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Why would anyone want an external "safety" on a Glock?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Graystar, Jan 6, 2003.

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  1. yhtomit

    yhtomit Member

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    Glock-style trigger lever safety; can someone explain?

    One of the recent posts says that the Glock-style trigger-lever doohickey is intended to counter the danger of snags; I certainly hope it has some function, but I'm looking for an explanation of how the heck it makes the trigger safer. (On my XD-45, I have a similar trigger doohickey, so this is not just a quest for random knowledge.)

    If something's small enough (people have mentioned thumb flaps and jacket cords) to fit into the trigger guard, and strong / taut enough to exert trigger-pulling force, what does that little lever have to do with the price of beans? :) My obviously poor understanding is that it's designed so that the pressure exerted on the trigger has to be something close to straight back (in line with the bore); is that the sole advantage? (And if so, am I being thickheaded to find it underwhelming?)

    A grip safety I can (ha ha) grasp, and I know there are folks with either natural genius or expensive engineering degrees designing guns for Glock, Springfield, and anyone else using that little snake-tongue trigger, and I hope it is a truly useful passive safety device as is claimed, but I'm baffled by it.

    Cheers,

    timothy
     
  2. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    Timothy,

    First of all, the Glock triggerguard is proportionally thicker than most other trigger guards. That means that a snagging object must reach further past the edge of the trigger guard to get to the trigger than in many other common guns.

    Second, just reaching past the edge of the triggerguard to the trigger still isn't enough. The trigger safety can not be deactivated by pressure just anywhere on the front trigger surface.

    Unlike the XD, pressure on the front sides of a Glock trigger or on the front edges will not deactivate the trigger safety. Like the XD pressure at the top of the trigger will not deactivate the trigger safety. The curve of the trigger tends to cause snagging objects to ride to the top of the trigger before they really catch with any force, and the trigger safety lever can not be deactivated by pushing at the top of the trigger.

    Lastly, in a poll on unintentional discharges from this forum, in nearly 150 responses from people who had unintentionally discharged a firearm, not a single person had experienced an unintentional discharge from snagging the trigger. It seems that modern firearms are quite resistant to this type of unintentional discharge. It also seems that this is a fairly rare way for someone to accidentally/negligently discharge a firearm.

    As I mentioned earlier, nearly all of the negligent discharges in the poll (over 80%) were the result of the shooter INTENTIONALLY putting a finger inside the trigger guard, and in the majority of negligent discharges, the shooter INTENTIONALLY pulled the trigger. There is no safety device that can defeat the INTENT of the shooter without rendering the gun useless for its original purpose. The rest of the negligent discharges (6%) were from accidentally getting a finger inside the trigger guard, and the remaining 10% or so were decocking accidents (not something that's applicable to Glocks.)

    There are now a good many firearms on the market that have relatively light Glock style trigger pulls that do not have manual safeties, and yet we rarely see those firearms being publicly denigrated for their lack of safety or safeties. Unfortunately, the Glock is a pistol that many love to hate--that causes most of the "problems" that Glocks supposedly have. This is compounded by the fact that few people really take the time to really "decode" the internal workings of a Glock and base their assessments of its safety (or lack thereof) on a flawed understanding of the internal function of the pistol.
     
  3. thales

    thales Member

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    "I'm looking for an explanation of how the heck it makes the trigger safer."

    Well, yhtomit, you obviously have not been drinking your koolaid.

    If you contrive to inadvertently pull on the side of the trigger, which is maybe 1/8" or so wide, without simultaneously pulling on the "safety lever" then it has just "saved your butt" thereby proving the wonderful perfection of Glocks. Of course, if you inadvertently pull on the "safety lever" while inadvertently pulling the trigger, causing an accidental discharge, then you are obviously a negligent, communist, heretic pansy, and you should enjoy whatever misfortune comes you way.

    Got it?


    *
     
  4. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    thales,

    It should be plain that the trigger safety is NOT intended to prevent a person from pulling the trigger. And if it weren't plain in the first place, it should be now since I've said it at least twice.
    The problem with this argument is that it applies equally to NOT having a manual safety.

