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Why single/double action on service revolvers?

Discussion in 'Handguns: Revolvers' started by bushmaster1313, Feb 15, 2011.

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  1. bushmaster1313

    bushmaster1313 Member

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    Why did revolvers for cops have single action capability?
     
  2. pbearperry

    pbearperry Member

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    They had single action to aid them in hitting the target at longer distances.
     
  3. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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    Exactly. I don't even use the DA on any of my revolvers.
     
  4. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    Probably because it would have cost extra to order them without a SA notch.

    -Jenrick
     
  5. 9mmepiphany

    9mmepiphany Moderator

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    Revolvers used by LE were regular production revolvers which were DA/SA. At the time, the belief was that to hit targets at 50 yards, one would have to cock the hammer to SA. At the time, shooting was taught as in the Military...holding the gun in one hand.

    As shooting evolved into the Modern Technique of using two hands to hold the gun while shooting, trainers found that shooting the revolvers in DA at 50 yards was just as accurate as shooting it in SA. It allowed a more consistent hold and faster followup shots. This was proven first through PPC, then Bianchi Cup and is still true as demonstrated in ICORE and IDPA.

    Toward the end of the revolver's reign in LE circles, many departments were converting their guns to DAO for liability reason
     
  6. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Member

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    When I was a city LEO, about a hundred years ago, only SA was used with our revolvers.
    I still shoot mostly SA today.
    Basically, if I want accuracy I shoot SA. If I want speed I shoot DA.
    I can shoot DA well, I just don't like it.

    I've had to draw the 38 four times and always had time to cock the hammer.
     
  7. dodo bird

    dodo bird Member

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    The hammer also keep the revolver in the holster better with the retention strap.
     
  8. halfmoonclip

    halfmoonclip Member

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    Never much cared for the idea of a four pound trigger between me and 'blam', especially if I had an adrenaline dump from a scary situation/and the threat of using deadly force.
    Single action is fun for longer ranges and precision target shooting, but double action is the deal for defense. If I'm scared enough of something to point a gun at it, I don't want a light trigger.
    Moon
     
  9. BHP FAN

    BHP FAN Member

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    personally, I don't see why they have double actions at all. If you want an automatic, buy one.I'm going back over to the black powder forum...
     
  10. bushmaster1313

    bushmaster1313 Member

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    With all due respect, I do not think it makes sense to cock the hammer in a defensive situation for anything other than a long slow shot.

    Once that hammer is cocked I think you have to assume that it is going to go off and shoot whatever you are pointing at.
     
  11. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Member

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    Not hardly.

    As a wild guess, over the years I have probably cocked the hammer several hundred times for every single time I have shot the gun SA.

    In the four times I mentioned earlier where I had to draw the 38 I cocked the hammer as I pointed the gun at those people. As it turned out I did not have to shoot these individuals, so I just lowered the hammer before holstering the gun. The gun didn't just "go off and shoot whatever you are (I was) pointing at".

    Frankly it amazes me that people think they have such little control over their guns, or themselves, that they are scared to cock or decock a handgun.
    Or they are scared they will "accidently" shoot without wanting to.

    If nothing else, SA or DA, why is your finger on the trigger if you are not ready to shoot?

    What is the difference in pointing a cocked revolver at a person and pointing a cocked semi auto at them.


    Now all this is not to say that people haven't pulled the trigger "accidentally" both SA and DA. If machinery can be mishandled there will be people that will do it.

    And I'm also not saying that SA should be used all the time by everyone. SA and DA have their place and IMO shooters should be proficient in both and use both as they see fit.


    .
     
    Last edited: Feb 17, 2011
  12. Jim Watson

    Jim Watson Member

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    I think it was M. Ayoob who wrote of the PD that had the single action engagements removed from its service revolvers because officers had gone to cocking them to impress offenders who had quit being intimidated by a merely drawn gun. Apparently not everybody in the department was as careful about decocking their guns as M2 describes above.

