1911 Single Action vs Double Action for CCW

1911 Single Action vs Double Action for CCW

This is a discussion on 1911 Single Action vs Double Action for CCW within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; Want some outside comments on this question... Been going back and forth about pro / cons on this one.... I have been looking at a ...

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Thread: 1911 Single Action vs Double Action for CCW

  1. #1
    Member Array Cuttin Edge's Avatar
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    1911 Single Action vs Double Action for CCW

    Want some outside comments on this question...
    Been going back and forth about pro / cons on this one....

    I have been looking at a Kimber for a CCW. I like the style, lots of good comments, etc. (but that's not the question here); a Friend who I am debating this with is saying that it is a bad CCW because you have to have the hammer back - and could easily be fired...I say, it has 2 safety's and not really worried about that.

    He says that for a CCW, a double action, such as a HK USP Compact is a better choice.
    Don't have to carry with hammer back; still have the safety, and first trigger pull is harder...

    Thoughts / Comments ??

  2. #2
    VIP Member Array farronwolf's Avatar
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    It all depends on the person. What are you comfortable with, what do you shoot best with, and what is your experience with the different platforms?

    If your going to carry a pistol that has a safety/decocker and leave the gun in double action mode and the safety on, I guess you could say that your being redundant on the safety issue. Some might say the best of both worlds, and possibly the most safe.

    There is also the platform of a double action only trigger without any external safety. They are built into the trigger like Glocks and XD's and even the DA revolvers. Lots of folks out there that think these are sufficient safety measures. No forgetting to remove the safety when in a situation of stress.

    And as you have said the 1911 platform or others that have a single action trigger pull with external safeties of some sort. The 1911's have the grip and the external safety, sort of a redundant system but different than the first ones mentioned.

    All of the platforms have safety features built into them. None of them, assuming that they are from reputable manufactures are going to go boom if you don't put your booger hook on the trigger and pull it. None of the platforms are necessarily better, or safer than any of the other ones.

    Some of the platforms require that you take an extra step before your gun is in a mode that will allow you to defend yourself. If this step is forgotten your run the risk of pulling very hard on the trigger only to have nothing happen. This could cost you your life. Hopefully not.

    There is no right answer on this one for everyone. It boils down to your personal preference and your personal experience with firearms, especially the one you choose to carry. My wife has choosen a Glock because she doesn't want any safety or anything to think about if she ever has to use her gun. I prefer my 1911 cocked and locked, or either of my two Taurus pistols with single action triggers and the safety on. What is right for her isn't necessarily right for me or vice versa. That is why there are so many different manufactures and so many different options in trigger actions and safeties.

    I know this didn't really answer your question, but there really isn't a single answer to the question in my opinion.
    Just remember that shot placement is much more important with what you carry than how big a bang you get with each trigger pull.
    Texas CHL Instructor
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  3. #3
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    It is strictly a matter of choice.
    With the 1911 you have to engage the grip safety, flip the thumb safety off and then engage the trigger, so in reality there are 3 safety devises, your brain being the third that tells you not to touch the trigger until ready to shoot.
    Most DA/SA guns will not allow you to engage the thumb safety without the hammer being cocked. Some DA/SA guns do not have a safety on them at all, instead they have a decocker lever to lower the hammer from the cocked position.
    As long as you keep your finger off the trigger until ready to fire they are all safe for carrying with one in the chamber.

  4. #4
    Member Array chuck brick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by farronwolf View Post
    ....I know this didn't really answer your question, but there really isn't a single answer to the question in my opinion.
    That says it all.
    I've even heard from people (Lefties, without an Ambi) that carry the 1911 without the thumb safety, relying only on the grip safety. Apparently that's equally effective, or they wouldn't be posting today! What works for you, works.

    Stay safe,

    Chuck Brick.
    Why do I use 230 gr. for my .45acp?
    Because I can't find a source of 250 gr!

  5. #5
    Member Array M1911A1's Avatar
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    I've carried one or another 1911 Government Model, an Officers' Model, and a Star PD for years, both in holsters and in pouches.
    For whatever reason, and at least once each, these guns' safety levers have all been accidentally moved to "off" without any input from me.
    I've been told that it was the holster's fault, or the pouch's. But I can't agree completely with that assessment.
    Well, yes, it certainly has been the fault of certain pouches. But I know about holster design and construction, and I know that I have holsters which are built not to do that. I'm more inclined to believe that it's some interaction with my bloused shirt, or my shirt-tail, or something like that.
    For my own peace of mind, for everyday carry I have switched to a DAO semi-auto pistol. I only carry my SA semi-autos when I feel willing to spend the time and effort to check the safety frequently, usually by briefly visiting the nearest men's room and stepping into a stall. I no longer carry a SA semi-auto in a pouch, ever.
    I suggest that you make this sort of decision—DAO or SA semi-auto—based upon your personal comfort with the need to frequently check your SA carry-gun's safety, and whether you intend to ever use a pouch for concealment.
    Further, I have a personal animosity to "Traditional DA" semi-autos, because to use one you are faced with either learning to capably use two different trigger pulls in sequence, or with willingly throwing away your first shot (perhaps dangerously). To me, then, that makes the choice either DAO or SA.
    And, of course, as farronwolf and archer51 have already written, "keep your booger-hook off of the bang switch." The only really effective safety mechanism is the one between your ears.
    Retired Leathersmith and Practical Shooter

    "Qui desiderat pacem, præparet bellum."

