Handling single action

This is a discussion on Handling single action within the Defensive Carry Guns forums, part of the Defensive Carry Discussions category; So in the next yr, I'd like to buy a smaller 9mm to carry. I currently carry my fullsize S&W M&P. It doesnt need to ...

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Thread: Handling single action

  1. #1
    VIP Member Array 9MMare's Avatar
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    Handling single action

    So in the next yr, I'd like to buy a smaller 9mm to carry. I currently carry my fullsize S&W M&P.

    It doesnt need to be a micro, but distinctly smaller than the M&P (which is a great gun). Even the M&P compact is bigger/heavier than I'd like.

    There are some single action guns out there that look good (if expensive). I liked a EAA Witness I held at a gun show, and like the Springfield EMP.

    I understand about the trigger pull. Can people explain more about 'decocking'? With only striker-fired weapon experience, I dont know much about this.

    For one thing, after shooting it, you need to 'decock' it before holstering or it can go off easily? And this seems like something easy to forget after a bad situation goes down.

    And I've heard there can be dangers when cleaning the weapon.

    Can anyone please explain the considerations of SA carry to someone with no hammer/SA experience?

    Thanks.
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    Ex Member Array BikerRN's Avatar
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    For defensive usage, single action "bottomfeeders" are designed to be carried with the hammer back, "cocked". and the safety on.

    I cannot recall the last time I had a safety become disengaged, unless I was the one disengaging it. The sight of the cocked hammer can be unsettling to many. I'm used to it, as that's what I grew up seeing. Yes, there is a round in the chamber as well.

    One way to get used to this is to carry the gun around the house, in your usual carry mode, but unloaded. After doing this for a week you should notice that the safety has never become disengaged, nor has the hammer fallen.

    I trust the single action autoloader so much that I will carry it in my waistband at times without a holster.

    Biker

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    Member Array rccolt.45's Avatar
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    To decock most single action weapons you must take the thumb safety off and pull the trigger as you hold the hammer and slowely lower the hammer.
    This may sound unsettling but when you realize that most SA's have redundant safeties which stop a round from firing while doing this, you realize that there is nothing unsafe about decoking in this manner as long as it is done correctly.

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    VIP Member Array jwhite75's Avatar
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    You should look at a Kahr PM9 if you decide SA is not for you. It is perfectly safe for you to ride "cocked and locked". People been doing it for a LONG time. That being said. I do not think I would attempt to switch back and forth from DA/SA, DAO, and SAO. You brain is trained with muscle memory. If you go from carrying a "point and click" gun to a "draw, swipe, point, shoot" gun, you would greatly enhance your ability to operate effectively under stress. IMHO YMMV. I shoot DAO revolvers, Glocks, and my P228...all are draw and shoot. No safeties. I dont think I could switch to an SAO and back and forth and feel good about my abilities.
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    Distinguished Member Array bladenbullet's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rccolt.45 View Post
    To decock most single action weapons you must take the thumb safety off and pull the trigger as you hold the hammer and slowely lower the hammer.
    This may sound unsettling but when you realize that most SA's have redundant safeties which stop a round from firing while doing this, you realize that there is nothing unsafe about decoking in this manner as long as it is done correctly.
    i'm just a little confused here...with the safe off and pulling the trigger there is no safety in place except your finger lowering the hammer...you have disengaged the safeties to lower the hammer...a slip could fire the firearm...although it is common practice and you really have to screw up to fire it while doing this...

    on a single action with a decocking safety lever you move the safety into the decocking position and a hammer block prevents the hammer from striking and firing the round...it looks risky while youre doin it but there isnt a risk involved...

    some people remove the mag and rack the slide to empty the chamber...then decock the gun manually...although this does not leave you with a round in the chamber...

    there is also a half cock position for the hammer which partially cocks it and it remains blocked...then it is a short pull back with the thumb to completely cock the hammer...

    i never felt unsafe carrying cocked and locked...te holster should not bear on the safety and some holsters have a cut out or molded area around the safety to prevent it from disengaging while holstered...

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    Distinguished Member Array razor02097's Avatar
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    hmmm. I haven't seen a single action with a decocker.... doesn't mean it doesn't exist I just never seen one. Most times the decocker is for double/single action service type pistols. Used to go from single action mode back to double action mode. Single action pistols usually have the ability to be cocked back and the safety on (cocked and locked).

