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Old February 21, 2000, 02:34 PM   #1
FUD
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Has anyone noticed that we seem to be using the term "Double Action Only" incorrectly. Originally, "Double Action" meant that the gun could do two actions with a single pull of the trigger: (1) Cock the hammer back, and (2) launch the hammer forward -- thus firing the gun.

The majority of the DAO pistols (Glock, SIG, S&W, Kahr, etc.) can not do this 'Double Action' type of work. If the gun misfires, pulling the trigger a second time will do nothing until the striker is re-primed. A true "double action only" pistol would be something like the Colt Pocket Nine.

I'm not making any comments about the guns themselves (I bought a Kahr instead of the Pocket Nine), I'm just making reference to the term "Double Action Only". Does anyone else feel that it is an incorrect description?
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Old February 21, 2000, 03:21 PM   #2
One
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Actually the Sig and the S&W semi-autos with the exception of the Sigma from S&W, have second strike capabilities in DAO form. The other weapons you describe fall into a striker fired system.(Glock,Kahr,Sigma) DAO refers to the fact that after firing a round the weapons mechanism returns to the hammer down position, ready to fire again. This is done to resemble the action of a revolver. The main difference is that the hammer cannot be cocked in the single action manner as with the traditional double action.
As to second strike capability, can someone explain the purpose of this in a combat or defensive pistol? If a round fails to fire on the first try, why try again. All the training I have dictates a failure drill and resume firing. I would rather take my chances with a fresh round than one that has just failed.

Be Safe
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Old February 21, 2000, 03:35 PM   #3
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I don't know about the SIGs but I was under the impression that the S&W DAO pistols do not have a repeat striker capability. I know that their traditional DA/SA autos do but I didn't think that their DAO pistols did -- at least according to their company publications (learn something new every day).

With regard to a second strike capability, while I agree that when shooting under 'controlled' conditions, when one encounters a misfire, the round should be cleared -- thus repriming the striker and loading another round into the chamber. However, under stressful conditions (an actual shooting where your life or that of a loved one might hang in the balance) typical reaction is to continue doing what you are doing. Which means that if you're pulling the trigger, and a misfire occurs, you will pull the trigger a couple of more times until your brain catches up with your body. If the pistol has a repeat striker capability and the round just needed another whack, then the bullet will fire.

Again, I didn't start this post with regard to the validity of second strike capability -- I just wanted to know if anyone else felt that the terms "double action only" were misleading in a majoiry of the cases.
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Old February 21, 2000, 04:45 PM   #4
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This terminology does get used rather inconsistantly. What seems to be a more-or-less standard these days is the reference to standard double action as "traditional double action", and the term DAO, meaning Double action only or in other words, no single action capability. The internals vary from piece to piece, meaning that there are some that are hammer fired, and some striker fired, but operationally, they can appear to be the same. The Smith "standard" DAO line requires pre-setting the slide for each shot, so this "second shot" capability only exists if you cycle the slide. BTW, it is exactly the same as the Glock and Kahr in that regards. The Sig and Beretta have "second shot" capabilities, but the DA stroke is much longer than the Smith. The traditional double action Smiths do have the ability for second strike, as the hammer is not "preset" for a shorter trigger stroke. FWIW
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Old February 21, 2000, 05:14 PM   #5
Chad Young
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About 90% of the rounds that I have had fail to fire were successfully fired when struck a second time by the firing pin. This is the advantage of a DAO design or even a DA design.

An example of this was in my Ruger P89. A friend of mine loaded up some practice loads that I was rapid firing into the target. One round misfired (primer probably set too shallow). Instead of breaking my sight picture and ejecting the spent round manually, I simply pulled the trigger again and the round worked.

Now, if the round will not fire after two strikes, it is pretty safe to call it a dud and eject it.

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Old February 21, 2000, 07:56 PM   #6
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S&W (with the exception of the Sigma), Beretta, SIG Sauer, and Ruger DAO pistols function in the manner described by One.

Glocks are neither DA, SA or DAO, they're in fact a distinct breed of cat, Safe-Action as the company calls it. You have to work the slide to get off another try. This is made all the confusing by some Glock advertisements that call their mechanism DA.

