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Old March 12, 2013, 02:28 PM   #1
Skitter
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DA/SA Random crap

Ok, so trying to wrap my head around this whole thing as I never have owned or fired a single action pistol... ever... so I thought Double Action was just the standard.

Well check that, my Dad has a .357 wheels gun that he let us shoot and you had to cock the hammer back before you could shoot the first round. I am assuming this is single action.

Wife has a Beretta Px4 Storm that she didn't notice any difference in trigger pull (*edit* this is due to her arming the weapon with the safety off vs. me arming with the safety on) so I assumed with my Stoeger it would be the same... WRONG That first shot fired took a bit to pull back, and after that I went to repeat and shot much sooner than I had anticipated. I am asuming that first trigger pull arms everything, and essentially is the same as pulling the slide back with the safety off.

At this point I am glad to have the double action, as I intend to CC my Stoeger, and the Double Action will allow me a bit more mental safety that it's not going to shoot me as randomly if the safety is off.

Is that pretty much the only difference between Single and Double actions?
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Old March 12, 2013, 02:41 PM   #2
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Booger hook off the bang switch and there shouldn't be an issue, whether it double action, single action, safe action, action action, doesn'tmatterwhatyoucallitaction.
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Old March 12, 2013, 02:58 PM   #3
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Besides the obligatory booger hook bang switch comment.

There are a number of action types for semiautomatics. Here are some layman explanations:

DAO - double action only; a pull of the trigger cocks the hammer/striker and releases that mechanism, allowing the firearm to fire. the hammer/striker decocks after the slide moves forward.

DA/SA - double action/single action; when decocked a pull of the trigger cocks the hammer/striker and release the mechanism, allowing the firearm to fire. the rearward motion of the slide cocks the hammer/striker for the next trigger pull, allowing for typically a lighter and shorter trigger pull than the first shot. these firearms can also be decocked manually at any point.

SAO - single action only; a pull of the trigger release the hammer/striker allowing the weapon to fire, but cannot cock the mechanism. the mechanism needs to be cocked manually, done by racking the slide and chambering the first round or at another point by thumbing the hammer or racking the slide. these designs typically include a safety.

safe-action - this gets complicated as different manufacturers approach this differently. the main principle involves a striker-fired pistol. for some pistols, i.e. Glock, pulling the trigger finishes cocking the striker and releases the striker, allowing the firearm to fire. other pistols, i.e. Walther PPQ, have a fully cocked striker upon racking the slide and pulling the trigger simple releases the striker.

There are combinations of these too. For instance, many CZ pistols don't have a dedicated decocker but can be decocked manually and fired like a DA/SA or used as a SA pistol which the safety.
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Last edited by TunnelRat; March 12, 2013 at 03:09 PM.
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Old March 12, 2013, 03:10 PM   #4
Skitter
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So my Stoeger, and my wife's Beretta PX4 for that matter, are both Double and Single Action yes? We can either use the slide to cock the gun (with safety off) and then get the lighter pull, or we can use just the trigger to get the full pull.

Safety also decocks the hammer on both our guns.
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Old March 12, 2013, 03:19 PM   #5
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Yup. Same mechanism.

Just train, train, train. Muscle memory is key.

You can search mechanisms and such to get a full real understanding word for word.
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Old March 12, 2013, 03:22 PM   #6
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Awesome, I'm just trying to get my stance right, it's mostly there, still shooting 5" circles though
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Old March 12, 2013, 03:24 PM   #7
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You don't have some sort of decocker on your guns? That is, all DA/SAs of which I'm aware require lowering the hammer, either with a decocker lever or button, or controlling an external hammer's drop while holding the trigger back (the latter is not very common). How did you get your guns loaded, and then out of cocked, single action mode, so that they could be fired with a long, DA pull?
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Old March 12, 2013, 03:26 PM   #8
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Quote:
You don't have some sort of decocker on your guns? That is, all DA/SAs of which I'm aware require lowering the hammer, either with a decocker lever or button, or controlling an external hammer's drop while holding the trigger back (the latter is not very common).
The PX4 is similar to the 92, slide mounted decocker/safety. Engaging the safety also decocks the weapon.
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Old March 12, 2013, 03:30 PM   #9
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Quote:
We can either use the slide to cock the gun (with safety off) and then get the lighter pull, or we can use just the trigger to get the full pull.
Yes, though please note that the firearm is meant to be carried with the hammer down, so decocked. You can thumb-cock the hammer while at the range or use the slide. Remember though that the DA first pull doesn't chamber a round for you. You still need to insert a loaded magazine, rack the slide to chamber a round, and then decock the weapon. You can carry with the safety on or off.
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Old March 12, 2013, 03:35 PM   #10
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Quote:
Well check that, my Dad has a .357 wheels gun that he let us shoot and you had to cock the hammer back before you could shoot the first round. I am assuming this is single action.
Sounds that way, yes.

