Striker Fired vs. Hammer Fired: What’s the Difference, and is One Better?

striker fired vs hammer fired

There’s no firing a gun without denting a primer (if you aren’t sure what that means, start with how a gun works). There are two primary ways to do that: hammer fired and striker fired. So, what’s the difference, and is one better than the other?

First and foremost, striker fired vs. hammer fired is totally distinct from double action vs. single action, DA/SA, SAO, DAO, etc. Both hammers and strikers offer all of these forms of operation.

Double action means that pulling the trigger performs two actions: (1) it cocks or finishes cocking the spring responsible for denting the primer, and (2) it then releases the hammer or the striker.

Single action means pulling the trigger does one action: it releases the hammer or the striker.

Hybrid designs (forms of DA/SA, or double-action/single-action) are available in both hammer-fired and striker-fired guns. Popularity of certain action types aside, there is nothing inherent about hammers or strikers that prohibits or really even favors any given action type.

So, then, what’s the difference?

Hammer fired guns

A spring-powered weight – typically steel – swings into the firing pin when released by the trigger.

That weight is called a hammer, and its impact on the back of the firing pin drives the pin into the cartridge’s primer. In some cases (revolvers — mostly old ones) the firing pin is integral to or attached to the hammer itself.

Hammers are more commonly seen on the outside of a handgun (an external hammer), but there are many designs with internal hammers. In almost all cases, the hammer and its spring – typically called the mainspring or hammer spring – are components of the frame of a pistol, while the firing pin is within the slide.

An external hammer provides manual control to the operator, whether that’s cocking or decocking the action, without the need to manipulate the slide.

Striker fired guns

In a striker fired gun, the hammer and mainspring have been eliminated from the frame. Instead, the mainspring has been moved up into the slide and acts on the firing pin directly. Except, now, the firing pin is called a striker. Rather than being hit by a hammer, it does the hitting itself.

When cocked against the tension of the striker spring, the striker contains all of the energy necessary to ignite a primer. Some striker fired guns are single action: the cycling of the slide fully cocks the striker and the trigger serves only to release it. Others are double action: the trigger pull fully cocks or finishes cocking the striker, then releases it. Some are DA/SA and may even have an external decocker (so you can keep a round chambered with the hammer down, for example). The Beretta M9 and the Sig Sauer P229 are among the best-known DA/SA handguns.

However, there is very rarely a mechanism other than racking the slide by which the operator can pre-cock an at-rest striker. The Heckler & Koch P7, seen above, is one exception.

Striker vs Hammer

A partial list of typical advantages of hammer fired handguns:

•  Easy visual and tactile indication of cocked / not cocked status
•  Manual manipulation to cock and decock
•  More space for a larger, stronger mainspring and a thicker, heavier hammer (as opposed to an in-the-slide striker, which tends to have less mass)
•  Additional options for remedial action, thanks to the ability to manually re-cock the hammer
•  It’s often easier to manipulate the slide (with the hammer cocked) vs that of a typical striker fired pistol
•  The average hammer fired pistol in single action has a better trigger than the average striker fired pistol

A partial list of typical advantages of a striker fired handgun:

•  Fewer parts. This is true in most, but not all cases (see the Hudson H9 above). A Glock has 34 parts. A 1911 has 58. That’s total parts, and the difference in moving parts is even more pronounced.
•  Lower cost
•  Improved simplicity in function (“battery of arms” a.k.a. learning how to operate it), disassembly, and maintenance
•  Lighter weight
•  Smaller size
•  A lower bore axis (how high the bore of the barrel is above the shooter’s hand)

In the hammer vs. striker debate, there are exceptions to every one of the generalities above, and there’s a gun of each type that can suit every safety, concealed carry, and shooting preference. Just about any combination is possible with either a hammer or a striker: cocked with safety on, partially cocked with a safety, partially cocked without a safety, double action only, DA/SA (with a decocker, with a safety, with neither, or with both), single action only with a safety, single action only with no safety, single action only with a trigger safety, etc.

If there’s one generality that holds up better than any other, it’s that striker fired pistols tend to be simpler with fewer parts and are therefore less expensive. They are often preferred by law enforcement.

