Cocking a DA in Defensive Situation


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Drakejake
April 2, 2003, 06:13 PM
The main defect of a double/single action auto is said to be the fact that the double action trigger pull is longer and different from the subsequent single action pulls. The cocked and locked single action has the same short trigger pull for every shot. But how about cocking the DA for the first shot, either by racking the slide or by thuimb cocking? Would this be an option in some defensive situations? The shooter would have the option of shooting the first shot quickly in double action or taking two extra seconds to cock and fire single action.

Drakejake

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hardcorehunter5
April 2, 2003, 07:05 PM
If you want to shoot in single action, by a single action. How many shots do you think that you can get off in two seconds. I would thingk that in the heat of the moment you would hardly notice the difference in single or double. A double action is not going to cause a shooter to miss their target in a defensive situation. People that feel uncomfortable with DA seem to be purist. I would not feel comfortable getting in and out of a patrol car with the hammer back of a firearm. With all the equipment on my belt and just the movement of sitting and standing there is too much room for mistakes. Another reason for this opinion is that practice can usually over comer any felt handicap with a DA. Providing slide action to cock the hammer would also defeat the purpose of a defensive weapon. A defensive weapon never knows whene it may be called upon and not having a round in the camber would make the whole process alot slower and more dangerous, creating a possible victim out of the gun holder.

Pico
April 2, 2003, 07:16 PM
I think having a DA trigger is great for that first shot if you are prowling around your house in the dark. Adrenaline will kick in and the trigger pull won't matter. I like the Kel Tec P-11 in that role because it is always a long DA pull and you got to make it fire with a very definite pull on the trigger. Not the best for the range as a good SA trigger but I take it along anyway and have a blast with it. Shooting a P-11 makes you shoot you other guns better.

Pico

Pico
April 2, 2003, 07:25 PM
Don't think I properly answered the question. Been watching too much combat footage and have my mind on our guys over there.
God bless them. (Anybody see the shots of those guys firing the Barrett .50 last night on Fox News?!!)

Anyway, thumb cocking is no problem in any situation and might serve to give a nice non-verbal message to an intruder, kind of like racking a 12 gauge pump gun. I still would prefer to go for the DA shot for my first and ventilate mr. burgular or whoever with 14 more quick SA followups.

Pico:D

ACP
April 2, 2003, 07:40 PM
If you have time to thumb cock a DA gun then you likely have time to take cover and, perhaps, get the hell out of the siutation. Have you tried this under stress at the range? Forget it. And under a real assault, double forget it. The lawyers will have a field day, you'll probably slip and drop the hammer, etc. Practice shooting the first shot DA just as the muzzle clears the leather, then emptying the gun into 2-3 BGs, then dropping your empty magazine and reloading. That's what you'll likely do when a small gang decides they like your car, or don't like your face.

Kilroy
April 2, 2003, 07:56 PM
The long time head of a major training vendor is a strong proponent of doing this. He states, "if given time and distance, cock the da*n hammer." Of course his companies products require a very healthy pull of the trigger to get that first DA shot fired.

gumshoe4
April 2, 2003, 08:26 PM
I'm with Hardcorehunter5. If you don't want the DA trigger pull, why buy a DA gun? Buy a Glock (which is essentially a single action, light trigger pull pistol without a manually operated safety-I don't count the blade safety on the trigger, since your finger ain't supposed to be there until you're ready to fire anyway) or a 1911.

I love the DA trigger pull on my Rugers and the DA pull on the Sig isn't bad either, but if you don't want to pull the trigger all the way through a DA hammer-cocking function, get a SA pistol and learn its manual of arms.

JMHO

Bob
TFL# 8032

Drakejake
April 2, 2003, 08:57 PM
I believe that with a modern pistol, accidentally dropping the hammer while trying to cock it will not fire the pistol because the trigger hasn't been pulled and the hammer safety blocks the firing pin from the hammer. Right? I believe that is true with the Ruger P series. I like the double action because of added safety and the fact that I don't have a hammer sticking out while I am carrying the gun concealed. I do have a nice quasi-1911 (Star PD) which can be carried cocked and locked. I also have two Star pistols which are DA but which can be carried cocked and locked. Freaky, what! (Megastar .45 and model 31P 9mm.)

One may not be able to find cover in two seconds. And you may be defending someone else who cannot take cover in such a short time.

