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DA/SA and "Learning Different Triggers"

Discussion in 'Handguns: Autoloaders' started by Corpral_Agarn, Sep 18, 2017.

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  1. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    Was at an IDPA match yesterday shooting the bull with a fellow shooter and we got to talking about different guns and whatnot.

    I was shooting a Sig P226 (a DA/SA gun) that day and my fellow shooter remarked that he has a P229 that he wants to try someday but he is concerned about the DA/SA trigger.

    He mentioned one of the downsides of DA/SA in competition is having to learn two different triggers.

    My take on that is to just pull the trigger until it goes bang. The trigger on a DA/SA always resets to the same position so it is largely an non issue.

    He is a Glock/M&P shooter and I remarked that while the reset on a Striker fired gun is usually very short, you go to a full forward trigger position when transitioning to a new shooting position or after a reload.

    I argued that because of that, Striker fired shooters really have to learn two triggers depending on if you let the trigger out all the way or are taking another shot right away.

    What says THR?

    Which platform has a longer learning curve to proficiency when it comes to triggers?

    Am I off base or missing something?

    Please note: this is not an argument that the DA/SA being superior to anything, it is just a comparison between the two platforms and I found the discussion interesting.

    Cliff Notes:
    1. DA/SA always resets to the same position regardless of after a reload or transitioning to another shooting position.

    2. Striker fired guns reset to full forward when the finger comes off the trigger.

    3. Therefore, Striker fired shooters have more of a learning curve when it comes to trigger management and "Learning"???
     
  2. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    He's correct. You need to handle more DA/SA pistols - your statement doesn't apply at all to the "two trigger" principle for DA/SA's.

    DA/SA trigger models DO have "two different triggers," one being your first draw, hammer down, long and heavy, DA mode, and the other being your subsequent shot, hammer back, short and crisp SA mode.

    The Sig DA/SA's reset shorter than a Glock striker trigger, however, they have the typical long travel for the first shot. So a guy can either be content to miss his first shot to get himself to his "good trigger," or learn to manage the heavier, longer travel of the DA first shot AND learn to manage the subsequent SA trigger.

    The Glock striker trigger resets to effectively the same position every time - the same position as its 1st shot take up - so it's really the same trigger whether it's the first shot out of the holster or the last shot in the string.

    That "just pull the trigger until it goes bang" is a gross oversimplification of a skillset which has plagued shooters for over a hundred years. There's a heck of a lot more to it than to say, "just pull until it goes bang," especially when under the time crunch of competition.
     
  3. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Member

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    All I ever had to worry about was the DA pull. Once you master that, you have the SA down. I always consider it to be a non-issue. I learned to shoot with DA revolvers though. DA/SA is no big deal for me. I just figure if I have my trigger finger and grip right for a smooth pull in DA, it will be in the proper position for pulling the trigger in SA too.

    Note: I do pin the trigger back and release it only until reset for my second shots. At least that is what I do when practicing. I really can't recall what I do on the clock, but now that I mention it, I'll have to try to remember.
     
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  4. Swichblade

    Swichblade Member

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    I've got plenty of experience on all of the trigger types and in my experience, DA/SA requires the most effort to learn. Mostly due to the initial double action pull rather than the transition between the first and subsequent SA pulls. The hardest part about learning to properly shoot a DA/SA pistol is you have to go out of your way to train on that DA pull. For a long time when I went to the range, I would put the magazine in my gun, rack the slide, and fire until it was empty. I would go entire range sessions without pulling that double action trigger once.

    So I finally decided to put effort into practicing the DA pull though dry fire practice and decocking every shot at the range, and now I can do it well. And for me it's been a skill that works across all my DA/SA guns, it's not like I have to learn each gun's DA trigger separately.

    Even though I can shoot the DA trigger well now, the fact remains that it was an extra learning step that I had to take and I understand why some people would rather just shoot striker fired guns. I didn't even want to at first. I loved the way my DA/SA pistol felt and shot and I just carried it hammer back no safety. It's got a comparable SA pull weight to striker fired guns so I figured why bother with the DA pull? (please don't attack me).
     
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  5. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    As a former instructor in the military, I can tell you the DA/SA (we called them transitional double action) has the steepest learning curve and requires more fine motor skills, which can be in short supply in a gunfight. On draw, the presentation (first) shot from a transitional DA requires more time to master, and multi-task, the movements and timing to get the round off and target as the sight picture is achieved. We trained to begin the trigger squeeze as soon as grip has been achieved with the weak hand (at this point, the muzzle is on the target) to minimize the amount of time the pistol is at full presentation or "aimed in" and rounds are NOT being fired. In addition, after the engagement is over, the shooter must de-cock the pistol before it is re-holstered, or continuing to move if the shooter is using the handgun as a primary arm- failure to do so obviously is a serious safety concern. These are some of the reasons we adopted the Glock.
     