    Decocking the 1911 involves dropping the mag, safety off, rack the slide to unchamber round, check again that its empty, then pull trigger to drop hammer.

    you could decock the 1911 with a loaded chamber...safety off, hold hammer pull trigger to engage sear then finger off the trigger again and lower hammer to half cock. why you would want to do this on a loaded chamber is beyond me.

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    Member Array naking's Avatar
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    The Springfield EMP and EAA Witness should be carried in Condition 1 (cocked and locked). It's perfectly safe. Frankly, I think that's the advantage of the design. A shot is only a safety sweep on the draw and nice 3.5# trigger pull away.

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    GM
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    After shooting a SA the hammer stays cocked (back), and you do not decock it (move the hammer down) before reholstering. You just engage the safety and reholster it cocked; with practice you will not forget it. A SA is designed to be carried cocked and locked (hammer back and safety engaged with a round in the chamber). If you carry your firearm in a good holster it will never go off by itself.

    I do not see why SA should be more dangerous when cleaning than a DAO. If something, I should say that it is the opposite, because when you deal with a SA you can see if it is cocked or not without pulling the trigger. Any firearm can be dangerous in any occasion if you do not follow the safety rules.

    Going over from a DAO to a SA can be a little scary for some people, but you will get used to it very quick. Although I also have DAOs I feel more secure when carrying a SA. No to mention the beautiful trigger that a SA has.

    Some SA pistols like the BHP and 1911 are very easy to CC despite that they are full-size. The length of the barrel does not really matter when you CC, what matters is the thickness and the length of the grip depending of in which position you carry. I CC every day a full-size BHP at about 4:00 - 4:30.

    Unfortunately, in this era of poly DAOs, good SA pistols are not always cheap. That is the cruel reality. Just save money and buy a good SA; you will love it, and after it you will never go back to poly DAO. Just my two cents.
    Last edited by GM; January 23rd, 2010 at 06:57 AM.
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    Member Array sixplus1's Avatar
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    I carry my little single action with one in the chamber, but hammer up and safety on. I can very easily drop the safety and the hammer while drawing. So, I feel very safe carrying. I pocket carry. If I carried in a belt holster, then I would carry cocked and locked.

    As a matter of fact I feel this is safer than carrying a striker fired double action.

    Hint: Be very careful fingering the hammer if you have just washed your hands, or your hands are otherwise wet/slippery. Very careful.

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    VIP Member Array 9MMare's Avatar
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    Alot of very helpful info here. JWhite75 brought up another issue that does bother me....the difference in training required because SA and DA & the triggers are very different. (I do like the Kahrs btw, but have heard bad things about trigger pull?)

    But it also showed that I really dont know much about SA guns. I thought that a decocker was the hammer. Apparently not. Can anyone please explain?
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    Freedom doesn't mean safe, it means free.

    The thing about "defense" is that it has practically nothing to do with guns. (As passed on by CCW9MM)

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    OD*
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    A decocker lowers the hammer and blocks contact with the firing pin.
    "The pistol, learn it well, carry it always ..." ~ Jeff Cooper

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    Member Array ccwguy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 9MMare View Post
    I thought that a decocker was the hammer. Apparently not. Can anyone please explain?
    Nope. Separate lever.

    On my HK, the thumb safety doubles as the decocker. This HK offers single action or double action first shot carry. Once the slide is racked, the hammer is back, in the cocked position. The thumb safety lever can then be pushed all the way up, and the safety is on. The gun is now in single action mode or cocked and locked. To deactivate the safety and fire the gun, the safety lever needs to be swiped down to the off position.

    To carry the gun in double action first shot mode, after the slide is racked and the hammer is cocked back, the thumb safety lever needs to be pushed downward from the off position. This releases the hammer and puts the gun in double action mode. The thumb safety lever is spring loaded and rises back up to the off position. The gun can be carried this way as the heavy 10+ pound trigger pull is now acting as a safety. For further safety, the thumb lever can also be pushed all the way up for safety on mode in double action carry.

    In the below photo, the hammer has been decocked and the thumb safety is off. The gun is in double action first shot mode with the heavy DA trigger pull acting as the safety.



