Why not cock a DA revolver?


PDA






NoirFan
August 3, 2011, 08:58 AM
Hello, I've read lot of threads where people say not to cock a DA revolver in a defensive situation, mostly for two reasons:

1) It shows some level of bloodlust or premediation, and can be used against you in court. The prosecutor can say, "The shooter had the time and presence of mind to cock his gun, and purposefully escalated the danger of the situation" or some such.

2) The light SA pull on a revolver makes it go off too easily in the hands of a nervous shooter, and may cause an unintentional shooting of the attacker.

But I started thinking about these reasons and wondering, why don't people say this about the 1911 or other SA automatics? The 1911 also requires a seperate thumb action to make ready, and has a similarly light trigger pull to a cocked revolver. Why don't DA revolver shooters train to cock off the draw the way 1911 shooters unsafe off the draw?

If you enjoyed reading about "Why not cock a DA revolver?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!
gunsablazin
August 3, 2011, 09:06 AM
The 1911 can be put back on safe if it's not fired, the DA revolver must be manually de-cocked, and that may not be a safe thing to do with adrenaline pumping through your system. Self defense shooting is mostly a very short range proposition, so the need for cocking a revolver is unlikely.

Vartarg
August 3, 2011, 09:14 AM
A 1911 is properly carried in Condition 1: cocked and locked.....no hammer cocking required.

In a crisis, life threatening scenario, fine motor skills go downhill rapidly and it's best to train with a revolver using the DA technique: smooth, practiced trigger pull. It's the same reason why almost no one would recommend carrying a SA revolver for CCW. Would it work? Sure....but is it the best tool for the job? IMHO, no.

Loosedhorse
August 3, 2011, 09:15 AM
why don't people say this about the 1911 or other SA automatics?
Well, if you cock your DA revolver, and then engage its manual safety (:D) then you are in an equivalent situation.
They DO say that about SA semis, in that it may well cost you more to defend yourself legally after a SD shooting if you used a SA rather than DA gun. And most people would tell you not to cock the hammer on a DA semi for the first shot, either.
WHY cock the gun? So the attacker gets frightened, just like when you rack a shotgun? So you can aim that 50-yard SD shot better :confused:;)?

In this much, I agree with you: if you're carrying a standard DA gun, there is nothing that prevents someone (the person shot, his civil plaintiff's attorney, or a DA) from claiming that you did indeed recklessly cock the gun and accidently shoot the person. Accident negates the claim of self-defense.

So, since you've decided to accept that risk just by carrying a DA (not DAO) gun...why NOT cock it? ;):D
the way 1911 shooters unsafe off the draw? I don't unsafe off the draw. I unsafe when the target is in sight. If the target is in sight as I draw, then I unsafe as I clear the holster--but that is not the same thing.

Also, you can fire the DA revolver without cocking, so it is unnecessary. I cannot fire a 1911 without taking off the safety, so I have to train to do it sometime. I have to.

Sam1911
August 3, 2011, 09:27 AM
I think the better question is WHY?

You have the "why nots" down pretty well (especially the danger of an extremely light trigger pull with shakey hands, and the risks of de-cocking with sweaty, shakey hands) but what is the point of cocking a DA revolver in a self-defense situation?

The gun will do exactly what it is supposed to do when you pull that trigger DA-style. You will be just as accurate (or inaccurate) at self-defense distances DA as you would SA -- especially considering the "3-shots, 3-feet, 3 seconds" conditions under which most self-defense shootings occurr.

And, now you've got this superfluous extra step you're performing instead of putting your focus where it needs to be -- and all you've done is increase your risk of inadvertantly discharging the weapon.

SA pulls on DA guns tend to be not just light, but scary light. While a very good service (or even practical match) trigger on a 1911 might be as light as 4-5 lbs, generally, backed up by a thumb safety, the SA pulls on many DA wheelguns are half that.

Jim Watson
August 3, 2011, 09:32 AM
I know of three cases of AD from inappropriate cocking of a DA revolver.
Two were women. "Well, sweetie, you are not strong enough to rack the slide of an automatic or smart enough to remember what all those buttons and levers do, so we will get you a nice simple DA revolver." These women soon figured out that they could also avoid the tough DA trigger pull of a stock revolver by cocking to fire SA. It was when they cocked their guns to check out something that went bump in the night that the trouble began. One was startled by the cat and dumped a round into the water bed, fortunately hitting the rail and not the membrane. The other got through the house and shot a hole in the floor whilst attempting to decock.
The third case was an experienced shooter who got a little casual handling his revolver. I think he got it cocked, was distracted by a question and then just pulled the trigger. Fortunately into the store floor.

RickMD
August 3, 2011, 10:12 AM
At one of our local gun shops an elderly lady walked in waving a cocked and loaded 36 Smith around like it was a pom pom. The guys in the shop were jumping everywhere for cover. She cocked it and brought it to the store because she didn't know how to decock it...

Kiln
August 3, 2011, 10:26 AM
I personally doubt that you will get pre-meditated charges just for cocking the gun first as long as you're in the right...if you accidentally flinch and end up shooting somebody who is now passive that is a different story. Same with hand loaded ammo being used in self defense, I've never actually heard of this being an issue but alot of people take it into consideration when selecting a SD ammo.

M2 Carbine
August 3, 2011, 11:02 AM
Why not cock a DA revolver?
I do.
The only time I shoot DA is for speed on the second shot, or practice, or sometimes the first DA shot with some semi autos.

I can shoot DA just fine. I just see no reason for a competent shooter not take advantage of the better trigger SA gives you.

I learned to shoot when cocking the hammer was the normal thing. When I teach a new shooter, one of the first things, the first day, they must become proficient in is manually de-cocking handguns and shootng DA and SA.

I have drawn my revolver 4 times with the intention of shooting someone. Every time the hammer was cocked on the way to pointing at the person and it didn't slow me down a bit.
Not one time did I shoot the person because I was "excited".
Every time, I had no problem de-cocking the hammer because I was too worked up.


Most reasons for not cocking the hammer have to do with incompetent, untrained or poorly trained people using the gun. Not taking advantage of SA because the operator may be too stupid to do so is a poor excuse to say no one should shoot SA.


Learn to handle your revolver and learn to shoot DA and SA well. Problem solved.



.

Sam1911
August 3, 2011, 11:03 AM
I personally doubt that you will get pre-meditated charges just for cocking the gun first as long as you're in the right...
Heh... like we always say, you aren't "in the right" until the DA and/or jury SAY you were "in the right." Can saying, "I cocked the hammer and took careful aim ..." (or whatever) cause them to believe you might have had another means of solving the problem (in other words, didn't HAVE to shoot)? Anything is possible.

Not something I'd worry about a whole lot -- I have PLENTY of reasons not to go cocking that hammer as it is, and not a single one I can think of to argue in favor of it.

if you accidentally flinch and end up shooting somebody who is now passive that is a different story. Yes, but you have flinches, sympathetic grip response, bumping into furniture or a door frame with your finger too close to the bang switch, and any number of other possibilities that might cause you to fire inadvertently -- either into the attacker/invader ... or just randomly into the floor, ceiling, kids' room, etc.

We aren't talking about a shooting match (when I wouldn't use SA anyway) or a nice day plinking at the range. Being good or bad (or "incompetent") doesn't enter into it. You're in a potential fight-or-die situation. You will be stressed, shaking, sweating, and your fine motor control will decline precipitously. SA is an unnecessary heightened risk with no benefits.

Same with hand loaded ammo being used in self defense, I've never actually heard of this being an issue but alot of people take it into consideration when selecting a SD ammo. Actually, that's another one that's frequently misunderstood. The risk that you will be over-zealously prosecuted because you used hand-loaded ammo is less significant than the fact that your home-made ammo won't be testable (well...admissible if tested) in instances where the ammo's characteristics could help you prove your self-defense case.

roaddog28
August 3, 2011, 11:25 AM
The answer is obvious. SA/DA revolvers are safer when used in double action. That is why "back in the day" alot of law enforcement agencies modified their officers carry revolvers to be double action only. There were accidents by officers accidental discharge of their revolver because they cocked it. That is also why todays law enforcement agencies require their officers to carry longer trigger pull semi-autos for safety.
Regards,
Howard

M2 Carbine
August 3, 2011, 11:57 AM
Thanks for making my point roaddog28. DA is mostly promoted because far too many shooters are too incompetent to safely handle a "complicated" SA/DA gun.:rolleyes:

BTW using law enforcement people as a good reason to promote a gun program is a poor reason.
I was a city Policeman even before, "back in the day" and very, very few LEO could shoot worth a darn or even had any interest in guns.
One Officer emptied two 38 revolvers at a fleeing suspect and just clipped his ear once. One bullet did kill a man sitting in his car reading a newspaper.

