Many people have a hard time deciding what they prefer when it comes to Double Action/ Single Action handguns or Striker Fired handguns. They are two very different systems that both have their advantages, but often DA/SA guns take more time to master over striker fired guns. The market is filled with both options and most companies are making variations of both.
Double Action/ Single Action
Hammer fired handguns have been around for the last few hundred years. DA/SA guns have been extremely popular and were the standard before striker fired handguns came out. The first shot is typically double action or a heavier pull. This is typically between 7-12 pounds with the follow-up shot being a lighter trigger pull. The Single Action trigger pull is usually between 3-8 pounds for DA/SA guns which is considerably lighter than the first shot. People enjoy this type of handguns because under stress it takes a deliberate trigger pull to fire the weapon.
Positives of DA/SA
With hammer fired handguns you also get second strike capability. This means you can pull the trigger a second time, hitting the primer again and making the round fire. The downside to this system is the difference in trigger pulls between the first and second shot. The difference between the two shots is usually enough for a beginner shooter to shoot low or miss their second shot. Of course, this can be fixed with practice at the range but does take time to master. Getting used to the two trigger pulls can be done with time, but starting off it can be really difficult for people who are beginners.
Striker Fired Handguns
Striker Fired weapons are the newer style of handguns. Companies like Glock, HK and Smith and Wesson have made very popular over the last few years. Most new shooters go with Striker Fired handguns over DA/SA because they are easier to consistently shoot. A large percentage of competition shooters also use striker fired or Single Action Only handguns. This is because they always have the same trigger pull. Usually, the trigger pull is between 5-7 lbs depending on the gun and trigger. This is in between the two actions in hammer fired handguns and never changes since there is only one action rather than two different types. One of the downsides to striker fired handguns is the lack of second strike capability. Once the trigger is pulled, it is not possible to pull the trigger a second time without racking the slide to reset the trigger.
Hammer fired guns are able to strike every time the trigger is pulled without being reset. This is one of the only downsides to Striker Fired guns though. Striker fired guns typically are simpler designs with less moving parts. Striker fired guns tend to be really reliable for the most part with Glock being the most well-known striker fired. Recently, the United States Army decided to switch service pistols. They went from the Beretta M9 to the SIG Sauer P320 or the M17, which is the official military name. The future in the design of handguns will be striker fired if I had to guess. It’s a simpler system and more compact than hammer based handguns.
So what’s my advice for people looking to pick up their first handgun? I tell people all the time to find a gun range where you can rent both styles of guns and try them for yourself. I can’t tell you that one’s better than the other because I enjoy both types. It’s more up to personal preference, but both styles of guns have been proven reliable. Both have excellent examples for each one, whether it’s Glock or SIG Sauer. I will be coming out with a top ten list for both DA/SA guns and Striker Fired handguns as well, so keep an eye out for that. If you guys have any questions or comments, feel free to leave a comment below. You can also send me an email, and remember to stay safe out there.