Should You Consider Manual Safety When Purchasing Your Concealed Carry Handgun?
There has been quite a bit of debate within the firearms community as to the role of a manual safety. For those unaware, some handguns and many rifles have manual safeties that can be selected or toggled on or off. The problem is that some manufacturers have found that their safeties aren't 100% fool-proof.
Manual Safety for CCW
The presence or absence of safeties is definitely one of the key components I look for when I size up a gun for the first time. A manual safety, to me, is a hindrance because it's one more thing I have to check before drawing and firing the handgun.
However, for someone with a child or is worried about hands getting on the gun, a manual safety may appear to make sense. After all, if you're carrying with a round in the chamber and you're worried your toddler will reach for your gun – let's back up one moment before we finish that sentence.
A good concealed carry holster has, at the minimum, protection over the trigger guard preventing accidental (negligent, really) fumbling. No one is going to accidentally stick a finger where they're not supposed to and pull the trigger. And the second key component is high-retention. You want an ccw holster that grips the gun and prevents it from sliding around. These two key aspects will keep a firearm from being accidentally discharged with a round in the chamber.
Are There Any Other Safety Mechanisms?
There is no substitute for keeping control of your firearm and keeping your finger off the trigger until you're ready to fire. The best safety mechanisms for the concealed carrier is a good inside the waistband concealed carry holster that has a proper trigger guard, good retention and is comfortable for daily use.
If you anticipate the pistol to be outside of your control (you're asleep, you're going to a place where guns aren't allowed, etc.) then the best choice for safety is to place it within a lock box. Something as simple as a metal container with a locking mechanism should be sufficient to ensure no one's wandering hands gain access to your handgun. The best solution is a gun safe or your personal control, but there's plenty of shades of gray in-between which will be acceptable. Minimum criteria includes locking mechanism and the inability to access, gain control, or use the gun without proper authority (you).
Round In Chamber? Always.
If you are carrying a concealed handgun and there is no round in the chamber, the only person you're messing with is yourself. It's not safer, it's not more reliable, and you're not absolving yourself of any responsibility for a negligent discharge. Responsibility is a key feature to being a concealed carrier and a big component of that responsibility is situational awareness and maintaining direct control over the firearm. If neither of those things can be accomplished, you're hurting yourself and potentially others.
About The Author
James England (@sir_jim_england) is the contributing editor for Alien Gear Holsters. He is a veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom and private defense contracting in Afghanistan.