Trigger Recall : Understanding the GLOCK Trigger

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The 43.

The 43.

GLOCK’s domination of the handgun market is the envy of all of its competitors, yet there’s a controversial element of the GLOCK design: the trigger. So how does the GLOCK trigger really work?

Safe Action Trigger

In designing their trigger system, GLOCK engineers went with as simple a system as possible to reduce parts to an absolute minimum. They incorporated three safeties in the design to protect against accidental discharges, or in the language of the gun community “negligent discharges” (NDs).

And yet the forums are still populated with horror stories of NDs. So what’s the story? Who takes the blame, GLOCK or the negligent user?

If you could see inside the slide...

If you could see inside the slide…

As you can see from the accompanying schematic, there is a safety lever on the trigger which locks the trigger from moving to the rear unless pressure is applied to the face of the trigger safety to move the blocking arm up and out of the way (1). This is a source of controversy that we’ll discuss in a minute. The second safety is a plunger which blocks the firing pin from moving forward to contact the primer unless the trigger is pulled (2). Finally, a shoe at the rear of the trigger bar rests on a shelf blocking the firing pin from moving until the trigger is pulled (3). This makes the gun highly drop-proof. No matter how the gun lands or the nature of the surface, even on pavement or a hard floor, the firing pin is prevented from moving as long as the trigger isn’t depressed.

The trigger itself.

The trigger safety itself.

And after the successful pull.

And after the successful pull.

The end result is a safe, modern firearm with a trigger that is always ready to fire without consciously having to move a manual thumb safety lever to the fire position. The trigger pull is light with a short trigger stroke, and the trigger weight is the same for each shot. It has been found that this trigger system reduces the amount of training time needed to become proficient with the gun, improves accuracy of shot placement, and simplifies the manual of arms. As an added benefit, fewer moving parts means greater reliability.

Law enforcement agencies, as well as consumers the world over, love the dependability and ease of use that GLOCK represents. This is obvious in the sales numbers and the big share of market that GLOCK enjoys. Still it hasn’t reduced the ongoing controversy over this revolutionary trigger system.

Check out the forums and you’ll see people arguing over whether the GLOCK trigger is single action (SA) or double action only (DAO). They just can’t seem to decide who is right and GLOCK has contributed to the confusion by selling their guns to military and government agencies which required DAO guns. Well you’re about to get the definitive answer.

Is the GLOCK SA or DAO? The correct answer is – NO!

That’s right, it’s neither. GLOCK calls it the Safe Action Trigger but that’s just marketing speak. In actuality, it’s a hybrid. The movement of the slide combined with internal springs partially cocks the firing pin, more accurately called the striker. If it cocked the striker all the way, then it would be a SA because all the trigger would do was release the striker to move forward and strike the firing pin. If the trigger pull cocked the striker all the way before releasing it to fire, then it would be DAO. In reality, the movement of the slide partially cocks the striker and the pull of the trigger completes it, so it’s a little of both.

In practice, the GLOCK functions like a SA pistol. The trigger pull is about 5 ½ pounds with a short stroke and a quick reset. That’s SA territory. Also, you don’t get a second strike capability the way you do with a typical DAO pistol. In other words, because the trigger doesn’t fully cock the action, you can’t just pull the trigger again if the round doesn’t fire on the first try. (Well, you can, but it won’t do anything.)

Is it safe?

Which brings us to our second controversy. Since it has a light trigger and requires just a short stroke to fire, people ask, does it really have a safety. Again, the answer isn’t a simple yes or no. It does have a safety. It’s that little lever sticking out the face of the trigger. However, practically speaking, does it do what you want a safety to do? If you want to prevent the gun from firing should you inadvertently pull the trigger, it doesn’t do that. Some pundits say, “well then don’t pull the trigger until you want to shoot something! Duh.” While that’s good advice, it’s just incomplete (as well as ignorant of the vagaries of life). There have been numerous instances of people being shot without intentionally pulling the trigger. In fact, they didn’t have their finger anywhere near the trigger.

glock trigger 05

Image from itstactical.com.

The full story here is available from itstactical.com, and dives deep into the details. But we will summarize. Take a look at the accompanying photo. This man didn’t pull the trigger. He wasn’t even touching the gun. But he still got shot. Why? Because he was negligent in his choice of holster.

Check out how the leather has deformed and is now leaning in on the trigger.

Check out how the leather has deformed and is now leaning in on the trigger.

The leather was soft (or had softened with oils from regular use) and when he holstered his gun, it formed a crease which pressed against the face of the trigger. Then when he twisted around to fasten his seat belt, the gun went off.

This is admittedly an unusual case, but NDs while holstering are fairly common with GLOCK type triggers. Usually it’s the retention strap on the holster or an article of clothing that gets inside the trigger guard and pulls the trigger. In fact, there’s only one situation for NDs with GLOCKs that’s more common than this: cleaning.

Pull the trigger to disassemble.

To field strip a GLOCK for cleaning, you must pull the trigger in order to remove the slide assembly. The correct procedure, of course, is to remove the magazine and clear the chamber FIRST. Evidently, some people have trouble doing this. And not just inexperienced civilians.

Make sure the gun is unloaded before you disassemble.

Make sure the gun is unloaded before you disassemble.

Results of the negligent discharge of a GLOCK. Not a good day. Thanks to the individual who uploaded this photo of himself so others could appreciate what’s at stake. If you want more of this one, you can read about it here: https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/two-minute-safety-reminder-glock-safe-action-pistols/.

