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Do I Need a Safety on my Everyday Carry Handgun?

An example of inadequate trigger finger discipline and poor fundamentals. And you will never guess what kind of gun he was using.

Do you have a safety on your Every Day Carry (EDC) firearm, why or why not? Have you ever thought about why you choose to carry a firearm with a manual external safety on it?

If you haven't, then this is an important article that should get you thinking about your EDC. This topic is sure to draw very polar opposite opinions from gun owners. That is fine and I encourage all the readers to weigh in with their comments on all my articles. But first, let's start with the FACTS about your handgun's safety mechanisms:

All modern handguns have internal safeties. These consist of firing pin blocks, drop safeties, magazine disconnects etc. So when I am speaking about a gun having, or not having a safety, I am NOT speaking about the internal safeties that keep the gun from firing without the trigger being squeezed.

Furthermore, safeties are a mechanical component of the firearm, and should not be relied upon as making the “gun safe.” The ONLY way a gun is safe, is if it is handled in a safe manner by the person who is using it, regardless of how many safeties are engaged. Case in point – would you take a firearm, point it at your head and pull the trigger just because the safety was engaged? I sincerely hope your answer is emphatic NO.

Every modern firearm is designed with internal safeties.

Now that we have the basics down let's talk about what a manual external safety is and what its purpose is on a handgun.

What Is a Manual External Safety?

Lever/Switch Safety

When most people hear the term, manual external safety, the image that comes to mind is a lever or switch style mechanism on the side of the frame. This type of safety is engaged in one of two positions, either on or off.  If the safety is engaged, the gun cannot be fired. Some of these types of safeties can also serve a purpose as a de-cocker. Engaging the safety with this type of configuration not only places the gun on safe but moves the hammer forward. Just to throw a little confusion into the mix, there are guns with de-cockers that do not engage any safety mechanism (but these are not considered safeties).

Backstrap/Grip Safety

These types of safeties are integrated into the backstrap of the gun. In the default position, they are not depressed and need to be squeezed in order to disengage and allow the gun to function. This is what you see on the popular 1911 handgun, and even in some newer models of polymer guns. There are a few types of grip safeties that are not on the backstrap, but rather the front of the pistol grip, such as the HKP7.

Trigger Safety –

This safety is integrated into the trigger shoe itself. This mechanism requires the finger (or another object) to depress a ‘paddle' on the trigger in order to allow it to move fully to the rear and fire the cartridge.

The black ‘paddle' must be depressed before the trigger shoe (red) can be moved fully to the rear.

How Is The Safety Applied?

While you may focus on the question, IF you should have a manual external safety on your everyday carry gun; an equally important question you should be asking yourself is HOW is the safety engaged/disengaged. There are what I like to refer to as active safeties and passive safeties.

Active Safety

This is one that you must manipulate outside of the normal draw-stroke or grip of the gun.  For example, the Lever/Switch type safety is one like this. The process to disengage the safety does not have anything to do with the natural gripping of the firearm.

The safety on this Tristar T-100 is an active safety. The lever must be flipped to engage/disengage

You may be thinking, but I carry a 1911 and I have trained, as part of my draw stroke, to sweep the safety off as I draw. Yes, that is the proper thing to do, but notice you must train into your draw stroke the action of sweeping the safety to disengage it. While it is a trained movement, this is an example of an active safety, because it must actively be engaged/disengaged through a deliberate action.

Passive Safety

This is one that is disengaged without having to perform any deliberate action besides what you would normally do to grip and fire the gun. Examples are your trigger safety, and back strap safety. The trigger safety is naturally disengaged when the trigger finger is properly placed on the trigger and rearward pressure is applied. Similarly, the grip/backstrap safety is disengaged when the shooter obtains a proper grip on the gun.

The 1911's passive-Beavertail Safety and active-Safety lever.

