Why do SAO handguns need manual safeties, but striker fired ones dont?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by MemeMagic, Feb 26, 2017.

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  1. MemeMagic

    MemeMagic Member

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    This question has bothered me for a while. As someone who owns both (Glock, 1911, Sig, etc), I guess it's a question I should ask myself, but I guess I've kind of accepted the conventional "wisdom". Anyway.

    Nearly everyone would be uncomfortable taking a Single Action pistol (1911, BHP, P226 SAO, etc) chambering a round, hammer back, no safety on, holstering it, and going about their day. Yet, no one (who carries one) thinks twice about doing the same with a striker gun. Why?

    If you're using newer versions of the SAOs (series 80, etc) that have firing pin safeties, you're essentially in the same situation with both (odd balls like the P99 excepted): round chambered, firing mechanism under tension, no mechanical safeties in place, only requiring the trigger to be disturbed enough, and it goes off. So why is it accepted that striker guns don't need safeties, but hammer guns do (and the fact that they are all metal vs polymer might even give a slight advantage in terms of a more secure trigger)?


    Edit: I realize that a handgun of makers offer their striker fired with a thumb safety option, but the overwhelming majority sold don't. I'm not actually looking for recommendations (I only a Glock and an XD and I'm oddly finew with them). I'm just trying to understand the "theory", if you will, behind this discrepancy - just because to me ithat seems so big, but yet is basically never talked about.
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2017
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  2. Drail

    Drail Member

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    Because some foolish engineers and marketing idiots decided we didn't need safeties any more on semi auto handguns. To me if a gun does not have an exposed hammer - it needs a safety. Another factor is we have more poorly trained people running around with handguns today. And most of those handguns do not have a safety. What Glock considers to be a "safety" isn't - and telling people it is - is irresponsible at least. Give a gun like that to a person who has little or no proper training and discipline and there will will be (and has been) a large number of "accidents". A proper safety needs to block the sear AND the trigger from any movement whether the gun is dropped or the trigger is caught on something and gets bumped. On a pistol that may be drawn and fired and then quickly relholstered while it is still loaded and cocked - a safety is necessary IMO. Carrying a pistol cocked and loaded that requires ONLY movement of the trigger to discharge it is a Very Bad Idea. Shooter discipline is probably more important than safety design or type and it is sadly lacking today.
     
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  3. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    Just my opinion but having a number of striker fired Glocks and SA 1911's I can feel a distinct difference in triggers.
    I have no problem or hesitation carrying the strikers without a safety but wouldn't care to do the same with a SA, especially one without a grip safety.
     
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  4. Demi-human

    Demi-human Member

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    A primary reason I don't like glocks. (I'm a carpenter, I like Hammers!:)) However I dont leave potential in the system. I am able to pull the hammer on presentation. (Six gun anyone?) Besides "Perfection" is astheticically displeasing to me. I'll never reach personhood let alone perfection.
     
  5. CDW4ME

    CDW4ME Member

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    Glock has the lever on the trigger (trigger safety) plus a firing pin safety which many 1911's don't have.
    S&W and I believe FN & Ruger make striker fired pistols with a manual safety.
     
  6. bersaguy

    bersaguy Member

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    I have never put much stock in the "safe action" trigger touted by Glock. But, the way I see it, these are different tools for different jobs. I like striker fire - no external safety on a compact concealed carry weapon. This way in a high stress situation there is less of a chance of forgetting to deactivate the safety. The long, heavy trigger pull essentially becomes the safety much the same way a DA revolver works. A firearm with a relatively short, light trigger (ie. 1911) requires an external safety. In the same vein I would not holster a DA revolver with the hammer cocked. The Glock trigger seems to be somewhere in the middle, and not within my comfort limit. I must not be alone as there are mods such as the NYPD trigger kit available for the Glock to give a heavier trigger pull. I recently purchased a Ruger SR9C, striker fire with external safety, which I am really liking.
    It all comes down to what you're comfortable with. My first CC gun was a Bersa380cc. Long, heavy trigger, external safety, magazine disconnect. Good gun, but after a time I became comfortable carrying striker fired pistols without external safeties as long as the trigger was sufficiently long and heavy to prevent AD.
    In any event, the most important thing is to train with YOUR gun and become proficient in its function.
     
