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Old March 11, 2013, 12:53 PM   #1
sunaj
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Single Action as Primary Carry?

I personally think the western style pistol is one of the best designs ever made,
to me it is very pointable, very comfortable ergonomics, which is of prime importance in self-defense-you must be able to hit your target reliably,
however difficulty in reloading, esp. one without a swing-out cylinder, and typically single action, slower cock-the hammer first makes it less than ideal in a fire-fight,
however some people compensate in various ways, for instance some are able to shoot fast and accurate by fanning (if that's the correct term), etc.,
I am wondering if there are people on the forum that do in fact carry a western style single action for protection, and why,
thanks

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Old March 11, 2013, 12:59 PM   #2
weblance
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Fanning? in a SD shooting...? I cant wait to see the forthcoming comments...
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Old March 11, 2013, 01:14 PM   #3
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SA for concealed Carry? Why not? Plenty of folk carry the little NAA 22 mag. and it has been documented as lethal. A short barreled SAA style revolver would be ideal. The revolver in this pic has a 5.5" barrel. So it will only be concealable with a heavy jacket in winter time carry. As far as "fanning", well that negates the whole "shot placement" rule. I think its all about being proficient with your weapon of choice. With a two handed hold, cocking a single action with your non strong hand is quite fast and you can put rounds down range quickly. Practice Practice Practice
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Old March 11, 2013, 01:31 PM   #4
Colt46
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Fanning is pure hollywood

It's really tough on your parts and is not anything you want to do with a single action. It also trades accuracy for speed.

There is a sometime poster on the forum called Jim March. He carries a Ruger New Vaquero in .357 in a fanny pack and has documented a lot of his custom work he's done to it. Interesting take on a self defense handgun(not for me) but proficiency with any weapon is better than nothing. The .357 is considered to be a near one shot stop so he's probably not limiting himself too much in the defensive shoot category.
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Old March 11, 2013, 01:56 PM   #5
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Massad Ayoob...

I'd review or read a few articles by Massad Ayoob(a TFL member).
Mr Ayoob is a legal use of force expert, author & sworn LE officer.
He's been in real use of force trials & knows what firearms, tactics & gear work best for armed citizens/armed professionals.

I would advise not using a SA revolver for regular defense. The fact you may have a AD or be falsely accused of threats or cocking a revolver hammer in a critical incident are great.
You must understand your actions & equipment(weapon ammunition holster training) will all be subject to in depth review by criminal investigators or prosecutors.
To use a cowboy gun or single action revolver in 2013 may be difficult to explain in open court.

CF
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Old March 11, 2013, 01:59 PM   #6
Super Sneaky Steve
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Yup, I carry a birdshead .45 Colt.

I've got a nice IWB holster on order.
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Old March 11, 2013, 02:15 PM   #7
newfrontier45
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Proficiency is everything. If you are more comfortable and proficient with a single action then it is a better choice than something else that 'may' be more socially acceptable to 'some' folks.

Never fan a single action revolver that is not built specifically for the purpose. It's a fast way to destroy an otherwise fine sixgun. Not a good idea in a defensive situation either.


Quote:
To use a cowboy gun or single action revolver in 2013 may be difficult to explain in open court.
That's an interesting yet unsupported theory.

In the real world, Thunder Ranch and Gunsite have defensive courses designed specifically around using single action revolvers.
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Old March 11, 2013, 02:20 PM   #8
arch308
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The only problem I can see with a SA revolver is the slow reload. They can be shot just as quickly as a DA. Just watch the CA Shooters.
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Old March 11, 2013, 02:46 PM   #9
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Quote:
The only problem I can see with a SA revolver is the slow reload. They can be shot just as quickly as a DA. Just watch the CA Shooters.
I'll add another one to that........ shooting one handed. Lord I hope it never comes up but wouldn't look forward to having to fend off a BD with one hand and use the gun with the other. In that case all I want to do is pull a trigger. And pull, and pull and pull. No dickin with cockin every shot. IMO this is more of a deal than the reloads.

Neither would stop me from carrying SA if that's what I wanted. And I have before.