Note about grip safeties: A special note I wanted to make about grip safeties, is that you NEED to train with them and understand how they work. I have seen many students shoot their Springfield's equipped with a with back strap safety exceptionally well and without malfunction during slow fire. The problem I have seen is while shooting under stress, from weak handed, retention or unorthodox positions, etc., the shooters sometimes don't get a high enough or strong enough grip on the backstrap. This causes the gun's backstrap/grip safety to engage and prevent them from firing the handgun. This usually occurs during the above-mentioned scenarios and especially during follow-up shots.

I am not knocking grip safeties, and think they are a great passive safety system, but you absolutely HAVE to understand their vulnerability and train accordingly.

Is my Gun Unsafe?

I have been asked the following questions many times:

Isn't it unsafe to carry a gun without a safety? I would answer, Yeah, sure it is. If you disable all the internal safeties built into your firearm and disable your trigger safety, that would be one gun I would not recommend carrying. But if you mean is it unsafe to carry a gun without a manual external lever/switch type safety, the answer is NO.

Isn't the gun more likely to accidentally go off if there is not a safety switch? Nope, because the safety or lack of a safety isn't what makes the gun fire. The USER makes the gun operate. If the user is competent, safe, and aware of what they are doing, they can be just as safe with a firearm without a lever safety, as they would be with one.

I have (and I am sure you have too) seen people that have a 1911 which has 2 external safeties, do things that are completely dangerous and unsafe. Those safeties don't prevent stupid and irresponsible actions. Also, guns don't accidentally go off.

People have accidents, not guns.

Guns that fire when they are not supposed to because of a mechanical problem, are usually guns that have been messed around with by an unqualified gunsmith. There are some guns that have had safety recalls, but the incidents of these guns harming people are extremely rare and usually caught by the company before causing a serious issue.

What About Drawing a Gun Without A Safety?

“Glock-Leg, it's a thing, look it up.” I hear this all the time and it is garbage. The fact that someone shoots themselves in the leg while drawing a firearm, is 99% an issue of training and 1% an issue of how that gun works.

Are terms like ‘Glock leg' justified?

During your draw stroke WITH ANY GUN, your finger should never be on the trigger. I remember hearing something about keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire, does anyone else remember that too? When someone shoots themselves in the leg, were they following this cardinal safety rule? I don't think so. The gun functioned exactly as it was intended to, but the user's lack of training, attention, or safety created the problem.

Take that same poorly trained civilian or officer who shot themselves in the leg with their ‘ultra dangerous' Glock while drawing. Now put a firearm with an active, lever/switch type safety in their hand. Problem solved right? They are super safe now, no need to train or fix the real problem of their finger being on the safety while it was pointed at their leg right?

Well, if their skills were such as they couldn't properly draw their firearm without having their finger off the trigger while it was pointed at themselves, what makes you think that they will suddenly follow all the other safety rules? What makes anyone think this person will train an additional step into that complicated movement of drawing their firearm, presenting it on a target and placing well-aimed shots into the attacker? The fact is they won't become a safer gun handler by putting a safety on their gun, and being a safer and more proficient gun handler is what we all should be training for.

So where does the 1% of liability fall on the fact that the firearm didn't have an active external safety? I am a realist and will acknowledge that some people will not or cannot train enough to fully master a perfect draw stroke and deployment of a firearm. While this should always be the GOAL of everyone who carries a firearm, with tens of millions of firearm carriers in the United States, this will never be the REALITY of ALL carriers.

For these people having a lever type manual external safety gives them one more layer of protection if they screw up.

The Effects on Draw With/Without an Active Safety:

An EDC gun is carried for the unfortunate situation where death or serious bodily injury is imminent. For this reason, it is often being used under extreme circumstances, and the quicker it can be deployed the better. In other words … seconds count.

Also, these life-or-death situations are extremely high stress and often times chaotic. Unless you train your body to operate under stress and create muscle memory in your basic responses to an attack, your mind can quickly become over-stimulated and shut down. Call it ‘freezing up' or whatever you want, but the truth is, it is an awfully bad place to be. The more things you ask your mind and body to do, the more opportunity there is for something to go wrong.

