Double action - why it's still relevant.

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Double action - why it's still relevant.

Postby jeep45238 » Sun Feb 11, 2018 5:45 pm

My intention here is to consolidate the benefits, and how to address the pitfalls. There will be links to other sources that can tell how and why to overcome any shortfalls.

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I'd like to make a thread about double action/single action, and why it's still relevant in today's world of lighter and lighter striker fires (that are becoming more and more pre-tensioned, and essentially become single action sans safety, in my opinon). So why the hell do this, expecially with new shooters?

Well, for one, it's safer. The LENGTH of trigger travel keeps you out of trouble. It's also possible to apply light pressure to a decocked hammer while holstering, which will prevent a discharge in the event of foreign objects/fingers getting wedged in the holster. Seriously, it's neigh impossible to overcome that slight amount of pressure on the hammer with a lot of pressure on the trigger. Take a seriously close look at how people reholster, especially if that holster is anything besides 100% kydex - they likely flag themselves, or wedge the muzzle against their hip as a lever to get the pistol in the holster. While this is an equipment error, the addition of a decocked, double action introduces a huge layer of safety. This is a benefit that those that carry appendix tend to enjoy, and is why the Glock striker-control-device exists.

For two, they allow for a great trigger break. Try the single action of a Beretta 92 or any of the classic Sigs, and you'll find a trigger pull that puts striker guns to shame. If you want to put dollar to dollar for modifications, it's not too hard to spend 150-200 on M&P and Glocks to improve the trigger, and you can purchase a 'trigger job in a bag' for a beretta from Langton Tactical for the same price point that is drop in.

Three, they allow for the 'no safety/fumble' shooting, while providing time to think "does this situation still warrant a shot" and with no safety to exist, also means no safety to forget to disengage. Like it or not, situations change from shoot to no shoot. And whether you like it or not, clean shoot (and especially a not-so-clean shoot) will result in a lengthly lawsuit from hell. Maybe it's easier to bail when things become non-life threatening.

I carry only double action, decock firearms. This means hammer fired, with few exceptions. It's rare to find someone that prefers this, but I found that it lends itself to some serious benefits.

One thing I found does not exist, in my opinion, is 'two different trigger pulls'. I tend to think of it as one trigger pull, with one heck of a reset. A lot of people shoot for a reset anyway, which in effect does the same thing - a longer first pull to a much shorter second pull.

As far as accuracy? Well, double action I find no difference in making hits out to about 50 yards.

Reliability? Well, a lot of these order designs are military/service gun designs with some pretty setller credentials. Some of these designs have mean-rounds-between-failure counts that haven't been exceded by newer designs.

There will be more work to put in to get the benefits. But in my opinion, going back to older designs versus the new striker, pays multiple layers of benefits over striker guns and single action only guns. I also think that not many people have thought about their choice in this light, and I hope more people will have that honest discussion.

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From Ernest Langdon, arguably one of the best double/single shooters and instructors out there:
Fear not the double action shot, parts 1-3
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FsoX26OhDCY
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GZplH6zreQI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nod5qLlSGUM
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Chris Baker, Luckygunner
Why I switched to a Double Action
https://www.luckygunner.com/lounge/why- ... le-action/

The Rise and Fall of the Double Action
https://www.luckygunner.com/lounge/rise ... semi-auto/
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Double actions are SLOOOOOW
NicTaylor00 - Beretta 92
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qEBdXZKiLz0

Ben Stoeger - Tangfolio
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GUTXOzhLFdk
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Re: Double action - why it's still relevant.

Postby Mr. Glock » Sun Feb 11, 2018 11:12 pm

Ok, I’ll bite :D . How do you explain the fact that the US Military (not all, but the parts that might actually use a pistol in combat at this point) and the vast majority of US law enforcement have moved away from DA/SA to striker-fired pistols if DA/SA is so safe and good? Wouldn’t there be at least a large and active culture of resistence to striker-firedguns that was keeping DA/SA on the crest of technology and thus a competent and easy option (as opposed to the cult of the DA/SA today, most of whom appendix carry but are afraid they might shoot themselves or shoot competitively but don’t want to swipe off a SA safety)?
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Re: Double action - why it's still relevant.