In the New York Police Department 2011 report of weapons discharges (https://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwiq7Ob0oofLAhWFOyYKHUc6BYUQFggdMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.nyc.gov%2Fhtml%2Fnypd%2Fdownloads%2Fpdf%2Fanalysis_and_planning%2Fnypd_annual_firearms_discharge_report_2011.pdf&usg=AFQjCNG0nPs-LF_l-yJhcC5M4KxakjNERg&cad=rjt), there were 13 unintended discharges or NDs. They concluded, “with regard to officers experiencing unintentional discharges while loading or unloading their own firearms, 75 percent of such incidents involved Glocks. Their overrepresentation in this category has been seen consistently over the past five years: since 2007, there have been 31 incidents in which officers unintentionally discharged their own firearms during loading/unloading, and 22 of those incidents—71 percent—have involved Glocks. This most likely stems from the fact that a person disassembling a Glock must depress the trigger to do so.

NYPD employs a number of different pistols. I don’t know how many are GLOCKs, but they were obviously over-represented in NDs indicating a problem. To put things in perspective, there are 35,000 officers in the NYPD so this is not a large amount. About 0.037% or 0.00037 of the total officers. Still, any ND is one too many, especially considering that a number of the NDs resulted in injuries, although fortunately no one died. They concluded the higher than normal number of NDs with GLOCKS “…likely stems from the fact that a person disassembling a Glock must depress the trigger to do so.” I know I already said that but it bears repeating.

Numerous reports indicate a higher than normal number of negligent discharges with GLOCK pistols. These NDs are primarily when holstering a weapon or during disassembly. So does this make GLOCKs dangerous to own and carry? Absolutely not.

Let’s rephrase that, just so everyone hears it. Safe handling of firearms is a personal responsibility. I’m well aware that accidents happen, but these design elements are not accidents. GLOCKs work the way they do, and that’s why so many of us love the guns. But you must learn when, where, why, and how they are dangerous–like every other gun you would own.

How to Prevent Negligent Discharges

Close examination of every ND reveals true negligence on the part of the individual experiencing the ND. I know of no instance where and ND was the result of a failure of any part of a GLOCK. I think my personal experience with a GLOCK is more indicative of the overall cohort of GLOCK owners. I’ve fired thousands of rounds through a GLOCK 19. The bulk of those rounds were during close quarters combat (CQB) training where the gun was drawn and holstered repeatedly. Furthermore, the gun was operated in challenging conditions, with covering garments, while moving and shooting in just about every position you can imagine. Not only did I never have a ND, but I never had a single malfunction. Not one.

The secret to avoiding negligent discharges with a GLOCK is to

  1. always follow the primary rules of gun handling – never place your finger on the trigger until you’re ready to shoot, never point any gun, loaded or not, at anything you don’t want to destroy, and treat every gun as if it’s loaded – (OK, I know there are 4 rules – “Be sure of your target, what’s in front of it, and what’s behind it” – or 12 or 18 depending on how many lawyers are involved, but for those who aren’t completely brain dead, these will keep you from shooting someone you don’t intend to when routinely handling your gun) —
  2. always carry in a quality holster, never stick a GLOCK into the waistband of your pants, and never stick a bare GLOCK into a pocket. Some people carry GLOCKs in appropriate holsters in pockets and inside the waistband. I’m not saying that’s wrong but, speaking for myself, I will never carry a GLOCK that way. I also don’t use a holster with a retention strap to carry a GLOCK.
  3. When holstering, ensure that your garments are well clear of the gun and holster. Toggles and drawstrings on the bottom of jackets have caused NDs. I cut them off. Also holster carefully, never slamming the gun into the holster.
  4. And always, ALWAYS, clear the chamber after dropping the magazine before you field strip your gun.

I have never had an ND. Please don’t think I’m bragging, I’m not. Yes, I’m very careful to always adhere to the rules of safe gun handling, but, with the number of times and different circumstances in which I’ve handled guns, I have to credit good luck as well. We’re all human and humans are imperfect beings. No one is immune to brain farts. Focus on the three primary rules of safe gun handling so that if you do screw up, you’ll at least not hurt anything but your pride. The NYPD officers who shot themselves in the above example screwed up on more than one of the rules. They failed to clear the chamber and they failed to avoid pointing the gun at something they didn’t want to destroy. Mistakes happen. They always will, no matter how safe we try to make our tools. The two things that will save you when you do make a mistake are 1. Following the three main rules of gun safety, and 2. Training. Although training gets short shrift in gun blogs and magazines, it’s the best way to develop the right muscle memory so that you’re as safe as you can be, even if your brain isn’t firing on all cylinders.

The Verdict

So now you know how the outstanding GLOCK trigger works. This trigger system has helped propel GLOCK to the elevated position they enjoy in today’s market. While there are safety related trade-offs, GLOCKS are as safe as the person running the gun. Enjoy all the benefits that this exceptional family of guns deliver while being smart about it. Obey the rules of safe gun handling, use quality holsters, and train hard.

Happy shooting and be safe.

{ 70 comments… add one }
  • g19gen39mm August 9, 2017, 8:09 am

    Well… I think that, no matter what, a Glock or any other gun is STILL a lot safer than a “Smart” Gun no matter what.. ND’s or not!

