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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have tried quite a few autos with DA first shot, and I've developed some preferences. Basically I "like" a DA gun if I can put the first shot on target; I think just about anyone would agree that the first shot is the most important one. The sooner you start doing substantial damage to your opponent, the sooner the encounter will end.

The problem I have is that I haven't been able to describe exactly WHAT and WHY particular autos appeal to me. I do well with both the CZ75 and the Beretta 92 series, though slightly better with the Brigadier than with a standard 92FS. Even taking into account the normally mushy / creepy SA pulls of both guns, subsequent shots tend to be more accurate than the first.

I had a SIG P220, and it shot well on that critical first shot. I considered the SIG to have the best DA pull of the three, but because of some reliability issues I never could resolve, I no longer have the gun.

The only Smith & Wesson auto I've ever owned was an old 4506 I took in trade. The gun was big, heavy, and totally reliable, but for one problem: I couldn't hit the proverbial broad side of a barn with that first shot. Followups were fine, but that first shot was as likely as not to be a foot to either side of the POA. I tried over and over again to figure out the problem and work on it, but I never did. The trigger pull was heavier than the other DA autos I had then or since, but I'm not sure this was the whole issue. For one thing, while the weight of the S&W's pull seemed to be consistent, it was still heavy. I later test fired a really nice M59 I was thinking of buying, and I couldn't hit with it either. I know there are people who shoot the S&Ws well, but it turns out I'm not one of them. (For double action revolver shooting, I'll take a Smith first, followed by a Ruger, and bring up the rear with a Python or Diamondback.)

Okay, that's enough about me and my preferences...

What are your preferences in DA semi autos? Anyone use a DAO gun? I tried a Beretta, and while I could probably get used to it, I didn't go that route. Again, I think this is a personal thing, as lots of people carry DAO autos and are quite proficient with them.
 

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Hiya Leland,

I'm the same. (or worse)

The S&W 669 I had I was lucky to have the first round in the same quadrant as the rest. My pal was able to drop the first round into the group with no problem. Then again, he could hold 3" at 25 yds slowfire with it whilst I was lucky to hit a peach basket at that range. He wound up carrying it offduty for several years. When he didn't need it anymore, I traded it off.

The Beretta 92 I had did a little better. Prolly should have kept it, but I had a chance to get a 586 in .38 Special, and the guy really wanted the Beretta. (It was the 'approved' piece for a job he was on.)

Passed on a SIG or two for the same reasons. Prolly dumb of me, but I didn't feel like trying to deal with it. The shorty single-stack felt a lot better than the Smith tho.

I think part of my problem is the handle on the S&W double-stack feels like a 2x2" tomato stake. The Beretta also is pretty fat.

Grocks (at least the 'regular' ones) feel OK to me. Plus the same (crappy) trigger all the time.


Regards,

Pat
 

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Hello, sir. My choices are quite similar to yours, CZ-75 and SIG-Sauer P220 (Mine is reliable). I also find the SIG-Sauer P225 very good. The CZ's trigger pull in DA is longer, but lighter and smoother than my SIG-Sauer guns. For me, the SIG-Sauers provide best DA first-shot accuracy if I just "come on through" with the DA pull. A surprisingly good DA pull is on the Bersa .380 that I own.

Best.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Hi, Stephen.

I think a good bit of my trouble in the past with the S&W guns might have been self induced, simply by lack of practice, but I know several officers who were issued various Smiths over the years and never did get used to it. Different strokes, as I said, since I've had several people tell me they were quite good with the S&Ws.

I tried a Bersa at a gun store recently and found that (A) the DA pull was better than the Walther PPK/s I traded off a while back, and (B) the overall quality seemed much better than what others had led me to expect.

I tried a friend's SIG 229 a couple of times and almost bought it from him when he put it on the market. I didn't, however, mostly because it only had one mag, and didn't want to invest the cash it would have taken to get fully accessorized.
 
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My experience has been poor to mixed. Tried everything to master my SIG 220 including a phase of DAO with it. Not much luck with Glocks. Best luck was with a P97 Ruger which I actually shot pretty well both DA and SA. As luck would have it the gun had serious reliabilty "issues" and is, literally history (back to factory for destruction and exchange/replacement).

I have been principally a DA wheelgunner (Ruger Sixes) since 1980 but of course have my share of S&Ws. IMHO DA semiautos are a bureaucratic compromise solution to a desire for "safety" right out of a box. Certainly they were never conceived of as superior fighting weapons--because in the crunch, they just aren't.

I started shooting 1911 SAs in 1959. Lots of DA/SA pistols have come and gone since then. That trend will probably continue--and so will the 1911.
 

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Hi there Leland,

Personally, I really think that it all comes down to training and commitment to shooting that first DA shot.

I have owned a Taurus PT-92 (I liked the cocked and locked SA carry mode), 2 S&W's semi-autos (457 and 410), and really found that I could get used to the DA first shot if I practiced with it quite a bit.

For me, if I mix up the handguns I use, I find it harder to stay focused on the long DA first trigger pull when transitioning from a SA auto to a TDA auto. If I practice with the DA pistol all of the time, I rarely have any problems with first shot accuracy.

Of all of the handguns I own, the Kel Tec P-11 is one with the "heaviest" double action trigger pull and requires consistant practice with for decent accuracy.

