Pistol Cleaning and Safeties

There’s been much ado about safeties on pistols, and I’m often asked which have them and which don’t? Is it safe to carry a pistol with the safety off? And, we’ve already addressed the question, “Do police officers carry their pistols with a round in the chamber, or not?” In case you missed that post, the answer is, without question, YES. However, our Canadian friends tell us officers in their country do not.

The image above is of a Sig Sauer P229, a pistol favored by many police agencies. I, in fact, carried a Sig Sauer P228 when I was still an active police investigator. To me, there is no better weapon for police duty. Beretta is also another fine pistol. I carried a Beretta 92F when I worked as a patrol deputy in Virginia. Actually, the Beretta was the first pistol I’d carried. We made the switch from Ruger .357’s to the Italian pistols in the early 80’s, when a generous citizen feared for our safety and purchased pistols for the entire department, as a donation. That citizen was a farmer who knew that a sheriff’s office sometimes operates on a limited budget. He also knew that local gangs and street thugs were much more heavily armed than the police who were charged with protecting his life and property.

So, to answer the question regarding safeties on Sigs. No, the Sig Sauer does not have a safety. And, police officers who do carry pistols with safeties, such as the Beretta, the weapon is normally carried with the safety off. Carrying a pistol with the safety in the off position and a round in the chamber is no different than carrying a loaded revolver. Exactly the same.

Here’s a photo of a Sig Sauer complete with the bells and whistles labeled for easy identification.

Beretta Nomenclature

Officers must completely disassemble their pistols on a regular basis to perform thorough cleanings and oiling.

Cleaning disassembled Sig Sauer

Disassembled Beretta

Pistol grips are easily changed by removing a couple screws. Shooters must find a grip that fits the shape of their hands.

10 replies
  1. Shawntel
    Shawntel says:

    Lee – Thanks for the clarification. My other question – are there a lot of departments that allow the Sig Sauer to be carried? I know in our area, any of the ‘combat tupperware’ was frowned upon because of the lack of external safety. So change was slow in coming. Now, the majority of our force carries GLOCKs, XDs, and M&Ps.

  2. queenofmean
    queenofmean says:

    Another interesting post, Lee. It’s good to have as much info as possible about the weapons used by law enforcement. Don’t want to look like a fool when writing about them.
    Is it true that officers within the same departments are encouraged to carry the same type of weapon?

  3. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Shawntel – No. Sig Sauer’s feature a firing pin block that’s activated when using the de-cocking lever. This allows the hammer to drop back into place after “racking” that initial round into the chamber. And, it serves the same purpose after the last round is fired, which automatically leaves the slide locked open. Entirely different animal. There is no safety on a Sig.

  4. Shawntel
    Shawntel says:

    Doesn’t the Sig have an “integrated” safety similar to Glocks and S&W M&Ps?

    Thank you for this post, as one of my biggest pet peeves is a gun error. The one that still sticks in my craw? “Uncock the Glock.” Really? ‘Cause the only way I know to “uncock the Glock” is to pull the trigger.

  5. Dave Swords
    Dave Swords says:

    Lee, I noticed in looking at the labeled pic of the Sig 229, if you lined up the sights according to the picture, you’d only fire it once! 🙂

  6. tudza
    tudza says:

    You did a good job weeding off-color comments, I don’t recall reading any on my pass through for several shows.

    The Ruger LCP I was looking at for concealed carry, being fairly new, had a recall at one point because it was found to go off if dropped. A problem since most concealed carry people I read postings from would have a round in the chamber. They have since fixed that, but I should carry my list of serial numbers along if I ever do go out to buy one.

    I imagine both the pistols above should pose no worries along those lines. They have probably been engineered and well tested for that sort of thing. Nice pistols.

  7. Lee Lofland
    Lee Lofland says:

    Hi Michele. Thanks for the kind words. I had activated the more secure feature on the site due to some of the off-color comments regarding my Castle reviews. I’ve restored things back to normal now. We’ll see how it goes. Sorry for the inconvenience.

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