The firearm industry, like any other, is constantly pressing forward with new technology. Making guns more efficient, accurate, and easy to shoot is always gun manufacturers’ top priority, which is why new developments like the single-action and striker-fired pistol are around today. But is new always better?
Some shooters don’t think so, especially when it comes to single-action pistols versus handguns that use the older double-action mechanism. And they make a compelling case.
There’s something to be said for the extra safety and control a double-action pistol can provide. And the benefits don’t end there.
Watch the video below to hear the details for yourself:
What do you think? Does this give you enough reason to switch back to a double-action?
Give us your opinion in the comments.
I never switched away from DA pistols.
I recently switched from a double action, double stack to a single action, single stack due to the weather. Then, just this week, I decided to switch all the way back to a double action revolver! I love the slick DA trigger on this thing. No safety. I know it’s only a 6 shooter but I’m loving it.
Great little art/vid and I agree…in fact I just recently got a new little 380 Ruger LCP and I know now that I prefer a DA and thinking I’ll move back to a 45ACP as I’m a lot more comfortable with that visible hammer & grip safety.
I started with Walther’s in the late 70’s and stayed there pretty much for 30 years even having to get “permission” from the higher ups in the agency to allow for my desires when other members were using initially revolvers and then semi-auto’s in “big boy calibers”. I loved and still do my Walther PPK (.380 cal) but today with my hands no longer as perfect as they were I tend to see the value in my Glock 19 for simple ease of squeeze. I wish I could get a compromise as the video suggested with the safety of SA/DA and yet the ease of the striker. I can’t see the addition of a manual safety or worse those that go empty chamber as the solution. A nice easy to use DA with a trigger less then the typical DA is to me the Wholly Grail. I don’t care about dropping the safety but the hard squeeze is too much. I care less about the length of travel as all of my training is based on self defense and not long range accuracy or competing against a buzzer/timer. For me it is all about technique and getting a stream of well placed rounds down range in a timely manner without the OCD of tight groups or mastering the sub second double tap.
Great article/video Caleb as always thanks for putting up another great post to us members.
My only criticism of the video is that a Beretta 92 is not a Double action only. It is double action on first shot, single action thereafter. The only accidental fires I have ever experienced (two each) were both with double action firearms: one was a Colt Detective Special 38 Special, the other was a Smith & Wesson Model 39 (again a double then single action firearm). Considering at that time I was firing upwards of 500 rounds per week of pistol, mostly 1911 National Match in .45 ACP carried cocked and locked, as well as 150 to 400 or so rifle rounds in M-14, M-16 and Remington 700BDL in .308, .223 and .308 in the Remington. Experiences may vary but I still use Taurus 92 and WW II vintage .45 as my primary carries.
I have actively carried almost continuously since 1966. Just my personal opinion learn to handle your weapon of choice safely!!
Although the author/presenter of this video makes some good points I would have to say it all boils down to a personal decision. There are pros and cons to both sides of the issue. I used to have a Ruger LC9 with a DAO trigger. Man that thing sucked! It took 2 men and a boy just to pull the trigger and the pull was 2 blocks long! My accuracy suffered because of the trigger. I sold that POS and got a striker fired M&P Shield and never looked back!
Does this give you enough reason to switch back to a double-action?
Not even close,
I really like the single action after the first shot! I can aim more reliably knowing it’s just a touch to fire again!
I have never liked double action guns! All my guns have hammers, so I can cock them then have single action!
The extra instant of safety in a life threatening situation provided by the DA pistols is also an extra instant of increased danger in a life threatening situation. I shoot s single action 1911 and have for many years. I don’t like striker fired pistols because they seem to misfire a lot if the primer si a little harder than it should be. I have picked up many unfired rounds at the range that have been hit with a striker and have always fired them in my 1911. I believe that the extra mass of a hammer will make the pistol more reliable than a striker. I hate the long trigger travel in DA’s, and many of them even after the first round is fired have a terrible single action trigger as well.
I have double actions and I still prefer my 1911 as my go-to carry gun. I’ve carried that little beastie since about 1990. Never a problem, never a jam. It hits where I aim it.
