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Do you think there's an advantage to DAO?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Atticum, Jun 11, 2010.

  1. Atticum

    Atticum Well-Known Member

    The question applies to automatics as well, but I'm interested in how revolver owners feel about this.

    The two (seemingly) largest subgroups of automatic owners are Glock and 1911 owners. While 1911 is SAO, it shares one common trait with DAO: the same trigger pull every shot.

    Applying this logic to revolvers, do you think there is an advantage to having a DAO (i.e. Ruger .357) over a DA/SA revolver (i.e. S&W .357)?

    Does anyone feel that the need to learn two different pulls and the transition between DA/SA hurts a revolver in some capacity? What capacity would that be? (Defense, target shooting, trigger control, speed, etc.)
  2. oldfool

    oldfool Well-Known Member

    options = advantage
    lack of options = disadvantage

    prediction = minority viewpoint
  3. rcmodel

    rcmodel Member in memoriam

    Shooting a revolver DA allows me to miss more faster.

    I do some handgun varmint hunting at longer ranges, and if I can't cock it for SA fire, I won't own it.

  4. Paladin7

    Paladin7 Well-Known Member

    There is no issue with DA / SA transition on a revolver. In a defensive scenario its all DA shooting.

    The DA/SA of the revolver gives you options for field use. You could come up with a few scenarios where SA might work in a defensive scenario, but a good DA shot need not bother with SA for defense.

    For a strictly defensive pistol, my preference is DAO. Same consistent trigger pull over and over again and no filthy lawyer tricks about how you cocked your gun and it negligently went off maiming or killing your poor underprivileged assailant. DAO means every shot was intentional and this is a very good thing in a court of law.

    If you practice with a DAO you will find that the accuracy and control you can develop will be remarkable. Read the exploits of Elmer Keith, Bill Jordan, Ed McGivern, et. al. There is a lot of real world experience out there on this.

    For a general purpose revolver I'd leave it DA/SA.
  5. Rexster

    Rexster Well-Known Member

    The Glock is not DAO; the reset is shorter for follow-up shots, but many Glock shooters have not noticed, and think Glocks are DAO. There are DAO revolvers sold by both S&W and Ruger, and both of those companies also sell fully DA revolvers, that can be cocked and fired SA as an option.

    That being said, it is not so much that DAO offers any advantage, as that being able to cock a revolver offers another mode of shooting, that being SA. I have little use for cocking a defensive revolver; perhaps no use at all, so it is a matter of SA not offering me any real advantage, at least not in my snubbies and 3" revolvers.

    The spur-less hammer can be an advantage, during a hurried draw from under clothing or from within a pocket, but a spur-less hammer can retain its SA mode. I have a Ruger SP101 and a Speed Six that can be cocked and fired SA, in spite of having bobbed hammers. That particular SP101's hammer is NOT the currently produced hammer, and of course, the Speed Six is out of production. (Yes, they can be de-cocked safely, in case anyone is wondering.)

    At least once, a police officer was accused in court of cocking the hammer of his duty revolver, and accidentally/negligently shooting a suspect in the head, opening the officer to being charged in the death of the suspect. (Killing by accident or negligence is a lesser charge than murder, but still an offense, and also opens the door to civil liability.) Some, therefore, see DAO as an advantage in the legal aftermath of a shooting incident. Me? I didn't worry about it enough to have my duty sixguns "neutered." Perhaps, if I'd ever had to "snipe" with a sixgun, from an improvised rest, I might have wanted SA.
  6. MrBorland

    MrBorland Moderator

    Depends on the application. I shoot DA almost exclusively, but even I'd admit for some applications, (a bullseye or hunting/varmint revolver), I'd want SA capability.

    if the application fits, though, IMO, there's quite a bit to be said for DAO. Cunningham wrote it best, so I'll just pate his link.


    In addition to Cunningham's thoughts:

    DAO = lighter hammer = faster lock time = more accuracy.

    DAO = lighter hammer = less hammer momentum = less hammer strike to jar the sight picture = more accuracy.

    DAO = lighter hammer = faster hammer strike = more hammer kinetic energy = ability to lighten hammer spring without affecting primer ignition = lighter trigger pull.

    Check out this vid:


    It's been rendered DAO, and demonstrates point #2 nicely. You'll note I also try the same trick with a DA/SA revolver in another vid and wasn't able to keep the coin balanced when the trigger broke.

    As to point #3, the 686 in the video's got a 7 1/2# DA trigger pull and lights off everything I've fed it reliably, even stubborn CCI primers.

    As to point #1, it's an IDPA/ICORE gun, but makes a dandy target gun as well.


