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Old January 13, 2020, 02:15 PM   #1
ATN082268
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What advantage to not firing without mag?

Is there an advantage to not be able to fire your semi-auto handgun without a magazine inserted? And yes, assume a round is in the chamber
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Old January 13, 2020, 02:51 PM   #2
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None that I can think of. As far as I know, the sole reason for the magazine disconnect “safety“ feature is to prevent a negligent discharge by someone who thinks that simply removing the magazine from the firearm makes it completely unloaded.
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Old January 13, 2020, 02:55 PM   #3
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Yes, if the magazine locks the slide back so you can see you've "run dry.." I suppose in a real desperate situation where you've lost your magazine you can still shot.
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Old January 13, 2020, 03:16 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by jmhyer View Post
None that I can think of. As far as I know, the sole reason for the magazine disconnect “safety“ feature is to prevent a negligent discharge by someone who thinks that simply removing the magazine from the firearm makes it completely unloaded.
There has also been an argument that for people in law enforcement they can drop the magazine in a gun grab scenario and then the pistol can't be used against the officer. There are always stories of that happening. How you quantity how prevalent that is/was, idk.

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Old January 13, 2020, 05:12 PM   #5
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Post numbers 2 and 4 are about the only reasons for this.

But post 2 mis-states the reason.

Quote:
None that I can think of. As far as I know, the sole reason for the magazine disconnect “safety“ feature is to prevent a negligent discharge by someone who thinks that simply removing the magazine from the firearm makes it completely unloaded.
It's that people forget that there is a round in the chamber. Not so much that they believe that dropping the mag "means" that the gun is unloaded. It's that they forget. This is a common reason for unintended discharges. Especially for guns where you have to pull the trigger before field stripping.

The main arguments for it in both cases are they add a layer of security. This was a favorite reason for some militaries and for law enforcement to have the feature.

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Old January 13, 2020, 05:17 PM   #6
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A surprising number of LE officers are shot with their own guns after having them taken away during a struggle. Or that used to be the case. Training is much different now. They have less than lethal options and are trained to shoot sooner than years ago when many officers used to try to subdue suspects and at times were overpowered.

Having the ability to drop the magazine and render the gun inoperable was the primary reason for the feature. Also it is quite common for people less familiar with guns to think they have unloaded a pistol by simply removing the magazine. There have been many reports of kids and others unfamiliar with guns involved in accidental shootings after they "thought" they unloaded the gun.

That is the rational. It is my opinion that the negatives outweigh the positives. That feature used to be pretty common, but is not used nearly as much on newer designs.
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Old January 13, 2020, 07:46 PM   #7
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I think it's mostly an idiot proofing attempt. Most negligent thing I've witnessed in awhile was someone (an adult mind you that is a multi gun owner already) handing me back a 10-22 after taking out the mag and leaving a round in there because he mistakenly thought he emptied it - the magazine maybe was.
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Old January 13, 2020, 08:12 PM   #8
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Another possible plus for a pistol having a magazine disconnect is to have a pistol with a round chambered, sans magazine, close by for home defense purposes, with the removed loaded magazine hidden nearby but readily accessible. This scenario would keep the pistol relatively "safe" from inquisitive hands but still relatively easy to get the pistol loaded for self-defense.
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Old January 13, 2020, 10:30 PM   #9
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It's a safety feature to prevent accidental discharges when cleaning, a safety device to keep unwanted people from firing it and possibly a legal CYA thing. On the other hand if you're in a struggle and somehow accidentally drop the magazine then your gun is useless. Most striker fired guns don't have this as far as I'm aware of (Glocks require the trigger to be pulled for tear down). Whatever you're carrying, it would be a good idea to know how it operates with the mag out so you have a contingency plan.

As to what's better- it reminds me of the old used car salesman tactic regarding which side the gas fill is on...

"The gas fill is conveniently located on the passenger side, which is safer if you have to refuel on the side of the road."

