View Full Version : Need for external/manual safety?

September 21, 2005, 10:22 AM
Hello, I'm new to the forum and have enjoyed reading all the posts. I'm looking around for the right 9mm handgun for me. I haven't been to the range in a few years, but was trained by my father to safely use and carry firearms, most of which were .22 caliber. Even won a few young adult marksmanship competitions in my day. Now that I'm starting a family of my own it's time to get back into it.

I'd like to get something that I will eventually use for CCW. I've heard all the great suggestions for models and have my not-so-short list down to (in this order):

Glock 19, Springfield XD9, Sig P239/229, Kahr P9.

The only range in my area that rents handguns only has the Glock and Springfield. Anyway, now that you know a bit about me, I have a few questions.

1) Tell me why I shouldn't be concerned about the lack of an external/manual safety on some models. I have read all about Glock's internal 3 safeties, but it still seems to boil down to, "if you want to shoot, pull the trigger." Doesn't seem like much of a safety (except for dropping the firearm).

2) Of the list I have given above, any pros/cons to my situation?

3) Since I will eventually be using the weapon for CCW, should I be looking more at the sub-compact models, like the Glock 26? I'll be clearing the rust off of my shooting skills, so I figured a nice mid-sized handgun would be perfect, as long as I can still properly conceal it.

4) Any advice on how to get the wife to be more comfortable with the idea of a weapon in the house? She was raised pretty liberally and even though I talk about the necessary training and safekeeping of weapons, she's still a little squeamish. She said she'd come with me to a gun show this weekend, so hopefully that'll help.

OK, sorry to throw about 5 threads of info into one, but I look forward to your advice/comments.

September 21, 2005, 10:32 AM
As far as safeties the XD has a grip safety which may help put your mind at east. If you were to somehow snag the trigger while holstering, for example, and you had your palm properly off of the grip safety, the gun could not fire. Then of course there is the trigger safety and drop safety which the Glocks have too.

FWIW I carry the 4" XD9 and conceal it pretty easily with just a t-shirt. The difference between the 4" and 3" XD models is the shorter barrel (which makes little difference in concealing it since it's inside your holster) and the shorter grip. Some people find that they want somewhere for their pinky to rest so they buy grip extensions for the 3", in which case IMO you might as well have bought the 4".

September 21, 2005, 12:34 PM
Double action revolvers have worked fine for generations without a manual safety. No reason to put one on a DA self-loader.

September 21, 2005, 01:19 PM
Safety levers (in my opinion) aren't so much for the experienced shooter and CCW... but it's for the BGs. If one wrestles your gun away from you and can just point and shoot you'll be in a world more hurt than if he has to fiddle with a safety.

Now, this also means that in the heat of the moment you also have to fiddle with it.

However, somebody posted here a stat that said when a person picks up a gun they aren't familiar with it takes 3 seconds to shoot it if there's no safety and 12 if there is (under stressful situation). I cannot verify this stat, but it does make sense on concept.

September 21, 2005, 02:07 PM
I have significantly more experience with Glock and SF than with Sig or Kahr. I will relay my impressions:

Kahr: Get great reviews on websites, but I've never heard a reliable personal source that likes them. A friend had TWO and both broke so often he traded them. An acquaintance had one and it was junk too. VERY high price tag for the gun is a big deterant for me to give them a try. Around here they start at $600.

Sig: Limited experience. Seem to be popular guns. Those that I've shot were comfortable and accurate.

Glock: I'm a Glock man. I've owned two and they've never had a single jam or malfunction in many thousand rounds. Everyone I know personally loves them and sings their praises. I've never heard anyone I know have a single mechanical failure, jam, etc, nor have I even ever seen a failure with a Glock. They are lightweight and exceptionally durable; I've read that their metal finish is hard as a diamond. For HD I primarily rely on my Glock .40, with a .357 revolver and a 12 gauge or .223 nearby for a "more prepared" defense. I completely understand the safety features with a Glock and believe that they are completely safe to the trained person with the proper holster; more safe than say a gun with a safety which can get accidently switched off (happened with my Beretta 92FS once while carrying). Also, with an internal only safety, there is less to snag on clothing and one less thing to fiddle with in the instant you are called upon to defend your life. If your second hand is preoccupied, will you have the presence of mind and can you operate the safety quickly?