  • Steve February 23, 2017, 5:12 am

    Good authors do not necessarily make good statisticians…
    Not the number of nd glocks… but the percentage of nd glocks vs total number of glocks in use. The higher “”NUMBER”” of nd glocks involved could be expected because of the overwhelming majority of officers carrying glocks. Etc, etc…

  • Matthew February 19, 2017, 9:41 am

    Hi Wayne,
    Thanks for the article. I like your analysis, one question though. Why do you say you will never carry a Glock in an IWB holster? If your holster covers the trigger guard and retains the gun, there should be no difference in the likelihood of something besides your finger impinging the trigger and causing an ‘accidental’ discharge. In face I would argue there are LESS potential factors when carrying IWB compared to OWB. Just curious your reasoning regarding this statement. Thanks.

    • g19gen39mm August 9, 2017, 8:05 am

      Yeah Id like to know why also, at first I thought he was saying never carry a “bare” Glock in your Waistband, Like on TV lol but then it sounds like he is saying not to carry a Glock even in an IWB Holster… Unless he is thinking that while Holstering it, you’d be sort of tilting the gun to face your body more than you would if you were using an Outside the Waistband holster… ? Not sure. but in the case of an ND, the chances that you’d shoot yourself in the leg are probably a lot higher? lol But the photo of the Glock in the short Leather holster is something I never even thought of… thats a bit scary thinking you could holster the gun and shoot yourself. I’m glad he posted that pic and link!

  • Jay February 11, 2017, 9:32 pm

    Great Article. I enjoyed the examples and learned something new. Thank you!

  • B January 9, 2017, 8:12 pm

    It’s not the gun but the shooter. Had a Glock since its release and never had any issue’s or a ND!

  • Bob December 23, 2016, 12:00 pm

    Don’t like Glocks never have and never will.

  • blogtrigger December 22, 2016, 8:43 pm

    Great delivery. Great arguments. Keep up the good spirit.

  • Steve Bresin June 30, 2016, 5:02 pm

    Reading the comments above. Wouldnt the optional NY trigger answer the question ?

  • Scouse June 6, 2016, 7:16 am

    We Old Guys who carry Glock 19s, for self-defence, do so because they work, first time, all the time.
    Hi-Capacity is your friend, 16 rounds ready to go, is a good thing, use a holster always.
    Unless like now, in a modified dressing gown pocket.
    I used to use a Colt 1911 in IPSC matches, missed the safety catch once! In a big match. Went to Glock 17 after that, then progressed to the Glock 19. Being negligent with any handgun, can kill you, be careful. The reason you use a Glock pistol, you draw it, aim it, press the trigger, they work. Fool proof? No, they are not. And no other pistol is either.

  • ejharb April 3, 2016, 9:21 pm

    A little trick I like to do is when clearing you remove the mag and rack the slide 3 times
    I’m also at all times hyperaware of the trigger and what might be near it. I began with a g19 in 1993 and now use a g30 and have not had a ND with a glock. No brags

  • Pastor Dave, The Patriot's Pastor March 6, 2016, 1:36 am

    Former peace officer here, and the last duty sidearm I used was a Glock Model 22, .40 cal … and 18 years later I still have it. I have a Glock Model 26 that was used for concealed carry, but I went back to my old Ruger Security Six, .357 Magnum with the 2 & 3/4″ barrel for concealed carry. It’s over 30 years old, but in near mint condition. In a stress situation I’ve come to prefer the wheel gun. It’s just an opinion mind you, but with the stress of a confrontation I’d rather err on the side of caution with that “stiffer” double action stroke. Under high stress your breathing is shallow and rapid, your arms can feel like they are made of lead, you may be somewhat shaky, you may experience tunnel vision, you may lose perception of time, etc. Under stress, there have been too many shootings of a suspect who was in the middle of being compliant. Handling firearms is tough enough under these stressful conditions for a seasoned officer, let alone a concealed carrier who doesn’t practice regularly. And, it’s one thing to practice with a static target, and a whole other matter entirely when someone is menacing you with a knife, gun, or your faced with engaging multiple assailants. I’ve gone back to the wheel gun. Not trying to convince anyone about this issue, just giving an alternate consideration. Those sensitive triggers require much self discipline, being aware of your finger position (which you should be anyway), and practice to the point it becomes a habit. As I’m an older gentleman now I just prefer that old familiar feel of that revolver on my hip, and in my hand. It’s like an old friend returning into your life and you pick right up where you left off, as though you had never really parted. I wish you all well. 🙂

  • p mor March 2, 2016, 8:11 am

    I read+reread the article looking for information on the RECALL and did not see/read anything in that regard , once again and as usual the whole article is discussing/highlighting negligent stupidity , one of my favorite adages is you can inform ignorant but you cant fix stupid , not even with a sidelock!

  • David Cyrus March 1, 2016, 11:34 pm

    I have the slider lock trigger on my Glock 19 Gen 3. I really like it and it gives me a piece of mind. I would advise other people to research this device. I will admit, it takes practice training yourself to understand how this trigger lock works and remember that it needs to be disengaged prior to firing the gun. I my opinion, training and practice is the key to understanding how the gun works. I think it’s a great safety feature.

  • Larry March 1, 2016, 10:54 pm

    No gun is SAFE stuck loose in waistband. Retention straps are POSSIBLE to get into trigger guard when reholstering. Many modern holsters do NOT require retention straps and secure gun from most vigorous everyday activities. But not gun grabs.
    Reholstering is NOT a speed event. Holster MUST cover trigger guard. Don’t have crap in it.

  • Mike Volpe March 1, 2016, 10:36 pm

    Negligent is the correct term…period!!

