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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
The rationale for why certain types of safeties were used on SNS are probably lost to history. With that said, I would imagine one of the biggest reasons was cost.

But what was the rationale for the slide safeties on Ravens and I think some early Jennings? Having to find and move the slide safety under stress seems like a really tall order especially on such a small firearm.

The up/down safeties on the later(?) Jennings and the JAs seems to be more and the most functional from a self defense perspective.

The up/down safeties on the later(?) Ravens, Davis and Cobra's are probably in the middle. The safety is still small but some move smoothly and others not so smoothly (although I would guess that can be fixed to some degree).
 

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Well, I think you need to look at the system holistically first. You have to begin with the sear design used on the Raven P-25. I believe that sear and trigger mechanism design dates to the Menz pistols of the early-1900s, they may predate the Menz pistols, but they were pretty early pocket pistols and I personally suspect that the Menz was the source.

Anyway, their safety wasn't a sliding style, but it functioned basically the same way, by getting in the way of an arm on the sear and stopping it from dropping. The Menz had the safety and trigger mechanism on the left side of the pistol, while the Raven puts the trigger mechanism on the right side. The Menz used an awkward little rotating safety at the rear of the frame, similar to a lot of other European pocket pistols, and that safety is not what a 1970s American would consider to be truly useful in any kind of carry sense. I have a Czech DUO with a safety in the same location and it's impossible to effectively manipulate without using your second hand. When Jennings designed the Raven he opened up that real estate on the left side and now had the option to move the safety forward on the frame to where the operator could operate the safety with the gripping hand.

To your point:

Having to find and move the slide safety under stress seems like a really tall order especially on such a small firearm.
Now, everything is a trade-off, the original P-25 safety operated in the reverse and is difficult to disengage even with a big button. Raven Arms wanted people to know that racking the slide would disable the safety and I suspect Jennings' intent was to carry on an empty chamber, when needed you would rack the slide to load the weapon and the safety would be disabled at the same time, thus saving the operator a potential step in the kill chain. In this sense, the sliding safety both made sense in the cycle of operations and the reverse direction also fit right in with that method of carry.

I think then, as explained above, it's suggested in the manual, and more than one magazine article from the period, that you were originally meant to disable the safety and put a round in the chamber with one sling-shot of the slide. That motion requires much less of your limited motor skills when you're under a lot of stress and sort of makes sense for the first generation P-25s. Once you start carrying with a round in the chamber, which I suspect customers were really doing despite warnings not to, you no longer rack the slide to bring the weapon into a "hot" state and the safety is no longer automatically disabled. Since drawing the safety backwards to disable it is a relatively awkward motion, even with the big button, I think the decision was likely made to accept the realities of carrying with one in the pipe and the more natural pushing motion was selected to improve the safety of the weapon.

So the switch to the small slider occurred while production was still on-going at Baldwin Park. I guess it's fair to ask why the large safety button wasn't retained in a now reversed safety design, I think that was a money issue, or just a general simplification. The original large button safeties were two components that were pressed and "riveted" together, using a stud on the button as the rivet. The transitional design for the new safety was stamped from one piece of high carbon steel and bent to shape. Interestingly enough for me, the early transitional safeties were somewhat skeletonized for some unknown reason and this fact is even mentioned in an AFTE journal article that was written before the move to Industry, California.

Either way, I also find all of the sliding safety variations on the Raven to be difficult to use and poorly designed from an ergonomic perspective... but these guns were sub-$50 new. I have an early 1970s receipt for one that sold for around $29 new. Given the target market, cost to produce, etc, I suspect Jennings decided a really good safety just wasn't worth the investment given the number of cycles he was likely trying to get out of each set of casting dies. By the time the second version of the MP-25 rolled around, there were other considerations in safety design aside from ergonomics - primarily, product liability. The rotating safety is more positive as a sear blocking safety and locks the slide closed when engaged. Given the ease with which an ignorant individual could end up shooting themselves with a P-25 or early MP-25, even when the pistol was found without a round in the pipe, I suspect the rotating safety was a must have modification and likely occurred when the 1st model MP-25 dies wore out and needed replaced. That said, I really dislike the rotating disk safety on all of the SNS guns. It's a better way to disable the gun, but it is not a good safety for quickly bringing the firearm into action defensively. So, trade-offs.
 

