The manual safety - yet again.

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GEM

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An interesting article as a reply to a pro manual safety article. The core argument is that under stress even supposedly well ingrained motor responses fail and nonstandard positions will lead to failing to disengage the safety. The counter is that folks shoot themselves, if someone else get the guns, the safety will baffle them, etc.

Personally, I prefer a SD gun without such. I do shoot a 1911 pretty well but I have seen enough matches were practiced folks forget the safety or in a nonstandard position be more likely to forget it. The only difference between a revolver and a Glock for instance is the trigger pull. Studies show that if you keep your finger on the trigger, trips, yips, startles, sympathetic other hand squeezes, etc. will pull both triggers.
 
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That was a pretty good read although he never came back to his manual safety exception, the 1911. His point about muscle memory and the failure there of has merit. I will add from my own perspective after 16 years of professional 1911 experience, my own muscle memory still has me swiping non-existent safeties on my Glocks and Sig 229 19 years later. All good there.
 
I personally won't carry a handgun with a manual safety for a CCW gun. Nothing against the manual safety but after years of carrying handguns without a manual safety it would be foolish for me to change without a heap of practice before the change.
 
During my LE career I carried two semiautos that had slide mounted safeties. A Beretta 92F as part of a department test to adopt semiautos and a S&W 5906 that was the handgun the department selected after that test. I used the safety as a decocker only. I carried a 1911 on duty for the last 10 years of my career and never had a problem with the manual safety. You simply disengage the safety as part of the draw stroke. Like John, I sweep the non-existent safety off when drawing my Glock 17 or Beretta 92 or a revolver.
 
In my defensive life I aspire to the KISS philosophy as well. Glocks and revolvers only. Period. Boring and simple.

However, outside of that I enjoy quite a few different types of firearms regardless of their manual of arms or really any other characteristic.
 

An interesting article as a reply to a pro manual safety article. The core argument is that under stress even supposedly well ingrained motor responses fail and nonstandard positions will lead to failing to disengage the safety. The counter is that folks shoot themselves, if someone else get the guns, the safety will baffle them, etc.

Personally, I prefer a SD gun without such. I do shoot a 1911 pretty well but I have seen enough matches were practiced folks forget the safety or in a nonstandard position be more likely to forget it. The only difference between a revolver and a Glock for instance is the trigger pull. Studies show that if you keep your finger on the trigger, trips, yips, startles, sympathetic other hand squeezes, etc. will pull both triggers.
Good read and I like the photographic evidence of fairly well trained individuals doing off the wall things while under stress that they had no clue was happening. The guy with his hand on the back of the slide probably just made his gun into a single shot. Then he would have to figure out why, and that probably wouldn’t have gone well.
 
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I can't think of a time when I haven't engaged the safety on a 1911 or Hi-Power.

I've never owned a double action pistol with a manual safety. I have a Beretta 92G and a 92D. I never saw the need.

If you do carry a DA or DA/SA, I think it would be a mistake not to train with the safety. Carry it with the safety off if you want, but I would still train with the safety, if case it were inadvertently engaged.
 
If the pistol has a safety, then you should always carry it with the safety engaged and practice disengaging it during your draw stroke to develop/instill the motor routine (muscle memory) of automatically disengaging it.

Stuff happens and Mr. Murphy is always present.

Trying to game it and carry it with the safety disengaged, so you don't have to disengage it under stress, is setting yourself up for failure if the safety is engaged when you expect it to be disengaged.
 
Eh.

Read the linked article. Not convinced at all. Could care less about video depicting individuals with non-verifiable backgrounds screwing up with Simunitions or airsoft guns in commercial training courses.

Been carrying a handgun professionally since 1979; until 2008, all had manual safeties.

Numerous military deployments in bad places doing serious things carrying weapons possessed of manual safeties. Multiple sketchy situations in a post-mil career.

No issues carrying a handgun with a manual safety whatsoever.
 
Glock. Pull trigger, pistol fires. Simple.
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Sooooo...another article condemning people as idiots who can't train properly with a manual safety on a firearm?

Why have I become a staunch parishioner in the Church of Leaving the Darn Safety Off? Because during training, I’ve seen countless people fail to disengage it. I’ve also seen them engage it by mistake. In the real world, keeping things simple (of KISS fame) improves survivability. And for me, increasing survivability for the good guys remains a very good thing.

Well, whoop-dee-doo.

I'm all about people making a choice with respect to having/using a manual safety on their firearms, CCW or otherwise. But could we stop with the excuses that people are too stupid to figure this out and train accordingly?

