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Old November 27, 2005, 05:46 PM   #1
Metellus
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why safeties can be bad..

Dark warehouse, out of ammo, right trigger finger shot off, behind a box.
In front of me 2 of my buddies to the right of a door. John in front with his MP5 raised.

Suddenly a spray of bullets shreds John. Dan's MP5 jams and is let go to hang uselessly on its shoulder strap. Instead the Beretta 92fs appears in his skilled hands.

Dan does a forward roll straight out of the movies. The unseen killer suddely pops into view and scans his AK47 to the left totally missing Dan due to the roll. He's looking at John's still body not comprehending his immiment demise.

The image is frozen in my mind. The AK47 bandit standing stright up aiming to his left totally unaware that Dan has rolled to his right. Dan on the ground points his sidearm into the bandit's groin and pulls the trigger several times. Nothing happens. A flashback to the prep van. Dan hands me his new 92fs and by habit I turn the safety on as I hand it back to him. I think... I just killed Dan then my fears are realized.

Finally noticing the danger the AK47 quickly swings into action pumping a burst of lead into Dan's head....

The whistle blows... lights turn on...

OK OK overly dramatic account of a recent airsoft game.

What "killed" my buddy was the safety. In the split second he realized his main weapon was down he pulls his pistol out and in the excitement/fear forgets to turn off the safety.

Seeing that I decided to stick to my HK P2000, Glocks, and revolvers. Although I enjoy my 1911s at the range my muscle memory (unholstering and shooting) is too fully ingrained to include something like taking off a safety (glocks were my first carry guns). In the few but horrendous life and death situations I've been in the one that ended badly for me (but not badly enough where I died so maybe it wasn't a bad ending) was when I overthought the situation after it starts. Thinking for situational awareness is good but thinking after the action starts is dangerous. I just don't trust myself to THINK about turning off the safety.

Of course for people who have always trained to turn off the safety while unholstering the weapon this does not apply.

Hope you enjoyed my story and thought of the day.
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Old November 27, 2005, 06:26 PM   #2
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On that old Police Videos show they had one clip of a jewelry store owner coming within inches of losing his life at the hand of an armed robber, who also forgot about the "safety" on his self-defense pistol in the chaos of being attacked.
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Old November 29, 2005, 01:01 PM   #3
BlueTrain
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You probably already know that the Shanghai Police, which used Colt automatics, both .45's and .380's, altered their handguns so the safety could not be applied. Of course, they carried them chamber empty.
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Old November 29, 2005, 01:57 PM   #4
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No doubt, forgetting the safety can gt you killed. That's why you gotta train the way you cary.
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Old November 29, 2005, 02:22 PM   #5
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Metellus, you got my attention.

This was an attention grabbing post.

I have read severall incidents where armed victims, some who have never shot thier weapons, have been injured by criminals. Muscle memory is very important. If you own several guns, you should also remember which handgun you carry and the type of saftey it uses. Some guns you need to push down on the lever, some up. It might be embarassing to change the status of a gun from ready-to-fire to safe in a gun fight!

Stay safe.
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Old November 29, 2005, 02:26 PM   #6
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And therein lies the joy of simplicity found in the DA revolver. No safety, no problem ...
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Old November 29, 2005, 03:27 PM   #7
Glock35JHP
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I always carry my USP in double action saftey off. I realized this when I took my CHP class. I had my gun holstered saftey on. The instuctor says threat. So I clear my USP go to pull the trigger nothing keep squezzing. Then I look the saftey is on. That convinced me to carry saftey off.
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Old November 29, 2005, 04:08 PM   #8
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I like the USP, but I love the SIG P226 or 228 for their simplicity of use - decocked with a round in the chamber you just have to pull it out and pull the trigger.

A colleague in the Ulster Defence Regiment [now the Royal Irish Regiment] used to commute to work from his home in the countryside; now as a full time soldier he lived in the community but worked elsewhere in Northern Ireland. At work he had a Browning 9mm Hi-Power and an SA80 5.56mm Assault Rifle to carry around with him; but when he wasn't working he couldn't take them home - yet he was still under threat. He watched 'Lethal Weapon' one day and went out to buy a Beretta M92FS; liking the size and capacity. We all told him never to leave it on safe, because that decocking safety catch doesn't spring return to fire - it stays locked on safe.

When he had occasion to take it out one evening and point it at a local 'hood' who had threatened him, he released that he had done so with the safety on 'safe'. He couldn't give away his predicament by reaching up to flip off the safety, so he 'bluffed it' using body language and his eyes! Whatever the criminal saw in his eyes was enough to make him back down, but my colleague quickly got rid of the Beretta and bought a SIG P228.

His organisation, about that time, began to issue Walther P5C, but it wasn't as reliable as the SIG.