    Here it is turned around:

    If the idea is that keeping one's finger off the trigger has to be mastered in order to be safe with a pistol, then the only rational response is, "Master it!" I don't see how the same people who can't be trained to "keep their booger hook off the bang switch" can be expected to operate a manual safety.​
    I'm not saying you're a heretic or anything else. I'm just saying that the Glock model of operation is a successful one--so successful that it has been repeatedly copied/emulated. In today's litigious society, it's not terribly likely that a design which can be shown to be inherently unsafe would remain extremely popular and profitable--let alone much copied. So while some people might WANT a manual safety, I think it's quite safe to say that it's not a necessity nor is there a deficiency in the design that warrants such an addition.

    Lastly, I'm not telling you that you shouldn't modify your pistol. It's yours and if you want a manual safety and can afford it, you should have one. It would be presumptuous of me to tell you what to do with your own posessions. As it is presumptuous for you to imply that people who don't make the same choices that you make or who don't follow the same line of reasoning that you choose are suicidal cult members.
     
  5. Jonathan

    Jonathan Member

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    John, based upon your previous post (#49), I don't think you understand.

    I started off by clearly stating that it just isn't reliable to intentionally keep your finger off the trigger. That has been my point the entire time, and the finger-intentionally-on-trigger was provided just as an aside.


    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.
     
  6. thales

    thales Member

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    Welll, if the trigger "safety" is NOT intended to prevent a person from pulling the trigger, then it has no function at all. If a person intentionally pulls the trigger, then they disengage the trigger "safety". Fine, it does not prevent an intentional trigger pull.

    If a person unintentionally pulls the trigger, as in the aforementioned holstering incidents, or if, for example, they are wrestling to get their gun back, or if they mistakenly grab for their gun if they have dropped it, or if they are clumsy grabbing for their gun in an emergency, or if the trigger unfortunately gets pulled a million other unintentional ways, then the trigger block "safety" does nothing to prevent a discharge, and therefore has no function at all.

    If you happen to pull the trigger sideways, or if you can contrive to unintentionally pull ONLY on the side of the trigger then it will not go off.

    So if the function of the trigger blocking "safety" is NOT to prevent a person from pulling the trigger, then just exactly what is the function of the Glock trigger block "safety"? I mean, other than looking all cool and tactical?


    *
     
  7. thales

    thales Member

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    I don't think it applies quite equally, because the consequences are quite different. They are not symmetrical at all.

    If you fail to disengage a manual safety, whether trying to shoot or not, then your gun doesn't fire. If you have unintentionally pulled the trigger, then the manual safety has just prevented an accidental discharge. If you were actually intending to pull the trigger, it takes about a half a second or so to notice and then disengage the manual safety.

    If, on the other hand, you unintentionally pull the trigger of a loaded gun without such a safety, then you have just accomplished an accidental or negligent discharge. This is irreversible, and while it may not have a tragic result, it certainly could and sometimes does.


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  8. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    Jonathon,

    Explain the logic that tells you that someone who can't learn to reliably keep a finger off the trigger CAN learn to reliably operate a manual safety?

    Next, explain why a person who can't reliably follow the three rules of gun safety should be handling a loaded firearm in the first place.
    No, that is not correct. An airbag is not intended to prevent an accident, but it does have a function. Diet and exercise is not intended to prevent a person from dieing of old age, but they are still beneficial. A wrench is not intended to prevent tooth decay but it is far from useless.

    The Glock trigger safety obviously doesn't do what you want it to do--but that doesn't mean it does NOTHING. It only means it doesn't do what you want it to do.
    I've explained quite carefully what the function is, and what's more, I've done it more than once. It's one thing for you to say you don't understand, it's quite another to pretend that it hasn't been explained when it has been--repeatedly and in detail.
    Which, in a self-defense scenario, could get you and/or someone you're trying to defend killed.
    Which will be harmless if you follow the PRIMARY rule of gun safety.

    Do you notice that the pesky rules of gun safety keep popping up in this discussion? That's because THEY, not manual safeties are the key to safe gun handling.

    The bottom line here is that if a person can't follow the basic rules of gun safety, they're not going to be safe with any gun regardless of how many safeties it has. If they can, then it's sufficient to have a gun that only fires when the trigger is pulled.
     
  9. thales

    thales Member

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    Do you mean that it is designed to actually prevent accidental discharges caused by things like holster safety straps and elastic waist cords on jackets? It doesn't look like it works all that well.

