Do you use a single action auto? If so, why?

Do you use a single action auto? If so, why?

This is a discussion on Do you use a single action auto? If so, why? within the General Firearm Discussion forums, part of the Related Topics category; There was another thread asking how people carried their single action autos (cocked, cocked and locked, etc.) and I did not want to hijack it. ...

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Thread: Do you use a single action auto? If so, why?

  1. #1
    Member Array aogiss's Avatar
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    Do you use a single action auto? If so, why?

    There was another thread asking how people carried their single action autos (cocked, cocked and locked, etc.) and I did not want to hijack it.

    For me, I want a double action I can pull and shoot, no safety, no key lock, no hammer to cock, nothing but squeeze and rounds down range. Rifles are another story.

    I carry a couple of different pistols, Glock 19 and Ruger LCP, both chambered, carried in Remora holsters (which I highly recommend). For those not familiar with these pistols, they have no thumb safety and no exposed hammer, so if a round is chambered, there is nothing to do but squeeze the trigger.

    I would like to hear from those who carry/prefer single action autos. I keep wondering if I am missing something that might make me consider a SA auto. I did use the standard issue Beretta in the Marines, but that was a much different role than concealed carry.
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    VIP Member Array varob's Avatar
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    With just a little bit of muscle memory you can drop the thumb safety on a 1911, clear the holster and rotate the gun into the firing position at the same speed as a double action auto.
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    Senior Member Array Dandyone's Avatar
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    I think what your missing is the experience of shooting a 1911. You don't pull the trigger, you put pressure on it...

    I carry a striker fired semi auto, but that is a purely financial decision... which will change.

    I would not worry about the safety because that is where I put ky shooting thumb. This grip gives an extra stable platform, which is especially great when shooting one handed.

    Here's a shot from range time today. Shot with a 1911. Drill was draw from holster, put 2 rounds COM, and one to the head, swap mags, repeat, swap mags. Reholster. Repeat. Not sure why the head shots were so squirrely... but I'm pretty sure it was operator error. BTW, the target was at 30 feet.



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    Really love the trigger of the single-action automatic! Will not take double-action-only autos seriously.

    I've been using safeties on 1911s along with various shotguns and rifles all my life. It's just not the problem it's made out to be on forums. Self-defense isn't the same as a jumped deer, bursting covey of quail, or ducks off of a Texas stock tank but the safety, even different safety designs in different locations, has not been a problem. Perhaps that'll change when I get older and "doddery-er."

    I just don't get DAO handguns!

    The last time my wife and I renewed our concealed carry permits we used the Hi-Power for the shooting portion. I like the Hi-Power and the 1911. They are sensible handguns.

    I'm going to embarrass myself and ask this question.

    Why is DAO so important on a handgun? After all the years of reading the re-think of tactics and observing the newer designs and models that have been introduced I still just don't (or willfully won't) grasp the notion that manipulating any sort of handgun with a DAO trigger is somehow superior to the use of models with a single action capability. Doesn't matter if it is a S&W Centennial model revolver, a "safe-action" automatic, or even a Sauer Model 1930 "Behorden" automatic; a trigger that requires more effort to press just seems wrong.

    If shooters had only known the various DAO designs for the past 100 years and a manufacturer introduced a new design that, upon the release of a simple safety lever, offered a crisp and accuracy-enhancing single action trigger, then all would hail it as a great breakthrough.

    Now my much esteemed brother-in-law has practiced, both with his stable of Glocks and other DAO automatics and his double action revolvers, to the point that he can hit distant targets that are quite small with ease and rapidity.

    I'm envious of his capabilities but loathe to practice enough to gain such proficiency. It's fun to throw a little double action shooting into a session but I don't dwell on it. I can readily shoot a 250 score on the Texas Concealed Carry qualification target with a double action and figure that's good enough. It will cover any distance encountered within my house and any reasonable distance I encounter when carrying outside the home.

    It is observed that many of the folks who tout the necessity for use of a DAO handgun, both in print and on forums, also gravitate towards the "tactical" pump shotgun and the AR 15 as part of their self defense battery. Why is a DAO trigger a requirement on a handgun and not on the long guns? If one is attempting to avoid accidentally triggering a weapon through use of the DAO trigger feature then why not have triggers with longer and heavier strokes or special trigger levers on the long guns as well?

    Folks expect to manipulate actions and release safeties when bringing the long guns into play. Is the handgun all that different?

    It's amazing to frequently read of the defeatist attitude regarding any trigger (handgun only mind you) that supposedly requires more thought or is reputed to be more difficult to manipulate or control under stress than the DAO handgun, whether revolver or automatic. No one apparently wants their rifles or shotguns to have a trigger pull like a DAO handgun though.

    There are quite a few pistoleros out there however who appear to fret excessively about their ability to use anything "more complicated" under stress. They hold this up as special insight on why the DAO handgun is indisputably the superior design; a notion I ain't buying. Especially when one can almost hear the whine in their voices when listening to them or reading their posts.

