The Real Secret Service Scandal: Agency Switching to P229 DAK SIGs

 

U.S. Secret Service agents carry SIG SAUER handguns. Specifically, the P229 chambered in .357 SIG. It’s an accurate and dependable gun that fires a fearsome round. Up to this point, all the agents’ SIGs were equipped with a DA/SA trigger. The first shot is double action (ten pound trigger pull, the hammer cocks and drops). The second shot and any shots thereafter are sent downrange via single action (pre-cocked hammer, 4.4 pound trigger pull). We hear that the Secret Service are switching to P229s equipped with the gunmaker’s DAK trigger, which provides a “safe, reliable and consistent 6.5 pound double-action only trigger pull.” Uh, well, not exactly . . .

DAK stands for “Double Action Kellerman.” SIG’s double-action-only system offers shooters not one but two trigger reset points (the point at which the returning trigger can fire the gun again). The first reset—created so that the shooter can fire the P229 rapidly—requires an eight-pound trigger pull. Firing the handgun at the second trigger reset point requires the SIG-advertised 6.5 pound trigger pull, which aids accuracy.

The problem being? Sherman, set the way-back machine to 2009, defensivecarry.com . . .

Sig recommends and trains so that the system is to be used as DAO (Double Action Only). You will see that they only list the 6.5 lbs. trigger pull in DA on their DAK models specifications sheets. They recommend that users should be trained to fire the pistol by utilizing the full double action trigger stroke so that the trigger is a consistent 6.5 lbs.

They have heard of some departments who do not understand what the system is suppose to be for and have been training their officers to use the short stroke after the initial full trigger pull. This is incorrect.

Let’s be clear here: the Secret Service are damn good at doing shots. I mean, shooting. SIGs are awesome guns. Even if you blindfolded Secret Service agents (or something bondage oriented) they would still shoot a SIG P229 DAK better than your humble correspondent. And I get it: reset one for hail o’ lead, reset two for two in the head. Either way, the target’s dead.

The SIG P229 DAK also offers a benefit unavailable in many standard combat guns: second strike capability. If the cartridge has a dud primer (i.e. the bit that ignites the gunpowder), you can pull the trigger against for a second attempt. In most other guns you’d have to clear the round by racking the slide. One doesn’t expect the Secret Service to have crap ammo or take too long to clear a bad round. But there it is.

And there’s the “standard” DA/SA SIG SAUER P229. Which, to my mind, is the better gun. While the SA/DA trigger has two different trigger pulls, there’s only one reset point. In a stressful situation, who wants to choose whether to pull the trigger at reset one or two? Who can? Even a Secret Service agent would be hard pressed to make that “decision” (i.e. instinctive reaction) in the heat of battle.

Which is why SIG SAUER sells tens of thousands of P229s with an SA/DA trigger and not so many P229s with a DAK trigger. INSERT FINAL TOPICAL PROSTITUTE SCANDAL JOKE HERE.

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About Robert Farago

Robert Farago is the Publisher of The Truth About Guns (TTAG). He started the site to explore the ethics, morality, business, politics, culture, technology, practice, strategy, dangers and fun of guns.

50 Responses to The Real Secret Service Scandal: Agency Switching to P229 DAK SIGs

  1. avatarKelly in GA says:

    Topical Scandal Joke:

    Maybe longer resets will keep them from needing to find some way to fire it off twice. Giggity.

  2. avatarLevi B says:

    Do the Secret Service agents each have to pay for a gun if more than one uses it?

  3. avatarMike G says:

    Dud primer: Like a hooker who won’t do it.

  4. avatarChainsawWieldingManiac says:

    The author completely misses the point of DAK, and I honestly wonder if he even tried it before writing this critique.

    The “flaw” with it is actually the big selling point, and it is absolutely a good thing in a duty weapon and a home defense gun. DAK is designed so that, in a high stress, situation, you don’t pull the damn trigger more than once unless you mean to. Turns out that being high on adrenaline with a light-weight short reset trigger is not exactly a safe thing when you need to take shots around civilians, or simply cover a guy after shooting him. Thus, unless you let that trigger go all the way, it will give you greater resistance so that you don’t pull it by accident. And don’t kid yourself: it happens with cops, and it could happen with the SS.