Oh, and Glock is the primary choice for US FBI and law enforcement.

Springfield XD: I'm also an XD man in addition to Glock. The XD uses the same internal safeties as Glock, and I believe that the XD has taken the Glock design to the next evolutionary step by installing the 1911 style grip safety, along with some other design benefits. This grip safety is the primary reason I carry an XD and not a Glock. While I fully understand and believe in the Glock safeties, psychologically I still feel uncomfortable with a chambered round in CCW with the Glock. The XD has allowed me to carry confidently due to the grip safety. My SF's are very reliable, very accurate and very tough.

I give the reliability and toughness edge to Glock, but the safety edge to SF. Safety is my primary concern, with reliability, durability, and accuracy a close second. While Glock delivers better with the latter, SF wins the safety contest. So, if you are going to buy just ONE all around pistol for HD, my advice is the Springfield.

September 21, 2005, 02:34 PM
Where to begin....

First with your wife I had the same problem with my ex-girlfriend when we were living together. You know the whole will they be safe around the kids arguement. My neighbor was a police detective with five boys and never had a problem. He had a gun safe and also taught his boys the danger and safety issues with guns. If she really is nervous with regards to kids try this when one is on the way....

Buy a safe. Either a big one to store a bunch of firearms in or a little nightstand one that opens through a code or your palm configuration( Biometrics I think)! Don't tell her the combination and challenge her to get the gun out of the safe over the next couple of months. Just make sure you don't leave it open or your gun laying around. If she can't do it over time then neither can the kids and you made your point. Just make sure the code is a number she would never think of. A determined woman will do almost anything to prove her point.

I've shot glocks and sig's. My bed friends father in law is a retired SWAT cop. He swears by SIG. I told him I was buying an HK and he nearly kicked me out of their house. They are reliable, the Seals, Secret Service, and Customs shoot thousands of rounds through them and they keep performing. Plus Homeland security picked up a large number for their agents.

I agree with Midknight, the safety is more for the BG then for you. Just train properly with it and you should be fine.

I've heard lots of positives about the Glocks as well. My buddy owns one and keeps trying to convince me. He never has had a jam and they work under the most stressful conditions and elements.

Overall my recommendation...go with the one that fits you best and you are most comfortable shooting and holding.

Sorry about the long post.....Good Luck.

September 21, 2005, 02:56 PM
I have owned all the above firearms except the SIG.

Before I start they all were dead relible with no failures during my ownership - they each fired several hundered rounds at a session with no issues. Also if you go to www.glocktalk.com you can get Glock specific information and they also have a Kahr sub-section.

I think the most important and only necessary safety is the shooter. The lack of a safety on a DA firearms doesnt bother me the slightest. I mostly carry SA guns (Kimber and BHP). If you are more comfortable with a safety then by all means stick to your guns on that issue because comfort with your firearms is a big issue.

On the Kahrs I have owned a few and will admit the polymer guns are more troublesome - they arent all junk but there does seem to be more problems with them then the steel Kahrs. My MK40 has been a dream but the P40 it replaced was a dud.....stick with the steel if you can.

Glock = reliable, tank-like and ugly. They go bang with no issues and are about as simple as it gets - no doodads to work you just pull the trigger. Great gun for its intended purpose.....

XD - mines great, no finish issues and no failures. Has the grip safety but still no standard external safety. I like shooting it more than the Glock but thats due to my main carry piece being a 1911 and the similiar grip angle, safety system. I would say out of the above this is your best choice as it does offer some external safety. If your worried about the finish issues grab a stainless model - personally mine exhibits no problems but YMMV.

