Is the Colt Single Action Army outdated as a business gun?


November 6, 2006, 07:02 PM
At first glance, you might think so. It's age. The trouble of having to pull back the hammer to fire each shot instead of just grabbing the gun and pulling the trigger like modern semi autos and DA revolvers. And most of all, it's hard to load and even harder to unload through a single hatchway.

Indeed it surprised me to learn a few years ago that a lot of Policemen carried the SAA well into the mid 20th century.

But it does have it's advantages. It's simple internal design and action. It's accuracy. And it's large caliber.

I admit it wouldn't be my first choice, but it wouldn't be my last.

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November 6, 2006, 07:33 PM
Hi Doug...

It's age.

That's a big "So what does age have to do with it?" :confused:

The trouble of having to pull back the hammer to fire each shot

Hold the SA in your strong hand, depress the trigger and keep it there, and thumb the hammer with the thumb of your other hand until 5 shots are gone. It will take you only a few tries to realize you can do that within milliseconds of the time you can pull the trigger on a DA. :) Don't be too surprised if after about 10 tries you are emptying the SA into a target in 5 seconds or less! :D

And most of all, it's hard to load and even harder to unload through a single hatchway.

That "difficulty" equates to safety for a lot of people, especially for children who are snooping around while the rest of the family is busy on their respective cell phones.:)

An Thass a Fac, Jac ! :D

What's in Your wallet?

guy sajer
November 6, 2006, 07:44 PM
I admit it wouldn't be my first choice, but it wouldn't be my last.
Agreed ! I wouldn't feel , dated . As with any firearm , it's simply a matter of being familiar with the tool at hand .

November 6, 2006, 07:48 PM
Crazy people think alike...
I have a GP100 that when I pick it up, nothing seems to fit my hand better, be more at home in hand... much like the in hand feel of the BHP, for me...
I have, lately, been having this crazy desire to have, and use as my 'primary'
SD gun, a Ruger Vaquero SA in .357.
I know this may sound crazy, or at least demented, but what lays in my hand and weighs heavy, in solid of gotcha... well, it just trips my trigger.
I understand that this may be an unconcious desire to return to a simpler time and place, but, dammit, let us rock and roll, in that simpler time and place...

November 6, 2006, 07:52 PM
Cowboy boots or hats are outdated. They work. What more could you want?

You may not be able to put out the firepower of an infantry squad like you can with your wondernine and 3 spare mags, but really, how often does that situation come up to those of us who aren't on the "sharp"end?

Actually, I think there may be an added benefit. The psycological factor. You see somebody with an SAA for protection, it might just be because he really knows how to use it! And he is only going to have to shoot you ONCE!

It would giver me pause. But then I am known for being a rational individual.:p At least that's what the voices tell me.:D :what:

November 6, 2006, 08:14 PM
Back about 1990 I read a short blurb in a gun mag - The National Rifleman, I think - that told of a huge gunfight that happened in Los Angeles between 3 or 4 gangs armed with semi-auto pistols and rifles. Supposedly it took place in the courtyard - sort of a "plaza" that was flanked on all sides by apartment buildings and balconies.
When it was all over, police picked up 880 spent shell casings - mostly .223, 9mm, and such from in/around the courtyard. 880!
The sum total of injuries after that mega-gunfight were, if I remember right:

1 guy had a broken arm from falling off a planter.

1 guy had a concussion and some cuts/bruises from falling down a stairway.

1 guy had a battered face from someone pistolwhipping him.

and Last but not Least...

1 guy had a minor flesh would on his leg from where a richochet caught up with him.

Methinks a lot of people mistakenly believe the noise of the shot is what knocks people down or dead. Could be the real most necessary equipment to take to an LA gunfight is a set of earphones? :D

November 6, 2006, 10:09 PM
At least that's what the voices tell me.They talk to you, too? :p :D

Frankly, if I saw someone carrying a SAA of some form, I would probably walk up and ask him about it, or stay far, far away from him for risk of getting on the wrong end of a hogleg. To each their own.

November 6, 2006, 11:10 PM
Maybe a bit harder to conceal but they've proven their effectiveness over the years. A torso hit with any of the bigger calibers, some of which have been around for a long time, including .357, 38-40, 44-40, .44 Sp or .45 Colt will either stop most fights or sure slow them down.

Texas Colt
November 6, 2006, 11:11 PM
I've never felt under-gunned or outdated with a Colt SA. In fact, my .45 Colt Cowboy is often my companion in the night stand drawer.