    I have a Sig 226 DAK. I have a fair bit of trigger time behind it. It’s not my favorite plinking pistol by a long shot. It is, however, a superlative gun for home defense, where every bullet needs to be accounted for. I would not hesitate to buy another for that purpose, or to carry (open or concealed).

  5. avatarBruce says:

    I’m under the impression that the DAK is very simliar in feel (if not operation) to the H&K LEM trigger. Having pulled the trigger on one of those, I’d run the LEM trigger over any other trigger I’ve tried, no decocking lever, very managable and smooth long pull AND double strike capability? Perfect. :)

    That said, I’ve trained my self to tap, rack, bang any time I get a failure to fire. I always thought I’d just pull the trigger again, but that’s not the way it worked out.

    • avatarHal says:

      +1 to the HK LEM trigger. Long, and takes some getting used to… But once you do it takes all the guesswork out. And only one reset point. I’m even going to cinvert an older USP .40 one of these days… Hell it only costs $70.

      HK. Keepin’ it real (simple)

  6. avatarbrigo05 says:

    I have a Sig 229 SA/DA .40 two-tone w/ Sig Lite Sites.
    I wouldnt go double action on this gun as it is accurate as hell in SA.
    +1 for anyone who wants to make a 229 their next carry weapon.

  7. avatarST says:

    I used to be a 1911 owner who thought double action trigger pulls inherently sucked for accuracy.Fortunately I went to the shooting range more often and got a clue.

    A couple of reasons wh the author is incorrect.

    One,double action *does NOT IMPACT ACCURACY*.The shooters willingness to learn their shooting platform is what counts.Period.Dot.The end.It is pure laziness on the part of the shottist to buy hair trigger guns and say a heavy trigger pull is synonymous with a lack of accuracy.Is a DA pull harder to learn?It is.But harder to shoot?Only if you don’t practice.

    What must be remembered regarding firearms in law enforcement & Joe CCW useage is that the closest our sidearms will come to ‘action’ is being presented at the scumbag in question.People,usually,don’t want to be shot.Compare the relative rarity of firing shots in anger with the near certainty of administrative and field handling of firearms,and a heavy trigger pull has some merit.

    • avatarWes says:

      “One,double action *does NOT IMPACT ACCURACY*.The shooters willingness to learn their shooting platform is what counts.Period.Dot.The end.”

      Most competitive shooters would disagree with you. The 1911 completely dominates accuracy/speed oriented shooting sports for a variety of reasons, but mostly because of the fantastic trigger with a very short reset. Period. Dot.The end.
      I don’t think a DAO or DA/SA trigger system can be as fast/accurate. I personally do not like complicated triggers with different “modes” as my brain doesn’t do this switch very well. DAO/striker or single action only for me.

      • avatarST says:

        You must employ what works for you.It is no exaggeration that learning double action takes time and makes a lot of ugly target sheets.You have to put your ego aside and realize that being expert at a task demands practice.Its a blow to the ego to see a shotgun pattern when in single action you can get a nice tight group,but once you learn DA its liberating to know no matter what trigger a weapon has ,you can work it.I understand why folks say what they do about the trigger action,but rest assure with practice-something the USSS takes quite seriously-they’ll still be deadly accurate with their DAK Sigs.

        • avatarNR says:

          Sure, double action doesn’t impact accuracy. But it does impact speed. Now matter how much I practice, even if I practice double action exclusively, I’m pretty sure I’ll always be faster w/ a single action trigger.

        • avatarTwinkie says:

          You can always pull a trigger faster than you can aim. I defy anyone to find a trigger that’s slower than their aim on any modern combat pistol. You just have to reset the action as you reset your sights on target. Oddly enough moving the tip of your index finger 1/4 – 1/2″ can happen really fast.

          Trigger reset I am finding as I get proficient with pistols is really not a big factor in speed or accuracy. Smoothness of pull matters far more.

