The Truth About Pistol De-Cockers

De-cockers, decockers, decock

by Frank Sharpe

There are a number of operating systems common to modern pistols, and we still see most on the range regularly. However, 85 percent of the guns students show up with fall into the polymer, striker-fired category. The last 15 percent feature other operating systems. These include 1911-style guns, a few other rarer designs, the occasional revolver and those we refer to as “de-cocker” systems.

De-cocker style guns were common during the 70’s, 80’s, and 90’s. S&W, SIG, H&K, Walther and Ruger (among others) produced vast quantities. With the adaptation of the Beretta 92 by the US Military in 1980, hundreds of thousands of decocker-equipped firearms have been produced for military, police and non-LEO civilian consumers.

De-cocker equipped pistols (generally) have an exposed hammer. Here’s how they work . . .

– The gun is carried with the hammer down. When drawn, the trigger is found in its most forward position, and requires a long, heavy press as it mechanically cocks the hammer for the first shot.

Beretta 92F, hammer down, trigger forward.

Beretta 92F, hammer cocked, trigger in secondary (rearward) position.


– After the first shot, the slide will cycle and automatically cock the hammer for the next shot, resulting in a shorter, lighter second trigger press. With the first shot, the operator manually cocks the hammer by pressing the trigger, for the following shots, the slide function re-cocks the hammer.

– When firing is complete, the pistol needs to be “de-cocked” in order to render it relatively safe before holstering. To accomplish that, most are equipped with either a lever or button which allows for the hammer to be lowered safely on a loaded chamber.

Generally, de-cockers come in two flavors: Single-Stage and Two-Stage.

Single Stage de-cockers work by depressing a lever or button. As the mechanism is spring-loaded, no other actions are required.

Beretta 92F de-cocked.

Two Stage de-cockers are usually a lever (not a button). They require an initial press downward to de-cock. Then the user must manually return the lever to its starting position, to re-enable the firing mechanism. On most designs, leaving  the lever engaged results in a dead (i.e., non-functional) trigger.

De-cocking lever is down, requiring manual movement up to re-enable the pistol. In this state, the trigger is dead. On the Beretta, the de-cocking lever doubles as a manual safety.

As every police department in the nation, the vast majority of our students and now the US military have figured out, de-cocker style operating systems suck. They offer no tangible safety benefit. In fact, they create needless safety and training issues.

Once we explain the ins-and-outs of de-cockers to students, we often field two sarcastic questions: Who came up with this?  Why would they think this is a good idea? Here’s what I’ve discovered . . .

Beretta 92F, hammer down, trigger forward.

The Polish wz. 35 Vis — also known as the Radom — seems to be the first de-cocker equipped pistol. Designed by Piotr Wilniewczyc and Jan Skrzypiński, introduced in 1931/32, the 1911-style pistol chambered in 9mm had a decocker lever on the slide (reminiscent of the Beretta 92F). It also sported a manual safety.

My best guess for the newfangled “safety” system: Wilniewczyc and Skrzypiński had patent issues to consider . . .

Browning was working on the Hi Power for FN (Fabrique Nationale) in the early 20’s. He’d sold the patent rights on the 1911 to Colt, and they weren’t due to expire till 1928. He received a patent for the Hi Power in 1923. The Hi Power was the work-around for the 1911 patents which he no longer owned.

Both the 1911 and Hi Power use the single action/double action, “cocked and locked” style mechanism; they were quickly becoming the most popular auto-loading pistols of the day. In 1931, when the Radom appeared, the 1911 patents had expired, but the Hi Power patents were still in place.

Manufacturers needed something marketable that resembled the Hi-Power’s operating system, yet didn’t invite lawsuits. Thus, the idea of “first press cocks the hammer, slide does the rest” was born.

We know after the Polish Army adopted the Radom, FN assisted them with establishing a factory to produce it. Ergo, no patent issues. In the end, the de-cocker’s history is academic. These odd creatures exist. They will remain with us. We need to know how to run them!

With two different trigger positions and two different trigger weights, de-cocker equipped pistols require training and practice to master. Whether you own one or not, whether you find de-cockers a PITA or a boon to your ballistics, a true “operator” will possess the necessary skills to run the gun. ‘Cause you never know . . .

This post was originally published at Fortress Defense Consultants


  1. avatar TexPat says:

    We’re personal injuries lawsuits a serious concern in the 1920’s Europe?

    1. avatar McBell says:

      As far as I know, they weren’t much of a concern to anyone in the world until the 70s-80s-90s. Back in the day you were responsible for yourself.

  2. avatar JeffR says:

    I don’t think my CZs “suck,” and I did not find them that difficult to master. The first trigger pull takes a little time to get used to if you are more familiar with striker-fired pistols, but it isn’t that hard.

    1. avatar Timothy says:

      I grew up shooting my father’s Beretta 92 and then shot one in the military. They’re what I know. I too have moved on to CZs. In fact, I have a Canik C100 at Cajun Gun Works now that I’ll use as my EDC when they finish with it. They’re only tough to master if you have excluded your gun use to plastic wunders. Similar to the first time I shot a semi auto shotgun and couldn’t figure out how to pump it after I missed a clay.

      In truth, anyone who can operate a 1911 can operate a DA/SA with a safety. The advantage is, if you have a hard primer the DA/SA doesn’t require you to change your grip to reset the hammer and try again.

      1. avatar NineShooter says:

        “Can operate” is not the same as “can operate WELL”.

        Experience as an instructor for the M9 as well as extensive personal experience (I owned two 92-F models) indicates:

        – If you are “good” with a DA/SA auto, you’ll be great with darn near anything else (and the same level of dedication/practice).

        – If you are already “great” with the DA/SA, you’ll be absolutely SUPERB with the other types (again, with the same practice).

        – If you’re already superb with a DA/SA….wait, never mind. NO ONE is that good with a DA/SA (fired DA-first-shot, the way it was intended to be used). Check the USPSA/IDPA results, see how many DA/SA pistols (again, fired in that manner, not a CZ starting from cocked-and-locked) finish at/near the top of the competitions where they run head-to-head with striker guns and other competing designs.

        I’ll save you the time — almost none.

        And the “hard primer” crap is usually just that — crap. A failure to fire on the first shot is statistically not usually going to be a hard primer, it’s going to be a failure to fully chamber/lock or other shooter-induced problem. Wasting time pulling the trigger on a round that is not likely to fire is not solving your problem that the pistol was pulled to solve. A tap/rack drill does not change the shooting grip, and it gets rid of a potential dud round (far more likely than a “hard primer”).

        1. avatar Tim says:

          People choose other guns for competition, well, because it is competition… different tools for different jobs.

          TDA guns are designed to be safer carry guns. It all comes down to the mission.

        2. avatar Mikial says:

          Actually, I’ve had bad primers on training ammo, and the ability of my Jericho to hit that primer again on a subsequent trigger pull has been a definite time saver and advantage.

        3. avatar Anonymous says:

          And the “hard primer” crap is usually just that — crap.

          I would tend to agree in that having a bad primer is going to be pretty much non-existent.

          If you are already “great” with the DA/SA, you’ll be absolutely SUPERB with the other types (again, with the same practice).

          This is about as much crap as the primer crap above. Plenty of competition shooters use a CZ or 1911 based design and they are great. Changing to a striker fired “cocked and unlocked” design like the glock, isn’t going to magically improve your aim and abilities.

          Look at this competition (CZ based copy) DA/SA pistol:

          Get real man.

    2. avatar Kevin says:

      Absolutely love my CZs, Got 3; a 75B SA, a P01, and a PCR that is my EDC. The last two are de-cocker models that I can bring into battery just as quickly as a tupperware gun, but it is more accurate, has less perceived recoil, and is less ammo sensitive than most striker fired pistols. In addition to that, the grip fits my hand like it was made for it.

      1. avatar Tim says:

        I don’t get the hate for decockers… Do people really not understand the point behind it?

        “It really is this simple — one trigger pull to keep from shooting yourself or the other guy by mistake, and another trigger pull optimized to intentionally shoot the other guy with.” — GJM,

        1. avatar Andrew Lewis says:

          Is there a reason the hammer can’t be cocked manually for the first shot? Provided of course the first shot was planned.

        2. avatar Mikial says:

          All true, but you can simply cock the hammer manually. My wife loves her Beretta 92, and really won;t carry anything else. She is very proficient at drawing and cocking the hammer for the first shot rather than making the long DA pull. It’s all about training and practice.

