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Thread: Single/Double action pistols?

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Default Single/Double action pistols?

    What's the difference? I'm a revolver guy and until recently didn't know there were single action pistols. I thought you insert a magazine, work the action and start pulling the trigger until it goes click. What am I missing here?

    Tim

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    Member jakec5253's Avatar
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    Default single action pistol

    Same deal as revolvers, it means that pulling the trigger does not cock the hammer. A 1911, for example, is a single action pistol. If you put the magazine in, work the slide, so you now have a live round in the chamber, and the hammer is cocked. If you lower the hammer without firing, then pulled the trigger, the pistol will do nothing. You have to manually re cock the hammer, same as a single action revolver. Hopefully this little ramble helps.


    Jake
    All the romance of trout fishing exists in the mind of the angler and is in no way shared by the fish.

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    So... the gas pressure will force the slide back and load another cartridge into the chamber but NOT pull the hammer back?

    Tim

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    Member jakec5253's Avatar
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    Default single action

    No, once the first round is fired, the empty case will be ejected, the new round loaded, and the hammer will be cocked. You only have to cock it manually if you decock the hammer. If you do that, then you have to cock it yourself.
    All the romance of trout fishing exists in the mind of the angler and is in no way shared by the fish.

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakec5253 View Post
    No, once the first round is fired, the empty case will be ejected, the new round loaded, and the hammer will be cocked. You only have to cock it manually if you decock the hammer. If you do that, then you have to cock it yourself.
    Oh....ok, I get it now. So a double action can be de-cocked and you can pull the trigger (without cocking) to fire it again? I think I understand now. Boy, I just didn't know that a pistol could be single or double action.

    Tim

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    Member jakec5253's Avatar
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    Default you got it

    Yep, if you let the hammer down on a double action after a live round is in the chamber, a pull of the trigger will cock the hammer and fire the pistol.
    All the romance of trout fishing exists in the mind of the angler and is in no way shared by the fish.

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    Member akula682's Avatar
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by jakec5253 View Post
    A 1911, for example, is a single action pistol.

    Jake

    Just want to add to this that not all 1911 style pistols are single action. I know someone who made that mistake and almost shot someone.
    Josh
    Back in Afghanistan, I hope for the last time.

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    Member jakec5253's Avatar
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    Default 1911

    I knew someone would bring that up. I will rephrase, MOST 1911's are single action. I think someone almost getting shot has a lot more to do with a lack of gun handling safety, and less to do with whether or not a pistol is single action or not.
    All the romance of trout fishing exists in the mind of the angler and is in no way shared by the fish.

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Thumbs up

    Thanks for the edumacation!

    I feel stupid asking these questions, but its necessary info before I go shopping and lookin' around.

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Do you fellas have a preference for single or double action?

    Tim

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    Member akula682's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jakec5253 View Post
    I knew someone would bring that up. I will rephrase, MOST 1911's are single action. I think someone almost getting shot has a lot more to do with a lack of gun handling safety, and less to do with whether or not a pistol is single action or not.

    Yes this is very true, safety first.
    This moron was showing some friends of his about guns and there were several guns on a bench (there were a few different 1911 styles) and he was asked this very question that we are talking about here (double/single action) he stated that “your typical revolver” is a double, pull the trigger and it will fire, there were single action revolvers present so he just grabbed a 1911 off the table, (not realizing that it was a new Para-Ord Double Action 1911), and he said something to this effect… I can pull the trigger on this and it wont go off, see… BOOM!!!
    It was a good thing he had it pointed up in the air so the people could see that he was pulling on the trigger. Like I said earlier, the guy is a moron.
    Josh
    Back in Afghanistan, I hope for the last time.

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    Member akula682's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tccak71 View Post
    Thanks for the edumacation!

    were here to learn


    Quote Originally Posted by tccak71 View Post
    I feel stupid asking these questions, but its necessary info before I go shopping and lookin' around.

    Thanks for the clarification.

    Do you fellas have a preference for single or double action?