Ingraining proper draw fundamentals, ensure your finger is not on the trigger prematurely

Sweeping a safety off is just one of these things. Is it a huge thing? No, but like everything in life, there is a balance of pros and cons. If you are confident in your trigger finger discipline and you have a good holster and draw stroke, introducing anything else into the equation may not be something you want to do.

Conversely, you may weigh your options and say, ‘I just don't feel comfortable carrying a firearm without a safety lever.' Totally acceptable, response as well. In fact, many companies make the same model gun with and without a manual external safety lever.

My Two Cents:

My opinion, I would prefer carrying a firearm for EDC without an active manual external safety. I have practiced my draw literally tens of thousands of times, and my trigger finger discipline is so ingrained, I keep my finger straight and along the frame whether the gun is loaded or not. My finger is on the frame of toy guns, nail guns, drills … pretty much anything that has a pistol grip. My subconscious default is – off the trigger. It takes a conscious decision to put my finger on the trigger.

What about if I carry a 1911 for my EDC. Great! If you like the 1911 you obviously are going to be carrying it ‘cocked and locked' or round in the chamber, hammer back and safety engaged. Train sweeping your safety off as part of your draw stroke. Don't cheat yourself and leave the safety off when practicing drawing, merely for quickness sake. Same thing goes for the Beretta 92, and other DA/SA owners. If you are always practicing single action shots with your safety off, but carry with the safety engaged and the hammer forward, what good is that going to do you in a real-life scenario when you draw your gun and it has its safety engaged and is in DA mode?

Whichever type of gun you carry, dry fire and practice your draw thousands of times. Video record yourself drawing. Don't just try for quick times, analyze your draw. See when your finger is moving to the trigger. Is it while you are muzzling yourself? Then work and work until it is an absolute, your finger is off the trigger until your firearm is pointed at the threat and you're deciding to pull the trigger.

Again, as far as backstrap safeties are concerned, I like them. However, because of the issues I have seen on the range during close quarters drills, I recommend that if you have one on your firearm, you spend extra training time getting used to how it functions. One of the best things you can do is understand how the malfunction happens. In other words, create the situation where your grip slides down a bit too far, or your weak hand doesn't completely depress the backstrap safety. This way you can see exactly how this problem happens, and you can address it in your training.

You have to understand the limitations of your backstrap safety

What about carrying a gun that has an active external safety lever, but just leaving it disengaged. While this is an option, I would, generally speaking, advise against it. For the simple reason that the possibility, however unlikely it may be, for that safety to be accidentally engaged without your knowledge, could cause an issue when needing to fire shots immediately.

Additionally, having an active safety lever on your EDC might start you down a road of sometimes carrying with the safety engaged, and sometimes not, which is similar to sometimes carrying with a round in the chamber and sometimes not. Both of these scenarios open the door for you to not know the condition of your firearm, confuse the condition of your firearm under stress and could cost you your life.

Final Thoughts:

What you ultimately use for your EDC should be an extremely personal and well-educated choice. If you chose to carry a firearm with or without an active manual external safety, make sure you make the decision based on facts and not out of unjustified paranoia.

Above all – remember no safety, or number of safeties in the world is going to make that gun safe. It is YOU, your sober actions and thorough training that will allow you to safely deploy that firearm when you need to. If you need help finding a quality firearms instructor who can provide you the necessary training you need, look no further than this article that describes how to identify a good instructor.

Here Is a Bonus. Remember This Guy?

Most likely you recognize the guy in the photo below. You have seen the video of the guy shooting himself in the leg while drawing from a holster and attempting to do some close quarters retention shooting. Or maybe, you heard about him. This is the video that a ton of people use to point out how important it is to have an active manual external safety on your firearm, or why Glock type firearms with only a trigger safety are dangerous. Yes, this is the video …

Famously known as the ‘I Just Shot Myself' guy.

… only problem is that the guy wasn't using a Glock, or even a striker fired gun with only a trigger safety. He was using a Kimber Pro Carry 1911, which is equipped with … you guessed it, TWO external safeties. Here is a link to a follow-up video the ‘I just shot myself' guy posted one year after his incident. Instead of watching this video and saying, ‘if he had a safety on his gun that would not have happened,' you should be saying, ‘his finger should not have been on the trigger until the gun was oriented toward the target and he was going to squeeze the trigger.'

