Do Glocks Have Safeties?

Glock 19

Glock semi-automatic pistols are some of the most popular handguns in the world, which makes them easy picks for assigning to all sorts of characters. Pictured is a Glock Model 19, which can hold 15 rounds of 9mm ammunition. The U.S. Marines Special Operations Command adopted it for use in early 2015. Good news for your characters: You don’t have to be in the military to own a Glock 19. (Photo via GunDigest.com)

TLDR: Glock handguns use three safety mechanisms, but none of them require a character to switch anything off. Disregard Glock safeties entirely when writing fiction.

In keeping with the recent theme of things that may or may not have safeties (knives, revolvers, etc.), let’s talk about Glock handguns. I (and probably some regulars of this blog) can remember reading novels and short stories where a character switched the safety off a Glock semi-automatic pistol. This is a boo-boo. Glocks don’t have safeties that switch off.

Maybe you’ve heard that tip before in lists of common gun mistakes writers make. The advice might’ve abbreviated this nugget down to “Glocks don’t have safeties.” That’s actually not true.

Yes, Glocks Have Safeties

Although they’re known for their simplicity, 99 percent of Glock handguns actually sport three safety mechanisms: trigger safety, firing pin safety and drop safety. Don’t worry if those sound foreign to you. You really only need to know one thing. See this tab in front of the trigger?

Do Glocks Have Safeties

(Yamil Sued photo via GunDigest.com)

This is what’s known as a trigger safety. The tab prevents accidental discharges because the trigger must be pulled in a certain way (right in the center with rearward pressure) for the gun to fire. Deactivating that safety is as simple as pulling so the tab folds into the rest of the trigger, like this:

Glock trigger safety writing fiction

(Photo via GunDigest.com)

If that sounds a little like there isn’t a safety at all, you’re not alone. Some people are dead set against this type of set up. Others see no problem with it. From the standpoint of writing fiction, I don’t think this should prevent you from assigning Glocks to your characters. They became some of the most popular guns in the world for a reason. Just remember that when it comes to safeties on Glocks…

They Don’t Switch Off

Nope. There’s nothing to switch off. Nada. Zilch. Zero.

Characters Using Glocks

Technical jargon aside, it’s actually pretty easy to write about characters using Glocks. Forget about the safeties entirely. A character could pop a magazine (but not clip) into the pistol, “rack the slide” to load the first round into the chamber and pull the trigger until the ammunition is gone. Remember that because they’re semi-automatic pistols, Glocks will only fire one time per pull of the trigger. Fully automatic Glocks do exist, but I’ll save that for another day.

Why So Much Confusion About Glock Safeties?

Glock 17 pistol

The Glock Model 17 was introduced in 1982. It remains popular to this day, and wouldn’t look out of place just about anywhere in fiction. (Image via Glock)

Glocks never used safeties that switch off, so how did fiction get this area so wrong? There could be many reasons, but here’s my theory. Somewhere along the line, “Glock” became shorthand for “any modern, semi-automatic pistol.”

Glocks are certainly modern and use semi-auto actions, but they’re far from the only handguns fitting that description. Because some semi-auto pistols do use safeties that switch off, the feature somehow appropriated onto Glocks. The pop culture zeitgeist tends to do things like that.

Recommended Glock Models for Fiction

If you’re going to reference a Glock in a story, make it an actual Glock. Pick out a model from the Glock website so you write with something in mind. Some models I think are great for fiction are:

  • Glock 22 (.40 caliber, good for police characters)
  • Glock 41 (.45 caliber, good for characters needing to make windows inside of other characters)
  • Glock 36 (.45 caliber, crime writer Laura Roberts chose this for a character, read about it here)
  • Glock 17 (9mm, a true classic)
  • Glock 19 (9mm, if it’s good enough for the Marines, it’s good enough for your characters)

Get the Book

The Writers Guide to WeaponsThe Writer’s Guide to Weapons: A Practical Reference for Using Firearms and Knives in Fiction (Writer’s Digest Books) comes with everything but the ammo. Pick up a print or digital copy from these fine retailers:

4 thoughts on “Do Glocks Have Safeties?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s