  • bob March 1, 2016, 7:28 pm

    Glocks work perfectly as designed. The ONLY time that a Glock will fire is when the trigger is pulled. Some people don’t have the brains to not pull the trigger at the wrong time. Another word for negligent is “stupid”. If you are too stupid to control the trigger at all times, don’t buy a Glock. It’s not the guns fault that you are stupid.

    • Michael Olszta April 16, 2017, 12:45 am

      If someone is too stupid to control the trigger at all times, s/he shouldn’t carry ANY gun! If someone is too stupid to learn to carry a pistol like a Glock, would such a person be safe with any gun no matter how many external safeties? If they would forget to train themselves to not put their finger on the trigger of a Glock, why would they act differently with any other firearm? If they can’t learn to keep their finger off the trigger, can they learn to use a manual safety properly? One poster writes: “I plan to avoid owning a Glock and to be more careful around anyone who carries a Glock.” I tend to think Glock owners would, by virtue of the lack of a manual external safety, be far less apt to negligently put their finger on the trigger of their Glock or any gun for that matter or handle any gun in an unsafe manner. On the other hand, anyone trusting their firearm safety to a manual safety is far more dangerous. That person might be more apt to depend on the manual safety rather than the 4 rules of safety. The first 4 rules of gun safety have everything to do with the safe actions of the owner of the gun and nothing about the specific features of any gun. If every one were to follow these, there would be no problems. The one feature I like about revolvers and Glocks is the lack of one feature most other guns have, namely, the external manual safety. Thank you Gaston Glock for the simplicity, safety, and incredible liability of your pistols. They are the nearly perfect carry gun.

  • BILL HORNBERGER March 1, 2016, 2:43 pm

    I HAVE CARRIED GLOCKS FOR MANY YEARS BECAUSE I USE THE GLOCK BLOCK.
    IT FITS BEHIND THE TRIGGER AND POPS OUT WHEN YOU TAP IT.

  • Raymond Parmenter March 1, 2016, 1:15 am

    I enjoyed this article. Thank you for the information. I’ve own a Glock Model 23 Gen 4. I love it it is my edc carry. I do not have a comment but a question. The author of this article writes on how he carries his Glock holstered. The author says that his holsters for his Glock he has no retention strap on them. I would enjoy to gain understanding of the authors ideology on this thought as to why this is the choice of this author, pleases. I am trying to learn and grow. Thank you.

    • Travis Riddle May 29, 2016, 9:11 am

      The fear some people have of holsters with retention straps is when reholstering the gun the holster retention straps will come in contact with the trigger causing the firearm to discharge.

      • Arat May 29, 2016, 5:58 pm

        This is why I use a level II retention holster like the blackhawk and safariland (I own examples of both). The blackhawk forces your trigger finger where it should be as you draw, while the safariland has the release at your thumb, and again, forces it where it should be as you draw. And assuming you get a model that fits your exact model, they are simple enough to conceal.

  • Lawrence Mudgett February 29, 2016, 6:12 pm

    I own and shoot numerous Glocks and other handguns. I have been carrying Glocks on and off duty for years. I have trained hundreds of police officers and civilians with the Glock. I have never had nor even witnessed an AD or an ND with the Glock pistol. Every accident that I have read about from other sources is an obvious case of someone who thought they were well trained but were not. Everyone thinks that they are well trained because no one knows what they do not know. As with most things, training is the key to being safe. Glocks are unforgiving to those who make mistakes and violate the universal safety rules. Untrained people are not safe with Glocks but they are often unsafe with any gun. Sticking a Glock in your waistband without a holster is unsafe and I know of a fatal accident that resulted from this practice.

    • John March 1, 2016, 11:04 am

      I think an added point to this article is found in your post. “It is unsafe to put a Glock in your waistband.” But that is not true of most other guns. So there is “something” less safe about the Glock in my opinion.

  • Richard Gould February 29, 2016, 3:22 pm

    Check into Glock slider lock safty I sure like mine and gives me peace of mine on my Glock 43 as I do not have the time on the range to feel trained enough to not have a safty

  • Bill Searcher February 29, 2016, 2:08 pm

    Thanks for this excellent article / explanation / discussion of the Glock trigger and safeties.
    For myself, I plan to avoid owning a Glock and to be more careful around anyone who carries a Glock–it seems there is an element of additional risk compared to some other guns, and I don’t need that.

    • Howard February 29, 2016, 8:45 pm

      GLOCK PISTOLS are Copy Cat by many gun makers today. WHY, Because they are one of the SAFEST, Fastest & SAFEST. Owners are the FAULT with GUN SAFETY with any GUN. Not just GLOCKS. I build Race Glocks which have lighter trigger pull, faster reset, extremely accurate and NEVER had not even ONE fail in any Discharge without some foolishness! Besides one carrying a GLOCK CONSEALED “YOU would never know whom that may be. GOOD LUCK. if you don’t want to buy a GLOCK. But Concealed I don’t think You have much of a Choice to stay away from…

  • John February 29, 2016, 1:37 pm

    I have a cardboard copier paper box in my office packed with old phonebooks. Whenever I need to work on a weapon and need to pull the trigger, for whatever reason, I always place the muzzle up to the box, just to be absolutely positive I am not screwing up. I have never had an ND, but know others who have. There are more than a few holes in lockers down at the cophouse!. It also gives me someplace to stick all those darn phonebooks.