    Okay, I think I follow you. The trigger block is not a safety. It is not designed to prevent an intentional or unintentional trigger pull from a finger, whether yours or anyone else's. It is designed to prevent accidental trigger pulls caused by snags from things like safety straps, elastic cords, etc. And, of course, it works much better at this function than those deadly manual safeties that can get you killed. And if you were to have an accidental discharge that turns out badly in a self defense (or holstering) situation, then you were negligently failing to follow the most basic three (or was it four?) rules of gun safety. Therefore, you must be some kind of idiot, obviously, who cannot be trusted to own a gun, no matter how difficult the circumstances may have been.

    Now, where did I put my koolaid?.


    *
     
  10. jc2

    jc2 member

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    John, you are giving far, far too much credence to your "poll."
    Actually, it hasn't worked very well.
    The safety rules actually work pretty well for the range, they do not always work very well for administrative handling. Anyway you cut it, the Glock has a long and distinguished of accidents involving administrative--cleaning, holstering, etc.--handling.
     
  11. Jonathan

    Jonathan Member

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    Here's the logic:

    You can't "learn" to keep a finger off the trigger because the AD as discussed is from a reflex action. You can learn to use a safety because it's a positive, conscious decision and action.

    I don't need to address your second comment because it's off-topic and not relevant to the ongoing discussion.
     
  12. Snarlingiron

    Snarlingiron Member

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    Soooo, Thales, what do you carry? You have pontificated at length about the Glock's deficiencies, what is your picture of perfection?
     
  13. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    It works well enough that it has been copied by multiple manufacturers. ;)
    I didn't say that it worked better, only that it did its job adequately and that the design of the pistol didn't REQUIRE the addition of another safety in order to be safe. Clearly either approach has some advantages and disadvantages.
    Well, short of parts breakage (or similar mechanical failures), there are no "accidental" discharges, there are only negligent discharges. So yes.
    An obvious overstatement intended to have dramatic and emotional impact but carrying no "debate value."
    Implying that those who disagree with you are suicidal cult members does not give your argument any additional weight.
    It can be argued that squeezing (once the finger is on the trigger) is a reflex action, however I have not seen any information to support the idea that actually putting the finger on the trigger is a reflex. It is a very common habit and sort of a natural thing to do given that firearms are generally designed such that the trigger is placed in a way to ensure that a comfortable grip puts the index finger in easy reach of the trigger, but that's far from a reflex.

    The rules of gun safety are critical to any discussion about gun safety and/or gun safeties. If you ignore them, it makes it easy to argue that it's critical to add more safety features to firearms. This is why internal locks have become required in some states and also how manual safeties have been added to already functional designs at the behest of people who know more about civil actions than gun safety. It's also how the people who want to add even more technical "safety" gadgets to firearms rationalize their goals.

    Ignoring the gun safety rules bypasses the critical fact that gun safety is all about the responsibility of the shooter, not about the gadgets on the gun.
    Perhaps--I'm willing to use the results from another poll if you have one.
    Again, I'm willing to examine the results of any credible evidence you can provide. For reference, I'm not talking about a list of anecdotes, for it to carry any weight, it would have to be something with a little more scientific basis.
     
  14. mindwip

    mindwip Member

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    For the poeple talking about Safetys, and how you might forget to engage it, what about a seatbelt :rolleyes:

    At least for me i put on my seat belt every time i get in the car, and have been doing it for 5 years. I never forget, i never think to my self "Daniel now remember to engage that seatbelt". No i throw it on with out knowing i did. This happens a lot to me, i get in the car and need to get out again, like i forgot my school books so i try to get out of the car with it still on,:cool: then i eye the belt saying "hay how did you get there", i had no knowledge of me putting the belt on its just there magicly.:eek:


    Training, training, means you dont forget:p :p Lets not forget the cops that got shot picking up there brass on the ground. Training means everything.

    And yes i will take the 20% chance that i wont shoot my foot,
    And yes i will take that 40% chance that if a bad guy gets my gun, he may have to take 1sec to look at the gun and find the safety.
    And yes i will take the 1% chance that some kid/idoit wont shoot him selfin the head with my gun

    All this can be yours with simple training, and please dont say safetys slow you down either.
     
  15. dcloudy777@aol.com

    dcloudy777@aol.com Member

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    Actually, this thread has convinced me... why would I want an external safety on a Glock, when I can have it on something nice like a 1911 or a Hi-Power? :neener: Okay, just kidding Glock guys... lighten up, will ya?:D

    DanO
     
  16. JohnKSa

    JohnKSa Member

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    DanO,

    You're right, of course.

