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Thread: General Thoughts on DA/SA Pistols

  1. #11

    Clarification

    Quote Originally Posted by ToddG View Post
    I've shot and carried, at various times and in order of experience: DA/SA, SFA, LEM, DAK, DAO and SAO pistols.
    I am assuming that SFA stands for Striker Fired Action, but I have never seen that acronym before, is that correct?

  2. #12
    We are diminished
    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Quote Originally Posted by oldwindways View Post
    I am assuming that SFA stands for Striker Fired Action, but I have never seen that acronym before, is that correct?
    Correct.

    DA/SA = double action/single action aka "traditional double action"
    SFA = striker fired action
    LEM = HK's proprietary quasi-DAO hammer fired action
    DAK = SIG's proprietary quasi-DAO hammer fired action
    DAO = double action only
    SAO = single action only aka "cocked & locked"

  3. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by ToddG View Post

    Every single student in the class was shooting either a Beretta or a SIG. The instructor, who favored 1911s and Glocks, began class by explaining how the DA/SA was impossible to shoot well and even went so far as to recommend shot-cocking the pistol on the draw, throwing the first (DA) shot into the dirt as fast as possible so as to get to the easier (SA) shots.
    One of the top competition shooters in the country (if not THE top guy) one gave me a similar speech during a match. I really couldn't BELIEVE that a guy that shoots guns for a living has NO CLUE how to properly run a DA/SA gun.
    Last edited by JV_; 05-23-2012 at 08:34 AM. Reason: fixed quote

  4. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by ToddG View Post
    Corollary: never be afraid to decock. When I run a DA/SA gun, I decock whenever the gun comes off target with no immediately obvious target to engage next. In other words, every time I "dismount'" the gun and it moves from extension to my ready position, I decock. This follows through even into my practice. Unless I'm starting with my finger on the trigger and the gun aimed at a target (or something simulating a downed threat), every single repetition of every single drill begins with a decocked hammer down DA condition gun.

    Corollary to the corollary: make decocking a habit. Whenever I hear an instructor complain that DA/SA guns are trouble because people forget to decock before holstering, I roll my eyes. The best way to fix that problem is to take the ritual you've already created for putting your gun away and purposely changing it through slow conscious repetition. When I'm on the range with new shooters -- or shooters who are having problems remembering how to operate their guns safely -- I don't say "holster." I say "decock and holster." When I'm running a DA/SA gun myself, I never think "holster," either. I always think "decock and holster." If you make decocking the gun part of coming from extension to the ready/transition position as discussed above, it's even easier. And if you ride the hammer with your thumb as you holster, you'll have immediate tactile feedback if you forgot to decock.
    On a gun that has a decock-only lever, that makes perfect sense.

    How do you recommend running a gun with a combined decock/safety? I've never liked that arrangement, but have never been trained on it.

  5. #15
    We are diminished
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    How do you recommend running a gun with a combined decock/safety? I've never liked that arrangement, but have never been trained on it.
    I only use the lever as a decocker during normal use. For administrative handling, sometimes I'll engage the safety for added protection against brain farts.

    Like you, I am not a fan of multi-function safety/decocker levers and avoid them when possible.

  6. #16
    Does Not Work For You TGS's Avatar
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    Apr 2011
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    Back in northern Virginia
    Todd,

    Good write up.

    There's one thing that I think you didn't touch on:

    How easy it is to shoot DA once you learn the technique. All the sudden, DA/SA starts looking like an advantage to a shooter that is trained on it, because you've got this awesome, true rolling break DA pull with zero stacking or inconsistency throughout the pull which actually makes it pretty easy to shoot accurately; this, compared to LEM, SA or SFA where there will always be a "wall" at the end of the trigger pull that you must compress past without disrupting the sights.

    Something I've noticed. I asked you about it over dinner and confirmed, but you didn't mention here how most people consider the DA pull to be very easy (as in, easier than other triggers) to shoot accurately once they learn the technique. To have that along with the safety margin created by a long, heavy pull that you mentioned is a win-win combination.
    Last edited by TGS; 05-23-2012 at 10:32 AM.

  7. #17
    Does Not Work For You TGS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by peterb View Post
    On a gun that has a decock-only lever, that makes perfect sense.

    How do you recommend running a gun with a combined decock/safety? I've never liked that arrangement, but have never been trained on it.
    Depends on what kind.

    USP or HK45?

    Slide mounted cluster**** ala Beretta or S&W 3rd gen? I can not positively/reliably disengage that safety arrangement with my firing hand thumb. The way I was taught in the USMC to cope with this is to disengage the safety upon coming into the compressed ready using the support-hand in a "knife hands" fashion, and from the motion of disengaging the safety continuing to roll that hand into the grip for the presentation. We had to carry with the safety on, and I'm not a big fan of just leaving the safety off and hoping it's still off when you need to shoot.

  8. #18
    I actually really like DA/SA guns, as nothing is as awesome as that light single action pull. On some guns, the DA is EXTREMELY smooth, which leads to amazing accuracy once you learn how to operate the trigger. My CZ 75 SP01 with a light trigger gave me unbelievable accuracy at 25m, it was awesome. Even after almost 13,000 rounds, I haven't been able to match the pure accuracy I got out of it at 25m slow fire (anything at speed is a totally different story though).

    I'm not trying to hijack the thread, but I know that Todd/Ben is reading this so I'll ask. What is the best way to get max accuracy out of a trigger with more of a solid break. On my PPQ, the trigger reset is unreal and the trigger is light, BUT the actual break isn't rolling, it's completely solid. Sometimes at 25m, this leads me to throw a shot a little out of the 8" zone. Any advice, techniques, etc?
    http://thedownzerojourney.wordpress.com/

  9. #19
    I was taught to shoot on a Glock, and sung the praises of the SFA trigger for a long time. Then I started shooting a DA/SA P226 and changed my tune. My preference if I were picking a gun now would be DA/SA.

  10. #20
    Great write-up Todd. Can you post it to the articles tab on the main site?

    I've always felt that the difficulties of the DA/SA trigger were vastly overstated. I use DA/SA in all my semi-autos, both for carry and competition. It is unfortunate some trainers and competitors are so dogmatic in their thinking.

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