    I know of three cases of "many a slip between the hammer up and the hammer down" hereabouts but only one of them was by "authorized personnel." Fortunately there was no injury and no more damage than two holes in floors and one in a bed.
     
  13. savit260

    savit260 Member

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    I think the more appropriate question is "why did revolvers for cops have single action capability removed?"

    Answer: Lawyers, and liability. (required IMO)
     
  14. ColtPythonElite

    ColtPythonElite Member

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    I think the best answer is because that's the way they came from the factory.
     
  15. dashootist

    dashootist Member

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    Better to have it and not need it, then to need it and not have it.
     
  16. M2 Carbine

    M2 Carbine Member

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    I doubt things have changed all that much since I was a LEO.
    There were LEO that were interested in guns and shooting and LEO that had no interest in guns or shooting.

    If you can believe it, one of my side partners had such little interest in guns that his 38 rounds were corroded in his gun belt.

    Another partner and I use to shoot all the time.


    Police Departments are used all the time, like in this thread, as examples of how things should be done.
    IMO what a Police Dept does or doesn't do is probably a poor example for us civilian shooters.
    Most of my Police partners were not "gun people" and the higher ups were more concerned about pleasing their political bosses.
    If DAO guns made them look good than DAO guns it would be.
     
  17. oldfool

    oldfool Member

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    it is true that people could shoot "just as accurately" DA as SA, with sufficient practice

    but most LEOs, like most folks chosen at random, simply do not shoot as accurately DA as in SA, most people are simply not high end competition shooters

    to echo M2carbine, it's a tad silly, the constant fear of a too light (factory std) trigger on a SA revolver... witness the STILL extremely popular 1911, #1 reason for that long popularity is that SA trigger
    and citing "under stress" most certainly applies to a 1911 at least as much as to a SA revolver trigger - guns don't shoot people, people shoot people

    as a sidenote, the k-frame fat butt walnut "target" grips used to be very common issue for service revolvers, not because they are ergonomically ideal for fast DA, but because they lent themselves so very well to being "rested" on most anything, for that SA one-shot-at-a-time (but you can hit real well with them in quick DA mode as well, if you are real well used to them, no finger grooves essential)

    not every incident is a John Wesley Hardin vs Hickok shootout at high noon

    if you are real serious about speed competition, you probably are not shooting an off the shelf right out of the box standard issue anyway, and won't practice SA, because (hint) it won't win the match

    mostly - unless going only for speed points on paper or steel - practice any/all modes your gun shoots in, and practice as much as can
    (but if you pocket carry, go hammerless, no big mystery about that)

    PS
    statistically, AD/NDs mostly happen with whatever is most often carried by most
    Glock that
    it's a people thing
    (that story about the guy that hung his Glock on the door hook of the stall still cracks me up)

    hammer or no hammer, always assume that it is going to go off and shoot whatever you are pointing at
    S&W did not invent your finger, they just gave you another option of what to do with it
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2011
  18. mljdeckard

    mljdeckard Member

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    If you must assume that the gun is going to go off when the hammer is cocked, all of us who carry condition 1 SA autos are doing it wrong.

    Many defensive revolvers have the cocking notch ground off completely.

    I'm not usually a revolver guy, but in training people I have shot many j-frames and LCRs, and I find that I can crank 5 shots COM at ten yards very quickly. I won't ever be engaging a target with a revolver at 50 yards.
     
  19. bushmaster1313

    bushmaster1313 Member

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    M2:

    Now you are telling me that not only did you cock the revolver, but you also pointed it at a person you were hoping NOT to shoot. Did you also have your finger on the trigger?

    Is this how you were trained or your personal preference?

    Am I completely wrong for thinking that it is not a good practice to point a cocked revolver at a person you are not planning on shooting?
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2011
  20. CajunBass

    CajunBass Member

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    I'm not M2, and I've never had to point a gun at anyone, but even I can see the difference between "planning" to shoot someone, and being prepared to.
     