    I don't trust myself to...
    I might not be able to do it when...
    It seems so unsafe to...
    It has to be simple for me so...

    Some folks just need a little starch in their drawers and a little practice under their belts.

    Which brings up the question of how to cover an adversary with the gun when one doesn't intend to shoot. If I have to point a gun at someone then things have deteriorated to a point that is grave indeed. If shooting is required it will be deliberate and I'd just as soon have a nice trigger available. DAO guns don't have nice triggers to my old fashioned way of thinking. The DAO trigger seems an unnecessary nuisance.

    The following is taken from the owner's manual supplied with my 1971 vintage Smith & Wesson Model 10 revolver.

    "There is time even in rapid fire shooting for the deliberate handling of the gun in single action fashion just so long as the function is performed without loss of time and in a definite cadence whereby the cycle will be completed within the allotted time."

    While true of a timed course of fire on the range, this could have application for self defense as well.

    To continue.

    "When time or other circumstances do not allow for single action fire the revolver is used double action. To fire double action all that is necessary is to align the weapon with the object which you wish to hit and pull the trigger firmly all the way to the rear ... the only limit to the speed with which a weapon can be manipulated in this fashion will be determined by the dexterity of the shooter. This type of shooting is required in combat work or under emergency conditions where the gun must be used with great speed."


    Not being concerned with law enforcement training and techniques, couldn't a person recognize when speed was necessary and DAO use was required and employ the revolver accordingly? Otherwise cheat and make use of the excellent single action trigger. Manipulation of the safety of a 1911 is much the same. Carry cocked and locked and, upon releasing the safety, enjoy the use of a really decent trigger.

    Or perhaps the SA/DA automatics are the best of both worlds.

    The DAO trigger is a legal safety net in the minds of many. If the argument that DAO use really is required to make a self defense shoot "righteous" then why not make the trigger extra heavy and difficult? A self defense shooting requires that we do our best, even when it isn't convenient and the odds are stacked against us. Once a line is crossed and shooting is required, a mechanical device that is an impediment is just so much baggage and the DAO trigger is designed to impede, even if only a little. Kits are available that lighten the DAO trigger pull but at what point do these render the pistol un-PC?

    If a person takes comfort in the concept of DAO then it is a worthwhile development in the handgun world. It's another option for those who see its value. I'm just not interested.

    Now y'all can all tell me that I just don't get out enough.

    Which is true by the way.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bmcgilvray View Post
    Really love the trigger of the single-action automatic! Will not take double-action autos seriously.

    I've been using safeties on 1911s along with various shotguns and rifles all my life. It's just not the problem it's made out to be on forums. Self-defense isn't the same as a jumped deer, bursting covey of quail, or ducks off of a Texas stock tank but the safety, even different safety designs in different locations, has not been a problem. Perhaps that'll change when I get older and "doddery-er."

    I just don't get DAO handguns!
    You have summed it up better than I could ever hope to; I have never understood the terror of having to disengage the safety on any pistol. I will admit that I have practiced to the point that when using a DA revolver I do thumb back the hammer for that sweet, crisp SA pull.
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    Member Array bgusty's Avatar
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    It is easier to be accurate with a gun that has a good trigger. The SA I have shot (1911 and revolver) were much more accurate for me when shooting in SA mode. Aside from that, it takes me no more time to unholster my ultra carry, sweep off the safety and get on target than it would with something like a glock (I carried the 26 and found myself sweeping a non-existant safety). For me the 1911 is slimmer and easier to conceal as well, and overall a better package and fit for me.
    I think guns are like insurance. I would rather have it and not need it than need it and not have it.

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    Member Array DaveInEdmonds's Avatar
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    Because single action is the way God and John Moses Browning intended a gun to be shot.

    I have no issues thumbing of the safety of my P938 or my 1911 and being on target just as quickly as any other gun. This is a mythical non-issue perpetuated by people that have never carried a 1911.
    Last edited by DaveInEdmonds; April 13th, 2013 at 10:58 AM.
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    Senior Member Array 031131's Avatar
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    Well I don't carry my single actions, I do enjoy the aspect that they make one rethink what they are about to do. Kind of like when you rack a shot gun, its business time. And enough practice you can be very fast, just look at all those competitions with cowboy shooting (lol I admit I don't know what its really called but you get the idea).

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    I prefer that all trigger pulls be the same...
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  10. #10
    Member Array aogiss's Avatar
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    I like the points about accuracy, that is a given for sure and I may have to try some of the SA autos for that aspect. I have never shot a 1911, but they are obviously popular. I have very tight groups in both quick draw and target shooting with the Glock, but I have overly extreme amounts of shooting experience from the service, so I would not expect the same from most people. The LCP is more of the "I need to get this twit off me and I found his 4th rib" type pistol.

