December 15, 2011
Poll: Where Do You Like Your Safety?
By Phil Bourjaily
Where is the best place for a shotgun’s safety – at the front of the trigger guard or at the back? My gut feeling is that a safety should be at the back, if only because my first gun, an Auto 5, had a safety at the rear of the trigger guard. However, today I hunt waterfowl with guns having safeties in front, behind and on top. I switch among them all without much difficulty. Teaching yourself to use different safeties is just like learning to go back and forth between single and double triggers: shoot a couple of rounds of skeet calling for the bird with the safety on and you’ll get the knack in a hurry.
And, while safeties behind the trigger just look right to me, from an ease of use standpoint, a safety at the front of the trigger guard (as shown here on a Winchester SXP) is the quickest to reach. I was taught to carry a gun with my index finger extended across the trigger guard to help keep branches and twigs from snagging the trigger. It’s a habit now, and as a result I only have to move my trigger finger a fraction of an inch to reach a safety at the front of the trigger guard.
The best safety at the front of the trigger from ease of use standpoint is the Beretta 390/391. The worst was the one on my Benelli Nova, which was both tiny and tucked up against the bottom of the receiver where it wasn’t easy to find in a hurry. It cost me a couple of chances at teal buzzing the decoys while I had it, although otherwise I liked the gun.
The best safety behind the trigger guard was the big triangular button on the Browning Gold which was huge, easy to switch off, and the easiest ever to change to left-handed.
Since I have no strong feelings on this question, we’ll take a poll. Safety in front of the trigger guard, at the rear, or no opinion?