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Old February 21, 2000, 09:26 PM   #7
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Sorry guys, but that is why this is such a confusing terminology. Smith DAO autos do NOT have a second strike feature(slide needs to be cycled) , and are EXACTLY like the Sigma and Glock. The standard DA autos DO. I happen to prefer the DAO autos, and own/shoot a 4586,4556,1086 & 4056 regularly.
Now, Tecolote, I will agree with you on the definition of the Glock action. It is not DA,SA,or DAO, more like "mush and pull". In fact even though they call it "Safe action", it's not........ but that's my opinion.
.......SmithNut
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Old February 21, 2000, 11:56 PM   #8
Steve Smith
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OK, I'm no expert, but the merminology's pretty easy...at least from my point of veiw...here goes:

Single action: The hammer must be pulled back by thumb or slide (on a 1911 for instance) and the trigger only performs one (single) action, it trips the sear, and allows the hammer to fall.

Double action: The trigger can EITHER perform the single action, OR it can perform a second (double) action by cocking the hammer AND releasing the sear.

Double action only: A complete oxymoron. This is truly a single action again, since the hammer cannot be cocked in any way other than pulling the trigger (and the hammer does not stay cocked). There is only one (single) action going on here by the trigger, but I digress.

Anyway, a "restrike" capability has nothing to do with the action style of the trigger. Re-activating the trigger is a seperate function.
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Old February 22, 2000, 12:18 AM   #9
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Since must have changed since the last time I fired a SW DAO 3913 (forget the exact model number). That pistol's hammer would function repeatedly with the pull of the trigger. I don't see the point of not allowing the hammer to fall again. What happens to the mechanism? Does the trigger stay back and the hammer down?

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Old February 22, 2000, 12:27 AM   #10
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Tecolote, if it was a 3913, it was not DAO!!!!!! The model number for the DAO Smith 9mm compact is 3953. If you had a 3913 that had been modified for DAO, it was not a factory gun. No one said there was a "point" to this, it just happens to be how they operate. I don't necessarily like it either, but that is how the factory DAO Smith's operate. ......SmithNut
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Old February 22, 2000, 11:14 AM   #11
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Frontsight!:... Double action only: A complete oxymoron. This is truly a single action again, since the hammer cannot be cocked in any way other than pulling the trigger (and the hammer does not stay cocked). There is only one (single) action going on here by the trigger, but I digress ... [/quote]A lot of DAO pistols (Glock, S&W, Kahr, etc.) the hammer is not cocked by pulling the trigger if a misfire occurred. Therefore, the term is misleading since it is really more like a long single action instead of double action.

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Old February 22, 2000, 11:19 AM   #12
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"the last time I fired a SW DAO 3913 (forget the exact model number)."

Like I said I didn't know the exact model number. It was a factory DAO model with bobbed and recessed hammer. My questions remains, how does this mechanism operate? Does the hammer stay back? Does the trigger fail to reset until the slide is worked? I'm not trying to flame but simply trying to increase my knowledge.