Long story, but just me and a friend beat a whole County Police pistol team in a shooting match. Our combined score was higher than their whole team's combined score and they were the best they had.:what:

PTT
August 3, 2011, 12:09 PM
The answer is obvious. SA/DA revolvers are safer when used in double action. That is why "back in the day" alot of law enforcement agencies modified their officers carry revolvers to be double action only. There were accidents by officers accidental discharge of their revolver because they cocked it. That is also why todays law enforcement agencies require their officers to carry longer trigger pull semi-autos for safety.
Regards,
Howard

I know of plenty of departments issuing 1911s. I also know of several departments that allow their officers to put the lighter trigger parts in their Glocks.

The hit rate in shooting situations is already abysmal (something like 20%), so why not allow officers to have something they are more likely to hit the target with instead of a bystander.

Departments that require DAO are being lazy, blaming accidental discharges on equipment instead of admitting that their training is substandard.

1911Tuner
August 3, 2011, 12:25 PM
Here's my take on the question:

99.99% of the time...in a self-defensive shooting...neither the need nor the opportunity to thumb-cock the piece will present itself, and even if it does, it's not likely that anyone will notice unless you do deliberately execute the other guy...in which case you probably should go to jail for murder.

But...

I want the option in place for that off-chance that a careful, deliberate shot at longer range will be needed. It doesn't have a negative impact on the gun's function, and it ain't eatin' anything.

M2 Carbine
August 3, 2011, 12:28 PM
Departments that require DAO are being lazy, blaming accidental discharges on equipment instead of admitting that their training is substandard.
And this has carried over to the private sector until now people are lead to believe that being able to handle a SA/DA revolver is something only the gods can do safely.


The manufacturers even purposely put long terrible DA triggers on defense guns so the "dumb" operators don't accidentally shoot themselves or someone else.


Oh well, I guess it's all part of dumbing down the population.


Here's my take on the question:

99.99% of the time...in a self-defensive shooting...neither the need nor the opportunity to thumb-cock the piece will present itself, and even if it does, it's not likely that anyone will notice unless you do deliberately execute the other guy...in which case you probably should go to jail for murder.

But...

I want the option in place for that off-chance that a careful, deliberate shot at longer range will be needed. It doesn't have a negative impact on the gun's function, and it ain't eatin' anything.
There you go.:)

Cosmoline
August 3, 2011, 12:49 PM
Accident negates the claim of self-defense.

Only if you weren't in imminent unlawful deadly peril. If you were, EVEN IF THE SHOOTING WAS AN ACCIDENT, then the justification applies. Imagine if you're about to be killed by a criminal. You trip and fall, accidentally knocking a heavy vase off a bookshelf which kills him. The fact that you accidentally killed him doesn't mean you're guilty of murder or indeed of any crime. Self defense doesn't turn on what's going on in your mind or your intentions. It turns on the level of threat you're under and its imminence.

The reason we don't cock revolvers for self defense is simply because it's too easy to accidentally kill someone or have an ND AFTER the threat has ceased. It's really the same reason we don't carry revolvers cocked in general.

The only circumstance I can think of where you might use SA in self defense is if you have only a SA revolver (on the trail for example or while hunting) or in the very unusual circumstance of having to make a shot beyond 20 yards when you have an opportunity to aim and the shooter is actively killing people in spree style. But even then you'll probably miss and get killed when he returns fire.

they must become proficient in is manually de-cocking handguns and shootng DA and SA.

Nothing wrong with becoming proficient, but that doesn't mean it's a good idea. Holding someone at gunpoint is a dicey situation fraught with risks and the potential for physical contact.

Sam1911
August 3, 2011, 01:02 PM
Only if you weren't in imminent unlawful deadly peril. If you were, EVEN IF THE SHOOTING WAS AN ACCIDENT, then the justification applies. ...Self defense doesn't turn on what's going on in your mind or your intentions. It turns on the level of threat you're under and its imminence.


I can't agree with this, at least not the way it is explained in that paragraph.

The first step in presenting the affirmative defense of "self-defense" is to say, "I shot this man, deliberately, and here's why..."

You are admitting to committing a homicide (or assault), which is a felonious offense, and then you are throwing yourself on the mercy of the court with an explanation of why you had to break the law.

"Yes, I shot/killed that man, purposefully, and I had to because I had a reasonable belief that he was going to kill me, immediately, if I did not stop him."

That is the soul of an affirmative defense.

When you say, "Whoops. ... Well, I didn't mean to, but it turned out ok because he was a baddie..." (the "Frank Drebin (http://www.imdb.com/character/ch0005556/quotes)" defense?) you've just killed off the validity of your own defense case.

Any time you give the DA or the jury a reason to believe that you weren't in great enough fear for your life to deliberately shoot/kill another person, you're telling them that you, right there in that moment, were NOT justified in doing so. At that point, you may argue that your homicide wasn't deliberate, but you are almost certainly gulty of involuntary manslaughter at least.

Cosmoline
August 3, 2011, 01:11 PM
Admittedly it's going to be very unusual to ever have an accidental killing that's justified as self defense. But the hypothetical helps to understand how self defense works. A lot of people think that the specific intent of the shooter is the key, but it isn't. The reasonable belief of the shooter matters under many codes, so it's possible if the victim never saw the would-be killer but accidentally killed him self defense would not apply. But the personal intent of the shooter and his desires are not a factor unless they cause the shooter to exceed the bounds of permissible self defense.

You are admitting to committing a homicide (or assault), which is a felonious offense, and then you are throwing yourself on the mercy of the court with an explanation of why you had to break the law.

Just as the defense serves to excuse or even justify conduct which would be homicide, it would justify conduct which would be manslaughter or negligent homicide--assuming the accident could even be classified as either. At least under the codes I'm aware of.

that you weren't in great enough fear for your life to deliberately shoot/kill another person, you're telling them that you, right there in that moment, were NOT justified in doing so.

You're confusing reasonable belief of imminent unlawful deadly peril with intent. Those are two different things. In my hypo, the victim DID reasonably believe he was about to be killed. He was unarmed and trying to escape. In his flight he knocked over the vase and killed the criminal. Though unintended and accidental, it would be justified unless the code for some reason excludes manslaughter or negligent homicide from the scope of deadly force in self defense. Even if it did, the circumstances of the vase killing would likely not even come under the definition of negligent homicide, since it would be a real stretch to blame the victim for running away without sufficient due care.

ny32182
August 3, 2011, 01:14 PM
If thumb cocking the hammer to get single action shot led to getting shots on target faster, top level revolver competitors would do it.... they don't. They learn to pull the trigger smoothly in double action, which takes less time than thumb cocking a hammer.

This isn't strictly a revolver question by the way... most DA auto would apply as well.

kk0g
August 3, 2011, 01:28 PM
First of all you won't have the time to cock the gun, fights happen VERY fast. Second of all you don't need to at all, the minimal increase in accuracy provided by firing single action is not required. What you need is combat accurate hits as quickly as possible.

Mike1234567
August 3, 2011, 01:34 PM
I can't see any real advantage of cocking a DA revolver in a SD situation. All it can do is increase the intimidation factor or just irritate the attaker more.

Owen Sparks
August 3, 2011, 01:37 PM
Suppose some thug was holding your wife hostage and you had to take carefuly aim head shot? Would you cock your DA revolver then?
I like having that option.

It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

rondog
August 3, 2011, 02:08 PM
How exactly would anybody KNOW you used your revolver in single action, unless you told them so? STFU and have no problem.

Sam1911
August 3, 2011, 02:19 PM
Admittedly it's going to be very unusual to ever have an accidental killing that's justified as self defense.Yes, agreed.

A lot of people think that the specific intent of the shooter is the key, but it isn't.I'm not sure I understand why you believe that. The only INTENT which meets the standards for an affirmative defense for homicide (in most jurisdictions) is the reasonable belief in an immediate need to act to prevent loss of life or other grievous felonious injury. The willful decision to shoot is a compelling part of your self-defense claim. (See last paragraph.)

if the victim never saw the would-be killer but accidentally killed him self defense would not apply.Of course.