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I firmly believe that MANY early safeties and even hammers were designed to be used with the off hand. Much like cocking old flint locks and muzzle loaders, where you didn’t cock it with the hand that was HOLDING the gun, you used the other hand.

And so...maybe newer guns just went along with designs from long ago, especially if it matched mechanically with how they operated. If you want a bit of metal to slide in one direction, why use linkages or odd twists to make the switch move in a different direction?
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
@bumthum

Thank you for the detailed response. I don't think I knew about the Menz's pistols. I just pulled up the unblinkingeye's page on them and will read it later. Pocket pistols are interesting area of study.

And completely off topic, I wish some of the smaller European 25s could be imported again And I would really dig a Russian PSM. Actually, maybe not so off topic, since 25s and 32s are pretty popular over there, it would be interesting to see what kind of refinements have been on modern European 25s and 32s. And how the lucky few that can carry concealed go about it.

After I wrote the original post and reading your response, I think the other thing to take into consideration is that from the birth of the Raven to today's world of concealed carry there has been a fundamental (revolutionary?) change in philosophy when it comes to concealed carry. The increase in the number of states that went to "shall issue" really changed the dynamics. The world of civilian concealed carrying was almost nonexistent or just starting to develop during the height of SNS. So a firearm like the Raven would have been made without much of a demand for a user friendly concealed carry weapon. I can't think of too many firearms that have come out that are meant for concealed carry that have an awkward safety (I am sure there have been some, I just can't think of any off the top of my head).

I have also read that anecdotally that many law enforcement officers supposedly carried Raven's and other smaller firearms as backups. Now, I have no idea if that is true. Either way, it would be interesting to hear from people that carried a SNS for a primary weapon or a backup back in the day. How did they carry it? Round in chamber? Where did they carry it? Ankle? Pocket? Even more interesting would be people that had to use a SNS in a self-defense situation.

Do you like the up/down safeties that are on the later (I am assuming later) Jennings and current JA's? I have not used them extensively yet, but they do seem to be easier to use. I must admit, the little Jennings and JA's (22s, 25s, 32s, and 380s) are in my opinion pretty ergonomic. A polymer version of a 22, 25, or 32 would be pretty awesome.

That is very interesting about the first gen Raven's. At first glance they would seem to be the most functional from a self-defense standpoint. Were they made long? I occasionally see them on GB and I want to add one or two (or more ) to my collection but I can't justify the price right now.

$29 new? That would be fun

In the end, I would agree there were trade-offs (always are in life). I wonder how or what Jennings would develop in today's market?

Is there a book that discusses SNS history? I have watched some videos and read a number of articles. It would be interesting to find a history book on SNS history and their development.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
@ajole

That is an interesting idea. It seems that for a long time, a handgun was used with only one hand. And that Col Cooper and the "modern technique" changed that to using two hands. In the "old" way of doing things what was the second hand used for? It would certainly seem plausible that shooting handguns one handed was a left over from history. And the second hand was used to make the gun ready to use.
 

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I firmly believe that MANY early safeties and even hammers were designed to be used with the off hand. Much like cocking old flint locks and muzzle loaders, where you didn't cock it with the hand that was HOLDING the gun, you used the other hand.

And so...maybe newer guns just went along with designs from long ago, especially if it matched mechanically with how they operated. If you want a bit of metal to slide in one direction, why use linkages or odd twists to make the switch move in a different direction?
I'm not 100% on this. IIRC, the manuals for drill normally wanted firers using the hand the pulled the trigger with to cock flintlocks and caplocks. I guess I can't be certain what was typical for civilians, but flintlock pistols in military use were most often carried by mounted troops who needed their other hand free to wield a saber or control the reigns, so it was pretty important to be able to operate their handguns with one hand. The same holds true up into the caplock era, with handguns being a primarily one handed weapon.
It's true that it was necessary to use two hands on long arms, but I guess that's no different than a long arms now.
But, I suppose it's possible that two hand use was common in the civilian market. I notice that strictly military auto-loaders, even early ones, tend to have better located safeties than their civilian counterparts. Of course, military weapons have always been subjected to extensive testing and troop comment, so safety positioning would have likely been addressed during those trials. The exception would be WWI, when a lot of civilian pistol types (largely in .32 ACP/7.65 Browning) were pressed into service on both sides.

