Question about legal repercussions of SA trigger

This is a discussion on Question about legal repercussions of SA trigger within the Concealed Carry Issues & Discussions forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I've been reading here for the past 6 months and I'm finally going to make my first post. In the class I took to qualify ...

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Thread: Question about legal repercussions of SA trigger

  1. #1
    New Member Array lagpaddler's Avatar
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    Question Question about legal repercussions of SA trigger

    I've been reading here for the past 6 months and I'm finally going to make my first post.

    In the class I took to qualify for a Conceald Carry Permit, the instructor said that if you have a DA/SA trigger you should never pre-cock the hammer in self defense situations because if you have to shoot it shows premeditation.

    My question is, in the event one does have to use their firearm to protect themself, would there be legal ramification if a second or third shot were taken from the SA trigger? Would a prosecutor go after you for use of a "hair" trigger?

    May sound dumb, but I'm considering my carry options and I'm wondering if I'm better off with a DAO only trigger such as a Glock or Sig DAK trigger.

    I currently have a Sig 229 DA/SA and have become used to the trigger, but would be willing to change if there were advantages.

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  3. #2
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    No i would say it would not be a issure where as precocking could be made into saying ou were going to shoot no matter what

    after that your gun was working as designed

    The worst thing you could do would be remove a safety rather than worry about a sa trigger

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    First of all, someone would have to know somehow that you had cocked your weapon. Most sheeple wouldn't have any idea about such a thing. Also you could day that you did it to improve accuracy. I carry a SA 1911A1, does this mean that they are going to jump all over me for having a "hair trigger", as Bud said, if you start removing safeties or replacing springs to lighten the trigger significantly, that would probably be more of a concern.

    Going by that logic, having a firearm in a self-defense situation is premeditation, because you thought that you might have to use it to defend yourself, and brought a loaded weapon. But realistically, if someone is breaking into your home, and you pull back the hammer on the DA/SA pistol before you start defening yourself (shooting) who is going to know? And any shot after the first would be on the SA trigger as well, because as the firearm operates it will cycle the slide and push back the hammer, making it SA. Just my opinion here.
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    Member Array vzwnnj's Avatar
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    the 1911 has been SA forever...I dont recall ever reading where the trigger type was an issue. No offense, but I think you're worrying about insignificant things...I mean...if you have to pull your weapon to defend yourself there has to be a good reason. I don't think your trigger type will make one bit of difference if the shoot is justifiable...just my opinion

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    If weapon pulled - who (apart from you) is gonna know whether you were cocked for SA, uncocked ready for DA or with 1911, cocked and locked?

    Probably no one! I do believe (just possibly) SA's with well below factory trigger poundage, could in a court of law be judged as ''different'' and labelled as more dangerous!!

    In the end if one of us has to draw,and shoot - it had sure better be simply because we feared for safety and life - and I reckon then the minutiae of gun ergonomics will not matter too much if we are on solid ground.

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    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    i could see a under 4# trigger in sa on any gun being a hair trigger problem

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    VIP Member Array SIGguy229's Avatar
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    Talking

    Hey--think about it this way--If the situation dictates, and you are in fear for your life (or family, or others, depending on your individual state law), and your firearm comes out of the holster, you had better intend to fire (after all, we don't draw to "scare" anyone, right? Right?)

    I have a P229/.40S&W with a stock SA/DA trigger that is as smooth as butter. If you are comfortable with your firearm, stick with it. Continue to practice 1st shot DA drills. And to echo Bud's post--I would add/recommend: do not get a trigger job done to lighten your DA pull (I say this based on reading Massad Ayoob's books and reading some of his recommendations--i.e. to prevent the classic personal injury lawyer's arguement: "a stock trigger didn't work for him, he needed a 'hair-trigger' to spew his death dealing hollowpoint armor piercing cop killing bullets against my client's drug dealing, wife beating, alcoholic, drug using high school dropout son who climbed through Mr Lagpaddler's window to use the phone at 2am to call an ambulance for his friend who got attacked by the neighbors' pit bull while trying break into the neighbors car."

