By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
Look around various gun forums or talk to gun owners and there are likely going to be some people that just hate on Glocks, the Glock safety system, and any and all derivatives of them. To be sure, there are a lot of Glock-inspired or derived (or outright copied) pistols on the market. The polymer-framed striker-fired pistol format is far more popular now compared to any other firing mechanism, as double/single-action pistols are becoming increasingly rare.
What has gone hand-in-hand with the plastic striker gun is reports of negligent discharges. This has led some people to believe that these guns are unsafe compared to – insert favorite gun of the critic here – and therefore they aren’t as good. Negligent discharges don’t happen with 1911s, they say, or with revolvers. Plastic striker guns that don’t have the safety features aren’t as safe, the critics go on to say.
There are some common causes of negligent or accidental discharge in the plastic striker guns, both of which can easily be prevented. The first cause is allowing something – be it some sort of debris or clothing – to enter the trigger guard, snag the trigger and actuate it, engaging the firing mechanism and causing the pistol to go “bang” when it otherwise should not have done.
For instance, there was a news report of a sheriff in Illinois that suffered an accidental discharge while holstering a Glock pistol. What was discovered is that he holstered his pistol after a drawstring from his jacket had dropped down into the empty holster. As he pushed his gun into the holster, the drawstring entered the trigger guard. After a few steps…there was a gunshot and he got a bullet in the foot for his troubles.
There are also a number of reports of people wearing belt slide holsters of the Yaqui holster design suffering an AD. What happens is the leather of the holster begins to fold as it ages, eventually curling into the trigger guard and snagging the trigger, causing a discharge.
There are also instances of discharge while handling, normally because the person handling the firearm was touching the trigger when they shouldn’t have been. A good example is the man who accidentally shot a woman the woman sitting in front of him in a Seattle-area movie theater earlier this year.
Another common occurrence is the takedown procedure. Many guns of the striker-fired variety require a trigger pull to take the slide off the frame for cleaning. There have been so many instances of a gun going off in these instances. It even happens to supposed professionals; a good number of discharges of this type have occurred in police stations.
Every single one of the above-mentioned stereotypical NDs is completely preventable with a bit of mindfulness and just following simple guidelines of gun safety. Incidentally, I wrote an extensive gun safety guide on the Alien Gear Holsters site with all the gun safety information a person could ever need.
When it comes to pistols without a safety mechanism or the benefit of a long, hard double-action trigger pull, the name of the game is keeping the trigger protected when holstered or holstering the gun. Check the holster for obstructions before holstering a loaded gun. All it takes is one look before holstering to keep this from happening.
Regarding Yaqui slide holsters, they were developed in an era when big revolvers and 1911 autos were pretty much the only choice of handgun around. Such a holster will carry a big revolver or 1911 with aplomb. The leather softening isn’t an issue, since a discharge can’t happen with a 12-pound double action trigger or pistol that’s cocked and locked. If bound and determined to own such a holster, Glock, M&P and other gun owners should take care to replace the holster before the leather begins to warp.
As to handling…if you can’t follow even the first two of Col. Cooper’s 4 rules of safety…you have no business having a gun.
Lastly, trigger-pull takedowns result in discharges because the operator was too careless to check that the firearm was unloaded. simple.
Gun owners can be as cliquish as anyone else, and there are fanboys of every single make and model of gun out there. Some people think Mauser-derived rifles like the Winchester Model 70 and so on are the best bolt guns, others insist it’s the Remington 700. Endless numbers of people prefer the Mossberg 500 to the Remington 870, and vice versa.
There are certainly a huge number of Glock fanboys out there and they go round and round with the 1911 guys, and this topic is one of the points that gets brought up frequently. The fact is that pistols with only a passive trigger safety are perfectly safe, so long as they are handled and carried competently. Unfortunately, you can’t force people to stop doing things wrong…but you can try to convince them to do things better.
Sam Hoober is Contributing Editor for AlienGearHolsters.com, a subsidiary of Hayden, ID, based Tedder Industries, where he writes about gun accessories, gun safety, open and concealed carry tips. Click here to visit aliengearholsters.com.