As a side note, you get the Spanish made French issued Ruby, that is a rip-off of Browning's designs, putting the safety in a place that makes sense and several actual Browning pistols that put a tiny safety all the way at the rear of the frame. I own a Ruby and love it as a pistol from the time, probably the best handling early-1900s .32 I've handled.

@bumthum

Thank you for the detailed response. I don't think I knew about the Menz's pistols. I just pulled up the unblinkingeye's page on them and will read it later. Pocket pistols are interesting area of study.

And completely off topic, I wish some of the smaller European 25s could be imported again And I would really dig a Russian PSM. Actually, maybe not so off topic, since 25s and 32s are pretty popular over there, it would be interesting to see what kind of refinements have been on modern European 25s and 32s. And how the lucky few that can carry concealed go about it.

After I wrote the original post and reading your response, I think the other thing to take into consideration is that from the birth of the Raven to today's world of concealed carry there has been a fundamental (revolutionary?) change in philosophy when it comes to concealed carry. The increase in the number of states that went to "shall issue" really changed the dynamics. The world of civilian concealed carrying was almost nonexistent or just starting to develop during the height of SNS. So a firearm like the Raven would have been made without much of a demand for a user friendly concealed carry weapon. I can't think of too many firearms that have come out that are meant for concealed carry that have an awkward safety (I am sure there have been some, I just can't think of any off the top of my head).

I have also read that anecdotally that many law enforcement officers supposedly carried Raven's and other smaller firearms as backups. Now, I have no idea if that is true. Either way, it would be interesting to hear from people that carried a SNS for a primary weapon or a backup back in the day. How did they carry it? Round in chamber? Where did they carry it? Ankle? Pocket? Even more interesting would be people that had to use a SNS in a self-defense situation.

Do you like the up/down safeties that are on the later (I am assuming later) Jennings and current JA's? I have not used them extensively yet, but they do seem to be easier to use. I must admit, the little Jennings and JA's (22s, 25s, 32s, and 380s) are in my opinion pretty ergonomic. A polymer version of a 22, 25, or 32 would be pretty awesome.

That is very interesting about the first gen Raven's. At first glance they would seem to be the most functional from a self-defense standpoint. Were they made long? I occasionally see them on GB and I want to add one or two (or more ) to my collection but I can't justify the price right now.

$29 new? That would be fun

In the end, I would agree there were trade-offs (always are in life). I wonder how or what Jennings would develop in today's market?

Is there a book that discusses SNS history? I have watched some videos and read a number of articles. It would be interesting to find a history book on SNS history and their development.
Many European nations had laws that prevented civilian ownership and use of military calibers, so 9mm Parabellum was off the table and 6.35 Browning / 7.65 Browning were often used by police, but not officially by their militaries post-WWI... until WWII and then not afterward. Since there were already a lot of firearms in those two calibers floating around Europe, they became pretty common for civilians in countries that still allowed handgun ownership. The CZ-92(?) is a refined CZ-36/45 and is common enough in Europe, for a small caliber pistol. I'm sure 9mm Browning Short (.380 ACP), is a preferred caliber for pocket guns over there now like it is here in the US. The Czech Kevin... yes, Kevin... is apparently still on the market and was imported into the US briefly by Magnum Research. At any rate, I agree... it would be really interesting to get a in-depth glance at defensive pistol carry and use, legal and illegal, in Europe.

"Shall issue" and reciprocity have led to a huge boom in carry here in the states, since there is more of a market, that market is getting serviced by bigger companies that can sink more money and effort into R&D. I think the first part of the popular revolution was the Keltec P-32 and P3AT. I'm well aware of other, earlier, pistols that were on the market, but things like the Seacamp, et al, were comparatively expensive and serviced the non-Everyday Joe market. Anything else was lower end and smaller caliber (think SNS). Either way, as carry has evolved in the US, the pistols have gotten away from manual safeties, especially on smaller pistols. That's a good trend, guns are better engineered to be reasonably safe, without having to introduce an inconvenient manual safety into the mix.