Drakejake

P95Carry
April 2, 2003, 09:07 PM
If I had a ''cover-dive'' situation and then, a pause at all ... i would i think cock the hammer .... keeps gun at ready with no extra effort and makes first shot (if needed) that much more accurate.

Otherwise of course ... yeah ... D/A and continue S/A .. the reason I have the Ruger.:p

10-Ring
April 2, 2003, 09:25 PM
I have practiced the transition 1000's of times. Once you get use to the transition, it really is no bg deal ;)

Logistar
April 2, 2003, 11:28 PM
I have practiced the transition 1000's of times. Once you get use to the transition, it really is no bg deal I agree! In fact, the last time I worked on this at the range, my shots were more accurate DA than SA! This is from the "ready position". I guess this was just a fluke but the bottom line is that I am plenty accurate (at defensive distances) either DA or SA.

*IF* I had plenty of time then I would likely pull the hammer back. If I am surprised and need a shot quickly, I will have a DA pull. (Any safety is kept off. - Under pressure, I occasionally don't make a clean swipe so either I don't HAVE a safety or it is off when I carry.)

Logistar

seeker_two
April 3, 2003, 09:44 AM
If you have to take an accurate shot at range, then it would make sense (but then questions about the "immediate threat to safety" may be asked by the local DA...:scrutiny: )

It's not a bad skill to have in your repetoire, but I'd still practice close-range DA fire as well.

(But then, I carry 1911's in Condition 2...:evil: )

Jim Watson
April 3, 2003, 09:58 AM
There was a guy in one of my clubs who thumb-cocked a Sig Sauer for the first shot. It looked awkward. Most of these guns have rather small hammer spurs and I think there would be a risk of missing the stroke or just getting to half cock. Better to spend the practice time on the DA-SA "crunch-tick" transition.

It is also somewhat like a Condition 3 carry. The hammer on an auto is not well placed for cocking with the gun hand, unlike a revolver's. So you need both hands to get going, and you may not have both available at the time.

MK11
April 3, 2003, 11:02 AM
If you've got time and distance, why not? If you're right handed, keep the gun in your right hand with finger off the trigger, and cock with your left thumb. Fast and easy.

But ONLY if you have time and distance. If you want SA for every single shot, then there's no question you're better off with cocked and locked or a Glock system.

Wilhelm
April 4, 2003, 10:14 AM
I shoot a 92FS in IDPA. When I go to the range to practice my DA shot I do HORRIBLY. In competition it doesnt seem to bother me. So I have quit practicing my DA shot.




Wilhelm

cslinger
April 4, 2003, 11:50 AM
If you are in a nice big movie gun fight and you need to take out the bag guy 50 yards away on the catwalk, then by all means.

Chances are even if you are a police officer a real gun fight is going to happen so fast and unexpectedly that you will have your gun empty before you even know what happend, much less have time to make a nice pretty aimed shot in single action.

Besides as a CCW carrier or home defense person I just don't see a need for ever having to do this. The ranges will be close and if they are not then you should be going the other way post haste.

I also don't see a point in cocking a hammer back as a threat or intimidation move. The gun itself should be plenty intimidating and cocking a hammer is just another fine motor skill to go wrong at the wrong moment.

I am a DA/SA traditional kind of guy. I like my SIGs for this reason.

I am with those who say if you want to do this, buy a gun that is always in single action.

Chris

Chipperman
April 4, 2003, 02:01 PM
I would think that it's not much different than moving a safety. If the gun you want is not available in cocked and locked format (Sig, etc), then I think it's fine to practice that.

The key is practice. The biggest drawback I can see is that you need to use your thumb, thereby weakening your grip on the gun while you do it.

Handy
April 4, 2003, 04:14 PM
Drake,

I really see your question as another vote in favor of DA/SA guns WITH hammers. DA triggers offer immediate response and very safe carry, but the SA trigger gives you faster splits and more accurate shooting, when necessary.

Consider cocking with the off hand. This accomplishes a couple of things:
1. Helps you make a decision. If there isn't time for a good two handed grip, you won't be able to cock and will make the reactive shot with the DA trigger. If there is time for both hands, then there is likely also time to cock the hammer.

2. The off hand thumb (on autos) is a more positive way of cocking the hammer.

3. The primary hand must disturb the grip too much (on autos) when reaching for the hammer. This could lead to dropping the weapon or jamming it if the slide impacts the thumb on firing.