"The gas fill is conveniently located on the driver side, which is safer for you to refuel at a gas station."
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Old January 13, 2020, 10:47 PM   #10
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I always thought it was a safety thing, but I have to question the idea of dropping the mag if someone is reaching for your gun.... seems like the most impractical if not impossible thing to do in middle of that situation? How does that even work?
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Old January 14, 2020, 12:20 AM   #11
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It's a "save your butt" in one situation and a "get you killed" in another, kind of thing.

All depends on how you look at it and which possible scenario(s) you choose to examine. I've often heard the one about how if the bad guy goes for your pistol you can drop the mag and he can't shoot you, if he gets the gun away from you. This is true.
however, I wonder about the wisdom of this. First off, I wonder, why, if the bad guy is grabbing for your gun, don't you just SHOOT HIM???

Next point is, ok, you dropped the mag, now the bad guy can't shoot you with your gun. NOR, can you shoot him! No free lunch there, fellows...

Another point, if you include the rough and tumble, something might hit you mag release button without you realizing it. If this happens in a pistol without the magazine disconnect, you still have one shot. Which might just be the one shot that saves your butt, or someone else's. If you have a magazine disconnect, you have NO shot when you expect one.

I don't see this as a positive feature. Also, worst case the mag fails, gets damaged or lost and you still have ammo (say, loose in your bag or in a box).
If your gun doesn't have a mag disconnect you still have a functional firearm. Slow, single shots but it will still shoot. Lose the mag from a pistol with a disconnect and you do not have a functional firearm. Not even a single shot one.

balance that against the possibility of it preventing an accident. For me, I'd prefer not to have one.

It may have been a feature of some small pocket pistols, I'd have to do some research, but I know the first major service class semi auto that had one was the Browning Hi Power.

According to "legend", the French requested it. FN wanted to sell pistols to the French, they had the unfinished pistol JM Browning had been working on when he died and wanted customers for the gun. The French wanted a magazine disconnect, FN designers finished the Hi Power with that feature (among others Browning didn't create), and then, the French found some reason not to buy the guns. Other people did, and the Hi Power with its disconnect became part of firearms history, serving well in peace and war. (fade out, cue theme music....roll credits...)

Some people think they are a good idea, some don't. I think they're a pain in the butt, but that's just me.

If you think its useful, fine. If you're ever in a situation where it endangers you, you'll probably change your mind. If you're ever in is situation where it saves you, you be a believer for life. All I know is, that if you don't have one, it can neither harm nor help you. and, if you do, it MIGHT.
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Old January 14, 2020, 12:24 AM   #12
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It's not a totally dumb idea.

You're talking with people who collect guns and posts on a gun specific website.

The cleaning a gun without mag or kid finds gun/drops mag and kills friend isn't at much cost...
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Old January 14, 2020, 01:11 AM   #13
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IMO,its a bad feature.

"All attempts at foolproofing are folly,for the genius of the fool is infinite"
William Blake

Coopers 4 rules and having one simple drill,open the breech and check the chamber, establishes one right way.

To mechanically force another drill that results in a loaded,locked chamber is IMO,madness. These safeties lock the slide. Yo arecarryng,round chambered.
How do you fully unload a controlled round feed? Cycling the rounds through? That's "safer"?

The LEO seizes an unfamiliar gun during an arrest.Does he want to fiddle around figuring out how to clear a mag safety gun ?

Its also true that if I was in a serious gunfight,I'd subconsciously count
my rounds down . With single stack,afer 5 or 6 rounds I'd take an opportunity for a mag change. At that vulnerable moment,havng one round still ready for the unexpected is a comfort.

And,FWIW, the "I had a accident while I was cleaning my gun" has been used a lot.....But I'd feel real dumb and gullible if I believed it.