At the end of the day, both hammer and striker serve the same function – to ignite a primer – and they can do it equally well. Rather than focusing on hammer vs striker, most of us would be better served by focusing on how well we shoot a given [reliable] firearm and how good of a fit it is for our hands and our carry and use preferences. Options and preferences for things like external safeties and methods of operation are much more important than whether it’s a hammer and firing pin or a striker that’s ultimately denting those primers.


  1. avatar Nanashi says:

    “There’s no firing a gun without denting a primer”

    Yes there is. It’s called a cook off.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      That’s not firing a gun. That’s a gun firing 😉

      …let’s not get all weird about electronic ignition cartridges and crap either, though, K? 😛

      1. avatar jwm says:

        Caseless? Trounds?

        1. avatar JT says:

          Trounds had primers… didn’t they?

        2. avatar Bearpaw says:

          Battery of arms?

          Do you mean manual of arms?

        3. avatar Jeremy S. says:


      2. avatar Defens says:

        Matchlock? Flintlock?

      3. avatar Nanashi says:

        If I REALLY wanted to mention unusual things, I’d go with how you said “gun” and not “firearm” so touch holes, flintlocks, matchlocks and maybe percussion caps were all possible methods.

        1. avatar RocketScientist says:

          In my state, any thing that ejects a projectile and can be used as a weapon is legally a “gun”, as distinct from a “firearm” (which uses an explosive or deflagrant to do the same). So air guns are “guns”, but so, technically, are bows/arrows, blowguns, atlatls, etc and probably slings/stones. All of which can be used without involvement of a primer of any sort 🙂

    2. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

      “Yes there is. It’s called a cook off.”

      If you have a cook-off while carrying deep concealed, you have far bigger problems on your hands…

      1. avatar MKV says:

        Feelin hot hot hot!

    3. avatar possum says:

      I can not recall the exact date , but I think it was Remington that was working on an primer ignited by an electric charge. It was supposed to be the boon to better accuracy, instant lock time and all rhat

      1. avatar Prudiikal says:

        There was an Aussie company called Metal Storm (now bankrupt sadly) that already had 2 working systems that used electronic ignition. one of the systems was also called the metal storm, the other was a shotgun called the maul. the metal storm was capable of firing a combined firerate of 1 million rpm. here is a video of it.

      2. avatar little horn says:

        there’s a reason it never went anywhere. electricity is nothing new neither are primers so if it was such a great idea, someone would have done it already.
        it makes no sense really. we all bitch about “i dont want no damn smart gun, too much electronics” but using electronics to fire the bullet is ok??? makes no sense.

  2. avatar D says:

    Hammer fired semi’s are either single action with a safety or double action. I don’t like safeties and detest double action. Striker fired for me

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      so leave the safety off…

    2. avatar Jack Gordon says:

      I don’t like safeties of any kind but I do like DAO guns because they are inherently safer, a paramount consideration when you carry every day and everywhere. All my guns are double action, both pistols and revolvers; the revolvers all have shrouded hammer, an added safety feature, and the pistols’ hammers are all flush with the back of the slide. Most who don’t like DAO firearms complain of the longer travel and heavier trigger pull that they almost always involve. That difficulty can be overcome with sufficient practice.

  3. avatar Rusty Chains says:

    Love those backwards loaded cartridges in the HK p7 mag! Don’t let them live down that catalog. “We hate you and you suck.”

    1. avatar kahlil says:

      good catch there

    2. avatar Eric in Oregon says:

      Dang, I missed it! 😀

    3. avatar Mosinfan says:

      You should always load your bullets backwards in a blowback design, duh! That’s how Antifa does it….

    4. avatar GunGal says:

      Must have had Hillary “Australian solution” Rotten Clinton loaded it.

  4. avatar Amfivena says:

    Prefer hammer-fired for EDC as I can rest my thumb on the hammer when holstering. Any contact on the trigger and I will feel it in the hammer. I know technique and practice should avoid problems. But I value the extra safety margin as I often need to holster/un-holster while sitting in a car because of no-gun zones.

    1. avatar Rusty Chains says:

      Cut down on unnecessary administrative handling of your firearm as much as possible, including avoiding places your concealed weapon is unwelcome.

