Thumb-Safety Glock

(photo and text by Miles Vining)

Trials Glock with thumb safety
Trials Glock with thumb safety (photo by Miles Vining, courtesy UK National Firearms Centre, Leeds)

One of the more revolutionary and innovative features of the Glock series of handguns is in their signature slogan “GLOCK Safe Action”. This is based on the fact that although there is no external hand operated safety device, there are three internal ones: trigger safety, firing pin safety, and sear safety. This has paved the way in modern day handgun designs to put the responsibility of firearms handling upon the user and not on an arbitrary lever. There is also the tactical requirement of readily getting the gun into action. But was there ever even an experimental Glock made with an external safety? During the initial Austrian Army trials of 1982, the Army wasn’t used to the fact that a military weapon could be issued without an external safety. So the Army requested a trial pistol with one and sure enough, Glock produced one for them to examine. The conclusion was that it was not needed, but one of these pistols exists today in the National Firearms Center, Leeds, England. Formally known as the MoD Pattern room, the author found this external safety Glock in one of the handgun drawers. The pistol has a newer magazine with extended floorplate so the original magazine must have been mismatched.