The Firing Line Forums

Go Back   The Firing Line Forums > Hogan's Alley > Handguns: The Revolver Forum

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old May 29, 2022, 03:30 PM   #1
Trooper Joe
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 5, 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 192
A case for single action shooting

When I joined the Michigan State Police in 1966, we were trained to shoot our Smith and Wesson revolvers (both K and J frame models) in single action mode only. We used standard bullseye targets in the “Camp Perry” style course of fire.

(All troopers were issued the heavy barrel model 10)



(Starting in the late 70’s, if you shot distinguished expert, you were issued a model 67 with the State Police logo on it.)



About 1969, we started to transition to “combat style”, double action shooting. However, they actually trained us to use a sort of staging method of trigger control for increased accuracy. In a very short time, and after a number of accidental discharges using this staging method, they transitioned to a consistent complete double action trigger pull with out staging. The also stressed the “double tap” style of shooting at a threat.

My daughter joined the State Police in 1987 and that time they were training to never use single action style shooting with the still being used revolvers. In 1989, MSP transitioned to Sig Sauer 226 9mm da/sa and stressed to not use the single action for the first shot (several ad’s occurred with the old time Troopers cocking the hammers of their 229’s like they were used to with their revolvers).

After being retired for many years (since 1989) I am really having a problem with this insistence on double action shooting only with both modern and older double action revolvers. (My daughter still cringes when she sees me using a revolver in a single action mode. However, she just admitted to me that when she qualified with the off duty gun issued in the 90’s which was one of the hammerless S&W J frames, she stagged the trigger to get a perfect score.)

I just watched a video about one of the new S&W Classic model 19’s. This gun has fantastic target, adjustable sights which are about useless with double action shooting. The presenter admitted that he could get much better groups using the single action mode and seemed clueless why he couldn’t do it in double action.

I submit that all single/double action revolvers should be shot single action unless you need to get off a fast round for defense at a close distance. If you are pointing your revolver at a threat to get him to stand down, then of course it should not be cocked.

If you are using your sights, I assume that the threat is no longer at a close distance and now you should be using the single action mode for accuracy.

These presenters on various videos about single/double action revolvers complain that revolvers would not be their first choice for concealed carry primarily since they only hold 6 (or 5) rounds. I believe they should loose the “spray and pray” mentality of most modern shooters and get back to basic accuracy concepts we embraced when I came into police work.

Just some thoughts

Trooper Joe
Trooper Joe is offline  
Old May 29, 2022, 06:33 PM   #2
Jim Watson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 17,726
Several threads on Japanese police lately.
They carry the S&W 360J, a contract version of Chief's Special Airweight.
They are taught to shoot two handed single action, cocking with the off thumb.
Jim Watson is offline  
Old May 29, 2022, 07:09 PM   #3
tangolima
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 28, 2013
Posts: 2,711
For me double action without staging. It was a bit weird at the beginning, but it has become natural with some purposeful training. Actually the weirdest thing is to totally let go of the trigger after each shot; a habit to correct from shooting semi autos.

Single action for bullseye match only.

-TL

Sent from my SM-N960U using Tapatalk

Last edited by tangolima; May 29, 2022 at 07:25 PM.
tangolima is offline  
Old May 29, 2022, 09:04 PM   #4
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 25,574
IF you look at the history of DA revolvers and their use, (and in particular use by military and police) you'll find a long period of time when the DA feature was essentially considered an "emergency use" thing intended for situations where the priority was maximum speed at point blank range.

The early DA revolvers and most nations military revolvers up through WWII generally had DA trigger pulls that range from meh to horrid, and some are in the "takes three men and a boy" heavy.

The US military revolvers were the big exception, since they were essentially military contract versions of the civilian guns, and while the outside finish might have been for military durability, the internals were made to the generally high quality of the civilian guns.

And, along with this was the training of the era, and as the OP noted, the training to shoot one handed, single action, then later two hands but still mainly SA carried on for even longer.

Now, and for a long time, its been proven that adequate and even exceptional work can be done firing DA, with proper training and sufficient pratice.

THAT being said, SA shooting is much easier for most to master, and there are a lot of handgun shooting applications beyond duty/service use and self defense.

or bullseye matches.