    Regarding the "need" for DAO or fear of safeties, I would not use the word need, but definitely a strong preference. As bmcgilvray stated above, I too do not understand why someone would be opposed to a safety for rifles/shotguns. Traipsing around the woods with a thousand million twigs and vines to tug on the trigger warrants a safety, at least for me.

    I do not feel as if I have problems with safeties or muscle memory for such, or think speed of draw and shoot would vary much, it is more about having fewer things to go wrong. Of course, there are the adrenaline and snagging issues. The snagging thing is a bit of a neurosis with me from all the gear we wore...it makes me twitch a little.
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    Accuracy is not an issue for me. My general self defense philosophy is a close range ordeal. A carry gun in my mind is more or less a very long stick - like 30 feet long. Lever safeties are just another thing to get bumped around, another thing to guard.

    I've pulled the trigger on birds and whitetails without disengaging the safety first. I have no intention of introducing the possibility of the same mistake in a self defense situation.

    It's time for a story.

    So, I and one of my hunting buddies are walking into a timber to go on stand for a deer drive. We are walking north on a mowed edge, the timber to the west and north and to our east is a tall grass prairie stand with a pond. My buddy is walking about 20 yards in front of me. We both stop to watch two does and a buck bust out of the timber to our north. They are heading south and east on the other side of the pond at a pretty good clip. My view is from about 200 yards away and it crosses my mind that I am looking at a decent rack. I don't get too excited since these deer look to be making a beeline for the next county. They disappear behind the tall grass and my gaze is turned into the timber by the sound of a frolicking fox squirrel. I take a good long scan. It looks very dark in there from here. My buddy continued to follow the deer from his forward vantage point.

    My meditation is broken by a Pssst! from ahead. I turn my gaze and see my buddy with his wrist about his forehead wiggling his fingers frantically. What? He gives me a big over hand finger point to the area behind me. I turn my gaze south and see some movement in the tall grass. A doe sticks her head out into the mowed edge and takes a gaze at me. I tilt my head to match her gaze. I see some movement in the grass behind her and that's when I see the rack bouncing up and down. It's closer now. It's a good one yes siree! It occurs to me that my gun is not loaded to I quickly slam two rounds into the magazine and the buck busts out of the grass into the mowed strip and is headed into the timber. Perfect left to right bolting broadside at 15 yards. I swing my 12 ga Ithaca Deerslayer and pull the trigger.

    Click! The buck runs off into the darkness. I release the action and rack a shell into the chamber. Well, at least I got the safety disengagement part right. ???

    My buddy is laughing at me. I deserve it.
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  12. #12
    Member Array aogiss's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Doghandler View Post
    Accuracy is not an issue for me. My general self defense philosophy is a close range ordeal. A carry gun in my mind is more or less a very long stick - like 30 feet long. Lever safeties are just another thing to get bumped around, another thing to guard.
    That is about my sentiment as well. I am not going to be engaging targets far enough away to require a serious aim. I have seriously tight groups with the Glock 19. There is a recoil/trigger distance motion you can ride after the first shot if you practice it a bit. It essentially sends two or three rounds down range faster than you could normally pull the trigger, and if you hold well, the groups are amazing.

    I am picking up the Glock 10mm next.

    Good story!

    Another funny safety story...during some swamp training we set up a hasty ambush for a reported patrol coming our way. All fire was to begin when the heavy guns started firing. The patrol is moving in the kill zone. The patrol was in the kill zone. All were waiting for the signal gun to start. We heard a safety click off, then the signal gun began to fire. The patrol heard the click and made a dash. They still died, but it was pretty funny...but only because it was training.
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    VIP Member Array Ksgunner's Avatar
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    Sweeping the safety off when drawing my Kimber DOES NOT SLOW DOWN THE DRAW!! end of story.

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    Member Array rutcrazed's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ksgunner View Post
    Sweeping the safety off when drawing my Kimber DOES NOT SLOW DOWN THE DRAW!! end of story.
    I agree with him!!!
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    I'll use them all

    In the past I have carried single actions (1911s), DA/SA (revolvers and Sigs), and DAO (Glocks and Kahrs). When I go to the range I will take several guns, usually some combination of these 3 action types. I generally put up two identical targets at the same range and fire gun A at target A, and gun B at target B, then compare the results. While I believe the single action guns with a short trigger pull of 4.5 pounds give very good results, I can also get similar results with the DA/SA or DAO guns. The target results seem to vary more with the particular gun (size, weight, sights, ergonomics) than with the trigger type.

    So based on this I don't personally receive a large accuracy benefit from the single action gun, and therefore don't preferentially carry or use such a gun. My "best" or favorite semiautos for accuracy are a Sig P229 .40 caliber (DA/SA), a Glock 36 .45 caliber (DAO), and a Colt Gold Cup .45 (SA). So I will use any of these trigger types for defense.
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