So, keep away from safeties unless you are drilled to the point of conditioning to take it off when you draw.
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Old November 29, 2005, 04:18 PM   #9
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To bad Sig never considered a lefty when they made their guns. Otherwise I would buy one.
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Old November 29, 2005, 04:36 PM   #10
MK11
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Why? Reverse the magazine button and you're good to go. Use the trigger finger to manipulate the decocker (not a life or death proposition) and slingshot the slide the way you're supposed to all along.
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Old November 29, 2005, 04:50 PM   #11
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Failure to work a safety is simple carelessness due to a lack of training and muscle memory. Carelessness and a lack of training is also the reason why people shoot themselves when holstering a DOA (DEA agent video shooting himself in the foot is a classic example). Who is to say you will not panic and forget to rack the slide if you have an empty chamber, or go blank and panic during reloading. Its all about pratice.
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Old November 29, 2005, 05:07 PM   #12
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Every gun has a manual of arms, if you don't train yourself in the type of carry your gun requires then you put your life at great risk. Master the weapon you intend to carry before you carry it.

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Old November 29, 2005, 05:07 PM   #13
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Training is key. If you have to think about weapon manipulations, you need more training.
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Old November 29, 2005, 06:41 PM   #14
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Its all about training and practice.
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Old November 29, 2005, 07:13 PM   #15
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Metallus, your title is a classic example of blaming the gear for a training problem. The safety was not at fault. The safety was not bad. The safety performed nominally. The shooter did not.
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Old November 29, 2005, 08:46 PM   #16
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The only thing that I can add to this conversation is that I wished that all safeties were the same, a thumb sweep down. Some have made it a thumb sweep up .

Leif has the right idea on this one, revolver, no safety to contend with (see Leif, I may disagree on other posts but I will give credit where it it due).

With the multitude of autos out there, and the different safety configs, unless you know about every gun that may enter into your hands, it does pose a threat to your safety with an unknown sidearm.

Wayne
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Old November 29, 2005, 10:16 PM   #17
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Quote:
To bad Sig never considered a lefty when they made their guns. Otherwise I would buy one.
That's why Beretta made the G models. I keep one on the nightstand, and I'm right-handed. But my left-handed roommate has no problem with it (well, he wouldn't if I reversed the mag release for him).
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Old November 30, 2005, 02:34 PM   #18
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Training is the key.

Devil's Advoccate position here: Most ADs that are due to inadequate training occurs due to lack of training. The person will typically put their trigger finger inside the trigger guard without clearing the holster, and BAM! Gun goes off, bad stuff happens.

So it cuts both ways - you can get killed / injured when you have a weapon with a safety but do not click it off when you present to BG, or you can shoot yourself in the femoral artery with a weapon that has no safety but went AD.

Also if you are in a close combat situation, with the safety on, (in a gun grab scenario or similar) many LEO's have reported the BGs attempting to shoot them with their own weapons - have failed only because these guys did not know how to disarm the safety. In a no-safety needed situation - they would be dead.

Cuts both ways.
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Old November 30, 2005, 02:45 PM   #19
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There have also been a number of DOCUMENTED instances with LEOs that are alive due to the fact that the Bad Guy didn't know about the safety, or the mag disconnect, either.

I agree that it's a training problem.
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Old December 2, 2005, 04:27 PM   #20
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Quote:
A flashback to the prep van. Dan hands me his new 92fs and by habit I turn the safety on as I hand it back to him. I think... I just killed Dan then my fears are realized.

Why were the two of you handing a loaded handgun back and forth?

Proper protocol would have called for Dan first clearing the gun before handing it to you, and you doing the same before handing it back.

Doing this would have made it academic whether you had turned the safety on unbeknownst to Dan. He would have reloaded his weapon, doing all that reloading his weapon entails. I imagine that would have included inserting a mag, dropping the hammer via decocker (which on a 92fs is also the safety) and then replacing the safety to the off mode, ready to fire double action on a live chambered round.


-azurefly
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Old December 2, 2005, 07:33 PM   #21
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Quote:
Of course for people who have always trained to turn off the safety while unholstering the weapon this does not apply.
About sums it up as far as I'm concerned.
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Old December 3, 2005, 09:19 PM   #22
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Isn't it a bit funny how most shotguns and rifles/carbines are equipped with external mechanical safeties, and yet a lot of folks cry 'foul' and look aghast at someone suggesting they use a semiauto pistol equipped with an external mechanical safety?

The presence and proper use of external safeties ... whether required by issuing agency mandate/policies or just personal preference ... seems to require reasonable familiarity, along with necessary, frequent and consistent proper training & practice. Proper training helps reinforce proper skills ...

If your agency or personal preference is to carry a TDA pistol with the safety in the ON SAFE position, then you'd probably better invest in some frequent and proper training to instill the necessary skills to disengage it under any and all anticipated situations ... particularly stressful, life-threatening ones.

