Reader JS writes . . .
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 continue to cling bitterly 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.
1) 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 home.
But it’s impossible to deny that it’s more likely that you’ll unintentionally pull a five pound trigger than a 10-12 pound trigger. Though I majored in the liberal arts, I’m sure there is some law of science that governs that principle.
As all of the real “operators” out there are currently shouting at the screen, “My trigger finger is my safety!” True, if you don’t put your finger on the trigger, your pistol won’t fire.
In a perfect world that’s easy. But, as cases such as an NYPD cop who inadvertently shot a man in a darkened hallway demonstrates, mistakes can and do happen in the real world. Even to those who have allegedly professional training.
2) 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 any of your lower extremities.
For those who appendix carry that’s especially significant considering the extremities in the immediate vicinity tend to be of great sentimental importance to most men. And there’s the femoral artery, too.
If you don’t believe me, just go to your nearest 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?
3) There’s just something about shooting a hammer-fired pistol that feels right. I think of it like driving a stick shift (remember those?). Yes, an automatic is easier to learn, is more conducive to texting while driving (not that I have ever done that or condone it), and saves you from those embarrassing stalls at stop lights.
But there seems to be something missing; the relationship between the driver and the car is non-existent.
Or, for the carnivores among us, compare it to the difference between cooking on a propane grill and the glorious aroma and flavor of charcoal. It requires a little more work, some extra time, practice, and finesse, but the end result is gastronomical greatness.
For me, mastering the double action 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 shouldn’t be shied away from in any case, no matter the firearm in question.
For all of these reasons, I’m a DA/SA hammer kind of guy. And the truth is, I’m in some great company. Think of all of those historic figures who have 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 plenty of 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 pistols.
Unfortunately, the future doesn’t look great based on current market trends. Nevertheless, in my house it will always be hammer time.