I'm not a match shooter. I shoot recreationally, and for hunting and pest/predator control. Situations where speed of fire and repeat fire are not the primary concern, accuracy is. So I shoot very little DA. I think its a nice thing to have and if you train with it, you can do well, and it may be the best way to shoot for what you do with a handgun. But its not the only acceptable way to shoot a handgun all the time for every purpose. For me, at any rate.
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old May 30, 2022, 01:52 PM   #5
jrothWA
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 11, 2006
Posts: 2,501
I found when I shot bulleyes course, my score was better when I singled-action the hammer. this was with a M15-3 and m17-2.

Even on the bowling pins tables, with my J-frames and M15-3.

Also, did the pins with the 1911 and M39-2
jrothWA is offline  
Old May 30, 2022, 03:43 PM   #6
jetinteriorguy
Senior Member
 
Join Date: April 28, 2013
Posts: 2,580
I pretty much shoot DA at least 90%+ of the time. For me handguns serve only One useful purpose, SD. So I’ve learned to pull through on the trigger pull with full release reset. I shoot all my handguns into a six inch circle as fast as I can pull the trigger out to ten yards. My eyes and steadiness don’t work so well for bullseye shooting SA anymore. I do still dig out my model 14 and a box of wadcutters when I want to look good at the range once in a while.
jetinteriorguy is offline  
Old May 30, 2022, 05:26 PM   #7
zeke
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 17, 1999
Location: NW Wi
Posts: 1,452
If am wanting slower deliberate and more accurate, am using sa. Also another that practices quicker da up close with a revolver. Find both to be useful skill sets. Unfortunately my skill sets need repolishing.
zeke is offline  
Old May 30, 2022, 06:55 PM   #8
reddog81
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 16, 2014
Location: Iowa
Posts: 1,562
Quote:
Originally Posted by Trooper Joe View Post
I submit that all single/double action revolvers should be shot single action unless you need to get off a fast round for defense at a close distance.
In the event of needing to get a fast round off I hope you have sufficiently practiced double action shooting otherwise there's a good chance your going to jerk the trigger and not hit what you're aiming at.
reddog81 is offline  
Old May 30, 2022, 10:02 PM   #9
rclark
Senior Member
 
Join Date: February 12, 2009
Location: Butte, MT
Posts: 2,511
Quote:
I'm not a match shooter. I shoot recreationally, and for hunting and pest/predator control. Situations where speed of fire and repeat fire are not the primary concern, accuracy is. So I shoot very little DA. I think its a nice thing to have and if you train with it, you can do well, and it may be the best way to shoot for what you do with a handgun. But its not the only acceptable way to shoot a handgun all the time for every purpose. For me, at any rate.
That's me as well. Don't see the the need for DA in anything I do. Only reason I own a .44 Special Bulldog is for the nice size for concealed carry (which isn't often). In the woods (for whatever reason) of course it is open carry SA. Same with the range. Obviously each of us has different purposes for revolvers. Personal thing.
__________________
A clinger and deplorable, MAGA, and life NRA member. When guns are outlawed, only outlaws will have guns. Single Action .45 Colt (Sometimes colloquially referred to by its alias as the .45 'Long' Colt or .45LC). Don't leave home without it. That said, the .44Spec is right up their too... but the .45 Colt is still the king.
rclark is offline  
Old May 30, 2022, 10:45 PM   #10
Drm50
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 10, 2014
Posts: 1,209
I have better than 50 DA revolvers most target models from 22 to 45. I can’t recall firing anything but the 22 DA a couple times. I thumb hammer instinctively.
Drm50 is offline  
Old May 31, 2022, 12:48 AM   #11
Trooper Joe
Senior Member
 
Join Date: January 5, 2005
Location: Michigan
Posts: 192
Quote:
Originally Posted by Drm50 View Post
I have better than 50 DA revolvers most target models from 22 to 45. I can’t recall firing anything but the 22 DA a couple times. I thumb hammer instinctively.
My thoughts on posting this thread are that many current shooters are failing to experience the beauty of shooting a Smith and Wesson revolver in the single action mode.
Trooper Joe is offline  
Old May 31, 2022, 02:55 PM   #12
RickB
Senior Member
 
Join Date: March 1, 2000
Location: Boise, ID
Posts: 8,360
I shoot DA revolvers nothing but DA. The longest shot I've had to take is 35 yards, but nobody was shooting back.
When I shot for score for a Massachusetts carry permit, with department-supplied revolvers, we shot single action at seven yards, then double action at fifteen, which is, of course, bass ackwards, but about what I'd expect in Massachusetts.
__________________
Runs off at the mouth about anything 1911 related on this site and half the time is flat out wrong.
RickB is offline  
Old June 2, 2022, 01:30 PM   #13
44 AMP
Staff
 
Join Date: March 11, 2006
Location: Upper US
Posts: 25,574
When I want to hit precisely where I aim, at any range to 200yds, (and you need to do that for small targets,) I shoot SA.