Keep training and stay safe.

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30 Responses to Do I Need a Safety on my Everyday Carry Handgun?

  1. Chris August 9, 2017 at 6:49 am #

    I am agreement with carrying a handgun without an external safety. I do not like them. The only safety I find foolish that was mentioned is the trigger safety. Sure it provides a minimal safety in a very rare instance however I wouldn’t even call it a safety.

    • Jacob Paulsen August 9, 2017 at 6:57 am #

      Good points… but the recent Sig Sauer P320 fiasco may have proven the value of a trigger safety.

  2. Whit August 9, 2017 at 7:33 am #

    I admit I’m totally lost about the trigger saftey, not sure it provides anything but happy to be told the error of my ways there.

    The external saftey (full disclosure I carry a B92) seems to me to have its greatest value on the reholster. I’m not sure glock leg is a thing but it is much easier to get clothing caught in the trigger guard and have an ND with a gun sans external saftey than one with. That said the answer is, again, training training training. IMHO a saftey conscious person can be safe with either type of gun and an unsafe person could be dangerous with an unloaded black powder revolver….

    • Matthew Maruster August 9, 2017 at 8:24 am #

      Hi Whit, thanks for the comment. I wouldn’t say ‘error of your ways’ at all, I think it is just a different way of looking at the different safeties on a firearm. The trigger safety is probably one of the most intuitive and quickest safeties you can have on a gun. It won’t let the gun fire unless the trigger is pulled. At the same time, I agree that as far as disabling the gun, it is not as effective as other types of safeties, because if the issue is pulling the trigger at the wrong time, the trigger safety doesn’t prevent this. Jacob keenly noted that the recent issue with the Sig P320 may have been non-existent had it been equipped with a trigger safety. Ultimately it probably is more of a design flaw, but the trigger safety would have definitely stopped the trigger from moving back from the inertia of the slide hitting the ground.

      I totally agree that if you have a manual lever type safety on your firearm, and get your shirt bunched up inside the trigger guard during the process of reholstering, it is probably not going to pull the trigger to the rear and fire the gun. But this is placing the role of gun safety on your gun’s safety lever and not focusing it on the user who is doing something potentially unsafe with his/her gun, i.e. holstering it with a shirt (or something else) in the holster.

      I really appreciate your take and feedback. Carried the Beretta 92 (M9) in the MArine Corps, and while I could shoot really well with it, I think if it weren’t for my tiny hands I think I could have shot it even better 🙂 Stay safe and God bless!

      • Paul August 9, 2017 at 10:16 am #

        There was a story I saw last week (not sure when the story actually happened) where a federal officer at an airport was taking his jacket off and it pulled his weapon out of his holster. He went to catch it, and guess how he caught it? Ya finger went in the trigger and he shot himself in the foot.

        One thing that came to me was why didn’t a federal officer at an airport not have a retention holster. The other thing that would have helped is another safety, whether lever or backstrap.

        There was another officer at a gun store that had his jacket drawstring tensioner get in his trigger guard when he was holstering. I think an additional safety would have prevented this. (These guys are not beginners)

        Will reiterate what you said, no matter what type of safety you may have on your weapon, practice, practice, practice!

        • Matthew Maruster August 9, 2017 at 1:17 pm #

          Paul, Thanks so much for the response and bringing those incidents to light. I agree these are incidents where a manual safety would have helped and not allowed the gun to fire. However, I think we have to look at the actual cause of both of these incidents. It wasn’t the design or function of the firearm it was a) not maintaining control of your firearm. Taking it out of the holster it was in, for whatever reason, dropping it and then trying to catch it in mid air. And b) having a piece of clothing in the trigger guard when re-holstering. I imagine he didn’t need to get a sub 1 second reholster time, and could have taken the proper safety steps to reholster without having anything besides his gun going into the holster.

          Like you said it’s all about practice and paying attention.

