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Old December 13, 2002, 09:00 AM   #1
faustulus
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Double action trigger pull

Why is it desirable to have a heavy DA trigger pull? I noticed that several police issue handguns have a very stiff double action pull. Now are they operating under the theory that stress will increase adrenaline and make the pull seem easier, if so wouldn't proper training be a better idea. I mean afterall the last thing I want is my first shot to be the least accurate of any I fire. If you keep your finger off the trigger it doesn't seem this should even be an issue. And as far as litigation is concerned increased training would eleminate most of that.
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Old December 13, 2002, 09:22 AM   #2
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I can't imagine why myself. I have a 442 S&W .38 and the double action trigger pull is difficult for me to use. I may get rid of it at some point if it turns out I never get a security job where I'll need it. My Berettas are far more accurate and easy to use. Those are the guns I rely on. I want my first shot to count.
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Old December 13, 2002, 09:43 AM   #3
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Not an LEO myself...

...but from what I see posted from those on the line is that many of their carry decisions are made by those who are not proficient and/or interested in that art of shooting. Couple that with the fact that the majority of LEO recruits are not shooters prior to entering service and you get

Heavy DA = lower liability for the department

Any LE care to agree or correct?
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Old December 13, 2002, 09:51 AM   #4
braindead0
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Perhaps they are concerned about light primer strikes...cheap ammo or just being able to shoot anything...

The easiest way to make sure your hammer strikes hard is a heavier spring (not that it's necessary, but it's easy)...
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Old December 13, 2002, 11:00 AM   #5
Ala Dan
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Heavy Double-Action Trigger Pull?

I have two comparisons to make regarding the trigger
pulls of current production Smith & Wesson revolver's:

First, is of my 629-5, 5" barrel "Classic". On this gun,
one couldn't ask for a better double-action trigger pull;
as its "buttery smooth" with no creep or "stacking". I
would rate it as being right in there with the class of
old' Smith's that we all are acustomed to. And to top
it off, this is just a standard 629-5; and is not even a
DX model.

Second, is of my 686-5, 6" barrel "Distinguished Combat
Magnum". The double-action trigger pull on this firearm
is somewhat "heavy"; but still manageable. However,
the single-action trigger pull is "out of this world" great.

Last, I'm going to live with both weapons the way they
are; cuz most of my revolver shooting these day's
is performed in the single-action mode.

Best Wishes,
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Old December 13, 2002, 11:17 AM   #6
yzguy
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not sure about LEO's but I like the DA because of not needing an additional saftey. For carry I either want an SA + saftey or a DA without, both with a round chambered. DA takes less training (swiping that saftey), just point and shoot, but still resonably safe.
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Old December 13, 2002, 11:58 AM   #7
bela
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da pull

I wish to have a trigger pull of at least 9 pounds.
It is enough if it is fairly smooth.
I knew a guy who carried a nice S&W M 10.
It had a wonderful smooth light trigger pull.
Once I visited this guy in hospital, where he laid for a week face down.
The trigger pull had been to light...
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Old December 13, 2002, 12:43 PM   #8
4V50 Gary
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Carry over for dinosaurs who were trained with the revolver. Revolvers had a 14-16 lb trigger pull and it takes time to transition an officer to a DA/SA pistol.
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Old December 13, 2002, 01:36 PM   #9
bountyh
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"Why is it desirable to have a heavy DA trigger pull?"

Obvious: it's the only safety a revolver has.

Ala Dan: I also have a 686 and I've tuned the trigger down to 6# (DA) and 2# (SA) glass smooth. Take it to a smith who knows about SW and he can do yours the same.
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Old December 13, 2002, 02:06 PM   #10
Ala Dan
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Thanks bountyh, I have considered that option; as I
have a very good smith not more than 15 minutes
from my home. Thanks for the thoughts and info-
I will keep you posted!

Season's Greeting's To All,
Ala Dan, N.R.A. Life Member
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Old December 13, 2002, 02:17 PM   #11
yzguy
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Quote:
I wish to have a trigger pull of at least 9 pounds.
It is enough if it is fairly smooth.
I knew a guy who carried a nice S&W M 10.
It had a wonderful smooth light trigger pull.
Once I visited this guy in hospital, where he laid for a week face down.
The trigger pull had been to light...
I doubt that the lighter trigger pull CAUSED the gun to fire. Something pulled the trigger... right? The something that pulled the trigger was the problem, not the light trigger. True it makes it easier to fire, but that is the point, right?

My carry gun is a KT P-11 with a (heavily modified and shortened) trigger pull of about 6.5 lbs and .5 inches of travel...
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Old December 13, 2002, 02:31 PM   #12
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The fairly heavy double action for the first shot is desirable to prevent "adrenalin" shootings. That's the reason many departments had their armorers convert their revolvers to double action only.

Once the first shot has been fired, the fight is on, so single action is more desireable.

Increased training. Great solution to the problem. Except that it isn't going to happen! Departments have a budget. Politicians are very grudging about department budgets. Voters can see new buildings and bridges easily. They can't see a 5.3 percent drop in violent crime.

