single action versus double action

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by Bill M., May 5, 2021.

  1. Bill M.

    Bill M. Member

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    Have been shooting mostly single action guns. In the past few months I have been shooting only a S & W 686. I just started shooting it double action a few months ago. Now I notice that my DA groups are tighter than my SA groups. What can I do to improve my SA groups? It seems there should be some takeaway things I could carry back to the SA mode. I am surprised at the DA results.
     
  2. JCooperfan1911

    JCooperfan1911 Member

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    I’ve had the same thing happen.
     
  3. George P

    George P Member

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    I am opposite, my groups shooting my DA guns in SA are light years tighter than in DA
     
  4. alfsauve

    alfsauve Member

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    The thing about DA is, for some, you don't flinch because it is a surprise break, sort of. My muscles are also working at keeping the gun steady during the long pull so I don't have time to flinch.
     
  5. Steve Milbocker

    Steve Milbocker Member

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    Double action for me is for defense. I don’t expect my double action groups to be as good as single and they aren’t. If I can stack them up center mass I’m happy. If I can’t shoot tight groups single action I’m not.
     
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  6. chicharrones

    chicharrones needs more ammo

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    How the grip fits my hand and how that grip places my trigger finger on the trigger will determine if the muzzle snaps sideways in my hand during the trigger break. If I can get the grip and trigger reach to suit me better in double action, then my single action may suffer. The same thing can happen in reverse.

    For instance, I currently have two grips for my S&W 66. One grip is a bit too large in circumference, and the other is a bit too small. For me, the large grip makes for better single action shooting and the smaller grip makes for better double action shooting. These grips give different trigger reach distances with the large grip allowing only the tip of my finger on the trigger.

    That's comparing a DA/SA revolver being fired DA versus SA.

    If you're talking a Single Action Only revolver (SAA clone), I've always had a bit of a harder time shooting those well compared to a DA/SA revolver. Part of that is plow handle grips don't fit in my hands well. The other (I believe) is the long hammer stroke of a single action gun (SAA clone) requires more concentration on the follow through on the shot. I get more muzzle drop with a SAO revolver when I'm not paying attention to the shot. I do better transitioning from a SAO revolver to a DA/SA revolver than I do going from DA/SA to a SAO revolver.
     
    Last edited: May 5, 2021
  7. Corpral_Agarn

    Corpral_Agarn Member

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    I see this on the range when I am teaching folks DA revolvers.

    the focus is so much on the sights and trigger that it all just... happens...
     
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  8. StrawHat

    StrawHat Member

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    I don’t believe I ever saw anyone in the winners circle (PPC) who fired Single Action. Double action shooters ruled the roost.

    Kevin
     
  9. RougeLeader1

    RougeLeader1 Member

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    OP, I personally shoot a lot of SA in my Model 10 and Security Six. I often find that if I get my self 'going' (increased heart rate, adrenaline, etc) it is easy to pull the gun by bottoming out hard on the trigger.
    If I relax, stay calm, the groups tighten up well beyond my DA performance. The only thing to remember is to maintain a reasonable grip, just not so tight that my hand starts to shake. The grip isn't as tight as I'd usually have it in DA.
    No magic as far as I can tell, really these are just shooting fundamentals, but it is really easy to out pace yourself even in SA mode!
     
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  10. 303 hunter

    303 hunter Member

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    I’ve been working on my double action shooting for the past year. Ruger GP100 357 magnum, Ruger SP101 38 Special, Ruger New Model Blackhawk 45 Colt, Ruger Redhawk convertible 45 Colt/45 ACP, and S&W model 10-6 38 special.

    The 3” SP101 is the best double action revolver I’ve got. It’s extremely accurate, has a great trigger, and just feels right. My GP100 is a 6” and also has a great trigger. My Redhawk is a work in progress, but will never be spectacular. Model 10-6 has a great trigger, but is a 4” with fixed sights,

    My 45 Colt Blackhawk is another story. It has a self serviced trigger with 1 1/2 pound pull with an extremely crisp break. There’s no way a double action pull will ever equal a single action..
     
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  11. Ru4real

    Ru4real Member

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    I suggest you work on breath, stance and follow through to improve SA.

    For me,

    Great SA shooting is all about proper stance, breath control, proper grip, smooth slow trigger squeeze and sustained follow through.

    Great DA shooting is all about proper stance, proper grip and smooth fast trigger squeeze.

    My stance is different SA to DA, my trigger pull is different SA to DA, my grip is the same SA to DA.
     