I've read some about police officers carrying Ravens as an ankle gun. Frankly, good on them, but Ravens and small revolvers are quite heavy and running with one on my ankle seems less than great. My current job requires me to wear a drop-leg holster and chasing anything/anyone with something on my thigh is enough of a hassle... having something as dense as a Raven all the way down on my ankle would just drive me insane. The Raven "manual" says not to carry with a round in the chamber, until you're ready to fire, but I'm sure no one paid attention to that. As I wrote above, my suspicion is that carrying loaded is what led to the design change of the safety.

The flip safety on my J-22 is a bit better than the rotating safeties on the late Ravens and other SNS guns, but it's not ideal and may as well not be there. I'm sure it exists more for liability than for functionality. Again, Jennings/Bryco stated not to keep the gun with a round in the chamber.

The Gen I Ravens (P-25) were made at Baldwin Park for quite a few years (most of the 1970s), but they represent the smallest group of Ravens manufactured. I don't have my data handy, but I believe the Baldwin Parks topped out in the low-80,000 serial range. That includes two major variations, the Gen I with large button reversed safety, and the Gen II with the smaller safety that lasted through the Industry made P-25/MP-25 pistols.
The Gen II started in in the low-70,000 serials, so from around 1970 until maybe 1976-77 there were around 70,000+/- Gen I P-25s manufactured. Production really picked up after the move to the City of Industry (serials are low-80,000s to damn near 2,000,000 from 1977/79 - 1991ish).

As far as I know, there are no technical/historical books written strictly about SNS pistols. I've seen a lot of Fuddisms/bad info on the handful of YouTube videos dedicated to the history of these pistols, like the scripts came from a direct reading of Wikipedia and comments from Luger collectors. Be cautious and consider the source when it comes to information you get. It's far better to talk to collectors about what they have in their hands, than to get unqualified info from random internet personalities who have handled and fired maybe one example and take the rest of what they know from a stew of other people's opinions.

All of the above is just my two cents though.
 

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As far as I know, there are no technical/historical books written strictly about SNS pistols. I've seen a lot of Fuddisms/bad info on the handful of YouTube videos dedicated to the history of these pistols, like the scripts came from a direct reading of Wikipedia and comments from Luger collectors. Be cautious and consider the source when it comes to information you get. It's far better to talk to collectors about what they have in their hands, than to get unqualified info from random internet personalities who have handled and fired maybe one example and take the rest of what they know from a stew of other people's opinions.
AMEN! I'd give this 100 likes if I could.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
@bumthum

I really dig Spanish pistols; I think the Astra A-75 is an awesome pistol! And I would really like to get an Astra revolver at some point. Regarding Ruby's, my major concern is that I have read tracking down the correct origins of Ruby pistols and parts is nearly impossible. Some are very good, and others are not so good. I was looking at Ruby's a while ago, maybe I will have to revisit them.

Have you shot a Mauser 1914? Besides the weird manual of arms, it is a great gun. I really want its baby brother in 25 ACP.

I was looking at Micro Desert Eagles for a time. I found a local one for sale but never followed up on it. And I seem to recall the reviews were so-so. It looks like it would be a handful in 380, probably be nice in 32 or 25.

And this site, says they came in 9x18, that would be awesome!!!!! http://www.zvi.cz/en/products/9-mm-pistol-kevin.html

That is a good question, regarding what is the most popular caliber that Europeans carry.

I agree that the Kel Tec P32 was a game changer. There are so many things going for it, last round hold open, 10 round magazines, and light recoil. I just wish the one I had worked better, I had reliability issues, even after a trip back to Kel Tec (I am sure they would have eventually gotten it right). The sights are also terrible (this was more of an issue for me than I thought it would be) although I have read the P32 Gen 2's have slightly bigger sights. I think the LCP Gen 2 are just about right (the Custom's sights are great). And even the Raven sights are pretty good. As I am thinking about it many SNS's firearms have decent sights. Even the Protec, with its groove wasn't too bad when it would work.