  3. Will Atkinson August 9, 2017 at 7:36 am #

    In all my research and following instructors I have yet to find and article written that is as comprehensive, well authored, and has a great style as this. Great discussion of a little-covered subject that is so important. One element that is covered herein, that is poorly addressed in mainstream gunhandling, is the draw and presentation. 99% of the emphasis on gunhandling is range proficiency – shooting from a static position, at a static target. Little is discussed about awareness and close quarters combat where many assailants like to operate from. Seconds count for sure. Great article Matt.

    • Matthew Maruster August 9, 2017 at 8:12 am #

      Thank you Sir, don’t think I have had such a glowing endorsement before. Very humbling, and hopefully I can stay up to the standard 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the article and stay safe, God bless.

  4. junkman August 9, 2017 at 7:57 am #

    If it is a striker fired gun, absolutely yes. Otherwise no.

  5. John August 9, 2017 at 8:04 am #

    my glock 19 has an external safety. it is between my ears. IE, “keep your booger hook off of the bang switch!”

  6. Ray Dillon August 9, 2017 at 9:46 am #

    Really good stuff. Hit home in a couple of areas for me. When I first started carrying I worried over the round in chamber – or not. As I gained experience and confidence with my EDC firearm and read articles and info pro and con I chose to carry chambered. Wow! Who knew?! That round just stayed right in the chamber! Could be that I take safety and handling firearms seriously.

    For a while I’ve pondered the safety on/off issue. I even converted my Beretta from dual to single sided safety. Which seems to have ended discovering that the safety was off , usually at the end of the day. But then, I wondered why I would have the safety normally on when, like most revolvers my Beretta is double action (on the first shot). My conclusion, as also reenforced by the article is that I feel safer with the safety normally engaged. My inclination is to always have the safety on and always assume it’s on. It’s only a quick thumb lift to disengage it and usually done as I draw. Finger off the trigger until on target.

    That being said, there have been times that I’ve disengaged the safety before drawing. Sketchy situation or potential problem area.

    • Tom August 9, 2017 at 1:59 pm #

      Hi,
      You said, ” have the safety on and always assume it’s on”. Shouldn’t you always assume the safety is always OFF? Just like, always assume every gun is loaded? Just a thought..

      • Finn August 15, 2017 at 5:47 pm #

        @Tom – I think it’s the same as assuming whether the gun is loaded or not. It is always in the wrong position until you’ve checked. If the gun is lying on a table and (1) you pick it up to shoot an intruder – it turns out to be unloaded or (2) a child picks it up and it is loaded.

        I think Ray meant that when he is drawing the gun to use, he assumes the safety is off and sweeps his thumb accordingly. OTOH if he pulls it out for administrative work, he checks that safety is on. That is how I treat my shield. If I were buying it now, I’d have gotten the model without external safety switch – but this is easy and natural to sweep off during draw, and positive in it’s position so that it is really a non-issue. Well actually, when I pull the gun out to put away I usually have to switch the safety back on as it ‘automatically’ turns off as it clears the holster.

  7. don comfort August 9, 2017 at 10:30 am #

    The problem with an external safety,especially for newer shooters, is they rely too heavily on the safety to keep them safe I was an LEO for 30 years and have shot competition sense the mid 80’s. I have witnessed untold amount of competitors in action.Unfortunately I witnessed on 2 occasions, competitors with manual safeties accidentally shoot themselves,both times in the leg.Their muscle memory was such that when calmly practicing, as soon as they disengaged the safety,they squeezed the trigger. In a stressful situation,i.e. competition or a real life or death situation, they were under pressure to quickly get off that first shot and disengaged the safety prior to completing the draw and then by muscle memory, they next fired the weapon,also prior to completing the draw.In all my years of shooting all types of firearms, I have the perfect,fail safe safety that works every time. Keep your Damn finger out of the trigger until ready to actually fire.You newer shooters need to think about how easy/difficult it will be to disengage that safety under very stressful situation.