The only other comment I would make is that cocking the gun in combat is a method that should be used SOULY on guns with an exposed hammer or other specific cocking device. On weapons like the P99 or the bobbed hammer S&W's, the partial slide manipulation necessary to cock the gun is too likely to result in an induced feed jam when rushed. Those weapon's mainsprings should only be engaged with the trigger.

treeprof
April 4, 2003, 05:47 PM
No point in adding extra steps to firing any gun; too much to go wrong under stress. A gunfight is likely to already be over in the time it takes to cock a gun after one realizes they need to shoot, and who wants to die with their thumb on the hammer and an "oh crap" look on their face?

There's a big diff between cocking and snicking off the safety. Try cocking a gun w/out disturbing and obscuring the sight picture; too many opposing forces in the hands, the grip is altered, and the thumb is likely to obscure the sights in the process.

Blackhawk
April 4, 2003, 06:37 PM
ACP said it well, and Pico's right in that shooting a P-11 will greatly improve your skill with your DA/SA pistol. :D

If you're worried about missing on your first DA shot, shoot a box or two through it using DA exclusively. Then shoot a box or two with first shot DA and the follow up SA. You won't have any more problems or concerns about the issue.

IMO, when adrenaline kicks in during an actual SD or HD situation, I'd much rather have a DA trigger giving me a bunch of extra resistance so the gun doesn't fire the instant I touched the trigger. :what:

arizona
April 4, 2003, 08:33 PM
I don't see a problem cocking the weapon with time and distance.

It is similar to a revolver in this respect. In certain situations it would be to your advantage to cock your revolver. Other times it would be best to shoot double action.

Advantage with the DA/SA is if you cock the weapon and don't need to fire you can then use your de-cocker.

benEzra
April 6, 2003, 01:12 AM
I practice drawing and firing a DA first shot on my S&W 3913LS a LOT, and find that it is just as fast and accurate as firing an SA first shot. (3193LS can't be thumb-cocked since the hammer is machined flush with the back of the slide when it is down.) If the DA trigger on your DA/SA is so bad that it throws your aim off, get a gunsmith to look at it.

It seems to me that the factor limiting speed and accuracy on the first shot isn't the trigger pull, it's getting the gun out and lined up with the target.

Shooting from a sandbag, I've hit a 24" metal plate at 100 yards shooting DA.

buttrap
April 6, 2003, 03:36 AM
I just dont get this issue,folks have been shooting DA revolvers for 150 years and its now a problem if it a selfloader?

Handy
April 6, 2003, 03:39 AM
Butt,

It's not a selfloader problem per se. What stance ARE they taking over on the revolver forum?

An auto is generally a little harder to cock, though.

buttrap
April 6, 2003, 06:06 AM
I will admit that some autos are harder to cock but some can be had in the DA style that are a cocked and locked style too. I just like the idea of a short range DA shot vs a finger on a 2-3 pound cocked trigger with the adrenelin pumping is all.

Sean Smith
April 6, 2003, 02:15 PM
If you think you could gain something by cocking the hammer of a double action semi-auto in a fight, you have basically admitted to yourself that the whole premise of the DA semi-auto (i.e., heavy first trigger pull) is wrong for you. At some level you realized that heavy and long trigger pulls make it harder for you to actually hit what you are shooting at than short and light trigger pulls.

People should use the system they are comforatble with actually using. If you have a DA semi-auto, but find that you are always looking for excuses to not pull that double-action trigger when you actually shoot it, you should consider a different sort of firearm.

Blackhawk
April 6, 2003, 02:42 PM
Well said, Sean.

arizona
April 6, 2003, 02:53 PM
People should use the system they are comforatble with actually using. If you have a DA semi-auto, but find that you are always looking for excuses to not pull that double-action trigger when you actually shoot it, you should consider a different sort of firearm.
____________________________________

Agree...that said, there is still nothing wrong with cocking the hammer if a person is confident in the system.

People have been cocking the hammer on double action revolvers for years. To me a DA/SA auto is similar to a revolver when you have a choice on the first shot.

Obviously if the bad guy/guys are almost on you, you would not try and cock the hammer before you fire.

Given time and distance and you are comfortable with the operation of your pistol and have trained accordingly, it will sometimes be to your advantage to cock the hammer before firing.

