How to pick your first defensive handgun - My thoughts

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Trebor
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How to pick your first defensive handgun - My thoughts

Post by Trebor » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:06 pm

The topic of picking your first defensive handgun comes up here often. The same questions and advice seems to repeat each time. I've responded in many of these threads and I decided to pull some of what I consider to be my personal best advice into one new thread.

So, for newbies, here's my advice on selecting your first personal defense handgun:

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Part 1.

A few things about picking a gun.

First, realize that when people recommend different guns, a lot of what they recommend reflects their own personal preferences. That's fine, just realize it so you understand it when you consider their recommendations.

The goal is for you to find the gun that works best *FOR YOU* and that you can operate and shoot confidently. There are a few "bad guns" out there, but there are many more good choices.

As far as picking the first gun you really need more experience then you have now to know what is going to be best for you in the long term.

The best way to start is to learn how to shoot. If you don't have a local mentor, the best thing to do is take a class with an experienced instructor.

I recommend the NRA "Basic Pistol" class. This class focuses on the absolute fundamentals of gun safety, gun operation, and marksmanship. It is NOT a "defensive shooting" class, but it helps you develop the basic shooting skills you need in order to take more advanced training. You should also see if there are any "Women on Target" events being held near you. Those are women only events designed to introduce women to shooting.

One good thing about a NRA Basic Pistol class is that they are relatively easy to find. To find a class first check at the NRA website. Look at the "Find a NRA course near you" and "Women's Programs" sections listed on this page:

http://www.nrahq.org/education/training/index.asp" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Not all instructors remember to list their classes on the NRA site though, so you'll also want to ask around at local gun shops and ranges. Between the NRA website and asking around at local shops you should be able to find a Basic Pistol class (or equivilant training) fairly easily. The instructors will typically provide the guns and ammo for the class, btw.

After you take the NRA Basic Pistol class there is another NRA class titled "Personal Protection in the Home" that is all about using a firearm for home defense. It covers the legal and ethical aspects of deadly force, discusses how to pick a defensive firearm, and includes range time.

I'm not up on Ohio law but that *might* be the course required for you to obtain an Ohio CCW permit.

There are also other training classes available from a variety of local or national instructors (including DavePal and Doc66 from this thread). You don't need to leave Ohio to find good training.

My advice boils down to this: Find a class, get some experience shooting, and then use that experience and other research to help you decide what gun will work best. The more you know when you start gun shopping, the more likely you'll be able to find the gun that works best for you.
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Re: How to pick your first defensive handgun - My thoughts

Post by Trebor » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:07 pm

Part 2 - More info for female shooters.

A few more thoughts:

You should read through Kathy Jackon's "Cornered Cat" website. Kathy is an instructor and the editor of "Concealed Carry" magazine. Her site is for female shooters, especially new female shooters, and is a great resource for anyone interested in defensive shooting.

Take some time and read through the site and you'll learn A LOT and know more what questions to ask and where you should go next.

http://www.corneredcat.com/TOC.aspx" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Don't let the fact that you don't have a lot of upper body strength bother you. Shooting a handgun doesn't really take all that much upper body strength, really. I've worked with hundreds of new female shooters at various Women on Target events or in classes I've run and, once they learn the proper technique, almost any women can sucessfully operate a semi-auto pistol. This includes racking the slide to chamber a round, locking the slide open manually on an empty gun, clearing malfunctions, and managing the recoil (what you called "the kick.")

Kathy discusses the proper technique to work the action of a semi-auto pistol on the page below. It's not about strength, it's about learning and performing the proper technique. The way I teach the technique is slightly different from how Kathy describes it, but that's just a minor difference. It's basically the same idea:

http://www.corneredcat.com/RunGun/rack.aspx" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

Excerpts:

"It is true that a lot of women cannot rack a slide simply by muscling it through. There's no shame in this! A woman's strength is usually centered in her lower body and particularly in her legs, rather than in her upper torso and arms. But there are techniques which work with a woman's strengths, rather than against them.