  8. Robert Duncan August 9, 2017 at 10:32 am #

    Thank you so much for posting this article. Finally, someone has actually addressed this issue and stated what I have always believed. I carry a Glock 30s. As for function and safety, I consider carrying my Glock 30s no different than if I were carrying my Ruger.357 Security-Six revolver,or my Skilsaw. You keep that trigger finger pointed straight forward until you make a conscious decision at which time you move your finger to the trigger and pull.
    Safety is all in the User. I don’t know how many times I have argued this point. Most people understand and some don’t.
    Thank you for teaching some common sense!

    • Matthew Maruster August 9, 2017 at 1:20 pm #

      Thanks Robert, I tend to find that things are pretty easy to understand when broken down to the basics. I may not be a genius but I can understand most colors and basic shapes 🙂 I agree, some don’t get it and some do, and some just haven’t had it explained in a way that makes sense. Keep fighting the good fight!!

  9. oldshooter August 9, 2017 at 11:20 am #

    Excellent article, that covered the topic extremely well in my opinion. I’m a former 1911 guy, who chose to change to a Springfield XDm when my arthritic thumbs finally made it too hard to field-strip and clean my 1911. I chose the XDm primarily because it can be field-stripped more easily, but also because of the “feel” of it in my hand. However, I preferred a pistol with a “grip safety” rather than only a “trigger safety,” because of the possibility of an ND occurring when moving the pistol in and out of places where something might accidentally catch the trigger without my knowledge. I’ve heard that this has occurred several times with Glocks, and I can see how it might happen. This is my EDC gun and it sometimes has to be placed out of sight in my vehicle, or into other places where I may not be able to see well enough to tell if there could be an obstruction that could engage the trigger. In these (admittedly rare) circumstances, I will not be holding the pistol in a normal grip, hence the grip safety will be engaged and prevent an ND if something pushes against the trigger. As noted in the article, it is always important to have a proper grip on the pistol when firing it, whether in a “normal” position or not. I also agree that this is a training issue.
    In my opinion, the concept of a “trigger safety” is a tad stupid, but maybe that’s just me. If your finger intentionally engages the trigger, there is no need for a “safety” there, and if it does so UNintentionally, or if anything else engages the trigger, the “trigger safety” would also disengage – so what’s the point? What kind of error or malfunction is being prevented?
    Just an FYI, for a while, I used a slip-on rubber grip (designed to provide finger grooves and non-stick grip) that was designed to ride the grip below the bottom of the grip safety, so as to avoid engaging it. I found that, in the course of regular daily carry in an IWB holster, the slip-on grip will “ride up” on the grip over time. While this means your grip is slightly different after this happens, it also means that the grip safety may be depressed and disengaged by the mispositioned slip-on grip. This of course, means that the “safety factor” you might be counting on is no longer there. I no longer use the slip-on grip, and since I am normally very safety conscious, nothing untoward occurred, but it was an interesting discovery nonetheless, and I pass it on for what it’s worth.

  10. Old Curmudgeon August 9, 2017 at 1:35 pm #

    I’m an old retired Law Enforcement officer…so old my first duty weapon was a .38 revolver! So I saw first hand the transition from wheel guns to semi autos. I had a fairly enlightened chief, so we were early converts and allowed to carry any pistol with which we could qualify. My choice was a Colt 1911, of course chambered for .45ACP. Bullet technology back then wasn’t nearly what it is today, so the 9MM was shunned as a weak sister. The thinking being “A 9MM might not expand, but my .45 will never shrink!” Then Glocks (AKA Tupperware) came to the USA along with rumors of using the dishwasher to clean them and when the .40 S&W (short & weak) debuted and the rest was history. That old Colt stayed with me a long time, but now it’s a couple Kimbers, one full size and one 3 inch. And even though my old partner is probably spinning in his grave, these days I usually step out of the house with a Sig P938…light, easy to hide, fits my old arthritic hands like it was built for me and shoots like a dream. With new bullet technology I no longer feel undergunned with the 9. Hmmmm…they all have external safety levers pretty much in the same spot and even though John Moses Browning stated they should be carried cocked and UNLOCKED (yes, really..look it up if you don’t believe me) mine are always engaged until the draw. Finger off the trigger until I want it to go bang…and after 40+ years of carrying one nearly every day I’ve NEVER shot myself in the a$$, leg or any other body part. I’ve got nothing against pistols without the external bang switch, in fact (gasp) I own 3 or 4 of them including the dreaded Tupperware, but they rarely get to ride with me except to the range. It’s a matter of training, years of experience and comfort level. So go with what works for you, but remember the only true safety is the one between your ears!