    Tim

    Tim don’t feel stupid, these are not toys. With firearms, there are really no stupid questions.
    When I was 5 years old (mid 70’s things were a bit more “loose” back then) I got a BB gun, 2 years later I got a .22. I had not received ANY firearms education, my father was literally never around to teach me so I had to fend for myself for about another 5 years with a .22, I never shot anyone or anything I wasn’t supposed to but looking back on those days I laugh at how I acted I was hiding behind rocks to protect myself from ricochets. Everyone knows that every bullet fired bounces right back at you (thanks a lot 1970’s tv). But I did learn a lot, and I made sure to ask questions every chance I could.
    Anyway, when my dad showed up one day (about a once every 6 month thing) with the .22 (a Remington pump) and I asked him “how many bullets is “one round” I even asked if it was 1 bullet or one whole magazine, kinda like a round of questions, there is more than one question in a round of questions (he taught me how to drive at a young age too, I could drive a stick by myself at age 7, early on in driver training I think I was 5 or 6, he yelled at me because I “didn’t know my right from my left” when he said get on the right side of the road, I was thinking right or wrong side of the road he never said the right HAND side was the right side… he made me feel stupid and yelled at me because I didn’t know that the “right hand side” was the “right” side and that 1 bullet is 1 round.
    Wow, I got off track there for a bit, in short I learned to help people who have questions and not make fun of them, (unless I know for a fact that a person knows better)
    Josh
    Back in Afghanistan, I hope for the last time.

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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by tccak71 View Post
    Do you fellas have a preference for single or double action?

    Tim
    This is like asking if a Ford or Chevy is better, everyone has a preference. Then the open hammer, closed hammer, or hammerless comes into play with your question.

    I feel it depends on what you want to use the gun for. A concealed carry auto double action for speed and no hammer to hang up on clothing are my preference. For open carry, plinking, and target I like the single action open hammer 1911s types. But everyone will have their own things they like and don't like, you need to spend range time to learn what you do and don't like.

    Most important . . . The only dumb question is the one you don’t ask!

    Andy

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    Default Too many to name them all

    Quote Originally Posted by tccak71 View Post
    What's the difference? I'm a revolver guy and until recently didn't know there were single action pistols. I thought you insert a magazine, work the action and start pulling the trigger until it goes click. What am I missing here?

    Tim
    tccak71, Tim,

    There are more types of actions in the semi-automatic handguns than there are names for them.

    First, the gun is operated by the energy of the round being fired. Blowback (22 rimfires, .25 Auto, up to 380 power levels mostly), Delayed Blowback and Retarded Blowback (I never quite understood how this operates, but it is used in higher-power blowback actions so the action does not open too soon), Recoil Operated (some 9mm and most guns of higher power, 45 ACP, 10mm on up to the L.A.R. Grizzly in 45 Winchester Magnum) and gas operated (Wildey and Desert Eagle).

    In all these pistols, the slide retracts against a recoil spring as the action opens as the barrel stays stationary (or mostly stationary) and the spent cartridge casing is extracted. When the spring starts pushing the slide forward, the slide strips a new cartridge from the magazine and pushes it into the chamber.

    Now the differences:

    Some have exposed hammers some have hidden hammers and some have a striker instead of a hammer. Strikers are always hidden.

    Some guns have safeties that lock the hammer back (1911 pattern guns and the CZ75 clones and many others) Note the CZ is a double action/single action exposed hammer gun. 1911s are Single action only exposed hammer guns. Some guns have safeties that drop the hammer when applied. Some guns have no manually operated safety at all.

    Glock pioneered what they called "Safe-action" which was neither SA nor DA. All Glocks feature patented "Safe action" striker-fired trigger mechanism. After the each cycle of the slide the striker is set to half-cock position and is safely blocked by internal safety. When shooter pulls the trigger, he disengades the trigger safety first, then cocks the striker to the full-cock and then fires the gun. This (or similar operation methods) has since been adopted by other semi-auto gun manufacturers.

    Browning had their BDA, which had a selector to make the gun Single Action or Double Action, at the user's choice and had (at my last count) 3 variations on that theme for different minor "styles" of action, varying the specific characteristics slightly, making it very difficult to classify this gun.