    I would avoid "range lawyers" ( yeah, me too ) and spend the $$ to talk with a professional (i.e lawyer--although they continue to practice, hopefully they get better). However, no situation is the same and answers are not absolute.

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    Member Array Pickpocket's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lagpaddler View Post
    In the class I took to qualify for a Conceald Carry Permit, the instructor said that if you have a DA/SA trigger you should never pre-cock the hammer in self defense situations because if you have to shoot it shows premeditation.

    My question is, in the event one does have to use their firearm to protect themself, would there be legal ramification if a second or third shot were taken from the SA trigger? Would a prosecutor go after you for use of a "hair" trigger?
    What state are you in? In Texas there is no such stipulation in terms of CRIMINAL law - but I will say that your instructor sounds like one of the many who choose to spread a good helping of his/her own views on CIVIL liability into their classes.

    Carrying SA could very well come back to cause you some heartburn in civil litigation - but then so could everything else... such as the fact that you chose to carry a weapon in the first place, or that you carried live rounds in the magazine, or that you owned a handgun...

    It is an instructor's duty to inform students of the LAW, not their own interpretation of it. Unfortunately, many instructors take it upon themselves to hand out legal advice.

    Stay safe -

    Quote Originally Posted by SIGuy229
    ..."a stock trigger didn't work for him, he needed a 'hair-trigger' to spew his death dealing hollowpoint armor piercing cop killing bullets against my client's drug dealing, wife beating, alcoholic, drug using high school dropout son who climbed through Mr Lagpaddler's window to use the phone at 2am to call an ambulance for his friend who got attacked by the neighbors' pit bull while trying break into the neighbors car."
    ROFL

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    VIP Member Array peacefuljeffrey's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lagpaddler View Post
    I've been reading here for the past 6 months and I'm finally going to make my first post.

    In the class I took to qualify for a Conceald Carry Permit, the instructor said that if you have a DA/SA trigger you should never pre-cock the hammer in self defense situations because if you have to shoot it shows premeditation.
    So then just do it, but never say you did it. After the shot is fired, how would anyone ever know what condition the gun was in??

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    VIP Member Array ELCruisr's Avatar
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    Most good criminal defense lawyers will give you a few minutes of free advice on the phone. First off you should have the name and number of one anyways. Tell him you are checking out lawyers for the, hopefully, unlikely event you will need one for a self defense situation. If you like the sound of this one ask him a few questions like this and you will get the best answers there.

    Personally, I don't see how a non hair trigger modified SA that's working as designed can be an issue but I'm not a lawyer!
    If you stand up and be counted, from time to time you may get yourself knocked down. But remember this: A man flattened by an opponent can get up again. A man flattened by conformity stays down for good. ~ Thomas J. Watson, Jr.

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    Senior Member Array rachilders's Avatar
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    Reminds me of Shakespeares play, "Much Ado About Nothing".

    If you ever need to use a SA/DA pistol in self-defense, it's sometimes BETTER from the shooters standpoint to have it cocked and locked, but it's also a matter personal choice. The nice thing about a SA/DA pistol is you can carry it in the uncocked position and not feel unsafe because you haven't engaged the pistols safety. From a practical side, you only have to decide if it's quicker for you to undo the gun's safety (if you are carrying in the C&L mode) or simply use the DA firing mode. It's really just a matter of practice and personal preference.

    As for any legal ramifications, it sounds like a "range lawyer" giving his personal opinion rather than any statement of actual legal liability. Unless your pistols trigger was so light that it caused you to have an accidental discharge, you're much more likely to encounter a problem over how many times you fired (5, 10, 15?), the justification for the shooting, the type of bullet you used or a host of other things than the design of your gun's trigger.
    "... Americans... we want a safe home, to keep the money we make and shoot bad guys." -- Denny Crane

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    VIP Member Array ccw9mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lagpaddler View Post
    In the class I took to qualify for a Conceald Carry Permit, the instructor said that if you have a DA/SA trigger you should never pre-cock the hammer in self defense situations because if you have to shoot it shows premeditation.
    One should hope that all shots fired are done deliberately. SA, DA/DA, DAO ... doesn't really matter. If hauled before a judge/jury, a prosecutor will come at you for all reasons, rational or not. Suggestion: don't provide any more ammo than necessary to such prosecution (read: use the gun as it was intended). In short, pre-planning to defend yourself by taking the necessary precautions is not equivalent to premeditation in the "murder" sense of its usage. Use the gun as intended, if and only if needed.