Postby jeep45238 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:41 am

Mr. Glock wrote:Ok, I’ll bite :D . How do you explain the fact that the US Military (not all, but the parts that might actually use a pistol in combat at this point) and the vast majority of US law enforcement have moved away from DA/SA to striker-fired pistols if DA/SA is so safe and good? Wouldn’t there be at least a large and active culture of resistence to striker-firedguns that was keeping DA/SA on the crest of technology and thus a competent and easy option (as opposed to the cult of the DA/SA today, most of whom appendix carry but are afraid they might shoot themselves or shoot competitively but don’t want to swipe off a SA safety)?


Price. Military sidearms in the US are not that different than consumer pistols, and in both, the R&D goes to where the profits lay - which is what the consumer wants (and they want cheap first usually). To that point, Beretta created the M9A3 as an engineering update to address some common complaints for the military's MHS program - it was declined because from what I can tell, the Army wanted a new toy and was damn determined to get it (DOD cost on a M9 is what, $280?). The MHS program is well....full of funk in my opinion, but that's a different tale for a different thread.

Beancounters rule the purchasing, and case-in-point regarding the military, is how the M17/18 program is having probems feeding plain old ball ammo. :roll: Molded polymer versus (usually) machined aluminum/steel, trigger bar/sear/hammer/firingpin/decocker/firingpin block/etc versus trigger bar/striker/firingpin block has a lot to do with that price gap.

Beretta is still producing a lot of M9's (new) - I can't recall if it is 58 or 580K, but they aren't going to be dumping the M9 immediately, but phasing out over the years (I'm assuming if the M17/18 can prove reliable - and I have hesitation about the thumb safety/slide lock setup on that gun).

Additionally, as I said, more effort will be required to shoot competantly with a TDA - and people are inherintly lazy and will choose the easiest option given the choice.

A case in point regarding design features for safety and performance, give this little video a whirl:

Ernest Langdon - Beretta 92FS/M9-Series Pistol Design Features for Safety and Reliability
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Db8t-f54Im0
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Re: Double action - why it's still relevant.

Postby Mr. Glock » Mon Feb 12, 2018 12:37 pm

So, all that being said, you are really focusing on Beretta vs Sig in your reply. And we know that Sig can make a
decent DA/SA pistol (and was the runner up to Beretta in the early 80s test, rumor has it based soley on cost). Notwithstanding some issues with the MHS program itself, why was it that the military essentially eliminated DA/SA from the competition (and the Beretta specifically) if they are really that much better than striker-fired pistols?
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Re: Double action - why it's still relevant.

Postby jeep45238 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 1:58 pm

Mr. Glock wrote:So, all that being said, you are really focusing on Beretta vs Sig in your reply. And we know that Sig can make a
decent DA/SA pistol (and was the runner up to Beretta in the early 80s test, rumor has it based soley on cost). Notwithstanding some issues with the MHS program itself, why was it that the military essentially eliminated DA/SA from the competition (and the Beretta specifically) if they are really that much better than striker-fired pistols?


Note that my standpoint is they are still relevant - and in some ways better. Not in all ways.

The reason for the Beretta examples (and Sig P series have 4 internal safties in the design - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fGSAUElBVsg ) is Beretta seems to be the most popular DA/SA manufacturer. CZ, Tanfiolio, Beretta, Sig, HK are your main DA/SA makes.

The reason why da/sa was eliminated, in my opinion, is that small arms training is non-existant, especially when it comes to pistols. Therefore, instead of investing in revamping and improving lethality based on skill, the DoD is hoping for a hardware solution to the software problem.