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  6. Mauser lover

    Mauser lover Member

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    The best thing that happened to me as far as forcing myself to practice with my bottom-feeders in the DA mode? A DAO auto. Now, revolvers were and probably will always be a really, really, good head start on DA autos, but there is a really and truly different feel with the autos. Add that to religiously practiced dryfire drills before bed every day for a few months and you have it made. At least until you get out of practice!

    5 minutes every day is all it takes. No ammo cost either!
     
  7. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    You seem to think you know me. Have we met before somewhere?

    I have been shooting DA/SA in matches for 3-4 years, my first pistol all those years ago was a DA/SA...

    Maybe re-read the thread? I said it was largely a non issue, not that there aren't two trigger pull weights.

    Or... hold still and pull straight the rear just like a DA revolver?
    Lots of people learn DA revolver triggers reasonably well...

    A tight grip with the left hand helps that DA a lot. So... Training issue?

    The trigger weight is the same, but would you agree that the trigger travel is longer on the first shot of a Striker?

    Of course it is a oversimplification, but shooting DA isn't really that complicated either.

    for me, the "crunch of competition" improved my DA. Largely because I was focused on shooting and not over thinking that first shot.
     
  8. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    Okay, I can get next to that. For me, I get DA practice when I am practicing the draw and shooting a few rounds, then repeat. I don't think I really go out of my way, per say, to practice that DA pull.
    The reason I like THR is because it is largely informative and a place to exchange ideas.
    You might be challenged, but you aren't (usually) attacked.
     
  9. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

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    This is completely wrong. The difference in pull weight and travel distance between the full pull and reset in insignificant compared to the differences in travel and pull weight in most DA/SA guns. And a Glock trigger resets at exactly the same place each time regardless of whether you release the trigger all the way or just to the reset. And Glock shooters learn to just roll through the trigger, much I assume, the same way DA/SA shooters learn to pull through the long, heavy double action pull. The difference is that the Glock pull is often half the weight of a DA pull and has less than half the pull distance. One reason I like the the striker fired guns is because of their simplicity--same trigger pull every time, no hammer to decock, no safety or levers--the only thing that comes close to the simplicity of a Glock or other striker fired gun is a bobbed hammer revolver. On the complete opposite end of the spectrum is the DA/SA guns--decocker or safety? Both? Up swept slide mounted or down swept frame mounted? And then the difference between a long, heavy 10 to 12 pound pull and then a 4 pound pull after a bunch of slack? Strikers are easier and it isn't even close. They are on opposite ends of the spectrum. One is the future of the defensive/combat sidearm, the other is an answer to a question never asked and only kept relevant by lawyers.
     
  10. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    Okay, so that "trigger squeeze when grip is achieved" is a kind of prepping the trigger, right?
    I do similar, but use my front sight on target as a starting point, usually.

    I can totally see the de-cocker being a potential issue in a military issue application.
     
  11. Riomouse911

    Riomouse911 Member

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    I know you are talking about the small take up necessary after a striker pistol fires, but it is pretty clear that DA -SA triggers don't reset to the same place at all after firing the first shot in DA mode.

    All of the DA/SA I have owned or shot reset to the SA mode after the first DA shot is fired. THAT change in trigger position requires two totally different trigger reaches, time of pull, pull weight, trigger movement distance, shot timing, etc.

    All of my SA or striker pistols require one pull length, one weight, etc. once the gun is cocked or the trigger is reset. This may be immediate, or require a bit of trigger finger let-off to allow the trigger to move forward enough to reset.

    My sole DAO auto (A Beretta 96 Centurion) requires a full DA pull for every shot fired. This means a lot of reset, but it has the same trigger pull and positioning for the start of every shot.

    Sooo, as the name of the action implies, the DA-SA trigger system in a semi auto does require more practice to master because it does have two distinctly different modes of operation.
     
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  12. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    Sure, a rig like the glock trigger is half the weight (5-6lbs?). Not in question.
    But you do half the weight every time you let the trigger forward, right?

    With DA/SA, you do 10lbs once per string/course of fire. Then 4 after that all the time.
    I don't think the slack you are referring to is an issue, but it could be that mine doesn't have that much. IDK.

    Easy, man.
    Just toying around with ideas here. I appreciate your input.

    I think strikers are simpler firearms with less things to operate as well. But again, that's not at all what I was curious about.

    The "future of defensive/combat sidearms" isn't what we are talking about here. at all.
     
