What's The Safest Concealed Carry Gun?
The Safest Concealed Carry Gun Is The One You're Safe With
In the world of concealed carry, one question persists: what is the safest concealed carry gun? This is a topic that requires careful analysis, as safety in this realm transcends the physical and mechanical aspects of a firearm.
A gun is only as safe as its handler, requiring a responsible, well-trained individual who is committed to practicing safe gun handling.
While distinguishing between different types of actions and safety systems may contribute to the overall safety of your firearm, it is the individual's competency and consciousness that ultimately determines the level of safety.
Striker-Fired Vs Double-Action: Is One Really Safer?
One of the oldest talking points on this topic is striker-fired pistols vs double-action pistols and revolvers.
Double-action pistols have a unique feature where the trigger pull accomplishes two tasks: it cocks the hammer and then releases it, firing the round. This mechanism requires a significantly heavier pull than other firearms, with trigger weights of 8 to 12 lbs, depending on the gun and its hammer spring.
Therefore, accidental discharge with a double-action firearm is less likely, making it a popular choice amongst safety-conscious gun owners...though not impossible. NDs/ADs have absolutely happened with traditional DA autos and revolvers in every situation that an ND/AD has occurred in with striker-fired pistols.
On the other hand, riker-fired pistols, like the renowned Glock series, do not feature a traditional hammer. Instead, an internal striker is cocked by the slide's action (either mostly or fully, depending on the design) and then released by the trigger to fire the round. This results in a consistent, lighter trigger pull compared to a double-action pistol.
To many, the heavier trigger pull of a double-action pistol equates to greater safety. The rationale is simple: the increased resistance you need to overcome to fire the weapon reduces the chance of a negligent discharge.
However, this is not an argument for leaving safe firearm handling practices at the door— an improperly holstered firearm is a hazard, no matter the type.
In reality, negligent/accidental discharges happen when a trigger is pulled when it shouldn't have been. Keeping the trigger guard free of obstruction when holstering prevents discharges of that type. Keeping your finger off the trigger unless you intend to shoot keeps them from happening. And carrying a pistol in a holster that fully and adequately protects the trigger guard does as well.
Say whatever you want about Glocks and other striker-fired guns. Once holstered (in a quality holster) they are for all intents and purposes inert.
Single-Actions And Manual Safeties
Let's not forget another type of action that often comes into the safety discussion: single-action pistols with manual safeties.
A single-action pistol is fully cocked by the slide (or manually, in the case of single-action revolvers) and the hammer held in place. Pressing the trigger drops the hammer and fires the pistol. Some striker-fired pistols (not all) are technically single-action by virtue of having a fully-cocked striker, which includes the Sig Sauer, Smith and Wesson and Walther pistols among others.
Single-action semi-autos have long been considered by some to be the "safest" concealed carry pistol because the manual safety allows the user to place the pistol on or off safe at any given moment, giving a person direct control over whether the pistol can fire to a greater degree than any other firing mechanism. This has led to a number of people insisting the 1911 pistol family, to include traditional single-stacks and the widebody/2011 family, is the "safest."
On one hand, it's undeniable that the 1911 design has more mechanical safety features than any other firearm. There's no arguing it doesn't.
A grip safety plus a thumb safety puts two active safety mechanisms between the gun at rest and a discharge. Used properly, there's no way you can fire one unless you really mean it. You have to grip the gun to deactivate the grip safety and sweep off the safety to place the gun on "fire." That's all true.
However, anyone who's carried a 1911 or the few other extant single-action designs like the Sig P210 or Browning Hi Power can tell you is that thumb safeties can be swept off in the holster if the one you're using is not necessarily designed for cocked-and-locked carry.
It's also true, again, that any striker-fired pistol that's safely holstered in a holster that's safe to carry with is equally safe as any single-action pistol that's likewise safely holstered. Single-action pistols are not immune to negligent/accidental discharges.
It's also true that a person who is cautious and assiduous with firearms safety is just as safe operating a striker-fired pistol as they are with a 1911 or Hi Power.
The Safest Concealed Carry Gun Is The One You're Safest With
Ultimately, the safest concealed carry gun is the one that you can handle, carry and operate in the safest manner possible. That may be a traditional double-action, that may be a striker-fired gun like a Glock or a Sig P365, and you may feel that you have to carry a 1911 or one of its iterations for the utmost in safety.
That's up to you to determine. If you just don't feel confident with a Glock, then don't carry a Glock.
There is no real "safest" concealed carry gun, not in the real world. Any gun can be carried safely, but that depends on the operator. Some mechanical designs have a bit more inherent "safety" than others, but their benefits are marginal, redundant even; a double-action trigger pull or manual safety is not a replacement for safe handling and safe operation by you.
A safely holstered gun, regardless of whether it's a double-action or striker-fired, is a safe gun. The holster should cover the trigger guard entirely, preventing any foreign objects from inadvertently pressing the trigger. It should also hold the gun securely, minimizing the chance of the firearm falling out and potentially discharging. Ergo, the next most important thing to invest in besides your own training is a quality holster.
If you want to carry safely, make sure you can carry safely first. Then dial in what kind of pistol you should have.