Also, don't take this wrong, or intended to be overly critical ...

But while you didn't mention any agency policies or personal preferences being involved in this "exercise" ... if Dan routinely carries his pistol in the OFF SAFE/READY TO FIRE position, and you placed the pistol's safety in the ON SAFE position before handing it to him, because of your preference or own agency requirements, then either his trust in you is misplaced when it comes to trusting you in handling his weapons, (and without at least checking and confirming the condition of the weapon when you handed it to him?); you assumed he carried his pistol in similar condition to yours; or, you presumed to inflict your preferences and handling methods on him, and in a 'dangerous situation, at that. Any lessons to be learned?

If, on the other hand, Dan routinely carries his pistol in the OFF SAFE condition, then perhaps at least one of his training priorities just received a bit of a wake-up call. Removing/disengaging a manual safety under stress requires dedicated training, performed in as frequent & as consistent a manner as necessary for the skill to be 'available' and properly demonstrable. He has only himself to 'blame' for not checking and confirming his pistol was in the normal condition he expected and trained for it to be ... even after you handed it to him. Distraction can cause serious issues to occur, even within the safe confines of the 'prep van'. Training, training, training ... properly.

Properly, safely, consistently and smoothly depressing the safety lock (thumb safety) on a 1911-type SA pistol requires a skill set not needed on many other handgun designs, such as a DAO-type pistols, and that's why some agencies and individuals won't use them. However, TDA pistols carried Ready-to-Fire, equipped without spring-loaded, decock-only mechanisms, commonly require a 2-step manual action to decock and return the pistol to the Ready-to-Fire condition ... and training can help instill the physical skill ...

Less than properly reasonable & necessary familiarity with any given handgun's operating requirement, though ... gained by knowledge and experience ... maintained via proper, consistent and frequent training, preferably prepared and conducted to instill and enhance the necessary proper skills under circumstances safely devised to closely simulate the actual anticipated circumstances (as closely as prudence and safety considerations permit, of course) ... is something to truly consider. It's also a mouthful ...

I see different cops & CCW folks forget to disengage manual safeties quite a bit. Sometimes it's a case where they forgot to complete whatever 'decocking' manipulation was required for their particular pistol so it could be in the Ready-to-Fire condition, and other times it's seemingly because they just weren't reasonably trained enough to 'remember' disengaging the safety was necessary before the pistol would fire. The scary times are when the folks don't consider it a problem for their pistol not being able to be fired when they need it to fire, and argue that the same thing would 'never' happen for real, and don't want to hear any helpful training or remediation ...

Other disappointing instances are when some folks depress their magazine catch, intending to decock their pistol ... and become annoyed when their magazine falls free. Talk about lack of maintaining proper familiarity with a defensive weapon. I'd be something other than annoyed, and immediately seek, or at least welcome, some remedial training.

If proper familiarity with operating a pistol disappears under the minimal 'stress' of normal range conditions, or the elevated stressful conditions of FATS, Simunitions or Force-on-Force training exercises ... I'd worry about it being suddenly available under actual life-threatening conditions. Some folks just seem to want to get it over with and get away from the range, though, and I'm remembering both cops and CCW licensees, too.

Lack of proper familiarity and awareness, and the necessary skills in using a manual safety, is also an issue to consider when a cop decides to carry a personally owned off-duty weapon, which operates differently than his/her issued handgun, on his/her own time. Some folks seemingly just don't want to hear about it, though ...
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Old December 4, 2005, 07:08 AM   #23
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For what it is worth, I believe there are more accidents with long guns than with handguns. At least more are reported in the paper (mainly hunting accidents) but I otherwise have nothing to back up my opinion. However, it is claimed that handguns are safer because they are designed to be carried, loaded, all the time, whereas rifles and shotguns are not.

The French MAS-36 series of rifles has absolutely no safety but few others have none. It could be claimed that the Glock has none in the sense that it has no active safety. With the exception of a very few modified examples, I can think of no revolvers with an active safety, the exceptions being war surplus revolvers with alterations.
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Old December 4, 2005, 02:18 PM   #24
araebisu
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having actually carried a 92fs as a secondary weapon, and for self defense, i always carried it safety off, and also always pushed the safety up, whether it was there or not. redundancy is always good when it comes to firearms
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Old December 4, 2005, 03:05 PM   #25
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This is why I like plastic pistols. My sigma has several safety devices built in, but none of them keep me from shooting when I need too. Less to remember under stress. I find the grip safety on the xd to be a no-brainer as well. The best safty is the one between you're ears, and training in proper firearm handling. On the other hand, a good combat pistol is not always the best for recreational shooting. I am looking at a 1911 for that.

edited for content: I can't spell today
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