    There are many different makers, each making several different models of guns. The result is a wide variety of available operating systems and philosophies all of which have advantages and disadvantages.

    One might say there's something for everyone. This ought to be a good thing, but people are not content to pick something that works for them and leave it at that. For some reason, many also find it necessary to prove to everyone else that their choice is best and that other choices reflect negatively on those who make them.

    There are a few people who are really interested in the whys and wherefores of design and operation, but it's usually more about ego than it is about gun design.

    I own a few Glocks, but I also own a few Rugers, some Berettas, a couple of Walthers, a few CZs, etc. Some of them have manual safeties, some don't. For some applications I choose a gun with a manual safety, for some applications I don't. It's not a matter of which design is best, it's a matter of which one fits the particular application at hand the best.

    But, let's not get too reasonable here...wouldn't wanna steal anyone's rant. ;)
    Continuing in the vein of your analogy, it would seem that while "engaging the safety" (putting on the seatbelt) has become automatic, you apparently sometimes forget to "disengage it" (remove your seatbelt.) I can see how that might happen. :D ;)
     
  17. mindwip

    mindwip Member

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    Thou one could argue that i trained so that i never leave the car with the engine on, thus me existing with the belt on shows that the "safety works":neener: :neener: :neener: :neener:



    But really, i was just showing that if you train to do it, you will without thinking. If you look at my example then yeah you could say i might sometimes forget to put BACK on the safety, but it will never be a problem when i am facing down a BG. Not to mention i never trained to take a belt off with the car running, as in my example, so it does father show that training matters.

    I always put on my seatbelt and start the car at the same time
    I always take off my seatbelt and turn off the car at the same time

    But when i but on my seatbelt and the car is on, and i try to get out i forget about the seatbelt, why because in my mind the belt is always on when the car is on. Hence were there is a conflict, this could be corrected with training, but i dont want to, its a good idea to never exist a car with the engine on(good way to get it stolen), so i try to get out and am stoped my the seatblet then i should turn off the car. This would work perfet for a safety, just as it does in my car, the seatbelt is there when it needs to be 100% of the time, when i try to leave the car with the engine on i am stoped by the seatbelt thus REMEMBERING me to trun off the car and take the seatbelt off, at the same time.

    Me trying to get out of the car with the engine on, is the same as shooting your foot, This proves that training saves you, not hurts/along with a seatbelt-safety. My example fits into that perfectly.

    of course to each his own but i like my seatbelt
     
    Last edited: Jun 11, 2006
  18. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    Yeah, whatever, I can draw and fire my DAO Kel Tec plenty fast and accurate and the 1911s, with all their safety feathers, are faster than Glocks at the IDPA matches. Look at the qualification time requirements for enhanced pistol vs service pistol and you'll see the 1911s require better scores for qualification in any given skill level. Enhanced pistols, 1911s, finish at the top of any match. That means they're faster into action than the Glocks. You can't argue with the numbers.

    I carry a true DAO as an armed citizen. In 30 years of carrying, legally or not, I've had to draw a weapon ONCE and didn't have to fire it then to stop the issue. I carry every day, though, and would as soon carry a little more safely. Sure, I know how to handle a gun, but there's no need to make the gun any more ready to fire in a pocket. :rolleyes: But, then, I like revolvers and I don't get in gun fights every day.
     
  19. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    Maybe I'm missing something here. What's the difference between carrying a Glock with one in the pipe and a S&W J frame with no external hammer? No sane person suggests carrying only four in the J frame. But in fact its simple trigger is less safe than the Glock's.
     
  20. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

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    My initial reaction to the question "why would someone want an external safety on a Glock" is to shrug my shoulders and suggest "I don't know. Some people could screw up a wet dream."

