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Thread: Thumb safety pros/cons (side conversation moved from 320 lawsuit thread)

  1. #111
    Wannabe Privateer RevolverRob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cecil Burch View Post
    So to be clear then - is the idea that flicking off a thumb safety, decocking, or running a slide mounted safety is a complex act that is close to impossible to train,
    To answer the question(s) directly - No - I do not view the safety/decocking as impossible to train. I view some safety mechanisms as requiring more training to run appropriately than others. But all of them require more training than 'nothing'.

    I do think some folks find it to be too many steps. I'm with them to a degree - there is a maximum cognitive bandwidth for any person. Which means we must drill safety/decocking so hard it becomes subconscious.

    We also recognize that as people are inoculated to stress in a training environment, their cognitive bandwidth increases (I do think there is an absolute max bandwidth available, but it's much higher than realized maximum for the vast majority of people).

    The trope about 'fine motor skill' vs. 'gross motor skill' under stress is just that a trope. We (and I know I'm preaching to the preacher on this) recognize that people can do A LOT of stuff in stressful situations that would be categorized as 'difficult' even under normal situations. The trick is...they have to be both practiced at the the thing they're trying to do and have practiced it (even just a bit) under high stress. They more they do both of these things the better and better they'll become.

    but at the same time, it is easy to ensure that someone's finger is always where it should be?
    I think you've probably set this one up as a false dichotomy here: I wouldn't argue that the presence of a safety/decocker/etc. means that fingers are where they should be either; or absent the safety fingers go bad places; or absent the safety the fingers are always where they should be.

    What I will argue is that the addition of some redundant safety mechanism (manual safety, decocked pistol with heavier trigger pull) means that if fingers aren't where they are supposed to be, it reduces the risk of something bad happening. It's like the 4 Rules, there is redundancy within the system.

    a way for me to argue with folks. I am looking to see how people think in this manner, because this forum has a boatload of good critical thinkers, and I would like the input on this. I am agnostic on this and it does not chap me one way or the other what people do with their carry guns. I would just like to know what experienced and thinking people have to say.
    I think it's a great set of thoughts here.

    I think I've tried to maintain this clearly here and elsewhere - for the most part the absence of a manual safety does not make a weapon inherently less safe (unless that safety is specifically designed to enhance something like drop safety). There are few exceptions to this and we could get into them, but I'm not sure it really matters.

    The only thing absolute in life is that you die and that someone is going to try to collect taxes from you. Otherwise - I think we're looking at a series of 'best practices' and the ways in which those best practices play out are at least a reflection of each person's experience and 'reality'. 'Reality' in this situation being the summation of personal circumstances, lifestyle, rules/laws surrounding where and when they carry a weapon, how often they practice with their weapon(s), etc.
    Seriously guys, are we not doing 'phrasing' anymore?

  2. #112
    King of Craft Clusterfrack's Avatar
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    Thanks for asking this, Cecil. Here's the outline of my logic:

    Thumb safeties: @BehindBlueI's data suggest that the thumb safety is a failure point in real world applications, so I don't carry guns that have them. I am confident that with regular practice I could be proficient enough with a TS. But the disadvantages, combined with my disinterest in the models of guns that happen to have safeties leads me to ignore that option.

    TDAs: A DA trigger may be an advantage over short, light SA triggers in being able to abort a shot, avoid ND while grappling, and avoid friendly fire. A lighter SA trigger may be an advantage for making difficult shots once a fight has started. A very heavy DA pull and needing to decock are disadvantages. I mitigate those by lightening the DA pull to around 7#, and building in a thumb check on holstering.

    SFAs: A Glock checks most of these boxes, including the SCD for thumb-checking, so that makes it the default choice in my mind. Other SFAs lack the Gadget, and often have shorter, lighter triggers. That's a no-go for me.



    Quote Originally Posted by Cecil Burch View Post
    I have a genuine question and this is absolutely NOT a way to argue. I truly want to know people's thoughts on this matter.

    Many people in this thread has expressed their reasoning that they do not like either 1) thumb safeties, 2) TDA guns that need to be decocked, or especially 3) slide mounted safeties and prefer the simplicity of a striker fired gun. The thought behind that is essentially that those operations are difficult to be able to do all the time under all possible conditions and rather than train them, it is better to just not have them and deal with a gun that is easier to shoot.

    So to be clear then - is the idea that flicking off a thumb safety, decocking, or running a slide mounted safety is a complex act that is close to impossible to train, but at the same time, it is easy to ensure that someone's finger is always where it should be? And in this case, that means always in a hard register unless there is a conscious decision to pull the trigger, even during a high stress draw or reholster?