  11. JungleCogs August 9, 2017 at 2:40 pm #

    Humans make mistakes; I prefer to minimize my chances. In my judgment, a SA pistol should have a manual safety (vs. DA or DA/SA). Just my personal 2ȼ.

    • Matthew Maruster August 9, 2017 at 2:54 pm #

      JungleCogs, I agree totally humans make mistakes, my wife is constantly reminding me of this 🙂 To play devil’s advocate here, couldn’t you also have a ‘mistake’ when you need to use your firearm and not take the gun off safe, or fumble with it? That ‘mistake’ could also result in something undesirable.

      I believe that the chance of having a ‘mistake’ during a high-stress incident is much higher than during a low-stress activity like when you may just be holstering your gun before leaving the house or unholstering it at the end of the day. In these less stressful times, it would seem that if someone is doing what they should be doing and paying attention their likelihood of making a mistake is less. IF someone is worried about making a mistake during training, they should train their technique without ammunition until they have mastered it and can do it without making mistakes.

      I do agree that some people feel more comfortable with a safety on SA guns, and I don’t knock anyone who does. I think that the world is big enough for people with both opinions. 🙂

  12. Crai August 10, 2017 at 6:42 pm #

    I learned to shoot as a hunter and a competitive shooter in the 1970s. It’s been ingrained in me to always unload your firearm and always keep the safety on, etc. There was never a self defence component to my early training. Recently, my wife and got pistols and took our CPL classes and got licenced. I have been carrying and after the first day, felt confident enough to carry with a round in the chamber, but with the safety on (S&W M&P Shield with safety). I’m too freaked out to carry with the safety off in my current state of training and carry experience. My wife has a Ruger LC9S without a safety but she uses a soft rubber trigger plug. We’re not ready yet to carry safety-free, but we’re still better prepared than 99.9 % of the folks out there. In time, we may have the confidence to go safety-free, but it’s an evolutionary process and you need to be ready for it. The guys who keep telling me safe=dead just piss me off and make me want to just leave the Gun home.

    • Jacob Paulsen August 10, 2017 at 6:46 pm #

      I LOVE your comment! Everything about it. Thank you for contributing to this conversation.

      • Craig August 10, 2017 at 7:02 pm #

        Thanks, my name should have been Craig, but no way to edit 😉

    • Matthew Maruster August 10, 2017 at 7:13 pm #

      Crai/Craig 🙂

      I commend you on using your brain and knowing what you and your wife are confident with. But not just that, but understanding that with training comes confidence. That is the huge difference between your mindset and people that do something without any facts or understanding but just because. When or if you decide to carry a firearm without a safety it will be because you feel confident in your gear and training, and not because someone strong armed you into doing something you weren’t comfortable doing.

      I have to follow up and make sure to tell you not to give in to the pressure to do what someone else is doing. Yes there is absolutely right and wrong technique, and things that are tactically better but if it comes to a point where you feel like you don’t want to carry your firearm because you don’t march to the exact same tune, take a step back and remember…you carry a firearm to protect your family and yourself. Not to impress anyone or get a quicker draw time on a timer. Train your butt off, be ready and confident and you will be just fine. If you ever come out to Ohio, I would be happy to shoot with you and your wife.

      Stay safe and God bless.

  13. TommyJay August 11, 2017 at 8:17 pm #

    I’m a newbie to this site and hardly an expert on this topic. But I’ve read quite a bit about it elsewhere, and some of those self-proclaimed experts would take exception with you on one point.

    They claim that you do not sweep the safety off as part of the draw. As you raise your weapon, and evaluate the absence of innocents behind the target, then you begin to align your weapon/sights onto the target. Somewhere in this last step, as the weapon is being aligned, you sweep the safety off. Can’t get Glock leg with a 1911 that way!