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Old February 22, 2000, 12:24 PM   #13
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Tecolote,
Sorry, no flame intended from this end either. It sounds like the model you shot may have been DAO, but then again..... Did it have a slide mounted safety? You mention the hammer being bobbed, did it fit flush with the back of the slide when cocked? Or was there a bit of a "nub" sticking out when ready to fire? All the factory DAO models that I have owned or handled have functioned as I described. Meaning that after you pulled the trigger all the way through it's DA pull, the hammer would fall (presumbaly on an empty chamber if you are testing), and the trigger would then feel "dis-engaged", almost like how it feels when the mag is removed (again, assuming your piece has the mag disconnector still functioning). In order to make the trigger work again, the slide needs to be cycled. Now, it only takes about 1/4 inch of rearward travel to do the "pre-set". I believe it functions this way due to the design objective of providing a "shorter" trigger pull for the DA stroke. If you notice, on the DAO models, the trigger stroke is about 2/3 the distance of the traditional DA guns. After firing, the hammer follows the slide down, and stops at this "pre-set" position, sort of like, but probably not actually a half cock notch. My description said it functioned like a Glock or Sigma, meaning that after you pull the trigger through, but do not cycle the slide, the trigger is dissabled. The difference between the two designs is that the Glock/Sigma are striker fired, and the standard Smith DAO's are hammer fired, but they have this notch thing. Sorry I cannot describe it better, but that is how all Smith DAO's that I have handled function. These include the mentioned before, plus a M6946 and a pair of M3953's previously owned. If the piece you fired allowed for continuous trigger functioning, without cycling the slide, it was probably altered. .......SmithNut
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Old February 22, 2000, 12:59 PM   #14
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Yes, my 100% factory 3953 functions as SmithNut says. The trigger does not re-engage the hammer until the slide has moved rearward and forward again about 1/4 inch.
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Old February 22, 2000, 02:32 PM   #15
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Have any of you read the article in the 2000
Guns and Ammo annual on this subject? It is titled "The double-action-only auto Ideal for Defense", by Ed Sanow.
At the beginning of the article he goes thru the definitions of the different actions.
I don't know if you agree with him or not, but according to HIM, DAO is clearly different from DA or SA, and should not be called either of them.
-------------------------
"The DAO pistol confuses a lot of pundits. Some call it a double-action pistol, b/c it does the double-duty of cocking the hammer and releasing the sear. Other folks call it a single-action, b/c it only does the single task of cocking and dropping the the firing mechansim and cannot do the double task of also dropping an already cocked hammer. Both labels are wrong or imcomplete or misleading, which explains the confusion...."
--------------------------------
Also according to him, a Glock Safe-action is synonymous with DAO. I don't know if you agree with him or not. The definitions make sense to me as I read them in the article. That, of course, does not necessarily mean that they are accurate.
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Old February 22, 2000, 02:46 PM   #16
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Chipperman,
The teminology that I use is what the manufacturers use in describing their products. This subject can/and has taken on a life of it's own. We can all disect the words, the meanings, and become masters of the prose, but in the end, the terms are only useful in attempting to define what the models do, in my opinion. Just because Sanow says it, doesn't mean he is right either. In fact, I stopped reading Buns and Ammo, and Taurus Times some time ago. Neither publication has published anything new or unique for many, many years. Glock Safe Action synonymous with DAO.... What a joke. ......SmithNut
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Old February 22, 2000, 06:42 PM   #17
Steve Smith
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Chipperman...I'm with you, and agree that what's called "DAO" by the industry should be called something else, and I'll work on a name over the next couple of days. Calling something "Double Action Only", well, that's just ignorant to me.
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Old February 22, 2000, 11:27 PM   #18
SmithNut
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Frontsight,
I don't know what's so hard about this. Have you ever shot a revolver? For all the time I have been shooting, you either shot it "double action", pulling the trigger through for each shot, or you cocked it first, and shot it "single action". Never have I heard anyone talk about it that way and be accused of talking ignorant! What's up with that. This is no moral issue man. It is just terminology that has been used by the firearms industry, and by just about everyone I know. Never have I heard anyone get upset about the term. Am I missing something here? .......SmithNut
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Old February 22, 2000, 11:30 PM   #19
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<BLOCKQUOTE><font size="1" face="Verdana, Arial">quote:</font><HR>Originally posted by Frontsight!:
Chipperman...I'm with you, and agree that what's called "DAO" by the industry should be called something else, and I'll work on a name over the next couple of days. Calling something "Double Action Only", well, that's just ignorant to me.[/quote]How about calling it LSA for Long Single Action? It would be more accurate and "DAO" would refer to those that actually have a repeat striker capability.

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Old February 23, 2000, 09:16 AM   #20
Tecolote
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SmithNut,

I guess my memory is fading. I could've sworn the 3953's trigger reset even when dry firing.

Yes, the pistol I fired was factory DAO. The hammer disappeared into the slide and had a very unusual indentation towards the bottom. It was very different from a 3913's hammer. As well it had some unattractive plugs where the safety is usually located. All in all it had a very nice trigger pull and it was reliable, although I only shot 50 rounds through it. I just thought it looked odd as I'm used to see thrid gen smith's with slide mounted safeties.