    3. avatar Booterman says:


    4. avatar Shawn Graber says:

      Agreed, I don’t find my CZ P07 to lack anything either. How could I comfortably call myself a CZ fanboy otherwise? 😀

      As I read the article, where the author claims that decocker levers have to be thumbed downward to activate and then thumbed back upwards to render the pistol active again, I thought to myself “Whoa, that sounds unnecessarily complicated.” The CZ decocker lets you thumb it to drop the hammer back into DA, and that’s it. The lever comes back up on its own (with the assist of a spring, I think?) and does not stay down in an “inoperable/safe” mode.

      I have no dog in this fight; decockers aren’t the best thing created for a gun, but they’re far from the worst. Bullet buttons, magazine disconnect safeties, revolvers that won’t let the cylinder swing out… give me a decocker over those any day. 🙂

  3. avatar Rincoln says:

    92FS, CZ75-SP01, P99AS

    Will never get rid of any of them

  4. avatar strych9 says:

    My Jericho has a decocker/safety lever that doesn’t bother me in the least.

    What are the safety issues with such a system? What major training issues arise from it?

    1. avatar Noishkel says:

      Personally I ended up not really caring for the safety on my own Jericho. Well, .40 Baby Eagle more accurately. But ultimately I found that my own thumbs made it hard for me to work them easily. Just a bit too short I suppose.

    2. I have a KSN Golan, Israeli Police trade in. It is kind of a CZ ‘copy’, complete with de-cocker. It is one of my FAVORITE pistols, and the grip feels like it was made for my hand.

      1. avatar Mikial says:

        Amen to that. I love mine.

    3. avatar Mikial says:

      Agreed. I love my old Israeli police trade-in Jericho that is marked IMI rather than IWI. Great gun!

  5. avatar Caitlyn in malibu says:

    Glock leg. A decocked p226, holstered with thumb on hammer seems safer than a glock.

    1. avatar Curtis in IL says:

      Is “Glock leg” different from “1911 leg?”

      Fact is, you have the four rules, and you have training. If your training is insufficient such that cannot consistently draw without simultaneously violating two of the four rules, you’re liable to perforate yourself.

      When it comes to defensive firearms, I prefer simplicity and no extra levers or buttons. But that’s just me. Shoot what you want. Training and practice will be required to prevent perforated legs, regardless of platform.

      1. avatar Nick says:

        Depends on the model, but not all decocker equipped pistols require extra steps or anything to get wrong during a DGU. The Sig P226/227 for example use a SA/DA trigger with a decocker lever. Using the decocker takes the trigger from the light 4lb to a stiffer 9lb. This serves as a passive safety, but if the need arises, drawing and firing are no different than a Glock, just draw, aim, and squeeze the trigger. The first pull will be stiffer, but thatwon’t matter much in a fight for your life scenario, and it’s only heavy on the first shot.

        Others, like on the Taurus 24/7 are combined with the manual safety. It has three positions: fire, safe, and decocker (which is momentary). It’s a striker fired SA/DA. Rack the slide, raise the safety to safe, then push just a little higher and you’ll hear the decocker activate. Let go and it drops back to safe. When you’re ready to fire it has no extra steps compared to any other pistol with a manual safety.

        I just don’t see the hate. It’s a lot better than a 1911 where you have to draw the hammer back before firing, or a Glock that’s always at a 5lb trigger without any manual safety.

        1. avatar J says:

          The vast majority of people carrying glocks have carried them for decades without issue.

          Glock leg is in large part an urban legend, like “HK hates civilians”.

        2. avatar Marco says:

          Why have light trigger pulls at all then for guns that are meant for self defense? If the first trigger pull doesn’t matter in terms of stiffness/difficulty, why does the second? Third? Tenth?

          I appreciate being ready to fire immediately, but I don’t understand this entire “long trigger pull is safety” argument.

          Either you’re ready to shoot or not. Either something needs shooting or it doesn’t.

          If it does, I want it to be as easy and accurately perforated as possible.

          If it doesn’t deserve perforation, then I shouldn’t be pointing my gun at it, I shouldn’t have my finger on the trigger, and the fact that I’m pulling the trigger a bit when I don’t mean to fire is a terrible habit to train.

      2. avatar Vinny says:

        “Glock leg”,,, this is why appendix carry. Oh the irony.

  6. avatar Christopher says:

    I like it, first shot requires commitment and follow ups are simple. my Beretta 8045 the decocker has been worked till it is as easy as a normal manual safety. plus it rolls the firering mechanism out of line so no chance of it firing while decocking.

    1. avatar Cliff H says:

      As I recall from the time Col. Cooper referred to these types of pistols as “Crunch and ticklers.” You had to CRUNCH the trigger back for the first shot and be really careful with the next. The result was, in his opinion, that the first shot almost always missed and the second was often a negligent discharge.

      1. avatar Jim B says:

        I take what the Fake Colonel Cooper says with the proverbial grain of salt. The guy always had strong opinions and spread misinformation that in the pre-internet age could not be easily challenged such as his claim that the 1911 was designed to be carried cock and locked. The designer, a guy named John Browning, did not intend that. In fact Mr. Browning’s personal 1911 doesn’t even have a thumb safety. The thumb safety was put on the at the behest of the US Cavalry so that the weapon could be made safe one handed after an engagement. It was never intended to be carried that way at all times.

        Jeff Cooper, whose first name wasn’t Jeff, signed all his articles Col. Jeff Cooper. He never made the rank of full Colonel but rather Lt. Colonel (telephone colonel) before he was drummed out. Even if he had made the rank he wasn’t entitled to use it since he did not retire but was drummed out. Besides that the DoD frowns upon the use of military rank for commercial purposes which Guns & Ammo certainly was unless it is clearly stated that the person is retired.

        JER (Joint Ethics Regulations), para. 2-304:
        “Use of Military Title by Retirees or Reserves. Retired military members and members of Reserve Components, not on active duty, may use military titles in connection with commercial enterprises, provided they clearly indicate their retired or inactive Reserve status.”

        Cooper never did this of course because he wasn’t a colonel and he wasn’t retired military. He ranks in my book with Fake Indian Elizabeth Warren. I don’t listen to bombastic phonies. There are some good DA/SA handguns out there and people that can use them despite what Cooper had to say.

      2. avatar Clark Kent says:

        Negligent discharges are always the fault of the OPERATOR, not the OBJECT. Safety with any firearm resides between the ears, not due to any ‘safety’ system or the lack thereof.

        1. avatar Scoutino says:

          True. Some objects just make ND so much easier to happen.

      3. avatar J says:

        Cooper also came up with stupid ideas like the scout rifle. Take alot of what he said with a decent dose of salt.

      4. avatar Warlocc says:

        Right, because the gun is responsible and not the user, is that what you’re saying?

  7. avatar Erich says:

    The Viz is far from the first. The Walther PP was introduced in 1929 with a safety/decocker.
    And to each his own. I prefer DA/SA autos to any of the alternatives, and they seem to be making a comeback.

    1. avatar tmm says:

      Right, I was thinking of the PP/PPK too. And DA triggers have been around a while on revolvers. The truth is, heavier trigger pulls are only a big deal if you agonize over them. If you just pull, and keep your aim through the pull, you’re good. The disdain for the DA/SA is obviously not shared by everyone 🙂

      1. avatar NineShooter says:

        “The disdain for the DA/SA is obviously not shared by everyone ”

        You’re right. Just the good shooters, effective shooters, and most instructors.

        1. avatar Mikial says:

          Gee, I guess all my years in Iraq and Afghanistan make me one of those other guys who aren’t “good shooters.” Silly me, and here I thought I knew what I was doing.

    2. avatar Scoutino says:

      I agree. Another thing showing that the author doesn’t know what he talks about. Double action revolver – like trigger with added benefit of automatic resetting to single action for following shots is great idea.
      Btw. the decocker lever which stays down and has to be manually lifted is called safety.

  8. avatar DrVino says:

    The Polish wz. 35 ViS was made IN Radom. Calling it a “Radom” is like calling a Buick a “Detroit”. The gun guys in Poland I grew up with called it a “ViS”. So it’s a ViS – not “Vis”, but “ViS” (a play on the Latin word for “strength” (?) and the initials of the designers with the “i” being the Poilish word for “and”. Think of it along the lines of “S & W”)

    1. avatar neiowa says:

      Your ship sail 80 years or so ago.

      1. avatar CalGunsMD says:


        It’s called the ViS. Just because you or people around you call it something else does not make you or them right.

        If someone were to make your argument with regards to the Second Amendment, you’d have your panties in a bunch. So understand that just because somebody’s pointing out something it’s not that they’re being unnecessarily pedantic.

        Only people who have a rudimentary understanding call it a Radom. They’re like the people who call all semiauto pistols a Glock.

  9. avatar Geoff says:

    My Taurus 24/7 Pro LS DS 9mm. has a decocker. That what the DS means.
    Fire. Safe. Decock. And returns to Safe by itself.

