Grip Safety or not? (Glock vs. XD)

Posted: August 31, 2010 in Uncategorized

Get a grip?

The problem with this never-ending debate is that the terminology creates a false mental impression.

There is no such thing as a real “safety” on a gun. As soon as you put a bullet into the chamber, the gun is not safe. A certain chain of unpredicted malfunctions and errors, however unlikely, (see Space Shuttle) can cause the gun to fire at an unintended time if a bullet is present.

I prefer to think of safeties as “fire prevention mechanisms”, which is what they actually are.

Layers of them make it more and more unlikely the gun will not fire (maybe even when I want it to fire.)

The safest gun is unloaded and disassembled, but is useless for it’s intended purpose in that condition. (Just like Space shuttles won’t blow up if we don’t put fuel in them and shoot them into space.) We have to, in effect, trade “safety” for “risk” if we want the benefits the device is designed to offer.

My car has multiple systems designed to prevent injury during a crash.

The seat belt is the primary injury prevention system (“finger off the trigger”). The airbag (“grip safety”) adds additional injury protection, and works in concordance with the seatbelt. It might still save my bacon if the seatbelt fails due to engineering or operator error.

Other passive features like the laminated windshield (“trigger lever”), collapsible steering column (“firing pin block”), and built-in crumple zones (“magazine disconnect”) create yet more survivability.

All of them also add cost, complexity, are possible operation annoyances, and potential points of device failure UNTIL I CRASH, then they are ultra-vital.  Then, the more I have, the better off I am.

I prefer the balance of crisis functionality, trigger feel, mechanical complexity, and “idiot proof” operation found in my stock XD45. I “thumb” the firing pin indicator when reholstering, and it gives me piece of mind with minor added complexity and minimal added cost.

Other people might value the even lower complexity of not having a grip safety (Glock), or trade crisp trigger feel for a long, heavy DAO trigger (S&W Sigma) to gain ease of use, do away with all the fire prevention devices except stout springs (Kel Tec) to save cost – the engineering choices are endless.

Each must choose their comfort level, while respecting why others may choose different.  (This will allow more time for caliber wars!)


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