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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Most of our training is done with DA shooting in mind. One instructor even said that we would "never" use single action in an incident while using a revolver. On the contrary, I've read reports from the '70's that SA was used quite a bit. I relayed this to our current instructor and his opinion is that if you are in "control" (eliminate the attacker's surprise element)of the fight then he prefers SA to make sure you place your shot's appropiately, but rely on DA to gain control if the surprise element is still lingering. I was wanting everyone's thoughts.
 

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JMM,

I believe that with most modern revolvers the DA pull is good enough to make hits and provides an extra margin of safety.

There are case reports of LEOs going to cuff dangerous suspects with a cocked revolver. Because of the stress, parasympathetic movement kicks in and the LEO discharges the weapon, sometimes into the suspect.

The case I'm thinking of off the top of my head is this:

A perp was shooting at a supervising officer. The perp finally submitted. A junior officer was on scene and went to cuff him. In the police academy he had been taught to cock his weapon in stress situations and, as this was definitely a stress situation, had his revolver out and cocked as he cuffed the perp with his weak hand. As his weak hand closed the cuffs, the parasympathetic movement kicked in and he discharged his revolver into the perp, killing him.

Bad training, bad situation. However, the ND may not have happened with the extra margin of safety provided by the DA pull. There is also the issue of decocking. If you're shaken up by an incident, do you trust your motor skills to lower the hammer onto a loaded chamber? I do not have a decocker on my Taurus. After a stress shoot, I thumb the safety up going to cocked'n'locked. I scan the area for other threats, then retreat to a phone if necessary. The shakes don't start until later, but I do not trust myself to lower the hammer manually.

I believe this line of reasoning began with the first DA revolvers. For example, the Colt Thunderer and Lightening DA revolvers were made to fire in DA mode in emergencies only. The mechanism was fragile (not to mention extremely long, heavy, and gritty) and for deliberate firing the hammer was to be thumbed back. Though revolvers improved, training in many areas were (and are) still Old West.

Josh <><
 
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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thank you for your thoughts, Josh. And yes, our current instructor received the meat of his training in the pre-Vietnam era. But the question I raised to him, specifically with Magnums, is wouldn't it be tactically sound that, if time permits, to touch off at least the first shot in SA? He said yes, it was much better to split the septum with one then two in the lungs, because you hurried in DA. But then of course you have the ND that you mentioned during the course of an arrest. I recently did an expansion test with my Model 28 Smith .357 with full house magnums. I fired all six rounds in fast SA and the pattern was much improved, at least with me with magnums, then firing DA. I think the S&W K,L,and N frames have good hammers for this type of work. Of course, arms reach definately not. But what if you arrived at a property and you witnessed evidence of a forced entry and saw shadows. A SA touch with a .357 would not be a bad thing at least for the first shot. Especially if they saw your spotlight. I remember reading a incident involving a LEO and a gun range employee. The LEO emptied his revolver and planted a few .357's into the BG's chest after the BG put three .44 Magnum 240gr. JHP' into the LEO, with no vest. Both were about out for the count, but here comes the BG crawling on the ground with the cocked .44 in his hand. The LEO said he carefully cocked his model 19 and put his last round into the BG's temple, ending the fight. Thankfully the LEO survived to write about it.
 
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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I shoot more SA revolvers than I do DA's, but when I'm shooting my DA's I very rarely cock them.

Another bad situation here in OK 15 or 20 years ago when, with his revolver cocked, an LEO approached a car he had stopped. The driver apparently ignored him, not looking at him, window still rolled up. The LEO decided to tap the window with the muzzle of his 357 to get the guy's attention. It discharged, hitting the driver in the head. He had no more attention to get.
 

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I would not want to get into telling folks how they should train but the practice of cocking a DA gun without many hours of serious training is probably a fairly dangerous thing (so is carrying a Glock without those hours and hours of observed training).

That said, I would not want to give up the rare single action shot should some arcane situation come up. But just as a general practice, I am not much on it.

I basically tell my guys not to consider cocking the gun under 20 to 25 yards ... those that have DAs.

Jim
 
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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Back when I was training people on the DA revolver, I would carefully demonstrate proper SA techniques to them and have them fire in that mode a bit. I then advised them to carefully note what they had learned and then spent the rest of their life learning how to shoot DA well.

There is a phenomenon (tachypsyche?) that tends to make you tense up when startled or off balance. If you are holding a cocked DA revolver, guess what...

We also have cold winters up here. Depending on just how cold it gets, you lose a *lot* of sensitivity and trigger control. I have shot DA revolver at minus 30. That was bad, but I don't even want to think about using a 1911 or SIG under those conditions.

Well maintained guns will work, but how about the operator under extreme conditions?

Training is crucial.
 
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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
I would only use SA for a long shot or perhaps in an emergency headshot in a hostage situation. All other times would be DA.

Officers should never attempt to cuff a perp while still holding a firearm. There is just too much chance of a sympathetic muslce reaction, and it puts the firearm close enough to the perp for a gun grab.
 

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I carry a Glock so there isn't much of a problem...take my finger out of the triggerguard when I don't need to shoot. Well,I actually put my trigger finger on top of the diassembly notch in the frame so if I flinched and squeezed,no AD.
 
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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
I almost never fire a revolver single-action. If I need a little more accurracy I just stage the trigger. I've been shooting double-action so long now I'd have a hard time shooting SA now. :)
 
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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
We also have cold winters up here. Depending on just how cold it gets, you lose a *lot* of sensitivity and trigger control. I have shot DA revolver at minus 30. That was bad, but I don't even want to think about using a 1911 or SIG under those conditions.

Well maintained guns will work, but how about the operator under extreme conditions?
BG... the USMC found the 1911 performed very well under extremely inhospitable conditions at the Chosin Reservoir Campaign in 1952. Temperatures were in the -40 range during the day, and much colder at night. The 2 firearms they came to rely on without any qualms were the M1 Garand and the 1911A1.

Having experienced and worked in temperatures below -40 extensively in my younger days, I have to say that any pistol that functioned well in those temps must be superb. The 1911A1 fits the bill.
 
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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
... but as to SA vs DA in revolvers at ANY temperature, I have found that with enough trigger time the DA action is far preferable to the SA action with every S&W DA revolver I've ever met. Even in ugly conditions.
 
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