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  1. #1
    Join Date
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    Default Safties, Triggers, and Fingers, Oh My!

    After reading the several recent threads on keeping fingers off the trigger, I have a few thoughts:
    From a purely tactical standpoint, Using any handgun with an external manual safety (such as the M1911's) you should dis-engage the safety as soon as the weapon is presented for use.
    From a purely legal standpoint, you should leave the safety engaged for as long as possible, until the moment just before you pull the trigger.
    The user has to compromise either tactics or legal liability, when using this type of safety system.
    A handgun with a trigger safety system, such as a Glock,creates an optimum condition where both the safty is engaged as long as possible, and no extra actions are required to dis-engage the safety.
    Therefore, I would conclude: Given the current legal climate in The United States, I believe, all other factors being equal, for self defense purposes, A handgun with a Glock style trigger safety is superior in both tactics and legal liability, than a handgun with an external manual safety.
    Now before I get flamed, and labeled a troll, let me qualify this. All things are NOT equal between handguns, and the mode of operation of a safety is not the only factor that should be considered. Egronomics, reliability, accuracy, comfort of use of the shooter, price, ammo,etc... all play a role in selecting a handgun.
    Thoughts on external manual safeties:
    The purpose of a safety is to prevent a firearm from an accidental discharge (the gun firing from some condition OTHER than the trigger being pulled.) External Manual safeties also may reduce the chance of a negligent discharge( pulling the trigger when you shouldn't.)
    Generally a handgun will be presented (unholstered) for two reasons.
    1: Anticipation of use- you are on high alert, and expect to use the gun.
    2: Utility- you are servicing,loading,unloading,cleaning,showing your gun to friends etc...
    A trigger safety is at a disadvantage when a gun is presented in a utility situation, because there is one less barrier from a negligent discharge.
    Therefore I would conclude: Given the current legal climate in The United States, I believe, all other factors being equal, a handgun with an external manual safety is superior to a handgun with a trigger safety for sporting use, range use, collection, display, "fun gun" use etc...
    If someone plans to use a handgun with an external manual safety for self defense use, I believe the following conduct should apply to using the safety:
    If you are presenting the gun for anticipated use, the safety should be dis-engaged for best tactical advantage. The anticipation of use indicates the risk of death should outweigh the risk of legal liability.
    If you are presenting the gun for a utility purpose, the safety should remain engaged.
    Of the course the ultimate safety is to keep your finger off the trigger.
    Summary:
    I am not a fan or hater of any particular firearm (I only use Glock and M1911 as examples because I think most people on this board are familiar with them.)
    After thinking through this post, I have decided I should update my self defense.38 special wheelgun to a DAO pistol with trigger safety.
    Hope all of this is food for thought.
    Have a good day
    Stay safe
    and don't shoot me ;-)

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2000
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    Beyond The Wall
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    45,876
    Ronald,

    First welcome. Second, you'll find that this place is different. Here we take our study (and not ourselves) seriously. You will not get flamed for disagreeing. You will not get banned for arguing with me or anyone else. The conversations here are the same as if we were sitting around in my war room drinking coffee. I think you'll find it refreshing.

    And BTW, your post makes excellent sense to me.

    Gabe
    Gabriel Suarez

    Turning Lambs into Lions Since 1995

    Suarez International USA Headquarters

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    In the world but not of it
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    Good idea to compare & contrast "liability" vs "usage."

  4. #4
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    Oct 2003
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    Gabe, Catchy new Title.. you have a Desk plack for that ?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    Welcome Ronald. Sit back, have yourself a Starbucks and join in.

    Makes sense to me to.;)
    **Mike Ronin on FaceBook**

    **Spero optimus instruo pro pessimus**

    **Out of destruction rises opportunity. We are only defeated when we give up. Never, ever give up. (Phil 4:13)**

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    Hey Roland. Regardless of the specific discussion; you think and write with precision. I sure like that.


    "With a heavy does of fear and violence, and a lot of money for projects, I think we can convince these people that we are here to help them" (Colonel Sassaman NYTimes 7 Dec 2003).