  12. Pat Riot
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    Pat Riot Contributing Member

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    I shot single actions one handed for years in Cowboy Action Shooting. Then I started buying DA revolvers and semiautos again about 10 years ago. My DA shooting improved a lot with lots of practice. I got pretty darned accurate with my S&Ws and my Glocks. I pretty much only shot my SA revolvers at SASS matches and one day this guy says “Man, you were all over that target but not one miss.” I looked and he was right. It almost looked like I was going for the corners of each of the two revolver dump targets on that stage.
    I took my cowboy guns to the range and my accuracy was just awful.
    What I figured out was I needed to choke up a bit on the SA grip and get my trigger finger up to the first joint to shoot my cowboy guns accurately. At least that is what seems to be working for me.
     
  13. hemiram

    hemiram Member

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    It seemed that back when I considered myself to be a "good shot", my first DA groups would be as good, or even slightly better than my SA groups. It didn't seem to matter which of my revolvers I was shooting, DW 15-2, S&W 28-2, or 686. After about 50 or so shots, the SA groups were better.
     
  14. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    The only thing I can add to the already great advice given is, practice with a target that lets you see how you're changing your grip and/or pulling your shots. There are co-called "bullseye correction chart" targets out there that are pretty much useless for anything BUT learning how to correct single-action target shooting techniques. You may benefit from using one since your DA shooting is already better than your SA.
     
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  15. .38 Special

    .38 Special Member

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    This is most of the story, in my opinion. It is easy to slap at a single action trigger whenever the sights drift across the bullseye, and it's easy to anticipate recoil and flinch as a result.

    I would just about guarantee that the solution is to get a .22 which can be fired single action and then begin practicing on a piece of blank paper. Pay attention to nothing except sight alignment, with a hard focus on the front blade, and slowly adding pressure to the trigger while maintaining that sight picture. Once the "surprise break" with the sights aligned can be easily achieved then practice can begin with a printed target, and only after that has been mastered can the switch back to centerfire be made.

    I have been at the game for decades but still bring a .22 and a few pieces of printer paper with me to nearly range outing.
     
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  16. murf

    murf Member

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    you have a ten pound grip with your ten pound double-action trigger pull. you have a three pound grip with your three pound single-action trigger pull. suggest you keep the ten pound grip with the three pound pull.

    luck,

    murf
     
  17. kidneyboy

    kidneyboy Member

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    Do you mean one of these targets ? :neener:
    flinchingShootingChart.jpg
     
  18. GeoDudeFlorida

    GeoDudeFlorida Member

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    Hmmmm.... looks familiar but there's something wrong that I just can't put my trigger finger on. :scrutiny:
     
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  19. WrongHanded
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    WrongHanded Contributing Member

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    Try this:

    • Get a good firm grip
    • Point the gun at the target
    • Cock the hammer
    • Put your finger on the trigger
    • Align the sights with the target
    • Mentally accept that the gun will recoil
    • Being trigger press
    • Continue to mentally accept that the gun will recoil and that there will be a big boom and flash
    • Realize that it just happened and the gun just fired
    • Don't bother looking at the target, just do it all again
     
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  20. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    That was pretty much my memory also. The only exception I've ever seen in the Governor's Top 10 was a shooter who thumb cocked at 50 yards...he also shot one-hamded from the Sitting Position
     
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  21. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator Staff Member

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    It is all about focus and putting aside expectation. DA trigger practice should actually make your SA trigger press better; the process is the same, the only thing that changes is the distance that the trigger travels

    In DA, your focus is on the sights and trying to hold them still whole pressing the trigger straight to the rear...you're staying in the process.

    In SA, you know that the SA trigger in lighter and you're anticipating being able to snap off a shot when the sights are perfectly aligned with the target...that's a jerked trigger.

    You've also learned that there is more travel when shooting DA and you're either used to staging the trigger or you're in a hurry to take up the trigger travel...which you don't need in SA
     
  22. Old_Grouch

    Old_Grouch Member

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    I too am in the group that's shoots better double action than single. In my case double action was the way I trained, practiced, qualified, and competed. (except at 50 yards, which was single action)
    The only time I ever cock the hammer is if sighting in off of a rest.
     
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  23. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    These YouTube videos helped me a lot. It requires a lot of focus but it works. Don’t skip the lecture. Watch it all then try it.

     
    Last edited: May 9, 2021
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  24. J-Bar

    J-Bar Member

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    Part two of the previous session.


     
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  25. Rodfac

    Rodfac Member

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    Pretty good summation...My DA groups rival my SA ones on most of my Smith's...by rival, I mean they're 1/2" bigger at 15 yds...but with my J frames, (a .38, a .357, & a .22), with those damnable coil springs, I just don't get a clean pull through DA trigger pull. The "K"s and "N"'s are much better. YMMv Rod
     
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