Readers of this blog may recall the several articles I posted on these pages about Glock handguns and the frequency of their involvement in accidental/negligent discharges. They've got a light trigger pull, and there's no manual safety. And they are very easy to shoot.
I understand that newer ones have an indicator which tell the user whether there's a bullet in the chamber. But that's a relatively new feature, and besides, it only matters if the user actually looks at it.
In terms of mechanical design, there are few flaws with Glock pistols. If a law enforcement officer, soldier or citizen does exactly what they are supposed to do all of the time with cyborg certainty, there will be no problems with the Glock or other popular pistols mimicking its basic design. Unfortunately, “RoboCop” is only a movie, and humans are liable to make similar mistakes over and over again.
The cyborg metaphor is a good one. It's always risky to engage in an activity that requires you to be right 100% of the time. That's why skydivers use back-up parachutes. More from Owens:
The underlying problem with these pistols is a short trigger pull and the lack of an external safety. In real-world encounters, a short trigger pull can be lethal, in part because a significant percentage of law enforcement officers — some experts say as high as 20% — put their finger on the trigger of their weapons when under stress. According to firearms trainers, most officers are completely unaware of their tendency to do this and have a hard time believing it, even when they're shown video evidence from training exercises.
In any event, there seem to have been an inordinate number of accidental/negligent discharges involving Glock handguns. From time to time a victim sues the company following an injury from an unintentional discharge. One such case that may still be pending is Chavez vs. Glock, Inc, et al. Enrique Herrera Chavez was a Los Angeles police officer who was hauling his small child in the back seat of his car when the child fiddled with Mr. Chavez's Glock model 21 which was also back there. The gun discharged and injured Mr. Chavez. Mr. Chavez sued Glock, Inc., as well as some tangentially involved parties. The trial judge threw the case out with a ruling in favor of a motion for summary judgment. The appellate court confirmed in part but allowed Mr. Chavez to continue his suit against Glock, Inc., on the theory that the gun could have had a design defect. The appellate case issued the ruling on July 24, 2012. And then the case disappeared off the face of the internet.
Paul Barrett wrote an excellent book titled "Glock: The Rise of America's Gun" which is well worth the time it takes to read. In it he says that Glock, Inc., tends to quietly settle the cases it thinks it could lose and fight those that it thinks it can win with an emphasis on just how careless a person has to be to fire off a round unintentionally. It would seem that the Chavez case could go either way in a California court. So maybe the case was quietly settled with a non-disclosure clause.
For more about Glocks at this blog click on the Guns tag. The post there aren't all about Glocks, but it shouldn't be hard to find them.