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Good Question on Pistol Grip Safeties

When the Balloon Goes Up asks: “Why do pistols still have grip safeties?” Because God spoke unto John Moses and deliverdeth the commanded “Thou shalt design in a grip safety!” That’s all there is to it.

19 Responses to “Good Question on Pistol Grip Safeties”

  1. And because the US Army Ordnance Dept demanded it just like the original 1911 had a lanyard loop. Both had to do with use by mounted cavalry.

  2. As I understand it, it was only because the Army demanded it. I understand Browning did not like grip safety, and that’s why it isn’t on the Hi-Power.

  3. Shootin' Buddy says:

    Dude, BIG difference between God and the United States Army!

  4. It’s a redundant external safety which makes a hell of a lot more sense than the trigger safety currently popular on service pistols.

    • They are both dumb, but you can mistakenly not deactivate one of them.

      • If you’re regularly failing to deactivate a grip safety, then you’re using the weapon wrong.

        • Jeff it is caused by two things, 1 if you are trying to get a very high grip you are pushing up on the beaver tail and making the grip safety harder to depress. This wasn’t a problem on the early design. 2 a thumbs forward grip moves the base of you hand away from the grip making it harder to depress. This is why you see more grip safeties with a hump.

          Lastly you are correct I am not using it correctly. It was designed to be fired with 1 hand and I doubt you can cause a failure for either reason shooting it strong hand only.

  5. I happen to like the grip safety. I think the firing pin safety which has become the norm on semiauto pistols is even better than a grip safety, but I can see the merit to it, especially if you are requesting a pistol to be carried by men on horseback.

    Your trivia for the day: the last major power to engage in a cavalry charge: U.S. Army, at Bataan. They charged through the Japanese lines, firing M1911A1s, turned around, reloaded, and came back through the Japanese lines firing. Must have shocked the heck out of the Japanese Army.

  6. GMC70 says:

    Why? Really?

    Because it makes sense.

    I see time and again some idiot who puts his finger (or something else) through the trigger guard and trips the trigger, shooting himself (i.e. Plaxico Burris) or someone else without intending same. A grip safety prevents discharge unless one is gripping the weapon properly. It prevents specifically that kind of accidental discharge. And there is no downside; if the weapon is gripped correctly, one doesn’t even have to think about the grip safety.

    It is why a 1911 is the safest carry weapon. Unless all three procedures are are engaged at the same time (thumb safety, grip safety, and trigger) the gun won’t fire. And all three are intuitive, if one is handling the weapon correctly.

    However, because John Moses Browning made it that way is perfectly fine as rationale. For Army reasons or not.

  7. Zermoid says:

    The current move toward a Glock style “Safety” is asinine, ANYTHING that sticks into the trigger guard and is pushed backwards will, by and of it’s self, fire the gun. Think a large twig or small branch of a bush jutting into the trigger guard as the weapon is holstered, or as we have seen a old leather holster, and BAM! you have a hole in yourself that’s gonna earn you a quick trip to the hospital at best and a slow trip to the cemetery at worst.

    I’ll keep my grip safety and manual thumb safety thank you.

    • Harold says:

      Playing devil’s advocate here (I myself carry a 1911 in Condition 1 and always holster it with my thumb in front of the hammer), there are those who call manual thumb safeties “Death Levers”, because you might forget to swipe them when you really, really need the gun to fire.

      If I was saddled with one with poor ergonomics I might even agree. A counterargument advanced by Massad Ayoob that’s more relevant for those who open carry is that the more “proprietary” a gun, the better a chance you have if yours is grabbed, i.e. if you’re lucky, while the perp is trying to figure out how to make it go “bang” you focus on ending his threat, e.g. with your backup gun.

      • Zermoid says:

        I must admit, I do not always carry a backup gun anymore, guess I’m getting lazy in my old age.
        I do however carry several knives at all times, so I’m not without a secondary “weapon”, although not a great one. In wintertime I usually carry a small pistol in a left (weak side) coat pocket, but summer limits my options quite a bit. I’ve tried shoulder holsters but didn’t really like them. And a holster IWB on both sides doesn’t feel right either. I do sometimes carry a little 25 ACP in my pants pocket, but I’d hate to ‘need’ it, altho I do have it filled with Glaser safety slugs to max it’s effect if it’s needed.

        Might be why I really don’t like going anywhere in the summer, I feel “under dressed”!

        Winter wear is much more CCW friendly!

        • Harold says:

          [For summer] a holster IWB on both sides doesn’t feel right….

          Have you tried a Milt Sparks Summer Special? (Available for 3 models each of 1911s and Glocks without the normal 6 month wait at Brownells and all but the full length 1911 are on sale today (Saturday).)

          I’ve found it to be comfortable with a good pair of jeans and an big polo or whatever shirt. This is with a full length grip aluminum frame 4 inch barrel 1911.

      • Zermoid says:

        And I too think that a “just pull the trigger and it goes bang” type gun is a liability if it’s grabbed. Hopefully the perp grabbing your cocked and locked gun won’t be familiar with it and have to figure out how to make it go bang, which may buy you a couple extra seconds to get it away from him or otherwise incapacitate him.

        If it ever comes down to my life or the other guy’s life I want every edge I can get!

  8. MAJ Mike says:

    So you don’t shoot your balls off in a bar like some dumbass professional sports guy.

  9. Patrick H says:

    Yeah I like the grip safety. I like knowing that the trigger can only be pulled when its depressed- which means a decent grip on the gun.

    Sure, its a potential source of failure- but is there a rash of grip safety failures I don’t know about? Even if JMB didn’t want it, he knew how to design reliable guns and he knew how to make it reliable.

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