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Weighing Out The Differences Between Double & Single Action Handguns
Understanding The Difference Between Single-Action And Double-Action Handguns
The process that takes place when you pull the trigger of a gun can vary depending on whether you are using a single-action or double-action weapon. With a double-action gun, the trigger is not only responsible for firing the gun but also for cocking it. When you use one of these weapons, the trigger automatically pulls back the hammer, eliminating the need to manually cock the gun like you would have to do with a single-action weapon. Although the vast majority of weapons that are out there are single-action, there are some types of handguns that are double-action-only (DAO) or single-action/double-action(SA/DA). Understanding these differences before searching for firearms for sale is essential.
A Closer Look At The Different Action Types
All guns have a safety, hammer, and trigger. When you hear someone talk about the action of the gun, they are talking about how these three components work together when the trigger is pulled. In fact, the process that occurs when you pull the trigger is the primary difference between single-action and double-action guns.
With a single-action gun, the hammer is released when you pull the trigger. This, in turn, fires the cartridge that is loaded into the chamber. The hammer is the only mechanism that is affected by the pull of the trigger, which is why these guns are referred to as single-action weapons. Before you can fire one of these guns, you have to manually cock them. The only exceptions are single-action automatic guns. For instance, the 1911 pattern pistols have to be cocked by hand the first time that you fire them. However, as you continue firing the weapon after the initial shot, the hammer is automatically cocked by the recoiling slide.
With a double-action gun, the process that occurs is slightly different. When you pull back on the trigger of a double-action-only gun, the hammer of the gun is automatically pulled back. If you are firing a revolver, the cylinder rotates into place simultaneously. Once you pull the trigger back far enough, the hammer is released, firing the gun in the process. Unlike a single-action gun, you don't have to manually cock the gun before firing it.
Double-action/single-action guns, which are also referred to as traditional double-action guns, operate in a slightly different way. Like a standard double-action gun, the hammer of the gun is automatically pulled back and released when you pull the trigger, firing the gun in the process. The primary difference, however, is that the hammer is then automatically cocked so that it is immediately ready to fire again. From that point on, the gun fires like a traditional single-action gun. Whether you choose a double-action or a double-action/single-action gun, you can set it up to fire as a single-action gun whenever you prefer.
Key Firing Differences
One of the benefits of using a single-action weapon is that pulling the trigger is extremely smooth since the hammer being released is the only action that is taking place. The steady, smooth action of these guns is great for improving accuracy.
When you fire a double-action gun, on the other hand, it takes longer to complete the pull of the trigger. This can interfere with accuracy.
There is very little difference between the way that single-action and double-action pistols are reloaded. Typically, the process involves removing the empty magazine and inserting a full one instead.
The process of reloading single-action revolvers is slightly different. To reload the weapon, you have to open up the gate behind the cylinder so that you can place the rounds inside the weapon. Then, you have to rotate the cylinder each time you want to use the next chamber.
With a double-action revolver, on the other hand, the cylinder can be swung out of the frame of the gun. This makes it fast to reload by hand or by using a speed loader.
Although there is a general consensus that double-action guns are slightly safer than single-action guns, both types of weapons are extremely safe thanks to innovations such as firing pin blocks, hammer blocks, trigger disconnects, transfer bars, safety notches, trigger safeties, and grip safeties.