Sunaj, no disrespect intended but please don't reference what you think is best and use the word "fanning" in the same post. Kinda negates any relevance to what you are thinkin if you know what I mean.
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Old March 11, 2013, 03:11 PM   #10
Bob Wright
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My "American Express" (Never leave home without it) gun.



Why would it be tough to explain in court? I have a gun carry permit in Tennessee that allows me to carry any gun I own. My choice of guns is my Ruger .44 Special.

Accidental discharge? No more likely than any other gun, less than most. Cocking the hammer? When I cock that hammer, the hammer falls when I pull the trigger.

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Old March 11, 2013, 03:17 PM   #11
newfrontier45
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Quote:
I'll add another one to that........ shooting one handed.
I can't see this being a problem for anyone proficient enough to carry one. Nobody complains about having to flick the safety off on a 1911 with their shooting hand thumb. If it is a problem, then you probably should carry something else.
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Old March 11, 2013, 03:23 PM   #12
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I re-qualified for my permit this year, using an "antique" a S&W #2 snubbie ( a spur trigger single action in 38 S&W )... & I actually got through the range qualifying faster & with better results than some of the others who were using "compact nines"

from a practical / safety point of view, you can't just pull the trigger ( in all the excitement ), you need to cock it 1st

IMO, if you are very familiar with the gun well, I'm sure it would serve you well, no matter weather single or double...

that said, I think double action is the only way to go for a true defensive handgun ( I'll refer to bear guns, which is where I've made that statement many times... I've read reports, that while being attacked by a bear, the victem had a gun, & couldn't make it fire... the pictures they showed, were of a Ruger Super Blackhawk... a single action... I'm suspecting, that in extreme stress, & perhaps pain, while the bear was crunching down on the victems leg, that they forgot to cock the gun... as the gun was found to work as designed after the attack )...

... while we'd all like to think that we would be cool as a cucumber, because we train all the time, if we actually had to shoot someone... several years ago now, I had the need to shoot an animal in self defense ( I was carrying a double action 357 at the time ) & didn't seem to have an issue at the point of shooting, but the stress had me shaking uncontrollably for a couple hours after... I'd like to think if I'd have had a single action, the results would be the same ( instinctive ) but I don't know for sure... since I do like singe actions better, I find I practice a lot more with them now than doubles, I'd hope my instincts would do me well in the future if needed ???
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Old March 11, 2013, 03:24 PM   #13
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I see no difference (in regards to cocking a hammer, thus making a weapon ready to fire) between a SA Revolver and a SA Auto, they BOTH need the hammer "cocked" to make it go bang.
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Old March 11, 2013, 03:34 PM   #14
L_Killkenny
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Quote:
Nobody complains about having to flick the safety off on a 1911 with their shooting hand thumb.
You can pretty well bet that people, many many people, would complain in spades if they had to flick that safety off every single shot. Flickin a safety off is not in any way comparable.

And to top that off, my statement wasn't a complaint. It was observation and a correct one at that. You go ahead and find me someone that can manipulate at SA as well as a DA one handed under stress. Don't act like disadvantages aren't there.

You are correct though, if that bothers someone that much then they probably should choose a different platform. Kinda why I brought it up don't ya think? As stated though it doesn't bother me that much, doesn't bother Bob enough either, or the many others that sometimes carry SA's to town.

Quote:
between a SA Revolver and a SA Auto, they BOTH need the hammer "cocked" to make it go bang.
You're kiddin right?
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Old March 11, 2013, 03:35 PM   #15
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As a practical gun, the SAA is big, hard to conceal, hard to use (for most folks) and is for all practical purposes a six shot gun since reloading in a real gunfight would be nearly impossible. (I know about movie gun fights with those 72 shot revolvers that never need reloading, but I haven't found one yet.)

In a criminal trial, the type of gun probably won't matter much if at all, but in a civil case I can see the plaintiff's attorney slinging terms like "crazy cowboy" and "little kid playing cowboys and Indians" etc. And the newspapers would have a field day with "Wyatt Earp", and "Jesse James". A Model 10 just doesn't have that kind of aura.