    1. avatar former water walker says:

      You DO realize THAT Taurus was on the recall list Geoff? Not ragging on Taurus-I have 2 …

      1. avatar Geoff says:

        I heard about it, but AFAIK, mine was not on the list. I couldn’t find it. All is says it PT24/7 including the Pro. Does not list all the different models.
        Mine was made in Dec. 2010 according to the S/N.
        I filled out the online registration with Taurus, so I would think if it was one the affected pistols, they would have contacted me. Or Not.
        Doesn’t matter, it works fine. The only problem I’ve had with it is a chipped extractor, twice, but it doesn’t affect it.
        And if I sent it in I would be without a carry gun and can’t afford to buy a replacement. $200 for it, or “Enhanced Warranty”. I already voided the lifetime warranty by stripping the slide and polishing it.
        I don’t even remember what the problem was supposed to be with them.
        When or if it ever breaks, then I’ll consider buying something. But no short barrels, full size, 5″ or longer. Target shooting, you know.

  10. avatar Herp McDerp says:

    > de-cocker style operating systems suck. They offer no tangible safety benefit. In fact, they create needless safety and training issues.

    Bullshit. I would ask our author, Frank, to get out of his tactical echo chamber.

    Decocking safeties (like on the 92-series and the Walther PP/PPK) are whatever, they’re not my cup of tea but I see why some people like them. I simply use them to decock the hammer then flick them back off for a traditional DA/SA carry. Dedicated decock levers like the Sig Sauer P22x series and the CZ D-series pistols are my choice for carry guns. It’s a very safe system for police duty and concealed carry, because they offer a safeguard against negligent discharges without the ergonomic and training hamperings of a manual safety. The transition to single-action is very easy after a few range sessions of practice and a couple hundred rounds. It’s truly not that hard, just learn to lock your firing grip and pull the trigger without disturbing the sight alignment- something you should be doing anyway with any pistol platform.

    Plus, the ability to “ride the hammer” when reholstering is very valuable to prevent negligent discharges if something is caught on your trigger.

    1. avatar Booterman says:


    2. avatar Jeep1967 says:

      I like the decocking safeties. I always carry decocked with safety off so it is just like your normal DA/SA. But I like the option to engage the safety when re-holstering (and then flicking it off after safely holstered). Carrying in this manner virtually eliminates stress induced, safety related mistakes.

  11. avatar UpinVT says:

    Cool story

  12. avatar GC says:

    This article is an embarrassment as Herp explained. Seems to cater to Glock leg victims or those who read about handguns online – Call of Duty players? – but don’t know how to operate them.

    1. avatar Ed says:

      Agreed. I’ve been shooting and carrying a Beretta 96 for 15 years and I fail to see how it is unsafe in design.

    2. avatar AZgunner says:

      Agreed. I’m personally a devotee of striker fired pistols, but DA/SA pistols are perfectly fine and would be my second choice. They are a world of improvement over single action only/manual safety styles. This article is not only pure opinion, but a poorly informed and backed opinion.

  13. avatar Geoff PR says:

    The next to bottom picture is the Polish wz. 35, you have it labeled “Beretta 92F, hammer down, trigger forward.”

    Other than that, neat history lesson…

  14. avatar Scott says:

    My FNX .45 has a lever decocker built into the safety lever. I’ve never had any issues. I’d say it makes the gun safer because you don’t have to pull the trigger and then put the hammer down with your thumb when you want it decocked.

    I have two open carry holsters and I carry with the hammer cocked and locked because I have a strap over the firing pin to ensure it doesn’t go off on the off chance of a mechanical failure. I decock the gun every time I unholster it for safety. It’s convenient and easy to use.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      I got my daughter one of these. Now true, I’ve only had a chance to dry fire it, but I much preferred the DA mode to the SA mode. The SA was awfully squishy, and didn’t seem to have a clean break point like my 1911 or SAAs. Then again, my EDC is a Kahr, so I am used to DA triggers. She loves her gun, says she shoots it better than her 9 mm compact pistol.

      1. avatar Scott says:

        “I got my daughter [an FNX .45]”

        Goddam, I wish I had a father like you. Is she single? Having a father-in-law like you would be the next best thing. 😛

  15. avatar Jim B says:

    “Both the 1911 and Hi Power use the single action/double action…”

    I have both a 1911 and a Hi Power and neither are double action. I think the authors theory that de-cockers were developed to get around patents is absurd. They were developed as a safe way to lower the hammer on a live round. It is as simple as that.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      My 1911s and Hi-Power had neither a double action mode nor a decocker, action of either is single action with safety. WTF is this talking about?

      1. avatar Scoutino says:

        Hard to hear it through his pants as he talks out of his ass.

  16. avatar Dave in SoCal says:

    Earlier this year, added a decocker kit to my M9 to convert the manual safety to a 92G springloaded decocker. Love it!

    And I agree with JeffR above that it doesn’t take long to get used to that long trigger pull for the first shot, then a short one for subsequent ones.

  17. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

    “Both the 1911 and Hi Power use the single action/double action, ‘cocked and locked’ style mechanism…”

    which part of sao is da again?

    i do not ever want a longer initial pull. the da is there for second strike capability.

    i spazzed the first time i threw the safety off of a pa63- the hammer fell and i thought it was broken. they actually meant to do that. took me a while to trust it. interesting, cheap pistol, but the penis remover is dumb unless it doubles as a manual safety. obviously, lowering the hammer on a live round ain’t for everybody.

    if you can easily swap from de- cock to manual (some cz’s…) then this is a non- issue.

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      and now, two days later i’ve had a cz vz52 follow me home. this goofy thing is sao with a decocker! i won’t even mention the hammer and firing pin blocks; suffice it to say that when they’ve worn enough dropping the hammer with the decocker will fire a loaded round. neat!

  18. avatar Joel says:

    CZ’s…..the only pistols I shoot. I CCW a decocked P07, so I shoot the same system in competition. Even my safety models I manually decock. Wouldn’t trade them for anything.

  19. avatar DavidW says:

    I have a Bersa Firestorm .380 which has a de-cocker. Just got it and have not worked much with it.

    Any advice on safety would be greatly appreciated.

    1. avatar Mark N. says:

      If you are concerned about it, use the decocker and learn to use the DA/SA trigger. As others state, it isn’t very hard at all to do, and you can practice it dry fire, pulling once with hammer down, and then cocking the hammer for the SA portion of the stroke.

  20. avatar David Nicholas says:

    I think the author is confusing “Double-Action” and “Single-action” triggers, and guns equipped with de-cockers.
    Not all DA trigger systems have decockers.
    I agree with most comments, a double-action trigger gives hammer-fired pistols an added level of safety. The first shot is going to be long and heavier, but will prevent an unintentional discharge if you pull your gun during a stressful situation. I much prefer it to using a manual safety, which can easily be forgotten.

    1. avatar Scott says:

      “I much prefer it to using a manual safety, which can easily be forgotten.”

      ^THIS SO MUCH! I forgot to mention on my previous post that I never carry with the safety on. Between the DA trigger pull and having proper holsters that cover the trigger and trigger guard, the safety becomes an unnecessary redundancy. I always carry hammer-down when concealed carrying.

    2. avatar LarryinTX says:

      My first semiauto was a Sig P229, after 30 years carrying revolvers, and I loved it *because* it used the same “safety” plan as a revolver, no safety on the gun except the DA pull, just like a revolver, then SA until decocked. Lovely gun for the transition. Now I carry a LC9, on which I removed the safety, completely useless complication on a DAO gun.

  21. avatar John Boch says:

    I’ve got de-cocking guns. In fact the Beretta 92 was my first gun back when I didn’t know poop from shinola.

    They are not my “go-to” guns today. That’s not to say they won’t work.


    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      When the original concept of a DA re volver was invented a century and a half ago, the idea of mastering the long heavy tri gger pull was never envisioned. DA for fast shooting at short range, SA for longer shots and where more precise aim is required. It wasn’t until a century later that the concept of training like Jerry Miculek so you can make 400 yard shots with a J-frame in DA with the pist ol held upside down and using your pinky finger on the trigger became a thing. (OK, that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but…)

      Now a decent DA revodlver isn’t that hard to master at self defense ranges of <15 yards. DA/SA semi-autos tend to have a heavier and more inconsistent pull, (not sure why, the rev olver has to do the extra work of rotating the cylinder with that trig ger stroke) but the concept is the same. The vast majority of self defense shootings happen well under 15 yards. But if you find yourself needing to take a well aimed shot at 40 yards, the light crisp single action pull is just a thumb stroke away. Striker pist ols simply don't offer this advantage. If you find yourself in a self defense situation where you need to adjust from the DA first shot to the SA for subsequent ones, you will either be in can't miss territory or the fact that your first shot missed when you pull a full mag dump won't be all that significant.

