A reader thinks it would be safer. Mike George offers his opinion and talks about safety sears too.

Q: Why do some shotguns have automatic safeties while others do not? Surely safety is paramount, 
so the safety on all guns should be automatic?

Automatic safeties – an expert’s view

A: I agree that safety is paramount, however I don’t agree that all shotguns should be fitted with automatic safeties.
Why? Because the best safety feature is that grey matter between your ears, 
and by my book the gun’s safety catch comes pretty 
well down the list of safety priorities. Briefly, you won’t 
turn a dangerous idiot into a safe shot by fitting his gun 
with a feature that applies 
the safety catch every time 
the gun is reloaded.

In general terms, automatic safeties are fitted to game guns, and those of the non-automatic variety are fitted to clay shooting guns. It really is a matter of personal choice, but my favourite game gun and my favourite Sporter are both fitted with non-automatic safeties.

Safety sears

Browning B525

Q: Do safety sears actually work if you drop your gun? Is this a proven fact, or is it just sales hype? Do you know of anyone who has ever put it to the test?

A: There is no reason why an extra bent on a gun’s tumbler should not prevent an accidental discharge if a gun is dropped, providing the blow is not so severe as to lift the sear very high.

Such accidents are rare anyway, and I have never met anyone who has suffered such a misfortune.

One point to remember is on the majority of shotguns the fact the safety is ‘on’ would not prevent an accidental discharge should the gun be dropped.

Most safeties merely disengage the trigger from the rest of the firing mechanism, leaving the action still cocked and the hammer free to fall should the sear become disengaged for any reason.

Intercepting safety sears are usually only found on better quality guns.