Probably the biggest hurdle you will have to overcome, since you are reading this article, is the belief that you're not strong enough to rack the slide and that racking the slide is a matter of brute force. It is not. Technique matters far more than muscle. If you have difficulty, don't give up. You can learn this -- honest, you can"

She then goes on to describe the technique, with photos.

Some general thoughts on picking a gun:

Once you get to the point where you are trying to pick a specific gun to buy here are some of the things you have to consider:

Reliability - The gun has to be reliable enough to bet your life on. It has to work when you need it. Some designs are more reliable then others and some companies guns are more reliable then others.

Fit - The gun needs to fit your hand. A gun that is too big (or too small) is harder for you to shoot effectively. If the gun doesn't fit correctly you'll change how you hold the gun to compensate and that has a negative effect on your ability to control the gun and shoot it accurately and quickly. You can tell something about how well a gun fits you just by handling the unloaded gun in the gun store. Sometimes it will be obvious when a gun is just the wrong size. When a gun does feel good, you'll want to confirm that by shooting it, if at all possible, before you buy.

Action type: I wrote a whole post on this below.

Caliber/power - A self-defense gun is different from a target pistol. You do *NOT* want a .22 for a self defense pistol. As a *minimum* I recommend a .380 ACP for self defense, and that is the absolute smallest caliber I'd even consider. While there are plenty of small, light, and "cute" little .22, .25 and .32 caliber pistols, I do not recommend any of those calibers. They just don't have the ability to reliably stop a determined attacker.

For revolver, I recommend a .38 Special or a .357 Magnum. If you buy a .357 Magnum you can also shoot less expensive (and less powerful) .38 Special ammo through the gun. (But not the other way around).

For a semi-auto I recommend any of the following:

.380 ACP - This is the minimum I recommend and, personally, I'm more comfortable with a larger caliber. But, there are some good choices in this caliber and the guns do tend to be a little smaller. There are also some decent defensive loads available.

Going up from there:

9mm (also called 9mm Luger, 9mm Parabellum, 9x19mm, or 9mm Nato)
This is my favorite handgun round as I think it has a good balance of power, controllability (low recoil) and ammo capacity. It is generally less expensive then the other pistol rounds, which allows you to practice more for less money. There are some excellent defensive loads available.

.40 S&W - More powerful then 9mm. It also has more perceived recoil. The ammo tends to be a bit more pricey, but not horribly so. There are many excellent defensive loads available as this is currently the most popular police caliber. The .40 S&W cartridge is slightly larger then the 9mm cartridge. This means that if you have two identical guns, only one is a 9mm and the other is a .40 S&W, the 9mm will typically hold one to three more rounds (cartridges) then the .40 S&W. But, each of the .40 S&W cartridges is a little more powerful then the 9mm rounds.

.45 ACP - A bit more powerful then .40 S&W, but the felt recoil is actually more of a hard "push" then the quick "Snap" of the .40 S&W. (Hard to describe better until you've tried it). Many shooters who don't like the "snappy" .40 S&W recoil don't mind the .45 ACP recoil much at all. (It still has more perceived recoil then the 9mm though).

The .45 ACP cartridge is larger then the 9mm or the .40 S&W. It is more powerful then either of the other two. Because of the larger size you will get fewer cartridges in a pistol if it is in .45 ACP then if it was chambered in .40 S&W or 9mm. There are good ammo choices for this round as well. Both practice and self-defense ammo is more expensive then the other two calibers. (Especially when compared to 9mm prices).
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Re: How to pick your first defensive handgun - My thoughts

Post by Trebor » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:08 pm

Part 3 - Pistol operating types and semi-auto vs. revolver

Much of the rest of this won't make much sense now, but will make sense after you've had a chance to shoot some different types of pistols. Just store the info away to look at later.

