Pennsylvania Firearm Owners Association
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  1. #1
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    Default Pistols "going off"

    I'm relatively new to the gun world, only about 5 months or so now, and have not owned any striker-fired pistols until now, when I picked up a Walther PPQ as my possible carry gun.

    I've been carrying for a couple weeks and have been carrying without a round chambered, just to ease into it. I'm also a little anxious about carrying with a round chambered because the gun feels on the brink of firing. Which I guess it is, if the trigger is pulled.

    However, I've heard many times that guns don't simply "go off," the trigger has to be pulled, or the hammer needs to drop (on a gun with a hammer anyway). So rather than operate on possibly irrational emotion, I come seeking facts. Is my striker-fired pistol perfectly safe in the holster with the trigger covered? If so, what makes it so, mechanically? What could cause it to fire otherwise?

    Thanks for any information.

  2. #2
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    ✠ Ēǻζţ ŞŧЯǿŪđβũЯģ, Pennsylvania
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    Default Re: Pistols "going off"

    Not only is it safe in the holster with the trigger guard covered and your finger off the trigger, but pretty much all modern semi autos are built with a firing pin block that does not disengage until the trigger is actually pulled....meaning that even if the gun is dropped there is something stopping the firing pin (A.K.A. the striker) from striking the primer.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Pistols "going off"

    Quote Originally Posted by silvertiger27 View Post
    I'm relatively new to the gun world, only about 5 months or so now, and have not owned any striker-fired pistols until now, when I picked up a Walther PPQ as my possible carry gun.

    I've been carrying for a couple weeks and have been carrying without a round chambered, just to ease into it. I'm also a little anxious about carrying with a round chambered because the gun feels on the brink of firing. Which I guess it is, if the trigger is pulled.

    However, I've heard many times that guns don't simply "go off," the trigger has to be pulled, or the hammer needs to drop (on a gun with a hammer anyway). So rather than operate on possibly irrational emotion, I come seeking facts. Is my striker-fired pistol perfectly safe in the holster with the trigger covered? If so, what makes it so, mechanically? What could cause it to fire otherwise?

    Thanks for any information.
    Hum... I don't know if they have a striker plate ( a plate that is raised unless the trigger is pulled to prevent the pin from hitting the primer) I don't think mine has one. That being said, it's safe. Your anxiety is yours alone. Never heard nor seen nor had a whisper of anyone having any such problems or even the theory of a problem like you are concerned about. I guess the real safety from drops is the trigger safety (if you have one it looks and acts similarly to the trigger itself and the grip safety which both need to have pressure applied simultaneously before the striker can come forward.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Pistols "going off"

    It is mechanically impossible for most modern handguns to discharge without the trigger being pulled. multiple internal safeties would have to be intentionally disabled.

    Guns only do what you tell them to. Formal training on a hot range should increase your comfort level.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Pistols "going off"

    All of the stories you hear about guns "going off" are B.S. They are all morons that are concealed carrying in their pocket, or have the gun shoved in their pants without a proper holster. When they fumble around for their gun the wind up pulling the trigger. This is exactly what happened to Plaxico Burress. Your finger and your holster are your safety. There have literally been 20 page long debates about carrying with one in the chamber. It's safe, but it's up to you to decide if it's what you want to do.
    "Take the guns first, then worry about due process" Trump

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Pistols "going off"

    Quote Originally Posted by silvertiger27 View Post

    However, I've heard many times that guns don't simply "go off," the trigger has to be pulled, or the hammer needs to drop (on a gun with a hammer anyway). So rather than operate on possibly irrational emotion, I come seeking facts.
    What have you heard, or even read, to the contrary?


    Quote Originally Posted by silvertiger27 View Post
    Is my striker-fired pistol perfectly safe in the holster with the trigger covered? If so, what makes it so, mechanically? What could cause it to fire otherwise?

    Thanks for any information.

    A force from some inanimate object would need to apply sufficient force on the trigger to
    cause the trigger to move back toward the frame, when the gun is being holstered, or already
    holstered. Keep the inside of the trigger guard area of the holster clean of debris.
    Quote Originally Posted by Aggies Coach View Post
    Cause white people are awesome. Happy now......LOL.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Pistols "going off"

    For your own peace of mind become familiar with the mechanical properties of your gun, particularly what built in safeties it has. My EDC is a Glock and I am very comfortable carrying it so long as the trigger is covered. I wasn't though until I learned how the gun worked. Most NDs are caused by poor handling. Train yourself to keep your finger out of the trigger guard until the muzzle is downrange and you shouldn't have any problems. Also take extreme care when reholdstering making sure that there is nothing in the holdster (eg a coat hem adjuster) which could trip the trigger. Be slow and careful.
    Last edited by Tank50; December 17th, 2011 at 10:31 AM. Reason: add text

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Pistols "going off"

    Quote Originally Posted by Tank50 View Post
    For your own peace of mind become familiar with the mechanical properties of your gun, particularly what built in safeties it has. My EDC is a Glock and I am very comfortable carrying it so long as the trigger is covered. I wasn't though until I learned how the gun worked. Most NDs are caused by poor handling. Train yourself to keep your finger out of the trigger guard until the muzzle is downrange and you shouldn't have any problems. Also take extreme care when reholdstering making sure that there is nothing in the holdster (eg a coat hem adjuster) which could trip the trigger. Be slow and careful.
    I can second this. I was not comfortable with my Glock until I sat down and made an effort to learn about the specific safeties built into a Glock. Another step that worked really well for me was to carry as if the firearm were loaded. Rather than putting your magazine in and racking the slide, rack the slide first, then put your full magazine in. Holster your weapon and go about your daily business. At the end of the day, follow all safe firearm handling practices and visually inspect the weapon so you can see for yourself that it hasn't "gone off" by itself in your holster. Proceed to clear your weapon as you would if it were loaded.

    Following this practice for a week or two will help ease some of your fears as well as help you establish a safe handling routine.
    Let us hope for the best, but let us also prepare for the worst.

  9. #9
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    Default Re: Pistols "going off"

    Quote Originally Posted by exceltoexcel View Post
    Hum... I don't know if they have a striker plate ( a plate that is raised unless the trigger is pulled to prevent the pin from hitting the primer) I don't think mine has one. That being said, it's safe. Your anxiety is yours alone. Never heard nor seen nor had a whisper of anyone having any such problems or even the theory of a problem like you are concerned about. I guess the real safety from drops is the trigger safety (if you have one it looks and acts similarly to the trigger itself and the grip safety which both need to have pressure applied simultaneously before the striker can come forward.
    They also have a safety plunger that needs to be depressed in order for the striker to move forward.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Pistols "going off"

    Thanks for the replies. I did some more research into the PPQ's specific safety features as per suggestions and my mind is more at ease. Carried for a bit today as csmith suggested and lo and behold, it was still safe when I got home.

    I think the language of guns "going off" is just something that's there sometimes in media and conversation, and I never really thought about it until I moved to PA and joined boards like this. Then I hear the ridicule given to news stories about negligent discharges that word guns as "going off" and my natural inquisition made me wonder exactly why guns "going off" is worthy of ridicule. I'm still learning much in the realm of firearms, so I want to find out everything I can.

    Thanks again.

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