There's more to the manual safety issue than what this guy focuses on. But interestingly, I'll bet if they were brought up his answer would be akin to "well, if people would properly train with a gun which has no manual safety they wouldn't have this problem".

The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of issues with firearms comes down to the individual and whether they properly understand the nuances of the jurisdicational laws, their own firearm, and train accordingly with it. If people would focus their attention on that, then their competency would soar and the problems in general would plummet by orders of magnitude over short sighted focusing on whether or not their gun should have a manual safety.

Make your choice...and then TRAIN with your choice. Quit making excuses...especially excuses for others.
 
The core of the article is that under extreme stress, motor memory might fail, leading to not flipping the safety off, even among the well practiced in situations of not that extreme stress. The counter point is whether under extreme stress, the no safety gun will be prone to more NDs. Your choice is yours.

I've seen the well practiced forget the safeties in matches, I've also had a 1911 guy forget to put his safety one, kept his finger on the trigger while holstering and almost shoot me in the foot.

Just food for thought and not a challenge to one's skills and that would never happen to you.
 
The core argument is that under stress even supposedly well ingrained motor responses fail and nonstandard positions will lead to failing to disengage the safety.

Like not being able to hit the brakes in your car in an emergency?

Either you don’t drive enough for it to be very well ingrained or it’s now time for you to quit driving as you are a danger to others, because stomping the gas is counter productive…and yeah, it happens.
 
The old age, gas stomp does happen. However, the forget the safety glitch doesn't seem a function of age - or at least we don't have data on that. NDs by age might be out there and you need to break it down by training. Interesting question. I have seen a couple of older shooters seem to get confused by stages and the 180. There's lots of older age and suicide issues. However, I've seen enough young unsafe shooters in my time.

So age vs. the safety flip isn't really the issue. The safety mishaps I've seen are in middle aged folks.
 
On the forums, people are surprisingly likely to be infallible. Their reloads are more reliable than factory ammo, they are always on alert, their guns never malfunction, they never forget to operate the safety and always operate it correctly whether they mean to turn it off or on, never have their finger on the trigger when they don't mean to, never hit the accelerator when they mean to hit the brake, they never forget which gun they have in their hand even though they shoot lots of guns with various operating schemes, they are clear-headed enough that they would never get confused even if injured or if someone is trying to kill them, they don't lose dexterity even when tired or distracted, they perform flawlessly even if they don't constantly train.

Based on the shooting videos I watch, and news stories I read, it seems that the real world is populated with an entirely different type of person, subject to all of the flaws and weaknesses that one might reasonably expect from humans.

The trick is just to avoid the real world...
 
With a variety of pistols for self defense, some striker-fired, some hammer, have developed a system that works for all.

1. Swipe the Safety - on the initial presentation, because it won't work without it. Whether it has one or not.
Yes, that means swiping the Glocks as well, every time. All pistols are 1911's, because it won't work without it.

2. From presentation - the trigger finger is the only safety.
Yes, that means no fiddling with the 1911 safety on or off target. All pistols are Glocks, your finger is your only safety.

3. Reengage to Safety before holstering.
Yes, even the Glocks, because it focuses on a careful holstering, free from snags as well.
 
On the forums, people are surprisingly likely to be infallible. Their reloads are more reliable than factory ammo, they are always on alert, their guns never malfunction, they never forget to operate the safety and always operate it correctly whether they mean to turn it off or on, never have their finger on the trigger when they don't mean to, never hit the accelerator when they mean to hit the brake, they never forget which gun they have in their hand even though they shoot lots of guns with various operating schemes, they are clear-headed enough that they would never get confused even if injured or if someone is trying to kill them, they don't lose dexterity even when tired or distracted, they perform flawlessly even if they don't constantly train.
What's your point, John? I have not inferred from any posts in this thread that any of us claim to be infallible, nor have I observed more than the usual posturing in the thread. While I have a long and too-familiar relationship with Mr. Murphy, I noted only that I haven't had any critical issues while deploying firearms with manual safeties in the real world. I believe that manual safeties on pistols have a place. But it seems as though some (Boch first) state that we should train to perform the least amount of actions in order to be faster to deploy the pistol, as though swiping down on a 1911/BHP/CZ-75/whatever safety lever is so tricky it may get you killed. The only thing Boch gets right is when he says if you carry a pistol with a safety, train with it. But do we really need to be told that?

