Selecting the appropriate handgun can be a challenging decision, given the vast array of choices available in the market. Two of the most commonly used handguns are striker-fired and double-action guns. In this blog, we will delve into the contrasts between these two mechanisms, examining their practical uses. By the end of this article, you will have a better understanding of what sets these guns apart and which type might be best suited for your needs.
What Are Striker-Fired Guns?
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Striker-fired guns, also known as "hammerless" firearms, operate using a spring-loaded striker mechanism to ignite the cartridge's primer. When the trigger is pulled, the striker is released and moves forward under the tension of the spring, striking the primer and firing the round. The absence of an exposed hammer streamlines the design, making it more snag-resistant. This mechanism is commonly found in semi-automatic pistols, but some rifles and shotguns also utilize this technology. Some of the most recognizable striker-fired pistols include the Glock series, Smith & Wesson M&P, and the SIG Sauer P320.
What Are Double Action Guns?
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Double-action hammer-fired guns are a type of firearm that utilizes a hammer. When the trigger is pulled, these guns perform two actions in one motion: they cock the hammer and release it to fire the round. This mechanism allows for a faster rate of fire compared to single-action guns, which require the user to manually cock the hammer before each shot.
Double-action guns are available in both revolver and semi-automatic pistol designs. Some popular examples of this type of firearm include the Beretta 92 series, SIG Sauer P226, and the Smith & Wesson Model 686 double-action revolver.
Striker Fired vs Double Action Guns: What's the Difference?
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Now that we have a basic understanding of how these two types of handguns function let's explore their differences:
1) Trigger Pull
One of the most notable differences between striker-fired and double-action hammer-fired pistols is the trigger pull. Striker-fired guns typically have a consistent, relatively light trigger pull. This consistency allows for more accurate and faster subsequent shots. On the other hand, double-action pistols have a heavier and longer initial trigger pull, which can require more practice to master.
2) Safety Mechanisms
Safety is a crucial consideration when choosing a handgun. Many striker-fired firearms come equipped with built-in passive safety features, such as trigger and firing pin safety mechanisms, which help prevent accidental discharge in case of a drop or improper handling. On the other hand, double-action firearms also offer passive safety features, in addition to manual safety options, providing an extra layer of protection. Furthermore, their heavier trigger pull decreases the likelihood of accidental discharge, making them a safer choice compared to striker-fired guns.
3) Concealment and Carry
Striker-fired guns are generally more compact and streamlined, making them popular choices for concealed carry. Their snag-resistant design and absence of an external hammer provide a smoother draw from a holster. Double action guns, on the other hand, particularly revolvers, can be bulkier and have a more prominent hammer, which can snag on clothing or other objects during the draw.
4) Weight and Balance
Most striker-fired pistols are usually lighter in weight than double-action revolvers due to their polymer frames and simpler designs. This can be an advantage when carrying the gun for extended periods or for concealed carry purposes. On the other hand, double-action revolvers are typically made of metal, which gives them a heavier weight. However, this added weight can help manage recoil, which may be beneficial for some shooters.
5) Customization and Aftermarket Support
Striker-fired pistols generally have more aftermarket support and customization options than double-action guns. This is due to their widespread popularity and modular designs. On the other hand, while double-action firearms can also be customized, the options for accessories and upgrades may be more limited.
How to Choose the Right Gun for Your Needs
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When deciding between double action and a striker-fired gun, there are several factors to consider. Some of these include:
1) Factor in the Intended Use
When choosing between a double-action or striker-fired firearm, it's important to consider how you plan to use it. For concealed carry, a striker-fired pistol may be a more suitable choice due to its compact and streamlined design that is less likely to get caught on clothing. For home defense, either type of handgun could be a good choice, depending on personal preferences and skill level.
2) Consider Your Level of Experience
Your level of experience with firearms may also influence your choice. Striker-fired guns typically have a consistent trigger pull, which can be more user-friendly for beginners. However, experienced shooters might appreciate the added control provided by the heavier initial trigger pull of a double-action gun.
3) Take Your Budget into Account
When considering a double-action or striker-fired firearm, your budget is also a crucial factor. Striker-fired guns are available at a wide range of prices, often making them more affordable for those on a tight budget. On the other hand, double-action guns can be more expensive due to their complex designs and manufacturing processes.
4) Consider Aesthetic Preferences
While not a critical factor, the appearance of a gun can be important to some buyers. Striker-fired guns often feature a more modern, streamlined look, while double-action guns, particularly revolvers, have a more classic and traditional appearance. Your personal taste in aesthetics may influence your choice between the two types of handguns.
5) Consider Recoil Management
Accurate and comfortable shooting depends heavily on proper recoil management. Striker-fired pistols, being lighter and typically chambered in standard calibers, may generate more noticeable recoil. However, this drawback can be balanced by their higher magazine capacity and faster follow-up shots. Double-action guns, on the other hand, have a heavier weight and therefore produce lighter recoil.
Striker-fired and double-action guns each have their unique features, making them suitable for different purposes and preferences. By understanding the differences between these two types of handguns and considering your specific needs, you can make an informed decision and find the perfect firearm for you.
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