      I will say that I think the striker tri ggers are getting better. I pulled one on a Ru ger LC9s a couple weeks ago and I think it was the first striker trig ger I think I could learn to live with. I still prefer options though.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        “DA/SA semi-autos tend to have a heavier and more inconsistent pull, (not sure why, the rev olver has to do the extra work of rotating the cylinder with that trig ger stroke”

        I *think* that’s because of the magazine well requiring linkage between the trigger and the sear which the revolver does not require, like the action has to be telegraphed instead of direct.

    2. avatar Doc Samson says:

      It wasn’t my first (I don’t want to talk about it!) but it was close to it and it’s been my “best”. I’ve put a crap ton of rounds through it and it is still as accurate as ever! And putting in a Wolff spring has made the DA relatively light…

      1. avatar NineShooter says:

        I think the above accounts for much of the DA/SA pistols’ popularity.

        Surplus cop DA/SA pistols are many shooters’ first high-quality, reliable pistol, and that leaves an angelic-like impression on many folks which is largely undeserved. If they’d have bought a M&P or Glock right out of the gate, they wouldn’t be singing the (highly limited) praises of this out-of-date design.

        And that applies to a lot of you 1911 shooters, too! Obviously not the “surplus cop pistol” part, but first quality pistol impressions, like first loves, can stay with a person and color their opinions — forever.

  22. avatar Dave Lewis says:

    I carried a couple of decocker Smiths – a Model 39 and then a 4006 – back in the day when they were pretty common law enforcement pistols. I didn’t find them particularly difficult to master and I remember when our range commands were “Decock, make safe and holster your weapon” after a course of fire. In those days lots of people were upset if they saw a pistol with the hammer back in a holster. In the late 90’s I spoke to the sheriff about letting me carry a 1911. I made the point that it had a thumb and grip safety and I’d carry it in a thumb break holster with leather between the hammer and frame. He was against it because condition 1 carry was with the hammer back and the public perception was that the pistol was cocked and dangerous. Several years later we elected a new sheriff who was a 1911 shooter and we were good to go.

  23. avatar mer says:

    FNP-9 is another one; push the lever down, hammer drops, lever pops back up (not act as a safety). First pull sucks, the rest not so bad. Not 1911 but that’s a hard standard to achieve.
    Different but again, train what you carry, no?

  24. avatar Al Bondigas says:

    Yup. Best handgun design ever: DA/SA, visible hammer, decocking lever. Why settle for anything less than the best?

    1. avatar Aaron says:


  25. avatar Darkman says:

    I have a p89 that I purchased in 92. Wouldn’t trade it for most of the junk around today. Solid firearm that never fails.

    1. avatar Robert Kramer says:

      I agree with you 100%, have p89, p90 and p94. Also like my Sig p226.

  26. avatar Ranger Rick says:

    I grew up shooting 1911’s, then used them on active duty till the M9 came on line. The M9 was fine and easy to use, just a damn big “horse pistol” for a small bullet. I bought one of the first Glock 17’s in the country, easy pistol to use, mushy trigger, definitely needs to be holstered with a trigger guard if loaded.

    After active duty my State Patrol job had me using a Glock 22, it was at that time that I put tge 1911’s away , too much incompatibility to go back and forth on for back up and off duty carry; spoit seconds count. My backup was a S&W 442 because of the DA only trigger and light weight.

    My fed job took me to SIG 228’s and then a 220 with a brief moment again with a Springfield Armory Professional 1911.

    Each one if these pistols sre fine weapons for duty and self defense carry if and big IF the user is trained how to operate them. I’ve seen M9 users out shoot Glock boys easily and Smith 1st Gen guys leave folks in their wake with mouths slack. Don’t even get me started on wheel gun guys who can get 12 off with a snub n mere seconds.

    It comes down to a reliable weapon and solid training more than anything else.

  27. avatar Xcom says:

    All this article said to me in summary, is the author doesn’t like safties or decocker and wants me to believe that using them is a safety hazard. The basic idea that the trigger is so hard to learn that us stupids in public shouldn’t even try and just buy a Glock.

    I started with a Beretta 92 and use PX4’s now. I go to the range 2 times a month and have easily mastered the trigger starting with hammer down. Doing mag dumps this way I easily keep all shots, including the first, on target from standard self defense distances. I also practice swiping the safety off during draws and it is just part of my motion.

    It’s called capitalism. If these trigger/decocker/ safety systems were as dumb as the author thinks, they wouldn’t sell. Considering companies like sig, Beretta, etc. are doing just fine, my guess is that the market doesn’t think like the author does.

    1. avatar Utah_rob says:

      Ha-ha! Article summary: “Decockers are hard to understand, and you’ll just shoot yourself in the leg anyway, so might as well do it with a Glock.”

  28. avatar jwm says:

    Specialization is for insects. You should be able to run to the fallen cop, grab whatever is in his holster and run it.

    If there is a common pistol type, revolver, semi auto plastic striker fired or all steel hammer fired, etc. and you aren’t comfortable with running it without a training period you’re doing it wrong.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Interesting attitude! There are also those who want the fallen cop’s pistol to be unusable or at least difficult for anyone else. I can see both arguments, at least until somebody records enough experiences to give a real basis for comparison. I mean, *I* would certainly never be planning to use a fallen cop’s gun against him, but that doesn’t mean no one would. I took a course once from an ex-cop who said he always carried a 1911 style with the chamber empty and the hammer down (Is that “Israeli carry”?) in the hope that if someone relieved him of his gun, that would give him a few seconds to get it back before he was shot with it, as opposed to a gun which only required pulling the trigger. To each his own.

      1. avatar jwm says:

        I’m not talking of using the cops gun against him. I’m talking of using the cops gun against whoever shot the cop and may still be shooting at people.

        You can change cop for terrorist, etc. My point is that POTG should not just know how to run the gun they own. To be truly rounded one must be comfortable, at a moments notice, with using whatever firearm is at hand.

  29. avatar Matt S says:

    Love my Sig’s with decocker. If you can’t handle them that’s your problem. Wouldn’t trade any of them for some plastic bullshit pistol.

    1. avatar Colt Magnum says:

      Agreed. I like my 1911, but my P228 is my go-to gun.

  30. avatar No one of consequence says:

    Well, someone not to get training from.

    In my experience most anyone who speaks in absolutes is ill-informed at best, especially when they’re emphatic.

    Decockers are like toilet seats. Some are nice, some are bad and some are outright disgusting. But in the end they’re all just machines and you can learn how to use them if you can overcome your built in prejudices.

    1. avatar Caitlyn in Malibu says:

      “In my experience most anyone who speaks in absolutes is ill-informed at best, especially when they’re emphatic.”


      1. avatar NineShooter says:

        “Most anyone” sounds like a near-absolute to me.

        Forgive me as I apply your rule to you.

    2. avatar shoeless joe says:

      …and who would want a toilet seat like a de-cocker?

      1. avatar DaveW says:

        A Transgender?

      2. avatar Gunr says:

        Have to insert a short story here,
        Recently purchased one of those toilets with a soft lowering seat, you just give it a “whoose” with your hand, and it takes about 5 seconds to lower its self.
        A couple of days later, I’m in the doctors office and I went in to the can to take a leak. When I finished, I gave the seat a good slam, forgetting that all seats are not created equal. That sucker made a bang you could here on the entire floor! When I came out, everybody in the waiting room was staring at me.

  31. avatar LJD says:

    This is verging on clickbait – and I clicked. While I carry a single action striker fired gun, I don’t carry aiwb. A hammer-fired gun with a deckocker offers an excellent safety feature for reholstering a gun pointed at one’s femoral.

    1. avatar NineShooter says:

      Until you forget to decock after use, and prior to holstering (which most instructors on serious training ranges have seen more than once).

      And I don’t recall the part of the safety rules that says “Don’t point it at anything you don’t want to destroy, unless it’s a DA/SA, then it’s totes cool to do so”.

  32. avatar Anonymous says:

    – When firing is complete, the pistol needs to be “de-cocked” in order to render it relatively safe before holstering. To accomplish that, most are equipped with either a lever or button which allows for the hammer to be lowered safely on a loaded chamber.

    Or, you can just put the safety on, keep your finger off the trigger, and put it in your holster. In fact, you never actually have to use the decocker. It really is an “extra.” If you want to render it safe without the decocker, you can eject the mag and rack the slide – just like you would a glock.

    As every police department in the nation, the vast majority of our students and now the US military have figured out, de-cocker style operating systems suck. They offer no tangible safety benefit. In fact, they create needless safety and training issues.