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Old February 23, 2000, 10:50 AM   #21
Steve Smith
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SmithNut, when you fire a revo DA, you're firing it with the second action that the trigger can do...I don't have a problem with that term at all. When you limit a trigger to perform a single task only, it's a single action, regardless of the length of pull. And no, I'm not upset at all, just thinking out loud...sorry FUD, I kinda like it...Long Single Action!
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Old February 23, 2000, 11:52 AM   #22
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FUD,

Long Single Action? I think I've seen a manufacturer (Smith? Taurus?) call this Traditional Double Action. I'm not so sure that is the appropriate way to describe it, but the term was used to describe semi-automatic handguns that do this:

From hammer down on a round in the chamber, the shooter can indeed pull the trigger and the hammer will be brought back and dropped on the chambered round and all subsequent rounds fired use the single action mode because the slide cocks the hammer.

For the semi-automatics that do not allow the hammer to be manually cocked for the first shot nor do not allow the slide to cock the hammer when it cycles after a discharge, the manufacturer called Double Action Only.

Go figure...

Joe
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Old February 23, 2000, 12:21 PM   #23
Chipperman
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Originally posted by Smithnut:
-----I don't know what's so hard about this. Have you ever shot a revolver? For all the time I have been shooting, you either shot it "double action", pulling the trigger through for each shot, or you cocked it first, and shot it "single action".------ Smithnut,
I agree with what you say above, but remember that a revolver will not cock after each shot. That's where the whole confusion arises; with autos, not revolvers. Some auttos will cock after the first shot and some will not. I also agreee with your scepticism of Ed Sanow's lumping Glock in with DAO. I don't think you can necessarily use the same terminology between revolvers and autos. Having too many terms will confuse people, but not enough is just as bad.
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Old February 23, 2000, 12:59 PM   #24
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OK guys. Thanks for letting me play with this. It seems like I am satisfied with "the way things are", and am not hung up enough on "the way they should be". So, I am outta this discussion, and will remain blisfully happy with my DAO Smith & Wessons, pulling that trigger all the way back each and every time I want to make noise. I remain. ......SmithNut
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Old February 23, 2000, 03:59 PM   #25
Matt VDW
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The arguments over the meaning of "single action" and "double action" seem to go on forever. Unfortunately, we've created a situation in which logic conflicts with established usage, so the squabbling will likely continue for some time.

It's possible that the term "double action" arose to describe revolvers that could be cocked in two different ways, by thumbing back the hammer or by pulling the trigger. But if we were to apply this definition rigorously, wouldn't we have to classify a revolver with an internal hammer or a bobbed hammer as "single action", since it would present only one option for cocking the hammer?

Applying the definitions to autopistols gets even trickier. Look at all the permutations we'd run into if we were to classify them according to the options for cocking the firing mechanism (hammer or striker):

First, we'd have three basic cocking mechanisms: the trigger, the slide or bolt, and external levers such as a hammer or the frontstrap of a HK P7M8.

Then, for each of the three mechanisms, we'd have to decide if its operation was sufficient, or necessary, or both necessary and sufficient or irrelevant as a method to cock the pistol.

This would give us eleven possible permutations. (Three mechanisms multiplied by four possibilities yield twelve permutations, but we can safely discard the "irrelevant/irrelevant/irrelevant" combination since such a pistol could never be fired.)

Examples:

A Colt Government Model would be an "ISS", since it's impossible to cock by squeezing the trigger but manipulation of either the slide or the hammer itself is sufficient to cock it.

A Glock 17 would be an "NNI", since movement of both the slide and the trigger is necessary to fully cock the striker and there's no other way to do it.

A Beretta 92FS would be an "SSS", since either pulling the trigger, cycling the slide or thumbing the hammer will suffice to cock it. Or perhaps it would be an "SSS/III", since activation of the decocker/safety lever will make it impossible to cock by any means.

Hmmm...

Then again, there's little rhyme or reason to the way cartridges are named, so why should handgun designs be any different?


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