    Sigs are different. In the below photo, the decocker lever is the one in the middle of the three rectangular buttons right below the slide. The larger, rectangular button to the left is the disassembly lever, and the smaller rectangular one to the right is the slide stop lever. On this Sig, once the slide has been racked and the hammer is in the cocked position, the decocker is pushed all the way down toward the magazine release button to decock the hammer. The gun is now carried in double action first shot mode. There is no additional safty lever option as on the HK. However, Sig does make a single action only gun where the safety lever needs to be disengaged befor the trigger can be pulled.


    I hope this helps.

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    VIP Member Array 9MMare's Avatar
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    Very helpful, both!

    Thanks. I mostly understand, will do better if and when I can handle similar guns.

    Decisions, decisions!
    Fortune favors the bold.

    Freedom doesn't mean safe, it means free.

    The thing about "defense" is that it has practically nothing to do with guns. (As passed on by CCW9MM)

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    Member Array wheel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rccolt.45 View Post
    To decock most single action weapons you must take the thumb safety off and pull the trigger as you hold the hammer and slowely lower the hammer.
    This may sound unsettling but when you realize that most SA's have redundant safeties which stop a round from firing while doing this, you realize that there is nothing unsafe about decoking in this manner as long as it is done correctly.
    Others have responded to this comment, but I think it should be emphasized.

    This is very bad advice. One should NEVER decock a single action auto (i.e. 1911 style) in this manner. There are NO safeties in play that would prevent the gun from firing should your thumb slip off the hammer.

    Remove the mag, lower the thumb safety with the gun pointed in a safe direction, and rack the slide to empty the chamber. THEN you can lower the hammer if desired. That's the correct and only safe way to do it.

    ETA: It should also be noted that it's generally not a good idea to carry a 1911 with the hammer down on a loaded chamber. So even if you succeed in decocking in the manner the OP suggests, your gun is not in a very safe condition. True, more recent models have firing pin safeties that will provide some level of protection, but older models don't. If you drop the gun or hit the hammer it might fire. It's just not a good idea.

    .
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  16. #15
    GM
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    The triggers are different. The trigger of a SA is the same every time you pull it, short and light. The trigger of a DAO is more like a revolver’s trigger I should say; it is long every time you pull it. The trigger of a SA/DA is long and heavy the first time the pistol is fired (if you fire it in DA) and the other times is short like in a SA (this happens because the pistol stays cocked after the first time). However, if the first time you fire the pistol you do it in SA then it is always the same.
    I do not know what “bad things” you have heard about the Kahr; I have a MK9 Elite and it has a nice trigger for being a DAO (sorry, I am a little biased here). I never had a problem with it, and it does not have any manual safety, just the longer trigger.
    Although the triggers are different, I do not have any problems switching back and forth from SA and DAO pistols. I just practice with both of them every time I got to the range.

    Here is a link there you can read more about triggers:

    Trigger (firearms) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    About the decocker. The pistol says to be cocked when the hammer is back. SA pistols have a manual safety. After chambering the pistol the hammer stays cocked (back), and then you engage the safety by hand; the pistol is then said to be “cocked and locked” or in “condition 1” ( or “one in the pipe and ready to rock” ). SA's are designed to be carried in that way.
    To decocke a SA you hold the hammer with your thumb/left hand at the same time that you pull the trigger, which moves the hammer down. Notice that if the pistol already has been fired once or if it has been chambered then there is one round in the pipe! Decocking the firearm in this way requires practicing first with a unloaded weapon, and to always point to a safe direction not matter what. During the night, I always have my SA on the nightstand with one round in the chamber and the hammer down. I am not telling you to do the same, I am just telling you how I do; big difference.
    Some SA/DA pistols have decocking lever and safety stop on hammer instead. Other member in this forum, archer51, gave a very good explanation about what this implies:

    “Your SP01 is a DA/SA pistol with a safety lever, the P-06 does not have a safety lever, it has a decocker lever. The decocker lever, when depressed, allows the hammer to safely drop to the half cock position. Since the trigger is not actuated, the firing pin safety is still engaged, keeping the gun from firing.”

    Below are some links about this topic:

    Semi-Auto Pistol Safeties Explained

    Semi-automatic pistol - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Safety (firearms) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia


    I am far away from being an expert, so you should research more about all this by yourself. I am sure that if I said something wrong or if I missed something other forum members might want to correct me (and I hope they do it!).
    Oh yes ... welcome to the SA club
    Last edited by GM; January 24th, 2010 at 07:44 PM.
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