This guy Boch purports to be a long-time firearms instructor but writes that people should not use the manual safety on a semi-auto that they are carrying. He conveniently doesn't talk about mode of carry (mode of carry can be the major factor in delay of drawing one's handgun, obviously) or retention devices on holsters, either (what about those of us that have had to use Level II and Level III holsters?) I've seen more issues (as an instructor) with personnel fighting holsters than I have folks forgetting to take the handgun off safe (which to be fair, I have seen quite a bit). Also wish I had a dollar for every time I saw someone's magazine fall out of a pistol upon drawing it, I'd be typing this from my villa on the Riviera.

While I have found useful content on TTAG often, not in this case.
 
On the forums, people are surprisingly likely to be infallible. Their reloads are more reliable than factory ammo, they are always on alert, their guns never malfunction, they never forget to operate the safety and always operate it correctly whether they mean to turn it off or on, never have their finger on the trigger when they don't mean to, never hit the accelerator when they mean to hit the brake, they never forget which gun they have in their hand even though they shoot lots of guns with various operating schemes, they are clear-headed enough that they would never get confused even if injured or if someone is trying to kill them, they don't lose dexterity even when tired or distracted, they perform flawlessly even if they don't constantly train.

Based on the shooting videos I watch, and news stories I read, it seems that the real world is populated with an entirely different type of person, subject to all of the flaws and weaknesses that one might reasonably expect from humans.

The trick is just to avoid the real world...

I, for one, never said I was infallible.When I say I can't remember a time I've missed taking the safety off, it probably happened a few times in the first thousand times I did it.

Missing the first shot out of the holster would be more of a concern to me than a safety that is a natural part of gripping/drawing the gun. Or worse yet, letting myself into a situation where I have to draw a gun. Or the worst having to quick draw to beat the other guy's reaction time. Never said it can't happen. It's far less of a concern to me than the other screw ups I can make.
 
If you were trained on The Modern Technique as taught at Gunsite you learned to disengage the manual safety on step #3 of the presentation. If you train on that every time you draw, you won't forget the safety. This takes practice and it's why long time 1911 shooters disengage the non-existent safety when using a weapon that doesn't have one. When I was required to carry a weapon with a slide mounted safety I elected to use it as a decocker only because I wasn't willing to unlearn the muscle memory for disengaging a frame mounted safety and learn a new manipulation to disengage a slide mounted safety. This was despite all of the officer safety bulletins saying that carrying with the safety on was beneficial in the event of a gun grab. I reasoned that I was carrying a revolver on duty prior to that and there was no safety.

I think the bigger lesson is don't treat your carry weapon like a fashion accessory and switch out weapons with different manuals of arms. It's all about training. If you aren't willing to put in the 5000 -10,000 correct repetitions required to build muscle memory then you are probably better off without any manual safety. That is exactly the choice I made when I was issued weapons with slide mounted safeties.

In over 40 years of using firearms professionally in the Infantry and in LE, 30 of that instructing, I think I've seen every type of error and made some myself. That said I'm not going to say that everyone is better off without a manual safety because that's simply not true.
 
FYI - folks, a piece on errors in lethal force usage under stress. Just on the general principle that stress can produce errors in supposedly trained folks. Thus, errors are out there. If there's a safety vs nonsafety study in FOF, I'd like to see it. Most of the FOF I did used revolvers as they were easier to obtain with paint rounds or Airsoft with no safeties (Glockish).

A Reasonable Officer: Examining the Relationships Among Stress, Training, and Performance in a Highly Realistic Lethal Force Scenario
Simon Baldwin 1,2*, Craig Bennell 1, Brittany Blaskovits 1†, Andrew Brown 1†, Bryce Jenkins 1†, Chris Lawrence 3†, Heather McGale 1†, Tori Semple 1† and Judith P. Andersen 4
Frontiers in Psychology | www.frontiersin.org 2 January 2022 | Volume 12 | Article 759132
1 Department of Psychology, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada, 2 Royal Canadian Mounted Police, Ottawa, ON, Canada, 3 Police Research Lab, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada, 4 Department of Psychology, University of Toronto Mississauga, Mississauga, ON, Canada
Under conditions of physiological stress, officers are sometimes required to make split-second life-or-death decisions, where deficits in performance can have tragic outcomes, including serious injury or death and strained police–community relations. The current study assessed the performance of 122 active-duty police officers during a realistic lethal force scenario to examine whether performance was affected by the officer’s level of operational skills training, years of police service, and stress reactivity. Results demonstrated that the scenario produced elevated heart rates (i.e., 150 beats per minute), as well as perceptual and cognitive distortions, such as tunnel vision, commensurate with those observed in naturalistic use of force encounters. The average performance rating from the scenario was 59%, with 27% of participants making at least one lethal force error. Elevated stress reactivity was a predictor of poorer performance and increased lethal force errors. Level of training and years of police service had differential and complex effects on both performance and lethal force errors. Our results illustrate the need to critically reflect on police training practices and continue to make evidence-based improvements to training. The findings also highlight that while training may significantly improve outcomes, flawless performance is likely not probable, given the limits of human performance under stress. Implications for the objective reasonableness standard, which is used to assess the appropriateness of force in courts of law, are discussed.