    Click on the link below for requirements for justified self defense. By a long, long margin, weapon selection and manner of carry/operation is a distant second, in terms of critical elements for self defense.

    Would a prosecutor go after you for use of a "hair" trigger?
    Sure, right or wrong. There's a reason it's maligned. Deliberation is required, knowing full well that your shots are necessary to save your life. DA/SA is, IMO, more safe in terms of legality, than an SA; and DAO moreso than DA/SA. Doesn't mean you should worry about it, though. Try explaining a shot you didn't intend to fire, with the lame excuse "...but it just went off." Won't fly very far.

    May sound dumb, but I'm considering my carry options and I'm wondering if I'm better off with a DAO only trigger such as a Glock or Sig DAK trigger.
    Only if you shoot better with it, IMO.

    I currently have a Sig 229 DA/SA and have become used to the trigger, but would be willing to change if there were advantages.
    You're fine. The SIG 229 is hardly an inferior weapon. It does what it's designed to do exceedingly well. It pokes holes every time you want it to, and very rarely when you don't want it to. Many guns aren't so basic and proper in their operation as this.

    Click on the link below for my rationale for caliber/weapon selection. In the end, it's what you're most comfortable with, so long as that choice is sufficient for the job to be done and it's carried everywhere so that it's available when needed.

    If you have questions about basic legality of commonly-used hardware, you should speak with a competent and trusted attorney. I'd also strongly recommend a top-flight defense course, such as LFI's Judicious Use Of Deadly Force, or similar.

    If you haven't already, check out some of the excellent books out there. Such as: Ayoob's "In The Gravest Extreme." It covers all of these questions and more.
    Last edited by ccw9mm; December 5th, 2006 at 10:45 AM.
    Your best weapon is your brain. Don't leave home without it.
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  14. #13
    VIP Member Array pogo2's Avatar
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    Legal justification is the most important

    Quote Originally Posted by lagpaddler View Post
    In the class I took to qualify for a Concealed Carry Permit, the instructor said that if you have a DA/SA trigger you should never pre-cock the hammer in self defense situations because if you have to shoot it shows premeditation.

    I currently have a Sig 229 DA/SA and have become used to the trigger, but would be willing to change if there were advantages.
    I'm not sure why you would gain an advantage with a Sig P229 by cocking the hammer for the first shot. I also own this gun, and it has a smooth and light DA trigger pull. The gun can be fired just as quickly and accurately in DA as SA, in my opinion. The important thing is to have a round in the chamber, but hopefully you take care of this detail long in advance of using the gun.

    As for defending your actions in court against a hostile prosecutor, the important issue will be whether your shots were justified under the laws of your state and the exact circumstances of the situation. If your shots were legally justifiable, it will hardly matter whether you fired them using only the trigger, or the trigger and thumb.

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    Member Array Hobbes's Avatar
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    I have replaced s couple springs in my P2000sk to make for a nice smooth about 5# pull. I don't worry that I'll get in trouble for doing this. An 8# pull or a 2# pull doesn't matter to the dead BG.
    Prosecutors will try to screw you for anything but any lawyer that's not retarded should be able to smash any points the prosecutor bring up about bullet choice, trigger weight, etc....

  16. #15
    Member Array gotammo's Avatar
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    if carring cockedshows premeditation, then carrying any weapon would show premeditation no?
    The majority of people out there have no idea what a sa pistol is and anything the prosecution can come up with your lawyer should be able to counter with actual logic.

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