Double-Action Carry Gun?

For those who are new to shooting, Double Action / Single Action can be somewhat confusing. I know it took me a bit to understand the concept when I started learning about firearms.

Here are some high-level descriptions and suggestions from Blogger John Caile about DA Pistols:

Would you carry a DA pistol as your carry weapon? If you currently carry one, what makes this your gun of choice?


Pretty simple.

Double action peforms two functions, it both cocks and fires the pistol with a single pull of the trigger.

Single action only fires.

I carry double action revolvers but only single action semi autos.


I occasionally carry a DA revolver. I would consider a DA pistol, depending on the size.


I have carried DA revolvers and pistols. A few S&W revolvers over the years and a Sig P238 was DA/SA. That first shot had a heavy pull unless you cocked it first. I remember my training officer getting all over my rear for not decocking before holstering every time.

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I have 3 DA. 2 I have carried. The third, a revolver, is too big to truly conceal.

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I have carried DA in a Sig P220 (45) and S&W revolver. The S&W is a smoother operating DA as it is the general nature of S&W’s revolvers. My DAO P220 Sig has a point in the pull where the hammer is first lifted off its rest and then there is a range where I can hold the action just above hammer release; where I can again back off or commit depending on the needs of the moment. In most DA hammer-fired systems I’ve used, the longer pull gives me that chance to decide along the way. I’ve found dry fire practice aids me in discovering how far I can controllably pull the trigger without firing. Again, this gives me the ability to back off and not fire or be very ready to complete pulling the trigger and send my round downrange.

I like the reassurance a double-action handgun gives me, and maybe the jury, in that my intention is measured and the need to defend is reasoned. The last thing I - as a citizen - DEFENSIVELY - need is a pistol with a reworked single-action trigger which releases with little or no first pull travel and the equivalent of a feather falling on it in a defensive shooting after-action review. (Perhaps leaving me and others questioning if the round was fired in negligent discharge or wanton manslaughter.)

All the above said: Sometimes, survival depends on muscle memory, using the trigger you have on your weapon and knowing how it’s machinery operates. Practice and training will give you the unconscious familiarity you’ll need to survive a threat against your life, and those of your loved ones. Or give you the option to recognize you can extract everyone you care about safely without having to stop a foe using a deadly weapon.


Just bought a new one. A Beretta 92X Centurion. Sweet trigger, I can already see it getting carry time.

To me the bid downside to a DA auto is the change in pull first shot to second. I too have a Sig 220 and know what you mean about staging the trigger, but when adrenaline is pumping fine motor skills go in the tank. I’d be very Leary of trying to stage a trigger in an emergency

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I hear you Dwayne. If entry into the event is immediate threat, and your counter is required right now, that DA pull is going to be (I intend) as smooth and well executed as practiced; rest of the hand quiet and giving a stable platform around that moving trigger finger to result in a well aimed round going down range.

But, if it’s presented the question of the moment is discovery and clearing a room or you have a moment and need for a perfect shot, first round, (Or the pistol is double action ONLY), the DA ‘crown’ is there to use tactically. A pistol which has single action after the first round, is something as owners we all need to practice with to be aware of the performance, tells, and sensations associated with it’s use.

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And this is what started me down the road to being a trigger snob!

I know, right? I just bought a new Ruger Mk IV and before even touching it for the first time: “Everyone” says the stock trigger sucks eggs… get the Volquartsen upgrade kit. OY!

But I really do enjoy SRT. MY P239 ( 25years old?) was before this somehow…

To me, the smoother the trigger pull the more of a surprise the break is. It makes me a more accurate shooter.


I love DA/SA pistols. I own a Sig SP2022 with DA/SA transition, but its a bit too big for concealed carry. Eventually I want to own a CZ 2075 RAMI 9mm subcompact. I like the security of have a round in the chamber but the ability to decock the hammer. It’s a built in safety feature for me.

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S&W “hammerless-oid” snubs have a very distinctive DAO (double action only) trigger pull that smooths out with use. I can shoot my aged Centennial as accurately as a Chief’s Special in SA mode.

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