    Pretty broad comment. Again, IMO, the decocker is an extra. Yes, practice makes perfect and muscle memory, etc,etc. I’ve got some friends (one is a navy seal) and they love the Sig P226 and much prefer it over a glock (which doesn’t have a decocker). So – I don’t necessarily know this to be true. In all honesty, many police departments, etc, look for a cheap reliable gun (e.g. Glock) they aren’t known for looking for expensive reliable guns (e.g. Sig P226) And again, IMO, the glock is simplier than a hammer fired gun with bells and whistles like decockers. And simple costs less.

    Both the 1911 and Hi Power use the single action/double action, “cocked and locked” style mechanism; they were quickly becoming the most popular auto-loading pistols of the day.

    Both the 1911 and Hi Power are single action – not – double action. Absolutely nothing wrong with cocked and locked. Basically, striker fired plastic fantastics are cocked and locked as well – it’s just you have less control over them. You want them safe you have to pull the mag and eject the round. There is no means of releasing tension on the striker. There is a means of releasing tension on a DA/SA hammer fired gun with decocker or no decocker or SA. On can manually drop the trigger with their thumb but risk exists with that and slide can come back and smash your thumb and fingers into a bloody pulp. A decocker removes that risk. Point it in a safe direction, then decock. Or you don’t have to use it at all. You can do the same thing you do with any glock without a decocker. Drop the mag, eject the round. This is why a decocker is an “extra” in my opinion.

    With two different trigger positions and two different trigger weights, de-cocker equipped pistols require training and practice to master. Whether you own one or not, whether you find de-cockers a PITA or a boon to your ballistics, a true “operator” will possess the necessary skills to run the gun. ‘Cause you never know . . .

    Yep. A little more complicated doesn’t necessary equate to “sucking” as you stated above. Practice makes perfect.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      “Basically, striker fired plastic fantastics are cocked and locked as well”

      Except many of them, Glocks etc, are carried “cocked and unlocked”, since there is no safety. I have one, could never convince myself to carry it, and keep the chamber empty at home.

      1. avatar Anonymous says:

        Except many of them, Glocks etc, are carried “cocked and unlocked”, since there is no safety.

        Agreed! Cocked and unlocked is the way to describe them.

  33. avatar kap says:

    Have carried a cocked and locked 1911 since the service. Fast forward my Nephew said I should try the SIG as that is what he used in the service! tried it, liked i,t bought it in .40 cal. Transition to new platform was a cinch, jack round in chamber press lever down, holster, no safety! 1911 load one press safety up, Holster! keep nose pickers out of trigger and good to go,

  34. avatar Kendahl says:

    I’ve looked at DA/SA handguns in stores. Consistently, my objection to them is the heavy trigger pull in DA mode. Often, the trigger is such a long reach that I have to change my grip between DA and SA with the latter position correct and the former not. My conclusion is they don’t work well for people with small hands or a weak grip. Could I make do with a DA/SA gun? Yes, by treating it as an SA gun with the hammer down.

    1. avatar Anonymous says:

      Could I make do with a DA/SA gun? Yes, by treating it as an SA gun with the hammer down.

      If you keep it cocked with hammer back in SA mode – how is that any different from the regular operating of a Glock or other striker fired pistol?

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        He specified hammer down carry. He’s talking about drawing, thumb-cocking the hammer, and using it as SA.

        1. avatar Andrew Lewis says:

          That’s what I’d do. I love my 1911. Additionally if every trigger pull is identical muscle memory is easier to develop.

  35. avatar Anonymous says:


    The “Decocker” gives you more options. Okay?

    My DA/SA hammer fired gun with Decocker can do:

    –> Cocked and locked – chambered ready to fire, with safety on and needing to be flicked off prior to shooting with a SA trigger pull on first round and SA trigger pull on subsequent.
    –> DA on first round (Decocked!) – Chambered aand ready to fire, no safety on, DA trigger pull on first shot, SA trigger pull on subsequent.
    –> No safety on – chambered ready to fire, no safety on, SA trigger pull on first round and subsequent.

    A plastic fantastic glock or other polymer striker fired pistol can do:
    –> No safety on – chambered ready to fire, no safey on, SA trigger pull on all shots.

    I’ll stick with my feature full DA/SA pistol operated in the way I see fit. Thanks.

    1. avatar NineShooter says:

      Options means decisions under stress.

      Options mean potential confusion under stress.

      Options mean accidents (holstered cocked and unlocked? Seriously?).

      Simplicity in life-saving equipment = good.

      1. avatar Anonymous says:

        Options means decisions under stress. Options mean potential confusion under stress.

        Not if those options are already made before your pistol is stowed. There is no decision to make when you draw your gun and have a DA trigger pull on the first shot and SA thereafter. You just point and shoot just like a glock. If you train and your muscle memory is set up for flicking off a safety first, then that is fine too. You simply operate the pistol the way you practice and train to do so.

        Options mean accidents (holstered cocked and unlocked? Seriously?).

        Hello? This is the standard operation of a glock.

        Simplicity in life-saving equipment = good.

        DA on first round and SA after is pretty simple. If you train with “cocked and locked” then that’s pretty simple. If you carry “cocked and unlocked” (I.e. striker fired carry) then that’s pretty simple too.

        1. avatar NineShooter says:

          If you have three different ways you can carry your pistol, and if you exercise the option to do so on occasion, then you now have three different ways you need to train, three different expectations of what will happen after you draw (move safety off, light SA first shot; no safety movement needed, long/heavy DA first shot; or no safety movement needed, light SA first shot), which means multiple ways you can confuse yourself at a critical moment when you really don’t want to be confused, even momentarily.

          Sure, it’s easy to remember how your pistol is configured right after you’ve dropped it into your holster. But after you’ve worked a long shift, you’re tired, you’re in a minor stupor after a long drive home after dark, your mind is dwelling on a problem at work, and then suddenly you’re snapped back into the here-and-now by the sight of a person quickly approaching your blocked-in car at the stoplight; well, that’s really not the best time to start trying to remember “Which mode am I carrying in today?”.

          K.I.S.S. is a thing for a very good reason. Embrace it.

          Pick a mode, use that mode exclusively. And once you do that, there’s no reason to have the other modes available, unless you just like giving Murphy extra chances to screw with your life.

  36. avatar Mad Max says:

    If I were limited to only owning and carrying one gun, it would be a Sig P226.

    I’ll keep my DA/SA SRT trigger, thank you.

    1. avatar Matt Mann says:

      Same here- My P226R has yet to fail me at all, and the .22 caliber Xchange kit is good to go. I need to get a .357 caliber swap kit at some point in the future- 9mm, .22 and .357 SIG seem like good calibers to have around.

  37. avatar Aaron says:

    Couldn’t disagree more with this article.

  38. avatar adverse4 says:

    Decock/safety works fine on my pistol, but I still ride the hammer down when switching the lever from fire to safe/decock. Quick check for safety, work the hammer with finger outside the guard, no cock, safety is on. When ready to fire, flick safety off with thumb, pull trigger, goes bang, no hesitation, no sense of trigger pressure first round out. So far every time the Scot Terror alerts in the house I am up and rolling, pistol on fire, finger outside guard. Automatic reaction. After confirming no threat, conscious action to set pistol back to safe. I have had more than a little experience waking up at odd hours and bringing a firearm up and ready. Quietly. Civilian usage can vary. Best know your firearm before you need it. (Defense wise you are not precision shooting, pull the trigger not press it).

  39. avatar Militant Centrist says:

    Am I losing it or were there the following errors in this article:

    1. The photo of the wz. 35 Vis is captioned as “Beretta 92F, hammer down, trigger forward.”

    2. A repetitive passage here:
    “On most designs, leaving the lever engaged results in a dead (i.e., non-functional) trigger.

    De-cocking lever is down, requiring manual movement up to re-enable the pistol. In this state, the trigger is dead.”

    3. And the worst:
    “Both the 1911 and Hi Power use the single action/double action, “cocked and locked” style mechanism”

    No, the 1911 and Hi Power are “single action,” they are not DA/SA – unless this is just janky grammar saying that all of these designs can be carried cocked and locked.

  40. avatar Hank says:

    Striker fired pistols suck!!! See how easy it is to just make up shit and post it for clicks? … I guess it worked on me though… oh Weill… homo!!!

  41. avatar BradP says:

    I love opinion pieces. The comments afterwards make me feel warm and fuzzy.

    1. avatar adverse4 says:

      Some of them make me afraid, very afraid.

  42. avatar Elijah says:

    Why do decocker pistols suck? You never elaborated on that. With no rationale to back up your claim that they suck, I can simply claim that they do not suck.