Drakejake
April 6, 2003, 02:55 PM
I can't agree with Sean Smith on this. The double action can be fired that way if necessary, or single action if there is time to cock the hammer or rack the slide. So the double action has this versatility. And carrying the double action with hammer down has a safety aspect missing from pistols such as Glock which have no manual safety and when fully loaded are semi-cocked. There is no doubt that one can shoot more accurately more easily with a short, light single action trigger than with the heavier, longer double action or DAO trigger. I don't argue that. In fact my question starting this thread is based on that assumption.

Drakejake

Sean Smith
April 6, 2003, 03:02 PM
There is no doubt that one can shoot more accurately more easily with a short, light single action trigger than with the heavier, longer double action or DAO trigger. I don't argue that. In fact my question starting this thread is based on that assumption.

If you belive that, then why the hell are you using a weapon that you think hinders your ability to hit the target? Shooting bad people in defensive situations is about hitting them, after all. Isn't it?

:confused:

Think about that: you are telling us that you think that your weapon's double-action trigger hinders your ability to hit the target. If a weapon isn't for hitting the target, what is it for? Why use a weapon that you think handicaps you if you use it as intended?

I'm not arguing against DA semi-autos. I'm arguing against using weapons that you think will make combat more difficult for you if you use them as designed. If you think a DA trigger is a hindrance to hitting the target, then you get to choose between that impediment, or the time-wasting impediment of thumb-cocking the gun under duress.

Handy
April 6, 2003, 03:06 PM
I'm with Drake. A DA trigger is a safer, more immediate and simple way of countering close range threats (which is what carrying a pistol is really all about).

Having the capability of increasing your accuracy for the VERY unlikely extended range shot is worth discussion. It's just an acknowledgement of the weapon's capabilities. But since we all know that such a use is SO unlikely, it more begs the question why someone would ever feel the need to carry a cocked gun in the first place?

The defensive standard is center mass at 3 yards. If you can't do that with a DA trigger, you probably can't do it with any other trigger.



My observation from IDPA is that everyone, regardless of pistol type, slows down for long shots. There didn't seem to be any appreciable difference in engagement speed if the shooter was already cocked, cocked the hammer or staged the DA trigger.

Sean Smith
April 6, 2003, 03:24 PM
If you are going to use competition as a window into real life, then here is one for you: why do USPSA Production division and IDPA Stock Service Pistol division specifically PROHIBIT single-action handguns competing against DA and DAO handguns? After all, DA triggers aren't a hindrance to fast, accurate shooting, and thus SA triggers wouldn't have an unfair advantage... right? ;)

There are no "unfair advantages" in the real world. Just advantages and disadvantages.

But my point isn't to argue DA vs SA. My point is that if you yourself, not some dude on an internet forum, belive that your handgun's trigger system hinders your accuracy, you probalby should consider something else.

arizona
April 6, 2003, 03:50 PM
I'm with Drake. A DA trigger is a safer, more immediate and simple way of countering close range threats (which is what carrying a pistol is really all about).

Having the capability of increasing your accuracy for the VERY unlikely extended range shot is worth discussion. It's just an acknowledgement of the weapon's capabilities. But since we all know that such a use is SO unlikely, it more begs the question why someone would ever feel the need to carry a cocked gun in the first place?

The defensive standard is center mass at 3 yards. If you can't do that with a DA trigger, you probably can't do it with any other trigger.



My observation from IDPA is that everyone, regardless of pistol type, slows down for long shots. There didn't seem to be any appreciable difference in engagement speed if the shooter was already cocked, cocked the hammer or staged the DA trigger.
_______________________________________

Well said...it enhances the weapons capabilities.

My Sig has an excellent DA and is right on in close quarters where the problem is apt to be, but if I want to cock the hammer before firing it can be done almost as fast as releasing the safety on a 1911.

Drakejake
April 6, 2003, 04:05 PM
Sean Smith, take a deep breath and say out loud, "Serenity Now!"

In your excitement you are forgetting the importance of safety in CCW firearms. As someone who carries a pistol all the time I am away from the house, but someone who doesn't live in a dangerous environment, I think it is much more likely that I will fire one of my pistols by accident than shoot a bad guy. I don't want the embarrassment or legal liability of accidentally firing my pistol in public or shooting myself or someone else at home. I consider the double/single action pistol with manual safety and decocker the safest auto pistol. I like this design very much even though the Glock's or Kimber's first shot might be more accurate than my first double action shot from my Ruger or Astra.