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  7. cfullgraf

    cfullgraf Member

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    Yes, the S&W M&P semi-auto pistols can be purchased with or without a manual safety.
     
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  8. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    Poorly trained and undisciplined people have accidents with lots of things in many different situations, always have and always will. It is not possible to make everything idiot proof.
    There are many quality handguns available today and everyone should be able to find one they like. If you like manual safeties there are lots of choices.
    To say that a certain type of handgun is unsafe or causes accidents is no different than the anti gun crowd argument of "guns kill people". How would it work for us 2A supporters if a faction broke from the rest over their concern about unsafe Glocks.
    As to the OP's question the difference is mainly weight and length of trigger pull. If you are uncomfortable with one option either don't use it or become more familiar with it.
     
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  9. Drail

    Drail Member

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    Poorly trained and undisciplined shooters CAN be properly trained and can be disciplined if they would simply think about what they are doing and the possible consequences of their actions. But we live in a time when most people cannot drive a car without constantly playing with their cell phone so I have no idea how we solve this problem short of designing the cell phone so it is inoperative when in a running moving vehicle - but that ain't going to happen - and even if it did ways would be found to circumvent it. People today are simply careless.
     
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  10. BSA1

    BSA1 member

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    Maybe because I am a old guy but I am not particularly comfortable with a striker fired pistol without a external thumb safety.

    As commented S&W and Ruger offers models that have the thumb safety. I like the design of the Ruger SR9C. Obviously there are enough shooters that want the thumb safety for S&W to offer the Shield with and without it.

    My agency issues Glocks so as the song goes "You have to dance with who brung you.".
     
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  11. Fine Figure of a Man

    Fine Figure of a Man Member

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    "I have no idea how we solve this problem short of designing the cell phone so it is inoperative when in a running moving vehicle"
    Can and will be done, but young people in mass will give up driving before they give up their phone.
    (Slightly of topic)
     
  12. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Because "perfection."

    Because people who have never learned to shoot a handgun with a (sensible, frame-mounted safety) have convinced themselves that there's something hard about dealing with them. And lots of those folks work in gun shops. Stack Glock's massive marketing budget on top, and lots of people come into shooting, pick up this notion, and never bother learning anything further.
     
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  13. MemeMagic

    MemeMagic Member

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    I figured as much, that Glock was the origin of this. But how?

    When they first came on the scene, how did they convince military/police/CCW holders, with decades of reliance on a certain system, that they didn't need it. No matter how good their hype and their ads, at the end of the day (half-intelligent) people would see a single action gun, pull weight only 1-1.5lbs more than a standard 1911, and no safety - and they just said "OK, looks good to me" (and back then a good chunk of people didn't even trust semi-autos at all). Was it essentially determined that the in-trigger safety was now enough (nearly all have some kind of blade/articulation) - though that's kind of like putting an STD warning label on the inside of a condom wrapper (if something pulls the trigger, it's going to trip the safety anyway). Then what about guns like the P320 that have no trigger safety all?

    The thing is, despite how it sounds it seems to be safe. I mean, it doesn't appear that dozens or hundreds of people a year are accidentally shooting themselves with Glock's, M&Psychiatry, PPQso, etc. No matter how good the marketing, we'd hear about that, unless I'm missing something.

    If so, that kind of calls into question the whole safety thing in the first place?
     
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  14. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

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    I'm not a giant Glock fan, but this is easy to understand. Drop a 1911 without a firing pin lock and if it hits at the right angle it will discharge. Drop a Glock and it will disassemble itself before it will fire.

    In both cases the gun will fire when you pull the trigger. The difference is what happens when you don't. I remember the first review I ever saw of the Glock 17. It was in Soldier of Fortune of all places. The author put a primed case in the gun and then preceded to jam it into walls, throw it at the floor, drop it from the ceiling, etc. He quickly declared the safety a non issue.
     