I own both types, as well as both DA and SA revolvers. I have been shooting for almost 45 years, and I feel safer carrying my Ruger P89 (DA/SA) than I do my Ruger American (striker-fired) I have seen all of the arguments on both sides, and I believe that the amount of practice has little to do with it. I prefer the DA/SA auto for defensive carry—it’s just more difficult to make a mistake with it, that’s all. And the DA model I have has a decocker—before you holster it, increasing your safety there. I will say in in 45 years of shooting almost every type of pistol, rifle and shotgun, I have never had an accidental discharge; I know that it’s always possible—but it could be fatal, to you or someone else.
The P89 is a great gun. My ex got ours, so I no longer shoot one. Ah, well, it was worth it to get rid of her.
that made me laugh!
For many years I have carried a DA revolver. I still do so. The ‘needed’ convenience of high capacity magazines only proves how poor the shooter is with his weapon. That is wholly a lack of training practice. When using a revolver there can be no accident from the DA pull of the trigger. It must be intentional and with strength. The only way in
which accidental discharges occur with a DA revolver, or automatic come from having the weapon cocked so as to work as a single action with the very slight trigger pull.
The previous mention of the Colt Detective Special being ‘accidentally’ discharged could only have happened with the hammer at full cock thus making it single action at
the time. Over the years there have been automatics that were DA which, after the first round was fired so as to have it cocked into SA style, could be accidentally discharged
by bumping the trigger, or while attempting to lower the hammer let it slip to strike the firing pin. Of course, that same action can be also done with most SA revolvers as well.
Over the many years in competitive shooting, LE, and as an associate with Maj. Geo. Nonte in firearms testing and evaluation as well as publishing many books, I have never seen an accidental discharge of a double action firearm unless it was in the single action mode and the trigger actuated by the person. (In one instance the weapon was dropped while cocked in single action mode.)
I was trained originally with the DA revolvers and became quite proficient with mine. I have always held to the “No Second Place Winner” written by Bill Jordan many years ago. As such, I see little reason for me to use, or carry any automatic I now own, or may later own. I still use my S&W Mod 19 with the 2 1/2″ barrel. It still serves me well.
I enjoyed how candid you were re: DA vs. SA pistols. The argument will continue because pistol shooters’ hands/fingers are of different sizes and lengths. “Practice makes perfect” isn’t just a phrase to be taken lightly. I never fired a pistol until Army Basic Training. Of course, it was a 1911 Colt and we had to qualify “off-handed”, that is one-handed, standing at 50 feet. Unlike most of the other trainees, I ended up in Infantry training at Ft. Polk’s Tigerland, not the idiot movie, but the real Tigerland at North Ft. Polk in NW Louisiana at the end of 1966 when President Johnson demanded over 500,000 Troops in ‘Nam by 1967. This meant qualifying with all our light-weapons and all Russian and Chi-Com light weapons…a lot of hand to hand and live-fire exercises which included the SA Colt 1911, a pistol I ended up carrying and using in-country as a Grenadier, then as a M-60 Machine Gun Team Leader. We cleaned weapons everyday whether they needed cleaning or not–only one weapon per position at a time was to be field-stripped, which meant the fastest way possible day or night. My problem with the SA Colt was always the barrel-bushing which can be a pain in the rear-end if not practiced a lot.
I was won over by the Glock 20’s 10mm cartridge after finding that Colt had made a Delta Elite 10mm for the FBI which dropped it after affirmative action trainees of smaller stature couldn’t get the 10mm back on target fast enough due to recoil. I guess it frightened those who were afraid of guns. With equal length barrels at 15’ and bullet weight, the 10mm comes out of the barrel with more muzzle energy than a .357 Mag. How many times have you seen 2-week firearm trained actors playing the part of expert shooters in movies blink and/or whence when firing blanks? The Glock’s trigger squeeze usually at 5 pounds has two stages to it. I move the trigger to this point knowing that a bit more pressure will give me time to rethink the situation. A small adjustable aluminum trigger-block behind the trigger also offers another “safety”. It can be easily popped out with the trigger finger before squeezing off. Since childhood I was taught not to point the barrel at anything you did not want to shoot which is often easier said than done in real-time combat, especially when grouped up as a fire-team of 4 or 5 shooters maneuvering for position.