I have experimented with an ankle holster at times. I have used a S&W Sigma (380) and an LCP. The LCP is not too bad. With that said, I have not tried to run with it. I think a Raven would be ok if one is not required to be very active. I can't imagine having to kick someone while one is wearing an ankle holster.

Do you think a flip safety could have worked on a Raven?

Don't must firearm manufacturers note that a round should not be kept in the chamber? It would be interesting to find the drop test protocol and run some SNS's through it.

I think it would be fun to research and write a book on the history of SNS's. Although, I am sure a lot of information has been lost. Didn't Raven have a couple of fires? Probably not exactly a SNS, but I thought I read that Iver Johnson also had a fire or two and lost some history.

You are absolutely on point with bad info regarding SNS's. This even extends to some modern firearms (Taurus, SCCY, Diamondback). Not saying they don't have problems, but they are not the garbage that people make them out to be.

I really enjoyed reading the BJJA forum but even then, I took everything with a grain of salt. And even here I do the same. I chuckle when people bash any firearm and then say all of brand X is garbage. A study with one observation is not much to base an opinion on. I have read a number of people discussing Davis P380's slide cracks, I got a couple incomplete P380s with slide cracks, but I didn't experience a slide crack in person till a couple of months ago. As of now, I will not shoot any Davis P380s till I can swap the slides with Cobra ones (I will keep one P380 intact for collector purposes).
 

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I have read a number of people discussing Davis P380's slide cracks, I got a couple incomplete P380s with slide cracks, but I didn't experience a slide crack in person till a couple of months ago. As of now, I will not shoot any Davis P380s till I can swap the slides with Cobra ones (I will keep one P380 intact for collector purposes).
For what I've seen, the differences between the Davis P380 and Cobra CA380 slides is minimal. However, the Cobra buffer design is far superior to the P380: The P380 buffer can -and often does- get stuck in the retracted position thereby negating any buffering at all.

Slide comparison
Rectangle Font Material property Bumper Automotive exterior

Buffer comparison
Product Camera lens Camera accessory Font Rectangle
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
For what I've seen, the differences between the Davis P380 and Cobra CA380 slides is minimal. However, the Cobra buffer design is far superior to the P380: The P380 buffer can -and often does- get stuck in the retracted position thereby negating any buffering at all.

Slide comparison
View attachment 70531
Buffer comparison
View attachment 70533
Thank you. I might have mixed up the CA and FS models. Didn't Cobra beef up the FS slides? I thought someone measured the slides and Cobra had beefed up one of their slides.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Another question arises, regarding Lorcin. Did the entire Lorcin line use plastic disks for the safety? I have tried to put a L25 together and the safety disk is a ridiculous!

I seem to recall someone using a safety disk from a different SNS? Raven maybe?
 

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Did the entire Lorcin line use plastic disks for the safety? I have tried to put a L25 together and the safety disk is a ridiculous! I seem to recall someone using a safety disk from a different SNS? Raven maybe?
I can give you a Raven disk safety if you want one. PM me your address.
 
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Interesting thread, the history outweighs the safeties discussion but it's all good stuff.
I'm thinking someday we may be making our own parts to some degree.
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
I can give you a Raven disk safety if you want one. PM me your address.
Thank you for the offer. I do have some and the one I tried it did not fit? Did you do anything to the disk to make it fit a Lorcin? I probably should try some other ones just to check.

I really like the way the L25 feels. Maybe one day I will get it to the range and then I can experience all the fun I hear that people have with Lorcins. LOL!

Thank you again.
 

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Did you do anything to the disk to make it fit a Lorcin?
I'm sorry if I mislead you, I've never swapped the disk safety between a Raven and an L25. Davis P32/P38 and Raven, yes.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I'm sorry if I mislead you, I've never swapped the disk safety between a Raven and an L25. Davis P32/P38 and Raven, yes.
No problem. I thought I read, on the BJJA forum, that someone had successfully used a Raven safety on a Lorcin.
 

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