Just as the defense serves to excuse or even justify conduct which would be homicide, it would justify conduct which would be manslaughter or negligent homicide--assuming the accident could even be classified as either.Manslaughter, sure. Negligent homicide? I don't think so. Usually the law is written something like, "It shall be an affirmative defense to the crime of manslaughter if the accused can establish that he had a reasonable belief that ..." Can you find a citation of a legal code that offers an affirmative defense of self-defense, that excuses an accident or negligence? That would be most instructive.

You're confusing reasonable belief of imminent unlawful deadly peril with intent. I don't believe I am. How am I confusing them? I am saying that BOTH need to be present to claim self-defense. I may be wrong, but I'd like to see it in either black-letter or case law.

In my hypo, the victim DID reasonably believe he was about to be killed. He was unarmed and trying to escape. In his flight he knocked over the vase and killed the criminal. Though unintended and accidental, it would be justified unless the code for some reason excludes manslaughter or negligent homicide from the scope of deadly force in self defense. Even if it did, the circumstances of the vase killing would likely not even come under the definition of negligent homicide, since it would be a real stretch to blame the victim for running away without sufficient due care. That is a very interesting hypothetical case, I can see your point, but I don't believe this would be a situation where a defense of "self-defense" could apply.

In the case of a self-defense shooting, the fact that you chose to shoot someone is part of your proof of your self-defense case. "I was so certain that I would die if I did not act, that I pulled the trigger..." When you say, "The gun went off accidentally ..." you're saying that you hadn't yet reached a decision to fire, which does establish that even YOU -- in that moment of fear and danger -- weren't convinced that the threat was sufficient to deploy lethal force.

roaddog28
August 3, 2011, 02:43 PM
Departments that require DAO are being lazy, blaming accidental discharges on equipment instead of admitting that their training is substandard.


No this is more about a legal issue if a agency allows their officers to modify their carry weapon. And in my area I know of no agencies that permitt their officers to carry 1911s.
Regards,
Howard

kk0g
August 3, 2011, 03:19 PM
Suppose some thug was holding your wife hostage and you had to take carefuly aim head shot? Would you cock your DA revolver then? ..................

No.

BullfrogKen
August 3, 2011, 04:07 PM
Most people don't have large enough hands to cock a hammer one-handed without changing their grip on a DA revolver. Obtaining a solid grip in a hurry is challenging enough.

SA revolvers have entirely different grip angles. The hammer is much easier to catch with the thumb of the shooting hand. And once it's cocked, the hand settles right back down into that firm, solid grip.

If you need the precise shot, it's there so use it. But I wouldn't do it unless I needed that precise shot. It takes more time, and in fights we are talking about time in measurements of less than one second. To do it one-handed, the shooter usually needs to re-acquire his grip after reaching up to grasp the hammer.

Loosedhorse
August 3, 2011, 04:55 PM
Only if you weren't in imminent unlawful deadly peril. If you were, EVEN IF THE SHOOTING WAS AN ACCIDENT, then the justification applies.Absolutely false. A shooting that would be justified if deliberate cannot be justified if accidental.

I could go on, but Sam has covered it.How exactly would anybody KNOW you used your revolver in single action, unless you told them so? STFU and have no problem.So, cocking the hammer is such a good tactic that when asked about it, one should...refuse to answer? Lie under oath?

Well, an affirmative defense kind of depends on the accused testifying about his actions and justification...so being quiet may be out. That leaves: just do it, lie about it, and hope that detectives and DAs, who spend their entire lives hearing lies, don't notice you're lying? Hope that your jury leaves its BS detectors home when you testify?

Oh, yeah--what if there are other witnesses?

Me? I'm not doing anything in self-defense that I'm not willing to admit to in open court. If there's video or witnesses, I want them! Others' MMV.

BullfrogKen
August 3, 2011, 05:07 PM
Yes, claiming an affirmative defense without offering any statements about your actions at all would be a challenging task.


Besides all the perceived or actual legal pros and cons that surround cocking the hammer, it's going to require most people to change and then re-acquire a firm firing grip on the gun. For that reason alone it's an undesireable action to attempt in a fight.

Owen Sparks
August 3, 2011, 05:27 PM
If you have the time to make your revolver inherantly more accurate why would you not do so?

Not all gun fights are over in seconds. A friend (who was unarmed) was once chased into the woods and spent several hours hiding in the bushes while an armed and very upset man with a history of mental problems stalked him with a rifle. he told me later that *IF* he had taken his pistol when he ran outside in his underwear that he had several oppertunities to take an aimed shot from cover as the man searched the woods for him. This is the time to cock a revolver. After a couple of HOURS the crazy man got cold and left. My friend nearly froze but survived. All this was over a girl friend.

1911Tuner
August 3, 2011, 05:35 PM
{A friend (who was unarmed) was once chased into the woods and spent several hours hiding in the bushes while an armed and very upset man with a history of mental problems stalked him with a rifle. He told me later that *IF* he had taken his pistol when he ran outside in his underwear that he had several oppertunities to take an aimed shot from cover.}

A very unusual situation, and not the norm, and *IF* he had his pistol with him when the trouble started...he could have ended it then and there without having to hide in the woods in freezing weather. What he *could* have done "if* he'd had his pistol with him is armchair quarterbacking.

Most of these things are concluded quickly. Three rounds at three feet in three seconds.

Oh, yeah, and trouble comes through the door, the proper place for your pistol is within arm's reach. My guess is that he now understands this.

scottishclaymore
August 3, 2011, 05:37 PM
Like a lot of thing, it boils down to your training (how do you train on a regular basis?) and your preconceptions.

For instance, I always shoot double-action. I like double-action trigger pulls and I find myself much more accurate with double-action than with single action. So when I practice or train, I always practice and train using DA, even when cocking my hammer might be an option. I like this for the same reason I like the DA revolver: simplicity. Sure, I could train to use the hammer (and I suppose it's always an option) just like I could train to use a 1911 and carry it cocked-and-locked. Most people capable of operating a motor vehicle are capable of operating any handgun given enough practice.

But I like the DA trigger pull better, and in my experience switching to SA does not offer any signification advantage. But that's for me. YMMV.

Loosedhorse
August 3, 2011, 05:54 PM
If you have the time to make your revolver inherantly more accurate why would you not do so? Because it also makes the revolver more likely to fire when you, unders stress, didn't want it to; and may make you more vulnerable to a charge of recklessness, and therefore less able to use the SD justification...I thought we discussed that! ;)

If one is so inaccurate with a DA revolver that SA firing is required, one might consider a different gun. It is true that accuracy usually degrades in a gun-fight (or so I am told), but the sources of inaccuracy may perhaps have more to do with failure to take the time to align sights on target, and with moving target/moving shooter. So I'm not sure that light trigger would solve any of that.

However, I have met people who (because of age or disease) had weak enough hands that they did not want a semi-auto--couldn't rack the slide--and did plan to cock the hammer--could not, repeat COULD not, fire the gun DA.

Necessity is necessity. That would be explainable in court, IMHO.This is the time to cock a revolver. After a couple of HOURS the crazy man got cold and left.So...shoot the guy from a hidden position, even though he eventually left without causing harm? Well, everyone has to make choices. Me, I'll take cold in my underwear for a couple hours over shooting someone, if I can.

Owen Sparks
August 3, 2011, 06:14 PM
There is no question that a deliberate aimed shot is potentially more accurate is fired single action. For example, I used to shoot metallic silhouettes back in the 1980’s (remember that sport?) NOBODY ever fired double action for a good reason.
If I had to take a long shot at a small target I would cock the revolver if time permitted. It does not matter if it is the 200 yard Ram or the left eye of the man holding my wife hostage at 10 yards, a cocked shot is potentially more accurate.

Rexster
August 3, 2011, 09:16 PM
I used two handgun systems for most of the first 19 years of my policin' career, the DA revolver, and the 1911. For the remainder of my still-ongoing policin', I have been using DA autos for duty, by mandate, and DA revolvers for back-up and much off-the-clock carry. I learned handgunning with a 1911, but had to use a DA sixgun for my rookie year, so it behooved me to learn DA to the best of my ability, as Hxxxxxx was vying for murder capital of the USA back then. Therefore, I do have an understanding of both SA and DA shooting.

I consider cocking a DA revolver to be HANDICAPPING myself in most defensive encounters. Fights generally happen QUICKLY, and unlike SA sixguns, which are easily cocked quickly, most DA sixguns are not cocked so easily or quickly. (I know a bit about SA sixguns, too.)