    Some manufacturers have the same guns manufactured (sometimes for specific customers) to be Double Action only or a combination Double Action/Single Action. (DA/SA guns fire DA the first round and SA for subsequent rounds and usually, but not always have a "hammer drop" safety.

    And then there is the Semmerling. A 24 oz, 5 Shot double-action only 45 ACP with a modified "Blow-Forward" action. The blow forward was considered by many to be a joke, an exercise in an engineering curiosity because it could not be made to function as a semi-automatic, but in the production gun was manually operated. A great backup gun, it was less than an inch wide and 5.2 inches long. Inside that 5.2 inches, though (and this was the genius of the blow forward action) was a 3.45" barrel. I found one in a in a store specializing in Law Enforcement gear last year. Price, $2,000 as I recall. If you want a man-stopper in a 5.2" x 3.7" x .85" package, this is it. But I digress.

    Probably better to pick a handgun that strikes your fancy and learn how the action works. After you have tried out a few guns (on the web or in gun shops) you will get a feel for the terminology and, better yet, a feel for what you might like. But there is no substitute for using one (every weekend at the range) for a few months.

    I don't know of anyone who has them all committed to memory, so check this web site:

    http://world.guns.ru/handguns/hg15-e.htm
    or if the link does not work, paste this into your web browser
    world.guns.ru/handguns/hg15-e.htm

    Good luck getting it all sorted out. You have a good start with all the information you have gotten on this forum already I hope my feeble attempt is more help than hindrance.

    Remember, only believe half of what you see and one quarter of what you hear. That goes double for what you get from the internet. Even this post. Maybe especially this post.

    Do your own research when ANYONE gives you new facts on the web.

    Also remember, even the idiotic stuff might have a kernel of truth buried in there somewhere.

    Lost Sheep
    Last edited by Lost Sheep; 03-26-2009 at 23:08. Reason: spelling

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    Member tccak71's Avatar
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    Default

    Thanks for all the replies, glad I asked the question.

    The World.guns link did work. I didn't realize that there were so many pistol options out there. Suppose I'll make an educated guess on a .45 and go from there. I'm looking for one mainly for range-time and plinking. Thanks for all the replies and stories, I appreciate it.

    Tim

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    Member jakec5253's Avatar
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    Default .45 for range use

    a 1911 would be my first choice for a .45 for plinking at the range. One thing that would help is how much are you looking to spend? Some of the polymer guns run a little cheaper, such as the Springfield XD or Glock, which are both great guns, or if you wanted to spend a little more, you could jump into the 1911. The best thing would be to go to a gun shop and lay hands on whichever pistols you are considering, and find what fits your hands best. If you have bigger hands.

    Jake
    All the romance of trout fishing exists in the mind of the angler and is in no way shared by the fish.

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    Member schmidty_dog's Avatar
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    Default

    Oh yeah for a 45 range/plinker the 1911 is King! I have a few friends who ended up getting XDs because they were a little cheaper and a little more "tacticool" but after they shot my Kimber they were disappointed they didn't get one themselves. I was brought into the handgun world by a Kimber addict, and he wouldn't let me have anything other than a 1911, let alone a Kimber. I am not disappointed.

    P.S. Springfield makes some nice 1911's. As do some other companies, I just like Kimber but don't not choose a 1911 because someone has a different brand. They are ALL fun to shoot.

    schmidty

  17. #17

    Default Less We Forget

    Daewoo made a TRIPLE action auto pistol. It is a neat concept.
    " Americans will never need the 2nd Amendment, until the government tries to take it away."

    On the road of life..... Pot holes keep things interesting !

  18. #18

    Default

    I'll second the Kimber 1911 for range work and plinking.

    As for carry... there is a reason that more police officers carry a Glock than anything else. They are simple and most people can shoot one reasonably well from the onset.

  19. #19

    Default

    just to throw out this out for situational awareness, not all DA semi autos cock the hammer back upon firing and revert to SA mode

    The CZ27 cycled double action all the time,
    and one of the HK big wondernines in the 70's was the same constuction

    good question though! thanks!

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