    • MikeinCincy March 1, 2016, 10:43 am

      John, you’re the type of guy that I dont want to be next to at a shooting range. You may have an extensive shooting background, but being lazy is just plain stupid. “Shooting at a box full of phonebooks” to verify your gun if empty? So you are guessing its empty right? And if you are a trained police officer, and other “trained” officers you know, cant handle their weapons safely……Wow….JS

      • John March 2, 2016, 3:54 pm

        MikeinCincy Your reply cracked me up. No, I do not shoot the box. I only use it as a reliable backstop for extra safety – not just for me, but for everyone who comes in. People do make errors, from time to time, that is exactly why Cabela’s has a discharge container by their customer service desk – to minimize unintentional damage. As for other cops, some do get complacent. Carrying a weapon gets to be routine, like carrying a pen. It happens. Like I said, I have never had any problems. I respect weapons like any other power tool.

  • Lombok February 29, 2016, 1:26 pm

    NYPD saying that 75% of all NYPD negligent discharges were from Glocks is a poor use of statistics. You cannot know if that rate is higher or lower than other NYPD firearms without knowing how many negligent discharges PER Glock or how many PER Sig 226, etc..

    • BUURGA February 29, 2016, 2:52 pm

      The statistic is quite valid and simple. Of the total of negligent discharges, which would in and of itself include ALL discharges, 75% were identified as Glocks. Multiple discharges per Glock might affect the total, and would even be more frightening, but it would not invalidate the findings.

      • Gage February 29, 2016, 8:26 pm

        What he’s saying is that it’s a poor statistic. It’s like saying 75% if people think that the sky is green if you only asked 4 people and 3 people said it was. It’d be more relevant if they knew the actual % of Glocks were used by the NYPD.

      • DaveGinOly March 1, 2016, 2:18 am

        If NYPD cops had the same RATE of NDs with all firearms in their arsenal, yet Glocks made up 80% of all their guns, then Glocks would have 80% of the NDs. This would not mean that Glocks were inherently more dangerous than any other NYPD weapons, only that there were more of them with which to have NDs. This is why the NYPD finding is worthless.

    • John March 1, 2016, 11:14 am

      I am concerned about this 75%-71% stat as well. Are the other 25%-29% of other pistols; Do THOSE have “Glock-Style” triggers??? I know it would be nearly impossible for my S&W-686 to have a ND in double action just holstering it, or doing any of the things that seem to have been a factor in the ND’s of the Glock-Style. A Ruger LCP or LC9 would NEVER ND under those circumstances either. I just don’t like the design parameters of the Glock trigger. I am not saying they are unsafe. They must simply require a higher level of training and an eye for the unforeseeable events that would not stumble any other type of trigger.

    • Frank Sharpe March 1, 2016, 2:12 pm

      I’m curious what the ND percentage was before NYPD switched to Glocks, as well as what the rate is when de-cocker equipped guns are/were present (if ever.)

      The numbers quoted in the article are interesting, but I think incomplete if one is looking for a cause/effect conclusion.

      • Hope December 24, 2016, 9:10 am

        The statistics are incomplete without knowing how many Glocks are used by the NYPD. If 90% of their guns are Glocks but only 75% of the NDs that would infer a higher safety level.

  • Bill February 29, 2016, 12:35 pm

    Great article. I was worried because I thought you were going to leave it that there was nothing to worry about Glocks whatsoever but then you kept going and mentioned that you would never carry a Glock IWB or in a pocket. I wholeheartedly agree. And it’s not just Glocks. I feel the same way about all of the light trigger, no safety, striker fired models out there. I call that “unconventional carry” and for that reason I insist on a either a DA/SA or a safety. There are the keyboard crusaders who constantly berate anyone who thinks that way but as soon as they shoot themselves, they shut up so their numbers are dwindling (like the smokers who think cancer will never find THEM). Just apply their logic to a 1911 and tell them to run THAT with the safety off and that usually shuts them up for a while. Anyway, they do make one good point and that is in a real adrenaline pumping, live and death situation, I might be putting myself at a disadvantage if I were a person who carried OWB sometimes, and unconventional the other. If I have to draw and fire, I have to worry about do I have the model on me with the safety or not? That split second can mean the difference between life and death. That’s why I’m leaning toward the DA/SA models across the board. I love my Shield and Bodyguard and they both have safeties but guns I carry OWB do not so I might make some changes.

  • Jon February 29, 2016, 12:07 pm

    The facts are, the Glock is safe and will not discharge on its own.

    EVERY ND is due to operator error, poor judgment, and lack of vigilence. All NDs with all weapons feature these owner errors.

    Glock haters will still hate Glocks while loving and advocating striker fired pistols based on the Glock design from Smith, Sig, Walther, Springfield, and others that feature their version of the Glock designed trigger, striker block, and trigger bar block.

    • DaveGinOly February 29, 2016, 11:02 pm

      I am not a Glock fanboy, but must agree. There is also a difference between a negligent discharge (ND) and an accidental discharge (AD). An ND happens when the gun fires unintentionally due to negligent handling by the operator. An AD happens when the gun goes off when it shouldn’t (such as when a safety mechanism fails to work – cycling the slide to put a round in the chamber and having the round go off is an example of an AD – it is the fault of the gun or the ammunition, not the operator).

  • Oops February 29, 2016, 11:55 am

    I had an ND with a Glock, and saying you never had or will have an ND would cause me to start looking for some wood to knock on. I am 46, and I grew up with guns (actually with a gun builder/smith). I’ve shot competitively since about 6 years old, and still shoot competitively today. I am a certified instructor/coach/etc. and have enough certificates to paper a small wall.

