"Hair trigger" Single Actions

This is a discussion on "Hair trigger" Single Actions within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; I have repeatedly read Massad Ayoob's opinion that single-action-only (SAO) handguns, while great for the self defense situation because of their fast-stroke triggers, are not ...

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Thread: "Hair trigger" Single Actions

  1. #1
    Senior Member Array jofrdo's Avatar
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    "Hair trigger" Single Actions

    I have repeatedly read Massad Ayoob's opinion that single-action-only (SAO) handguns, while great for the self defense situation because of their fast-stroke triggers, are not so great for you during the inevitible criminal and civil court battles to follow. Prosecutors can convince gun-ignorant jury members that your SAO trigger is a light "hair trigger" and the fact that you carry such a "dangerous" weapon proves you were the agressor, or at least were itching for a gunfight. They'll also point out that police forces almost all require their officers to carry double-action-only (DAO) guns due to their inherent safety, which supports the argument about SAO's being dangerous. I respected Ayoob's opinion enough that I bought a DAO gun for my primary conceal carry weapon, even though I had been shopping for short barrel 1911-type guns.

    I know a lot of members of this forum are diehard fans of the 1911or other SAO guns, and I respect that. Do any of you have personnel experience defending yourself in court over your use of a gun, especially against the above argument?

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  3. #2
    Senior Member Array '75scout's Avatar
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    You're likely not to get much of a response to you question. Most people don't like to post if they have actually had to shoot someone. I have never had to shoot anyone so I am no help there.

    But I would imagine that anyone carrying SAO guns could argue that it had a manual saftey and SAO guns are usually more accurate. Both of these fetures could be used to say that SAO guns are just as safe as DAO guns. Must gun ingorant people might think a manual saftey is mandatory and therefore DAO guns might be less safe for this reason. But as long as you stick above a 3.5# trigger pull you should be fine.

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    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    I'm gonna go with 75scout here .

    I have not had to use my weapon but I'm not going to worry on it i keep the trigger 4.0 or above in my 1911's If its a good shoot its a good shoot

    Also with the passing of the castle law here i am shielded from frivolous civil suits now also

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    VIP Member Array Ti Carry's Avatar
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    Training also has a lot to do with it. The more training you have had the less likely anything like this will stick, just going to the range ain't going to cut it when in court IMO. There are many counter arguments to this as well and Scout pointed out a few that come to mind and as Bud said, a good shoot is a good shoot not matter what the PA is saying. If one shoots a SAO best and that's what you carry your are saving lives if you ask me, cause you will hit what your aiming at! not other baystanders.


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    Member Array VTLO910's Avatar
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    I would not be too concerned about it... They could argue the same way about the apparent LACK of safeties like on the GLOCK, although we all know it does in fact have 3 safeties.

    If your looking for a DAO type 1911, the only one that makes one like that is Para-Ordinance... The call it the LDA trigger... have fun doing some reading on it.
    ::: NRA Law Enforcement Firearms Instructor, Military Veteran, Public Safety Professional :::

  7. #6
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    I am authorized to carry a Colt Combat Commander on duty with the Sheriffs Office and do so ocassionaly.

    It seems to me that the "hair trigger" argument would have little merit against a gun that has a 4lb. factory trigger as my Colt does.

    Now, if you modified the trigger or slicked it up on a gun I could see it, that why I think its prudent not to mess with a carry gun or a duty gun.

    As far as being more "dangerous" that would only apply to someone that is not familiar with the system. The single action is without a doubt the fastest fighting gun out there...thats why the diehards that shoot alot prefer them.

    And...no...I have never had to defend myself in court with the use of a gun. Thats the way I prefer to keep it...
    I would rather stand against the cannons of the wicked than against the prayers of the righteous.


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    Member Array Go Glock's Avatar
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    Police may use DAO pistols but more of them use the Glock, which an uneducated person would say is of the more dangerous pistols out there.

    For every reason someone/ prosecutor could say is a safety liability about a firearm (minus manufacture defects) I can think of a reason it is more safe.

    Hey, come to think of it... any of your remember seeing or hearing about a trial that has been going on recently about an altercation between a civilian and a off duty police officer. To make a long story short...the officer is being charged with attempted murder because the civilian claimed the officer pulled the trigger on his firearm and he heard a click. Though I seem to recall hearing that the defense proved the civilian was not telling the truth based upon the operation of the police officers weapon and the situation... a Glock. I don't know the specifics on the situation so I can't intelligently articulate it all.

    I hope I am not jacking this thread ... Just thought it might be relevant.

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    VIP Member Array Ti Carry's Avatar
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    Police may use DAO pistols but more of them use the Glock, which an uneducated person would say is of the more dangerous pistols out there.

    Thre sure are "A LOT" of "Neglegent Discharges" by LEO's with Glock's. I here this several times a month it seem's.

    Here's one, it's hard to tell if it's a Glock or not but I suspect it is a DAO!

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VNB7Z40w00


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  10. #9
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    A good attorney, can argue anything.
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  11. #10
    VIP Member Array Bud White's Avatar
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    Lets not turn this into a glock vs 1911 thread as that wasn't the question lets stay on topic

  12. #11
    Member Array Go Glock's Avatar
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    I think OD summed up my post... you can argue anything.

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    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    I wouldn't worry about it either. I think a Bigger problem is the case they'll try to make if you're carrying a big ole hand gun with exta mags, a flashlight, a good folder and you're always drilling at the range. For an LEO this would be considered good training. For you and I, I can easily see how a lawyer would say we were a viligante just waiting and hoping something would happen, etc.

    So, if you're going to be armed, be sure you'll probed and targeted in the event you ever defend yourself. If the situation is even a little unclear I think you'll be in for some trouble. Even if the DA doesn't do anything, think of the civilian law suits for damages?

    So at the end of the day, it's up to you and i to be sure we only use our weapon to save our lives so what ever follows will be better than what the outcome would likely have been.

    I think just walking around with a big old gun with 20 rounds, etc of "man stopper" ammo will put most people (sheep) in shock, especially that you would/could use it on another human being.

    Get the gun you feel good with and enjoy at the range. hair triggers are inherently dangerous and belong on a range/target piece. But the single action on any auto isn't really a hair trigger unless you take steps to make it so.

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    Gideon

  14. #13
    Senior Member Array PaulG's Avatar
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    Can't believe its that much of a problem

    I agree that this concern is probably overblown. While the prosecutor is going into his rant about how eager you are to kill someone, what is YOUR attorney doing?......having lunch?

    The prosecutor will use the mere fact that you are carrying as proof you were looking for a fight. I mean look at all the evil things you did? You carried a gun; you have extra ammo; you use those evil hollow points, etc.

    If seems to me your attorney just needs to point out that in addition to the fact that drawing a gun is a last resort, i.e. you ran out of options and are drawing for the purpose of firing it to defend your life, he should also point out the steps to the draw: gripping the gun (disingages safety #1; as gun goes on target, thumb disengages safety #2; finger enters the trigger guard at the last moment before firing.)

    This should be enough to counter the prosecutors accusations.

    So my opinion: carry your 1911, carry a Glock, carry a snubbie, whatever......just carry.

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