Safety comes first, but muscle memory comes from much practice here at home. I found that DA revolvers were fun because they can be operated SA and/or DA. Nothing feels better in my hand than the old tried and true .45 Colt 1911. It took some time to get used to the extra width of a double-stacked magazine Hi-Cap pistol, but I enjoy the extra rounds because I never was a pistol aficionado. I prefer a carbine or rifle over the pistols for too many reasons to get into here. As a professional firefighter, I’ve walked too many victims with 5 or 6 pistol slugs in them to an ambulance to see pistols as real stoppers no matter how many hours of practice pistoleros have had. It all boils down to the operator and what they feel good with.
I am sure that years ago I had a hammerless double action semi-auto. It was old and heavy, but small. The only identifier on it was a plastic like grip with an “S” on it, which grip fell apart when I oiled the gun with Pro-Tec. I think it was a .32. It had the decocker, and cocker function so you could use your first shot single or double action, and it also had a lever type safety. Anyway it turns out, if I remember correctly that it was a Smitty Semi Auto “Detective” It was certainly small and thin enough but very heavy for it’s size and would weight a pocket noticeably. I carried it in my belt band without a holster, and it stayed put quite well for me and became my church gun for years. Until I got one of those 5 shot feather weighted Smitty revolvers in .38 plus P. Anyway, I carried chambered, decocked, safety off. In close quarters out it would come and with very little fanfare would put a bullet in a milk jug everytime for me at 15 feet unaimed via double action. Then, after a round was fired it went single action, of course, and if I wanted to decock it for carry, there was a lever for that, as well as a lever to cock it if I had time to take a deliberate shot. Very accurate for me, anyway. The little revolver is very accurate, too, but it doesn’t seem to have the double action draw and shoot without aiming accuracy of that old Smitty Detective. Anyone familiar with that little pistol besides me? The Detective, that is? And oh, yes, I love the .380 Makarov with all those features, right? A friend was Jonesing off alcohol and got a hold of it and shot himself in the temple with it (I noticed the .380 round did not go through his head, just into it) and so I gave it to my brother in law. Turns out my old friend (63 at the time) also had colon cancer. He had gotten two bronze stars (well, the second award is a cluster) in the infantry in Italy. We thought we’d get some war stories about them, but he said that he was shot during an ambush, was the first one hit (grazed along the side of his skull) and the only survivor in his squad, so had no idea what went on. He said the brass was eager for heroes so he got a bronze star. The cluster came when he was again on patrol, only this time with his platoon, got shot first, which knocked him out and took out his left eye. He came to on a stretcher, and again he was the sole survivor of his platoon. The most accurate pistol I owned was the Colt Police Special from the days of old. Another very heavy pistol for its size, but nothing I’ve ever shot hung so well in the hand like that Colt. Yep, DA all the way.
#1 Double action or double action only just means more moving parts that can fail and render your weapon inoperable. #2 At least 99% of the time I want a 45 and no one makes a double action 45 that I find acceptable. #3 This guy is mostly concerned with his own short comings and fears. Personally I will stick with the 1911 and who knows perhaps some day he and some of the others posting here will acquire enough skill and confidence to use what after over 100 years still can barely be improved on and I have depended on since my days in the military.
This guy is definitely no expert. Look how his fingers on the trigger. The pad of the finger not the joint should be on the trigger. When you’re fooling around with guns you have to be safe. I’ve been shooting for years and never had an accidental discharge.
Bottom line for me
If my gun is pointed and my finger is on the trigger the decision to fire at the target has already been made. I don’t want anything, like a long trigger pull, slowing me down.
I Like the half cocked safety feature. Won’t discharge if dropped. After the first DA pull, semi auto.