    My G20SF has a 3.5# trigger, and is one of my favorite pistols. I installed a KKM barrel in my G20SF, that I normally carry in a secured case as my “truck gun”. I do not have a round in the chamber in the case. After I put the barrel in, and reassembled, I put in a loaded magazine and put it back in the case.

    A few minutes later, I wanted to check something on the trigger or barrel – I can’t remember now – and I took the pistol out of the case, *racked the slide*, and proceeded to pull the trigger to disassemble. You guessed it, some dumbass forgot to remove the magazine first. I put a really nice hole in my living room window. I watched (in total silence, because Underwood ammo is pretty loud) as the dust in the room looked like a small snow storm. I also noticed that my daughter was sitting on the couch about ten feet away from the newly opened window…..

    So, it can happen to anyone. I train more than most people. I teach gun safety. I too, can be a dumbass. Luckily, I only broke two of the three rules, and no one got hurt – except my precious ego. ALWAYS follow the three safety rules – and if you are so John Wayne that you think you know better, or it can’t happen to you – then good luck. Accidents do happen, and this time the “accident” was truly negligence. On my part.

    I chose to go back to 1911 platform to carry, but you can bet my G20SF is still in the case in my truck, and has killed a few hogs since then. It’s not the gun, its the person.

    • Braxton February 29, 2016, 10:24 pm

      Well said!!! I also had a ND pretty much a similar instance. Nothing wrong with glock, and nobody is perfect. I’m grateful i had it, I am hyper alert and aware with and around firearms now after the experience. I’m grateful for what it taught me even if i wish it never happened. I still own my glock, still love my glock, and still carry my glock, AIWB. I see nothing wrong with carrying iwb with a good kydex holster. I also make it a safe practice to put the gun into the holster first then put it in my pants. Not before, that way the possibility of a ND is as close to impossible as possible. They also make a backplate safety for the glock that you can push down as you holster that holds the striker from moving in case something were to tug at your trigger. Might invest in one just for another level of safety.

  • KBSacto February 29, 2016, 11:49 am

    I own several Glocks, with fewer 1911s and a couple DA/SA pistols. I believe the best safety is the one between our ears, and personal responsibility needs to be taken with any firearm. I can understand how an ND can occur with greater ease on a Glock, however as many of those have stated here, an ND can occur with any firearm. I recommend we all decide to stop blaming the firearm, and place responsibility where it belongs.

    Assigning the responsibility to the firearm for safe handling is silly, and can (as shown in the photos) result in terrible consequences. Violating primary safety rules with a loaded firearm will eventually lead to injury; this is the reason we have safety rules. The benefit of the Glock design is simplicity, which can become an ally in a self defense situation. When one’s life is in jeopardy, thinking usually leaves building, and we will all be best served to have prepared properly for what needs to happen. I know too many CCW holders that see their firearm as an insurance policy rather than a tool.

    Lastly, as was already said, there are reasons why Glocks are so popular. I appreciate the Glock safety mechanism and taking personal responsibility to practice with mine ensures a lower likelihood of an ND. I think we could all agree to that.

  • buh February 29, 2016, 11:47 am

    why wont glock fix it? they know their triggers suck but are too busy raking in the cash from inexperienced idiots to be bothered with a crappy trigger, barrel, sights,…..
    these discharges happen so often they have their own word, “Glockleg” is what happens when you design a gun for open carry then sell to millions of idiots who carry conceal but did not do their research 1st. and now stuck with a crappy unsafe gun
    glock is nothing more than a brilliant ad campaign scam placed on the usa, 1st sell a cheap gun to police then tell the world they are good just because cops use them, when the truth is the police were attracted to the low price and reliability but no one bothered to mention they are crap when it comes to the sights, the barrel, the trigger…. you know, all the important parts.
    Keep posting those self injury pics, there must be millions available by now since glock has been out so long and has never addressed or fixed their so call safety which is a joke. just look at the pictures above and tell me this is a safe gun
    so glad i did my homework and never bought the glock i was looking at, and now have a safe weapon that will outshoot any glock with its match trigger, match barrel, Wilson Combat Bullet Proof Extractor full length flat spring guide rod….. and on and on. it is more important to have a good shooting safe gun over this lightweight piece of plastic junk .

    • Howard February 29, 2016, 8:54 pm

      HERE WE GO WITH Someone who knows very little about GUNS… Open Mouth & put Both FEET in at same TIME. ALL GUNS can be UNSAFE with OPERATOR ERRORS. I am a Professional Gunsmith who understands just how these Safe GUNS CAN & WILL GO OFF! You only have a SAFE GUN if it is Handled Properly, Practice Safe Habits and NEVER believe it cannot happen to YOU. Just forget the gun is loaded and do something STUPID and you will see how safe that isn’t. remember the GUN never Loads itself, Never Discharges all by itself. I can leave a loaded gun for weeks or months all by itself and GUESS WHAT? It didn’t shoot or Kill someone all by itself!

      • Braxton February 29, 2016, 10:26 pm

        or years………

    • Tony says November 6, 2016, 1:22 pm

      Sarcasm?