    Again, this is not a way for me to argue with folks. I am looking to see how people think in this manner, because this forum has a boatload of good critical thinkers, and I would like the input on this. I am agnostic on this and it does not chap me one way or the other what people do with their carry guns. I would just like to know what experienced and thinking people have to say.
    "BJJ is sort of like nonconsensual yoga"
    "You donít really graduate from certain problems or certain thingsÖ like you always have to work on trigger control and pulling the trigger straight. " --Ben Stoeger 1/24/2018

  3. #113
    Quote Originally Posted by RevolverRob View Post


    I think you've probably set this one up as a false dichotomy here: I wouldn't argue that the presence of a safety/decocker/etc. means that fingers are where they should be either; or absent the safety fingers go bad places; or absent the safety the fingers are always where they should be.

    What I will argue is that the addition of some redundant safety mechanism (manual safety, decocked pistol with heavier trigger pull) means that if fingers aren't where they are supposed to be, it reduces the risk of something bad happening. It's like the 4 Rules, there is redundancy within the system.

    Sorry. That was not my intent. I was not setting up a Straw Man or trying to say "either/or". What I was trying to get at was the idea that you have to train something and where does the difference lay? We have to train to keep the fingers in the correct position regardless of safety mechanisms. I think most of us would agree that if we can do that 100% of the time under any stress or cognitive load, then we stand a pretty good chance of being fairly safe from negligent discharges. And, if we use more safety levels, that may fall under the realm of nice redundancies to have, and we have to decide for ourselves how much redundancy we each need.

    So is the argument that you can do that (train the finger), but going beyond that - to do a separate step of working a safety or a decocker - is too much without an unreasonable amount of training?
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  4. #114
    Quote Originally Posted by JHC View Post
    I've familiar with some Army guys that did de-cock their M9s when they went to moving. I've watched a couple de-cock between arrays in a match if there was moving but not shooting while moving. These stages were ~30 rounds, there were some fair distances to travel between target arrays and most good shooters took near a minute to complete. (for context). In shorter stages where the movement was just a couple steps to another "foot box" to shoot from they didn't.

    The reason is pretty simple. In their use case, once they began running to another position, enroute they may fall, encounter team mates, no shoots or problems to be solved that do not include shooting. They ran the M9 like they would their M4.

    In one case the RO advised them "you know you don't have to de-cock during this stage" and they were like, "OK, thank you sir."

    But they didn't change their procedure.
    I really like the way you laid it out here and Iím 100% with your friends. I think gaming is one of the best ways to train for reality, and if you have a fancy gun for it than do whatever wins. But if I was gaming with my duty gun I would never risk developing habits that donít fare well in chaos.

    I know of one case overseas where a dude shot himself in the head slipping down an assaulting ladder with an M9 cocked. You canít de-cock with a Glock but if I have an extra level of safety available Iím using it.

  5. #115
    Wannabe Privateer RevolverRob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cecil Burch View Post
    Sorry. That was not my intent. I was not setting up a Straw Man or trying to say "either/or". What I was trying to get at was the idea that you have to train something and where does the difference lay? We have to train to keep the fingers in the correct position regardless of safety mechanisms. I think most of us would agree that if we can do that 100% of the time under any stress or cognitive load, then we stand a pretty good chance of being fairly safe from negligent discharges. And, if we use more safety levels, that may fall under the realm of nice redundancies to have, and we have to decide for ourselves how much redundancy we each need.

    So is the argument that you can do that (train the finger), but going beyond that - to do a separate step of working a safety or a decocker - is too much without an unreasonable amount of training?
    Ah. I'm picking up what you're putting down now.

    Man...I've written four responses to this and I've finally come to the following conclusion:

    No it is not an unreasonable amount of training.

    If someone says, "Nah, I don't want to learn to run a manual safety or drive a manual transmission car. Doesn't seem worth it to me."

    They're right.

    And if someone says, "Yes, I like running a manual safety and/or driving a car with a manual transmission. It is worth it to me."

    They're right.

    I think anyone who says, "No learning to do the manual tool focused task is too difficult." - Is likely conflating their willingness to do the given learning with the ability to do it.

    ___

    NOW...all that said...I'm probably about to eat my own damn words here:

    Even the best drivers on the planet dump the clutch too fast coming out of the pits and stall the car. Which also means even the best manual safety using shooter on the planet can hit/not hit the safety or decocker too quickly or not at all and stall coming out of the 'pits'.

    And interestingly enough - the racers who don't stall the car when it comes time to get moving? F1 racers...because their dual-clutch gearboxed cars no longer have a clutch pedal and cannot stall in this way and maybe that's a 'clue'?
    Seriously guys, are we not doing 'phrasing' anymore?