Don't take my word for it; I have only fired one defensive shot in my life. (DA, from a GP100h Look
up the words of Jelly Bryce, Bill Jordan, and Jim Cirillo, men who carried cock-able DA revolvers in the Valley of the Shadow of Death, and remained believers in DA shooting. Their stances and shooting styles varied widely, but all preached the wisdom of DA shooting with DA sixguns.

I do recognize that our hands vary in size and shape, and so some of us may well be able to cock a SA revolver smoothly and quickly. Such folks will get no
argument from me regarding the ease and speed of cocking a DA weapon's
hammer. I know that I must compromise my grip to cock a hammer, with a
DA sixgun, or an auto, and the same is true of everyone I have personally
seen do so.

Then, there is the consistency of training issue. Some of my DA revolvers have no spur, and/or are DAO, the better for fast, snag-free presentation from deep concealment, and shooting all of my DA revolvers in DA-only mode makes for consistency, which helps with the unconscious competence for which I strive.

I also want to lock that weapon-hand thumb down HARD at the outset of the draw stroke, because so many gunfights happen at contact or near-contact distance. This means that cocking the hammer is going to involve opening the
grip, or will have to be done by the support/reaction hand. Much of the time,
there is something else for the support/reaction hand to be doing, so cocking a
hammer becomes a luxury one may not be able to afford.

When would I cock the hammer of a DA sixgun, during a gunfight? Well, maybe, if firing from a barricaded position, with an improvised rest, and knew the individual sixgun had such a great SA pull that I could use it as a field-expedient sniper rig. In that scenario, I might cock a hammer. Maybe. At normal defensive distances, however, I am going to shoot DA, even if I have an improvised rest. Even at 50 yards, I am going to shoot DA, though with my
declining eyesight, I am not so sure I should still try to shoot any handgun that far, unless it has a scope on it, or the need to engage is really, really
desperate. (My new eyeglasses don't help much.)

Frank Ettin
August 3, 2011, 09:58 PM
Only if you weren't in imminent unlawful deadly peril. If you were, EVEN IF THE SHOOTING WAS AN ACCIDENT, then the justification applies. ...Self defense doesn't turn on what's going on in your mind or your intentions. It turns on the level of threat you're under and its imminence.....
I can't agree with this, at least not the way it is explained in that paragraph.

The first step in presenting the affirmative defense of "self-defense" is to say, "I shot this man, deliberately, and here's why..."I don't think there's a simple, mechanical answer to this, but I tend to share Sam's view.

The thing is that I think it would be awfully hard, if not impossible, for a defendant to effectively sustain his claim that he was justified in shooting someone when he also admits, or the evidence strongly suggests, that he fired the gun by accident.

The basic rule is that when claiming self defense the defendant must show that he reasonably determined that his use of lethal force was necessary to prevent the imminent and otherwise unavoidable death or grave bodily injury to an innocent. So the defendant puts on evidence explaining why and how he reached the conclusion that he had to draw his loaded gun and point it at the guy he shot.

But if his firing the gun was accidental, his story starts to break down at that point. He can't really explain why or how he concluded that it was necessary to take that final step and pull the trigger. He can't because he didn't conclude that he had to pull the trigger; he did so by accident, unintentionally.

Thus the defendant might be able to show a jury why it was reasonable and justified for him to draw his gun and point it at the guy he shot. But if the discharge of the gun was unintentional, how does he show that his actually shooting the guy was reasonable and justified?

On the other hand, the prosecutor argues that the defendant was at least reckless in cocking the gun and having his finger on the trigger if he hadn't made the decision that he had to shoot. And the defendant had not made that decision because the actual firing of the gun was an accident.

...Imagine if you're about to be killed by a criminal. You trip and fall, accidentally knocking a heavy vase off a bookshelf which kills him. The fact that you accidentally killed him doesn't mean you're guilty of murder or indeed of any crime...Ah, but the difference here is that you didn't assault him (by doing something like pointing a loaded gun at him). You didn't engage in behavior putting the guy you accidentally killed in jeopardy.

PTT
August 3, 2011, 11:35 PM
Because it also makes the revolver more likely to fire when you, unders stress, didn't want it to; and may make you more vulnerable to a charge of recklessness, and therefore less able to use the SD justification...I thought we discussed that! ;)



If you train well to use both modes, you can safely use either. Anybody who would accidentally shoot because the hammer's cocked really shouldn't be carrying.

If they're inexperienced enough to do that, I'm sure there are dozens of other stupid things they could do that would be a huge liability.

But, then again, it's easier to blame inanimate objects for our mistakes :)

Shienhausser
August 4, 2011, 01:30 AM
I keep my Makarov as my HD gun (yeah yeah and a Mossberg 590a1), round in chamber, DA: meaning hammer down. I cary a J-frame: double action only. I also carry a 686, honestly dead men don't tell secrets, who exactly would even know you fired in SA.

The Makarov is set on DA only for my family who is well trained on firearms but I want to be sure they don't do something stupid. The DA pull on the Mak is as much as a Keltec. If I lived alone i'd have weapons all over the place ready to rock in SA.

When milliseconds count, SA vs DA may be a big deal.

Shienhausser
August 4, 2011, 01:34 AM
PTT I agree with you.


When I bought my revolvers I wanted to blow off as many rounds as I could humanly stand, working on accuracy. Now, I am taking my time to learn otherwise. Missed targets be damned I will shoot left hand right hand upside down backwards inside-out and confused.

oldfool
August 4, 2011, 01:51 AM
this one goes around and around and around

An awful lot of people have used 1911s and SA revolvers for self defense during the last century, and quite a few still do. It is pretty naive to suppose that most of them would not drop the safety on a 1911 or cock the hammer on a SA if they truly felt themselves to be in a life threatening situation.

This recycled debate would be not so hotly contested if the notion of the DAO revolver wasn't promoted so heavily. It is so heavily promoted only as an excuse for operator error. NDs with Glocks are certainly not unheard of either. Operator error.

Decocking any revolver is no big skill trick.
(hint, point it in a safe direction, and if you ever 'slip' odds of going to prison for putting a hole in the floor are really not all that high)

If there is a problem here, it lies in the notion of mechanical mechanisms as substitutes for comfort, competence, confidence, and consistency as achieved by means of sufficient training and practice. Blaming the gun instead of blaming the user.

The case for DA is obvious enough, as is so oft repeated, the predominant case being that deadly encounters do tend to happen very quickly. "3-shots, 3-feet, 3 seconds", etc. That is NOT the same as making a case for DAO though... just DA for rapid response.
Having a hammer on the revolver no more obliges one to use it, than having a trigger on the gun obliges one to use it. Yet options can be useful, because no matter what the odds makers say, you cannot predict the circumstances in advance, no matter what rehearsal scenarios you favor. Know your gun and practice all available shooting techniques with it.

No, speed shooting contestants (other than CAS/SASS flavors) do not rely on SA mode revolvers for fast splits, but many a hunter or silhouette shooter relies on accurate SA shooting.

so... count me in with posts #9, #13,#14, #22, #27,and #37
"If you need the precise shot, it's there so use it. But I wouldn't do it unless I needed that precise shot." Yes, that.

"I'm not doing anything in self-defense that I'm not willing to admit to in open court"
well, I hope I never have to find out, but there is a lot I just might do in obligatory self-defense.

Mostly, strive mightily not to shoot anyone dead, but if you are truly obliged to try, try your very best, and assume heavy legal expenses after, provided you survive. If the Little Old Lady from Pasadena who doesn't know what she is driving on Sunday shows up, and starts waving a gun around, seek cover whether her gun is cocked or not. Guns don't kill people, people kill people.

oldfool
August 4, 2011, 02:00 AM
and I still believe that there is ONE dominant reason why the 1911 has been so very popular for so very long, and the safety ain't it

the SA trigger is

shiftyer1
August 4, 2011, 02:39 AM
I fully agree with 1911 tuners post #14.

I'll add that if I ever HAVE to shoot someone i'm pretty sure i'll use whatever method seems appropriate. I'd hate to think that cocking the hammer would change the reason I had to shoot in the eyes of the law. If thats the case we are in worse shape than I thought!

I've always fired da revolvers single action, I really need to practise da and break the habit.

9mmepiphany
August 4, 2011, 03:14 AM
Suppose some thug was holding your wife hostage and you had to take carefuly aim head shot? Would you cock your DA revolver then?
I like having that option.