  • Ymmot February 29, 2016, 11:43 am

    Looking over some of the dumbass comments here I am surprised that many of you own and carry firearms.
    As far as carrying a Glock I know a fellow who has carried a Glock 17 in his waistband IN HIS STORE for over 25 years and NEVER had a UD or ND! That said, I would follow the practical advice of the author and carry ANY pistol or revolver in a TRIGGER SAFE holster, PERIOD!
    As many astute writers have already mentioned, it comes down basically to whether you know what you are doing or NOT!
    I have had ONLY ONE UD, while quick draw practicing with my S&W Model 15 Combat Masterpiece revolver (DA) mostly becasue the gun was tuned up for competitive shooting (NRA Three Gun) thus the double action is lighter that most production guns today and the Single Action is NRA one pound minimum and very crisp. (When you think about pulling the trigger, you have dropped the hammer. Think Remington 700 on steroids!)
    Fortunately I use holsters that point the gun backwards instead of straight down and the only thing injured was my holster and my pride!
    Guns are DANGEROUS MACHINES and like any DANGEROUS MACHINE if you make even one small mistake around them you maybe in for a world of hurt and agony!
    That is why consistent and mindful safe practices have been developed over the years to deal with this issue, READ THEM, HEED THEM, or suffer the negative consequences like the fellow in the photo above with his hand nearly shredded!
    Number One Rule that many STILL will not and do not follow: Treat ALL ASSEMBLED FIREARMS as if they are LOADED!
    That will go along way towards stopping ALL UD’s and ND’s!
    Peace Be Unto You and Yours 😉

  • James Tibbetts February 29, 2016, 10:54 am

    I would take one exception with this article. As a custom holster maker the gun I see the most is a Glock. This article says never use a holster with a retention strap yet their illustration of the failed holster does not have a retention strap. 90% of the holsters I build use a thumb snap retention strap and I design the holster purposely to prevent the trigger area from collapsing. Also the design prevents the finger from reaching the trigger until the firearm is fully withdrawn from the holster. The retention strap on a well designed holster should cover the entire trigger guard and sweep back allowing a full grip on the pistol grip and no more. Granted I do not build IWB holsters fore that reason. Also I do not care for the soft leather holsters. My holsters are finished to repel oils and therefore the do not soften as much with use. A lot of the major leather holster companies design their holsters with more of an eye towards style and less of a mind towards safety as can be seen in the example of the holster illustrated in this story. When you buy a holster for your firearm you need to be as mindful of the safety in the design of the holster as you are in the safety of the firearm you are carry in it.

  • Greg February 29, 2016, 10:49 am

    Thanks for a very informative article. Glock should include your article in its manuals.

  • T February 29, 2016, 10:45 am

    Please correct your article regarding point (3)…
    “Finally, a shoe at the rear of the trigger bar rests on a shelf blocking the firing pin from moving until the trigger is pulled (3).”
    …There is no ‘shoe’ blocking the firing pin from moving…a surface at the rear of the trigger bar rests on a shelf preventing the trigger bar from dropping beneath the striker tail due to external impact…the “drop safety.” Notice it only prevents the trigger bar from moving in a VERTICAL DIRECTION. Your wording implies it stops ALL movement of the trigger bar.

  • TVPC58 February 29, 2016, 10:02 am

    To some extent a double-action revolver could have the same ND problem of going off by an unintentional trigger pull. However, the longer trigger travel and heavier pull make this more difficult than the Glock. That being said, I would suggest the same holster precautions as stated for the Glock for DA revolvers; use a holster that covers the trigger guard. In a hunting application, you could easily get a tree branch acting as your trigger finger on your DA hunting revolver if the holster doesn’t cover the trigger and/or straps down the hammer. There’s nothing like your 454 Casull Redhawk going off in the holster!

  • Bill February 29, 2016, 9:40 am

    Obviously, the Glock Safety Action Trigger is not perfect. As stated in the article, 75% of the NYPD NDs were from Glock pistols. This alone is good reason for special training in handling of Glock Pistols. If you write to Glock about the ND issue they will not reply. My guess is that any reply acknowledging that there is a problem could be used against Glock in a court of law.
    I certainly do not wish an ND injury for myself or anyone around me therefore I had my Glock destroyed after becoming aware of the ND Issue to prevent this from happening. There are too many ways for this Safety Action Trigger to ND and the risk is not worth the convenience of not having to unsafe a conventional safety.

    • Lee February 29, 2016, 11:06 am

      I have been carrying a Glock for almost two decades. As a law enforcement officer, police firearms instructor, an NROI range officer, and competitive shooter. I shot production division USPSA with a Glock 34, well over 100k rounds before my first barrel lug sheared. I shot limited division for a short time with a Glock 24 before I finally went to the STI 2011 platform. I run a Glock 17L in 3-gun, and still shoot a Glock 34 in IDPA when I’m not running my wheel gun still today. I carry a Glock 35 Gen4 on duty, previously carried a Glock 22 3rd Gen since 2003. My plain cloths gun is a Glock 23 Gen4. My wife who is also a law enforcement officer carries a Glock 17 RTF-2. As an instructor I promote use of the Glock platform for its simplicity and reliability. As far as negligent discharges, I have seen them, but no so many with Glocks. Always something else, by someone who wasn’t my student.

      Anyway, my point is I’ve had a long history with the Glock platform, and my annual round counts tend to exceed what most people will shoot their entire lifetime. I’ve supervised millions of rounds fire in front of me. I have seen negligent discharges, and they happen in all platforms. I have never had a negligent discharge in a Glock, and have never had someone under my supervision have one.

      Its easy to point out a case or two, and use it dramatic impression to make a nonexistent problem apparent and even sensationalized. The mainstream news media does it all the time.

      Manual safeties, longer heavier triggers, and things that supposedly may reduce the risk in negligent discharges, don’t prevent them. No matter the platform it falls ultimately with the user. But don’t assume there is something wrong with the platform. The blame doesn’t fall on the object, but the person using the object.