Any reason you arent considering a 1911 or Browning HP.....the BHP sounds like everything your looking for except the size. I believe FM makes a model called the "Detective" that got good review from Shotgun News. Its a cut down standard HP. Seems they were around $350ish. BHP is a great platform - high capacity and has your external safety. Mine is a great shooter.

September 21, 2005, 03:11 PM
Welcome to the forum MeanStreaker!

I don't have much to say in answer to most of your post and I will leave that up to the many experts who hang out in here.

However, I would like to suggest something that I think will be helpful on your #4 question.

Your wife...you need to get her onboard with the shooting and having guns idea. To do that I would suggest you back up just a little and think how to win her over. Usually, I find that if the women like to shoot, your life will be much better. Start off with maybe something simple like a .22 riffle. Give her the basics on safety and maybe get her into a safety and shooting class for beginners, and you go with her.

When you go to the range, let her shoot at something that is easy to hit and most of all, fun to shoot at. Maybe clay targets on a board would be fun for her. If she gets into the .22 riffle without any problems, you should have it "made in the shade" as they say (whatever that means). Remember, every gun you buy for her, is as good as buying one for you. :cool: One can never have too many guns right?

I find that semi auto's (hand guns) can be quite complicated with the loud bang, the many different styles of safety buttons, and levers and big recoil with the center fires. You don't want her to become affraid of firearms before she gets started. I have found that a .22 single action revolver is a good starter handgun to learn with.

Guns around the home should be fun and respected by your whole family IMO. Once she is comfortable with plinking, take her to the next level. Work into other types of guns. Make sure she has fun and just maybe....she will want to have a gun of her own. Let her find out for herself that guns are not just for self defense, but are a great form of recreation too. When you take her to the gun show, try to avoid the CCW and the macho part of packin a piece and try talking about the fun side of gun ownership.

Sometimes I think it's too easy to get carried away with the CCW and what gun has the greatest killing power etc. etc. etc. Don't push her with the self defense idea until she gets her feet wet.

I'm no Dr. Phil, just tossing in my 2 cents on how I think you could get her interested.

Good luck, and report back with your progress! :)

September 21, 2005, 05:09 PM
1) Tell me why I shouldn't be concerned about the lack of an external/manual safety on some models. I have read all about Glock's internal 3 safeties, but it still seems to boil down to, "if you want to shoot, pull the trigger." Doesn't seem like much of a safety (except for dropping the firearm).

I keep seeing news articles about police shooting themselves in the leg with their glocks.

September 22, 2005, 07:36 AM
Thanks for all the suggestions, guys.

I have a feeling the wife will come around... I'm taking a different approach than what Dead-Nuts-Zero suggested and emphasizing home/personal defense rather than the recreational side of shooting (but not so much CCW). She was born and raised in Cincinnati, where not a week would go by without some form of major crime close to her parents' house. I've planned from the beginning to get a safe first so she can get used to the idea before I have a weapon in the house. I've told her that I wouldn't even want her to have the combo to the safe unless she had training. She's already agreed that she'd like to get to a range sometime to "try it out" and my Dad and I have plenty of 22's that we've collected over the years for her to cut her teeth on. Next time we're visiting, I plan to take her out.

As far as the more interesting section of my post, based on everything I've read that I can get my hands on (including your responses), I think I'm leaning more towards the Springfield than the Glock. Just knowing the extra safety is on the grip would put my mind at rest, while at the same time I can't see it getting in the way if I need to draw to protect myself or the little woman.

I haven't really looked into the Brownings since they all seem to be pretty heavy/big to be carrying. I'd like this first purchase to be a jack of all trades and then slowly expand my collection as the urges hit me.

Thanks for all your help and please keep the suggestions coming.