Last edited by HiBC; January 14, 2020 at 01:31 AM.
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Old January 14, 2020, 09:00 AM   #14
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I can recall two instances where a negligent discharge occurred when the shooter dropped the mag then pulled the trigger to drop the hammer. Experienced shooters...no excuses...luckily they were pointed in a safe direction....Mag safeties are a waste of time...critical time...and give a false sense of security. My HO, YMMv, Rod
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Old January 14, 2020, 12:13 PM   #15
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HiBC,

I don't know who William Blake is, but he's absolutely right on this one. (smile)

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Old January 14, 2020, 12:30 PM   #16
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Quote:
It may have been a feature of some small pocket pistols, I'd have to do some research, but I know the first major service class semi auto that had one was the Browning Hi Power.
Service pistol, yes.
Colt had been putting magazine disconnects in .25s for some time and had added them to .32 and .380 before the GP or even the GR came out.

My efforts to channel Mr Browning, Mr Tansley, and Msr Saive say that the original intent was to protect the user from carelessness in leaving a round in the chamber after drawing the magazine.
The gun grab defense seems not to have been discovered until American police started using the S&W M39.
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Old January 14, 2020, 01:36 PM   #17
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You can argue both ways on this subject and make good point either direction. For me I will not buy a gun with a magazine disconnect.
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Old January 14, 2020, 01:38 PM   #18
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The mag safety on a BHP is there because the European PD's it was designed for demanded it. And nothing else. It was not part of JM's first design.
The trigger pull is not and was not a concern with PD issue firearms. Nor was/is a "quick draw" or civilian self-defence as there is/was no such thing in Europe. Nor did protecting the user from anything.
The only time it could be an issue is if the useless thing is removed and somebody who expects the thing(usually a BHP) to have one. Mind you, one shouldn't be leaving one's toys/tools laying around ready to go bang anyway.
Home defense has nothing to do with it as Europeans are not allowed to do that.
"...if the bad guy is grabbing for your gun..." Means you let the guy get too close.
"...LEO seizes an unfamiliar gun..." That'd be all handguns except for the guy's issue piece. And even then a cop may not know.
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Old January 15, 2020, 03:27 PM   #19
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In the 1890s Americans who had developed designs for self loading semi automatic pistols had to go to Europe to get anyone to pay attention to them. American manufacturers avoided the suspicious things. So Hugo Borchardt, Hiram Maxim and John Browning all sold their early designs for semis in Europe. Even Browning's semi auto shotgun had to be first produced by FN. Once successful American arms manufacturers got involved. So don't be too hard on Europe, it led the way in semis.

On magazine disconnects I'm not sure when they first appeared but it was obviously after the development of the first detachable box magazine with the Borchardt pistol. This followed the successful use of these, box magazines, in bolt action rifles by the military. Many things about the use of handguns in armies come over from their use of long guns. (Think for a bit on the role the magazine cut off played in bolt action military rifles. The military did not trust armies of draftees, farmers, peasants and truck drivers, with complicated things like rifles.)

(The 1st and 2 variations of the Colt M1903 did not have mag disconnects. The later variations did have them.)

In turn most things and requirements for law enforcement handguns come over from the military use of the same.

So the mag disconnect comes from the military and first appeared there, from there to law enforcement.

The mag disconnect ensures that the gun will not fire unless the magazine is properly seated. A magazine that is not fully seated or partially seated, could fall loose when a soldier did not want it to or it could cause a jam. It instantly reminds the soldier, by not firing, that the gun needs a mag in it to be useful. It prevents a gun from firing when the soldier fails to rack the slide to eject a round in the chamber. This follows a military mindset where pistols were not drawn till a soldier was ordered to do so. Pistols were provided to Officers, cavalry, artillery crews, grenadiers and some other units. Yep not the infantry but not just officers either.

Now I can't recall reading anything, anywhere before the 1970s justifying the mag disconnect as a way to prevent the bad guy from shooting a law man by dropping the mag. I think this is a U.S. thing. I think it was offered up to explain why so many S&W da/sa semis with mag disconnects were used by law enforcement in the U.S. from the 1970s till the early 90s and later.