Have you ever held a 45 Colt up to the mirror and looked down the bore? That's a mighty big, dark hole! I wouldn't want to be on the "business" end of it.

Jim March
November 6, 2006, 11:28 PM
I may get flamed but...for *urban* carry, I believe you're better off with an SAA "near clone" featuring a transfer bar ignition: Taurus Gaucho, Beretta Stampede or any Ruger with a transfer bar ignition. The "no safety guns" (true SAA or clones) are just too easy to make a mistake with. My choice was the Ruger New Vaquero, somewhat modded. I *have* CCWed this gun and feel comfortable doing so.

Mine is a 357 for lower-cost ammo but I would be just as comfy with modern loads in 45LC or for that matter 38-40, 44-40 or 44Spl.

I've improved the sights, run a lower SBH hammer, re-contoured the grip panels and performed a spring job.

This gun is very, very accurate in my hands and I am perfectly satisfied with it as a street defense piece.

November 7, 2006, 03:02 AM
It wouldn't be my choice by any stretch of the imagination, that's for sure. 45ACP Colt1911 or Glock 45GAP or 45ACP would be my first choices, maybe a H&K 45.

Butttttttttttt, If I was allowed to carry all the time, I wouldn't hesitate to carry a SA whilst riding, taking the truck into town, etc. Probably would carry it in a shoulder holster in town. I'd prefer a modern transfer bar one, with 6 on board. This is mainly to avoid balls ups as I use Rugers all the time. I would want to be doing a lot of practice topping up as I go. Andddddddddddddddddd, it would have to be 45 Colt or 44Mag! Big soft 300Gn soft lead flat nosed boolits, doing 1100-1200fps, pick em up and throw em' accross the room sort of stuff! Mick.

November 7, 2006, 08:30 AM
Big soft 300Gn soft lead flat nosed boolits, doing 1100-1200fps,

It had better be a Ruger (and not one of the new Vaqueros) with that load! :what:

November 7, 2006, 10:37 AM
Age doesnt mean a thing. Hammers are no less appropriate for their age, and the wheel, and fire. And the SAA uses all three :) . And like those three inventions, the SAA is very simple to use (just dont burn yourself). The SAA will do it's job just as well as it did over a hundred years ago, and it may be just a little more efficient at it's job if you use a transfer bar.

Tom C.
November 7, 2006, 11:54 AM
I don't have a Colt SSA or a clone, but I have a bunch of Ruger Blackhawks. I shoot CAS, so I am very comfortable carrying a .357 or .45 Ruger NMBH. I like the idea of the transfer bar for additional safety and the extra mass for additional strength. 250 gr. at 900+ fps should do the trick.
Of course, for most of us, using a single action revolver well involves using both hands with the weak thumb cocking the hammer.

highlander 5
November 7, 2006, 12:50 PM
your only disadvantage quick reload. I just bought a 4 5/8' SBH
my idea of a"pocket pistol" it's a wrist wrencher with 44 mag loads but quite comfortable with 44 SPL ammo. haven't tried my cast 300 gr flat nosed bullet in the spl case yet may be I'll try it this weekend

November 8, 2006, 07:46 AM
Hey Highlander....

Would be interested in hearing of the weekend's festivities involving the 300gr cast bullets!


November 8, 2006, 10:42 AM
The SAA points naturally, draws quickly, is natural to cock on the draw (don't see that as a problem being a single action guy), and it fires a powerful round. I don't carry one except in the field, not exactly a CCW. I prefer autos or DA revolvers for carry, but if there was open carry here and it was common, I would probably carry a Blackhawk now and then.:D But, we don't have open carry.

Single actions are rugged, reliable, and accurate and chambered for powerful rounds which makes them a natural in the field for self defense from humans or predators or for hunting. That's what I use my Blackhawks for. Though the SAA isn't as strong as a Blackhawk and I can't carry my frame buster loads in it, a 255 grain flat nose at 900 fps is still a pretty stout load. I'd carry that rather than my 9s or my .45ACP in the field, though I think I'd prefer a .357 magnum with a heavy bullet which is chambered in SAAs.

November 8, 2006, 11:00 AM
But it does have it's advantages. It's simple internal design and action. It's accuracy. And it's large caliber.

This is not exclusive to the SAA. But I agree that it is still a viable business gun in the right environment (definitely not LE or military).

