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Old June 25, 2010, 05:32 PM   #1
Max013
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Hammer-fired vs. Striker-fired?

Hello everyone. Question:
I'm looking to buy a handgun and wondering what the advantages and disadvantages are concerning hammer-fired pistols (such as H&K USP's and Sigs) compared to striker fired pistols (such as Glocks, Smith & Wesson M&Ps, and Springfield XDs). All these brands are fine choices to me, but am basing my decision to this final criteria. Does anyone have any input and experience using BOTH kinds of handguns?
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Old June 25, 2010, 06:06 PM   #2
AK103K
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I'd say choose what you like best and you'll be fine. I have a number of both types, and all work.

The one thing you usually here in favor of the DA hammer type, is the double strike capability, which really is a misnomer, as you dont (or shouldnt) use it anyway, as the drill for that type thing is a TRB, not another pull on the trigger.

Triggers really arent an issue either, unless youre hung up on them.
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Old June 25, 2010, 06:19 PM   #3
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double strike is probably the single best feature and true difference between the two. The others are just opinions on whether someone likes a heavier first pull and use that as their SAFETY and then people who like striker fired weapons will argue that they like the consistent pull.

I am inparticular to both styles. I have both, shoot both, and like them equally well. I think different applications warrant different weapons. An example would be competition shooting. You will not see many if any people shooting da/sa guns in uspsa or idpa solely because they are just not faster than striker or SAO guns.
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Old June 25, 2010, 06:43 PM   #4
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Quote:
I'm looking to buy a handgun and wondering what the advantages and disadvantages are concerning hammer-fired pistols (such as H&K USP's and Sigs) compared to striker fired pistols (such as Glocks, Smith & Wesson M&Ps, and Springfield XDs).
I like hammers. I like seeing if the pistol is cocked. I like having the option to thumb cock if I need to.

I don't own a SIG. Controls on the SIG's look a lot like my Walther P5. I like being able to carry with a round in the chamber and the hammer down. First shot with my Walther is a long and heavy double action trigger. That is just great as it would be difficult to have an accidental discharge.

There is a thread asking the question what pistols are under your pillow. I read replies from Glock owners who don't feel safe if their pistol is not in a holster. Because it does not take much effort or movement to fire one of these.

My P5, the trigger pull is as long and heavy as a double action revolver. It is not going to go off without a lot of effort.

I handled a S&W that had a long double action, and it was striker fired. But it was double action only, and I prefer the lighter single action pull after the first shot.
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Old June 25, 2010, 09:00 PM   #5
lee n. field
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All these brands are fine choices to me, but am basing my decision to this final criteria.
Why? If you don't know what advantages or disadvantages each might have, why make that a criterion?

Not counting revolvers, I own 2 striker fired, and 3 hammer fired. All work.

Second strike capability -- single action hammer fired guns don't have it, and I know of at least one striker fired gun (well, 2 if you count the CZ-100...) that do.

"I want to know if it's cocked" -- lots of striker fired guns have a cocking indicator of some sort.

What I mean to say is, I wouldn't use this to make your decision. Buy a Glock or a 1911, and happily tinker with it forever. Or just buy an XD and be happy.
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Old June 25, 2010, 10:07 PM   #6
cougar gt-e
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Some people are "threatened" seeing a gun with the hammer back. Sure, a striker fired gun has the equivalent to the hammer back too, but it not being visible makes less waves. Sheeple are crazy...

The triggers on SAO hammer fired guns are typically superior to striker fired guns. "typically"
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Old June 25, 2010, 10:46 PM   #7
Mawetta
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Hammer
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Old June 25, 2010, 11:15 PM   #8
CzCasull
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Hammer

for looks...
not that striker is so bad at all.
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Old June 26, 2010, 12:16 AM   #9
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I like hammers. I like seeing if the pistol is cocked. I like having the option to thumb cock if I need to.
Ditto, but that didn't stop me from buying several glocks
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Old June 26, 2010, 06:29 AM   #10
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My favorites are striker fired

The Taurus 709 SLIM has 2nd strike feature and it's got a striker; the difference between the two trigger pulls isn't much.