IF I needed to hit COM fast, and at short range, (and, very short range) I'd probably shoot DA (if I had a DA gun).

I don't mind people telling me how, why, and when DA is the better choice, but I do get irritated by extremists telling me how, if I shoot SA, I'm going to die, DIE, DIE!

Actually have had people say that..
people say all kinds of s....stuff
__________________
All else being equal (and it almost never is) bigger bullets tend to work better.
44 AMP is offline  
Old June 2, 2022, 02:17 PM   #14
MrBorland
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 31, 2007
Location: NC
Posts: 2,609
IMO, the well-rounded revolver shooter will be proficient with both the SA and DA triggers, and will shoot whichever is most appropriate for the circumstance.

FWIW, my standard for "good" (but not outstanding) shooting is an honest and consistent 3" 5-round unsupported groups from a good-quality service-sized handgun under no time constraint. Revolver shooters should be able to do this in single- and double-action. Just pick up your gun and shoot your best 5. Take all day if you need to, but make them your best 5. And no "fliers" allowed.
MrBorland is offline  
Old June 3, 2022, 12:02 PM   #15
Jim Watson
Senior Member
 
Join Date: October 25, 2001
Location: Alabama
Posts: 17,726
If you go back in time, Chic Gaylord favored having SA available for the hard shots.

Even though John Henry Fitzgerald was prone to mutilating revolvers by chopping out the front of the trigger guard, sawing off the barrel, and bobbing the hammer; he checkered the top of the hammer so that he could start the hammer back with the trigger and then get a grip on the hammer to cock it for the long shot.

Seems that GIGN preferred to shoot their MR73s single action to take out a terr with one precise shot instead of hosing him with half a dozen magnums.
Jim Watson is offline  
Old June 3, 2022, 12:38 PM   #16
shafter
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 23, 2009
Posts: 1,579
When shooting revolvers I like having the ability to use single action mode for when a precise shot is needed and I have the time to make such a shot.

For all other purposes I'll shoot double action.

As for spray and pray I think that's always been a thing whether it be with revolvers or semiautos. The only difference is that with the revolvers you run out of ammo sooner.
shafter is offline  
Old June 3, 2022, 12:50 PM   #17
Lavan
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 10, 1999
Location: California
Posts: 2,668
I go both ways.

(not that there's anything wrong with that)

Lavan is offline  
Old June 3, 2022, 02:01 PM   #18
Hawg
Senior Member
 
Join Date: September 8, 2007
Location: Mississippi
Posts: 15,888
I shoot everything SA. I grew up with SA revolvers. Cocking the hammer is second nature. I do it without thinking about it. No, I'm not proficient shooting DA nor do I want to be. I only own three DA revolvers. I don't know how many SA's I own.
Hawg is offline  
Old June 3, 2022, 04:04 PM   #19
Rob228
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 29, 2010
Location: Hampstead NC
Posts: 1,412
Practicing with a Ruger SP101 in double action made me realize that I need a lot of work on DA, but it significantly helped with trigger control on every other handgun I own.
Rob228 is offline  
Old June 3, 2022, 05:57 PM   #20
FITASC
Senior Member
 
Join Date: December 6, 2014
Posts: 6,156
Personally, whether it is one of my K-22, 38s or 357s, at the range they are for fun and trying to be as accurate as I can, so SA all the way for me. These are not defense guns; I have other semis for that
__________________
"I believe that people have a right to decide their own destinies; people own themselves. I also believe that, in a democracy, government exists because (and only so long as) individual citizens give it a 'temporary license to exist'—in exchange for a promise that it will behave itself. In a democracy, you own the government—it doesn't own you."- Frank Zappa
FITASC is offline  
Old June 6, 2022, 04:33 PM   #21
Mannlicher
Senior Member
 
Join Date: July 8, 2001
Location: North Central Florida & Miami
Posts: 3,173
I often carry a revolver for self defense, and practice both single and double action shooting. My 3 inch Model 65 and one of my three inch Model 60s are DAO. Those are the two that get the most carry time.
__________________
Nemo Me Impune Lacesset

