One of the greatest things about the internet is that it gives us access to an unlimited amount of information within seconds. It also frees us up to answer real hard-hitting questions that face our generation.
Things like the spike in homelessness, opioid addiction, failing schools and of course the question of: should you use “The Gadget.” Don't believe that the topic of using this device on your Glock is a hot-button issue? Post a picture of one on a firearms Facebook forum with a caption like ‘worthwhile upgrade?' Sit back, and watch what happens.
I thought it would be worthwhile to give you my opinion on the device. This way, if you are curious, you don't have to suffer the consequences of posing the question in a forum.
Holstering the Gun:
Think of the best practices when holstering a double-action (DA) semi-auto. The thumb of the shooting hand applies forward pressure against the hammer. This makes it so that if something is caught inside the holster, the trigger cannot move to the rear because it can't do so independently of the hammer.
Many also perform a similar action but pinning the hammer to the rear as they holster their double-action/single-action (DA/SA) or single-action only (SA) semi-autos. And of course, many apply this technique while re-holstering their DA/SA revolvers.
No one thought negatively about these actions, because the result was all upside, safer holstering. Oh, but a guy named Gaston Glock came along and had to ruin everything.
Glock made the striker-fired handgun. The handgun that quickly became the go-to gun for law enforcement and civilians had no exposed hammer, a light, short trigger pull and was absent a manual external safety. In a world of mechanical safeties, de-cockers, and different trigger pull weights, the Glock handgun was simple. Draw, aim, squeeze the trigger.
However, the feedback from having your thumb on the hammer when holstering went away as well. Was it a bad thing?
No, not completely. I mean there are firearm safety rules, are there not? Rules that keep you from shooting yourself if you follow. Rules like don't squeeze the trigger unless the gun is pointed in a safe direction; although, from the bad guy's perspective, in a defensive context the gun is pointed in an unsafe direction.
But I digress.
Even though putting your thumb over the hammer while holstering was unnecessary, the practice lived on in other forms. I remember being taught at the police academy to place my thumb over the back of the slide while holstering. This was to ensure the gun did not come out of battery somehow. But this was more of a step to ensure readiness, rather than a safety step so you don't shoot yourself.
I recently saw an online post for the Striker Control Device, affectionately called ‘The Gadget'. The Striker Control Device (SCD) replaces the factory slide backplate with a hinge-like backplate. The SCD acts like a lever, and when pressed disables the striker.
In this position, the gun is incapable of firing. When pressure is removed from the SCD the striker can move fully to the rear and the gun can be fired. Its application is to make the holstering process of a striker-fired gun without a manual external safety, safer.
Just as gun owners did in the BG (before Glock) era. It seems pretty benign, right? Oh no, you would be sadly mistaken.
There are a couple of typical arguments against the device that I want to address.
Modifications Create Potential Reliability Issues:
Anytime we modify a component there is a certain risk that it will positively or negatively affect the reliability of the gun. Some are more likely to induce problems than others. Changing your sights, for example, won't cause reliability issues where changing spring weights could mess up reliability in a big way.
But putting on a cheap pair of sights (and it's hard to get any worse than the factory Glock sights) may break off causing an issue. So sure every mod has some sort of pro/con you have to weigh.
As far as the reliability of the SCD, I have done a lot of digging, and have not found any instances where it caused reliability issues with the gun. That isn't to say it can't or it hasn't, just that the device that has been out for around 5 years hasn't been wrecking the reliability of the Glock pistol.
The second argument against the SCD is that, in an extreme close-quarters situation, the Gadget could be inadvertently pressed so the gun doesn't go bang when you need it to. This could be by a person, or maybe a physical object that you are pressed against or even the ground.
That is a legitimate concern, and there is no way to say it could never happen. But is it even likely to happen? Probably not, considering there are no instances that I can trace back to where someone tried to squeeze off a shot with their (fill in the blank of any hammer-fired gun) and couldn't because it was inadvertently pressed.
There are surely incidents where someone may have been able to get their hand in between the hammer and firing pin, keeping the hammer from dropping and the gun from firing. But this is the opposite of how the SCD works.
It is my opinion that both of the reliability concerns are non-issues at his point. The gadget has been used by many people in many applications for several years without issue. However, I respect someone's opinion who doesn't want to take the chance.
Unless, of course, they made other modifications that are inherently more likely to affect reliability, as that wouldn't be consistent.
Some believe that the addition of the device will change the way their Glock trigger feels. The Gadget has no springs that counter the striker or anything like that. It is a passive device that does not affect the way the trigger feels.
There are a host of people, many of them with good intentions who hate the Striker Control Device for another reason. Their beef with the device is essentially that by using the SCD, you will become completely reliant upon it. And when you become completely reliant, you will forego any other safe handling principles or methods and you will be unsafe with the gun.
While well-intended, the logic is flawed.
The way you handle a gun should be the same, regardless if it has a mechanical safety or not. I wrote an article going further in-depth on the topic that you can read here. To handle a gun with a safety differently than one without it, itself is unsafe and needs to be corrected. But having a safety on a gun does not force the user to become complacent or cast away sound fundamentals.
I don't have an external safety on my everyday carry (EDC) gun, but it isn't because I believe that by having one, I would forget the training I have and start holstering the gun with my finger on the trigger or with a chunk of my shirt jammed inside the holster.
Doesn't Training Matter More Than a Gadget?
So if I train and follow the safety rules I won't ever negligently shoot myself, right? Um no, that's not how this works. Well-trained people have more skills than the untrained and are less likely to have a negligent discharge (ND).
But they also handle firearms far more often, so the statistical probability of an ND is higher.
Unconventional firearms training, such as low light, vehicle, extreme close quarters, etc, can cause us to break from our standard and methodical administrative holstering. Thus, leaving us exposed for a momentary lapse of concentration where an ND could occur.
I believe in the doctrine that for the vast majority of civilian defensive gun uses, the gun should only be holstered when the threat no longer exists. Because of this, there is no rush to put the gun away, and a methodical and deliberate holstering of the gun should take place. I wrote an article explaining my rationale that you can read here.
Why Use One?
The purpose of this device is to build redundancy into the safe handling procedure during the holstering of the gun. That's it.
It isn't to take the place of good handling skills. It isn't to let the person using the device be reckless, it is to give the user one more tool to make sure that they don't make a mistake when their brain may be processing a million other things (like what could happen after a use of force.)
In the realm of handgun combatives, a mistake can be life-ending. The better our processes are, the better chance we have of following them during a stressful event.
To be clear, I don't own an SCD and have no affiliation with the sellers. My belief is the benefits of the Striker Control Device far outweigh the potential drawbacks. This is likely going to be one of my near future purchases. If you're interested in the device, check out Tau Development Group‘s website.