    I like my CZ-75D PCR. It features a single stage decocking lever. I like having a hammer that I can put my thumb over while re-holstering, ensuring that even if something snags the trigger, the gun can’t discharge. And, similar to many striker fired pistols, there is no manual safety to prevent me from firing the weapon when I want to. The single action trigger pull doesn’t require much practice to master. So, the bulk of practice is spent mastering the double action trigger, which is not bad on even stock CZs.

    1. avatar LarryinTX says:

      Decades of (self) training left me with a revolver where I fired a couple shots (normally SA because it is FUN!) then let the hammer down by putting my thumb on the hammer and pulling the trigger. This left me with a live round under the hammer, which I could only access by pulling the trigger on 3 live rounds, then 2 spent rounds, before that live round showed up again (speaking, of course, of tense situation not allowing realigning cylinder). Think how happy my Sig DA/SA with decocker made me! Believe it or not, there is no reason for a DGU to include a mag dump of 17 rounds or whatever. If its hammer was as easy to thumb as my Python, it would have been perfect.

  43. avatar Pete Zaitcev says:

    I was wondering sometimes how safe the decockers are. They do make the hammer fall (in most cases).

    1. avatar adverse4 says:

      Ride the hammer as well. I pull the hammer full back and then rotate the switch. The third fail safe is not be pointed at anything/anybody you do not want to destroy. This should be practiced until it is well ingrained. I am left handed/left eyed with firearms, learned to live with right handed firearms from an early age, the “handiness” of safeties is not an issue with me.

    2. avatar Specialist38 says:

      The Walther decocker (PP, P-38) actually lock the firing pin in position as the safety/decocker iso engaged. Their firing pin is free-floating so there is no firing pin block unless the safety/decocker is engaged.

    3. avatar Bob H says:

      It depends on the design. Beretta pistols physically roll the firing pin away from the hammer when you de-cock, so mechanically there is no way for the de-cocking lever to function AND for the pistol to fire. I’ll admit the first time I dropped the hammer on a live round in my Beretta was spooky for a former 1911 guy! Other systems like Sig and H&K retard the hammers travel and don’t fully drop it onto the firing pin. Not to mention these designs have firing pin blocks that block the pin from moving toward the primer if somehow the de-cocker system failed.

      Im open to be educated but I personally have never heard of a ND induced by a de-cocking lever failing.

      1. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Sigs at least (dunno about others) also is like a revolver in that the gun will not fire unless the trigger is all the way to the rear. Try this on your toy by holding the loaded gun in your left hand, pointed in a safe direction, and then flicking your right trigger finger across the trigger until the hammer falls. The hammer and the trigger move forward at the same time, and the same function that prevents the gun from discharging if the hammer is struck keeps the hammer from hitting the firing pin. I first did this decades back with a case with primer only, and a Python, more recently with a Sig and a loaded round since I no longer reload. I’m saying this safety has nothing to do with manual safeties, or with decockers. When the gun is completely ready to fire, it will not go off without a finger on the trigger. HM. I have not tried that on my 1911s, probably should. But I remain convinced that I could load my Python, cock the hammer, and toss it off the top of the Empire State Building, with no fear it would go off. True, I would be in prison for a long time for violating stupid laws (not to mention criminal damage to my pretty gun!), but the gun would not go off.

    4. avatar tmm says:

      Many decocking systems will have a hammer block or some kind of mechanism to prevent the hammer from actuating the firing pin when decocking, even those that decock swiftly.

  44. avatar BC says:

    Take a close look folks, this is what happens when someone who thinks they know what they’re talking about goes to Wikipedia to reinforce their mistaken beliefs.

    The author is a nit-wit and whatever editor let him get “published” needs to find new work. Fortress Defense Consultants?

  45. avatar Specialist38 says:

    A couple of things.

    “1911 and HiPower used the single action/double action system” – whaaaaat? They are both single action semi automatics. Many arms were made to meet government contract specs to be sold The US specified a safety on the pistol or we would have had a US version of the Tokarev. Most pistols made in the early 1900s had no firing pin block and prone to discharge if cocked and dropped. The safety added a small measure of safety. The striker-fired pistols were usually worse. They were fully cooked with only a small block to prevent the firing pin from dropping. When worn, They would often fire even if the safety was engaged (Savage 32 was known for this). People seeme to overlook the fact that we are smarter now from looking at what some smart people came up with back then.

    Second. If running a decocker is tough to learn and put into practice, you might re-think armed self defense and carry a baseball bat.

    There is no need to de-cock a pistol at speed. I will agree you need to remember to flip the safety lever/de-cocker back to fire if it does double dutype as a safety.

    It ain’t that hard.

    1. avatar Jim B says:

      The thumb safety added nothing to the safety of 1911s in case the gun was dropped. The Swartz system and other systems on recent guns take care of this problem. Nearly all older guns were not what we now call drop safe. One always hears about the Colt SAA but it was true of S&W 19th century revolvers and others. Iver Johnson’s Safety Automatic was the first revolver that was drop safe with a round under the hammer. Most early autoloaders were not drop safe with a round in the chamber including the 1911 safety engaged or not.

      There was a 2009 case of a S.W.A.T Magazine writer by the name of Steve Malloy that was killed when his Colt 1903 fell out of his waste band and discharged.

      So how could all these 19th century and early 20th century people carry guns with a round in the chamber or a round under the hammer in the case of a revolver and not have all sorts of accidental discharges? Well they did have some but not enough that you read much about them in primary sources. Why? Take a look at the holsters they actually used not the Hollywood quick draw versions. They cover all or nearly all of the gun. It didn’t fall out and the hammer was covered protecting it.

      1. avatar DaveW says:

        It was also common practice to carry only 5 rounds and align the cylinder so the hammer would fall on the empty chamber if accidentally discharged. The average person carrying was not apt to be involved in a gun fight. They were more likely to need to shoot a snake, so a fully loaded firearm was not a necessity.

        The US Air Force Air Police and Security Police, the essential ground combat arm and law enforcement agency of the USAF, used this method daily for the S&W K-15 .38 cal revolver for decades. Only in SEA did we load with six.

        Unfortunately, unlike the people of the old west, the APs & SPs would forget which way the cylinder turned and an AD was often the result.

  46. avatar Charlie says:

    I can’t speak for anything but the Sig Sauer P series and the CZ-75 DA/SA systems, but both work very well in my hands (and for those I have trained to use them). We have fired thousands of rounds and experienced zero negligent discharges, and not even one incident that I would describe as a near negligent discharge! The things just work, and work well!

    I transitioned to semi pistols from revolvers in 1986 when I got a Sig P-226. It was the cat’s meow compared to my S&W M66 (which I loved, and still do!). But I liked revolvers because of their simplicity, and because they didn’t have a f*****g safety that was in a different place on every dang SA pistol I owned prior to that time! Consistency. Training. Don’t think. Just point and click!

    So I respectfully disagree. I’ll keep my DA/SA pistol with no frame safety, thank you too much!


    1. avatar NineShooter says:

      Everything you wrote above also applies to Glocks and S&W M&P models.

      Every. Single. Word.

      And they don’t have two different trigger pull weights and travel distances to deal with in stressful situations, or a very long-and-heavy first-shot pull which makes hitting very difficult, comparatively.

      1. avatar SigFan says:

        Show us on the doll where the decocker touched you.

        1. avatar NineShooter says:

          Okay, I admit it, I laughed. Good one!

      2. avatar LarryinTX says:

        Sure doesn’t apply to *MY* Glock! The glock trigger is close to my Sig in SA mode, yet the Glock has no form of safety at all! The Sig’s DA first round, or thumb cocked SA, is the safety, as the same actions are on a revolver. A loaded Glock is a fun range toy, carrying one strikes me as an invitation to disaster. To each his own, the person most likely to be shot in a ND of a Glock is the guy holding it, no skin off my nose.

      3. avatar Anonymous says:

        Everything you wrote above also applies to Glocks and S&W M&P models.

        Every. Single. Word.

        And they don’t have two different trigger pull weights and travel distances to deal with in stressful situations, or a very long-and-heavy first-shot pull which makes hitting very difficult, comparatively.

        But glocks are “cocked and unlocked”. Seriously??? You are going to holster that?

        (This is exactly what you said to me above)

        1. avatar NineShooter says:

          Find me a couple of highly-rated professional carry instructors that insist the best way to carry a SA auto (or a DA/SA auto with a cocked-and-locked option) is with the hammer cocked and the safety off (cocked and unlocked) and I’ll happily give you that point. But you wan’t be able to, as most folks (pro or not) know better than to try and draw a parallel between a cocked and unlocked SA or DA/SA auto, and a Safe-action Glock, which was designed to be carried in that manner.

        2. avatar Anonymous says:

          But you wan’t be able to, as most folks (pro or not) know better than to try and draw a parallel between a cocked and unlocked SA or DA/SA auto, and a Safe-action Glock, which was designed to be carried in that manner.