      1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

        I carry in a holster that can be removed from my belt without having to remove the gun from the holster. The whole unit comes off and goes back on, whether it’s a situation like going into a hospital or school or bar where I can’t carry or the gun-in-holster going into and out of my bedside safe.

        1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Move to Iowa. You can carry in bars and hospitals here. Schools, not so much.

        2. avatar Cucamonga Jeff says:

          My setup is the same. The gun rarely comes out of the holster. Usually to blow the pocket lint off for the occasional range trip.

        3. avatar Craig in IA says:

          Hey, Gov… Stop inviting all and everyone to Iowa, OK? The boon brought on to the Waukee area now that Apple and others are digging up about 5 square miles of prime farmland including the farm on which Iived for 30 years is going to change the entire demographics for Dallas County from solid red to God know what. Last thing we need is to mirror Polk County with all the move-ins… The resultant influx of techies aren’t going to be good.

        4. avatar Matt o says:

          Agreed, keeping the whole system together seems like the best way to avoid unnecessary risk

        5. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

          Craig, anybody who moves to Iowa so they can legally carry a weapon in a bar is not going to vote Demoncrat. In fact, most of the people who would vote Demoncrat would avoid even stepping foot in the state if they knew you can do that here.

        6. avatar Craig in IA says:

          Gov- there are a lot of other good things in IA that can easily get wrecked by the influx of people from out-of-state… The entire demographics of the Waukee/Adel/WDM area have undergone a change over the past 25 years from an influx of people either moving in from the east or Polk Co to flee tha crap there. They always bring their old ways with them. Ditto states like FL, TX, and even OK. I encourage no one to come here- if I have a good deal going I’m not interested in jeopardizing it. My other state of residence is MN, up in the lake country. Holy Crap!!!

          I also don’t spread the good things concerning IA’s concealed carry, basic SYG or ease of purchase too much- too easy for the limpwristed bedwetters to make “amendments” to what we have- make us more “compliant” with other states. We (and I was one of them) worked very hard on our Federal compliance back when we knew Brady/NICS was going to pass, for example. Why every state doesn’t do what we did is beyond me but I don’t worry about them. When I explain it to the peeps in MN, especially dealers, they don’t believe me.

  5. avatar kahlil says:

    I prefer hammer-fired non-polymer handguns. The only striker fired I am remotely interested, cost preventing a purchase right now, is the H9. Hammer-fired doesn’t always mean a serious rise in bore-axis – look at the CZ family as well as the overpriced FK Brno. The Laugo Arms Alien is another up and coming that looks interesting, seems to be striker fired from the outside but a takedown shows it is actually hammer-fired. The other oddity is the Mateba auto-revolver that fires from the bottom cylinder. These are more of the exception than the rule though.

    Personal preference at the end of the day is what matters here, though I am sure someone is going to give the author grief for choosing the H9 over the unholy Glock.

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      thanks for laugo mention. on my radar.

  6. avatar Michael says:

    What funny looking machines. Where is that round thing in the middle that spins around and holds all the bullets? Probably will scare all the horses and make the cows give sour milk…these new fangled things will never catch on. -30-

  7. avatar Charlie says:

    ” … there is very rarely a mechanism other than racking the slide by which the operator can pre-cock an at-rest striker.”

    There’s your difference right there! The little flippy lever on the striker fired handgun’s trigger does nothing to make me feel safe while carrying a round in the chamber.

    About 1984 I had both a P7-M8 and a P7-M13, and they were stunningly beautiful pieces of machinery. But holding them at ready tired my hand, and reduced their accuracy. Then Sig Sauer released the P226 to the American market, and I sold the HKs to an admirer. It is telling that the P226 is still here, and the P7 series went the way of the dodo.

    DA/SA/De-cocker all the way, baby!


    1. avatar Lube says:

      I am always pre-cocked, just need to unzip and I go to town

      1. avatar A O says:

        Must be mouse sized if concealed that easy in that condition.

  8. avatar Maneater Manatee says:

    Glock is about to launch their new G45HS, it’s a G19 slide with a G26 grip chambered in .45acp as the # implies. Never mind it is G26 slide on a G17 grip, chambered in .45gap. Let me try again, it’s a Glock slide on a Glock polymer frame, and the HS means it will be hammer-striker. Here you go I got it right finally. It will also be available in coyote tan and unicorn purple.