Glocks are "pre-cocked" but not fully cocked.

The XD striker is "fully cocked".

I love Glocks and the XDsc.

I was worried about keeping the XDsc loaded with the striker in the fully cocked position for months (years) and the effect on the striker spring, but then I thought about all those 1911 pistols carried & kept "cocked & locked" and I don't believe there are a bunch where the mainspring lost so much tension it resulted in light strikes.
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Old June 26, 2010, 07:24 AM   #11
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Hammer.
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Old June 26, 2010, 07:43 AM   #12
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handgun picks; DA only(hammer fired)...

Depending on a few factors like your budget, skill level and uses for the pistol, I would suggest a new DA only, hammer fired design like the SIG Sauer DAK, Beretta PX4 C or D format(C for constant, D for full DA only) HK P2000, HK45, USP LEM(law enforcement modification). The Para-USA LDA models are hammer fired DA only type pistols too but I do not have any detailed history with the line.
Hammer fired DA only pistols conceal well and you can train to hold the hammer down as you holster.
Striker fired systems like the M&P models with ambi safeties or the Glocks can be safe too but I prefer the SIG, Beretta & HK DA only pistols.
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Old June 26, 2010, 07:53 AM   #13
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Striker-fired. Consistent trigger pull everytime. No extra safety to manipulate under stress. Draw. Squeeze. Boom. Simple is better IMHO. Also, no hammer to snag on things in an emergency.

Like others I own both.
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Old June 26, 2010, 08:08 AM   #14
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Quote- "Some people are "threatened" seeing a gun with the hammer back. Sure, a striker fired gun has the equivalent to the hammer back too, but it not being visible makes less waves." True, but at the same time, a light, single action trigger pull on a gun w/out a safety would be alot easier to ND; as opposed to a glock or XD, for example, that in the XD's case, would require the grip safety to be disengaged, and the long pull of the trigger. Much less likely for an unfortunate event to happen. IMO
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Old June 26, 2010, 08:14 AM   #15
cougar gt-e
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Quote:
Glocks are "pre-cocked" but not fully cocked.

The XD striker is "fully cocked".

I love Glocks and the XDsc.

The XDm has the striker indicator on the back of the slide. As the trigger is pulled, you can clearly see the indicator move backwards about 1/32nd of an inch before it's released to fire. So, the Xdm at least is not "fully cocked", and I suspect that the rest of the Xd line is the same.


Quote:
True, but at the same time, a light, single action trigger pull on a gun w/out a safety would be alot easier to ND
Chuckle. True, but any and all guns with NO SAFETY are easy to ND!
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Old June 26, 2010, 08:40 AM   #16
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can't argue w/ that cougar. while we're on the subject here, does anyone know the difference as far as the internal parts/functions between striker and hammer fired pistols?
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Old June 26, 2010, 09:05 AM   #17
lee n. field
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can't argue w/ that cougar. while we're on the subject here, does anyone know the difference as far as the internal parts/functions between striker and hammer fired pistols?
If I understand the question correctly, in a hammer fired gun, the hammer has a spring to drive it, typically a coil or leaf spring running down the handgrip (which is why you don't see people talking about the amateur "grip chop" mod they did on their 1911). The hammer pivots around it's pivot point and strikes the firing pin, which drives it into the primer. BOOM, lather, rinse, repeat. The firing pin is basically as simple as a nail. It may or may not have a spring, to return it to rest position.

In a striker fired gun, everything's all in a line. A compressed spring directly drives the striker to hit the primer of the cartridge in the chamber. The spring may be on the outside of the striker (ex. Glock), or inside a hollow striker (ex. XD). The striker is usually a more complex piece than the simple firing pin. The sear is part of the striker. Often (in those I have direct experience with) there is a second, smaller spring in front of the striker to return the striker to rest.
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Old June 26, 2010, 09:54 AM   #18
ClydeFrog
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Hammer fired DA only pistols...