  8. avatarMoonshine7102 says:

    “chambered in .357 SIG”
    —–
    ‘Cause there’s gotta be a way to spend money on ammo like a 10mm and get the same recoil, while still shooting a 9mm pill.

  9. avatarKWAL says:

    Check out the HK45 light LEM if you want to see how a long first pull with a short reset should work. There are SO MANY Sig fans out there that you are bound to find excessive of resistance to any criticism of a trigger that gets plenty of thumbs downs from users.

    As to learning the platform and practicing, have fun. George Zimmerman may not have been carrying a Sig, but if you asked him how much time he had to implement a nice “press out” or roll the trigger he will probably think you are more crazy than he is. I’d rather not spend time practicing these techniques and others strong hand, weak hand, on the move, etc. and hope the muscle memory kicks in when I’m on my back fighting for my life. If that’s what you want you’d be better with a tuned, eight shot revolver.

    • avatarChainsawWieldingManiac says:

      Please read my post about why the increased resistance of the first reset in the DAK system is a feature, not a problem. LEM is a good system, don’t get me wrong, but it’s not trying to solve the same problem that DAK is.

      • avatarKWAL says:

        I totally understand what you are saying. I just disagree that it is a problem for anyone that spends sufficient time training with their weapon. That time is greatly increased for learning to shoot the DAK well in a variety of conditions, for a variety of shots. For me I’d rather go with an eight shot revolver. Short, SA for accuracy and long, heavy pull for rapid shots. Shorter learning curve as there is no initial confusion about what the gun is doing when you thumb it.

        • avatarChainsawWieldingManiac says:

          It’s hard to train while pumped up on adrenaline after a for reals shooting of someone. That, to me, is the flaw of the “well, train!” argument. Real life is not like training.

        • avatarNR says:

          I’m pretty sure the secret service has figured out a way to train under stress.

        • avatarRobert Farago says:

          There’s training under stress and then there’s the stress of an attack on the President of the United States.

    • avatarJason says:

      The funniest thing about this is, Zimmerman used a Kel-Tec PF9, which has a partially cocked double action… just like the DAK.

      • avatarKWAL says:

        You’re right Jason. Bad specific example. As a matter of fact that exact scenario, as described by Zimmerman himself, is one in which trigger pull weight is low on the list of practice/training requirements. By the time it’s gotten that far you just need the gun to go bang.

  10. avatarJohn says:

    Hey..if you have a SIG with a DAK trigger and you don’t like it you can always convert it to a DA/SA with an exchange of a few parts.

  11. avatarCliff says:

    The real question is “Why?”. Are the old guns broken? It is nice to know that our government has soooooo much extra cash laying around that buying a few thousand new handguns is just kind on an extra treat for the staff. You know, some get a nice new solar energy company, some get a nice weekend in Vegas, they get nice new handguns courtesy of the moronic twits that merely pay taxes. If British troops could use the Brown Bess quite effectively for several wars, maybe these guys could use a fairly new handgun for more that a decade or so. The best gun I have was manufactured in 1943 and is a treat to use and the most accurate gun I have. JFC. You wonder why we have trillion dollar deficits? This crap adds up after a while….

  12. avatarsdog says:

    the factory can convert their da/sa guns in to DAK’s i think, so buying all new guns is unnecessary unless my info is incorrect.

    @ John
    i’m not sure if this is possible given that the frames of sigs bought in DAK configuration are different and have no decocker.

    • avatarJohn D says:

      Going from DAK to DA/SA is possible. The problem is in converting from DA/SA to DAK. Some of the DA/SA frames have more material in the frame in one particular location that prevents the DAK trigger bar from working in them. They would require some machining to remove the excess.