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  15. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Glock made inroads into the U.S. market by working law enforcement. LEO's we're coming from a revolver base of experience, not 1911's generally speaking. The marketing geniuses at Glock sold them on the notion that operation of a Glock was similarly idiot-proof as revolvers.
     
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  16. MemeMagic

    MemeMagic Member

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    True, but that is why I mentioned series-80 and more modern SAOs (BHP, P226 SAO) with drop/pin safeties. This isnt 1911 v. Glock, I'm trying to do apples to apples here.
     
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  17. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    Actually, the Glock will fire whenever the trigger is pulled, regardless of whether YOU pull it or not. If the trigger is pulled by the edge of a holster or a shirttail, it will fire.
     
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  18. VThillman

    VThillman Member

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    That is true of all striker-fired handguns without a thumb safety - unless the gun has a grip safety. There is another factor though, as yet unmentioned. My Ruger SR40c is striker-fired, with a thumb safety. Unfortunately, the actuator for the safety is so small as to be considered an afterthought. When I carry the gun, I don't have the safety on, because it is too likely to be fumbled instead of switched off during the 'present'.
     
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  19. Drail

    Drail Member

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    Indeed. There have been a number of cases where Glocks carelessly and hurriedly shoved into a holster got a part of a jacket tail or a drawstring caught in the trigger guard and fired a round down the owner's leg. Applying a safety or lowering a hammer would most likely have prevented these injuries. A great deal of metal discipline is required for safe gunhandling regardless of the type of gun.
     
  20. mjsdwash

    mjsdwash Member

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    my springfield GI breaks at about 2.4lbs, and 1/32 of travel. Cz at about 3.5, and about 1/8 of travel. Glock breaks at 6lb, with 3/8 travel. Thats about it.
     
  21. X-Rap

    X-Rap Member

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    If you were to compare the trigger on a DA/SA Smith and Wesson what would be closer, a modern 1911 or a Glock?
     
  22. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

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    Modern 1911, no question. But even then, only a good one. I don't think any of my S&W revolvers has a SA trigger as heavy as my best 1911.
     
  23. Elkins45

    Elkins45 Member

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    Which is why I'm not a fan of the striker fired handguns--not just Glock. But you can't assign all of the blame to the gun. It wouldn't have gone off unless the operator let something inside the trigger guard capable of pressing the trigger.

    I won't carry a striker fired gun for this reason, among others. But I would rather drop one than anything else, even a cocked DA/SA gun.
     
  24. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    It's hinted here, but not really directly stated:

    Striker fired pistols are technically DAO, as the trigger stoke competes the striker cocking stroke (which is staged partially cocked by the recoil operation). It's somewhat similar to a Ruger LCP or LC9 (hammer time), as the recoil partially cocked the hammers in these models, as it does in the striker guns. In both types, the trigger pull finishes the cocking stroke for the hammer or striker (1st action), THEN breaks the shot (2nd action).

    In an SAO pistol, that extra travel and extra weight isn't inherent to the trigger stroke, making them capable of far better triggers, but also leaving them with "less safe" triggers too - requiring a manual active safety.

    I'm a person who does not carry, nor do I instruct the carry of manual safety firearms without SUBSTANTIAL practice. Training can circumvent issues with a Glock or other striker pistol, but only PRACTICE will make the manual safety fast enough to be operable in a defensive situation.

    Of course, the reduced trigger pull length and weight of an SAO pistol can present another issue in a defensive situation - as ND/AD's once the firearm is presented and manual safety (disengaged during the draw stroke) are more common with lighter, shorter SAO triggers. Nobody is immune to "dead fingers" in a defensive situation, so as much as it pains me to say it, sometimes a heavier and longer-travel trigger is an advantage.
     
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  25. HexHead

    HexHead Member

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    Because on a SAO gun, like a 1911, the gun is cocked when the hammer is back. Many striker fired guns, like the Glock are not cocked, at least not enough for the gun to fire, until the trigger is pulled. You don't need an external thumb safety on an uncocked gun.

    Some striker fired guns are cocked once the slide goes back. The XD would be one of those, which is why it has the grip safety, and why it's classified by the ATF as a single action firearm. Which is also why you don't see many police departments issuing them.
     
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