The purists can rant all they want to about the need for more expensive training programs so that they can carry single action pistols "cocked and locked" safely, but the reality is that the taxpayers aren't going to fund it.

DA/SA pistols solve the problem and don't call for an increase in the budget. And BTW, many public officials tasked with firearms decision making are very concerned about their officers.

During my tenure as a police firearms instructor I was contacted by political officials on numerous occassions for input into the decision making process. Most instructors do have a voice in these decisions. The folks in charge of the budget don't always follow the instructors advice, but they almost always listen.

Like everything else in life, this is an area where there must be trade offs. it would be great if the firearms training committee had an open ended budget, but in the real world, it just "aint gonna happen!"
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Old December 13, 2002, 02:34 PM   #13
C.R.Sam
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HEAVY

Is a relative term.

Most guns with a double action capability , in the double action mode, use the action of the trigger to cock the weapon against the hammer/striker spring. Physics demands that this pull be greater than the single action trigger pull which merely allows the weapon to fire.

Some guns use the action of firing the previous round to cock the weapon for the subsequent shot. Or the gun is manualy cocked by the shooter. These would be single action guns and the trigger pull can be quite light as the trigger is merely firing the weapon, not also cocking it.

And some use the action of the gun firing the previous shot to partially cock the weapon, allowing a somewhat lighter double action trigger but still a bit heavier than a pure single action trigger.

Hence; Nearly all double action trigger pulls are heavier than nearly all single action trigger pulls.

Sam
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Old December 13, 2002, 04:50 PM   #14
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"Hence; Nearly all double action trigger pulls are heavier than nearly all single action trigger pulls."

Exactly. It is virtually impossible to get a DA pull on a SW wheelgun below 6# and still have reliable ignition. Almost any 1911 comes with a 5 - 5.5# trigger pull (SA), but SA is the only operating mode. IMO, the long DA stroke of a wheelgun makes a revolver with a 6# trigger safer than a typical 1911 with respect to AD's. And a revolver with the standard 12 - 14# factory DA pull is safer yet.
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Old December 13, 2002, 07:48 PM   #15
faustulus
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These are all good points but I was really thinking less of heavy versus light than heavy and heavier. For instance. I bought a police trade it Sig 228 it was a department issued sidearm. A 1991 model. My friend happened to buy one new in 90. My trigger pull is five to seven pounds greater than his, in fact mine is greater than any of the other sigs I own. Now I would have said this was just a fluke if my friend hadn't bought a glock 23 trade in from another department. It had the 8 lb trigger installed. My concern is that the first shot is important, to LEOs and the rest of us that carry. If the second shot is going to by SA anyway why would the first shot need to be that heavy. It would seem that it opens a city up to liablity.
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Old December 13, 2002, 10:37 PM   #16
Robert Foote
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This is about agency politics and lawsuits, not guns per se. I suspect that there will never be a police handgun with a DA pull so heavy that management will not love it to death. Police administrators generally view anything and everything as potential boat rockers, and anything to do with firearms as particularly dangerous in that respect. Training is generally viewed as 'lost time' although no one will actually say so. In the best of all administrative worlds no LEO would ever fire a round ever again. If that can't be arranged, then the next best thing is to have it happen with a gun that took one helluva effort to make fire. Then 99% of the responsibility can be placed on the individual officer involved. Especially if the gun had all the 'firepower' the police union wanted.

I am a retired LEO/instructor; and that's about the way it is. Even though I personally started out with the 1911, and carried one for work for a while, I do not think it and its short SA trigger suitable for general police work. There is a phenomenon known as a 'tachypsyche' reaction here--startle me enough, bump me, or let me fall and I just may trip that round off without really wanting to. If I'm locked in on the bad guy I'm at least touching the trigger. Put enough adrenaline in my system, make me cold or wet or numb enough, and that lovely SA trigger gets pretty hairy on the street.

Personally I am still happy with how a good DA .357 works for this sort of thing--heavy enough to require a conscious effort, and smooth enough to be able to shoot fast and well. I won't even get into the training issues. In my case at least, the Glock 'safe action' doesn't match it; DA/SA semiautos don't work out as well; and my experiences with the DAOs have underwhelmed me.

What we have here is how certain decisionmakers see the world, what is important to them, and the power they have to implement those decisions. Logic is only a part of that, and sometimes the least influential part.

Sort of explains Congress, too.
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Old December 13, 2002, 11:13 PM   #17
JimmyDee
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Mastrogiacomo,

Your 42 shouldn't be excessively heavy.

It's easier to get a smooth DA trigger on
the big N-frames than on the J-frames, and
although it sounds crazy, the J-frames will
always pull heavier than the big frames, but
you should - with a bit of polishing and
spring matching - be able to get smooth,
reliable action out of your 442.