  13. avatarBrian says:

    In the past I have competed with DA/SA P226, currently I am competing with another DA/SA pistol. I have used the DAK and LEM, along with DA/SA in multiple mfg guns. The thing about DA pull not being as accurate is BS. In a competition a couple of months back, a string in one stage called for a single head shot from 15yards. My shot was smack in the middle of the head.
    Also, most Sigs don’t come with Short Reset Triggers (separate comment for that one reserved). It is very very unlikely that a shooter will accidentally fire off subsequent shots when standard reset is about a mile long.
    SIGs are great guns, though quality has been a bit down last few years. They are accurate and reliable. If going to WAR, I’d take an M11 over a a Glock any day.

    My 2 cents

  14. avatarKA-BAR-A-RANG says:

    A little off topic the real thing that bothers me is the outsourcing of weapons is pretty repulsive. I own a Sig and enjoy it but IMO a country should be self sustainable. Definitely not outsourcing firearms, I know everyone does. Almost all of our weapons in the Marines were foreign owned/made. I know alot of them are made state side to save in cost but I think we should keep the revenue state side.

    On a second note what kind of message does it send that our own President’s Secret Service uses a foreign made firearm to protect him.

    • avatarChainsawWieldingManiac says:

      They’re made in New Hampshire. M9s are made in Maryland. All those FN M4s are made in the USA, too. If Colt/Ruger/S&W want to get into the game, they need to bring their best. You want our boys going into battle with second-best stuff just because it wasn’t designed in the USA?

      • avatarKA-BAR-A-RANG says:

        I don’t think you comprehended my comment correctly. If you think that America firearms are inferior you are very misguided. NONE of those company’s are American owned therefore the revenue is not staying state side and cycling through our economy. We still use quite a few Colt made M4/16s and a newer contract is going to Remington.
        Majority of those weapon designs originated from the USA.
        P.S. M9′s are garbage

        • avatarJohn D says:

          The SIG P229, as with it’s siblings, can argueably be considered in with some of the best firearms in the world. What better to protect a President with?

        • avatarRobert Farago says:

          A Glock? M&P? H&K? I dunno about you but a striker-fired polymer pistol would be my first choice.

        • avatarJohn D says:

          Walther P99′s, PPQ’s too!

    • avatarHal says:

      The foreign VS domestic debate is largely subjective and sentimental. I’m the first one to admit that I love my HK45 LEM and my SCAR 17, both foreign guns (albeit made in the USA). As such, still being subjective here, guns designed by domestically owned companies just seem to be lagging behind. Cue the 1812 Overture… because I know the brand loyalists are about to string me up as a heretic, but that’s just the way it seems. Sure… we can manufacture a 1911 or AR15/AR10 variant with the best of them (my LMT 308 is the finest weapon I own) but where were our new designs when the SCAR competition went down? I know I know I know there were American submissions… but they didn’t cut it. The Masada was really promising but then they sold the rights to Freedom Group? The XD is made in Croatia? WTF…

      STILL being subjective here… but FN, HK, Glock and SIG are kind of beating the pants off of our companies. This excludes ARs and 1911s which are our own brand of awesomeness but those are still old designs. I think they’re both great but we just can’t keep slapping pistons on M4s and prolonging the 1911 while patting ourselves on the back. My SCAR 17 is eight pounds and recoils like a 6.8 SPC. Hell, isn’t FN about to manufacture our own M4 Carbine for the Army now? That says a lot.

      I’m not trashing our firearms industry… we have a ton of talented companies out there doing and making great things. I just want there to be an American company who leads the world in modern, cutting edge, high quality, bomb proof, meticulously engineered firearm design. Maybe we have one… but I’m not seeing it.

  15. avatarmp says:

    Is the only difference between DAK and DAO then the 2 reset points? or is it also “partially cocked ” like a striker fired pistol?

  16. avatarmp says:

    exactly like a snub nosed revolver with a bobbed hammer. long heavy DA pull, not “partially cocked ” like a glock etc..

  17. avatarfrankgon4 says:

    Obligatory Joke: You would think the Secret Service would be more Secret about being Serviced.
    These guys must the the same guys that were protecting Pres. Bush when he was in the Middle East and that guy threw a shoe at the President. Realized he missed, took off his other shoe and took another throw. Where was the Security guard to jump in front of the President and take the shoe to the chest? They were probably all hung over.
    My Sig P239 in 357SIG / .40 is a very accurate gun.