    As said, I shoot a lot of DA. And practice a lot. But I also try to practice SA some for target work. It's either/or, though, so there's no "transition" for me.

  7. Tallinar

    Tallinar Well-Known Member

    Clearest advantage I could see to DAO is to prevent accidental cocking by having the hammer get caught on clothing or something. Then again, people have been safely carrying DA and SA revolvers for decades without issue as long as basic safety precautions are followed.

    The thoughts behind the shooting benefits of having a lighter hammer make some sense, I suppose.

    I'm not a fan of DAO, but I can see certain benefits. To each his own.

    Then again, I fall into the minority that sees a single action revolver as a perfectly legitimate carry piece, so maybe I'm disqualified from commenting on DAO. :)
  8. gunnie

    gunnie Well-Known Member

  9. Nushif

    Nushif Well-Known Member

    I own both a 1911 and a DAO revolver as well as DA/SA guns of both kinds.

    That being said I do think there is a distinct advantage to having the same trigger pull every time. The exact trigger pull, be it SA or DA can be trained for, to make for great accuracy and personally I don't think I'll ever buy a "mixed trigger" again.
  10. W.E.G.

    W.E.G. Well-Known Member

  11. saltydog452

    saltydog452 Well-Known Member

    I used to wake with all cylinders firing. Bright eyed and maybe a bit frisky.

    Not so anymore.

    Although I like shooting SA semi-autos. An in the house side arm will be DAO or a revolver.

    Stuff changes.

  12. shockwave

    shockwave Well-Known Member

    I see no advantage to DAO, as the S&W 638 solves hammer-snagging issues. Similar shrouded hammer snubbies offer both options. Maybe the SD situation will involve pulling and firing as fast as possible - the DAO scenario - but maybe you'll need a precision shot. If I have time, I'll cock the hammer first.

    I would not buy a DAO revolver. Some people do and that's fine. We all work out the pros and cons to our own advantage.
  13. Drail

    Drail Well-Known Member

    If you can learn to be fast and accurate with a DAO trigger, you are going to be a better all around shooter than most folks. It will force you to pay close attention to the front sight. Many shooters are not willing to put in the time to reach this level of skill. The best example of this level of skill is observing Jerry Miculek work a S&W so fast you cannot hear the individual shots. (reacting to a signal and raising the gun and firing 6 rounds per second and hitting the target) Or very old films of Ed McGivern giving a demo.
  14. oldfool

    oldfool Well-Known Member

    that's what I love about this place, always something to learn...
    never realized until just now that...

    S&W Model 64 revolvers,
    S&W Model 625 revolvers,
    Smith & Wesson M&P Target revolvers

    were all DAO
    not SA/DA
  15. Atticum

    Atticum Well-Known Member

    I think the 64s were police trade in modified to be DAO for safety/reliability purposes.
  16. angel1216

    angel1216 Well-Known Member

    no advantage! to each is own on this one! i like DAO. that's all
  17. The Lone Haranguer

    The Lone Haranguer Well-Known Member

    I believe you should do your defensive shooting in DA, as cocking the hammer could lead to unintentionally shooting someone. But I see little need to modify the revolver to only shoot DA. The biggest advantage - and the one exception I would make for - of DAO revolvers is for pocket carry, where their "bobbed" or enclosed hammers eliminate the chances of snagging.
  18. oldfool

    oldfool Well-Known Member

    agree pert-near 100%
    sort of depends on how long they are willing to stand still, though

    pray you never have to kill anyone, try really hard not to, but if given no choice, try your best, make it as intentional as possible, and if it ain't... lie... but keep your finger off the trigger unless you really, really mean it... guys who shoot 1911s don't worry about unintentional (SA) near as much as us wheelgun guys do

    agree w/ Drail, too, plus some
    IMO, learning to shoot well in DA mode will help you shoot just a little bit better with any handgun you shoot, including pistolas
    Last edited: Jun 13, 2010
  19. SWAddict

    SWAddict Active Member

    I see DAO as an advantage to anyone who may have a gun (revolver or semi-auto) pointed at them by a law enforcement officer or security guard. If their adrenaline is pumping, it is an easy thing for a cocked hammer to go off if the officer or guard's hands are shaking. Misunderstandings happen and innocent people who are not committing crimes do get guns drawn on them.
  20. Deanimator

    Deanimator Well-Known Member

    DA on a revolver is so much better than on a semi-auto that I suppose that DAO would be an option, but one which I would only want on a J-Frame Smith. I wouldn't mind a pre-lock Centennial, since they're so easy to manipulate and have so few things to catch on clothing.

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