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Old July 3, 2014, 09:36 PM   #1
Willie Lowman
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shooting a double action as a single action

I am not much of a revolver guy. Only have two currently and they are both double action. I pretty much always shoot my Redhawk single action. 99% of the rounds I fire, I thumb the hammer first.

Aside from the purists who always shoot double action, is there anything wrong with using a double as a single? Like parts wear or just the degradation of my moral fiber?
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Old July 3, 2014, 09:57 PM   #2
Jim Watson
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Target shooters cocked their DA-SA revolvers for some decades before autos were accurized enough to be competitive.
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Old July 3, 2014, 10:07 PM   #3
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LEO's

BAck in the day, when the revolver was the standard, at least in my years, law enforcement always shot double action on qualification courses, and I suspect in most line of duty shoots as well. There was some lip service paid to cocking the gun for a long range shot now and again, but I never saw a qualification course that directed one to do so. Most went back to 25 yds.

I shot a wee bit of a PPC type competion with local LEO's back in the early '80's, which went to 50 yds........I can't remember if we thumb cocked or not. ....pitiful.
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Old July 3, 2014, 10:10 PM   #4
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I don't see any way you can hurt a SA/DA revolver by firing single action only. Most shooters will be more accurate firing in single action than double action. Double action takes a lot more practice and trigger control. If you like shooting single action do it. I doubt you will damage your revolver. I never have.
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Old July 3, 2014, 10:38 PM   #5
lee n. field
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Quote:
Aside from the purists who always shoot double action, is there anything wrong with using a double as a single? Like parts wear or just the degradation of my moral fiber?
Hard to see how it would be a problem, only shooting from the SA sear.
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Old July 3, 2014, 11:03 PM   #6
44 AMP
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What we have today is a nearly complete reversal of the attitudes of 100 years ago. Back then, the overwhelming majority of handgun users considered the DA revolver to be shot SA (for accuracy), and DA for emergency use only (point blank defensive shooting).

Back in the 20s Ed McGivern began to open people's eyes to what could be done with a DA revolver, shooting it DA. Others followed, and today we have people who will tell you the only way to shoot a DA gun is DA. Some will even go so far as to hint you will be killed if you do otherwise...(yes, I have actually heard that).

I'm in the camp where 99% of my DA revolver shooting is done SA. I'm not a gunfighter type, and have no plans to be one, or train like one. I'm fine with the "risk" I'm taking. I have no doubt in my ability to DA shoot and hit at belly to belly distance, and I have done DA work at slightly longer ranges. I just don't make it my main focus.

If you do, fine. I can tell you that you WILL NOT HARM any DA revolver in proper mechanical condition by shooting it SA.

While it is fiction, I would recommend the movie Unforgiven as a good cinematic treatment of the differences between the stories about gunfights and the reality of the same gunfights. Particularly the scene where Gene Hackman tells about how the "fastest gun" in the fight might have won (and lived) if he had been a little slower...

I'm a shoot however you please, and if you are accurate, that's what matters most guy about most shooting. I fully recognize the importance of, and what an advantage being a good combat shot can be. They aren't wrong, but there is a more to handgunning than just combat shooting.
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Old July 3, 2014, 11:11 PM   #7
4V50 Gary
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There's no harm in shooting a DA revolver in the SA mode. The main disadvantage is that the shooter may never master the DA trigger. Back in the '70s-80s when most agencies carried revolvers, recruits were trained to shoot only in the DA mode. DA was faster and the officer may not have the luxury of time to cock and shoot his sidearm. He may have to engage muy pronto and that meant DA trigger.

Still, mechanically the DA/SA revolver was designed to be used in both manners. Go ahead. Have fun and stay safe.
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Old July 3, 2014, 11:20 PM   #8
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Aside from the purists who always shoot double action, is there anything wrong with using a double as a single? Like parts wear or just the degradation of my moral fiber?
The only real downsides I'm aware of are:

1. A hammer strike from a DA pull is slightly less energetic than the hammer strike from an SA pull. That creates the potential that a self-defense revolver that is only (or nearly exclusively) shot SA in practice might have light strikes in DA that the user might never be aware of until he/she has to fire DA in self-defense.

2. Under stress/pressure, a defender may want the additional speed provided by DA operation but without practice may find that they aren't proficient enough to score good hits.
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Old July 4, 2014, 12:09 AM   #9
ArkieVol
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SA won't hurt a thing...

Hi Willie,

Shooting single action will not hurt your gun. The SA/DA options were built into you weapon to give you a choice and it’s up to you to decide how best to use it.

I learned and trained to shoot double action, shot police PPC courses for 30 years and always qualified as expert (S&W mod 10). At 7 yards I could fire six shots, reload, and fire another 6 in about 10 seconds…from belt loops… and put all twelve on target. No speed loaders. Hip level point shooting. The emphasis was on speed and close range accuracy.

Sitting, kneeling, left and right hand barricades, prone out to 10, 15, & 25 yards, dim light firing, moving targets,,,all double action. Lots of dry fire practice at home.

Double action shooting is for serious business. Learn it well.

Now that I’m retired and things have slowed down, I love to go to the range and shoot single action at 7-15 yards and punch holes in paper. Single action is for long range hunting and/or target shooting and, since I reload,. I enjoy testing new loads for power and accuracy.

Single action shooting is for just having fun.

Use the mode that keeps you safe and makes you smile
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Old July 4, 2014, 06:36 AM   #10
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For hunting and target work with the emphasis on fine honed accuracy there is no reason not to shoot single action, most, who have not spent years shooting double action, prefer it. It certainly won't hurt your gun. In the old shooting literature I occasionally come across an example of a K-38 or a Colt New Service specifically modified to shoot only single action. Particularly in the old days many considered the double action mode of no value in a six gun used for target shooting or hunting.

