Gardiner/Scott Prototype Grip Safety on an Early 1903 Springfield

In 1904, a man named Orlando Scott from Ontario filed a patent application for a safety device for breechloading rifles and shotguns. His idea was basically a spring loaded grip safety in the fore-end of the stock, which would have to be depressed in order to either cock or fire the weapon. His patent was approved in 1909 as number 911683, and assigned to another Ontario man, Robert Gardiner. As a way of demonstrating the patent, they purchased a 1905-production Springfield rifle from the US military (starting in 1904, the military had a policy of selling Springfield rifles to inventors for experimentation) and integrated their safety mechanism into it. We don’t have any record of military trials of the gun, but it is a neat model of a patent idea on a very scarce pattern of early Springfield.


  1. I wonder how many careless soldiers attempt to pull a one-handed rifle shot or simply carry the weapon with only the trigger hand, with a finger still on the trigger…

  2. Really wonder for which side’s safety that this device was thought … For the one holding the gun or the one at the opposite side…

  3. Foreshadows the forward (magazine housing) grip-safety of the Madsen SMG, which blocks the bolt either cocked or forward when not squeezed. The Danes wanted you to use both hands. Was there any other arm with an offhand grip safety?

    • There is some obscure albanian one, smg, P84
      and italian tz45

      First mentioned looks utterly insane, and despite trying hard I couldnt grasp how its trigger and safety functions.

  4. I think the typical soldier of the day would just jam a stick or stone into it while pulled back and be done with this nonsense.

    • Well, if you see how some people hold long guns, you’d understand why someone wanted such a grip safety. I’ve heard of stupid people holding fully loaded AR-15 style rifles by the firing grip, with their index fingers STILL ON THE TRIGGER AND THE SAFETY SWITCH SET TO FIRE AT WILL and their off-hands holding something other than the fore-end. Any guesses as to how this ends?

  5. Another fascinating invention!
    May I suggest that it is still possible to re-cock the striker – with only two hands – as long as the butt-plate is still pressing against your shoulder?

  6. It belatedly occurs to me that this would be an excellent safety system to have on cadet or beginner rifles (or any long arm), forcing correct hold, making conscious the shooter’s aim on target with the whole upper body, and tucking the stock into shoulder to lessen bruising (assuming a heavier caliber than .22).

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