  7. #7
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    RB,, hard to fault your chain of thought, my only point and its just a pet pive of mine,,,

    There are no accidental discharges, they are negligent as you state later on in your remarks.
    All animals except man know that the ultimate of life is to enjoy it.

    Samuel Butler


    FACIEM TUAM, DOMINC, REQUIRAM

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
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    Arizona
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    Quote Originally Posted by RonaldBeal
    From a purely tactical standpoint, Using any handgun with an external manual safety (such as the M1911's) you should dis-engage the safety as soon as the weapon is presented for use.
    I strongly disagree with this statement; if you are gripping the 1911 properly with your thumb in the high safety (on the safety) position there is absolutely no time difference between shots fired and timed with the safety on and the safety off.
    The 1911 safety should never be disengaged until the exact moment that you have decided to fire and your finger is moving to the trigger, both are done instantaneously without added delay or movement.

    Quote Originally Posted by RonaldBeal
    From a purely legal standpoint, you should leave the safety engaged for as long as possible, until the moment just before you pull the trigger.
    I am going to disagree with your statement right here as stated, there is no legal requirement to keep a loaded weapon that you have drawn and pointed at another human being at on safe; once you have produced the firearm and are pointing it at that person every legal standard says they are prudent in believing you not only intend to and are capable of using it that you will do so at anytime as you have deployed lethal force which is the highest legal standard of force and they are completely justified in responding with lethal force as is anyone around you if they do or do not and who around decides to intervene is going to depend upon luck, circumstance, and timing.

    Quote Originally Posted by RonaldBeal
    The user has to compromise either tactics or legal liability, when using this type of safety system.
    Only if the user is inexperienced and incapable of properly operating the 1911 firearm, any person capable of properly gripping the pistol and capable of moving their finger onto the trigger is capable of disengaging the safety as the hand is contracted and neither is a fine muscle movement.

    Quote Originally Posted by RonaldBeal
    A handgun with a trigger safety system, such as a Glock,creates an optimum condition where both the safty is engaged as long as possible, and no extra actions are required to dis-engage the safety.
    Therefore, I would conclude: Given the current legal climate in The United States, I believe, all other factors being equal, for self defense purposes, A handgun with a Glock style trigger safety is superior in both tactics and legal liability, than a handgun with an external manual safety.
    It is an opinion you obviously do not share but it has come up many many times in the past 19 years and FWIW it is a losing one in the court system due to the basic premise of the location and purpose of the Glock safe action trigger system. The Glock SA trigger system is not a weapon safety it is a trigger actuation system by it's own design and engineering specifications.

    Quote Originally Posted by RonaldBeal
    Of the course the ultimate safety is to keep your finger off the trigger.
    100%
    Last edited by Ammo Lab; 01-27-2005 at 12:32 AM.
    Think, Plan, Train. Stay Safe, Thanks.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
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    Nashville, TN, USA
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    Default Accidental v negligent

    I certainly understand the reasoning behind "There are no accidental discharges, they are negligent..."

    "accident" from dictionary.com:
    ac·ci·dent
    n.
    An unexpected and undesirable event, especially one resulting in damage or harm: car accidents on icy roads.
    An unforeseen incident: A series of happy accidents led to his promotion.
    An instance of involuntary urination or defecation in one's clothing.
    Lack of intention; chance: ran into an old friend by accident.
    Logic. A circumstance or attribute that is not essential to the nature of something.

    neg·li·gence
    Pronunciation: 'ne-gli-j&ns
    Function: noun
    : failure to exercise the degree of care expected of a person of ordinary prudence in like circumstances in protecting others from a foreseeable and unreasonable risk of harm in a particular situation; also : conduct that reflects this failure called also ordinary negligence simple negligence


    I do think there can be accidental discharges that are not negligent. There are certain designs and implementations in firearms that have failed in ways not anticipated. I do not think this is negligence on the part of the buyer/owner, because I believe it is unreasonable to expect everyone who buys a gun to be an expert on mechanics, engineering, metallurgy, and gunsmithing.
    Even the claim that it is negligence on part of the designer or manufacturer may be unreasonable. Often a inherent design failure is more a failure of imaganation than failing to "exercise the degree of care expected of a person of ordinary prudence in like circumstances" Sometimes you just can't anticipate EVERY possible thing that may happen to a firearm.
    Respectfully
    Ronald Beal