It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.
I've spent years training for that shot. Well, it wasn't my wife, it was a co-worker and it wasn't at home, but at work.

I worked in a courthouse and we were our own tactical response team...it had to do with the logistics of our location and the expected threat if a hostage situation occurred. Our department was issued the Sig series of DA/SA handguns, so we had the option of cocking before taking the shot in that type of situation.

We trained for this situation and tried different distractions and timing of our responses. When under stress, we found that officers who chose to cock their guns usually couldn't make the shot, they usually pulled their shot low...this was on a standard hostage target (head, shoulder, forearm and hand exposed) set at 5-7 yards

Before I carried auto pistols, I used to carry a 4" Pyhton as a duty gun...I never cocked that to SA either. Never saw a need and we used to qualify at 50 yards

Warp
August 4, 2011, 04:24 AM
So...shoot the guy from a hidden position, even though he eventually left without causing harm? Well, everyone has to make choices. Me, I'll take cold in my underwear for a couple hours over shooting someone, if I can.

A guy with a rifle hunting you down to kill you? Yeah, I'd shoot him from my hidden position in a heartbeat. A heartbeat is all the time needed for the position to no longer be 'hidden'.


Oh yeah, count me in with posts #9, #13,#14, #22, #27, #37 and #39

There if you need it. My only revolver, so far, is a 642 so I don't have the option (or want it on a pocket/ankle gun). But when I get a GP100...yeah, the single action will be there if I need it. Maybe there will be an active shooter in the mall at a decent distance...you never know

Rexster
August 4, 2011, 04:56 AM
Gunfights are dynamic. Shooting and moving. With a 1911, one act, by the weapon-hand thumb, makes it safe to move with the weapon. De-cocking a DA revolver is not so easily done, especially with one only hand, and a typical DA revolvers SA pull is far too light for me to want to move with it cocked.

Rexster
August 4, 2011, 05:32 AM
Suppose some thug was holding your wife hostage and you had to take carefuly aim head shot? Would you cock your DA revolver then?
I like having that option.

It is better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it.

Actually, such a shot, to a hit hostage-taker who is behind his hostage, especially a hostage precious to me, is a time when I want the one weapon I can shoot better than any other handgun on the planet, unsupported, while standing on my hind legs, a Ruger GP100, and I would shoot it DOUBLE-ACTION. This assumes that I must make the shot with a conventional handgun, without a barricade or other rest, instead of a long gun.

To be clear, I am not claiming to be any type of expert.

The natural tremors in my hands actually diminish during the DA trigger
stroke. I can potentially fire a very accurate shot SA, but for consistency, SA is
better. DA is more stress-proof.

A certain number of felons have looked up the barrel of my GP100, while my duty auto remained in the duty holster. A former duty sixgun, itself, I felt better having it along with me on patrol for seven years, from 2000 to 2007, during which time my "primary" duty auto changed from 1911 to G22 to the present P229.

To be clear, I will not judge a man who feels he needs to cock a revolver to make a hostage-rescue shot. I am just saying that I will fire DA in most foreseeable situations.

It took me a LOT of work to be able to shoot a DA sixgun as well as a 1911, during the early 1980s when I had to carry a DA revolver for all purposes, on the clock or off, during my rookie year. Now, it is the 1911, and other autos, that I strive, without success, to shoot as well as I can shoot certain DA
sixguns. Close, but not quite.

baylorattorney
August 4, 2011, 05:36 AM
Never point your gun where you don't intend to shoot. By the same logic it's ok to cock it if you intend to shoot.

oldfool
August 4, 2011, 08:34 AM
"It took me a LOT of work to be able to shoot a DA sixgun as well as a 1911... Now, it is the 1911, and other autos, that I strive, without success, to shoot as well as I can shoot certain DA"

and there you have it

The discussion here is not whether or not you can learn to shoot a DA revolver accurately
Of course you can, and while many have done so, Rexster's experience is not at all uncommon. It does take a LOT of practice to shoot really well in DA.

Some invest in that practice effort (like 9mm and Rexster) but the truth is that 90% of shooters do not invest nearly enough time in that effort to become "master class" marksmen. For the great majority of shooters, it really is quicker to learn the SA for accuracy. But that doesn't just happen all by itself either. If you are going to shoot your best in SA, you do have to practice it. If you don't practice it (be it DA or SA), don't rely on it for sudden circumstances.

But what do quick and accurate handgun shooters want most ?
they want a really good trigger
long will do real fine if it is smooth and breaks clean

Yet given an equal amount of emphasis on DA and SA shooting for accuracy, most shooters will throw tighter groups with the SA, and even a mediocre class revolver is highly likely to have a very acceptable SA trigger. Much less so with off-the shelf DA revolvers, absent some gunsmithing.

Most any half decent quality handgun also has better potential accuracy than the hand that hold it, regardless of shooter preference for SA, DA, or DAO. None of which really matters much "3 shots, 3 seconds, 3 yards". But people still yearn for a great trigger on their gun anyway, and with good reason.

If I am ever taken hostage, I hope there is a SWAT guy there with a scoped rifle, or a lasered carbine, leastways if 9mm is unavailable. That eyeball shot just ain't all that easy to make, even with a lot of practice.

627PCFan
August 4, 2011, 09:06 AM
Why is anyone left to testify that you cocked the gun?

(Edited-assuming a 1 v. 1 engagement)

Sam1911
August 4, 2011, 09:11 AM
Why is anyone left to testify that you cocked the gun?

If you are suggesting that the attacker would be dead, remember that only 20%-30% of gunshot victims die.

And, taking steps to assure that an attacker was dead, continuing violence against him beyond the force needed to halt an attack, would be murder.

Smaug
August 4, 2011, 11:04 AM
I can see this from both points of view. I asked the same question a while back, after watching Dirty Harry. When he was in a gun fight and had the time, he cocked it first, and rarely missed.

To my way of thinking, the intellectual reasons for cocking the gun can go out the window in an exciting situation. Not for calm, cool, experienced folks like M2 Carbine, and Dirty Harry (who also cocked his revolver when he was expecting trouble) but I could sure see my wife getting nervous and touching a round off accidentally!

Here's an example that is indirectly related. I was riding my scooter one night. I was an experienced motorcyclist who knew and had practiced proper braking techniques. But that one night when I was out riding and a deer suddenly appeared in front of me, adreneline gave me superhuman strength and hard-wired reflexes that were faster than my brain. I locked up the front tire and went tumbling down the road at 45 mph. I was soooo mad at myself for doing that. (I came out OK thanks to my full face helmet, by the way, just minor road rash and a wrecked scooter)

Can't you see the same sort of reflexive, adreneline-pumped situation if you go to investigate a sound in the night?

Also, it is worth pointing out that a typical trigger on a non-target 1911 is quite a bit heavier than a DA revolver in SA. Both of my S&W revolvers have a VERY light DA trigger. I breaks in ounces, not pounds of pressure. One is gunsmithed, one is stock. My 1911 (Para GI Expert) had probably a 5.5 lb. pull. Not something that would trip from a mere touch.

I can see doing it either way. But if you're going to cock it, you'd better make damned sure to keep your finger out of the trigger loop until you're REALLY ready to fire. If you don't need to shoot, make sure you're not so shakey that you can't decock it safely, or put it down for later.

With an auto, if it is cocked, loaded, and with the safety off, and has no decocking feature, one can always drop the mag and rack the slide to make it safe prior to decocking. On a DA revolver it isn't an option to open the cylinder until the gun is decocked.

So I think an experienced and cool-headed person could handle it. It is just questionable if it is worth all the risk, when any self defense shoot will probably be at less than 7 yards.

Loosedhorse
August 4, 2011, 11:07 AM
Anybody who would accidentally shoot because the hammer's cocked really shouldn't be carrying.You mean at a shooting range? If so, I see your point. But we're talking about a gunfight. If you feel you can accurately predict folks' behavior under that kind of stress, well, there's an opinion. The uncocked trigger makes an ND less likely, as I said, in an uncertain environment.ONE dominant reason why the 1911 has been so very popular for so very long, and the safety ain't it

the SA trigger isSo...that's why there are so many companies manufacturing the 1911s without safeties, and so many gunsmiths getting rich by removing 1911 safeties? :rolleyes:

There are a lot of folks who deactivate safeties (whether that's wise or not is a different matter): 1911 grip safeties, High Power mag safeties, etc. Show me, even among those folks, the ones that are removing the 1911 external safety on a SD gun.we had the option of cocking before taking the shot in that type of situation.You also had your trainers, your department training protocol, and your fellow officers to testify that having that option was your force's SOP. And you had pre-paid lawyers available to argue that point, if it came up; and the deep pocket of your employer to take care of any civil claim, if you lost.