  9. avatar Jay in Florida says:

    Ive carried a 1911 for over 35 years. I bought last year alone 4 striker fired guns. All in the search for a new EDC that was 9mm and had 12 rounds or more. And no larger then a 4 inch barrel.
    Well a S&W M&P Model 2, FN- FNC , Canik the exception 4.5 inch, finally a Walther PPQ-SC.
    I sold all of them and kept the Walther and Canik even though the Canik is a full sized gun its a great shooter and is my 2nd house gun.
    Not a single plastic guns trigger with the exception of the Caniks is worth a shit . Its really close compared to the 1911s. The Walther is pretty good though too.
    But when all was done and tried.
    Back in my IWB holster is one of my 1911s.
    Striker fired is ok. Just not that good for me.
    I gave strikers fired an honest try and just think a true single action hammer fired system is superior. Period.

  10. avatar jwm says:

    I have one of each. An all metal DA semi and a striker fired polymer 9. Both have their goods and bads.

    Now revolvers. I got a shit ton of them and there is no bads.

    1. avatar Geoff "Mess with the bull, get the horns" PR says:

      “Now revolvers. I got a shit ton of them and there is no bads.”

      How many 13+ round .357 revolvers are there? 😉

      1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

        Since a .357 has literally twice the case capacity of a 9 mm with equal max pressure limits, I’d say that every .357 slug is worth 2 from a 9 mm. Now if you need 13+ rounds because you just can’t hit the broad side of a barn, perhaps rev olvers aren’t for you.

      2. avatar jwm says:

        Bad shot, huh. 🙂

      3. avatar MDC says:

        10mm has similar ballistics to the .357. 15rds of pure delight.

    2. avatar Ansel Hazen says:

      My tupperware can get a caliber upgrade in about 5 seconds with a drop in barrel. Came all threaded too.

  11. avatar Scott says:

    Another potential difference is lock time. Does a striker on a spring accelerate faster than a hammer?

    1. avatar Gov. William J Le Petomane says:

      I’m just guessing that the difference in time it takes for a stri ker vs. hamm er to strike the pri mer is probably dwarfed by the time it takes for the sli de to reciprocate, or for that matter the time it takes for you to wiggle your finger. Or, perhaps aim.

  12. avatar Jonathan-Houston says:

    All of these various approaches are valid. Given that there are so many firearms in so many permutations that have been commercially successful for so many years, it stands to reason that none of them inherently sucks.

    The differences may come down to superiority in very specific scenarios, in which case you need to assess your own needs and deploy that firearm that best serves your purposes. Just know that one or another design is not universally the one firing mechanism to rule them all.

    Alternatively, the practical difference in function may be immaterial and the only relevant difference is personal preference or prejudice. In that case, just do your thing and please do avoid haranguing others over their choice and what is none of your business.

    1. avatar tsbhoa.p.jr says:

      the jabs brought out in these articles are very enjoyable for me. harangue away, do what you want.

  13. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

    quote———————— from the article—————————-At the end of the day, both hammer and striker serve the same function – to ignite a primer – and they can do it equally well. —————————————————————quote

    Note 100 per cent true. There are full cock striker fired guns and partially cocked striker fired guns (Glocks and some clones). The partially cocked striker fired guns have very weak ignition systems. Glocks are only about 67 per cent cocked. As a matter of fact they are so weak that during some German government pistol test trials a number of years ago they had to modify the government rules and create a whole new striker impact energy table just for the weak striker fired guns that were competing in the tests for adoption as they were way weaker than the competing hammer fired guns.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Glocks are partially cocked when the striker is at rest. They are 100% cocked right before firing. The trigger pull finishes cocking the spring. And my sentence says both hammer and striker CAN do it equally well. Not that all do in all cases. There are examples in both that do not have sufficient energy or other issues leading to light strikes. But if you’re going to argue that GLOCKs are not reliable, you’re going to have a difficult time finding an audience that agrees with you. I’m not a big GLOCK fan, but I think they’re proven themselves to be about as reliable a design as has ever been made. I have hammer fired guns that won’t reliably ignite cheap steel cased ammo with really hard primers…But a GLOCK sure will. Again, this is because either design CAN do its job completely and totally sufficiently.

