A grip safety is a lever or other device situated on the grip of a firearm which must be actuated by the operator's hand, as a natural consequence of holding the firearm in a firing position, in order for the firearm to fire. It is usually similar to a manual safety in its function, but is momentary; the safety is deactivated only while the shooter maintains their hold on the grip, and is reactivated immediately once the shooter releases it. The M1911
design is a popular example of a handgun with a grip safety. The Uzi
submachine gun is another example of a firearm with a grip safety.
A related grip-type safety is the decocking grip found on some H&K pistols like the P7 Series
. The firearm is cocked and ready to fire only when the front of the grip is squeezed by the operator. When the grip is released, the firearm is decocked, and the single-action trigger will not cock the firearm, therefore it will not fire unless the grip is squeezed and the trigger pulled.
Another, unusual variant was found in the Ortgies
semi-automatic pistols. To disengage the safety, a user would squeeze a lever until flush with the rear of the grip. The lever then would latch in the disengaged position until the user released it again by pressing a button under the slide, whereupon tension from the striker spring would push it back to the engaged position. Thus, engaging the safety also relieved some tension in the striker spring.