  6. #116
    IS WHAT PLANTS CRAVE BehindBlueI's's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cecil Burch View Post
    So to be clear then - is the idea that flicking off a thumb safety, decocking, or running a slide mounted safety is a complex act that is close to impossible to train, but at the same time, it is easy to ensure that someone's finger is always where it should be? And in this case, that means always in a hard register unless there is a conscious decision to pull the trigger, even during a high stress draw or reholster?
    If the context is one individual who will truly master the platform, to include ECQC sort of practice, and who's got a solid grapple game, etc. and they want a thumb safety for some other reason, more power to them. For general issue, and for me, I don't fit that group so I don't want the thumb safety. It's not that it's impossible to train, it's that it's very difficult to train to 100% in 100% of situations and it's a single point of failure.

    If I pull a gun in a "shoot this guy" situation and the gun is not functional, I'm very likely to be hurt or killed. The safety is a single point of failure, one mistake means the gun isn't functional.

    Fail to decock and you have a greater chance of a UD, but there are more links in the chain before you get hurt or killed. You must forget to the thumb the hammer, or otherwise fail to note the hammer is back. You must then actually have a trigger blocking obstruction. You must then have some body part flagged. The single failure is less likely to result in injury or death, especially if you aren't appendix. You probably aren't trying to manipulate it under as much stress. You probably aren't being grappled, etc. It's easier to be 100%. Even if you aren't 100%, the risk is less, IMO.
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    Quote Originally Posted by UNM1136 View Post
    Maybe with talented students I would lube up with baby oil and then go at it.

  7. #117
    Regular guy. Cory's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cecil Burch View Post
    I have a genuine question and this is absolutely NOT a way to argue. I truly want to know people's thoughts on this matter.

    Many people in this thread has expressed their reasoning that they do not like either 1) thumb safeties, 2) TDA guns that need to be decocked, or especially 3) slide mounted safeties and prefer the simplicity of a striker fired gun. The thought behind that is essentially that those operations are difficult to be able to do all the time under all possible conditions and rather than train them, it is better to just not have them and deal with a gun that is easier to shoot.

    So to be clear then - is the idea that flicking off a thumb safety, decocking, or running a slide mounted safety is a complex act that is close to impossible to train, but at the same time, it is easy to ensure that someone's finger is always where it should be? And in this case, that means always in a hard register unless there is a conscious decision to pull the trigger, even during a high stress draw or reholster?

    Again, this is not a way for me to argue with folks. I am looking to see how people think in this manner, because this forum has a boatload of good critical thinkers, and I would like the input on this. I am agnostic on this and it does not chap me one way or the other what people do with their carry guns. I would just like to know what experienced and thinking people have to say.
    My thinking is similar to this.

    Quote Originally Posted by Clusterfrack View Post
    Thanks for asking this, Cecil. Here's the outline of my logic:

    Thumb safeties: @BehindBlueI's data suggest that the thumb safety is a failure point in real world applications, so I don't carry guns that have them. I am confident that with regular practice I could be proficient enough with a TS. But the disadvantages, combined with my disinterest in the models of guns that happen to have safeties leads me to ignore that option.

    TDAs: A DA trigger may be an advantage over short, light SA triggers in being able to abort a shot, avoid ND while grappling, and avoid friendly fire. A lighter SA trigger may be an advantage for making difficult shots once a fight has started. A very heavy DA pull and needing to decock are disadvantages. I mitigate those by lightening the DA pull to around 7#, and building in a thumb check on holstering.

    SFAs: A Glock checks most of these boxes, including the SCD for thumb-checking, so that makes it the default choice in my mind. Other SFAs lack the Gadget, and often have shorter, lighter triggers. That's a no-go for me.
    I'll add that I think because the frequency of administrative handling is far greater than the frequency of critical shooting incident it makes sense for me to use a weapon that is skewed to favor handling safety. To me the danger of complacent gun handling is more likely than the danger of being overwhelmed by a "complex" task under cognitive load. Simply because I've seen complacency cause problems. I can also train to make complex tasks more familiar and easily performed unconsciously. It's harder to pay attention to simple routine tasks than ignore complex ones.

    I choose a 92 G model because it allows me to make a distinct choice to shoot, with room to stop. Something I have done just before breaking a shot that really mattered. It also doesn't have the draw backs of a safety being forgotten, in the way, or etc. If I can get to thetrigger I can shoot. The decock is for me easy to remember. I thumb the hammer on holster, preventing possible problems.

    Quote Originally Posted by JHC View Post
    I've familiar with some Army guys that did de-cock their M9s when they went to moving. I've watched a couple de-cock between arrays in a match if there was moving but not shooting while moving. These stages were ~30 rounds, there were some fair distances to travel between target arrays and most good shooters took near a minute to complete. (for context). In shorter stages where the movement was just a couple steps to another "foot box" to shoot from they didn't.