As an example, I was given 30 rounds - total - by the USAF for all training with the M16, and then was yelled at for reloading too quickly. When I hit the M4 for security forces, they gave expert marksman to a guy whose groups were larger than mine and almost fell over from the 3 round burst.
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Re: Double action - why it's still relevant.

Postby Sevens » Mon Feb 12, 2018 3:10 pm

Okay, I respect your position and I like your enthusiasm and dedication to the platform. There's just one part of your argument that I cannot sort out-- your assertion that the first-to-second shot transition doesn't exist. And you even use some argument that only the trigger reset is different.

Well, the trigger reset is absolutely zero different but the first to second shot is irrationally large (gargantuan) and even attempting to argue that it doesn't exist just radically ruins your otherwise very well written argument.

I come from a position where I own mor DA/SA pistols than some would even believe if I counted them and reported. I also use a traditional DA/SA as a secondary carry gun. (by that I don't mean back-up, but rather I use it in place of my striker fire EDC on any/every day out where I know for certain my carry gun is forced to stay in the car -- sporting events, school related functions, etc) That pistol a second generation S&W 469.

I love all my DA/SA pistols, I am a collector of them... mostly S&W but a few others also. I've put more rounds through them than the typical recreational handgun owner. I am confident and (relatively) skilled with them, but the first to second shot transition and flat-out radical difference with them when compared to SA or striker-fire or DAO pistol is obvious, it is LARGE, it cannot be ignored and it can't effectively be written off with casual opinion.

Attempting to argue that it doesn't exist is ludicrous and just shreds the validity of the entire discussion.
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Re: Double action - why it's still relevant.

Postby jeep45238 » Mon Feb 12, 2018 6:44 pm

The way I shoot is to try and get to a reset - that doesn't change if I'm working a striker gun or a TDA gun - the only time it changes is with a DAO gun, because there is no reset.

long trigger pull (1 inch), release to reset (1/4 inch or less), pull, release to reset - for TDA
shorter trigger pull (1/2 inch) release to reset (1/4 inch or less), pull, release to reset - for striker

That is why, to my mind's eye, there's really not that much of a difference besides the first shot.

It's really not that different except the distance you start with, and after that first bang, it could be argued that it is easier on a TDA after that first shot (depending on what pistols are in the comparison, and if they're bone stock or not).

I completely aknowledge that there will be more training effort required - and most of that effort is spent on the first shot, hitting the reset, and hitting the decocker before you holster (did you forget? well, no worse than a tensioned striker pistol).
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Re: Double action - why it's still relevant.

Postby Bruenor » Wed Feb 14, 2018 10:55 am

Definitely some re-training required.. I picked up a CZ 75 last week and shot it in a USPSA match the following day. I've been shooting a striker fired gun in the matches for the last several years. So with zero trigger time on the CZ before the match, well lets just say that I've never ranked that low before. down right embarrassing. I don't think full speed was the right approach to familiarize myself with this trigger.. :oops: But new toys and all, I just couldn't resist trying. :D
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Re: Double action - why it's still relevant.

Postby Whirlwind06 » Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:56 am

I know it's just a sample of one and anecdotal in nature but I witnessed a guy shoot himself in the foot with a Sig 320.
It was at one of the BASS shoots. Cover garment got in the way, not really sure.
That reaffirmed that either TDA, DOA or SA with a manual safety were what I wanted to keep using.

I have been using mostly revolvers for quite awhile so, TDA doesn't really bother me to much.
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Re: Double action - why it's still relevant.

Postby Dave Shooter » Sat Feb 17, 2018 6:17 pm

I didn't read your links but a couple points came up in my head.
For traditional double action:
PRO-all the springs can be mostly at rest yet still ready to fire.
CON-complexity, having two different pulls means more parts, more machining.
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Re: Double action - why it's still relevant.

