History of Gun Safety

Guest column by james forrester of Keep guns safe

Let’s take a quick look back at how people have kept their guns safe up until now.

Use of Trigger Guards

This is one of the earliest gun safety benefits that saw wide use in the 19th and 20th centuries. Trigger guards help to make it more difficult for a trigger finger to accidentally depress the trigger when at rest or when maneuvering the weapon.

Although this safety feature is quite rudimentary, it's now a staple of virtually every modern firearm and is an expected feature with all new guns that are constructed. Trigger guards are also useful for keeping the trigger finger in place when firing an automatic or high-recoil weapon.

Introduction of Grip Safeties

Grip safeties were first developed in the 1880s and were primarily added in order to make certain guns childproof. Essentially, grip safeties involve the mechanism that required a firearm grip to be squeezed at the same time as the trigger is pulled in order for around to be successfully fired.

However, this feature eventually stopped becoming common in the 1940s due to how difficult it made certain firearms to be used. In addition, it didn’t actively lead to a lower amount of firearm accidents involving children, so it seemed to be a waste of effort.

Nowadays, it’s difficult to find weapons with grip safeties created in the same way, although certain companies are trying to revolutionize the technology with modern innovations.

Moving towards Safety Switches

The default safety measure found in virtually every firearm today is the safety switch. This was originally created in the 1800s and saw widespread adoption in the 1900s.

Safety switches can be flipped on or off with a flick of the thumb and prevent a firearm from being shot until the safety is switched into the off position. It’s extremely effective and doesn’t require any special knowledge or technique to use properly. For this reason, it’s one of the most ubiquitous safety measures and is a staple of modern gun safety efforts.

It’s also a core part of good gun protocol; all firearms should have their safeties on by default unless you are prepared to shoot.

Trying Magnetic Rings

These are a relatively new invention that haven’t really seen widespread use. Basically, magnetic rings pull a locking pin out of position in certain older revolvers. The appropriate user for the revolver can wear the ring and cause the firing pin to slide back into position, allowing the weapon to be discharged properly.

However, this was never adopted because it’s too easy to fabricate magnetic rings that eliminate the whole purpose of having personalized magnetic loops for your individual gun.

Developing Smart Guns

Lately, improvements in technology have led to the adoption of biometrics for certain firearms. These weapons have technological innovations that recognize the fingerprint of their owner, preventing unauthorized users from using the weapon at all.

While this technology has promise, it still needs to be developed fully and has a number of glitches or workarounds that prevented from being truly effective. In addition, guns rely on biometrics for safety are often much more expensive than their mechanical counterparts. It will be sometime before these weapons into the mainstream market.


Gun safety is a fascinating subject and as technology marches on, methods for ensuring that firearms can be used safely will surely adapt along with it. Make sure that you keep abreast of the latest developments in gun safety to keep you and your family safe as you enjoy your guns.