(Note: This is NOT a replacement for proper gun handling and storage rules. I consider that point moot, and am looking at this from a perspective of "which weapon is least likely to discharge when handled by a child)
Well, okay. Not Austria directly. But in 1982, Glock created what is known as a 'safe action pistol'. It's designed to be drop proof, and prevent discharges from any action other than pulling the trigger. It's also, according to Glock, impossible to reconfigure to fully automatic.* (disclaimer: I doubt this, but I'm not going to check to make sure)
For this, it's a great weapon. It's reliability and dependability make it a mainstay with both law enforcement and the military's special forces commands.
The Glock 2nd Generation became available in the late 1980s to civilian purchase. Soon thereafter, we started seeing a spike in youth shootings. Dozens of manufacturers have copied the design, and the world is now flooded with hammerless (known as striker-fired) pistols with integrated trigger safeties.
Why ? Well, the answer lies in the design of the weapon. The Glock was designed for military and law enforcement use. It's designed to have a shallow and light trigger pull (12.5mm at 5.4 lbs) and it has no hammer for the shooter to contend with. In short, the integrated trigger safety's intended audience was people who know how to shoot properly, and safely. It's easy to operate. In fact, it's so easy a child can use it.
And that's the problem.
Here's why. Let's compare three weapons. A Glock 17, A Beretta 92FS, and a Colt Model M1911. The reason I chose these weapons was that they have completely different safety mechanisms. I'm not a proponent or opponent of any one of these weapons.
If I were to take a loaded glock 17, pull the trigger to the rear, there is nothing that prevents that weapon from firing. The trigger safety unblocks the firing pin, the lack of a hammer reduces the need for excess pull, and the weapon will fire exactly as the manufacturer intended.
If I were to take a loaded Beretta 92FS and pull the trigger to the rear - there are a few things different. First of all, the weapon may or may not fire if the safety is on. Squeezing the trigger doesn't deactivate the safety. Secondly, the hammer will go back. This is a 'two-stage trigger' system. It requires more pull on the trigger (5.5 lbs single action to a whopping 12.3 lbs double action) to pull the hammer back in order to allow it to fire. This is actually a safety measure meant to prevent accidental discharges. (Note: Glock does sell a two-stage trigger assembly specifically designed after NY complained of officers having negiligent discharges with the Glocks)
Now if I were to take a Colt model M1911 and pull the trigger to the rear...again there are the same safeties as the Beretta. Except for one special addition (and one that's on nearly every pistol I own, and definitely every pistol that's not locked away in a gun safe) a grip safety. It's also referred to as a beavertail safety.
The way the beavertail safety works is beneficial both in shooting mechanics AND safety. Without tension on the handgrip, the safety won't disengage. So combine that with an above average trigger pull (between 5 and 7 lbs out of the box, and no double action ability) and it's nearly impossible for a child to accidentally shoot himself with this weapon. And for anyone under the age of 8, very difficult for them to shoot it in the first place.
So we have safeties. Let's talk about weight.
Glock's prime aspect of it is that it's A. Plastic. B. Lightweight. Now the first point caused a huge stink when they were first introduced that they would be undetectable in metal detectors. But that was just plain stupid.
But they are light. 32 oz fully loaded. Or exactly 2 lbs. Add to that the fact that they are plastic, and they're easily mistaken for toys by children.
Comparably, the Beretta 92FS is 41 Oz loaded. Almost 3 lbs. And it's metal. So 150% the weight of the Glock.
Finally, we have the Colt M1911. Starting in at 2.7 lbs unloaded, when loaded with a 7 round magazine, it tips the scales over 48 ounces, making it by far the heaviest weapon of the three.
So the Glock is the lightest, and the easiest to shoot.
But is this causation, or correlation?
To be honest, it's hard to actually tell. There isn't a single chart that goes back to before Glocks and striker-style pistols were mainstream showing accidental child shootings. So this may be correlative. For that, I apologize.
But...I can tell you two things: one, that there was no accidentally discharging my grandfather's Ruger Security 6. You HAD to want to shoot that pistol.
Two, kids are kids. And they will play with what they can get their hands on. And the more it looks and feels like a toy, the more likely they are to play with it.
After seeing one more article about a 3 year old shooting themselves with a loaded and unattended Glock, I felt compelled to write this.
Safeties are designed to render the weapon safe and prevent accidental discharge. With a Glock, the only safety is one only adults understand: Keep your finger straight and off the trigger until you're ready to fire.
Don't get me wrong. Glocks are great pistols. I have one myself. I've seen them proven both on the range and in combat. For a LE/military environment, they're ideal. Much better than the M9. But we're talking about your home.
If I were a parent, I wouldn't keep a striker fired pistol without a manual safety in my home. Even though I'm not, I still have friends with kids coming over, and with that point in mind, my Glock is locked up in my safe which isn't accessible. I instead have a Para-Ordnance Black Ops Recon for my home defense pistol.
And yes. I keep it locked up. But in the unlikely chance that the gun safe doesn't completely close, or I forget to close it, or I take it out to clean/service it, and something distracts me (like the door) I don't need a weapon so easy that a child can kill themselves with it.
In closing, and I reiterate
1. Keep your weapons locked up.
2. If you can't for some reason (law enforcement, etc) keep your weapons unloaded (never leave a round in the chamber)
3. Pick something other than a striker-fired pistol for your home defense weapon.