  13. Swichblade

    Swichblade Member

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    Yeah, it's been a while since I've been here. I've spent too much time in the internet's more unsavory places. But part of the reason I switched away from carrying cocked and unlocked like that was the peer pressure from people who treated me like I was being the most unsafe guy in the world.
     
  14. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    Trigger reach makes a lot of sense, to me.

    Again, I don't think anyone is saying that DA/SA isn't two trigger pulls to learn. The part in questions is how bad is it to learn it and do striker guns have similar learning curves or different?

    Looks like the consensus is that the striker system is viewed by most as the easier to get proficient with and that's fine.
     
  15. Varminterror

    Varminterror Member

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    This isn't correct. If you drop the hammer on a DA/SA, you're pulling the long & heavy DA trigger, whereas the SA reset is nice and short, and light.

    Yes, I would agree with that - but that is NOT what you posted in your opening post:

    So either you've contradicted yourself or corrected yourself. Either way, my response was to what you originally posted, which was that "1. DA/SA always reset to the same position regardless of after a reload or transitioning to another shooting position (which - to me at least - implies dropping the hammer with the decocker, maybe even reholstering, depending upon your rule set)," and "2. striker fired guns reset to full forward when the finger comes off of the trigger."

    So maybe I'm missing the entire point? You've asked, which has the shorter learning curve - the striker pistol in general does, because it does not require the shooter to learn "two triggers." Mastering the DA first shot is a greater challenge than is learning to master the shorter and lighter striker fired break.

    1) An SAO trigger is the easiest to learn - it is ALWAYS short and light.

    What COULD be 2) The SA portion of the DA/SA is the next easiest trigger to learn, only because they're almost always not of equivalent quality to a good SAO trigger for over travel, weight, and reset - but in most application settings, it can't be had without the first DA shot (no thumb cocking the hammer to have an SA first shot in games or defense), so the "lowest common denominator" DA drags it to the back of the pack.

    Actual 2). The Striker DAO trigger is another step behind the - about on par with a poor quality, heavy SA trigger.

    3) That first shot DA trigger, or any DAO trigger are the hardest to learn to master. Again the DA portion of the DA/SA drags the DA/SA from near the front of the pack to the back for any application where the shooter can't cock the hammer manually. Pure DAO's are functionally a bit more difficult to learn to master, really, since guys have no opportunity to lighten and shorten up, but in practice, I've also seen too many DA/SA shooters avoid their DA trigger and spend the bulk of their range time shooting SA (which happens organically, since only 1 shot HAS to be DA), so the learning curve for total mastery actually tends to be faster for DAO's. Similarly, in practice, I've seen a greater percentage of DAO owners have very dusty pistols because they don't enjoy shooting their pistol - whereas SA and DA/SA shooters will usually shoot more because they can feel more accomplished in doing better with shooting small SA slowfire groups.

    It might not seem that way for you, since you're a DA/SA shooter and already firmly on that side of the fence, but for the rest of the world, learning 2 triggers is more difficult than learning one, and the striker triggers aren't so much worse than SA triggers they can't be learned and managed nearly as well. Especially when you take away a demand for extreme precision - i.e. not talking Bullseye.
     
  16. ATLDave

    ATLDave Member

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    A lot of DA/SA guns do not reset to the same point.

    The real argument in favor of DA/SA over striker-fired guns is that only the first shot is long and heavier... after that, all the subsequent trigger pulls are better than you can get on a striker gun.

    FWIW, even though most of my semi-autos (and all the ones I compete with) are SAO, I love shooting DA revolvers. I think every shooter can learn a lot about aiming through the whole shot with a DA revolver pull, or (to slightly lesser extent) the DA pull on a DA/SA or DAO semi.

    I have never, ever seen someone put what I would consider to be a serious amount of effort into learning a DA/SA trigger and not be able to learn the DA part (or the SA part, but that's assumed). It's not that hard.
     