The thing that many people overlook, but is critical, is "What is the operating method of this pistol?"

Some people prefer a pistol that requires you to disengage a safety before you fire. Other people prefer a pistol that does NOT have a manual safety: Just pull the trigger and it will fire. Some people prefer a pistol that has a heavy double-action first shot and a lighter shot for the second shot. Other people prefer a pistol with the same trigger pull every time.

How the pistol operates is called it's "action type." There are variety of action types. Here's the basics:

Traditional Double-Action (also called "DA/SA")

These are pistols with an exposed hammer. With a Traditional Double-Action (DA/SA) pistol the pistol is loaded and then the hammer is manually lowered from its cocked position (when the slide is moved back during loading it also cocks the hammer) by using a "decocking lever."

It's called a "double-action" pistol because pulling the trigger performs two actions: It first cocks the hammer and then, as you continue to pull, it releases the hammer to fire the round.

The first shot from a DA/SA pistol will have a long and relatively heavy trigger pull. That is because of the spring weight needed to first cock the hammer. After the first shot the action of the slide will automatically cock the hammer. That makes the trigger pull for the second shot (and 3rd shot, etc, etc) lighter since you no longer are working against the strong spring needed to cock the hammer for the first shot.

Once the hammer is cocked, pulling the trigger *just* releases the already cocked hammer to fire the pistol.

A DA/SA pistol can have a decocker that *just* decocks the pistol. In that case the pistol will fire when you pull the trigger for that long and heavy first Double-action shot.

A DA/SA pistol might have a decocker that also acts as a safety. In that case after you move the lever to decok the pistol it also places the safety in the "SAFE" position. To fire the pistol you would first move the lever to "FIRE" and then pull the trigger for that long and heavy DA shot.

Many shooters find it difficult to master the DA/SA pistol due to the transition from the heavy and long trigger pull for the first shot to the lighter and shorter trigger pull for the second shot.

Examples include the Berretta 92 (decocker also acts as a safety) and Sig 239 (decoker only - no safety)

Double-Action-Only (DAO) pistols- These are pistols with an exposed hammer that use the same trigger-pull for every shot. The hammber is always down and every time the trigger is pulled the hammer is first cocked and then released. Many of these are pistols originally designed as DA/SA pistols and then had the design modified to DAO.

The pistol winds up having a single trigger pull for every shot. It's a little heavier then the "light" single-action trigger pull and a little lighter then then "heavy" trigger pull (when compared to a DA/SA gun).

Striker Fired pistols - These pistols don't use an external hammer but instead have an internal "striker" that moves to hit the primer and fire the cartridge when the trigger is pulled.

A striker-fired pistol has the same trigger pull for every shot. Typically it is a reasonably light-to-medium weight pull. Some striker-fired pistols have an external manual safety, most do not.

Some striker-fired pistols do NOT have an external manual safety or a decocker. You load the pistol and it's ready to fire. If you pull the trigger, it will fire, and that's that. Some variants do have an external safety. In either case, the trigger pull is the same for each shot.

Examples include the Glock, S&W M&P, and Springfield XD.

Single-action only pistols (SA) - These are also pistols with an exposed hammer. The hammer is cocked when you load the pistol. Instead of lowering the hammer you move the manual safety lever on the side of the gun to "Safe." The hammer stays cocked, but can not move until you take the safety off to "Fire". The advantage is that they have the same trigger pull for every shot *and* the trigger pull is pretty light and short. (This makes it easier to shoot accurately). The disadvantage is that you must move the safety to "FIRE" before you shot and you can mess that up under stress, especially if you are not totally familiar with the gun.

An example of this would be the Colt 1911 .45 ACP pistol. Also called the "Colt Government Model." Many companies now make examples of this basic design. Another example is the 9mm Browning High Power.

As to caliber, don't get wrapped up in "which caliber is better" at this stage. They are all handgun rounds and all handgun rounds are essentially PUNY. If you really want to stop someone a rifle or shotgun causes much more damge and is much more effective.