It should be noted with the SIG Sauer DAK Beretta PX4 D & C models HK/lem & Para-USA/LDA models, the hammer is spurless. It won't snag or jab your flab . I like DA only pistols for duty/protection use too because you can avoid the false or bogus claims of "cocking hammers" or shooting a criminal subject "by mistake".
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Old June 26, 2010, 03:20 PM   #19
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lee n. field- appreciate the info; i can't seem to ever get enough knowledge about things like this. thanks again
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Old June 26, 2010, 07:28 PM   #20
CDW4ME
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cougar gt-e The XDm has the striker indicator on the back of the slide. As the trigger is pulled, you can clearly see the indicator move backwards about 1/32nd of an inch before it's released to fire. So, the Xdm at least is not "fully cocked", and I suspect that the rest of the Xd line is the same.

Dang!!! How did I miss that 1/32nd of an inch

Good to know my pistol isn't "fully cocked" it has a whole extra 1/32nd of an inch!
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Old June 26, 2010, 07:33 PM   #21
lee n. field
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So, the Xdm at least is not "fully cocked", and I suspect that the rest of the Xd line is the same.
Umm. If the XDm is like the XD, it is "fully cocked". All pulling the trigger does is drop the sear.

Despite external similarity, the XD is not Glock-like in that respect.
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Last edited by lee n. field; June 26, 2010 at 07:58 PM.
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Old June 26, 2010, 08:02 PM   #22
stevieboy
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Hammer, especially if one includes 1911s in the mix. I've fired a bunch of striker fired guns -- S & W M & P, Springfield XD, Glock, Ruger SR9, and to be honest, I found the trigger to be kind of blah on all of them. Not heavy, necessarily, but just mushy. On the other hand, the trigger on my 1911 is crisp and precise and a delight to fire. My CZ 75B SA, also a hammer fired gun, also has a nice, crisp trigger, if not quite as precise as the trigger on my 1911.

I'm not knocking striker fired guns, mind you, I came close to buying an SR9 a few months ago. The ones I've fired have been accurate and they cycled flawlessly. I just prefer the hammer fired versions.
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Old June 26, 2010, 11:10 PM   #23
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I prefer hammer over striker fire for one main reason. Decocking. I like and want to be able to decock and go to "TRUE" double action. It is the very safest of all conditions, shy of not having a round in the chamber. People can say how safe cocked and locked is, or how safe their glock (modified double action striker fired), or any other striker fire is. Truth is, there is nothing more safe than a SA/DA pistol that is designed to be decocked. And that's what I want and like. And anyone who says they don't like having a double action 1st pull is entitled to that opinion. But they can't say that any striker fire, shy of a TRUE 100% double action only, is as safe as a hammer that is decocked. So yes, a true double action only striker fire is indeed as safe, but I prefer a hammer.
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Old June 26, 2010, 11:18 PM   #24
cougar gt-e
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Umm. If the XDm is like the XD, it is "fully cocked". All pulling the trigger does is drop the sear.
Not "fully" cocked. There is that additional wee little bit of rearward motion as the sear is rotated. During the rotation, the striker is moved and the striker spring is coiled a bit more. Dry fire it while watching the mechanism and see for yourself. The motion is there.

I personally think of it as SAO, but technically it is DAO as the striker is in fact moved backwards during the trigger pull.

By the way, the sear is not "dropped". It is rotated. That is an additional safety feature (if you want to spin it) as there is much less chance of the sear accidentally letting go as it is cam'ed forward by the striker spring. Again, it's a small technical detail.
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Old June 27, 2010, 02:19 AM   #25
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Walther P99. It straddles many of the arguments made in this thread for either/or.

- There's a cocking indicator.
- The first trigger pull can be double action, single action, or a long single action (this takes some getting used to).
- Second strike capability.
- Decock with one in the chamber.
- Trigger pull must be felt to be believed. It's not a 1911 by any means, but it's one of the best in the business.
- No hammer to snag or "threaten" the fearful.
- Lower bore axis, higher hand grip advantage of striker firing.

My small list of cons:
- Price is on the level of HK.
- Decocker button is in a very weird and non-ergonomic location, but you do get used to it.
- Some people just can't live without the "cocked & locked" option.
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