(I know that you said that those who cocked their pistols did NOT have good accuracy. I just was pointing out that an officer using an approved techinique he has trained on is different from a private citizen using it. And I think it is a very unusual department for which cocking the hammer is an approved and taught technique.) Yeah, I'd shoot him from my hidden position in a heartbeat.Do what you want. I was just noting (aside and OT) that in fact the guy didn't shoot (couldn't), and he lived. Me, I'd prefer that outcome to shooting someone for several reasons; YMMV.assuming a 1 v. 1 engagementYour gunfight is not going to be what you want it to be; it'll be what it is.

Owen Sparks
August 4, 2011, 11:21 AM
Being able to cock the hammer is a nice option to have if you need it.
I always use the thumb of my support hand.

451 Detonics
August 4, 2011, 01:19 PM
1983, Dade County Florida. Luis Alvarez, a sworn officer, shoots Nevell Johnson Jr in a video arcade. He admitted and witnesses stated he cocked his duty revolver manually with his thumb. The gun fired fatally wounding Johnson. On the scene Alverez made the statement that it was an AD that occurred when his arm was jostled. Later when a 22 pistol was found in Johnson's underwear he recanted that story and stated he fired when the suspect made a sudden movement towards a gun that Alverez wasn't even aware of.

If that 22 had not been present then it is likely Alverez would have been convicted of manslaughter at the minimum, perhaps even homicide. They managed to keep the original statement out of the courtroom and 12 white jurors found him not guilty in under two hours which included a dinner break.

Cocking a DA revolver is ok at the range but not in a self defense scenario. It is a fact that nationwide AD's dropped dramatically when many departments went to DAO revolvers.

As far as accuracy I do better shooting DA than SA...because I practice shooting DA. If you spend all your practice time at the range shooting SA you need to learn DA shooting, it may save your butt in court...not to mention in an emergency it is much faster.

hq
August 4, 2011, 02:17 PM
Cocking a DA revolver is ok at the range but not in a self defense scenario.

Having defended myself with a gun (no shots fired) in a real-life situation, I second that.

When the proverbial excrement hits the fan, you're all nerves, adrenaline is pumping and you're highly alert. Fortunately I was carrying a H&K P7 that has a grip-activated squeeze cocking system. I found my trigger finger shaking enough that it could've caused an AD, just being near (not inside) the trigger guard instead of pressed firmly against the side of the frame.

Sometimes I carry a single action semiauto, but if something happens and I need to draw it, I make absolutely sure that the safety is on and it stays that way. Revolvers with no safety... DON'T COCK IT.

Loosedhorse
August 4, 2011, 02:18 PM
Luis AlvarezFamous case. However, from what I've read:


Ofc. Alvarez claims he saw and put his hand on a bulge in Mr. Johnson's sweater at the beginning of the encounter, and Johnson admitted that he was carrying a gun right then.
Alvarez never "admitted" he cocked the gun; he has always maintained that he did not.
Of the perhaps 35 witnesses to the shooting, only one said Alvarez cocked the gun. (And the jury apparently did not believe him.)
Alvarez did say that his gun had "gone off" when someone bumped his arm. He said that immediately after the shooting, when radioing for back-up and ambulance. However, he told investigators on the scene that no one had bumped his arm, and that he did not know why he said otherwise.
The State Prosecutor for Dade County at the time was a certain Janet Reno, who made the decision to prosecute Alvarez; it is not clear that her decision was based solely on the merits of the case.
Alvarez's intial statement over the radio, plus the standard DA action of his S&W 64, allowed the prosecutor to charge him with manslaughter. The trial took 8 weeks: the longest trial in FL history at that time. The acquittal took two hours; it is speculated it only took that long, because the jurors wanted to finish dinner. They did.
After the shooting but before the trial, all Miami-issued revolvers were changed to DAO.

We weren't there, so we can't say with certainty what really happened; but given the verdict, these are the established facts of the case.

Warp
August 4, 2011, 02:37 PM
Why is anyone left to testify that you cocked the gun?

(Edited-assuming a 1 v. 1 engagement)

1. Roughly 80% of those shot by a handgun survive.

2. There are often witnesses.

3. These days there are often cameras.

Warp
August 4, 2011, 02:43 PM
Do what you want. I was just noting (aside and OT) that in fact the guy didn't shoot (couldn't), and he lived. Me, I'd prefer that outcome to shooting someone for several reasons; YMMV.

Agreed. If I had a crystal ball and knew that the guy was not going to find me and was not going to shoot/kill me I would wait it out. But you cannot possibly 'know' that until after the fact. At the time what you know is that a man with a rifle is hunting you down to shoot/kill you.

Loosedhorse
August 4, 2011, 03:17 PM
But you cannot possibly 'know' that until after the fact.Agree completely. Other things you cannot possibly know:

That if you choose to shoot, you will hit (even with that SA trigger pull!)
That if you hit, you will stop him
That if you shoot, with or without a hit, you will survive
That if you shoot, he will not be around to tell to police a very different story from yours: about how he knew you were out there somewhere with a gun, just waiting to shoot him, and he was afraid to go anywhere, because you might see him
That if you do survive, you will not be prosecuted

Let's expand a bit more on the last: when he first came into view, did you shoot right away? If not, why not--weren't you under "immediate threat"? If you waited, was it--coldly--for a better shot? If he turned his back, giving you a shot, did you shoot him in the back? If you did, well, that'll take some explaining. Of you waited for a "more defensible shot", well, why couldn't you wait some more?

Like I said, there's lots of reasons I'd prefer not to shoot, and that--even with a gun--if I am dealt the option of waiting unseen, I will play that card for as long as I can. But that doesn't have to be the answer for everyone.

Rexster
August 4, 2011, 03:45 PM
Those who plan to cock with the support hand thumb should keep in mind that a dynamic situation may be over before there is time to do that, or still in progress but with the defender hopelessly behind the curve.

Though the article was written in reference to DA/SA autos, the principles are the same; google "Fear Not the DA Shot" by Ernest Langdon. It is readily searchable; not difficult to find on-line.

To be clear, I acknowledge the possibility that I just MIGHT cock a DA weapon's hammer someday during a gunfight, but believe strongly in training to use DA for the wide range of defensive scenarios.

FWIW, I must carry a duty pistol selected from a list of authorized .40 DA autos. (We buy our own.)
My choice is the SIG P229, and I can carry either the DA/SA or DAK version. Though I own both
types, my choice for the duty rig, and most off-the-clock concealed carry, is DAK, a form of DA-
only. No bureaucrat chose DAK for me; it was approved as an option ten years after the DA/SA
P229 was made an authorized duty pistol.

The officers who first carried DAK at my PD were some of the guys who do narc raids; they train to a higher level with handguns than even the SWAT guys, and shoot more bad guys per officer than any other division in the PD. These are our most serious gunfighters. They have the same choices of duty pistols as the rest of us, but as they qual under their own trainers, the ones who liked DAK just went ahead and started using DAK without specific approval from regular firearms training unit.

After hearing from a narc friend about DAK, and reading about it from trustworthy sources such as John Farnam, I started carrying DAK before it was officially approved, making sure I only qual'ed and practiced at the firearms training range when certain "cool" supervisors and trainers were present.

I apologize for detouring into autos, but wanted to make the point of how strongly I believe in shooting DA. The DAK is the closest thing to a sweet K-frame trigger pull I have experienced in any
auto, anyway. Life is good.

Warp
August 4, 2011, 05:17 PM
Agree completely. Other things you cannot possibly know:

That if you choose to shoot, you will hit (even with that SA trigger pull!)
That if you hit, you will stop him
That if you shoot, with or without a hit, you will survive
That if you shoot, he will not be around to tell to police a very different story from yours: about how he knew you were out there somewhere with a gun, just waiting to shoot him, and he was afraid to go anywhere, because you might see him
That if you do survive, you will not be prosecuted

Let's expand a bit more on the last: when he first came into view, did you shoot right away? If not, why not--weren't you under "immediate threat"? If you waited, was it--coldly--for a better shot? If he turned his back, giving you a shot, did you shoot him in the back? If you did, well, that'll take some explaining. Of you waited for a "more defensible shot", well, why couldn't you wait some more?