      1. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

        Sorry the tests I had access to showed the Glock failed all the ignitions tests (3 example weapons) as well as a Walther P99 which is also a partially cocked striker fired weapon. In the German tests the Glock fell into the same weak ignition category when striker energy was mechanically tested, as the rest of the striker fired guns did. In another civilian test that I personally witnessed the Glock again failed and the Hammer fired guns all passed including several examples of a Colt 1911, FN High Power, CZ75, CZ99,Star M30, Walther P38 and P88, P5, Beretta 92, Radom WWII VZ, Radom MAG 98, , Sig P226, P228, P220, I probably have left some others out I have forgotten that were also in the tests.
        I might add the new Sig P320 striker fired gun is a full cock gun and it was made that way on purpose to pass the reliability tests of the U,S, Government Test Trials. This fact was discussed on American Riflemen TV and they admitted partially cocked striker fired guns were not as reliable.

        Although civilians will not often encounter severe conditions when using self defense handguns the military does, such as extreme cold, dust, mud and a weapon that has become fouled with burnt powder and has not been cleaned. This is why strong ignition systems are so important for the military and partially cocked striker fired guns just do not cut the mustard, tests proved it.

        1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

          I don’t think you understand what a partially cocked vs fully cocked vs 0% cocked system means. There is ZERO difference in striking force on the primer regardless of to what degree the striker is pre-cocked. ALL of these systems result in a 100% fully cocked striker upon its release. Whether it starts at 100% and the trigger just releases it or it starts at 0% and the trigger cocks it to 100% before releasing it or it if starts anywhere in the middle it makes no difference at all for what you’re talking about (energy on primer).

          If a GLOCK has a weak primer strike, it isn’t because it’s a striker fired gun and it isn’t because it’s partially cocked when at rest.

      2. avatar Vlad Tepes says:

        quote—————————-I don’t think you understand what a partially cocked vs fully cocked vs 0% cocked system means. There is ZERO difference in striking force on the primer regardless of to what degree the striker is pre-cocked. ALL of these systems result in a 100% fully cocked striker upon its release. ————————quote

        Your statement that the pre-loaded striker fired guns cock the striker back 100 per cent was proven false by the German Tests and as I previously stated this was also admitted on the American Rifleman program. Again I state that Sig Sauer was aware of the problem as well and as I stated they designed a full cock striker fired gun to remedy the problem. I have also read reports of other people on the internet who have conducted their own various “at home” tests and came to the same conclusion i.e. the Glock and its copy cats indeed had way weaker striker energy than either most Hammer Fired Guns or the old fashioned full cock striker fired guns that have been around since the early 1900’s.

        I might add I also at one time had the Grandfather of the Glock firing mechanism from which the Glock was derived which was the Roth-Steyr 8mm pistol and as you would guess it too had a weak ignition system as it was as far as I know was the first pre-loaded striker fired gun which created the problem of a weak ignition system.

        Besides a week striker fired system the Glock also has an open channel that the firing pin resides in. Its wide open and lets dust, dirt, lint, excess lube, moisture and burnt powder contaminate it making an already weak ignition system even far worse than it otherwise would be. I might also add most of the Glock production models also had a huge hole at the bottom of the grip which let in clouds of dust into the working mechanism. The aftermarket people have offered plastic plugs to alleviate this highway to to the inner gun because of this problem. Most Hammer fired guns have basically a sealed firing pin tunnel. The only entry of contaminants would be through the very small breach face firing pin hole so even if their ignition systems were weak like the Glocks they would still be superior.

        I might add that even traditional DA/SA guns often have ignition problems when fired in the double action mode because the hammer is not brought back to the same full cock position as when the hammer is manually cocked back. As a matter of fact you can test your own traditional double action or da/sa gun by very, very slowly pulling the trigger in the double action mode and do not be surprised if it miss fires. The gas operated Steyr GB pistols and the Rogak copy both were notorious for misfiring in double action when using “factory made” ammo even when you pulled the trigger quickly to attempt to snap the hammer back all the way which did not happen with this model.. In the book “Great Combat Handguns” by Leroy Thompson he also discussed the ignition problem with the Steyr.. Leroy pulls no punches he is one of the few Gun Writers that really knows what he is talking about because he actually tests and uses pistols. I might add I have a Seecamp .32 that is a double action only hammer fired gun with no hammer spur but if you milk the trigger (pull it slowly) it will miss fire every time but if you pull the trigger quickly to snap the hammer back further it is reliable if the gun is clean and you use good ammo that is factory made, not reloads, and the primers are not too hard to ignite.