  6. #6
    Distinguished Member Array Gideon's Avatar
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    Warning; uneducated opinion coming.....

    I carry a 1911 as my edc, however, I do believe that a DAO weapon with no safeties or controls other than a slide release is the ultimate CCW platform. There's no safety to forget, there shouldn't be a mag disconnect, etc. I believe no hammer or other options is ideal as well. Just one smooth steady longer pull that's always the same is better than a long first pull followed by single action (like a Bersa) and I think SA can be awfully light. I've surprised myself with an unexpected doubletap on my 1911 when i was getting used to it because it has such a light single action trigger.

    So I think something liike a S&W 642 or a Kahr is the ultimate in simplicity and repetitiveness, however, I still like and shoot the 1911 well. I believe many of us may carry what is less than ideal but if we're comfortable with it, train with it, etc....

    So I made a choice with my 1911, everything else I have works along the DAO principle with no safety.

    Food for thought....or a worthless opinion

  7. #7
    Member Array MadDog's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cuttin Edge View Post
    Want some outside comments on this question...
    Been going back and forth about pro / cons on this one....

    I have been looking at a Kimber for a CCW. I like the style, lots of good comments, etc. (but that's not the question here); a freind who I am debating this with is saying that it is a bad CCW because you ahve to have the hammer back - and could easily be fired...I say, it has 2 safety's and not really worried about that.

    He says that for a CCW, a double action, such as a HK USP Compact is a better choice. Don't have to carry with hammer back; still have the safety, and first trigger pull is harder...

    Thoughts / Comments ??
    I have several different firearms that I carry including a kimber 1911, XD compact, and a J frame revolver. All are great weapons as long as your comfortable with using them, and have trained with them... It seems like the question is geared towards "do i want a manual safety"

    While a lot of people will have something to say on the subject here is my advice:

    get what works for you. If you go with a 1911 then train with it so you can flip the safety on the draw. carrying a 1911 cocked and locked is safe as long as you have the mentality that you are comfortable with it.

    Some people say you should have a firearm thats ready to go without having to worry about the saftey (XD,Glock,ect..) Once again if you choose this method, training is important so you know how to handle a "live gun"

    People also like the double action weapons because they like the option of carrying hammer down (safety reasons) One should then not that there first shot may not as be as accurate due to the long pull of the trigger.

    I would say that after you carry a while the mindset of double action is safer than carrying cocked and locked will fade once you have the mindset that firearms don't just go bang on there own.

    either ways is acceptable as long as your willing to put in effort in training. If you go the 1911 way, I would suggest cocked and locked is the way to go....... Hope this helps
    I believe in gun control...... Thats why I use TWO hands.

  8. #8
    Ex Member Array AVIVIII's Avatar
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    Would you carry a revolver?

    My EDC Gp100 has ZERO safties, just a nice firm, long trigger pull.

    I have already ordered my holster for my 1911 and do plan on carrying it, OC and CC. It will be condition 1, Cocked and locked. There is absolutely nothing wrong with that.

  9. #9
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    Thoughts / Comments ??
    Just one. Are you able to legally carry a concealed firearm in Wisconsin?

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  10. #10
    Ex Member Array AVIVIII's Avatar
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    Did he say that he was going to carry it in Wisconsin? Anyone can put whatever they like in that field. Even if he does live in Wisconsin, who says that he isn't going to carry in VT?

    As someone who is planning on carrying a 1911 style gun, I personally would like to hear more about what people have to say regarding this.
    Last edited by Bumper; January 14th, 2009 at 10:53 PM. Reason: Removed remark

  11. #11
    JD is offline
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    Stephen Camp wrote up some pretty darn good articles related to this topic, you can read it here: Is the Single-Action Automatic Obsolete? and Semiautomatic Pistols: Which is best, Single-Action or DA/SA?

  12. #12
    VIP Member Array T Bone's Avatar
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    Re: trigger pulls, safties etal... lots of folks have a "problem" with the 1911 condition one carry. It is primarily one of perception and training.

