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Old February 7, 2020, 01:12 PM   #1
cjwils
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Handgun status when need for defensive shot might be imminent

My defense guns are double action revolvers. (I don't intend this discussion to be about that choice, so please don't go on and on about why you think I should rely on another type of gun.) I have always been told that when approaching a possible need to shoot in self defense with a double action revolver, the revolver should not be cocked, and I should be prepared to shoot in double action. The reason being that in a high stress situation, it is too easy to fire unintentionally if the revolver is already cocked.

But compare that to a person who uses a 1911-type pistol. When approaching a possible need-to-shoot situation, don't you take the safety off in advance? (Assuming you already have a round in the chamber and the gun is cocked.) I assume you don't wait until the bad guy aims his gun at you before you take the safety off.

Thinking about the comparison to the use of a 1911-type pistol, why shouldn't I approach a possible need to shoot situation with my revolver already cocked? I know that the first shot when already cocked is likely to be faster and more accurate than a first shot in double action. I see no reason why having the revolver already cocked would be less safe than using a 1911 with the safety off.
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Old February 7, 2020, 03:23 PM   #2
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Also one can ride the safety on a 1911, and of course DAOs are a different animal.
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Old February 7, 2020, 05:03 PM   #3
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I have always been told that when approaching a possible need to shoot in self defense with a double action revolver, the revolver should not be cocked, and I should be prepared to shoot in double action. The reason being that in a high stress situation, it is too easy to fire unintentionally if the revolver is already cocked.
100% correct as I have been taught in 3 SD courses. As a training matter, I only fire my revolvers carried for CC purposes in the DA mode. After a month of almost daily firing, DA only, to the tune of 12 - 18 rounds, I found that my accuracy very closely matched that of SA. Ten yards, slow fire, roughly an inch.

As to 1911 manual of arms, I was also taught, and have practiced for the last half century, the safety comes off as the gun is brought to bear on the target area, during presentation. I ride the safety, lightly as the gun comes up, and sweep it off when aligned. I shoot from a 'thumbs up & crossed' grip, the strong hand thumb engaging the safety.

It costs me no time whatsoever doing it that way and is infinitely safer, in my hands, than disengaging it as the gun clears the holster. Too, the trigger finger slips into place during the very last portion of the presentation.

Works for me...YMMv Rod
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Old February 7, 2020, 05:12 PM   #4
Aguila Blanca
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cjwils
But compare that to a person who uses a 1911-type pistol. When approaching a possible need-to-shoot situation, don't you take the safety off in advance? (Assuming you already have a round in the chamber and the gun is cocked.) I assume you don't wait until the bad guy aims his gun at you before you take the safety off.
It depends on what you mean by "in advance."

The 1911 is carried cocked and locked (hammer cocked, thumb safety engaged). A revolver typically doesn't have a manual safety. When are you considering cocking -- while the gun is still in the holster, or upon drawing?

My training with 1911s, and what I try to reinforce through practice, is that the thumb safety remains engaged until the pistol has been raised to point at an intended target. Pretty much the same as what rodfac posted.

My 1911s are all adjusted to a trigger pull of 4-3/4 to 5 pounds. I've shot many DA/SA revolvers that were a lot lighter than that in SA mode, and I wouldn't want to mess around with one of those in a high-stress situation. It's surprising how much of a perceived difference a pound can make as you get lower on the scale. I have tested 1911s with 3-pound triggers and found that I can't shoot them accurately because "they go off before they're supposed to."

Yeah, I know. I pulled the trigger. But my trigger finger is accustomed to 5 pounds and, when the travel is next to zero, a difference of 1-1/2 to 2 pounds is VERY significant.
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Old February 7, 2020, 05:55 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Aguila Blanca View Post
It depends on what you mean by "in advance."

The 1911 is carried cocked and locked (hammer cocked, thumb safety engaged). A revolver typically doesn't have a manual safety. When are you considering cocking -- while the gun is still in the holster, or upon drawing?

My training with 1911s, and what I try to reinforce through practice, is that the thumb safety remains engaged until the pistol has been raised to point at an intended target. Pretty much the same as what rodfac posted.

My 1911s are all adjusted to a trigger pull of 4-3/4 to 5 pounds. I've shot many DA/SA revolvers that were a lot lighter than that in SA mode, and I wouldn't want to mess around with one of those in a high-stress situation. It's surprising how much of a perceived difference a pound can make as you get lower on the scale. I have tested 1911s with 3-pound triggers and found that I can't shoot them accurately because "they go off before they're supposed to."

Yeah, I know. I pulled the trigger. But my trigger finger is accustomed to 5 pounds and, when the travel is next to zero, a difference of 1-1/2 to 2 pounds is VERY significant.


Similar thoughts from me. My model 19 has a SA trigger that puts my 1911 to shame. Very light triggers are lost to me as I fee ham fisted when I use them. When I shot DA/SA predominantly it was even worse.


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Old February 7, 2020, 06:16 PM   #6
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I guess it would be up to the individual's decision. I believe that many of us live by the motto "Better to be judged by 12 than carried by 6". If you are barricaded in your house or room and there is only one point of entry, I would have no issues cocking the hammer on a revolver. This would be after verbal warnings and a fairly ascertained threat rather than a prank or the police.

