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

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

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

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:

27 thoughts on “Do Glocks Have Safeties?

  1. Thank you for this great article. I own a couple of Glocks and know they have no safety that “clicks off”. I’m always leaving a note in the book reviews telling authors this little fact after I read about their character having done this silly non-existent step. I have emailed authors and told them this, too. I’ve never gotten a thank you or a commet back from any of these authors. I’m going to include your article from now on. I think these authors believe I’m some old lady who doesn’t know anything… Haha. I looked it up today just to make sure Glock hadn’t come out with a new gun with a safety that “clicked off”… Nope they had not. Lack of that type of safety is why I love the Glocks. Again, thanks for this article.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Why MacGyver's Terror of Guns is Silly - Kimia Wood

    • Even a little kid has seen enough movies to know what a safety switch is. The fact is if your finger is on a trigger you intend to shoot. You must be from California. Troller


    • Very true,, if a child pulls it out of his moms purse points it at her pulls the trigger she’s dead…I guess you can call it a safety if you want, but I think the mother would disagree


  3. the word “safety” is the key when describing a Glocks features . I prefer to NOT rack-a-round when im not intending to fire my pistol . That one motion is serious buisness Thats why i Love Glock . ( they arent the prettiest weapon but they are reliable and can take a beating without issue .) I think most people rely on a Safety feature on other pistols . However if there is a round racked , no “safety” in the world is 100 percent Safe

    Liked by 1 person

    • If you do not carry with a live round in the barrel it could cost your life some day. I wish Glock would add a grip safety to block firing pin like the Springfields have , but I am going to buy a Glock 48 anyway because they are the perfect carry size. JB from Ky.


  4. Always loaded, don’t point, keep your finger off the trigger, be aware.
    Guns don’t shoot themselves no matter what the safety.
    Who in the hell leaves a gun where a third grader can access it for any reason?
    Again, human error blamed on the gun!!!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. People concerned with safety may install manual trigger safety after they purchase a Glock. The prototype Glock also has manual trigger safety, but Austria military later decided they don’t need one.
    Back to the problem, it’s realistic for Glocks to have a safety that need to be switched off.


  6. That on the trigger only prevents the gun firing if dropped. It lacks a manual safety that prevents the gun from firing even if the trigger is moved. Glocks are similar in function to a cocked revolver.


  7. That on the trigger only prevents the gun going off if dropped. It lacks a manual safety that prevents the gun from firing when the trigger is moved. Glocks are similar in function to a cocked revolver and are known for accidental discharges by policemen who are working under stress. When raised, this they did not accept as design fault. But after wards, they made the trigger harder to pull as a remedy.


    • I was a police officer for 20 years carried a glock as our duty weapon never had an accidental discharge it all depends on your training and your training instructor.


  8. There is no real safety on a Glock… Which is why they viral video idiot shot himself in the groin. He bent over, something, like his shirt maybe, caught on the trigger and a round discharge, point blank, into his crotch. Of a Glock had an thumb safety or and external hammer, add thus a much longer trigger pull in double-action, dude wouldn’t have blown his giblets off.


    • If the guy bent over and a shirt caught the trigger, that means he didn’t have a holster for his firearm, and was carrying like a gangster… Or if it was holstered, had very little retention. Again, HUMAN error .. don’t blame Glock for his ignorance


    • Don’t believe it had to have a finger on the trigger for that gun to go off . I garuantee it . he was probably holding the gun for it not to drop but there was a figger on that trigger . The police acadamy took a 9 mm glock and threw it across the room and it didn’t go off .


  9. Don’t believe it had to have a finger on the trigger for that gun to go off . I garuantee it . he was probably holding the gun for it not to drop but there was a figger on that trigger . The police acadamy took a 9 mm glock and threw it across the room and it didn’t go off .


  10. accidents don’t happen with guns unless there is a finger on the trigger not even on a revolver they showed us with a cocked revolcer pulled the hammer back and dropped the gun, nothing happened be cause there was no finger on the trigger . because even revolvers have a safety mechanisism in there that has a safety bar that comes up and covers the firing pin if there is not a finger on hte trigger I’ve thaught safety classes on thiis also testified in court and had to demonstriat to people that don’t get it.


  11. Glocks dont have a safety period except for the one that requires a tool to set which no one would ever use in a carry consideration. A true safety if the trigger is pulled the gun wont fire


  12. Normal striker vs DA/SA debate – debate’s healthy (our universities and politicians will rediscover that one of these days). Former military, LE, homeland security, instructor with all. Good points all around, but it’s the stress in dangerous situations (and how often, if at all, you can train for them) that makes the entire debate worthwhile. With frequent, persistent training, with at least periodic doses of combat stress training, any firearm off-safe should be no cause for concern…but, under it, the history of NDs even with Mil and LE folks (let alone civilians) is well documented. Not a fan of NY, but most people who have been where I have think it was actually a very smart idea to add the “NYPD trigger” (12-lb) to their Glocks…if you train, that much pull becomes a moot point. Good control at your range with your 4- to 5-lb trigger is easy when stress is absent…that control erodes quickly when real-life hits. Experience tells me a safety is always useful, even if your experience and skill means you are well-versed regarding it’s on/off timing. The fact that more striker-handgun manufacturers are either providing standard safeties, or offering them as options, attests to an evolution of thinking on their part, and awareness on the part of civilian handgun owners. Btw, strong recommend learning the DA/SA system first, then moving to strikers…why?…like learning to drive a stick before an automatic, you learn the difference in the manual of arms. In an emergency or civil unrest situation, you’d want to be familiar with manual of arms for both. OK, back to work – stay safe out there, folks.


  13. there are a couple of is that make an aftermarket safety, there’s 2 or three glock models with a safety but the are rare commercially and in civilian issued service in the USA

    if it has a safety name drop who made it and why give the specifics of it, its a modification or model choice that can be used to flesh out a character

    someone trained with a glock oistol with a safety in a foreign armed forces carrying ine as a specialist, someone modifying a weapon for personal preferences based on lived experiences etc

    what your characters are, do and think should be inferred by what the reader knows and sees of them.


  14. Pingback: The Advantages of Owning a Glock Pistol – LeapZine

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