      • Oops February 29, 2016, 12:08 pm

        About the time you think you are competent and comfortable with firearms – it will happen to you. Ask me how I know – thankfully following the safety rules kept anyone from getting hurt.

        Signed – a guy with 40+ years of instructing and competing, LE training/trainer that no longer -personally- carries a Glock; and still doesn’t bash Glocks.

    • John March 1, 2016, 11:50 am

      Had your Glock destroyed?? – That’s just silly. Very silly.

  • Ernroe February 29, 2016, 8:57 am

    I have 3 Glocks, Mods 33,42,22C. When I bought the 33 it had the 3# trigger and I knew right away it was to light for everyday carry. This was my first Glock and did not feel safe carrying the gun without a manual safety. I sent it to http://www.cominolli.com/ and had them change the trigger back to the original and install a manual safety. I use the manual Saf T Block on the 22 (nightstand gun) and on the 42. The Saf T Block can be found on E Bay, Amazon, Brownells.

  • Benjamin Vander Jagt February 29, 2016, 7:53 am

    Thank you for your clear and only slightly biased article. (I do mean that as a compliment!) I’m sick of the overwhelming opinion in the shooting world that anyone who wants a safety clearly shouldn’t own a gun. While shopping, I was drawn to a Taurus PT 840, and I found the safety/decocker very convenient and comfortable, but when the gun salesman said “keep your booger hooker off the bang switch” and tried to sell me a GLOCK instead, I left and never bought a gun from that store. When I choose a gun for the glove compartment, toolbag, wife’s purse, drawer next to the bed, or anywhere else that I might possibly grab for something in the dark (or where a sufficiently finger-shaped object may be found inside the trigger), I want a safety. Granted, I will keep the safety off while the gun is holstered, but if I can’t safely store/pass the gun, I don’t want it.

    GLOCK is a good gun, but it’s not right for everyone. I can’t understand what it is in the shooting world that makes a large proportion of GLOCK owners act as if all other guns are toys, and their owners should just live in padded cells. This article hits the nail on the head, and it does so in a polite, honest, respectful way. I’d like to print it and bring it in to my local gun shop.

    • John March 1, 2016, 11:58 am

      It’s the same reason Chevy and Ford owners don’t see eye to eye. Just silly pride.

  • Jim February 29, 2016, 7:25 am

    Two very important words in this great article. PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY! Your head has a brain in it…..hopefully. USE IT!

  • Scott Loddesol February 29, 2016, 6:35 am

    Never try to make something fool proof because some fool will always prove you wrong. Going back before Glock, I had and an Explorer Post adviser that when I first met him he was military police,was transferred to the range as an instructor and in a six month period shot a hole in the roof of the range teaching facility then to top off his career of being able to carry firearms, shot him self in the hand, while cleaning the same 1911 he shot the hole in the roof with, visually demonstrating always treat your weapon as loaded. Granted It was supposed to be a blank at the range, but after the second ND, it seems the only blanks he was shooting existed between his ears

  • rick February 29, 2016, 6:20 am

    great article

  • Jim February 29, 2016, 6:05 am

    A couple of comments from a Glock armorer for those who wish to be on the safe side:
    1. Glock specifies that any holster should completely cover the trigger and trigger guard to prevent foreign objects (e.g. tree branches) from contacting the trigger.
    2. The aftermarket 3# trigger duplicates the Glock trigger that is restricted to the 17L, which is a pistol designed strictly for target shooting to compete with the Sig 210. It should never be installed in a carry pistol. The margin of safety is very thin.
    3 A poor man’s alternative to installing an aftermarket thumb safety is a trigger block which fits behind the trigger and is pushed out when the pistol is brought on target. They are available aftermarket but I can’t readily find a source at the moment.

    Thanks. Wishing you happy and safe shooting.

    • Harry February 29, 2016, 9:42 pm

      Google “Siderlock”. It’s a foolproof add-on trigger safety.

  • Marcelino February 29, 2016, 5:45 am

    I have an emotional attachment with my 1911. I consider myself a John Moses Browning student. But I also studied the Gaston Glock design and love it too. A new gun and a new car have one thing in common: They come with a manual, read it.

  • J February 29, 2016, 3:54 am

    Well I would say a glock is good for a home defense / bedside gun. For EDC it seems to leave a lot to be desired. If a airplane had this problem well it would be grounded and a fix to the problem , human and/or mechanical would be in order. There are better and safer pistols for EDC now . Sorry but a Glock is probably not the best choice now days for police or CCW carry. Like all things time and demands make new products with improvements in safety and reliability . The glock was a first in its day , so was the model-T etc but new cars are better and safer. So we need to tip our hats to Glock for being innovative for it day and look to newer and safer alternatives.

  • Gil February 28, 2016, 6:40 pm

    I’m an 1911 guy, but I do own a Glock 22 Compensated, I love that gun, I didn’t like the trigger safety alone, I carried it in a galco KingTuk holster and was always conscience of putting my index behind the trigger when holstering it. I did some research and found a company that makes an external thumb safety for Glocks. TSK Glock safety kit, look it up, for a bout a 100$ you got an extra peace of mind. Before you rag on me for putting an extra safety on a Glock, to each their own, but I am very pleased with it, I’m already used to having a thumb safety so drawing and shooting is no biggie.

  • Will Drider February 27, 2016, 11:52 pm

    A properly maintained Glock will work as advertised 99.9% of the time (.1% for Murphys Law). On the other hand, properly trained people screw the pooch all to frequently. There are reasons for NDs but no excuses.

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