  18. avatarStickShift says:

    So…who else is excited about surplus DA/SA .357 P229s?

    • avatarM & M says:

      Don’t hold your breath on surplus guns…

      41 CFR 102-36.375 – May we dispose of excess firearms?

      CFR
      Updates
      prev | next
      § 102-36.375
      May we dispose of excess firearms?
      Yes, unless you have specific statutory authority to do otherwise, excess firearms may be transferred only to those Federal agencies authorized to acquire firearms for official use. GSA may donate certain classes of surplus firearms to State and local government activities whose primary function is the enforcement of applicable federal, state, and/or local laws and whose compensated law enforcement officers have the authority to apprehend and arrest. Firearms not transferred or donated must be destroyed and sold as scrap. For additional guidance on the disposition of firearms refer to part 101-42 of this title.

  19. avatarSWATman says:

    All triggers systems are a compromise in some way. I don’t think one type of trigger is ideal for everybody.

  20. avatarDave says:

    SS joke comment: Secret service got in trouble for wanting Double-Action-Only with their Single-Action salary.

  21. avatarTod says:

    Well the problem is, if you have a DAK and DON’T carry one in the chamber (as most do not) Then your first shot is going to be a hair trigger anyway because you’re going to have to put a bullet in the chamber which will pull the hammer back. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose of have the same pull each time? Well maybe not for the Secret Service as they probably DO carry one in the chamber so all of there pulls will be the same. So If your the average everyday CCW permit holder and you need to use your firearm I would get the DA/SA. Reason being is if you ever needed it it would probably look something like this: Guy comes into the store with a gun, you pull your gun out, put one in the chamber and Ta-Da every round you fire will be the same pull. Having a DAK for the common CCW guy would only help if you carried one in the chamber. Otherwise if you really wanted the same feeling when you squeeze the trigger you would have to pull your gun out, load one into the chamber then press the trigger release. So unless you want to do all that in an emergency OR carry one in the chamber (which most don’t. I think its dumb and unsafe) then got with the DA/SA

    • avatarDan says:

      Tod,

      Just because you “think” that it’s unsafe to carry a firearm with a round in the chamber, doesn’t mean that “most” people do it. I know a substantial amount of people who carry, and out of them, only one does not load one in the chamber. What’s the point of having an empty fire extinguisher when you need to put out a fire?

  22. avatarJusticeForTravyon says:

    If GZ didn’t have one in a chamber Travyon would be still around

  23. avatarCrystal Nicole says:

    I’m a 36 year old lady living in eastern Tennessee worried about a group of Secret Service agents with an clearance that has somehow enable them to get away with bringing me down by using brutal abuse with words, lies, deceit, and special weapons capability to stun and electrify my small petite frame. It’s unhealthy to everyone in the small close knit group that is suffering with me. I know that a previous lover had a lot of influence with the agent that has tracked my literally my whole life. I need legal advice. And probably and attorney because calling headquarters in Washington hasn’t accomplished much at this point. I need to call my capital and find legal representation. Now I need advice please because I’m depressed, not guilty of crime punishable by law from these perpetrating agents and I’m in desperate need of relief and justice.

  24. Debate seems endless about the best type of trigger on a semiauto. Years ago I went to the local gun range with a Gold Cup .45 and a SIG P229 in .357 SIG. I fired ten rounds through the GC with its classic single-action trigger to blow the black out of a pistol target at 20 feet. Immediately after that I fired the SIG, first shot double action, the rest single action, to do the same to another target in about the same amount of time.What’s in a trigger? It seems to me that a shooter who likes to shoot can adapt well enough to different trigger actions in a semiauto. If you’re really looking for the very best combination of speed and accuracy, try a double-action revolver.

  25. avatarBig Sig says:

    It all comes down to muscle memory.
    Once you get used to the pull of the trigger, you shouldn’t have any reservations about having a round in the chamber when carrying.
    I am extremely satisfied with my P229 DAK. (Over 14,000 rounds and counting)!

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