  21. 451 Detonics

    451 Detonics Member

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    The revolver doesn't have the safety the semi auto does.

    I dislike SA in a revolver for self defense, far too easy, especially in a crown or mob, to have you arm jostled hard enough to cause an AD. If you have a revolver for SD/HD you should learn to shoot it double action. I have no problem hitting a 12inch target at 100 yards with my DOA Model 15. Just takes practice and if you are not willing to become proficient with the gun you carry then you have no business carrying it at all. No you don't have to be as good as I am but you should be able to hit a B-17 target 6 for 6 at 25 yards using double action..
     
  22. DrLaw

    DrLaw Member

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    Drawing vs. shooting

    I had to draw my gun on people three times in my career as a cop. In those three times, only one came really, really close to a shooting incident. That was a man with a shotgun, the other two immediately raised their hands. (fake gun and going for brass knuckles in inside coat pocket).

    I never in those three times gave a thought to cocking the hammer, though all were incidents where I could have (Model 15, Model 66, Model 27). The thought just never occurred to me since I knew I could pull the trigger and I was nowhere distant from the targets.

    That said, I still would not want a double-action only (pull the trigger and the cylinder revolves and hammer goes back) and have no capacity for single action. As I have mentioned before in a post, I think the choices came about more because of somebody higher up making a decision as opposed to the lawyers and lawsuits, and the choices are sometimes dictated by 'fashion', what does everybody else nearby do?

    Basically, revolvers for cops came with Single Action because they came from the factory that way, unless special ordered or tinkered with (Like L. A.).

    The Doc is out now. :cool:
     
  23. 451 Detonics

    451 Detonics Member

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    The big move to DAO for LEOs came after the Miami Florida shooting when a Officer drew and cock his service revolver in a crowded arcade and shot a youth. He claimed it was an accident caused by being jostled.

    Incidentally the number of ADs in departments that switched to DAO guns dropped dramatically after the change.
     
  24. Jenrick

    Jenrick Member

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    I've pointed my gun quite a few times (probably close to a hundred at this point in time) at people I was hoping I didn't have to shoot. As a matter of fact everyone I've ever pointed my weapon at on duty, I hoped I wouldn't have to shoot them. So far I've been lucky and they have all complied. I primarily carry either a G34 or HK USP 45 with the LEM trigger, so the trigger pull is about the same as a SA revolver in weight.

    I personally dislike the move in LE over the years to DAO for liability concerns. It hampers the vast majority of officers who are not shooters, and don't practice enough. Rather then provide officers with the additional training to prevent ND's they look for a hardware solution with heavier trigger pulls. The problem is that if you have a pyscho-motor reaction that results in your trigger finger activating, it's going to take a VERY heavy trigger to prevent an ND.

    Fortunately the current wave of striker fired pistols seems to have helped reduce trigger weights again. We're approaching normalcy (5-8lbs) in a trigger, and we can get away with it since there is no exposed cocked hammer to scare anyone.

    -Jenrick
     
  25. oldfool

    oldfool Member

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    "The revolver doesn't have the safety the semi auto does."

    in a situation where you feel obliged to draw a 1911 pistol to defend life, and consider it likely that you may very well have to shoot some one or some few to do so, you advocate leaving the safety on ? for how long ??
    (try that argument on the auto sub-forum with the 1911 guys, and let us know how it works out for you, should be interesting)

    PS
    it is a real bad notion to point a loaded gun at anybody, irrespective of type gun or trigger mechanism or safety, UNLESS you "plan" on having to shoot them for just cause
    so don't do that if you don't have to do that
    but if you do have to do that, be real serious about it, and "accidental" is no longer your #1 prime concern
    but, yes, you can still hope you don't actually have to, and if you are real lucky maybe you won't have to
    the trigger does not pull the finger,the finger pulls the trigger, whether it's a 4# trigger or a 12# trigger
     
    Last edited: Feb 21, 2011
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