          Please explain the difference.

          Glocks have the trigger safety.
          Most da/sa guns have a trigger/hammer block safety (which means the trigger must be pulled back and depressed to align the hammer to the firing pin) – similar in function to the glock’s trigger safety.

          Both are drop safe.

          You make the assertion – you defend the claim.

  47. avatar VerendusAudeo says:

    DA/SA decocker pistols are perfectly easy to use. That is, unless you’re an operator operating operationally who raises his nose at anything that isn’t a striker fired polymer wonder 9.

    1. avatar NineShooter says:

      …or an instructor who has seen the various problems with effective use of these pistols in actual use.

      Do they go bang reliably? Yes, they do.

      Are they accurate under deliberate slow-fire conditions? Yes, they are.

      Are they one of the better choices for serious personal defense uses?
      Not. Even. Close.

      1. avatar Anonymous says:

        Well – let the Navy Seals know.

        1. avatar NineShooter says:

          We’re still waiting for official confirmation that a Glock will replace the SIGs currently in-use by the SEAL teams (A rumor to that effect popped up last year). MARSOC has already confirmed their changeover to a Glock, and various Glocks have been authorized and in sporadic use by other Spec Ops units for quite a while, including the SEALs.

          Not that the level of training, personnel and mission of the SEALs has much to do with our discussion of individual carry of a handgun for personal defense by civilians.

  48. avatar MLee says:

    Yeah well I don’t give a hoot what the author says. I know what I have been shooting for 40 years and I don’t like strikers.
    If people like them, goody for them because it means absolutely nothing to me. I shoot my P229 well and that’s ALL THAT MATTERS.

  49. avatar explainist says:

    this is why I keep the P90 in the baja bug. anyone who can’t drive a stick can’t drive the gun. takes what, ten minutes to learn to drive a stick?

    1. avatar NineShooter says:

      Yup. 10 minutes to learn drive a DA/SA like a newbie, or the same amount of time to become a MUCH better defensive shooter with a striker-action pistol. Your choice.

      1. avatar Anonymous says:

        Yup. 10 minutes to learn drive a DA/SA like a newbie, or the same amount of time to become a MUCH better defensive shooter with a striker-action pistol. Your choice.

        If you never use the decockers or the external safety on a DA/SA pistol, then it is exactly like a glock. Cocked and unlocked. And you holster it that way. Carry it that way. No different than a DA/SA pistol with the hammer locked back and the safety off. Not sure how a striker over a hammer is going to make you a “MUCH” better defensive shooter.

      2. avatar Russ H says:

        No offense but that was a really dumb thing to say. Unless you’re joking…

  50. avatar Just Someguy says:

    This author seems to have a “it’s not what I’m used to, therefore it sucks” mentality. I’m not used to semi-auto shotguns, and sometimes try to pump them between shots. Yet if I wrote about how semi automatics are crappy because they don’t work for me it would be kind of silly, no?

  51. avatar Sprocket says:

    Gawd, I love these articles. If for no other reason than it brings out the kooks that believe if you’re not rockin’ a striker fired gun that you’re going to die, get raped, contract dermatitis, etc. etc. Different systems work for different people.

    I do think there is a slightly greater learning curve with DA/SA, but it’s certainly not what the striker partisans make it out to be. My wife, who shoots maybe once a year, ran a tactical course with my CZ. She did no worse than the any of striker monkeys and better than most. Granted it’s a limited sample size, but clearly points to DA/SA not being the crippling deficiency some make it out to be.

    The thing I have noticed is that revolver/DA people seem to transition to a striker gun without missing a beat. Whereas people that only shoot striker guns are a bit more challenged.

    1. avatar jwm says:

      Striker monkeys. I like. Going to move it up next to “wanker rails”.

  52. avatar Ralph Mouth says:

    The theme of this article is absolute bull$hit and written by another “expert.” I started shooting pistol competitions in the early 80s with a 1911 and later carried double/single autos in the late 80s until today with 5 years as a cop. Decockers have saved hundreds of police officers when their pistols were pulled from them by bad guys. The extra seconds of confusion by the the bad guys when they tried to shoot the cops were the precise reason that the good guy didn’t die and this is well known to LE defense tactics instructors like myself. Secondly, decockers will not slow you down if you train with them and for those that feel safeties of this type are not need because “your trigger finger controls everything” start researching details about how grommets on jackets, lipsticks in purses, and other objects have been trigger fingers without a brain not to metion all of inexperienced CCW holders and poorly trained police out there who have died or injured themselves or others from accidental discharges with no safety striker fired pistols. Im not ragging on Glock type pistols but keep in mind that Glocks have many times been chosen for police departments not because they are so reliable but because of cost and the bean counters dont want factor in the extra training needed for the human finger safety which is far more defective than the mechanical decocker safety that they passed on.

  53. avatar FU Springfield Armory says:

    So an average IQ person can evidently steer a car, shift into the next gear, drink a soda, and talk on their phone ALL AT THE SAME TIME, but this same person will have “training issues” with a simple gun decocking mechanism. Really? Ha ha

    1. avatar Ralph Mouth says:

      Excellent point.

  54. avatar David Walters says:

    I “inherited” a Taurus .45 ACP from my Father-in-law, a convicted felon, who had purchased it at a pawn shop in order to shoot a relative that had stolen several 10s of thousands of dollars from him. He foolishly got drunk before his intended assault and I just happened to come over and saw the bulge.

    Anyway, it has a decock lever. I’d never had a pistol like that before and, at first, thought it was pretty weird. That was when I wore a pistol bag and before I went to a belt holster.

    I watched a bunch of videos about how to pull your pistol from a holster and in several of them I saw the gun owner shoot himself with pistols with striker fire. At that point, I realized that my pistol in decock could never do that. That was comforting.

    Next, I modified my quick-draw technique to allow for the long trigger pull to overcome the decock and decided it was an advantage…in that the first shot would get the opponent moving and once I knew which way he was moving the next several shots without the decock would be taking that into account. I practiced and practice and practiced.

    Now, despite the decock, I’m lightening quick on putting 3 – 4 rounds in a target and at no point in the draw, aim and fire sequence on the first round have I hit anything but the target, anyway. I’ll not give up my “inherited” pistol. I likes it that way

    1. avatar Ralph Mouth says:

      Excellent points.

  55. avatar Gunr says:

    Have one pistol with a decocker, not my carry weapon. It just freaks me out to see and hear that hammer fall on a loaded chamber. I suppose in time I could get used to it, but I prefer to block the fall with a finger and gently lower the hammer.

  56. avatar Hugo says:

    Whatever platform or carry method you use and write about, some internet “expert” will criticize it. They all have their pros and cons. Pick one, train and practice with it until you can use it safely and proficiently. Problems often arise when you are not familiar enough with your chosen pistol and don’t recognize its strengths and weaknesses.

  57. avatar David says:

    All DA should have De-Cockers – It will be a Determining Factor when I purchase a Pistol.
    I have a Walther P99 AS with De-Cocker, which was the first I heard of the Device. Love it.
    But you say the Beretta Safety lever is a De-Cocker? Well I had one Years ago & did not even realize it was anything but a Safety lever. Beretta always gave me problems. My Walther has been flawless Since day one.

    1. avatar Ralph Mouth says:

      Beretta (90 series or Px4 series)
      Model F – decock with manual safety
      Model G – decock only

      I own(ed) multiple Beretta Px4s for 10 years and many 92s for over 30 years- no malfunctions with the exceptions of a handful from bad re-loads out of about 10,000 rounds.

  58. avatar int19h says:

    Fact: heavier trigger pull makes negligent discharges less likely.

    Fact: decockers allow you to have heavier trigger pull.

    Fact: DA trigger pull is still “minute of bad guy” accurate, and most people don’t need anything more than that.

    1. avatar NineShooter says:

      Decockers don’t “allow” you to have a heavier trigger pull; they FORCE you to have it, due to the geometry and energy required to cock and then release the hammer only using the trigger.

      If all you want is a heavier trigger pull to make “negligent discharges less likely”, get a Glock and install a NY-1 or NY-2 connector, and you’re good to go. Heavier yet smooth pull and a single trigger feel that doesn’t change from shot-to-shot. Very DA-revolver-like, for those of you that prefer a wheelgun.

      1. avatar Anonymous says:

        Decockers don’t “allow” you to have a heavier trigger pull; they FORCE you to have it, due to the geometry and energy required to cock and then release the hammer only using the trigger.

        Decockers most definitely “allow” you to have a heavier trigger pull, because you have the option not to decock it, thus having a lighter trigger pull. A glock doesn’t allow you to have a heavier trigger pull. A glock doesn’t allow you to do very much really – except keep it in a “cocked and unlocked” state which is what a glock is – a gun with a SA trigger pull and no external safety. A DA/SA pistol does allow a heavier trigger pull on the first shot and some people want that.