Lethal Force Errors
A total of 34 (27.9%) participants made one or more lethal
force errors during the scenario: nine (7.4%) shot the subject
while they were armed with a knife and exhibiting a threat
of self-harm (i.e., decision-making error); 20 (16.4%) shot the
bystander who quickly produced and pointed a cellphone after
the subject was shot, while verbally indicating that they were
video recording the situation (i.e., mistake of fact error); and
five (4.1%) made both errors
 
My comments were sort of a general observation, not aimed at anyone in particular, not even meant to be applicable specifically to only this thread and intended to contain at least a glimmer of humor. I thought the fact that many of the examples listed haven't come up in this thread would make all that clear.

My point, is that things seem to go wrong in the real world at a rate that is tremendously higher than what one would expect from reading self-assessments in the many threads like this one. There's a saying in Colombia--"Never say never and never say always." Amusingly self-referential, but also insightful. We like to dismiss things that make us uncomfortable with "Never" and "Always: Examples:
  • I'll never put my finger on the trigger unless I mean to.
  • I'll never forget to take off or engage a safety.
  • I'll never forget which gun I'm using even though I use a lot of guns that operate differently.
  • Lack of continual training won't be an issue because I'll always remember my training no matter if it was sparse or long ago, or for another type of firearm/carry mode.
  • I'll never need to clear a jam in a gunfight because my gun never jams.
  • I will never need to reload because gunfights are over so quickly.
  • I will never need to shoot past 10 yards in a self-defense situation.
  • I will always have the time/dexterity/sufficient number of operating limbs to chamber a round in a gunfight so I can carry chamber empty. So on and so forth.
A more constructive approach is to look at the problems people have in the real world and apply the lessons to ourselves. Examples:
  • Look at how this guy got killed in a self-defense situation. How can I do better?
  • This guy had this problem in a gunfight. If I had that problem, what would I do? Can I train for that? How often will I have to train to insure that I will perform when needed?
  • Why did this gunfight go wrong for the defender? Is there a way I can make it less likely that would happen to me?
It could very well be that the answer does come back: "I'm trained well enough and maintain it frequently enough.", or: "That problem is so unlikely that I don't need to alter my training to deal with it.", but it could also be that seeing other people's failures could prompt changes.

As Benjamin Franklin said: When you are finished changing; you're finished.

I like to keep in mind that Jerry Miculek, one of the best shooters of our time, once made the comment that every time he goes to the range he's looking to see if there's something he can change to improve his performance. He could say, with complete justification: "Look at how many matches I've won and records I hold--I've got this down." but instead he focuses on continually assessing his performance objectively and seeing if there are ways to get even better. I figure that if he's still looking to improve, maybe I still have some opportunities to do better as well.
 
FYI - folks, a piece on errors in lethal force usage under stress. Just on the general principle that stress can produce errors in supposedly trained folks. Thus, errors are out there.
I have to wonder about the level of training the shooter in the example had. You have to shoot 30 rounds with virtually no time limit to qualify for an Illinois CCW. The state mandated 16 hour training doesn’t cover any tactical training.

As for privately paid professional training, if one doesn’t conduct regular sustainment training the skills learned quickly deteriorate. To maintain proficiency one must train, evaluate, retrain. It’s a cycle. Few people, even professionals have the resources for this.

The late Pat Rogers and I discussed this one night after class and his take was that one could take a 3-5 day class from a tier one instructor and the skill level after that intense training would start dropping off after a week without sustainment training.

I’ve seen similar things to the shooter in the article grabbing the top of his pistol in both military and LE training. It always manifested itself with shooters who only handled their weapons when their agency required them too. With police officers it most often showed up on long gun training. The shotgun or rifle the officer only handled to take it from the armory to their squad and back for the rest of the year suddenly was something they had never seen before when the stress was on.

In the Army it usually was with soldiers in combat service support MOSs who only qualified once a year and when they went to the field their weapons were something that got in the way of their “real job” and they did things like wrap them in plastic bags so they wouldn’t have to spend too much time cleaning them to turn them in at the end of the exercise.

If you’re going to carry a firearm for self defense and you aren’t willing to spend the time to not only become proficient but stay proficient then you’re setting yourself up for failure if you ever have to use your weapon.
 
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