Is a Striker- or Hammer-Fired Pistol a Better Fit for You? | USCCA

As instructors and influencers, we have a significant impact on what our students and followers perceive to be the “best” firearms for them. Most probably carry a similar gun to that of an instructor because it’s what students have seen the instructor training with or even what that instructor directly recommended.


This is a companion discussion topic for the original entry at https://www.usconcealedcarry.com/blog/course-of-fire-is-a-striker-or-hammer-fired-pistol-a-better-fit-for-you/

I prefer hammer fired pistols, but my current concealed carry pistol is striker fired. I have finely tuned double action revolver and 1911 instincts from decades of experience dating back to childhood and proven in battle. Striker fired pistols limit my precision. It’s a trigger staging thing that requires you to see the hammer in your peripheral vision and “feel” the trigger break point while refining a sight picture. Few shooters under 40 will understand. And that’s okay!

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I agree completely. I carried my 1911 for years concealed.
Now I carry a striker fired pocket pistol. I prefer the 1911.

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@Richard266 Welcome to the community. You are in good company here. Stay safe, Bruce and Nancy. :+1:

Thank you very much

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@Roger51 Welcome to the community. We are glad to have you here. Stay safe, Bruce and Nancy. :+1:

I’m a guy under 40. So your saying hammer fire is better accuracy because you see the hammer drop? So the anticipation of a strikefire gun throws off the shot? Or something like that?

@Justin47

Good question. The answer is no, it is not something like that.

The 1911A1 ref and the DA revolver ref are for separate things, although both types of pistols have hammers visible to the shooter. I’ll explain them separately, starting with the 1911A1 (because it is very simple).

1911A1 - a good trigger on a 1911A1 breaks when you think about it hard enough…about 2-3 lbs of pressure with no slack. It is very easy to hold sight alignment on small/distant targets while pressing the trigger. The tricky part is learning to use the safeties properly – every time, all the time, without thinking. The only thing the visible hammer has to do with this is that when you begin on SA and DA revolvers as a boy and then become an expert with the 1911A1 as a very young man, you have always seen a hammer moving under your sights when you press a DA trigger. And you are used to shooting SA autos. So you have to learn to trust the SF pistol without the visual cue. This often causes a bit of discomfort, which raises stress levels. And that often has a negative impact on advanced proficiency until the shooter works through that over the course of a LOT of live fire. This is purely psychological, based on a change in visual cues. It’s a bigger deal for a lot of us old-timers than the younger crowd who grew up with SF pistols understands, because y’all never had decades of conditioning to unwind.

DAO - those of us who grew up shooting DA hand guns with hammers (both revolvers and autos) and learned to shoot precisely at longer distances with a pistol like this learned this process in this order: acquire sight picture, squeeze trigger smoothly as we refine sight alignment, hold staged trigger (hammer is held back with trigger pressure) until you want to fire, add 1 lbs of pressure and trigger breaks…BANG! Most young bucks freak out when they hear this and start calling their elders reckless and stupid and what not. So we tend to not discuss it around SF only folks. And only SERIOUS 1911 pistoleros even know this is a very real technique that is the FUNDAMENTAL of precision shooting with such hand guns. And we ONLY do this with highly placed shots. When you get good at it, it only takes an extra blink of an eye to do it, but you can hold that staged trigger for several seconds if the situation calls for it. We can back off the staged trigger very reliably. But being able to see that hammer in our peripheral vision below our sights is a HUGE part of doing this really well. You are relying on a combination of tactile feedback, visual cues, and a ton of practice with a specific pistol on a semi-conscious level to pull this off proficiently enough to do it in a gunfight. Very good DA revolver shooters are THE KINGS of this technique, and it is called trigger staging.

With all that said, the advantage of the SF pistol is that it requires a LOT less training to become minimally safe and proficient with one. A WHOLE LOT less! So they are the obvious choice for institutional purchases (buying for an agency). But for those of us who have paid the dues and have the skills, we lose some of the top end skill set when we shoot striker fired pistols and have to redo that part all over again. I’ve been working on the conversion for a decade, and still can’t shoot a SF pistol quite as well as I can a 1911 or a revolver. But in the beginning, my shot groups with a SF pistol were double the size (6") of my shot groups with a hammer fired DAO semi-auto (3") and 3 times what they are with a 1911A1 (2") @ 25 meters.

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Thank you, I learned a lot. As a new shooter I really didn’t understand the difference but now I fully get it. Thank you for taking the time.

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You’re welcome. There aren’t many folks around anymore who can fire, reload, and fire a musket again in under 1 minute, either. Even fewer expert swordsmen around nowadays. Times change. But I am not likely to take head shots with a SF pistol, and I’m very comfortable with head shots from a DAO hammer-fired pistol. So there are some real world consequences, and newer isn’t always better. The SF DA pistol is fantastic for agencies and militaries. Significantly less $$$ and time spent on training to standard proficiency. But I still prefer the Sig P250 (DAO w/shrouded hammer) to the P320 (SF), and that is 1 of 2 key differences between the 2 pistols. The other is Sig stopped supporting the P250 when the P320 came out, because they wanted to force guys like me to switch and buy a new gun. Well, I did. Just not a Sig! I replaced my P250 with a M&P for a lot less $$$. And we now have 3 M&P EDC pistols and 0 Sigs.

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