        1. avatar NineShooter says:

          Okay, now you’re not even reading what I wrote, just parroting your fake talking points.

          A Glock CAN have a heavier pull, and I explained how, above. So you’re absolutely wrong on that point. And it will be a consistent trigger pull that doesn’t vary from shot one to shot two, which anyone with training experience can tell you is easier to learn and manage for good results, especially for a novice or folks who don’t practice very much (I.E., the average gun owner). It’s ALWAYS easier to learn one task (how to manage a single trigger pull weight and movement) than it is to learn two (a long/heavy first-shot pull, followed by a short/light second- and subsequent-shot trigger pulls).

          And now I’ll ask you again for the list of professional trainers that endorse the carry of cocked and unlocked SA or DA/SA autopistols. And yet that’s EXACTLY how Glocks are designed to be carried, and ARE carried by the thousands of police and private owners.

          I await your list of trainers (with links, please), so I can educate myself on this new trend of cocked-and-unlocked carry.

        2. avatar Anonymous says:

          A Glock CAN have a heavier pull, and I explained how, above. So you’re absolutely wrong on that point.

          A glock will never have a heavy trigger pull on the first round and lighter thereafter – and that is what I was talking about.

          And now I’ll ask you again for the list of professional trainers that endorse the carry of cocked and unlocked SA or DA/SA autopistols.

          A really good question for you to ask them, and yourself. DA/SA cocked and unlocked is just like a Glock. The DA/SA needs the trigger pulled in to align the hammer/firing pin block. The Glock has a trigger safety. Both are drop safe. They are the same.

  59. avatar Sgt Dillon says:

    Who ever wrote this doesn’t know guns or hasn’t used them except at ranges. You can uncock pistols with hammers by holding the hammer and pressing the trigger then let the hammer back down slowly. All the H&K has the perfect decor king mechanism. First of all you should tell the difference between single and Doubble action pistols never lump them together.

  60. avatar Russ H says:

    Love my Sigs with their decockers, but I don’t care so much for the Beretta 92 style (M9) style (I have one). Regardless, like anything else, you must practice with any weapon system you use. Interestingly, the Army jumped on fast to call the decocker a “safety” and Beretta adamantly insisted it was never designed to be a safety. Regardless, never cared much for inserting my thumb between the hammer and slide on my 1911’s if I had to decock for some reason but again, practice.

    Ummm, what was the point of this article??? No offense but it states rather the obvious.

  61. avatar kenneth says:

    I never liked decockers when they came out with them. I have had decocker semis, but always decocked them manually, making the whole idea moot. I trust my fingers more than I trust mechanical devices. Esp. if one uses the two handed technique, where one uses the other hand to block access to the firing pin while thumbing down the hammer.
    Now I have a Taurus Beretta 92 clone that has a frame mounted safety like a 1911. I can carry it either cocked and locked, OR as a DA by thumbing down the hammer. It’s the best of both worlds. It’s my favorite 9, above even my S&W 659, and I’m a S&W guy.
    I won’t have a striker fired pistol, except for perhaps .25 autos…

  62. avatar DetroitMan says:

    “de-cocker style operating systems suck. They offer no tangible safety benefit. In fact, they create needless safety and training issues.”

    Oh goody, a sermon from a true-believer in the Church of Glock. Give it a rest.

    Speaking of needless safety and training issues, should we discuss the need to pull the trigger on striker fired gun before disassembly? Nah, I’ll just leave that one here.

    Look, all systems have compromises. It’s best not to go around claiming that one is the be-all and end-all, or that another is the devil. There isn’t a striker fired trigger made that can match single action pull on my P226 and still be safe enough to carry. And I can use my nasty decocker to make my trigger pull “safe” when I want it to be. Yes, I have to train to push another lever before I holster my gun. Just like you have to train to make damn sure your Glock’s chamber is empty before you try to strip it. Different strokes for different folks.

    1. avatar NineShooter says:

      Come back and talk to me after you’ve spent 2-3 decades training folks how to use pistols, especially DA/SA autopistols with decockers. As I said above, if you’re good with a DA/SA, you’ll be great with a quality striker-fired pistol. If you’re already great with the DA/SA, you’ll be superb with the striker pistol. And if you already claim to be superb with the DA/SA, then you’re full of….it. AND, you don’t really know how good you COULD be.

      If, as one old gunwriter used to say, “The purpose of shooting is hitting”, then carrying a DA/SA pistol should be nearly last on your list of pistol choices.

      1. avatar Anonymous says:

        Let’s count the fallacies. We’ve got the “appeal to authority” fallacy. We’ve got a variation of the “no true scotsman” fallacy.

        Come back and talk to me after you’ve spent 2-3 decades training folks how to use pistols, especially DA/SA autopistols with decockers.

        Just because it’s tougher for you, personally, to train people whose guns have a decocker, doesn’t mean having a decocker or a DA/SA pistol is a bad idea. For some people it’s a great idea and a DA/SA gives them that option. I agree with you (said earlier) that they need to pick a method and stick with it.

        As I said above, if you’re good with a DA/SA, you’ll be great with a quality striker-fired pistol. If you’re already great with the DA/SA, you’ll be superb with the striker pistol. And if you already claim to be superb with the DA/SA, then you’re full of….it. AND, you don’t really know how good you COULD be.

        Complete unsubstantiated assertion. Competition shooters use CZs based on DA/SA guns and modified 1911s which are a SA gun. This is total nonsense man.

        If, as one old gunwriter used to say, “The purpose of shooting is hitting”, then carrying a DA/SA pistol should be nearly last on your list of pistol choices.

        A simpleton and naive remark for a complex subject. There is more to carrying a gun than just shooting. There is holstering, unholstering, cleaning, storage, among others, and some people don’t want a “cocked and unlocked” gun like the Glock for their everyday activities for the very rare instance that they would actually need to use it, and desire and want that first stiff trigger pull, or carry it cocked and locked. These are something a Glock can’t offer.

  63. avatar Desert Dave says:

    As a recent convert from wheel guns I love my CZ! It has a HAMMER just like my S&W .357! The decocker is safer than letting the hammer down on a loaded chamber on a wheel gun. Plus, I can cock the hammer and I have a lighter trigger pull just like a wheel gun. I just do not understand the issue.

    1. avatar DaveW says:

      Some people like Fords and some people like Chevys.

  64. avatar Doc Mirror says:

    I am a novice with pistols. 6 years in service, but rarely had use of a piston, and I’ve been out of practice for many years. Wife is also a novice, and will always be such. We asked for, and discussed various mechanisms, and my primary goal was always the safest operation. We were introduced to the Walther PPK/S with the DA/SA de-cock operation. I was very happy with it. This is a German made unit, imported by S&W. On my wife’s second lesson with the instructor, the de-cocking safety came into play, as she was mishandling the weapon during a review of the lesson. Without the added safety, it could have been disastrous.

    I do understand the hoi-ploi of the pistol world disliking the mechanism and operation, as being unnecessarily complex, heavy pull, and maybe inelegant. OK, but there is a tool for every purpose, and for our limited exposure to pistols, it is a fine design. Yes, I know all the mantra about the human being the final safety, the gun is not at fault the person is, etc. Sure – but anything that can enhance safety for the great uwashed is a value proposition. We will live with the imitations, and appreciated the added safety.

  65. avatar randy says:

    What led me to DA/SA pistols was a post I read that was written by a retired NYPD police officer. He remarked that the idea that “ones safety is in their head” was in effect the problem. He went on to point out that at the time he worked the NYPD had three choices for service weapons, Sigs DA/SA pistols, a version of S&W DA/SA pistols and Glocks. He wrote that all the negligent/accidental discharges he was aware of had taken place with the Glocks. His point as I understood was that no person, including trained personel can be mistake free all the time. In any case, in my experience, practice is all that is needed to master both trigger pulls and personally I prefer the added safety that a double action trigger provides.

  66. avatar David says:

    Wow that is one long list of “REPLIES”

    “They offer no tangible safety benefit.”

    I grew up with “Safety on” at all times. I bought my First De-Cocker in a Walther P99 AS. Still have it to this day & will Love it to my grave.
    Guns are like everything else. You can learn to drive, shoot a Bow, Throw Knives or what ever.
    Mostly it depends on the Person learning.
    Safeties are something to remember, & during a FOF moment you do not want to take the millisecond to have to remember to turn it OFF before engaging the Enemy/Intruder & can get you killed.
    With the DC you only have to remember to “De-Cock” when you are finish for the Day.
    And from there, you only have to remember to Draw & fire. Trust me you will not notice the extra Draw length on the trigger pull.

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