Firearm Safety Mechanisms Cross Bolt - Pivot - Slide - Hammer

The safety on a firearm, blocks the firing mechanism, to prevent it from being fired accidentally. There are different types of safeties, and they can be located in different places on the firearm.

Types of firearm Safeties Mechanism
  1. Cross-Bolt Safety
  2. Pivot Safety
  3. Slide Safety

Here are two major reasons why firearm safeties should never be totally relied on:

  • They are subject to mechanical failure from wear and other factors and can fail when least expected
  • By the action of your hands, clothing, tree branches, or a fall, they can unknowingly be bumped from the safe position

Cross-bolt safety

Cross-bolt safety
  • Common on pump and semi-automatic firearms

  • Located at either the rear or front of the trigger guard

  • Simple push button action blocks the trigger mechanism

Cross-bolt safety - positions

How does the safety mechanism work?

Pivot Safety

Pivot safety
  • A pivoting lever or tab that blocks the trigger or firing pin
Pivot safety - positions

How does the safety mechanism work?

Slide Safety

Slide safety
  • Found on hinge-action shotguns and a few rifles

  • On shotguns it is located on the tang, which is the metal strip behind the receiver

  • On rifles it is usually located on the side of the receiver

  • This safety blocks the trigger or sear, which is the link between the trigger and firing pin


Slide safety - positions

How does the safety mechanism work?

Some safety mechanisms use a button safety that is red when the safety is off. They are ready to be fired. Red means fire.

Remember: The safety mechanism blocks the trigger but not the firing mechanism. Never depend on a safety mechanism to prevent the firearm from firing.