  17. FL-NC

    FL-NC Member

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    We called it "staging the trigger", but yes. The point of starting it when the pistol is below the sight line (but downrange and still on the target) versus waiting until sight picture has been achieved is to shave time off of the period between draw and rounds impacting the target- we always said "you have the rest of your life to get hits, but you can't miss fast enough". This takes a "while" to master and imprint the muscle memory, and always results in rounds going early/low (but still in the target, if the steps are followed) when shooters are first introduced to this technique. It can also be quite frustrating to newer shooters and instructors just because it takes some people longer than others to "get it". I need to also point out that this method of engagement is ONLY applicable from the draw or low ready, when the tactical situation warrants immediate engagement, so to confuse things more- when covering a known or suspected bad guy, you will not be applying trigger pressure until the situation warrants it- in which case, you may be aimed in with finger off the trigger (high index) and then be forced to immediately go full extension trigger squeeze to engage (we called this "command detonation". Also, transitional DA pistols being what they are, they all tend to "break" that presentation shot at different times- even pistols of the same design. I will say that the SIG 226/228 break sooner and cleaner than the Beretta, with the HK USP's somewhere in between. Of course, all of this is assuming we are talking "stock" pistols, of the type one would normally find in a military or agency arms room- and yes, we tended to put Wolf mainsprings in our M9's as they seemed to be a little bit more crisp, and you may be surprised at how trigger squeeze can be improved by just cleaning the accumulated crud out of the mainspring tunnel in a military M9. Again, remember that all of this is essentially eliminated when a striker fired pistol like a Glock, M&P, or similar is used. Even with a 1911, you have one trigger mode, and the pistol is easily placed on safe or fire, even for lefties if an ambi safety has been installed.
     
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  18. MTMilitiaman

    MTMilitiaman Member

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    Sorry. I despise DA/SA guns. Never met or handled a single one that I liked. Tend to get worked up.

    For me, SAO is excellent. Strikers are fine. Even one of the light DAO guns like the SIG Kellerman triggers could do. But DA/SA guns are abominations and should be treated like lepers.
     
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  19. JeeperCreeper

    JeeperCreeper Member

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    For me, I used to like DA/SA. But when I'm "going fast" as opposed to slow target shooting, the DA to SA transition can mess me up if I don't warm up first.

    I've also never considered the take up on a striker gun on the first shot and riding the reset to be two different pulls. Not how my brain or finger thinks.

    If I ever compete, I'll probably use striker as there is a thing to a consistent trigger pull. Because for me, it is consistent 100% of the time.
     
  20. C0untZer0

    C0untZer0 Member

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    Man, I wish I would have purchased more than just one P7M8 :(
     
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  21. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    lol

    Alright. I like the honesty :D
     
  22. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    Obviously I struggle at the communication of this concept...

    The reset I am talking about is after the gun is fired. Whether it be DA or SA, the trigger resets to the SA mode. When you fire a round regardless of DA or SA the trigger is ready to be pulled again at the same point.

    I do not decock the gun until I am going to holster the gun.
     
  23. FIVETWOSEVEN

    FIVETWOSEVEN Member

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    What I'll add being a big fan of the DA/SA trigger is that it's fun to hand a decocked DA/SA handgun to friends that only shoot striker fired handguns and watch them struggle with that first shot. I've learned to be able to accurately place that first shot where I want to but it took lots of trigger practice. Learning two different trigger pulls does take more concentration and practice and isn't for everyone. I like DA/SA for the nice break that hammer fired guns offer. I haven't been able to find a striker fired handgun that had a trigger that I really liked more than my DA/SA guns.
    When I was just a teenager I taught myself to shoot handguns using a Daisy semiauto CO2 powered BB gun with a long and heavy DAO trigger pull. That has allowed me to easily shoot double action revolvers (I rarely fire them in SA) and frequently practice that long first shot. I would consider myself one of those few that really put the time in on learning the trigger properly.
     
  24. ClickClickD'oh

    ClickClickD'oh Member

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    Hrrrmppp and whooies. I get told all the time at the range, "Hey you know, you really should shoot a striker gun. A DA/SA like that is harder to learn".

    Well, yeah, perhaps it t'were.... perhaps it t'wasn't.... but that's water under the bridge. All that matter is how we shoot them now, not if we had to pick up searing hot cauldrons with our forearms to learn how to use them.

    Who knows, maybe I liked the endless Draw, One Shot, De-cock, Reholster, Repeat drills. Do that for a couple hundred rounds then step up to two shots. Rinse repeat to three. By the end, not only will you not worry about the dreaded DA pull anymore, but you'll be the best guy from the holster for yards around.

    Oh, and stop pestering me about my archaic choice of firearms until you stop shooting low left.. Thanks.
     
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  25. Old Dog

    Old Dog Member

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    Yeah, yeah, yeah. Clearly not a lot of revolver shooters entering this thread. A good DA first pull (see SIG) is not generally a problem for those of us who came up on revolvers. "Abominations?" "Treated like lepers?" Hyperbole much?

    My first duty gun ever was a S&W Model 19 ... been through Model 59s, 5906s, M-9s, a plethora of SIG P-series ... I've seen plenty of shooters over the years who've mastered the TDA platform, and there's been some pretty competent ones I've seen in local IDPA matches.

    As with almost everything else actually shooting-related (not involving tapping on keyboards), practice is key. But hey, I can understand those who don't want to practice a skill bitching about the "complexity" of "mastering two separate trigger pulls."
     
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