Carrying A Double Action Pistol
Apr 14, 2017
Concealed Carry With Double Action Pistols
Though the plastic striker pistol has become the dominant form of the day, double action was the primary firing system for most pistols. Today, it still has quite a following and a good number of full-size, compact and the odd few subcompact pistols are still offered in double action. This includes both semi-autos and revolvers.
You know what else? Double-action is actually really good for concealed carry. You may not want to dismiss this seemingly old-school mechanism if selecting a gun to secure with a holster and gun belt for daily carry.
How Double Action Works
Double action is thus named because the pistol - be it a semi-automatic or a revolver - can be fired by two different methods. In double-action mode, the trigger can be pulled all the way to the rear. This both cocks the pistol and then fires. The way that this typically works is that a DA pistol is also hammer-fired, so the cocking action brings the hammer to the rear and then drops it.
However, should the shooter desire it, the hammer can be cocked. This reduces the length of trigger travel but also lightens the trigger, so it takes fewer pounds of pressure to "break" the trigger and thus drop the hammer.
Again, this works for both double single action semi-autos and revolvers. That said, there are at least two striker-fired DA/SA pistols - the Walther P99 and the Canik TP9, which is a partial clone of the P99. With these pistols, the pistol is put into single action when the slide is racked and a round is chambered, but they can be decocked into a double-action mode.
Benefits of DA/SA Pistols
The primary benefit of DA/SA pistols - both revolvers and semi-autos - is that the double-action trigger pull functions as a natural safety mechanism against any accidental discharges. This isn't to say that the Glock safety and similar mechanisms are unsafe or insufficient; far from it. It's more that some people prefer a little bit more standing in the way of the gun going "bang!"
The typical double action trigger has a pull weight between 10 pounds and 15 pounds at the heaviest, though some are known to exceed 15 pounds. Since the typical single-action or striker pistol has a trigger pull closer to 5 pounds, this means double the pull weight is required - as well as a longer distance for the trigger to travel.
What does this mean in practical terms? It only goes "bang" when you mean it.
Additionally, double/single action autos are automatically placed into single-action mode after firing, as the cycling of the slide cocks the hammer. After a double-action first shot, subsequent follow-up shots can be delivered quickly. Though some people believe that the double-action trigger pull is much harder, the reality is that almost any shooter can do it.
Shooting double-action is also a fantastic method of learning trigger control as the tougher pull requires better technique to shoot well.
Concealed Carry Guns In Double Action
There is, however, something of a catch when it comes to double action guns for concealed carry, namely that double-action autos in a subcompact frame are few and far between, but are out there. There are also a decent number of compacts as well, though the number of service pistols - such as the Beretta 9s/M9, one of the most popular police and military pistols worldwide - is far larger.
As to revolvers, there are far more - the vast majority of snubnose revolvers are double action, and the snubbie is easily one of the most popular concealed carry pistol designs of all time. There are plenty of models out there, made by a number of manufacturers in a number of chamberings though .38 Special is most common.
Granted, there are plenty of big-bore revolvers in DA as well...though not everyone is willing to carry a .500 S&W Magnum every day.
About The Author
Born in southeastern Washington State, Sam Hoober graduated in 2011 from Eastern Washington University. He resides in the great Inland Northwest, with his wife and child. His varied interests and hobbies include camping, fishing, hunting, and spending time at the gun range as often as possible.