The story was spun by gun writers and salesmen that if a bad guy got the gun away from you in a scrum you could get your hand on the gun long enough to drop the mag and stop him from shooting you. This did in fact happen a very few times. This was never a reason that mag disconnects were developed but was and is an argument in favor of them after that fact.

In the real world one could as easily eject a mag from a pistol without a disconnect as from one with it. So think on the options from that point.

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Last edited by tipoc; January 15, 2020 at 03:32 PM.
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Old January 15, 2020, 04:05 PM   #20
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If I cannot look into the chamber,I cannot verify the gun is clear.

While I use a safety as a layer of redundancy, I reject the idea of relying on a safety as the primary means of rendering a gun safe.

As far as drills,manual of arms and habits, IMO,being stuck in a limbo between the two is a recipe for disaster.

Lets not forget the 1911 guy,while he definitely SHOULD check the chamber before inserting a mag,maybe a mag gets inserted into a handgun that is ASSUMED to have an empty chamber (I Know! Not OK)

Essentially,with a mag safety gun,loading a magazine renders the chamber loaded and hot with no other action,such as racking the slide..

Once agan,if you WANT to go from fully loaded gun to fully empty gun with a chamber inspected clear,......how do you get there?

I don't hae any ag safe guns,but I assume you cycle the slide to pump a mag full of single rounds through the gun.

Or,leave a gun wherever it is stored,safe,or table,or nightstand,with a round in the chamber. Safer? I don't think so
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Old January 15, 2020, 04:25 PM   #21
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Quote:
If I cannot look into the chamber,I cannot verify the gun is clear.
This is one of the reasons for press checks. You look in the chamber.

Quote:
Once agan,if you WANT to go from fully loaded gun to fully empty gun with a chamber inspected clear,......how do you get there?
In that case you drop the mag first then rack the slide which will eject the round in the chamber.

I may not understand your questions but...

Quote:
Essentially,with a mag safety gun,loading a magazine renders the chamber loaded and hot with no other action,such as racking the slide..
This is not true. Loading a magazine into a gun with a mag disconnect is no different than loading a magazine into a gun without one. If we start with a gun that is unloaded, with a clear chamber, slide down, when you insert a magazine you have to rack the slide and lower it to feed a round from the mag into the chamber. If we start from a piece with the slide open you load the mag into the gun and lower the slide to place a round in the chamber.

In a gun with a mag disconnect if the hammer is cocked it will not fall when the trigger is pulled. So you can rack the slide and lower it but the gun will not fire. In a gun like the Shield you can do the same but the striker will not operate when the trigger is pulled on unless a magazine is in place.

I'm confused at what you are trying to say in your post.

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Last edited by tipoc; January 15, 2020 at 04:31 PM.
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Old January 15, 2020, 04:39 PM   #22
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The one gun I owned with a mag safety was a 9 mm MAB-PA-15.

If I had a round in the chamber and removed the magazine,the slide was locked shut. I could not pull the slide back to clear the chamber.

Somehow the mag safety part fell out of the gun.

The only way I knew to go from fully loaded to fully clear was racking the slide 15 times.... Till the mag safety "fell out"

Update:

This was long enough ago that gun was $75 new. The new price on a Colt SAA in 45 Colt was $193. I traded the MAB in on the Colt.

It was a while back.

Thinking about it,if you used the slide stop to lock the slide back before removing the mag,you could unload it.

My mistake

Last edited by HiBC; January 15, 2020 at 04:50 PM.
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Old January 15, 2020, 06:31 PM   #23
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Quote:
What advantage to not firing without mag?
It gives the lawyers one less thing to sue the manufacturers over!
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Old January 15, 2020, 06:33 PM   #24
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Delete~~~duplicate
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Old January 15, 2020, 09:56 PM   #25
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Having a lot of pistols and duplicates, I'm quite sure they are there so gun owners can discuss how it changed the trigger pull significantly when in fact it did not.
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