Jim
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Old March 11, 2013, 03:39 PM   #16
Magnum Wheel Man
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hmm... too big ???

stainless, 6 shot safe ( transfer bar ), small birds head grip with easy to reach hammer, short barrel, & chambered in 45 Colt ( usually stuffed with Buffalo Bore Gold Dot cartridges )

heavy... maybe... but not too large



ugly on the outside, but still very functional, the 38 S&W I re-qualified with last time... still not big, & still easy to shoot...
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Old March 11, 2013, 04:07 PM   #17
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Very few of the people I've met carry single action revolvers for protection, but those that do are VERY well protected, judging by their abilities. And a couple of those guy did carry a small semi auto as a BUG, probably not a bad idea.

I would not carry one, but that is simply because I'm far more confident with my double action revolvers and 1911. But to each his own.
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Old March 11, 2013, 04:11 PM   #18
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The logical arguments against are pretty well laid out already.

I carry a 3.75" birdshead Vaquero in .45 Colt pretty much everywhere. I built an appendiceal IWB here:

http://thefiringline.com/forums/showthread.php?t=516128

and am about to order a Mernickle holster that looks very very much like the one Bob Wright has pictured a few posts up from here.

In favor of the SAA and similar, to me is the power to weight to size ratio.

If you want to carry .45 Colt .44Special or similar, the reasonable choices are derringer, N frame size DAs (and similar) and the Charter Arms bulldog.

I practice with my sidearm a lot. For someone like my mom who goes to the range maybe twice a year the bulldog might be a good choice.

Likewise I am a good enough and confident enough shot that putting up with the bulk of a Judge variant to stuff it full of .45 Colt is a waste of cylinder length.

I own a Redhawk in .45Colt, I open carry it in the field, practice with it regular year around and will likely even tote it around as my primary carry sidearm in the weeks leading up to (and during) hunting season. I'll also shoot some steel target matches with it this summer.

But it is too dang heavy (for me) for year round conceal carry, and frankly to bulky for summertime concealed carry even in Alaska.

I used to carry an Airweight SW .38+P snubbie. An Aluminum one, not the heavier plain steel, but not the high dollar unobtanium either. I was perfectly happy with it until I starting blowing stuff up at the range with plain Jane .45Colt loads. Soda cans, tomatoes, cantalopues, 2x4s, that kinda stuff.

So here in the one hand I got a definitive one shot man stopper (if I do my part) that is too heavy and too big for year round conceal carry, and in the other hand I have a light weight little thing that will not print if I ever buy an Armani suit that works pretty well in the hands of full time professionals who train heavily.

Hmm. I shoot a fair muchness for being a civilian with a hobby, but I am not a pro by any stretch.

So how can I get the power without the size?

Derringer, the local to me one I measured was a Bond Arms with a .45LC/.410 barrel on it. Apparently they make a barrel that is .45LC only, haven't seen one in person. The rifling on the .45/.410 barrel is about 3/4" long from the end of the .410 chamber to the muzzle. I hear they kick like mules, never shot one, and compared to the Jframe .38 snubbie referenced above, every meaningful difference was +/- 0.1 to +/- 0.2 inches. I had no idea the diameter of a 5 shot .38 cylinder was within 0.2 inches of the thickness of a .45LC derringer, but it is.

All this, for a two shot gun that weighed more than the snubbie, only carries two shots, has shorter rifling, and apparently the second barrel on these often needs its own sights. I found a couple web pages about how to install a second set of sights on the side of a derringer so you can hold it gangsta style but sight it like a responsible adult when you need to fire the lower barrel.

Seemed like a fork in a bad road.

Next size up is the short barreled SAA and clones. I found mine, and bought a .22 SA revolver for training.

My Vaquero groups real nice out to 25 yards, chambers 6 cartridges that start with a four and is light enough to carry day in and day out.

With the .22 I have thrown about 6% of the lead Elmer said I would need to be a competent hip shooter. Mr. Keith said about 10k rounds in his book _Six Guns_ , I am to about 600 rounds in and I think he called it about right.