  10. #10
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    Default Ammo Lab

    Ammolab:
    A:
    you say "... if you are gripping the 1911 properly with your thumb in the high safety (on the safety) position there is absolutely no time difference between shots fired and timed with the safety on and the safety off."
    and later you say "Only if the user is inexperienced and incapable of properly operating the 1911 firearm, any person capable of properly gripping the pistol and capable of moving their finger onto the trigger is capable of disengaging the safety as the hand is contracted and neither is a fine muscle movement."
    I agree with both of these statements, however, I think they add credence to my belief that the 1911 safety system creates a tactical libality.
    1. There ARE situations when you cannot properly grip the pistol. Your hand is injured, and you cannot get proper grip, your hand is restrained and you must use your weak hand, you are engaged in combatives and/or retaining your pistol and cannot get proper grip, etc...
    Your rationalization is that you can train away the tactical liabilities, but that dosn't remove the fact that all other things being equal, it still is a tactical liability. Bang, vs saftey-bang, even if there is no difference in time, there still is one more step that can go wrong.
    B:
    You say:
    "I am going to disagree with your statement right here as stated, there is no legal requirement to keep a loaded weapon that you have drawn and pointed at another human being at on safe; once you have produced the firearm and are pointing it at that person every legal standard says they are prudent in believing you not only intend to and are capable of using it that you will do so at anytime as you have deployed lethal force which is the highest legal standard of force and they are completely justified in responding with lethal force as is anyone around you if they do or do not and who around decides to intervene is going to depend upon luck, circumstance, and timing."
    I am no expert in law, but what you state makes sense. First let me ask... This being the case why do you say "The 1911 safety should never be disengaged until the exact moment that you have decided to fire and your finger is moving to the trigger" when you do not have to,( again bang, vs saftey-bang)instead of dis-engaging the safty the moment you draw the weapon?
    Additionally let me clarify my position:
    I said "From a purely legal standpoint, you should leave the safety engaged for as long as possible, until the moment just before you pull the trigger."
    What I should have said:
    A handgun with trigger safety has a safety mechanism engaged up until the moment the trigger is pulled, that reduces the likelyhood of an accidental discharge. A handgun with an external manual safety may or MAY NOT have a mechanism engaged that reduces the likelyhood of an accidental discharge. Therefore, IF the external manual safety is dis-engaged, there is greater possibility of an AD, and the associated legal expenses that may come along with that AD. So, from a purely legal standpoint, having a safety engaged until the moment before you pull the trigger reduces the chance of an AD and it's associated legal liability. (granted it is a small chance, but one none the less)
    C:
    You say "... The Glock SA trigger system is not a weapon safety it is a trigger actuation system by it's own design and engineering specifications."
    regardless of what we call it, it's purpose is to prevent the weapon from firing from a condition other than the trigger being pulled (AD). The "safety" on a M1911 does this as well, making the gun "safer" than with the safety dis-engaged. The 1911 safety ALSO makes the gun safer from pulling the trigger when it's not meant to be pulled, which a glock trigger safety does not.
    My conclusion is that a 1911 with safety engaged is "safer" all around for everyone (including bad guys) than a glock. However it is less safe when the safety is dis-engaged (greater chance of AD.) Therefore I stand by my earlier conclusions that all other things being equal, a trigger safety such as glock is better for self defense, and an external manual safety such as m1911 is better for a range gun.
    D:
    At least we agree that keeping your finger off the trigger is the best solution.
    E:
    Again, type of safety system is not the only factor that should go into your choice of gun. You, Ammo lab, seem to be familiar and comfortable with the 1911, which means a whole lot more than what kind of safety it has. I don't think you made a bad choice. I do think for someone just starting, and not having a pre-aquired familiarity with a particular manual of arms however, there are better choices.
    Respectfully
    Ronald Beal

    Have a good day
    Stay safe
    and don't shoot me ;-)

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