Thursday, February 19, 2015

Triggers: More Than Booger Hook Meets Bang Switch

Triggers. Everything comes back to the trigger. Should he be a striker-fired double action (really, a 1-1/2 action), "traditional" double action/single action (DA/SA), double-action only (DAO)? Oops, forgot to take into account revolvers, but I'll get to that later.

There are the beliefs that:
  • Heavier, longer triggers are safer
  • Shorter, lighter triggers are easier to shoot
  • Carry guns should have safeties
  • Carry guns shouldn't have safeties
  • Consistent triggers are more manageable
  • You can learn any trigger
  • Small stature shooters need this
  • Women need that

And all of those opinions necessitate a look at triggers, "trigger control," and everything else that might affect that relationship.

Types of Trigger Mechanisms:
Single-action (SA) Pistol: The original semi-automatic pistols were single action. You racked the slide, or pulled the toggle, and the firearm was ready to fire with a pull of the trigger. For the 1911, the "manual of arms" originally required a loaded magazine in the gun and an empty chamber, until the action started. Then, I assume the slide was racked (cocking the gun), and then the gun was carried cocked with the safety on. Most operators carried 1911s cocked and locked from the get go. The hammer can be manually cocked. (Examples: 1911s and clones, Luger, highend or competition versions of DA/SA guns like the Sig Sauer GT10.)

Double-action/Single-action (DA/SA) Pistol: The gun is carried decocked. After the chamber is loaded, the operator decocks the gun with a lever or by lowering the hammer after pulling the trigger. Some DA/SAs have safeties, safety/decockers, or just decockers. A pull of the trigger cocks and fires the first shot. Each subsequent round is fired with the gun already cocked, so the trigger pull for those rounds is lighter and shorter. Some DA/SAs can be carried cocked and locked, for example, some CZs. The hammer can be manually cocked.

Double-action-only (DAO) Pistol: Every time the trigger is pulled, the trigger cocks and fires the pistol. Some of these pistols have safeties, but most do not. Also, most of the DAO pistols are based on DA/SA pistols. But guns such as the Sig Sauer P250 were designed from the ground up as DAOs. The trigger cannot be manually cocked. (Examples: Beretta PX4 Storm DAO, Ruger P95 DAO, Sig Sauers with DAK trigger.)

Striker-fired Pistol: Most striker-fired pistols have a partial pre-set trigger, where the striker is partially cocked by the slide being racked to load the first round in the chamber, and where the movement during firing does the same thing. The BATF classifies them as double-action firearms. (Example: Glock, Kahr.) Some striker-fired pistols have a fully "pre-set" trigger, where the striker is fully cocked by the slide during loading and during firing. The BATF classifies them as single-action firearms. (Example: Springfield XD.)

Single-action Revolver: Hammer must be pulled back before each round can be fired.

Double-action Revolver: A pull of trigger cocks and fires the gun. The gun can also be manually cocked.

Double-action-only Revolver: A pull  of the trigger cocks and fires the gun. The gun cannot be manually cocked.


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