Like I said, there's lots of reasons I'd prefer not to shoot, and that--even with a gun--if I am dealt the option of waiting unseen, I will play that card for as long as I can. But that doesn't have to be the answer for everyone.

It's pretty simple. I shot the man with a rifle who was trying to kill me.

9mmepiphany
August 4, 2011, 06:26 PM
Though the article was written in reference to DA/SA autos, the principles are the same; google "Fear Not the DA Shot" by Ernest Langdon. It is readily searchable; not difficult to find on-line.

It is especially easy to find as it is the second of the instructional links in my signature

Loosedhorse
August 4, 2011, 07:55 PM
It's pretty simple. I shot the man with a rifle who was trying to kill me....and then he shot me dead.

Would make a nice epitaph. And simple. :D

Jurist
August 4, 2011, 10:28 PM
Who's going to know weather or not that you cocked the hammer?.

zxcvbob
August 4, 2011, 10:34 PM
I pretty much instinctively shoot single-action because I've always used SA revolvers. I'm having to train myself to shoot DA. I'm almost there now.

Surprisingly, DA is more accurate. (I did not expect that at all.)

If you cock a revolver, how are you going to decock it safely if you *dont* have to shoot? Especially when you're all amped-up on adrenaline.

eqlzr
August 4, 2011, 10:37 PM
Once I was at a range and heard this very loud rapid fire shooting coming from way at the other end of the table. I thought, "Holy Cow, that guy must have a huge semi-auto pistol of some kind."

I walk down to the other end, and there's this skinny little old man with long silvery gray hair and a bushy bristly gray handlebar mustache. He was shooting.....

a Colt .45 Single Action Army revolver.

And he was putting all his shots in the bullseye at about 17 yards.

Warp
August 4, 2011, 11:39 PM
Who's going to know whether or not you cocked the hammer?

1. Roughly 80% of those shot by a handgun survive.

2. There are often witnesses.

3. These days there are often cameras.

9mmepiphany
August 5, 2011, 12:20 AM
Who's going to know weather or not that you cocked the hammer?.
Somehow I would expect you'd want to tell the truth, so that you can avail yourself of the justifications of your action entailed in a claim of self-defense

oldfool
August 5, 2011, 04:02 AM
For the record, I did not advocate, nor have I ever advocated, the removal of a safety from any firearm, long or short, irrespective of type/make/model/caliber.
I really do not know why someone would read all that into my comment

the topic here is SA vs DA mode shooting
the 1911 is very popular (still) for many good reasons, including how "shootable" they are for many people
when you do shoot one (actually fire a round, you know), the safety is off, and the gun fires off a SA trigger, first shot, every shot

I believe that the 1911 SA trigger (relatively short, light, and crisp) is the primary reason why so many people like them so well, and have for so very long

OP - "The 1911 ... has a similarly light trigger pull to a cocked revolver. Why don't DA revolver shooters train to cock off the draw the way 1911 shooters unsafe off the draw?"

The subject here being revolvers, of course, comparisons with SA autos being introduced in the OP, but re: other pistolas re: DA/SA action autoloaders, there are people who do advocate cocking the DA/SA auto for 1st shot, so as to always fire every round in same mode vs. mix-n-match; whether or not that is best option with that type of gun, I have no personal opinion, but it would depend at least in some part on how the gun is carried (you know, proper use of a safety)

PS
any comment on S&W ILS being moot, it is not a carry safety, and that is a completely different topic

Loosedhorse
August 5, 2011, 05:13 AM
I really do not know why someone would read all that into my commentI didn't. But you made the comparison of the 1911 to a DA revolver that's cocked. They are not equivalent. If the 1911 had its external safety removed, it'd be closer--but it doesn't come that way because light tigger WITH safety is the system on a 1911. I think it is that combination that makes the 1911 popular for SD: if it was light trigger no safety (like a cocked revolver), I don't think it would do as well. Perhaps you do.

A 1911 is fundamentally unlike a cocked DA revolver, both because of the 1911's safety (which can be quickly switched on or off) and because a SA pistol MUST be cocked in order to fire. If you use an analogy to "make a point," I think it's reasonable that someone point out that the analogy has problems.

There's a reason the 1911s are popular? Of course, just like there's a reason that cocked DA revolvers are not popular for SD.

woad_yurt
August 5, 2011, 09:26 AM
How about practicing to use the gun as it was designed to be used? I have a suspicion that all of the posts from folks about shooting a DA revolver in SA have something to do with not spending the time to learn a proper DA trigger pull. It takes time, ammo and a bit o' practice.

Vern Humphrey
August 5, 2011, 10:40 AM
Why don't DA revolver shooters train to cock off the draw the way 1911 shooters unsafe off the draw?
M1911 shooters don't disengage the safety as they draw. They disengage the safety when they decide to shoot. That can happen as they draw, or it can happen later.

Mike1234567
August 5, 2011, 10:52 AM
For a SD handgun I prefer: DA for revolver or SA/DA (or thumb safety) for pistol. I know from experience that my finger may twitch due to adrenaline oversaturation. For me, increased chance of accidental discharge is NOT worth the negligable gain in accuracy. YMMV.

Vern Humphrey
August 5, 2011, 10:58 AM
I know from experience that my finger may twitch due to adrenaline oversaturation.
That's why, if you haven't made the decision to shoot immediately, you present an M1911 with the safety engaged, strong thumb on the safety lock, and trigger finger indexed.

If you suddenly decide to shoot, you simply close your hand, wiping off the safety and pressing the trigger in a single movement.

Harley Quinn
August 5, 2011, 11:04 AM
LAPD had quite a few shootings because of DA revolvers being put into SA mode in the field...

They went to DA only in the Model 15-3 S&W (70s)...It helped reduce the ND/ADs...

If a revolver is carried CCW... I believe it is good to have it DA only...

The Semi-Auto Pistol is now, main line of defense for them... I would think any revolver carried (back up/off duty) has to still be DA only...

Regards

Magnumite
August 6, 2011, 02:58 AM
""OP - "The 1911 ... has a similarly light trigger pull to a cocked revolver. Why don't DA revolver shooters train to cock off the draw the way 1911 shooters unsafe off the draw?"

The subject here being revolvers, of course, comparisons with SA autos being introduced in the OP, but re: other pistolas re: DA/SA action autoloaders, there are people who do advocate cocking the DA/SA auto for 1st shot, so as to always fire every round in same mode vs. mix-n-match; whether or not that is best option with that type of gun, I have no personal opinion, but it would depend at least in some part on how the gun is carried (you know, proper use of a safety)""

I have never understood this semi auto DA to SA transition difficulty. I never had issues with it. Like any other form of shooting, lots of dry fire practice would be a great benefit to the user of the pistol. So would range practice consisting of DA shot, SA shot, decock, repeat, repeat... I cut my handgun teeth on shooting DA revolvers, even used DA in bullseye competition for timed and rapid fire. Maybe that's why I don't get the difficulty. If in a hostage scenario as described, I would use DA mode also and I would make the shoot.

The way I see it, buying a DA 22 rimfire revolver is a good way to get the DA shooting learned.

oldfool
August 6, 2011, 08:59 AM
I only own one DA/SA autoloader, don't shoot it much, but I don't cock it for 1st shot, would seem to me an awkward an unnecessary delay. Mentioned it only because I have heard it advocated by others.

I don't cock a DA revolver for 1st shot, either, same reasons. I cock a DA revolver when I am going to take a slow-fire SA shot, not double taps you know.

Some 1911 shooters never drop the thumb safety until on target, but many do wipe down the safety "on the draw"(not while still in holster), meaning by the "retention" or low ready-position, whist still bringing up the muzzle up smoothly to bear on target; my guess is that they would do same in a stress situation, muscle memory and all that.

I don't think (?) anybody in this thread has advocated cocking a DA revolver when there is a need for speed, and need for speed is always the 'default assumption' for self-defense.

Most do acknowledge that DA shooting can be very accurate, yet we all have seen others at range who shoot only SA mode because they just don't know, and will never know unless they practice. Yet I also believe some DA only and/or DAO shooters would be handicapped in SA mode, simply because they consider SA so utterly useless, that they never practice SA. Bullets go where well aimed, not where you just want them to go, and that is true irrespective of mode. Practice is prudent. If you never practice DA shooting, you will never know what your best is. If you never practice SA shooting you will never know what your best is. The thumb piece on the hammer is not a crutch, it is just a part of the tool.