    There are those who suggest Glock owners prefer Glock's because they do not feel profecient enough to deal with a manual safety. This is not true. I have enough experience with 1911s and USPs to understand and accomidate the frame mounted sweep down safeties, and enough experience with Ruger and SIG DAs to use the decocker. What really gets me is the slide mounted sweep up safeties like the Beretta. That is bass-ackwards to me. And of course their is a flip side--if you are not confident enough in your profeciency with a handgun and your mastery of firearms safety to use a pistol with no external safety, then maybe you are relying too much on the safety and should go back to Firearms Safety 101. In truth, with proper firearm behavior, the presence of or absense of an external safety is of little consequence. Without proper behavior, an external safety is still of little consequence, because, as they say, there is always a better idiot. There is always someone who will manage to put a hole through their foot then complain that one external safety wasn't enough. I know my Glock doesn't have an external safety and that keeps me vigilant. Something about knowing their is no room for error and recognizing the consequences tends to keep my mind alert. I can't rely on an external safety, therefore, I don't.
     
  21. Pistol Toter

    Pistol Toter Member

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    I carry a Glock; and I carry a snub nose revolver. I carry one about as much as I carry the other. Are the triggers the same? Absolutely not! If I single action my revolver, the trigger is comparitively light. If I fire it double action it requires signifcantly more effort. My Glock is stock and it is whatever it measures, I've never checked it; but, is pretty light. If I am carring the Glock and when I go to bed at night I remove it from the holster, which incidentally covers the trigger and I place it on the dresser. I do this act with much care. When I rise in the morning and dress, I must reholster the gun, if much care was used in unholstering, then extreme care is employed when reholstering as my leather has a retention strap. Some may ask why a strap? Well I feel safer with it that way! Am I 100% happy with my Glock? Yes. Would it be any safer with an external control to block the trigger? Perhaps yes, perhaps no. Accidents will happen, most are avoidable and some, welllllll, you look at and ask, how the heck did that happen and can something be done to prevent it in the future?, When I handle my Glock, I employ or use and extra amount of caution and care because I am in charge of a mechanical device that is very dangerious and with little effort can and will inflict a wound that most potentially is fatal. Fatal to me or someone around me. Does my revovler have any more or less potential? No. The question was why would..... because it makes the person more comfortable with what he or she is doing. Is it more or less safe? The answer is a objective, subjective response. It is connected with a number of "IF THEN" statements. Handleing a firearm is dangerious at best, they are always loaded and if mechanically sound will fire if the trigger is pulled. If a mechanical contrivance is installed to block that motion it must be working properly and engaged. One must train to drive a car, one must train more to drive a tractor trailer truck, that's a FACT! It is easier to have a bad accident in a vehicle that is 65' + long than one that is 10' long. Apply that logic here and act accordingly. I am 53 years old and have never had a negligent or accidental discharge. Does that mean it will never happen? I have had minor accidents in my automoble and I had several minor accidents while operating long nose tractors pulling 53' trailers. Were they all avoidable? The answer is; at some point / instant in time, is absolutly YES. All of the mirrors and sophistacated breaking systems, attention to detail of traffic flow and patterns and on and on, et al; someone, me or the other fellow messed up. I hope you get my point.
     
  22. progunner1957

    progunner1957 member

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    Raging paranoia?:eek:

    Putting an external safety on a Glock makes as much sense as putting one on a DA revolver (hell, or on a SA revolver).

    The thing with guns is, if you don't want it to go BOOM and make a hole in something, THEN DON'T PULL THE TRIGGER!! No gun ever made went BOOM all by itself.

    Why some people cannot accept this is beyond me.:confused:

    If someone is afraid of guns, maybe they shouldn't get one. Or maybe they should get one and actually learn how to safely operate and handle it (what a concept!)
     
  23. Lone_Gunman

    Lone_Gunman Member

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    I own Glocks and love them, but still wish they had an external safety. That said, I realize they won't go off unless I pull the trigger.

    But then, neither will a cocked and unlocked 1911.
     
  24. MCgunner

    MCgunner Member

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    If this is a double post to someone else's, sorry. There is one possible way I'd carry a Glock concealed. I'd use one of these... http://members.aol.com/saftblok/ ... along with a good trigger covering stiff leather holster or kydex and the NY trigger spring. I'd prefer not using this this thing, but trained with, would probably be pretty quick.
     
  25. Cosmoline

    Cosmoline Member

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    But a cocked and unlocked 1911 has a VERY VERY light trigger pull and no secondary safety as part of the trigger itself. A bit of clothing will set it off. The Glock has the safety in the trigger and even if a finger-like object gets in there and catches it, it still requires a good five pounds on a two-stage trigger to set off. That's not as much as a Ruger, but it's on par with a lighter DA revolver such as a target or slicked up S&W action. I'm really not seeing the problem here.
     
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