The Case Against Mechanical Safeties


One more reason I don’t like mechanical safeties is they don’t work if one doesn’t remember to turn it on.


I mostly agree with the premise of the article. Though I would replace the word mechanical with manual since I would call both manual and passive safeties mechanical.

The article also mentions that single actions require manual safeties and I think with proper training and enough practice that you can make deactivating the safety a pretty automatic response.


Without reading the article, when they say “mechanical”, do they really mean manual?

I am not aware of any pistol safety that is not mechanical.

Edit: Annnnd someone beat me to it. By 1 minute, typing at the same time I bet. hehe, you win this round


Yeah… Bad usage of “mechanical” word. Even Glock’s safety mechanisms are mechanical :wink:

Few questions regarding “safety or not safety levers handguns”:

  • which holiday is more important for Christians - Christmas or Easter?
  • which came first? Egg or chicken?
  • which transmission is better - manual or auto?

People who don’t know how to use external safeties properly will always complain about their existence. People who feel safer with external safeties and do know how to properly use them will never say bad words about them.

Who is right, who is wrong? Both and none. Thank God we have firearms with and without external safeties and we use what fits the best at the moment.

I personally started with striker fired handgun without any external safeties. Was it bad? Not at all. However after few months I decided to switch to different model with thumb safety. I felt more comfortable with it and learned how to shoot with it. Right now every handgun I own is equipped with, at least, thumb safety.

BTW… I hate decockers… but… shhh… :shushing_face: :shushing_face: :shushing_face:


Mine have finger safeties😀
I almost picked up a FN FNP .45 the other day which has a decocker, I like having it on a hammer fire but have always had that little whisper in my ear asking “what IF that decocker fails and lands on the primer?”


If it goes into a holster, no safety. If you’re just putting it on the night stand, or in a drawer for self defense purposes- safety.

I have my Glock 17 in a holster at all times.

My AR I usually have sitting by my bedside so I use the safety.


Love my SP2022 with no manual safety. The manual decocker on that bad boy makes some super satisfying sounds, how could anyone not like a nice clicky clacky control to fidget with? :worried:


9mm, 40 S&W, or .357 Sig?

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It’s 9mm. Are all the internals the same? Really needs new springs, but the right ones lol

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In my opinion thumb safety makes nicer click. And it can be clicked multiple times during single draw stroke. Can you do this with decocker? :yum:

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Oh good, this conversation again. Maybe we can argue about caliber size, while we’re at it. :roll_eyes:

I’m an old dog who has decades of muscle memory flicking thumb safeties. I’ve tried it without, and I lose time because my trigger finger doesn’t squeeze until the thumb flicks. Plenty of hot-shot kids behind the sales counter have tried to convince me otherwise, but I don’t feel the need to change. I don’t run around this forum trying to convince everyone else that their firearms are bad, but I guess some people feel that need.

If you don’t want a safety, that’s fine. If you want one, that’s fine. Carry what you’re comfortable with, no one cares. No one cares what you think about the rest of us, either.


Thank you for bringing this up @leo23 , the discussion definitely has merit. The article though - doesn’t stand up to criticism. All mechanical components may fail, the chances of failure are different for different parts. What is the chance of a click safety failing vs. the rest of the auto-pistol? No numbers given, so who knows. If the author is so concerned with mechanical failures, how come he didn’t pick up a revolver?

“idea that once you “turn the safety on,” you can ignore the standard rules of firearms handling” - where did this come from? Click safety does not automatically make gun owner forget all safety training, nor having or not having any device on the weapon can stop an idiot from causing harm.

The notion of increase in physiological response time is also arguable. The arm motion to present the weapon covers that thumb swipe to disengage the click safety - no increase in overall time to present.

The main safety is in the mind of the gun owner. The 2nd most important safety is the holster. If click-safety makes you carry with more confidence - do it. If lack of click safety makes you more confident - do that. Just my opinion (I have safeties on my EDCs)


While I now am an advocate of striker fired guns for SD this article is full of inaccurate statements such as this statement about the need for what he erroneously calls “mechanical safeties” in single action pistols such as the 1911:

“This is due to their being carried with the hammer back, creating a very short and light trigger press that would be dangerous without the mechanical safety.”

The trigger pull weight of a factory Glock is 4.5-5 Lbs. the trigger pull weight if a factory Kimber is… guess…

And a light trigger pull weight is NOT inherently “dangerous”. That just a stupid thing to say and a frequent subject of folks I call gun store counter ninjas.

Plus there is zero time added to a proper draw and presentation by disengaging a manual safety. Another stupid myth.


this :point_up:


I carried a 1911 as well as shooting one in competition for over 20 years. Even though today I carry a striker fired micro nine, my thumb still makes the same movement to disengage safety on the draw stroke. It is as part of me as breathing practically.

I guess what I’m saying is that if you train with what you shoot and shoot with what you train you’re going to be fine either way. Even though it is usually good advice if you carry more than one firearm to keep the manual of arms the same between them for me I don’t worry about it. That thumb habit is not something I’m going to try and change. I still carry my 4-in 45 ACP 1911 from time to time.


“Train”. The word that solves every issue that has to do with SD. And like you I carry mostly striker guns now but I will go back to a 1911 every once in a while and train interchangeably with both.

You know, in decades of going back and forth in training how many time I’ve missed sweeping that thumb safety down? None! And the timer proves it adds NO time.


I read a true story of a guy who was accosted while filling with gas… the bad guy had a gun but wasn’t paying attention and the good guy got the upper hand with his REVOLVER… he tried shooting the bad guy but the trigger wouldn’t pull-- he forgot to take his finger from the side of revolver and put it on the trigger— so we should do away with mechanical triggers. So, your point?

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Actually reading it again I’m actually shocked that PDN published this article. It’s just click bait full if inaccurate statements. They’re slacking.


I understand and agree 100%. In my comp days I would shoot bowling pin tournaments to pay for my reloading supplies. On an average day I would clear five bowling pins from the rail and 2.7 seconds or slightly less and that was with a 45. I think my best score was 2.47 seconds. I never missed a thumb sweep of the safety and it was required that it was engaged before the buzzer went off.