    • Matthew Maruster August 11, 2017 at 8:47 pm #

      Hi Tommy,
      Thanks for the feedback. It sort of depends on where you want to say the draw stroke ends. In my mind draw stroke, should flow into the presentation of the firearm. I also don’t see a point in waiting to sweep the safety off until your firearm is extended out and you decide to squeeze the trigger. For one, there are times you are going to need to shoot from close compression/retention. You may never extend the gun out, begin to align your sights (because you’re not using your sights). Secondly, as soon as the gun is rotated toward the threat, the safety should come off. Rotating the gun is part of the draw stroke and not part of presenting the firearm. What is the point of waiting? You can’t get Glock leg with a 1911 if your finger is off the trigger no matter if the safety is engaged or not. Why not sweep it off as soon as you rotate the gun towards the threat? If you could point me in the direction of the instructors who are teaching this method I would love to look at it and try to understand their rationale.

      Thanks and God bless.

  14. cutter 01 August 14, 2017 at 8:15 pm #

    If I am carrying a pistol with a safety it is always off. I know that the gun it is loaded with one in the barrel. I do practice draws a lot and always have my trigger finger off the trigger and parallel to the barrel until on target. It may only take a fraction of a second to turn a safety off……..that fraction could be my death.

  15. Michael August 24, 2017 at 1:03 pm #

    When I was in the Coast Guard we were constantly doing drills of every sort. So much so until I seriously wondered why, we’re not idiots, we know what to do. Then one night General Quarters came over the PA system: “Fire in the engine room, fire in the engine room, this is not a drill, I repeat, this is not a drill.” When I got to my battle station I realized I had closed all of the external vents assigned to me without even thinking about it. That’s when it occurred to me how important constant over and over and over training is. You automatically do what you’ve been trained to do without having to think about it. You just do it. My point obviously is it’s the same with a persons EDC weapon. Train drawing your pistol at home until you think it’s being ridiculous and then say to yourself, yeah, maybe so, but I’m not in a high high stress situation either and practice some more. I’m not trying to tell anyone how they should train themselves, just what works for me and you can take it or leave it. Everyone needs to make their own decision on that, same as what firearm to carry.

  16. BC September 24, 2017 at 3:37 pm #

    As a retired Correction’s Officer, I’ve used many different types of guns with many different types of safeties for inmate transport. Through the years, I’ve learned and taught that if you do not have time to think through the shot, you should not take the shot. We call snap shooting “panic shooting” which results in a lot of misses and innocent victims being hit. With the trigger safety guns, I’ve seen officers shoot themselves by accidentally touching the trigger while trying to snap draw their weapon in an effort to outdraw a bad guy. In a real life and death situation, trying to quick draw the weapon is a disaster in motion. Leave that type of stuff to the movies! Personally, I carry a 1911 .45 for my everyday conceal carry. It incorporates the manual trigger as well as the back strap grip safety which forces me to keep my mind in gear while drawing and taking a shot. If my mind isn’t together enough to properly work both of these safeties, then I’m glad my gun wouldn’t fire, because I don’t have the presence of mind to be sure of my target, my surroundings, and what lies beyond my target . . . which could easily be an innocent victim about to be shot with a through and through. I don’t want to be charged with murder while taking down a bad guy. If the bad guy is beyond 30′, then I can most likely duct for cover as I draw my weapon. If the bad guy is within 30′, I guarantee you I can quickly cover that distance and take the bad guy down before he can draw and fire off one shot! I reckon it all boils down to knowing yourself and your abilities in a real life and death situation; And this you will not find out until you are actually in a life and death fight for your life . . . no matter how you train and visualize. Police Officers are well trained for these types of situations, and still we have to wait until they are in the real-deal before we find out how they will react. You’d be surprised how many well trained officers go into meltdown in a real life situation. We have a sign that should go up on every shooters wall by the exit door, “KNOW THYSELF!” Pick a gun your safest with! No one can tell you what that is. You must find that out for yourself!

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