Many revolvers can be fired double-action or single-action (DA/SA), but when fired single-action, the hammer must be manually cocked before each shot because there is no reciprocating slide to automatically re-cock the hammer.

Some revolvers are double-action-only or DAO, particularly those with a concealed or shrouded hammer. Some autoloading pistols also fit this description.
Quote:
That first shot fired took a bit to pull back, and after that I went to repeat and shot much sooner than I had anticipated. I am asuming that first trigger pull arms everything, and essentially is the same as pulling the slide back with the safety off.
Basically yes. The first trigger pull draws the hammer back and drops it; the reciprocating slide automatically re-cocks the hammer for follow-up shots. The advantage of the DA/SA system is that it generally negates the need to use a manual safety (see below), yet the lighter single-action trigger pull is available for follow-up shots; the disadvantage is that the shooter must learn TWO different trigger pulls, and must remember to manually decock the pistol and/or re-engage the manual safety if the pistol is not fired until empty.

Be aware that not all DA/SA pistols are considered drop-safe with the safety in the FIRE position; check the owner's manual before carrying it this way.

On another related note, I believe that the PX4 and Stoeger Cougar have a thumb lever that acts both as a decocker AND a thumb safety; this type of lever is generally known as a decocker/safety. Most DA/SA pistols have this feature; however, some have a decocker only (e.g. most SIGs, BD-series CZs, a few S&Ws), and others have a non-decocking single-action style safety (e.g. most CZ 75 variants and clones, CZ 82/83, Beretta 81 through 87 prior to the recent F and FS series). The latter pistols can be carried "cocked and locked" like a single-action pistol- essentially using the double-action feature only as backup- but the shooter must take care to use the safety when appropriate, and exercise extreme caution when decocking, since it must be done manually- i.e. hold hammer back with the thumb, pull trigger, ease hammer forward.
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Old March 12, 2013, 03:36 PM   #11
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Yup noticed that one Sliding the safety on decocks the hammer, or if like me and your paranoid about live fire when cocking the gun, and you pull the slide back to chamber a round with the safety on, it keeps the hammer from cocking. I have since learned you just move the slide with the safety off if you don't want that long pull on the trigger.

Personally I like the long pull as a reminder that it's the first round and that your safety actually worked.
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Old March 12, 2013, 10:55 PM   #12
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And then there is (as I am biased) the Sig type DA/SA.

Simply a de-cocker and no safety other than the heavy first trigger pull (eliminates confusion as to what mode you are in, avoiding a check, ooops, guess I should have been shooting situation and yes I have one that was given to me so it was not a choice and I can't quite get used to it but mechanically its a sweet gun though a pretty useless caliber).

More like the Double Action revolver. Somehow I missed how DA does not translate into DA for a semi auto, but they seem to need to add SA to it, though A DA revolver can also be shot SA, you just have to cock it manually so it really should be DASCSA (double action self cock single action, maybe I will be famous now).

Now that we are thoroughly confused I am going to bed!

ps: if that does not scar the OP for life nothing should
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Old March 13, 2013, 07:38 AM   #13
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Quote:
Booger hook off the bang switch and there shouldn't be an issue,
Well, my booger hook tends to touch things it shouldn't, including triggers every now and then. So, it's either DA/SA or DAO in a carry gun for me.

Still, there are very few DA/SA's that can even come close to the trigger of a Single Action Only.

For the OP:

Double Action Only - think revolver without a hammer spur - long, heavy action on each pull

Double Action / Single Action - lets you carry with round chambered and hammer down - long heavy pull on first round, but something resembling short light trigger pull of SAO on all successive shots.

Single Action - Must manually cock hammer or cock with pulling of slide. Trigger does not cock hammer. Safety-on is a must for carry - safety has a lot more meaning in SA than with DAO or DA/SA, which really don't need safeties. This permits very short, crisp and light (if you want that) trigger pull, better than you can get with a DA/SA because the trigger doesn't have to be designed to do more than one function.

Striker Fired - i.e. Glocks, etc. Some folks lump these in with Single Action's. But, they are really in a category of their own. Triggers are not as good as Single Action triggers. Although the reset can be short, there is usually substantial take-up and part of the trigger stroke pulls the striker back a bit. Safeties are usually incorporated into the trigger, so there is not usually a manual safety lever to work.
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Old March 13, 2013, 07:57 AM   #14
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Striker Fired - i.e. Glocks, etc. Some folks lump these in with Single Action's. But, they are really in a category of their own. Triggers are not as good as Single Action triggers. Although the reset can be short, there is usually substantial take-up and part of the trigger stroke pulls the striker back a bit. Safeties are usually incorporated into the trigger, so there is not usually a manual safety lever to work.
Not trying to nit pick but there are a few issues with this definition.

