Heated Debate: Striker Fired vs. Hammer Fired

A pistol is a mechanical device that is designed to fire bullets. Engineers have devised 2 common firing mechanisms for pistols, the hammer fired and striker fired, which aim to achieve the same purpose of firing the gun.

Hammer fired pistols have an external hammer (usually) that falls onto the firing pin when the trigger is pulled. The firing pin strikes the primer on the back of the cartridge, firing the gun. The photos below are of the Beretta PX4.

PX4 Side
Not Cocked With Safety Engaged

PX4 Sights
Rear View Of Hammer

Striker fired pistols have an internal firing mechanism (striker) which hits the back of the cartridge, firing the gun when the trigger is pulled. The photos below are of a Glock 26.

Glock 26 Gen 4
Striker Fired, SAO

Glock 26 Sight Picture
Rear View Of Slide, Striker Inside

The Debate

The mechanical difference is quite simple, so what is all the debate about?

People become advocates for the gun they have, and can be critical of other pistols, especially if they have a different firing mechanism.

Some people endlessly debate which gun or firing mechanism is best by seeing what police and military use. Guess what? You’re not a Seal, you have different needs and wants, go do some research and find a pistol that suits your purposes and preferences.

Free Market Capitalism!

There isn’t any data showing one as better than the other. This debate is all about subjective preferences.

Free market capitalism provides many great choices for people. Consumers want to get the pistol that best meets their personal preferences, at a price they want to pay.

There is a demand for both firing mechanisms and there are many choices in each camp.


People are usually in one camp or the other for various reasons. Let’s take a look at a small number of pistols that fall into each of these camps.

The Beretta PX4, H&K P30, Sig Sauer P226, and the 1911 are hammer fired pistols.

Pistols that fall into the striker fired camp are Glock, Springfield XD, HK VP,  and Smith&Wesson M&P.

Difference Between Single and Double Action

Have you heard the terms single action and double action trigger?

A single action trigger is one that only fires the gun when pressed. It performs a single purpose. This trigger squeeze is short and light.

A double action trigger is one that can cock the gun and fire the gun. It performs 2 purposes. This trigger pull is long and heavy.

Some pistols are single action only (SAO), some are both single action and double action (SA/DA), and some are double action only (DAO).

Single Action Only

A single action only trigger has the same trigger pull every time. It moves and feels the same each shot form the first to the last. That consistency is why a lot of people like a SAO trigger of the striker fired guns and the 1911 (most).

Ironically, this is also a big criticism of striker fired guns. People who don’t like them will tell you that the trigger does not feel good to them. They may complain that it is a little too heavy and a bit gritty. It’s hard to describe in words, but easy to feel.

Double Action Only

A double action only trigger has a long and heavy trigger pull. The trigger is doing two jobs, the cocking and firing, which requires more input from the user.

This trigger is the most difficult to pull, leading some people to believe that it is the safest. The only way to be safe is to follow the rules of gun safety.

Target shooters abhor this kind of trigger because it detracts from accuracy. You have such a long and heavy pull, that it is difficult to hold a steady aim and not move off target.

Double Action/Single Action, Yes A Combination Of Both!

A double action/single action trigger gives you a DA first trigger pull, while successive follow up shots are SA.

When the hammer is in the forward position, the trigger pull will be long and heavy (DA). As the trigger begins it’s travel, the hammer will move backwards, when the trigger finally reaches it’s breaking point, the hammer will fall forward and the gun will fire.

When the hammer is in the rear position, the gun is cocked and ready to fire, the trigger pull will be short and light (SA).

While the DA/SA is versatile (you have both actions in one gun), some people don’t like this. The two pulls are completely different, which can be disconcerting to some shooters.

Parting Thoughts

You owe it to yourself to experience striker fired SA and hammer fired SA/DA triggers to find the one you prefer.

I prefer the SAO of the striker fired Glock pistols. The trigger pull is the same every time and that makes me happy and training is a breeze.

If you decide you like a hammer fired SA/DA pistol, you have to train differently and practice shooting both SA and DA.

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Legislative Alert – Full Reciprocity

reciprocity carry
Constitutional Carry Reciprocity

The Problem

House members are attempting to vote on “concealed carry reciprocity”. These fake measures would deny concealed carry reciprocity to people in states which currently have Constitutional Carry.

Constitutional Carry is the right to carry a concealed firearm without permission or special identification from the government.

If this bad legislation passes, it would deny people in 1/5th of states reciprocity. Suppose that all states eventually become Constitutional Carry states, bad legislation now would nullify concealed carriers in all states from interstate travel!

What Is Reciprocity?

Reciprocity is the mutual exchange of privileges. If your home state has a reciprocity agreement with another state, they will recognize your concealed carry license.

You will be required to follow the laws of the state you are visiting, so always do your research and know the law.

One of my contributors Eric flew between Texas and Pennsylvania for a family vacation with his concealed carry gun, he was able to do so because those states have reciprocity.

Why This Matters

People have a natural right to self defense regardless of state boundaries. As free people, we don’t lose our right to self defense when we cross state lines.

All Americans should be afforded the right to travel anywhere in the country with their concealed carry gun. No one should be arbitrarily locked up because they were in the wrong state with a concealed gun.

The Solution – H.R.923 and S.498

There are two pieces of real legislation that are being introduced that allow for full concealed carry reciprocity. Texas Senator John Cornyn introduced S.498 and Marlin Stutzman (R-IN) introduced H.R.923 in congress. These two bills require all states to honor the rights of gun owners from Constitutional Carry states.

What You Can Do

Contact your representatives and demand a vote on these two bills. You may wish to join an organization such as Gun Owners Of America who will fight for our gun rights. GOA is, “The only no-compromise gun lobby in Washington,” according to Ron Paul.

Happy Independence Day!

Happy Independence Day!
Happy Independence Day!

The Declaration of Independence is one of the most awesome documents I have ever read. Our founding fathers listed a long train of abuses that established an absolute tyranny over the Colonies. The People declared their right and duty to throw off the king’s government and separate from Great Britain. This is why we celebrate the 4th Of July.

John Adams in a letter to Abigail Adams July 3, 1776:

Yesterday, the greatest question was decided which was ever debated in America, and a greater perhaps never was nor will be decided among men. A resolution was passed without one dissenting colony, ‘that these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be, free and independent States.’

How should we celebrate Independence Day? I suppose that is up to each individual, here is how John Adams imagined it would be celebrated:

I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.

There it is, Adams said it, guns! Hopefully you can find time to enjoy guns responsibly. Take a few few minutes to not only read the document, but to comprehend it’s meaning and significance. I hope you own a copy in your home, in case you don’t I have you covered by clicking here.

I’ll leave you with the conclusion of The Declaration Of Independence:

WE, therefore, the Representatives of the UNITED STATES OF AMERICA, in GENERAL CONGRESS, Assembled, appealing to the Supreme Judge of the World for the Rectitude of our Intentions, do, in the name, and by Authority of the good People of these Colonies, solemnly Publish and Declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be, FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES; that they are absolved from all Allegiance to the British Crown, and that all political Connection between them and the State of Great Britain, is and ought to be totally dissolved; and that as FREE AND INDEPENDENT STATES, they have full Power to levy War, conclude Peace, contract Alliances, establish Commerce, and to do all other Acts and Things which INDEPENDENT STATES may of right do. And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm Reliance on the Protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes, and our sacred Honor.