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single action/double action

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by desert gator, Mar 2, 2009.

  1. desert gator

    desert gator Well-Known Member

    I am new to guns and I am a little confused when it comes to single action and double action when it comes to semi automatics. Can someone explain in the diff in simple terms.
  2. Travis Bickle

    Travis Bickle member

    The hammer of a double action pistol works just like that of a double action revolver. It's your trigger pull that cocks the hammer before each shot.

    In a single action, the hammer is automatically cocked by the gun before each shot, except for the first shot, before which it which will be cocked by your trigger pull (like on a double action) or manually like on a singe action revolver.
  3. desert gator

    desert gator Well-Known Member

    So on a single action I would have to pull the slide or hammer back to fire off my first shot, than on a double action I would just pull the trigger?
  4. Spyvie

    Spyvie Well-Known Member

  5. Travis Bickle

    Travis Bickle member

    Not necessarily. On some SA autopistols, the first trigger pull will be double action, that is, the hammer will be cocked before the first shot by your trigger pull, like on a DA revolver.
    Yes. On some SAs, you'll also just have to pull the trigger, too, because as has been explained above, the first shot will be DA.
  6. desert gator

    desert gator Well-Known Member

    Ok cool, Im starting to grasp it a bit more. So more simple would be a revolver if it is single action I have to pull the hammer back between each shot. If its double action I just take it off safety and pull the trigger, pulling the trigger than operates the hammer to cock back and strike.
  7. desert gator

    desert gator Well-Known Member

    Another question? You have to pull back on the slide on either or to put a bullet in the chamber?
  8. sohcgt2

    sohcgt2 Well-Known Member

    Single action = trigger pull releases hammer or striker. Double action = trigger pull "cocks hammer/striker then releases hammer/striker. Single action revolvers require you cock the hammer with your thumb, single action autos cock the hammer when the slide moves to the rear to chamber the next round. Double action revolvers cock the hammer on initial pull of the trigger and release when the trigger reaches the rear of its travel, double action autos operate in a similar fashion.
  9. desert gator

    desert gator Well-Known Member

    So an advantage of a double action is that you can have a bullet chambered and not half to have the hammer cocked to shoot, just pull the trigger. On a single action if a bullet is chambered the hammer has to be cocked in order to shoot causing loss in how fast you can get a shot off?
  10. Travis Bickle

    Travis Bickle member

    Not in all single actions. Again, there are some single actions in which the first shot is double action, so you don't have to cock it first.
  11. Jim K

    Jim K Well-Known Member

    First, the term "double action" comes from the trigger having two functions relative to the hammer - (1) cock the hammer and (2) release it to fire the gun. In a "single action", the trigger has one function - release the hammer which has been cocked by some means other than the trigger.

    Revolvers are either single action (the "cowboy" guns) or double action (which usually means both DA and SA). Some revolvers are double action only (DAO), usually because the hammer is concealed and cannot be cocked other than by the trigger.

    Semi-auto pistols are more varied. Some are DAO; the hammer or striker is either hidden or can't be cocked. Some are "conventional DA/SA" meaning that for the first shot the hammer can be cocked and released with a pull of the trigger, but for subsequent shots the hammer is cocked by the operation of the pistol and the trigger is single action. Some "autos" (actually semi-autos) are single action only. With those, the hammer has to be cocked manually for the first shot, either by the action of loading the chamber or by pulling back the hammer.


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