    The reason is pretty simple. In their use case, once they began running to another position, enroute they may fall, encounter team mates, no shoots or problems to be solved that do not include shooting. They ran the M9 like they would their M4.

    In one case the RO advised them "you know you don't have to de-cock during this stage" and they were like, "OK, thank you sir."

    But they didn't change their procedure.
    Like JHC mentioned I have decocked during movement on USPSA stages without thought. I'm certainly nothing special at USPSA but I did find myself decocking when I watched back a video. Perhaps due to a lot of M9 shooting in service, but I don't know. I don't with small movement but do with larger. It just happens without concious thought, and I'm very okay with that.

    However, with a 92 if I had a critical shooting incident I wouldn't need to remove a safety, I have to make a conscious choice to shoot, then I have an optimum shooting trigger. Post shooting I would have to rely on an ingrained habit to decock. The same with thumb on hammer for holster.

    I can train habits for the critical incident. Habits are actually a danger with complacency. It's harder to train that. That's why I use a TDA with at least some room for error.

    I freely admit my logic isn't perfect and safe handling is a habit too. But that's how it kinda shakes out for me, and I definitely get that the equation is different for others.
    Last edited by Cory; 03-04-2021 at 04:03 PM.

  8. #118
    My response to Cecil's questions is similar to Revolver Robs and Clusterfrack for the reasons they clearly stated. I will add that my personal experiences as a firearms instructor and rangemaster for my department including reserves and the local university for 17 years as well as my experiences in 40 classes ranging from all LEOs to citizens and mixed groups of all skill levels shapes my reasons for preferring Striker handguns sans manual safety or decocker.

    My first handgun and first duty gun were both Sig P226s. I own and shoot an AR and AK. Every handgun I own is a striker fired gun or similar manual of arms like an LCP(internal hammer) I have no doubt anyone serious about the use of any platform can safely do so with enough training and practice as long as the ergonomics permit it. AK safety and slide mounted safety/decocker for me and some smaller handed users may not work ergonomically. If it works for the individual or the individual chooses to balance THEIR risk/safety/speed/ease of use equation to safety or decocker or SFA or any version mix therein I am not saying it is wrong/bad or worse for them than any other possibility. My own choice and my experiences heavily point to SFA being a good choice for the vast majority. Having not seen NDs with SFA but seeing them with safety or TDA not decocked is enough indication for ME that finger placement is done better or more consistent than placing a safety on or decocking at least for many shooters. Does this include hard core training junkies? Doubtful as I think it doesn't require monk like focus and dedication just more than average LEO or casual enthusiast level.

    I would categorize gun owners into 4 general groups. Old lady with 38, 40 something with decent gun and ammo who has had Hunters Safety and/or CCW course and shoots a couple times a year, LEO or equivalent who is not a gun person but got decent initial training in the academy and regular training,practice and qualification but not much more on their own and looks at a gun as a tool, and the gun enthusiast who competes in USPSA/IPSC,IDPA or similar or attends training courses 1 every other year or similar regularity. ( The 4 personas are just a way to make a generalization of a large swath of gun owners and not meant to demean or pigeon hole any individual)

    For these 4 general groups I would suggest a safety on a SA or slide mounted safety/decocker TDA probably only to the last group. Maybe to LEOs. The rest I would suggest some version of a DAO or SFA that didn't have a short light trigger with the first type getting the longest and heaviest trigger they could reasonably shoot and moving lighter but not shorter than Glock 5.5 stock at the shortest and lightest for anyone but the last group.

    All that said there is no perfect design that will prevent any and all NDs or injury nor ease of use with safety covered 100% on both ends of their perspective spectrum's. An idiot, decent shooter or expert can have an ND with any type of gun.

  9. #119
    Wannabe Privateer RevolverRob's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by BehindBlueI's View Post
    It's not that it's impossible to train, it's that it's very difficult to train to 100% in 100% of situations and it's a single point of failure.
    I quoted this and added the emphasis. Not because I think you are wrong, but because I am afraid you are right. And I wanted it repeated here, because I'm gonna have to go sit in the corner for awhile and think about this.

    Quote Originally Posted by octagon View Post
    ( The 4 personas are just a way to make a generalization of a large swath of gun owners and not meant to demean or pigeon hole any individual)
    I am so offended...

    #TriggeredByTriggerDiscussion

    I think you summarized (with your whole post) eloquently what I was thinking earlier. It's not that it is "too much for everybody" to train a thumb safety/safety decock/whatever - It's that it is too much for folks who aren't going to do a certain level of work. I think most folks are inherently capable of using these systems, but many choose not or should not use them.
    Seriously guys, are we not doing 'phrasing' anymore?

  10. #120
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    I was trained to decock DA/SA pistols before moving and I've never had a problem with it.

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