Jim K
November 8, 2006, 11:13 AM
The SAA is a fun gun, and I like them. But anyone who carries one for serious defense purposes is living in another century and could end up too soon in another world.


Jody Johnson
November 8, 2006, 06:18 PM
I like and shoot single-actions. I'd think such a revolver would be acceptable as home protection, or the like.

I don't think it would be desirable or practical for urban carry...too big for one thing.

I do, however, think the old SA is quite capable of "handling business"...and, I suspect there's a psychological effect upon a wrongdoer gazing at the wrong end of the thing.
One just associates the SA with cowboys and good guys...

November 8, 2006, 10:18 PM
The actual Colts are too expensive for my tastes. A well made clone will give years of service and are well worth the money.
Rugers are indestructable and a better value in my opinion.

Jim March
November 9, 2006, 12:55 AM
You know, I've given a LOT of thought to this. I believe that depending on what the threat is, an accurate SAA-class transfer bar gun is a viable self defense option.

Six shots of GOOD ammo is enough to solve a lot of problems. First shot strike speed is excellent. Accuracy is (or can be) above par.

.45 AUTO
November 9, 2006, 09:44 AM
If age was an issue then the M1911-A1 and the .45 AUTO round would be obselete and unpopular. Remember, it is the shooter behind the gun that is most important.

November 9, 2006, 09:54 AM
I'll tell ya one place a SAA still rules...on horseback! Laugh all you want but riding a horse beats things up, knocks sights off true, wiggles things around. I've had the damnedest things happen in my younger days like magazines drop out or rounds half eject from an autoloader and I've had the cyllinder come open on a smith wheelgun and half the rounds jounced out without me realizing it. An SAA just sits there and takes the punishment and is still ready when you need it.

The other thing is if you fire a gun and the horse shies you are immediately grabbing hard onto everything. Unfortunately with an auto-loader or a double action this can mean you might fire a second round without intending. That won't happen with a single-action gun.

I suppose it's still, and always, about using the right tool for the job. The SAA is still a good tool.

November 9, 2006, 09:55 AM
SA revolver, DA revokver, or semi-auto pistol, it don't matter. As long as you can hit what you are aiming at, that is the real answer. Whatever works out for you is the right one to carry.

Jim March
November 9, 2006, 12:19 PM
ZeSpectre: don't those same issues affect motorcyclists?

I find cowboy boots are the best motorcycle boots I can score. There's a whole lotta ergonomic crossover...

November 9, 2006, 01:42 PM
Yeah, if ya see a guy whip out one of the SAA-style shootin' irons in a defnesive situation, ya just gotta figure he KNOWS how to use it...and use it real good, too.

Many years back, (1982 or so) I packed a CVA 1858 'Army Remington' I got as a closeout kit gun for $40. Only drew it once, when I faced some miscreant attempting to steal the battery from my car. He quickly decided it was somehow just plain wrong to bring a knife to a gun fight.

Tom Servo
November 10, 2006, 02:28 AM
I've got a Vaquero in .357, and looking at what that bullet can do from a 5.5" barrel...sure, why not?

The vast majority of civilian self-defense shootings are over in 2-3 rounds, so capacity isn't an issue. Sure, a 13-round wondernine feels reassuring, but so do my 7-8 round .45's. It's certainly enough gun.

Concealability is, of course, an issue...

Still, with new guns, I always have an "acclimation" period, where I go from being okay to being able to shoot the gun to its potential. I got to that point quicker with the SAA more quickly than I have with any other gun. It points and shoots very intuitively, and I've no doubt I could use it for self-defense.

November 10, 2006, 09:44 AM
depends on the business I guess. I sure as all heck would not want to be on the recieveing end of some of those cowboy action shooting enthusiasts with their SAA's.

I also would not for a second question think twice about any of those enthusiasts using a SAA for concealed carry or personal defense. (well, I might feel sorry for the person who has to be dying proof that .45LC still does its job all these years later)

most of the saa's i have seen/handled seemed to have a natural point to them which most other designs fail to match. I think if you have enough practice/training then just about any weapon becomes pretty good.

technically you can say it is outdated, but I would not say it is ineffective, just that it is outdated in that it requires more training for the shooter to have parity in terms of safe carry/use/reload when it counts.

Let me know if that .02 makes sense.

November 10, 2006, 10:10 AM
It may not be the current trendy firearm to have but it is more than capable of taking care of most problems one may encounter.

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