It seems that everything that comes from a
factory in "these modern times" needs a bit
ot post-purchase attention to turn it into
an excellent product. But, you know, that's
simply the way things are: accept it and
pony upthe bucks.
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Old December 14, 2002, 11:03 AM   #18
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JimmyDee is correct. It doesn't take much effort to do a reasonable trigger job on a J-frame. Any decent gunsmith can do it for you for $70 or so. I've done 3 of them myself. Without touching the sear, you can significantly lighten up the pull by replacing springs and polishing the rebound slide.
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Old December 14, 2002, 11:20 AM   #19
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Interesting post! When it comes to revolvers and fast double action shooting, the return action of the trigger is just as critical as the pull. A smooth action will certainly help the shooter but that trigger must snap back in place if we are pushing for speed.Most of us have seen action jobs where parts were polished and springs cut and the trigger was having a hard time returning to home.
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Old December 14, 2002, 11:39 AM   #20
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Robert Foote,

Because of my experiences with administrators, I am probably not qwuite as cynical as you seem to be. however, your points are well taken, my friend!

It's always more about politics than about anything else. and always will be. However, the older I get, the more I come to believe that maybe, JUST MAYBE, that's the way it should be.

If we look at it from a professional's point of veiw, we see one thing. If we look at it from the point of veiw of a taxpayer struggling to put his kid through college, we would see another point of veiw that is completely different.

I've seen rants on this forum from pholks that can't understand why we don't equip every cop in the country with a super whiz-bang Thunder Ranch special, compensated, laser-sighted full house race gun. Then we could send each and every one of them to Gunsite for one week every month to keep up their proficiency.

However, when the bills come due, and pholks begin to realize that 99 percent of these officers will never pull the trigger of their weapon in a 20 year career, these same pholks would scream like mashed cats.

Like you, I reaslly like the DA .357 revolvers. I also like the Glocks and DA/SA autos. When my department converted from revolvers to semi-auto Beretta 92s, everyone except a small handful of "Jeffie Cooper groupies" was prety well satisfied.

The idea that you can't learn to transition easily from DA first shot to SA second shot is a myth. none of the 70+ officers that I worked with had any trouble with it.

And the few guns that had DA pulls that were inordinately heavy, were easily corrected by a local gunsmith.

No DA (semiauto or revolver) should have a pulll in exess of 11 pounds. All DA pulls should be smooth. If they aren't, the situation is easilt corrected by a gunsmith.
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Old December 14, 2002, 05:12 PM   #21
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capbuster: I followed the procedures in Jerry K's book. My triggers return just fine and I've tested them with hundreds of rounds and never had a light strike. Yes, I'm sure such a trigger job can be butchered. But it's not rocket science to do a little minor polishing.

I did not touch the sear, as that requires more skill than i have.
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Old December 14, 2002, 08:35 PM   #22
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As civilian I don't like long hard DA trigger pulls. I want the lightest trigger pull possible. When I shoot revolvers my shots are all over the place. I shoot my Glock 17 w/ a 5.5# trigger better, my groups are tighter. Now that I've switched to a 3.5# trigger my groups are tighter yet. Now when I shoot my Glock w/ 3.5# trigger fast my groups get bigger like my groups w/ the 5.5# trigger shot slow. I would hate to see how big my groups would be w/ a long hard DA revolver trigger pull shot fast. The distance shot at is 21 ft. Since I don't shoot DA revolvers well I wouldn't shoot DAO pistols well either. The only other pistols I've shot are DA/SA which I don't like either because of the trigger transition. The first DA shot is always off target. I don't like DA/SA pistols either. Now if work said I couldn't carry my Glock & must carry a revolver, DAO pistol, or DA/SA pistol. I would choose the Beretta 92D or the Cougar 8000D. Beretta D (DAO) models come w/ a trigger pull of between 8# & 9.5#. Which would be better than a DAO or DA/SA w/ a DA pull of 12# to 14#. So this is why I like lighter triggers better. I don't want to shoot & miss.
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Old December 14, 2002, 09:12 PM   #23
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I like the heavy 12-13# DA pull of my USP. To kids, that's a ton of force that they just can' simply activate. Better margin for safety not only on accidental pulling while holstering, but also against kids.


Remember that cop shot by his son with his duty Glock? I do and wouldn't soon forget...
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Old December 14, 2002, 11:57 PM   #24
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I really don't have much to add to what's been said.

FWIW, I just got around to measuring the stock trigger on my good ol' CZ 75B Military an hour ago. These are the averages of 6 pulls on a Lyman Digital.

DA = 8.4
SA = 3.75

I also checked a 442-1, also stock. It was 8.3 pounds and that surprised me. I would have guessed a good pound or more lighter because it is so slick.

Some time back, just out of curiousity, I took this gun to a local gun shop to let the visiting S&W Performance Center gunsmith take a look at it. He said it had about the best factory assembly-line trigger that could be expected and didn't even take it apart to slick up the action.
(The store brings him in and the deal is one gun per customer. He'll do what he can with his toolbox and whatever parts he has with him. No power tools. It's fun to watch him pull them apart, measure, adjust, and put them back together.)

I don't know what any of these numbers prove, if anything. Maybe just that I only buy guns with decent triggers. Lord knows I've searched through enough stores and gun shows

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Old December 15, 2002, 01:54 AM   #25
cheifwatchman
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Dad shot by duty Glock

If I remember that incident correctly. The loaded Glock pistol was left unattended on the kitchen table. It's pure negligence to leave a loaded pistol unattended.
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