By Jeremy S. (not ours):
I know, striker-fired is the future (like gender-less bathrooms and free college), and hammer-fired guns like my personal favorite, the Beretta 92, are relics of an ancient past. It is just a matter of time until all of those antiquated guns with those pesky external hammers take their place alongside pagers and Palm Pilots in the dustbin of history, right? I sure hope not, let me explain why . . .
I fully recognize the benefits of the modern striker-fired pistol; namely, consistency of trigger pull and simplicity of operation. Additionally, this is in no way meant to try to persuade people not to use striker-fired pistols. This is simply my attempt to explain why I “cling bitterly” (where have I heard those words before?) to the more classic hammer-fired designs, and to make clear that there are practical reasons why I do so beyond my natural abhorrence for change.
First, I believe that DA/SA pistols with external hammers are inherently safer. I know that guns don’t shoot by themselves—if they did I would be under constant attack in my own house. But it’s impossible to deny that it’s more likely to unintentionally pull a five pound trigger than a 10-12 pound trigger. Though I majored in liberal arts, I’m sure there is some law of science governing that principle.
As all of the “operators” are currently shouting at the screen, “My trigger finger is my safety!” True, if you don’t put your finger on the trigger, it can’t fire. In a perfect world that’s very easy. But, as the recent case with the NYPD cop who inadvertently shot a man in a darkened hallway attests, mistakes can happen in the real world; even for those who have professional training.
Second, re-holstering is a much safer affair for DA/SA pistols with external hammers. In addition to the heavier trigger pull of a de-cocked pistol decreasing the likelihood of mistakenly snagging the trigger during insertion in the holster, the ability to place your thumb on the hammer provides a second line of defense against unintentionally perforating your lower extremities.
For those who appendix carry that’s especially significant considering the extremities in question are of great importance to most men; not to mention the proximity to the femoral artery, too. If you don’t believe me, just go to your Google machine and search for Larry Vickers’ ban on appendix carry in his classes. In his comments on the matter, the highly respected firearms guru specifically referenced the safety issues endemic to appendix carry when you “add in a pistol like a Glock or an M&P.” Hmmm. What do those pistols have in common?
Lastly, there’s just something about shooting a hammer-fired pistol that feels right. I think of it like driving a stick shift. Yes, an automatic is easier to learn, is more conducive to texting while driving (not that I have ever done or condone that), and saves you from those embarrassing stalls. But there is something missing; the relationship with the car is non-existent.
Or for the carnivores among us, compare it to the difference between a propane grill and the glorious aroma and flavor of charcoal. It requires a little more work, some extra time and practice, but the end result is gastronomical greatness. For me, mastering the DA pull of the Beretta 92 was much the same, it took a little bit of time but was certainly not an insurmountable obstacle and the end result was worth the struggle. Every shooter should be intimately familiar with his or her firearm so practice should not be shied away from in any case, no matter the firearm in question.
For all of the reasons, I’m a hammer kind of guy and the truth is, I’m in some great company. Think of all those who preferred the hammer; M.C., Thor, Jesus (a bit of a stretch, but he was a carpenter, right?). How can you go wrong with company like that? Though I admit there are some fantastic striker-fired pistols on the market that are accurate, reliable, and affordable, I hope that gun companies don’t stop developing new hammer-fired pistol technology. Unfortunately, the future doesn’t look great based on current market trends. Nevertheless, in my house it will always be hammer time.