"The trouble with our liberal friends is not that they're ignorant; it's just that they know so much that isn't so.".........Ronald Reagan
Mannlicher is offline  
Old June 18, 2022, 01:29 PM   #22
oldbear1950
Member
 
Join Date: April 27, 2022
Posts: 81
First big bore pistol, I ever shot, 17 1/2 years old in the US ARMY RESERVES AS AN MP, WAS the old slab siides 1911A1. Second and third was (2nd) single action Ruger Blackhawk, 357/38, (3rd) 22 single action colt 22.
I know own an Uberti EL PATRON copy of SAA, 45 COLT, RUGER SECURITY SIX, AND TAURAS 22/22 MAG. i ALSO OWN 3 1911'S. I reload for all but the 22.
But My grandparents on both sides were in law enforcement in Oklahoma in the 1920s and Oklahoma was really wild in those days. The even knew some of the old gunfighting law men of those days.
They told all of my sibliings and I was no such thing as 45 long colt. It was either 45 scholdfield, or 45 colt.
I still carry that EL PATRON, copy of the SAA, FOR self defense.
One thing I can count on is never being called a rambo want a be.

Oh and after the 20th century started the 45 acp
oldbear1950 is offline  
Old June 18, 2022, 07:59 PM   #23
Drm50
Senior Member
 
Join Date: November 10, 2014
Posts: 1,209
Every shot I take with handgun is on a target or game. If I can peel bottle caps at 15’ in SA mode I feel I’m good to go on DA in any self defense situation. I don’t feel the need to stand and bust caps on close range targets on DA.
Drm50 is offline  
Old June 18, 2022, 08:41 PM   #24
4V50 Gary
Staff
 
Join Date: November 2, 1998
Location: Colorado
Posts: 21,505
I learned to shoot revovlers in the SA mode in the '70-'80s. Then when I went into law enforcement '83 I had to learn DA only (with a DA revolver). The notion was that how you trained was how you fought. Academies and agencies did not want officers losing time working the SA of the revolver. Some agencies like LAPD ground off the SA notch of their S&W revolvers, making them DAO.

Then the Wonder 9s entered the pictured. We had SA/DA pistols and cops couldn't make the transition with two trigger pulls. To resolve this, gunmakers came out with the DAO pistol to have just one, consistent trigger pull.

I still carry my P220 with a SA/DA trigger. I always decock after the first shot so as to maximize practice with the SA aspect of the trigger pull. Mind you, I'm not in a self-defense situation and this is only range practice.

Finally congratulations on raising your daughter right.
__________________
Vigilantibus et non dormientibus jura subveniunt. Molon Labe!
4V50 Gary is offline  
Old June 19, 2022, 07:00 AM   #25
JohnKSa
Staff
 
Join Date: February 12, 2001
Location: DFW Area
Posts: 24,239
Quote:
The presenter admitted that he could get much better groups using the single action mode and seemed clueless why he couldn’t do it in double action.
The longer and heavier the trigger pull, the harder it is to get good groups. This highlights the importance of training in DA since if a person needs "to get off a fast round for defense at a close distance" they will need to be able to get a good hit, not just fire the gun. I've seen people miss a human sized silhouette at 3 yards during drills, which makes it clear that even at close range, a person needs some level of skill to get good hits.

The acknowledgement that DA is useful when speed is of the essence is an important one. Think of all the times in a gunfight when speed is not of the essence... I guess that maybe there are some times where that could be true--and for those times, I suppose using the SA capability of a revolver makes sense.

One other positive aspect of DA shooting in a defensive situation is that there's never a need to decock the gun. While decocking a revolver is not terribly difficult it is important to get it right. It's not something I would really want to do right after I've just gone through a gunfight.

I shoot my DA revolvers in both DA and SA at the range because I shoot both for pleasure and to train, not just for one or the other. If I were spending my range time exclusively on self-defense training, I would focus on DA and shoot very little SA. Once a person gets to the point where they are accomplished at DA shooting, taking a shot or two SA if there's ever a need/opportunity for that kind of shooting would be very simple to do.
__________________
Do you know about the TEXAS State Rifle Association?
JohnKSa is offline  
Reply

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 12:39 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2022, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
This site and contents, including all posts, Copyright © 1998-2021 S.W.A.T. Magazine
Copyright Complaints: Please direct DMCA Takedown Notices to the registered agent: thefiringline.com
Page generated in 0.21829 seconds with 9 queries