...can it fire? I've always been told that a Glock cannot fire even when sustaining a heavy impact, like falling onto concrete. I assume the Steyr is the same (if not better), but I don't know for sure.
I would be surprised if there were not some kind of drop test data out there on the M9, but I don't know if there is any of this type public data on-line (in English or German) for a Steyr. I believe these types of tests are commonly performed as a part of law enforcement and military purchase specifications.
Someone out there would probably know a lot more about this than me, but I think that drop-testing (along with a few other tests) is now required for all handguns sold in California. I looked on the Attorney General State of California list here, but Steyr was not listed (not a big surprise since there is currently no big push by an importer).
As an example, you can see the test results of a similar drop test perfornmed for the state of Mass. on a Kahr K9 here.
Steyr didn't submit samples for the Cailfornia testing so citizens of the PRK can't own Stery M series (including S) pistols. Otherwise, CDNN would have been out of the discounted Steyr pistols long ago. I wonder if Steyr submited the M-A1 models for testing if that would cover the original M series.
There is a character out there under the name cornbread and other that claims the Steyr M pistols are accidents waiting to happen but owning the pistols myself and seeing how the mechanism works, I have no problem carrying with a round in the chamber.
the firing pin is held back by the sear, or catch. the only way for the firing pin to come forward is for the sear to fall down. the drop safety's specific purpose is to guarantee that the only way the sear can fall down off of the post is if the trigger and only the trigger moves backwards.
glocks have one additonal safety called a plunger safety. my understanding of this device is that it blocks the firing pin channel and thus the firing pin from moving forward even if the sear does manage to disengage. it is overcome when you pull the trigger.
steyr elected to have the firing pin spring preloaded at 72% instead of glock's 50%. 72% is kind of a weird number to pick arbitrarily in my opinion. i have heard that the reason steyr picked 72% is because it was the greatest possible amount of precock that can be released and not detonate a primer. once again confirming that it truly is a double action and requires that the striker be pulled back during the trigger pull for a round to fire, cornbread.
so far as i can see the only way you could drop the gun and make it go boom is if it landed with a stick in the trigger guard that had enough force to push the trigger backwards. good luck!
although i heard glock actually failed a frisbee test in the early nineties?
incidentally, i've been told by a very reliable source that if your were to take the slide off of your gun, chamber a round and drop the slide directly on its muzzle from about 6 feet onto a hard surface, the firing pin could build enough inertia to detonate a primer and it would go off. so don't do that.
and don't hit .22 short rifle blanks with a ball peen hammer either!!! they go boom!!