Chris
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
IMHO DA semiautos are a bureaucratic compromise solution to a desire for "safety" right out of a box. Certainly they were never conceived of as superior fighting weapons--because in the crunch, they just aren't.
I think you're probably right on both scores, though to what degree of "right" I have no idea. I figure that the "bureaucratic solution" was 90% safety (i.e. "idiot proofing") and 10% "practical," though the people making the rules had never been closer to a real gunfight than having watched lots of episodes of Miami Vice.

My first shot with a DA auto isn't as accurate as with a SA auto coming from cocked and locked mode, and it's no faster, either, since I do have to be much more conscious of trigger pull, or rather, I have to concentrate for longer on the pull. What I particularly like about the CZ and the Beretta is the extra firepower, though both do point well and handle well for me.
 
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Hi Leland, I have a Sig 226 with the new "Kellerman" trigger that is DAO but it has a light and fairly smooth trigger every pull (around 4-5 lbs). If I had to compare it to anything, it would be similar to a S&W revolver with a slicked up trigger job. I shoot this as accurately as my old gun that was DA/SA and my groups seem to be more consistent. I have seen a similar trigger on the Para's. I never liked the DAO's that had the heavy "New York" trigger but I do like this.
 
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My Bersa Thunder 380 has the best (and lightest) DA trigger of any pistol I have ever owned. And it has never malfunctioned with any of the various types and brands of ammunition that I have used. I carry Hydra-Shok in it, but buy the cheapest FMJ that I can find for practice.
 

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Some late input.

A little history:
Years ago, when the SEALs, et al went to the M-9 (briefly) and then the SIG P226 reports abounded that they were "dumping" the first (DA) shot into the ground then going on target with SA fire. I know that some West Coast team guys at least were doing it. This obvioiusly is NOT an option for the civilian shooter for even more obvious liability reasons.

What that means is that HS-LD guys who were shooting upwards of 5000 rounds a week (sometimes a day!) had problems getting the first double action shot on target. They were simply putting their first round in the dirt before engaging the target. So, if the "elite of the elite" are having a problem despite their level of training and practice, there is no surprise that Joe Average is also having a problem.

Why more of a problem with some guns than others? Firstly, different mechanics. The CZ trigger is marginally a superior design. Secondly, grip size and shape. A particular weapon's balance is a factor too. Finally, there is the issue of hand to grip fit.

Is there a solution? Personally, I suggest learning the basics of double action trigger control with a .38 Spl or lower powered revolver. Then find the semi-auto that works and fits best for you and spend a lot of time practicing double action shooting.
 

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Personally, I suggest learning the basics of double action trigger control with a .38 Spl or lower powered revolver.
Reminds me of a famous German instructor (so famous that I don't recall the name!) who trains his students by shooting an empty DA revolver with a .38 shell on the barrel band. When you can master the DA pull without dropping the shell, you begin to shoot for real. Tried the trick with both revolver and auto and could master it easy as I shoot DA for years. Big con is that it teachs you a extremly static stance.

Generally speaking, the gun that works better for me DA (and in DA-SA drills) is the Walther P5: the DA pull is relatively short and light, due to the original firing pin safety which rises the FP at the end of the pull. The reset is quick too. The Beretta 92 (Compact L in my case) is the worse as the DA pull is very long - I didn't notice a big difference between the standart mainspring and D (DAO) MS. I rate the CZ and SIG P225 between those: light but a little long pull for the CZ and short but heavy pull for the SIG.

In another league, I have a Walther (Manurhin) PPK and a SIG P230 which have very good DA pull.

Bye

L.
 

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Larry,
The technique you spoke of is one that has been used almost as long as there have been double action revolvers. Usually it is a small coin, Deutsche Pfennig, American/Canadian ten cet piece, etc. that is placed on the barrel just behind the foresight. It is a good technique for learning trigger control.

You are right that taken in isolation it teaches a very static stance, but like all teaching techniques it is one step on a long journey. That one step doesn't complete the journey.
 

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I'm sure I have probably not shot as many different handguns but my DA experience is also positive with the CZ75. I also shoot the H&K USP first round DA very well. For some reason I have never been able to shoot any S&W in DA mode worth a hoot.
 

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I have two DA guns that I consider fairly easy to shoot - that being a relative term because ALL DA guns are somewhat more difficult than good SA guns.

Those two are a Bren X and a Springfield P9 in .40 S&W. While both are CZ-75 clones, I do not do nearly as well with either my CZ or clones that actually duplicate the CZ. Both Bren and this P9 have a "short" trigger that allows me to reach it and both have DA trigger pulls that rivle the best S&W revolvers I have seen.

I can shoot other DA guns OK but only if I take twice as much time on the trigger as I normally would like to.

Jim
 
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From an accuracy standpoint, I prefer DA. I'm not sure why this is. But I think the longer pull and heavier action allows me to flex and so steady muscles that have a tendency to twitch with SA. It also makes me squeeze more slowly and smoothly and inevitably makes the hammer strike a surprise.

This is why I like revolvers, especially N-Frames. The weight settles me down, stabilizes me.

So I also like my DAO j-frame and new Kahr MK9.

It's also why I like my G19, even though the Glock has a much different trigger feel.
 
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