gun is being carried.

    I remember watching a security video on a TV show years ago of a jewelry store owner that had training and was carrying a S&W semi similar to yours when he was robbed. He out drew the bad guy but forgot to take the safety off in the adrenalin heightened confused state couldn't get a shot off though he tried before the BG shot him several times with his .38 revolver. He survived, barely, but came very close to death because he had that useless safety on.

    The conclusion I came to was the less things you have to do when thing go bad, the better off you are.
  4. Sam1911

    Sam1911 Moderator

    Oct 22, 2007
    Central PA
    The simplest answer is that YES, if you only train with one gun or one very similar set of guns, you will almost certainly achieve a higher level of proficiency than if you spend the same amount of time/ammo on practice with a wider variety of weapons.

    However, something to seriously consider is that there may be weapons platforms that you can run faster and more accurately than the platform you've chosen (had chosen for you).

    In other words, if you train religiously with that M9/92F you will be better with it than you would be if you were splitting your training time through a stable of guns.

    BUT, if you set aside the M9 for a few months and dedicated your practice time to running (just as examples) a Glock, or an M&P -- you may find that the inherent benefits of that platform help you be more proficient with it than you could be with the design you're using now.

    How much better is a question only you could answer and only through range time.

    Whether your requirement to use the M9 at work is a compelling reason to limit yourself to that platform is likewise only a decision you can make. (I'd probably pick this route at least until your time of service is concluded.)
  5. JTQ

    JTQ Member

    Apr 6, 2009
    NW Florida
  6. IdahoSkies

    IdahoSkies Member

    Dec 2, 2009
    It has always been my feeling that if you learn and train with a manual safety/decocker, you can transition to other manuals of arms with ease. So as long as you continue to spend 50-75% of your time with your M9 or other related manual of arms I do not think it would be a problem to experience one of those "clean lined modern" weapons, with out a manual safety.

    I like manual safeties, I train with them, but I carry on a daily basis a p32, the only external control it has is a trigger, my finger, and my brain (importance in reverse order).

    If you train with a manual safety, you will be able to operate everything else, and if you are able to operate everything else, go ahead and do it. Just in moderation.
  7. RedAlert

    RedAlert Member

    Jul 27, 2006
    Silverdale, WA
    There is an interesting thing about muscle memory and training. Each weapon becomes a system of its own.

    For example. If you know how to drive a manual shift car and also drive an automatic car your mind and body will know when you get into the auto version that you don't need to depress the clutch and shift. Conversely, when you get into the manual one you will automaticly know to depress the clutch and shift. No conscious thought will be needed on your part. You'll just react properly.

    Still you need to practice on weapons to develop that automatic skill set no matter which style of action you choose.
  8. TestPilot

    TestPilot Member

    Oct 5, 2006
    You are confusing what is ideal with what is feasible.

    Your concealed carry should have the same way of manipulation as your duty firearm UNDER THE CONDITION THAT:
    -a concealed carry weapon what has the same way of manipulation exists.
    -the concealed carry weapon is practical for you
    -the way of manipulation is practical for the purpose.

    And, that is not an all inclusive list.

    If you are an M2HB gunner, are you going to refrain from training on an M4 because the way it loads and manipulates is different from an M2HB?

    It's better if you can have all weapons manipulate the same way you like, but it's not a necessity. And, in real life, it's just not feasible.

    If I'm a police officer, I might carry a Glock for the primary pistol role, but have a M642 revolver for a pocket back-up.

    If I am issued a M92 or M9 Beretta, I still won't carry a pocket pistol what has a manual firing inhibit device, because I believe that type of manual of arms is not suited for a pocket pistol. Actually, I don't want a manual firing inhibit device on any pistols I have to use.

    When you deploy with an M9, then you need to train specifically with M9 in addition to whatever training you did with your personal weapon. It's not ideal, but you have to go with what is feasible.
  9. Zerodefect

    Zerodefect Member

    Mar 28, 2009
    Yakutsk, Sakha Republic
    If you train enough, it won't matter.

    I go from Glock to 1911 to Kahr all the time with no problems.

    My Ruger p95 just collects dust. But I still shoot it just fine. But I don't safety that gun, I just decock it.
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