I have mentioned previously that I don’t trust mechanical devices to operate properly 100 percent of the time—forever. That’s one of the reasons I prefer an outside hammer pistol to one that is striker-fired.
Let me explain.
Proponents of striker-fired sidearms will tell you they generally have a lighter double-action trigger pull. They will also tell you they are perfectly safe—so safe that some of them don’t even have a manual safety. Instead, they use a “passive” safety that consists of a small blade sticking out from the surface of the trigger. Unless your trigger finger depresses this blade, the trigger will not move to the rear and discharge the pistol. Neat, huh?
With a feature like this, who needs a manual (preferably frame-mounted) safety? But what if the trigger snags while you’re holstering your gun?
No, no, no the “experts” say, that can’t happen. You just have to be a bit more cautious and make sure your trigger finger doesn’t lie alongside the trigger guard. Instead, angle your trigger finger up to lie against the slide.
Oh yes, and be sure to check that there’s nothing—debris, some displaced object, etc.—that might slip into the trigger guard far enough to snag the trigger.
Oh really? One needs to be a “bit more cautious,” and “be sure to check” without fail every time you holster your sidearm—for the next forty or fifty years?
Understand me—I believe in the wisdom of firearms handling safety to avoid the possibility of a negligent discharge (ND). The principles of firearms safety are well-defined and taught in every firearms instructional course I ever heard of.
I also believe that any firearm that necessitates you to be “a bit more cautious” and to “be sure to check” is an inherently dangerous device that will probably cause you grief somewhere along the way during your long (I hope) life span.
Get an outside hammer pistol with a frame-mounted safety. You’ll breathe easier in the long run. Ideally, your pistol should have a double action trigger, so carrying it hammer-down does not slow down your draw when your life is on the line.
Speaking of “double-action,” there are three different kinds of double-action triggers for semi-auto pistols.
For the first shot, DA/SA triggers have a long, fairly heavy, double-action trigger pull that cocks, then drops the hammer to discharge a chambered round. For subsequent shots, the trigger is a single-action type, with a relatively light pull weight. To return to double-action mode, you must pull back the slide about a half-inch to “reset” the trigger.
A double-action only (DAO) trigger has a long, double-action pull on every shot. This trigger has a “second-strike” capability. This means that, in case of a misfire, the shooter may pull the trigger again, which will again cock and release the hammer.
The third type, operates similarly to a DA/SA trigger. However, if the slide does not cock the hammer (does not cycle normally), the trigger returns to double-action mode, giving it a second-strike capability.
The “experts” will tell you the second-strike capability is useless, merely a marketing ploy for clueless and/or novice shooters. According to them, the so-called “tap, rack and bang” immediate action drill is the only way to clear a malfunction and return to the fight. They go so far as to teach their students that in case of a misfire, to resist an instinctive second pull of the trigger.
These “experts” visualize a shooter repeatedly pulling the trigger in a futile and frantic attempt to make the gun go bang.
As often happens, I have a minority opinion here. The tap, rack and bang method is useful for most types of malfunctions, including stove-pipe, failure to feed, etc.
Unfortunately, this week’s blog is already too long, and my reasoning on the proper malfunction drill requires some explanation—so tune in again next week, same time, same station.