The reason we carry handguns isn't because they powerful, because they are not, but because they are CONVENIENT. We can't really carry rifles around so we carry handguns instead.

Having said that the most important thing was a handgun cartridge is your ability to hit your target. As a new shooter, in my opinion, you shouldn't worry too much about picking the "right caliber." Pick 9mm or up and you'll be OK.

Personally, I recommend 9mm specifically for new shooters as you'll get the most out of it at this level of skill. The recoil is less, so it's easier to shoot, and its much cheaper to buy then .40 S&W or .45 ACP, so you can practice more. If you both are sharing the same gun 9mm might work better for Adrianne as well.

As to revolvers, I like them and carry one myself. The advantage is they are easier to operate. Just aim and pull the trigger. No safeties or decocker to worry about. The heavy double action pull makes them safe enough to carry. They also tend to be more reliable so you don't have to worry about malfunctions and malfuction clearances.

One disadvantage is that revolvers have a heavy and long double-action trigger pull. This makes it harder to learn how to shoot them accurately. It can be done, but it takes a more work then learning to shoot a gun with a lighter and shorter trigger.

Small, light, snub-nose revolvers are especially hard to shoot well. The light weight, small grips, and short barrel combine to make the gun difficult to master.

Another disadvantage is that they don't hold as much ammunition. That means you get fewer shots before you reload. They are also slower to reload. For two guns the same size and weigh the automatic will always hold more shots then the revolver.

For revolvers, stick to S&W revolvers or Ruger revolvers. Avoid Taurus.
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Re: How to pick your first defensive handgun - My thoughts

Post by Trebor » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:09 pm

Part 4 - More thoughts on revolvers.

As far as revolvers go, there is nothing wrong with picking a revolver if you decide that is what you like best. I'm a fan and carry one myself. I like the simple "point and shoot" interface with no manual safety or decocker to worry about. I also shoot my carry revolver as well as I shoot any pistol I own, so I have confidence in my choice. The other great thing is that, typically, revolvers are less likely to malfunction. If you have a bad round of ammo, just pull the trigger again, and the cylinder will rotate and bring you a fresh round of ammo to fire.

But, you should also understand some of the drawbacks. There is no "perfect choice" and revolvers do have have downsides as well.

The biggest downside is that with a double-action revolver the trigger pull is long and typically heavy. This makes it harder to shoot accurately. It can be done, but it will take more work to master. In my experience they are the hardest handguns to teach a newbie to shoot accurately.

(In general, the shorter and lighter the trigger, the easier it is to shoot well, as it is easier to make the gun fire without pulling it off-target while you are pulling the trigger. A double-action trigger on a revolver will never be as short and light as the trigger on most semi-auto pistols).

The other disadvantage of a revolver is they have limited ammo capacity. A typical defensive revolver, especially one suited for concealed carry, will hold five or six cartridges. When you directly compare a revolver to a semi-auto pistol, in most cases, the semi-auto will hold more cartridges for the same weight and bulk. (For example, my S&W Model 65 revolver holds six shots. The newer S&W M&P 9c (compact) semi-auto weighs about the same and is roughly the same size and holds 12 shots. I may switch to one of these for this reason.)

To make matters worse, not only do revolvers hold fewer shots, they also take longer to reload! It is much quicker to insert a new magazine into an empty semi-auto pistol and then rack the slide to make the gun ready to fire again then it is to reload a revolver. For a revolver you have to: Open the cylinder, poin the gun up, hit the ejector rod to eject the cartridges, point the gun down, inert the new rounds (with a speedloader preferably) and then close the cylinder.

If you do buy a revolver, buy the appropriate speedloader (2 or 3 actually) and practice until you can do those smoothly. Once you can do it smoothly, you can pick up speed and learn to do it fairly quickly. It will never be as quick as reloading a semi-auto though.