First off be careful lumping all striker fired pistols into one category. Striker fired refers to how the firing pin is actuated more than the trigger group. "Safe-action" is the description Glock uses and the rest use their own versions of the term. For instance, the Walther P99 is DA/SA but still striker fired. There are also striker fired pistols with very little takeup, Walther PPQ and even Glocks don't have that much. Also, depending on the design the trigger pull may or may not complete the cocking of the striker. You're right that most will incorporate a trigger safety, but actually some have grip safeties (XDs) and many offer manual safeties too (SR series and even M&Ps can be had with them).
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Old March 13, 2013, 08:39 AM   #15
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So even though I picked the action of the gun by accident I did good for a weapon I will be eventually carrying once I get my permit.

Good to know
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Old March 13, 2013, 08:40 AM   #16
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Yeah, pretty much. lol Even though it all really boils down to your training.
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Old March 13, 2013, 08:42 AM   #17
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My training right now is going to the range, setting my stance, and trying to see how many rounds I can get in the circle
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Old March 13, 2013, 08:45 AM   #18
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That's not training. Then you're still open to many different options. The range is just that...the range.

If you'd like to see how it'll really be to defend yourself, take a class. Training is always the best way to see how you'll do on the move and under pressure.

Shooting paper at the range is just that. You're not going to be standing in weaver or any other named stance if you'll ever (God willing not) have to use your weapon to defend your life.

Seek training.
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Old March 13, 2013, 09:01 AM   #19
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I was planning on finding gun based classes like that, I just have to FIND them. I'm relatively new to my area so still unfamiliar with my surroundings, and do not have a "gun buddy" other than my wife. So I read, and read, and read... I'll be looking for a course here soon, but I wanted to get comfortable with my gun (only been the the range once) first.
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Old March 13, 2013, 09:03 AM   #20
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Ah..I see. Well you're in Houston, Texas man! Shouldn't be a problem. lol I'd Google the heck out of that piece of information. You'll meet new friends there, a lot of them there for their first time too.

Good luck and have fun.
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Old March 13, 2013, 09:47 AM   #21
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I'm relatively new to my area so still unfamiliar with my surroundings, and do not have a "gun buddy" other than my wife.
In addition to taking classes, the best way to further your education is to surround yourself with more "gun buddies".

I spent four years in the Marine Corps infantry, I've been very into guns my whole life, but since I moved to a new state and started working at an LGS/range/training facility, my knowledge and experience has gone up exponentially. Sure, I learn a lot because of where I work, but it's also because most of my friends where I live now are gun people.

Short of working in the industry, the best way to make friends who are into guns is to join a local range. Go to the range regularly, take some classes, and maybe even do some competitive shooting; pretty soon you'll find yourself with more gun buddies than you know what to do with!
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Old March 13, 2013, 09:49 AM   #22
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I need to find a different range, the one we have been going to doesn't have any classes, although the guys on the line will help you out. I found some classes if I do a bit of driving but all around $100 :P
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Old March 13, 2013, 10:39 AM   #23
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Training is what classes are for. Ranges are for practice, such as practicing what you learned in those classes . While you're on the hunt for classes, you can still get in some good practice at the range. Mainly work on your trigger control, get the fundamentals down. In the courses I've attended the folks that came into it with a decent grasp of the fundamentals already were able to spend more time learning from the instructors than troubleshooting their own gear/problems. There are beginning courses that will help teach you this, but trigger control is a long process and working on it beforehand will help you.
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Old March 13, 2013, 11:14 AM   #24
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Training is not just a class. A class is just a class. Simple?

Training is learning in a class, then going out and doing it. In the most realistic of environments. With mock scenarios.

Getting a pistol and punching paper isn't training. It's punching paper. Stationary.

Training, is on the move. Proper reloads, weapon manipulation, how to properly shoot, the list goes on.

Yeah, you have to pay to get the training LEO and Military get. It's worth it. Trust me.

Seek some actual training instructors. It's usually people starting off. For the most part there's a "beginners" "intermediate" and "advanced" courses.


Not saying go out there and do it now. On your own accord. But don't think you're set from going to the range. Also don't let anyone fool you into believing you are either. Proper training for you and the wife and you will both feel much more confident and perform accordingly.

Basic "ranges" don't have what training ranges have.
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Old March 13, 2013, 11:15 AM   #25
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I wasn't saying going to the range was doing it, I was more so mocking myself as the fact that the only training I have had is going to the range. I do realize I need training and classes on the subject of handguns, and as I can afford I will. Otherwise I'm sitting here reading away
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