I like to examine all the options and am constantly considering safety vs. accuracy issues. My two Star PDs are the only single action pistols I own. It happens that one of them has a terrific trigger that makes me more accurate than with my other pistols. And it is also totally reliable--no jams or misfires. I have therefore carried it a few times and am examining carry possibilities with this hand gun.

Drakejake

Sean Smith
April 6, 2003, 06:37 PM
I'm not forgetting the importance of safety. My safety is between my ears. If you don't touch the trigger before you intend the hammer to fall, it doesn't matter if the pull is 5 pounds or 15.

Please don't presume to lecture me on safety.

Sean Smith, take a deep breath and say out loud, "Serenity Now!"

P.S. :D

Drakejake
April 6, 2003, 07:14 PM
Please don't lecture me on accuracy. Surely you are not that pompous.

Besides, what about convenience for carrying? You also ignore that aspect of pistol choice. Sure, a target pistol with a six inch barrel may be more accurate, but it may be more convenient to carry a tiny Kel-Tec .32.

Drakejake

Sean Smith
April 6, 2003, 08:24 PM
I'm not lecturing you. I'm telling you what you already said, and pointing out the seeming inconsistency therein.

If all this seems like I'm being a jerk, I apologize. I'm arguing with you, but I don't "mean" anything derogatory by it.

Some food for thought: how, excatly, is a cocked & locked, single action 1911 (since that is the most prevalent SA gun) less safe than a DA gun?

Both guns have a manual applied safety, depending on the model. Both guns have firing pin blocks, depending on the model. The 1911 also has a grip safety, on the outside chance that something could get in the trigger when you aren't holding the gun, causing it to go off.

Neither gun will fire if dropped. For either gun to go off, you have to pull the trigger... nothing else will really do. In the 1911, with the hammer cocked you'd need (a) a catastrophic mechanical failure in the trigger mechanism, (b) the half-cock notch to fail to intercept the hammer for some reason, and (c) the firing pin safety to fail for some reason. That is a pretty remarkably unlikely chain of events; hence, we can say that the hammer cocked per se does not present any mechanical "danger" compared to a DA semi-auto.

That leaves only trigger pull weight. Is a 5 pound trigger more dangerous than a 15 pound trigger? I'd say, "not if you keep your finger off the trigger when it doesn't belong there." Time to read up on the rules of firearms safety, maybe? The heavy initial trigger pull is probably more "safe" if the operator is careless, so you can reasonably argue that DA guns are "safer" for general issue in the military or police, where handgun training is often of poor quality.

If we are talking "tactical" (ug) considerations, you could argue it both ways. A DA gun WITHOUT an applied safety removes the need to work a safety to shoot the gun (think SigSauer P22x series), with the disadvantage that first DA shot... you could argue all day which is "worse" to deal with. But if you have an applied safety AND a hammer down DA gun, you are on the face of it slower to get into action than a SA gun, and the objective benefit is... a worse trigger pull? A more carelessness-tolerant weapon? With a DAO gun, you get the same advantage of the DA w/o manual safety, and the advantage of consistency, but of course ALL your trigger pulls are heavier (like a revolver).

Handy
April 6, 2003, 10:07 PM
Sean,

A cocked 1911 is as safe as a DA gun if and only if:

1. The safety stays on. As reported here, this is not always the case.

2. None of the internal parts holding the cocked hammer break. While unlikely, it is not even a factor when the mainspring is completely relaxed and the hammer at rest.

The safety flip side is that a DA gun is actually easier to fire under duress, as it only takes one step, rather than two sequential operations with a safetied weapon.


Perhaps you could illustrate a defensive situation where there would be no time to cock a hammer AND the DA trigger would prove to great an accuracy burden. I mentioned IDPA before because I never really saw one there, and am having a hard time thinking of one.

jimbo
April 7, 2003, 01:44 AM
Cock a DA? Why?

If you aren't happy with your DA trigger pull, try a different model or get an action job to lighten the DA pull.

If DA doesn't do it for you, go 1911, Hi Power or Glock. I prefer DA because the SA is too light for that initial instant of stress. But a smooth DA pull is no handicap as far as I'm concerned.

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