As for your morals, you are correct to suspect that forgoing the pleasure that putting the tuned lock work of a good double action revolver through its paces in rapid double action fire will be detrimental to your ultimate moral development.
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Old July 4, 2014, 07:40 AM   #11
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In my not-so-humble opinion, one should learn to shoot both modes well.

It takes more practice to be as proficient with the DA trigger as the SA trigger, so all else equal, trigger time would be biased towards DA shooting. That ain't being a purist, just reality.

Also, if you happen to rely on a DA revolver for your SD needs, it's likely you'll revert to your "training" in a SD situation. If that training involves cocking the hammer, that's what you'll do, and a cocked hammer (and no safety) in a high stress situation is drastically increasing the likelihood of an ND. Again, that ain't being a purist, just reality.

If you want to be a real revolver shooter, be proficient in DA (ok...that was purist ).
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Old July 4, 2014, 07:49 AM   #12
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As a boy my Uncle, a U.S. customs agent use to give me grief telling me I didn't need my thumb to shoot his gun. I taught my wife and son to to shoot double action on an old 38 Colt Metropolitan, never even showed my wife that she could have thumbed the hammer back. Long shots, I would still go SA though for the precision. Also I would think DA shooting would wear the lock work more than SA shooting.
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Old July 4, 2014, 09:19 AM   #13
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My DA guns are just SAs that are easier to load and unload.
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Old July 4, 2014, 09:31 AM   #14
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I shot mostly SA until I found that I was actually MORE accurate shooting DA. I had better control of the gun that way and less tendency to wander off target. I even fired 50 yard slow fire DA, doing better than I had ever done SA. (I still didn't win many matches, though; just not enough practice.)

Jim
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Old July 4, 2014, 10:30 AM   #15
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What Real Gun said.

With practice, one can shoot just as fast and more accurately SA as DA with an un-modified, out of the box double action revolver.

RJ
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Old July 4, 2014, 12:02 PM   #16
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Bulls eye matches were and still are normally shot single action. Most people will shoot better S/A instead of D/A. I shoot mostly D/A because I shoot IDPA.
It's good to learn both.
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Old July 4, 2014, 12:54 PM   #17
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One of these days I am going to write a long-winded rant about how there are but two ways a double action revolver can be fired in: hammer-cocking and trigger-coking.
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Old July 4, 2014, 05:18 PM   #18
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My experience has shown me that when I learned to shoot DA, my SA was an easy follow-up. Also, I became better at the various semi-autos as well. So, learning to shoot DA should mean you can shoot SA well.
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Old July 4, 2014, 05:26 PM   #19
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My DA guns are just SAs that are easier to load and unload.
For the most part this is me. I do practice enough that I could make hits at typical SD ranges, just not a high priority for me. For one thing all of my revolvers are full size magnum guns intended more for hunting or target shooting. If I want to protect myself from humans I prefer a semi.
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Old July 4, 2014, 06:39 PM   #20
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I shoot revolvers only. I have five of them, all DA. When I started some serious target practice a few years ago I use to only do SA shooting. I've gotten fairly good and then by recommendation of one of the very respected members of this forum tried shooting DA. I was amazed by how bad my results were. From the same distance with SA I could stay within 1 inch and with DA - all over the target. So, since then I dedicate my practice to 50% SA and 50% SA shooting. Right now I can do both with fairly similar results.

Your DA revolver will not get hurt by shooting it SA for sure. As someone else mentioned though, in SA mode the hammer hits stronger, so if this is a gun for self defense you may want to do some DA just to make sure the ammo you are using is working well in DA. As for target shooting it does not matter, but I would still recommend to try DA, it's a lot of fun and makes you more versatile with your gun
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Old July 4, 2014, 06:58 PM   #21
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I don't shoot anything in DA mode.
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Old July 5, 2014, 04:45 AM   #22
b.thomas
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I've had a S&W 617 (.22 rimfire) for about 25 years and a Ruger security six .357 mag for about two............................I don't recall shooting them double action in all that time (like ever)??
If shooting single action will break a D/A revolver, then both of mine must be broke??
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Old July 5, 2014, 05:01 AM   #23
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My DA guns are just SAs that are easier to load and unload.
That's about it for me too. I'm too lazy to "train." I just go shooting.

I'll shoot D/A enough to make sure I still know how to do it, but that's about it.
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Old July 5, 2014, 06:43 AM   #24
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I shot mostly SA until I found that I was actually MORE accurate shooting DA.
I found this to be the case as well.

A long time back, I had a 4" Model 29 Smith I was having trouble staying consistent with shooting heavy loads. It had a very nice and light SA trigger, like most of my S&W's, but knowing it was going off as soon as my finger touched it was causing me to develop a nasty flinch.

A friend who was a long time DA revolver shooter got me to try shooting it that way, and his reasoning was sound. DA forces you to focus on the important parts, the sights, and the "break" just happens, and as its supposed to, more or less a surprise.

After a little practice and dry firing that way, my groups with that .44 had shrunk by more than half, and I was hitting those old "Hi-C" juice cans at 100 yards, sitting on my butt and shooting between my knees.

I havent thumb cocked a DA revolver since.

Speed comes with practice and accuracy isnt lost.

As for those old SAO's, I shoot them too, but find their lock time to be almost agonizingly "long". Almost like shooting a flintlock.
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Old July 5, 2014, 07:16 AM   #25
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I shoot them too, but find their lock time to be almost agonizingly "long". Almost like shooting a flintlock.
A good quality flint lock is real close to centerfire speeds. There is no hang time or hiss boom effect. The gun fires before the frizzen is open and will even fire upside down.
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