Postby Mr. Glock » Sat Feb 17, 2018 10:35 pm

Whirlwind06 wrote:I know it's just a sample of one and anecdotal in nature but I witnessed a guy shoot himself in the foot with a Sig 320.
It was at one of the BASS shoots. Cover garment got in the way, not really sure.
That reaffirmed that either TDA, DOA or SA with a manual safety were what I wanted to keep using.

I have been using mostly revolvers for quite awhile so, TDA doesn't really bother me to much.


Was that on the draw or re-holster? Figuring it is really hard to shoot your foot in a string of fire.
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Re: Double action - why it's still relevant.

Postby TSiWRX » Sun Feb 18, 2018 12:17 pm

Whirlwind06 wrote:I know it's just a sample of one and anecdotal in nature but I witnessed a guy shoot himself in the foot with a Sig 320.
It was at one of the BASS shoots. Cover garment got in the way, not really sure.
That reaffirmed that either TDA, DOA or SA with a manual safety were what I wanted to keep using.


While I completely agree that it takes more force and/or time to complete the trigger path - to break that shot - with a DA trigger, my personal belief is that this should *_not_* be a substitute for proper draw or (re)holstering skills.

Simply counting on a longer or harder trigger path to overcome negligence can never be a certainty. If someone is going to forcibly (re)holster, just because there's more travel to take up or more force to overcome will not guaranty that said individual will actually heed those additions to the action of doing so. In-reality, there even remains the possibility that they may feel that because they encounter a little extra friction, they should even more forcibly drive-through.

Same goes with a manual safety.

We've all seen what happened with "Tex Grebner" -

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zYvAxLX6OzE

The gun may have a manual safety, but it's the lack of proper skill execution that leads to the end event (in a similar vein, the Glasgow, KY, officer who shot himself while examining a Sig Sauer "Copperhead" at Barren Outdoors is a most basic example of shooter negligence versus a manual safety).

Again, I don't disagree that having a longer/heavier trigger path may just be enough to ward off such an event. Similarly, I don't disagree that having a manual safety may also confer just that much more protection.

Unfortunately, these are not guarantees: properly ingraining firearms safety basics as well as establishing good fundamentals of gun handling should always be the goal of any novice or newer shooter - and properly maintaining these principles as the shooter picks up speed, incorporate dynamic movement, and add-in realistic stressors should always be foremost among one's training goals.
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Re: Double action - why it's still relevant.

Postby jeep45238 » Sun Feb 18, 2018 1:07 pm

Absolutely - but it does allow multple extra layers of safety without imparing proper execution. For example, thumbing the hammer damn near gaurantees that in the event of a rushed re-holster with foreign debris the pistol can not discharge. The force needed to apply to the trigger to overcome the small amount of force at the hammer is huge, and offers ample "something isn't right" signals to the shooter.

There is no way to idiot proof something, and that's not what this is attempting to convey (because idiots are highly sucessful creatures at their craft). But if a few layers of safety can be added, while giving a better single action trigger, typically in a well-vetted service platform, why not?
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Re: Double action - why it's still relevant.

Postby TSiWRX » Sun Feb 18, 2018 3:21 pm

jeep45238 wrote:There is no way to idiot proof something, and that's not what this is attempting to convey (because idiots are highly sucessful creatures at their craft). But if a few layers of safety can be added, while giving a better single action trigger, typically in a well-vetted service platform, why not?


^ And that I certainly do not disagree with. :)
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Re: Double action - why it's still relevant.

Postby Curzyk » Mon Feb 19, 2018 7:38 am

I picked up some of the LaserLyte laser trainers for dry fire practice at home, and DA/SA is an absolute blessing to use with it. With striker-fired pistols, you have to rack the slide after each "shot", but with DA/SA, it's like firing in DAO. I've learned that the trigger finger in my off hand is not nearly as strong as my primary, so I've taken to alternating which hand I'm practicing with in order to build up that strength. It's great practice for trigger discipline too.
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