If you do decide to go with a revolver, the specific type of revolver is important.

Personally, I would avoid the ultra-light 5-shot "snub" revolvers popular now that are made out of exotic materials such as Titanium and Scadium. The are made light to make them easier to carry. The problem is, the lighter the gun, the harder it is to shoot, as the mass of the gun soaks up much of the recoil energy. If the gun is *too* light it becomes difficult and downright unpleasant to shoot. If you won't shoot it, because it hurts to shoot, that means you won't practice with it. If you don't practice with it, you won't master it. If you don't master it, you can't be confident of your skill to use it when needed.

The other problem with the smaller 5-shot "snub" revolvers is that the triggers can not be made to be as smooth or light as a larger revolver. The internal trigger geometry is different, because of the small size of the gun, and there is less mechanical advantage in the leverage points. It's not a huge issue, because the triggers aren't really *bad", they just can't be smoothed out to any real degree by a gunsmith the way the larger revovlers can.

Oh, and the Snub revolvers typically have smaller grips to make them easier to conceal. The smaller grip gives you less to hold onto and makes them harder to shoot. You can replace the grips, but that negates some of the concealment advantage.

Some specific recommendations;

Smith & Wesson (S&W) J-Frame revolvers - These are five-shot revolvers with (typically) a short 2" barrel. These are designed as carry guns, pure and simple. These are the "snub nose" revolvers I mentioned above. They are typically great to carry, but not a lot of fun, or easy, to shoot.

I would stick with the steel frame or aluminum framed guns. The short barrel and small grips make these guns are hard enough to shoot as it is, and going with an ultra-light Titanium or Scadium frame makes things harder.

If you find one of the models that does NOT have an exposed hammer and is double-action only, those are a good choice. Because they don't have a single-action notch interally a gunsmith can smooth the trigger out more and lighten it a bit. You can't really do this with the J-frame guns that have an exposed hammer and retain the single-action notch. The lack of an external hammer also eliminates the possibility of getting the hammer caught on your clothes while drawing the gun.

The "J-frame" guns used to only be chambered in .38 Special. The newer ones are now also made in .357 Magnum. That's OK, as you can still shoot .38 Special through a .357 Magnum revolver. I recommend stiking with .38 Special as it is especially hard to shoot .357 Magnum through these little guns (and Darn near impossible to do so for more then a few shots with the Scadium and Titanium guns).

Smith & Wesson (S&W) "K-frame" revolver - These are the "medium frame" six-shot revolvers. This is the frame size that was typically used by police as a duty gun back when all cops carried revolvers. These are noticely larger and heavier then the "J-frame" guns. They are also noticeably easier to shoot.

The K-frame revolver is a great choice for home-defense and can be a good choice for conealed carry. They are larger, which makes them harder to conceal, but it is not impossible or even really that difficult.

I've found that barrel length makes a huge difference. The "standard" K-frame revolver has a 4" barrel. If you find one of the guns with the shorter 3" barrel it makes the gun much, much, easier to conceal. You wouldn't think losing an inch of barrel would make a difference, but it does.

I recommend the stainless steel Model 65, especially with a 3" barrel. They also used to make a "Ladysmith" version of this gun that came standard with a 3" barrel. I believe only the grips were different.

Other choices include the Model 10, Model 13, Model 19, Model 64, and Model 67. These are all K-frame guns and differ only if they are stainless steel or blued steel and whether they have fixed sights or adjustable sights. Any would work, although I prefer stainless steel for carry.

Most of the K frame guns are no longer made, but there are a ton of used ones out there and they aren't hard to find. The prices are generally pretty good as well due to the large numbers of guns available. The 3" barreled guns are a little more expensive because not as many were made and they are better for carry, but they aren't that pricey. You should be able to find a Model 65 with a 3" barrel, for example, for $350 to $400.

