A Good Idea — Can You Do Something With It?

In the March 1986 issue  of the American Rifleman there appeared an article on the Mahan Safe Round. This device was invented by James F Mahan, an FBI agent who served, presumably in the 1960's, as a judo and small arms instructor. He was appalled by the carelessness of off-duty law enforcement officers in their handling of revolvers.

The Safe Round resembled a normal •38 Special round with no primer but with a longer than normal "bullet". This "bullet" was really a spring-loaded plunger. When loaded in the cylinder and coaxed into the barrel, the plunger prevented the revolver from being fired. The cylinder was at the same time locked up and the revolver was thus temporarily inoperable. It sounds like a good idea for keeping an unsecured revolver safe in unauthorized or drunken hands, especially if the other cylinder chambers were empty.

To remove the Safe Round it was necessary to push a suitably sized rod or a pencil down the barrel and depress the plunger so that the cylinder could be swung out to the side and the Safe Round removed.

To me it sounded like a good idea, but the Safe Round was not a commercial success. It seems to me that such a device would also work in a revolver with a non-swing-out cylinder such as a Colt Peacemaker. And maybe it would be safer still if the device could be shortened only by using a "bullet" threaded to a sleeve inside the case, such a "bullet" movable only when turned by a Phillips screwdriver or a six-sided socket (Allen) key.

Do you think an auto-loading pistol could be made safe by a kind of Safe Round with an extra long case/"bullet" combo, stuck up the chamber and barrel?

Any ideas? Please let me know. And don't forget to read again ,the heading at the top of this page.