I don't carry a 1911, but I do shoot one occasionally when I am at the practical range. I disengage the safety as soon as I am clear of the holster, but I keep my finger off the trigger until I am ready to shoot. The lightest trigger on my 1911 is about 5 lbs. with just a very slight take up. Despite the thousands of rounds I have shot through it, I have never had an unintentional discharge.

When push comes to shove, I believe that a justified shoot is a justified shoot and making a good hit should be paramount for your survival. Better triggers enable you to make accurate shots more easily and theoretically reduce the chance for hitting bystanders. That is my reasoning for modifying my Glock 43 with a Agency Arms trigger and Double Diamond connector.
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Old February 7, 2020, 07:28 PM   #7
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I have carried a browning hipower for decades. The safety comes off upon presentation. The only reason I would be presenting a firearm would be a circumstance where I expect to use it in the next moment.

Would I cock a revolver if I felt that its use was assured in the next few breaths?..Sure. Perhaps not as a rule but depending on the circumstances

That said, I am not going to walk around with a cocked revolver or cock a revolver simply because I anticipate the mere possibility of its use.

Plenty of people have adopted the "on target-on trigger/ off target- off trigger" philosophy and others worship the "finger outside the trigger guard until its go time". Each person has to decide for themselves what they are willing to do in their own unique set of circumstances.
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Old February 7, 2020, 09:30 PM   #8
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IMO, perhaps the best reason for not cocking a revolver during a self-defense scenario is for the times you don't shoot. So you aren't faced with the choice of manually decocking a revolver after a super-high stress moment or putting it down cocked.

The next best reason is so that you don't have to mess with cocking the revolver in a situation where time is critical. This will also help "enforce" practice in DA mode which, IMO, is the mode you are most likely to use if you get into a jam anyway.
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Old February 7, 2020, 11:28 PM   #9
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Colt SAA: Normal carry is hammer down on an empty chamber. But if you know that you are walking right in on serious trouble, I think I would make an exception. Other guns? I would not have anything to say.
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Old February 8, 2020, 08:40 AM   #10
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No way I'd cock the hammer on my revolver (SW model 60 snub). Had some trigger work done and the hammer bobbed and it shoots DA very well. It's not carried regularly but often enough that dry fire practice keeps my skills sharpened anytime I want to pack something smaller than my VP9.



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Old February 8, 2020, 09:32 AM   #11
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I wont suggest what someone should or shouldn't do in this regard simply because the choice will likely hinge upon many subtle nuances which manifest in the moment.

I will say that a completely "protectionist" mindset may not always fit into circumstance where combat is involved. I am not saying that all consideration for caution or safety go out the window during combat but lets be realistic. Combat and certainly armed combat has its risks. Those risks are often weighed vs the potential or expected gain of a particular action.

I think that its important for a person to understand and grasp the risks associated with whatever actions they intend to undertake. Armed with that competent knowledge, you simply make a judgment call.

I am not going to pretend that I would NEVER cock a revolver as a prelude to firing it in self defense. I would in certain circumstances.

People can say "don't run with scissors" but the fact of the matter is that although I tend to agree with the sentiment, there are absolutely circumstances where I would run with scissors. Much will depend on the exigencies of the moment.
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Old February 8, 2020, 11:09 AM   #12
URIT
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A double-action revolver should not be shot SA when training or carrying for personal defense.

Comparing a DA revolver to a model 1911 is an apple to oranges comparison.
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Old February 8, 2020, 11:31 AM   #13
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I shoot my D/A revolvers almost 100% double action. My carry gun is a 642, D/A only. With 4" guns (586, 686 and 625) I can hit the head area on the IDPA target at 20 yards shooting D/A. It does take practice. The 642 is a 15 yard gun for me, body shots at 230 yards with it. A few years ago i shot only the 625 for 1 year, Practice and IDPA matches. You can learn to shoot the full size guns quite accurately double action.
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Old February 8, 2020, 12:40 PM   #14
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A double-action revolver should not be shot SA when training or carrying for personal defense.

It shouldn't? Then why is it designed with a SA mechanism?

So is it your belief that revolvers are designed with this feature for some reason other than utilizing it in a combative sense?

Revolvers were fired in single action for 100 years.. why upon the invent of a revolver that offers both modes would it suddenly become taboo to fire said revolver in single action?

I don't know about everyone else but so long as I carry a SA/DA revolver, I will train to use the weapon in both modes. I will simply call it common sense.
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Old February 8, 2020, 12:41 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by FireForged View Post
It shouldn't? Then why is it designed with a SA mechanism?



So is it your belief that revolvers are designed with this feature for some reason other than utilizing it in a combative sense?



Revolvers were fired in single action for 100 years.. why upon the invent of a revolver that offers both modes would it suddenly become taboo to fire said revolver in single action?



I don't know about everyone else but so long as I carry a SA/DA revolver, I will train to use the weapon in both modes. I will simply call it common sense.