S&W "L-frame" guns - These are slightly larger the the "K-frame" but are still considered "medium frame" revolvers. Basically S&W strengthed and enlarged the guns a little to hold up better with .357 Magnum ammo. Model numbers include the 581, 586 (both blued) and the 686 (stainless). There is no real advantage to these over the K-frame, unless you plan to shoot .357 Magnum, and their slightly larger size is a little disadvantage when it comes to carry. You should be aware of them though as they are common in gun shops. Nothing wrong with them, just know what you are looking at. The newer Model 619 and 620 are both L-frames. (I believe these are also 7-shot guns as well, which is nice).

Ruger revolvers - Ruger makes some great revolvers. They tend to be a little larger then the S&W guns, but are very rugged. Here are the ones I woud consider:

Ruger SP 101 - This is a 5-shot revolver similiar to the S&W "J-frame" revolvers. The SP 101 is a little larger then a S&W "J-fram" and a little smaller then a S&W "K-frame." It's also just a bit heavy for it's size. It is still a good choice for concealed carry though and typically a very easy gun to shoot. I'd describe it as "A snub-nose that shoots like a full-size gun." The come with 2" barrels.

Ruger LCR - This is a *BRAND NEW* design by Ruger. The gun is unique in that it is partially made of polymyer (plastic) for the lower grip frame. This makes the gun light. The gun is a 5-shot gun about the same size as the S&W J-frame. It is definitely smaller then the older SP-101. I haven't shot one myself but I have heard that they shoot surprisingly well. Evidently the plastic frame, although light, helps soak up the recoil by flexing a bit. The trigger is also supposed to be pretty good. They are worth a look.

Ruger "Speed Six" or "Service Six" or "Security Six" - These are older Ruger revolvers no longer made for about 20 years. They are six-shot guns about the same size as the S&W "K Frame." They are rugged and generally shoot very well. The most common barrel length is 4" which makes them a bit heavy and large for concealed carry. They did make some with 2 3/4" barrels though and those would probably make a nice carry gun. They do turn up from time to time in the used case at gun shops you should know about them in case you run across one.

Ruger GP 100 - A current production Ruger six-shot that is larger then the S&W "K-frame." I wouldn't recommend it for carry as it really is too large and heavy. Nice guns though and a good choice for home defense. You will run across these so I included it here so you know what it is.

Taurus revolvers - I can not recommend Taurus revolvers due to having experienced, seen, and heard of too many problems with them. They are priced affordably, but are known to have reliability and durability issues. I would pass on these.

Rossi revolvers - Same problems as Taurus.
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Re: How to pick your first defensive handgun - My thoughts

Post by Trebor » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:10 pm

Part 5 - Why "Try before you buy" is vital.

One other thing:

Be aware that often you will NOT know what you actually like and shoot the best until you actually shoot different guns.

You might find that a gun you think "looks good on paper" or even one that "feels good" in your hand isn't really that comfortable to shoot or just doesn't fit you as well as you think it will.

An example could be that you think you want a revolver, until you actually shoot one and find it hard to shoot, or that you think you want a Glock, until you shoot one and realize it doesn't fit your hand it you can't shoot it well, etc. (Just hypothetical examples. Not trying to say anything bad about revolvers or Glocks).

Just remember to learn what you can ahead of time, but to keep an open mind when you actually start to try different guns. "The proof is in the shooting" as it were.
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Re: How to pick your first defensive handgun - My thoughts

Post by congochris » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:13 pm

Oh for the love of the gods, mods please sticky this?!

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Re: How to pick your first defensive handgun - My thoughts

Post by Trebor » Tue Feb 23, 2010 11:14 pm

Part 6 - Do you need a manual safety or not? (And more on pistol action types)

It depends on what you like, what you've trained with, and what you shoot best.

When picking a carry gun the action type is more important then many people realize and is often overlooked.

It's not just a matter of "Safety or no safety," but you also have to consider, DA/SA or DAO, or SA, and no safety, "cocked and locked" safety, safety/decocker, or just a decocker. Don't forget to consider which way the safety operates. Do you move it up or down to "Fire?"