September 22, 2005, 10:07 AM
On a true double action pistol I don't worry about a safety. Like another poster said double action revolvers do just fine without them. On light triggers, however, I like to have one. This is one reason I don't like a Glock: the trigger is too light not to have a safety. One doesn't go around with a cocked and unlocked 1911 and I don't see a really big difference with a Glock. The whole point is that I want it to take a concious effort to fire the gun be it through a heavier trigger or flicking a safety catch.

September 22, 2005, 10:13 AM
Are you satisfied with Springfield's grip safety? I agree that there's something to be said for "one less lever to worry about when the BG is charging you." I could see how the grip safety would make me feel more at ease returning the weapon to the holster, while still allowing for an uninterrupted draw. Thoughts?

September 22, 2005, 10:20 AM
No, I'm not satisfied with the Springfield's grip safety because it doesn't take concious effort to release it. For a gun with no lever to fumble with I'd opt for a SIG, Ruger P95, CZ75, or any other true double action with no manual safety (the CZ's safety can't be engaged if the hammer isn't cocked).

September 22, 2005, 04:37 PM
Hi meanstreaker, I hope your getting some helpful info. I own the XD in a 4" barrel in 40 caliber. Anyways, I like the grip safety and it doesn't interfere with firing. Your have to have a grip on the gun and mean to pull the trigger before it will go off. In the situation of drawing and firing it cuts down on time required to get the shot off. I know you could practice alot and become very proficient at the safety manipulation during the draw and fire process with a manual safety. The XD and glock have their advantage in the area of just pull gun out, point gun, and pull the trigger.

When reholdstering, let pressure off of the grip safety to engauge it and if for some weird reason the trigger was snagged the gun wouldn't fire. If you didn't enguage the grip safety and snag the trigger it would be just like the glock and would go off when reholdstering. Of course this shouldn't happen because there shouldn't be anything around the trigger when you aren't goin to fire the weapon. But, crap happens. I'm going to shut up now because I just feel like I'm confuseing you.

Simply said. The XD is a easily operated firearm, as far as semis go. This is what u want for someone unfamiliar to semi autos. So are the Glocks. Both good guns. I prefer XD.

September 22, 2005, 06:28 PM
When I started looking for a 40S&W or a .45ACP I thought about buying the glock at first but deiced too get a ruger insted just because the ruger has a manual safety and I really don't want to wind up shooting my self in the leg because of the lack of safety on the glocks.

September 22, 2005, 07:00 PM
Actually there was an article I read about in one of my magazines about a manual safety for Glocks.....

The gist of the article was that it was a good thing for Officers because while the perp is trying to figure out why the glock wouldnt fire when snatched......a smack to the head or vitals could be delivered.

The shooters firing times were tested with and without the safety device for the Glock the difference was very minimal in time to shot fired.

I have even seen a device form C&S for 1911s? This lets the hammer safely drop and when you hit the manual safety the trigger returns to the cocked positon.

I have not had any personal experience with these but the articles and ad has made me curious :confused:

Maybe one of the TFLers has ?

September 22, 2005, 07:09 PM
She is not a die hard liberal but diddnt see much use for guns.
I actualy started her out on the fun side of shooting and used the "we can spend more time togther if you get into shooting"
That worked for me.
Let me add this here, I am a die hard Glock hater,,,,, that is until
I let her shoot everything from PPKs to revolvers 380's to 45 a total of 12 guns.
with out shooting one she hefted a Glock 26 at the shop I work at and liked the feel.
There is one small problem with the 26 and its also a good thing.
The magazine well is short and even for her small hands it diddnt give enough support on the little finger.
They make (glock) a small extension which only adds to the front of the mag well and it fits her hands much better, it even fits mine.
To make a long story short, she has become a very good shooter and has a lisence to carry.
She is good enough that I dont fear for her being alone at night, you break into our house 'You be dead"
Oh by the way, I am no longer a Glock hater.
I still carry a Kimber Royal carry for a prime gun, but the Glock is a fine weapon.
And I agree with others here, there is little difference between a glock and a revolver for safety.