That’s great. You do you. Seems like others feel differently and are simply saying as much.


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Old February 8, 2020, 12:42 PM   #16
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I am simply asking that someone qualify their assertion, belief or opinion, its how we learn. It is also how we judge the merits and quality of the statement.
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Old February 8, 2020, 12:45 PM   #17
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Handgun status when need for defensive shot might be imminent

I’m not of the opinion that everything in life needs to be qualified. Yes people should be introspective, but it can be taken to an exhaustive extreme. At some level a personal choice is just that: personal.


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Old February 8, 2020, 12:52 PM   #18
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exhaustive extreme? I asked a very simply question in response to a statement which in my view, stands in the face of commonly accepted practices and traditions.

I have less than 2000 comments on a forum that I have visited daily for more than 20 years. I don't think anything I am doing can be fairly categorized as "exhaustive".
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Old February 8, 2020, 12:58 PM   #19
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Operative part of the sentence was “can be”, as in I see this potentially going that way based on past threads and just life in general (since “how we learn” doesn’t seem like a phrase restricted to this forum).


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Old February 8, 2020, 01:38 PM   #20
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When people like URIT make absolute statements like
Quote:
A double-action revolver should not be shot SA when training or carrying for personal defense
, I do believe some qualification is in order. FireForged is absolutely entitled to ask his very legitimate question. What qualifications does someone have to speak from a position of knowledge or authority? That is the problem with internet anonymity.

I believe it is safe to say that most of us on here are enthusiasts, or at a minimum, willing to learn more about guns and self-defense. Why stymie debate and challenge each other to learn more and push the envelope?

I believe that FireForged raises a very good question when he asks why build in a single action function into a double action revolver if one should never use the single action function.
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Old February 8, 2020, 01:44 PM   #21
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Handgun status when need for defensive shot might be imminent

I think when you only ask qualification from people with different opinions than yourself it has less to do with qualification and more with argument. What I stated about personal choices is almost identical to what FireForged himself said at the end of his own post in #7. While FireForged has absolutely qualified his own opinions, no one suggested he had to.

Argument is part of forums, that’s true. But in this case I don’t personally see the point. If the OP thinks cocking his revolver is an advantage, then I think he should do it. I think it makes sense to get input, but in the end none of us here are going to be in his self defense encounter. He has to decide what works best for him. A lot of people, including a number of friends, use or don’t use firearms in manners different than myself. In most cases I don’t ask them for qualification as I consider it their choice.

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Old February 8, 2020, 02:07 PM   #22
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I think when you only ask qualification from people with different opinions than yourselves it has less to do with qualification and more with argument. What I stated about personal choices is almost identical to what FireForged himself said at the end of his own post in #7. Except that isn’t good enough now and people have to qualify what they say, that is again if they have a differing opinion.
It doesn't really make sense that if someone stated something I already agree to.. that I would ask them to qualify it. By virtue of the fact that I already agree, suggests that I have previously qualified the belief in my own mind. I don't know of many people who arbitrarily challenge points of view that they already agree with. Where is the utility in that?

If you show me a glowing red piece of steel and tell me, its hot. I will not demand that you prove it. I will not ask simply because I am not perplexed by the rather obvious warning. If you tell me to be careful because the cotton ball you hold in your bare hand, is sharp.. I will ask you what the heck you mean by that.

More to the point: Suggesting that you "shouldn't do something during training or when carrying for self defense", isn't really leaving much room for personal choice. I am not sure how it can be intellectually honest to draw a comparison between my implication regarding "choice" and the above statement telling me I "shouldn't do it".

The seemingly ongoing effort to avoid a simple answer to a very simple question tends to be an answer in and of itself.
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Old February 8, 2020, 02:08 PM   #23
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Handgun status when need for defensive shot might be imminent

When I read URIT’s comment I assume that’s his opinion based on the way he does things. If the argument is he shouldn’t phrase it so that it would seem to apply universally, fair enough.

What question am I avoiding exactly?


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Old February 8, 2020, 02:10 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TunnelRat
I think when you only ask qualification from people with different opinions than yourself it has less to do with qualification and more with argument.
I feel it is perfectly fine to ask someone to support their stance. I think everyone has been polite and respectful but it doesn't mean we need to agree. If I asked for opinions or qualification from those who agreed with me, would that be considered validation? As long as the dialogue is respectful, I am all for healthy debate. I think most of us are fairly open-minded here. If the opinions and rationales behind them make sense or the poster is a well respected and experienced person (rather than an arm chair commando), we are likely able to learn from that person. The only way to ascertain that is by asking for qualifications and explanations to support their view points.
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Old February 8, 2020, 02:15 PM   #25
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Handgun status when need for defensive shot might be imminent

I don’t remember at any point saying people hadn’t been polite or respectful. If I thought otherwise I’d pm a mod, as I am very much not one.

I think you can ask questions because you are honestly interested and I think you can ask questions because you simply want to argue for your case. It works both ways.

You’re welcome to keep arguing with me that people should be allowed to question others while saying I shouldn’t question FireForged. I just don’t know where it gets us.


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