Another quote I think from Massad Ayoob the OP might wish to consider:

Quote:
Originally Posted by unknown gun writer
No one who survives a gun fight goes out to buy a smaller gun the next morning.
I know I am in a small demographic, but it is a thoughtful group that practices a lot.
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Old March 11, 2013, 04:12 PM   #19
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It's what you are used too and can shoot well. I can count on one hand the number of times I ever shot a gun double action. All my shooting is with Single Actions, or shooting single action. To "forget" to cock a revolver is ... well... impossible in the heat of the moment.... It's ingrained in you. If I need more than 4 shots of .44Spec or .45 Colt.... Then I am in bigger do-do than even a semi-auto with 17 (well 7 if you now live in NY or are they now down to 1 now?) can handle. The only reason I carry an CA Bulldog in .44Spec is 'lightness'.... Not because it is a DA. Of course in the great outdoors it is back to open carry of a SA revolver in either .44Spec or .45 Colt.



Fanning, in my experience, is not a fast way for accurate shooting... At five feet? Maybe.... and lots of practice ... and lots of rebuilt guns .... But I personally wouldn't do it to any of mine.
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Old March 11, 2013, 04:20 PM   #20
newfrontier45
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Quote:
It's what you are used too and can shoot well. I can count on one hand the number of times I ever shot a gun double action. All my shooting is with Single Actions, or shooting single action. To "forget" to cock a revolver is ... well... impossible in the heat of the moment.... It's ingrained in you.
Exactly! The experienced single action shooter isn't going to magically forget to cock the hammer any more than an experienced double action shooter is going to forget to pull the trigger.


Quote:
Flickin a safety off is not in any way comparable.
But it absolutely is. It is something you must do before the weapon will fire. If a 1911 shooter is able to do enough shooting and build enough muscle memory that he automatically disengages the safety before squeezing the trigger, then it should be no problem for the single action shooter to do the same.


IMHO, I've had this discussion numerous times and the antagonists ALWAYS judge others by their own abilities......or inabilities. Never accepting that some folks are skilled enough to be comfortable doing what they are not. Usually offering nothing more than armchair rhetoric.
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Old March 11, 2013, 04:31 PM   #21
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Personally I don’t carry a single action revolver for SD but would in a second. I carry N frame S&W’s and a my Ruger Blackhawk is smaller.
What is needed is proficiency. Being an SASS member I can shoot 6 rounds more accurately than any of my N frames shooting double action. And just about as fast.
Fanning is not recommended but weak hand thumb I can shoot 6 rounds about as quickly as 4 rounds out of an N frame. And I have seen SASS members shoot a single action so fast on target that it sounds like a semi.
Some comments were made on it only having 6 rounds. Again this is not a real issue since most personal confrontations have how many rounds fired? I’m not talking about gangster boys whacking off innocent people, real confrontations.
If you think using a “cowboy” guns will be difficult to explain in court, how difficult will it be to explain empting a 15 round semi.
So, you should not use a single action for SD, rubbish, IMO.
SUNAJ good question
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Old March 11, 2013, 05:38 PM   #22
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I carry a single action revolver from time to time. A Ruger Lipsey's Blackhawk 45 Colt / 45 ACP convertible. Usually carry the 45 acp cylinder, because it's easier to reload from a 1911 mag and there is some great defense ammo available in that caliber.

For AIMED shots, I think a single action revolver can certainly rival a double action for speed and probably beat it for accuracy if the shooter has a high level of familiarity with the single action revolver.

As regards being deemed a "cowboy" by a court, I'd rather have someone think I'm a cowboy for carrying a six-shooter, than an active-shooter because I'm carrying a high cap auto.

I also agree with Ozzieman. I think I'm going to run out of time long before I run out of ammo.
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Old March 11, 2013, 05:52 PM   #23
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L_killkenny, NOPE, not kidding at all, I know a few people who carry 1911's but they refuse to carry it cocked and locked. They both say they don't feel comfortable carrying it that way. So GUESS WHAT they will need to do in order to make it operate. YEP, COCK IT! Thats all I meant by the statement.
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Old March 11, 2013, 06:55 PM   #24
Hundy
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I wish I could

I live in California. 14 more years and I can retire and I am out of here. I wish I could even think about carrying. If I could, I would consider a single action. 40 some odd years and I have never been in a situation to have to pull one. (If I had one) But I would like to carry a single action, maybe someday, in another State and County.

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Old March 11, 2013, 07:22 PM   #25
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All I can say is that if you think you can fan a Colt SAA effectively, you had better be Clint Eastwood in a Spaghetti Western movie.
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