double action trigger

Why Double-Action/Single-Action Pistols Get More Love Than They Deserve

While there are plenty of reasons to love double-action, single-action pistols, there are also plenty of reasons to not. In fact, the reasons not to are thought by many to completely outweigh any perceived advantage of SA/DA guns.

Need confirmation? Why else would striker-fired pistols have become so popular if there wasn't a good reason for it? Polymer striker guns are the most popular pistol format on the market because they work!

Single-Action Trigger Is Great, Double...Not So Much

single and double action revolvers

The first major issue of SA/DA pistols is that they usually have a single-action trigger, which is good, but also a double-action trigger which is not so good. Granted, some people prefer it, but it makes shooting tiring for all but the gnarliest of fingers.

Double-action trigger pulls have a lot of creep due to their length, in that the finger has to pull the trigger over a longer distance until the trigger "breaks," or when the trigger mechanism actuates the hammer or firing pin.

Additionally, the resistance can be more than is comfortable for many shooters. Many single-action triggers take somewhere between 4 and 6 pounds per square inch of pressure in order to get the trigger to break - an easy trigger pull. Double-action trigger pulls typically range between 9 and 12 pounds per square inch, which can be more than some shooters find comfortable.

The way SA/DA pistols work is that after one shot in double action mode, every subsequent shot is in single-action mode. That first shot, for many shooters, tends to not be as accurate as follow-up shots, largely due to discomfort during a long, hard trigger pull. For the most part, SA/DA pistols have to be carried in double action mode - though there ARE some that can be carried cocked and locked, if one wants to carry in condition one.

The nature of self-defense encounters is that they're usually very short, so one may not be able to afford a wild first shot.

Manual Safety Is Actually Overrated

double and single action gun

One of the reasons why some people still prefer an SA/DA pistol over a striker-fired gun is that they have a manual safety. Some people like having a manual safety as an insurance policy, and some believe that having a manual safety makes a gun safer around children.

On the face of the issue, there may be something to it, but the fact is that striker pistols are much safer than some people would have you believe. The lack of a manual safety is no barrier to safe handling and safe operation at all.

Safe handling and carrying of a striker gun is easy; all it takes is a little bit of mindfulness and respect for the pistol itself. Don't allow anything to get into the trigger guard and take care while handling and that's it. Since striker guns require a trigger pull to discharge, so long as nothing enters the trigger guard...nothing will happen.

Concerned about the little ones? That's good, and you should be. However, it's very easy to ensure they can't get at your Austrian shooting machine. Keep it on you in a holster, or put it in a gun safe. Get a biometric model and rest easy that they can't get into it.

Furthermore, if a person carries with a manual safety engaged, that's one more action that has to be performed before a pistol can be fired. On the other hand, a gun that has none merely needs to be pulled and fired - and that's important when seconds count. The extra action is just one more thing that can go wrong.

Many DA/SA Guns Are Harder To Conceal, Rarer In Stores

double and single action concealed carry

Another practical consideration is that a lot of DA/SA guns are harder to conceal compared to a lot of striker-fired pistols. The fact is that most DA/SA guns are either service size (such as the Beretta 92, a bevy of Sig Sauer pistols, ditto H&K and so on) or are "compacts" that aren't much easier to conceal.

It's not that there aren't any, but it's that more striker-fired pistols that are truly compact, are very concealable, and have a proven track record as some of the best CCW pistols and backup guns for law enforcement. The smaller Glocks, the S&W M&P Shield, Springfield XD-S and so on are very easily concealable given their more compact dimensions both in terms of overall length and also width, since there aren't a lot of single-stack DA/SA pistols. There are some, but not many.

Furthermore, since the striker-fired platform has proliferated so widely, they are basically everywhere - meaning that a person looking to actually buy a gun can actually find one in stores. That is not as easily done for many of the DA/SA guns on the market. There are so many out there, but very few in actual gun stores. As a result, if a person needed to get a gun with a certain amount of urgency, they wouldn't have to wait for a specific make and model to be shipped.

Sam Hoober  

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.

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