A lot has been said about the dangers of decocking a DA revolver. Seems to me overstated. "ohhmygosh, you will shoot your eye out !" Point it at something you don't want to kill before doing it, of course.

A lot of gun shop owners don't like you dry firing their guns (and I never seem to have an assortment of snap caps in my pocket when I really need them), so I hang my weak hand thumb over the hammer, while squeezing the trigger (so as not to drop the hammer hard), because I want to know what the trigger feels like; I won't buy a DA without some cursory feel for the trigger beforehand. The floor never has yet jumped up at me and screamed "watch out !"

Nervously waving a gun muzzle around at noises in the dark is a really bad notion, no matter what the action of the firearm, so try not to do that. Nervous people have AD/NDs with firearms be they SA, DA, DAO, or striker fired.

Self defense scenarios, no, don't hold your breath waiting for the SA scenario, it would be a rare exception to the rule. But 'never' is a mighty big word.

The hostage scenario, I hope it's a SWAT sniper with a scoped and ranged 308... and I hope he takes that shot off a rested rifle, not standing off hand, no matter how good he is. Which is the only way I could ever see me taking any shot at any threat in SA mode, hands/forearms steadied off a rest, not at splits speeds.. but I would choose SA in that unlikely event. If you are the hostage, I will be the guy around the corner, calling for SWAT on the cell phone. Be patient, you really don't want me shooting in your direction anyway. Shaky hands.

I am not saying there are not people who can make that shot with a DA revolver, though. If I am the hostage, 9mm has my permission to take the shot. No kidding.

PS
I love a DA rimfire revolver for bonus practice rounds, I do.
I practice both DA and SA, shaky hands and all.
(ain't ever shot myself in the foot yet, decocking a revolver, but then again the day ain't over yet)

Revolver218
August 6, 2011, 11:09 AM
As I recall, back in the day, on the PPC we shot everything close DA, everything further away SA. And close-in shooting was from a standing position while greater distances called for barricade/prone shooting. For close work, in self defense situations ( 0-7 yards) I see no need for SA. Keep it simple, draw, aim and, if necessary, pull the trigger. Why complicate the situation with one more step?

Walking Dead
August 6, 2011, 11:13 AM
How would anybody know if you cocked it anyway?

Sam1911
August 6, 2011, 11:27 AM
How would anybody know if you cocked it anyway?

A prime example of RTWT. (That's Read The Whole Thread. A principle we dearly wish folks would adhere to.)

This has already been addressed in posts 49, 50, 57, 64, 67, and 68.

Loosedhorse
August 6, 2011, 01:04 PM
...and post 28! :)

Mike1234567
August 6, 2011, 01:07 PM
^^^ And now post 80.:)

Rexster
August 6, 2011, 04:40 PM
LAPD had quite a few shootings because of DA revolvers being put into SA mode in the field...

They went to DA only in the Model 15-3 S&W (70s)...It helped reduce the ND/ADs...

If a revolver is carried CCW... I believe it is good to have it DA only...

The Semi-Auto Pistol is now, main line of defense for them... I would think any revolver carried (back up/off duty) has to still be DA only...

Regards
My employer, not as large as LAPD, but still a very big PD, never went as fas as requiring the duty
sixguns to be rendered DAO, but sometimes I wonder why; perhaps cost. (Like much of US law
enforcement at the time, we tended to followed LAPD's lead in many ways.) I do know that we were
trained, from at least the early 1980s, to never cock a DA revolver. I do distinctly remember,
however, early in my career, searching an apartment with a more-senior officer, who drew and
COCKED his 6" S&W Model 629, and kept it cocked until the apartment was found to be clear. His trigger finger was not indexed, either; it was inside the trigger guard. (To be clear, however, indexing the trigger finger was still seemingly a rather new idea back at that time.)

Well, at least he was very careful about muzzle awareness...

corpsmanup!
August 6, 2011, 05:32 PM
I agree with the dumbing down of the population stance. If memory serves correctly, Mr.Keith carried a DA s&w for a reason: Faster follow up shots. He would draw and cock the hammer at the same time, much like a SA, and fire into the target with the opportunity to have a quicker follow up shot in DA than a SA sixgun.
Just my .02

Harley Quinn
August 7, 2011, 07:19 PM
Rexter,
Yes, same situation when on in 60s early 70s (pre DAO) many, cocked and finger on the trigger. DAOnly, always, trigger finger touching with pressure/slightly...:what:
Muzzle awareness you bet!!!:)
Regards

Red Cent
August 7, 2011, 07:43 PM
'Cause I couldn't have made that shot that George Stone made shootin' DA. I woulda had to cock it to make a hit. Now 7 yards is another story.

Tony_the_tiger
August 8, 2011, 02:20 AM
Cock it all you want, and make sure to practice de-cocking it too. However, make sure it is unloaded and pointed in a safe direction prior to practicing the de-cock.

When cocked, keep your finger off the trigger. Always keep your finger off the trigger until read to fire. I'd hate to hear about a negligent discharge due to twitchy fingers.

GLOOB
August 8, 2011, 03:37 AM
Yep. It's always best to keep your finger off the trigger until ready to shoot. I daresay more DAO or DA revolver fans break this rule, hence the hoopla over not cocking the hammer.

If you're used to handling a SA with a scary light trigger, then go ahead and do it. Properly. When I shoot my DA revolvers, I do mostly SA shooting. And my finger comes out of the trigger guard between every shot when I'm cocking the hammer, even with the gun remaining on target.

The only issue I have with decocking a DA revolver is the shape of the hammer means you can't plug the firing pin with your firing hand thumb and/or hook the thumb completely over the top of the hammer. It takes two hands to decock a revolver completely foolproof, like, cuz you can only fit the tip of your thumb over the spur. It's a sturdy grip, but it's still not foolproof, and there's nothing blocking the firing pin until you let go the trigger. I will do it one-handed at a firing range, pointed downrange, but I won't do it like that indoors.

My favorite hollywood gunhandling move is how when the crisis is over, they always decock the hammer with the gun still pointed at the guy - and with the trigger fully depressed while they're lowering the hammer.

Harley Quinn
August 8, 2011, 10:54 AM
Hollywood and firearms handling:eek: Hollywood (movies) in general :o

Regards

Maple_City_Woodsman
August 8, 2011, 10:34 PM
Many antique revolvers have manual safety levers.

Warp
August 9, 2011, 01:35 PM
How many people carry antique revolvers?

Marshall
August 9, 2011, 04:35 PM
How about practicing to use the gun as it was designed to be used? I have a suspicion that all of the posts from folks about shooting a DA revolver in SA have something to do with not spending the time to learn a proper DA trigger pull. It takes time, ammo and a bit o' practice.

Amazing statement, to me. Maybe, just maybe, they were designed to shoot both ways. :p Now, if we were talking DAO revolvers, you would have a point. But then, we wouldn't even be having this discussion.

Shienhausser
August 9, 2011, 09:17 PM
When I first bought the revolvers I have I shot alot of single action to get used to the sights. Now I shoot almost all DA even to the point where I am taking steps to improve the DA pull of them ie spring kits, action jobs etc.

Plus when you shoot at the range and keep hitting the target with DA you look LIKE A BOSS.

Frank Ettin
August 9, 2011, 09:50 PM
It's very possible to be accurate shooting DA. It requires practice. It also requires a revolver that fits you properly. With my small hands, something like a S&W N frame shooting DA is a completely lost cause. But I've learned to manage K frames and J frames quite well DA.

zxcvbob
August 9, 2011, 09:54 PM
I've been using a S&W 15 double-action to shoot Bullseye; not just the timed and rapid fire but the slow fire as well. I'm trying to get where shooting DA is instinct. Then I need to work on shooting my SAA's again so I pick the right mode subconsciously.

Magnumite
August 10, 2011, 05:36 AM
"I have a suspicion that all of the posts from folks about shooting a DA revolver in SA have something to do with not spending the time to learn a proper DA trigger pull. It takes time, ammo and a bit o' practice."

Reminds me of what a nationally ranked shooter said years back when a younger shooter asked about subtleties of DA shooting. This was when revolvers ruled the PPC games. He said (paraphrased), "Shoot DA with as many loads as you can get out of an 8 pound keg of AA452 (Win 231 equivilant) then come and talk to me".

If you enjoyed reading about "Why not cock a DA revolver?" here in TheHighRoad.org archive, you'll LOVE our community. Come join TheHighRoad.org today for the full version!