    I personally have a problem with a DA/SA auto for carry more so than other types. In a stressful situation, dealing with one type of action/trigger pull on the first shot, then a VERY DIFFERENT trigger pull/action on the second is a very serious concern. Even so, this too can be overcome by training. But the inconsistancy is such that I never carry my S&W Model 59 (was my first firearm in around 1980). I carry a 1911 nearly everyday. Condition one, always.
    Last edited by T Bone; January 14th, 2009 at 10:54 AM. Reason: Issue addressed via PMs
    Regards, T Bone.

    "Those who would give up essential liberty to purchase a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety". Benjamin Franklin

  13. #13
    Senior Member Array KevinDooley's Avatar
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    I have a friend who only carries some sort of DA guns for CC - Either a DA/SA Ruger P95 or a Ruger GP 100 (I think that's what it is... a .357 DAO revolver)

    Anyway, he told me he would never carry a SA auto (like my 1911) because the light trigger pull would make it too easy to "accidentally" shoot someone he had drawn his weapon on. I gave him a quizzical look and said, "Aren't you intending to shoot this person if you've drawn your weapon?" To which he replied, "Not necessarily, and besides, that's what a prosecuter would say about it." After which I told him that I will not draw a weapon unless I feel a threat has been made to either my family's or my own life and when I draw it is with every intention of firing. If I'm not shooting, I'm not drawing. Furthermore, if for some reason I did draw and did not intend to shoot (which I wouldn't do), I wouldn't have my finger on the trigger. That effectively solves his "problem" with SA autos.

    The way I look at it is that any well built firearm should be safe, as long as you train with how to use it. If you want a DAO with no safeties - fine, but know how to properly handle it and always carry it in a holster that covers the trigger guard (unless you'd like to pull a Plaxico). If you want a SAO of some sort - know how to manipulate it, carry it in Condition 1 (cocked and locked) and train so that you disengage the safety as part of your draw. Personally, I wouldn't carry a DA/SA or "traditional DA" unless I could carry it cocked and locked because I don't want to learn 2 different trigger pulls on the same weapon... I know I won't remember that in a time of stress!

    So my take is to carry what you're comfortable with and make sure you train, train, train! Just remember (like I had to do with my buddy), that everyone has an opinion and it's generally worth exactly what you paid for it...
    Quis custodiet ipsos custodes

    The will to win is worthless if you do not have the will to prepare. -Thane Yost

  14. #14
    Distinguished Member Array kazzaerexys's Avatar
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    Cocked and locked is a straw-man argument. Whether the hammer is back or not is irrelevant. The correct question is: how easy is it to make the gun AD? (I'll say AD because I consider an ND to be one where the person is involved in pulling the trigger under stupid circumstances.) Well, let's look at AD methods.

    1. A weapon may fire when dropped. Modern 1911s are as drop-safe, give-or-take, as any other pistol, so nothing there.
    2. A charged weapon might go off if something snags the trigger. On a Glock, this takes, what, about 5--7 pounds of pressure? On a 1911, you'd need to apply a few pounds of pressure to the thumb safety, then have something else depress the grip safety while something else applies 3--5 pounds of pressure on the trigger. Yeah, okay, the trigger is lighter, but it takes three separate and concurrent accidents to make it go off, so I'd say the 1911 is safer with respect to environment-induced discharge.
    3. A hardware malfunction may allow the hammer to drop despite the safety. There's a hammer intercept notch (aka 'half-cock') position to try to stop that. Incidentally, it would be a pretty similar malfunction that would allow the charged striker on a Glock (or similar) to fall without the trigger being pulled. So the danger here seems about the same.

    I am actually in the process of thinking about switching from a DA/SA gun to a SAO gun. The realistic trade-off to me seems to be this:

    SAO Pros:
    • Consistent trigger pull.
    • Physical safety to prevent trigger pull by unauthorized users (either the BG getting the gun away from you or somebody who doesn't know better somehow getting hold of the gun).

    SAO Cons:
    • Must train enough to be confident in deactivating safety during the intentional draw.

    Right now I am leaning strongly towards moving from my P220 to the P220 SAO, based on those pros and cons.
    “What is a moderate interpretation of [the Constitution]? Halfway between what it says and [...] what you want it to say?” —Justice Antonin Scalia

    SIG: P220R SS Elite SAO, P220R SAO, P220R Carry, P226R Navy, P226, P239/.40S&W, P2022/.40S&W; GSR 5", P6.

  15. #15
    Member Array Jameso's Avatar
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    The point of having two differeint trigger pulls in the same gun is a good one. My friend has a P99 in .45, and I thought it was a DA only gun until after the first round was fired, and the SA pull really threw me off on the second shot. I personally would not feel comfortable having to adjust in the heat of the moment if need be.

    But as stated several times already, it's all personal preference and a willingness to train and get comfortable with whatever direction you wanna go. Best of luck.

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