If you run a gun without a safety you have to be 100% perfect, all the time, about keeping your finger off the trigger until the sights are on target. A gun with a heavy trigger pull, at least for the first shot, gives you a little more room for error then a gun with a short, light trigger pull.

For instance, a double-action revolver has a long and relatively heavy trigger pull and pretty much everyone agrees that carrying a loaded DA revolver is safe and effective with little risk of having a AD due to the lack of a manual safety. Now, a Glock has a much shorter and lighter trigger pull. While it's non "unsafe" per se, it is easier to fire accidently due to the shorter trigger distance and lighter pull. You have to make sure your finger is off the trigger until you are ready to shoot and also need to make sure that nothing can work it's way into the trigger guard while reholstering as that can also cause an accidental discharge.

If a DA revolver is the "safest" to carry without a safety, after that woudl be a DA/SA or DAO (double action only) pistol with a relatively long and heavy (revolver-like) trigger pull for the first shot. The class Sig pistols, Berretta 92, Ruger pistols, etc, are examples of this.

The downsides to a DA/SA pistol are that the transition from the long and heavy DA first shot to the relatively light and short pull of the second shot can throw the shooter off. This can make it harder for some users to accurately put their first couple shots on target. It can be overcome with training and practice, but should be mentioned.

With a DA/SA gun you really need to consider where the safety is located and how it operates as well. A slide mounted safety, like on the Berretta 92 or S&W metal autos, goes UP for "Fire" and down for "Safe." This is more awkward to use then a safety that is mounted on the frame and goes down for "Fire." (The safety on the 1911 is an example of a safety that goes down for fire).

The CZ-75 is a DA/SA pistol, but the safety is on the frame and goes down for "Fire." That is one of the things I like about that design.

The disadvantage of a DAO (double action only) pistol with a long and heavy trigger pull is that the "revolver like" trigger does take more effort to master then a shorter and lighter pull. Some people shoot them well, other's don't. The advantage is that the trigger pull is the same every time, which is nice, and that often these guns do not have a manual safety to disengage before firign.

The Glock pistol, and similiar striker fired guns like the XD and S&W M&P, have double action triggers with relatively light trigger pulls and with very little trigger movement required to fire the gun. The Glock does not have a manual safety. The XD and M&P have versions with and without manual safeties. The short, light pull and lack of a manual safety makes the pistol quick to get into action. The consisent trigger pull gets rid of that DA/SA problem of having to adjust for a different pull for the first shot and the second. The downside is that there is a higher risk of having an AD if the user is careless or not well versed in how to operate the gun.

Personally, I think a DA/SA pistol with a slide mounted safety that goes UP to "Fire" is the hardest to get into action quickly and make good, fast, first round hits. That is based on watching students with these pistols struggle time after time in the classes I teach. If I carried such a pistol I'd use the safety as a decocker only and carry the pistol on "Fire" and rely on the heavy DA trigger pull and keeping my finger off the trigger to prevent an AD.

***
MaxRite wrote:
Anyone knows of a definite, overwhelming disadvantage to mech.safety that would outweigh all the advantages? (Muscle memory is not an issue, I'm very much used to safety. Second nature).

Any feedback is welcomed.

No, if you're happy with a manual safety and confident with your ability to use your firearm, you're good to go.

The CZ-75 uses a manual safety that does down for "Fire." Some versions have a decocker only instead.

Just remember that most slide mounted safeties go UP for "Fire" when you are shopping and that will help you figure out if any particular gun is for you or not.

The Sig pistols with the DA/SA and decocker are also a nice set up. The DA pull is long and heavy enough to where I'm comfortable carrying one, even though there is no safety. I've found that the SIG DA pull can really smooth out nicely over time and use as well.
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R.I.P HK33K - Gone, but not forgetten.

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