By Sam Hoober, Alien Gear Holsters
Gun people like guns, and like car guys bicker over makes/models of pistols. One of the common objections to Glock pistols and other striker-fired pistols is the dreaded “Glock ND,” or when such a pistol is accidentally, negligently or otherwise unintentionally discharged.
Reports of such pistols being unsafe are exaggerated. In almost all instances, an unintentional discharge of such a pistol is induced by one of us hairless monkeys. Oh, how we love to mess things up with our fecklessness.
But such is life.
Let us consider what causes a pistol to discharge. Ultimately, what happens is the firing pin strikes the primer. The issue, of course, is how that happens! Unless sufficient force is delivered to the back of the pistol to send it forward, the trigger has to be pulled.
Many instances of the Glock ND are either from something pulling the trigger other than the person handling or carrying the gun. A piece of clothing in the holster, the pistol being placed in a pocket; you get the idea.
Other instances are because of the takedown procedure for most striker-fired pistols. You have to pull the trigger because it can’t be decocked; this unlocks the slide from the firing mechanism and allows you to pull the slide off the frame.
Then we have instances where something hits the rear of the slide, causing the firing pin to strike the primer.
These are the closest proximate causes of unintentional discharges, especially with Glocks or other striker-fired pistols. Some people like to use these as arguments as to why you shouldn’t carry those pistols, they’re not good if you have kids, you should get a 1911 instead, etc.
Actually you should get a 1911 because they’re awesome but one digresses.
Is it to say you shouldn’t be concerned with the safety system on your pistol? No, you should. Do your homework and figure out what you think is appropriate for you. Instead, this is to say that if you prefer a striker system (and frankly, most people do!) you just need to know some tips and tricks to avoid the dreaded Glock ND.
In fact, if you do the following things, it will never happen to you. To wit:
NEVER carry the pistol without a holster.
Check, double-check, and triple-check clear before dry firing or cleaning.
Carry with a holster that completely covers the trigger guard.
Don’t drop the darn thing.
Not exactly rocket surgery, folks. Again, most negligent discharges are human-induced, usually because someone wasn’t paying attention. The thing about the striker system is that while it’s perfectly safe, it becomes less than safe if, and only if, you don’t do your job of handling them safely.
To paraphrase Mark Twain, you need to watch that basket so to speak.
What this means is that you have to handle the pistol carefully and assiduously. For the most part, it’s basic stuff. You know, like point in a safe direction, don’t touch the trigger unless you’re ready to shoot, assume all guns are loaded, etc.
A few other tips and tricks that will keep you from having the Glock ND. (The Glock Kaboom is different; that’s due to early models of .40 S&W and 10mm pistols that don’t fully support the case head of those high-pressure rounds.) Most of them are sort of concealed carry best practices that you should be doing anyway!
Look your gun into the holster when carrying or at the range. Most people who conceal and carry cover the gun with a shirt of some sort (a nice roomy polo, for instance) and what you need to guard against is your trigger being snagged when you insert the gun.
Use your weak-side hand to anchor your shirt, and look at the holster when inserting your gun. After it’s seated, then cover it. When you trust without verifying, you invite disaster. You should also carry a holster that completely covers the trigger guard.
Avoid cloth holsters; leather is fine, but if you can basically feel the trigger through the holster, you’ve got problems. Also, keep an eye on leather holsters. If it loses its stiffness, get a new one. Yaqui slide holsters have been known to start curling at the top after a few years of use, so keep an eye out for that.
Don’t pocket carry without a holster. Period. I’ve said it once, I’ll say it again, and will probably go on repeating it until the end of time. Look at news reports of accidental shootings, and it’s one of the most common scenarios in which it happens. I can’t stop people from being idiots, but I can use this platform to say “don’t be stupid” and so I’m harping on this again.
During takedown, well, assume it’s unloaded. Clear the gun, then clear it again. Then clear it a third time and point it in a safe direction before dry firing to release the sear and taking the slide off. There are many accounts of police officers sending a round into the wall or even into other officers in the armory, and also of civilians doing likewise.
While I wasn’t there to witness any, I would bet good money on the shooter not checking the pistol before pulling the bang switch first. It doesn’t happen if you clear the gun first.
As to not dropping it, well, if you get a decent holster and don’t act the fool, it tends not to happen.
Look, if you act responsibly and prudently, Glock NDs just don’t happen. If you drive irresponsibly, you get into car crashes. If you order ranch with buffalo wings, your hair will fall out because they’re supposed to be ordered with blue cheese. If you make good decisions, good things generally happen because of it.
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.