My favorite handgun to shoot is my Sig P224 DA/SA .40 caliber Equinox. But it is a bit heavy and large for EDC. My EDC is a Glock 27 .40 SA unit. As much as I like the Sig, I prefer to have no external hammer, no separate safety lever, and no long trigger pull that may impede a live saving effort to stop a threat as quickly as possible. The trigger rest is at a perfect length on the Glock (nice reset on the Sig also). We have a Sig P290 9mm DAO we bought in the hope it may be a nice EDC for me, but I find the long trigger pull causes me to get more loosened spread in my grouping than I like, so it was back to SA for me. I also picked up a Sig P938, and even P238, and decided the redcue magazine capacity, external safety levers, and external hammers were indeed a bit much to have to deal with in what I sure would be a highly stressful situation were I to have to use my defense firearm. Simple and fast won out for me.
I started out w/ SAO six shooters then moved to DA revolvers, my first semi auto & I still carry it 24/7 is the Ruger P345. If I feel I need quicker trigger pull on the first round I can always thumb the hammer back.
We have all sorts of guns at our house. My wife prefers her Beretta 92 as her EDC, but she also loves to shoot her 1911. Her choice of the Beretta has nothing to do with either DA/SA or SA since she trusts them both and shoots them both equally well, she just feels like Beretta is more reliable.
I prefer carrying my Glock just because I’m used to it. And yes, it does have a custom trigger. But I also love my 1911 and enjoy my own Beretta 92. But I really like my Jericho in 9mm, which is a DA/SA and the most accurate and reliable pistol I have ever owned. I just bought one in .45 so I may carry that at times.
I agree with the added safety of a DA/SA, but a 1911 cocked with the safety on is a very safe gun, and with an extended safety it’s very quick to get into action.
We go to the range weekly and shoot a lot of rounds each trip. Practice and training is everything. I know some might say one should never switch between different guns for EDC because of the whole muscle memory under stress argument, and this is certainly true for an inexperienced shooter. I’ll just say I have gone through a lot of training and action over the years in various military situations, as a private security contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan, and in everyday citizen courses and have carried everything from Hi-Powers to Glocks and 1911s in combat situations so I feel pretty comfortable carrying a Glock striker, a 1911 SA or a Jericho DA/SA as an EDC.
They are all just tools with their individual pros and cons, and it is a poor craftsman who blames his tools.
I totally agree with going to a double action pistol, and agree with his reasoning. For an EDC, I have two guns. For summer carry, I have a Ruger LCP. For winter and backpacking, I have a Ruger LC9 (hammer fired). For home defense, I have a Sig P226 (40 S&W) and a Canik55 L-120 (CZ 75 variant). The big difference between the concealed carry guns is not just size, weight and accuracy. It is also the DA/SA option. With the Sig and the Canik55, I have the option of a single action pull, cocked and locked or just cocked when I open the front door or search the house. I have other guns including a Springfield XDM (40 S&W) and a 1911, and while I really like these pistols, they are not my “go to” defense choices.
Whatever your choice, practice with the trigger you choose until it is very comfortable.
Great info here. I have carried DA/SA pistols for decades. I sometimes carry an all alloy 1911 which shoots like a dream and is a pleasure to carry due to its light weight. Started out with S&W Model 39’s and 59’s but switched to Sigs many years ago and haven’t gone back. You just can’t beat the quality of Sig’s. I have an all stainless P-220 in 45ACP and an alloy frame P-226 in 9mm. Love them both, and I can carry both in the same shoulder rig (but not at the same time). I did bow to pressure and bought a S&W M&P compact in 45ACP. Put about 500 target loads through it and was impressed with it’s accuracy. Then I put a box of Federal tactical loads in it. OUCH, it’s recoil was too much for me when I can shoot the same rounds out of my other 45’s no problem. Needless to say, I haven’t used it as a carry gun. I’m not normally recoil sensitive, I shoot a 44 mag just for the fun of it.
The video was dead-on! I shiver when I read articles that state the glock makes a perfect gun for the first time buyer/shooter. I believe that most people should NOT carry glocks due both to lack of training and trigger/safety issues. There are a lot of butt-hurt readers who will be offended by your video and my comment here. Do not mean to, but the proof is in the pudding. NDs have been up all across the country for the past decade/issue of striker fired pistols. Now, translate that with a cop pointing the glock at a person who may or MAY NOT be a threat to them. The person moves for whatever reason…bang. Happens too many times.
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