        Most people are not aware of how many semi-auto pistols do indeed have ignition problems because its never talked about much in the gun magazines and for obvious reasons, it would not be good for gun sales. Most people never bother to test their guns or ammo for reliability and no you do not have to abuse them by pouring sand or mud in them to test them either.

        In conclusion from over many decades of my own use and testing the single action auto or the DA/SA “at single action cock” or the old fashioned full cock striker fired pistols are the most reliable. Next down the list of reliable pistols is the D/A only and next is trying to fire a D/A/SA in D/A mode. At the “bottom of reliability” is the pre-loaded striker fired gun which again I have personally seen fail way to many times. With bad ammo or under cold or rough conditions with a variety of contamination they are simply not as reliable period.

  14. avatar MyName says:

    Well, in this case, I gotta say that color case hardened HK P7 is better because that thing is gorgeous!

    As far as the meat of the question goes, my answer is: It depends. Carry gun , for CC, a striker fired compact 9mm. OC, 1911. Carry for when I feel like it or for a BBQ gun, S&W M19. In other words, it depends.

    1. avatar MyName says:

      Oh, btw, good work on the magazine pic – ISWYDT

    2. avatar kahlil says:

      I am not usually a fan of color case but that is a nice looking gun, esp. with what the grips add to it.

  15. avatar What would Spock say says:

    I’m convinced the purpose of this article is to show off the beautiful hardware. Very Jealous. Damn you sir.

    1. avatar kahlil says:

      showing off that he has the $$ to not only purchase an FK Brno but feed it as well.

      1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

        That was a review loaner. Same with the CZ in that photo. The H9 and the P7 are mine, though. BUT I won the H9 in a raffle. And I paid $600 for the P7 so…

        1. avatar kahlil says:

          still sending some jealousy your way though due to the fact you got the chance to play with one 😉

  16. avatar CT_HGC_1871 says:

    The Military FINALLY caught up with the competition/LE/civilian world (aka the real world). If your defense/carry gun has a safety and/or a hammer……IT IS ANTIQUATED. period.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      The M17 has a safety. Part of the military MHS requirement was a manual safety. And I don’t believe there was any hammer/striker preference though IIRC there was something in there about modes of operation.

      1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

        Ah, googled it and found the answer in my own article LOL: the MHS requirement was that the gun be “other than single action only.”

    2. avatar Matt says:

      I wouldn’t call the HK45/P30, FN FNX, or CZ P-07 antiquated. But that’s just my opinion.

  17. avatar Dyspeptic Gunsmith says:

    Some guns that have no externally visible hammer still have hammers. eg, the 1903/1908 Colt Hammerless. They have hammers, you just can’t see them without detail-stripping the gun.

    The striker concept goes back a long, long way – to the Luger, in fact.

    A striker-fired pistol can be made to have a very nice trigger pull. You can’t do it in the way that most striker-fired pistols are currently made, and no striker pistol manufacture will make a striker system with the crisp, short pull of a hammer-fired pistol, because it would require additional parts and complexity.

  18. avatar Mark N. says:

    I don’t discriminate. Of the four semis I have owned, one was a striker fired XD9, one was a 1911, the third was a DAO Kahr (actually, the Kahr does some pre-loading of the spring, and the trigger finishes it), and the fourth was the “Sig” Mosquito, which is DA/SA with a decocker and every safety feature known to the industry. The one I regret buying is the Mosquito. The best trigger is of course the 1911 (my 1873s are better), but I have a great fondness for the Kahr.

  19. avatar Matthew says:

    And that is how you guarantee striker failure….. reversed cartridges! Rofl

  20. avatar DJ says:

    1911 has the best trigger of all. Every discharged round comes with the possibility of criminal charges and a civil lawsuit. Polymer with a bucket of bullets comes with more problems than I want and the triggers suck.

    We all have the freedom to choose and mine is the 1911 with fmj.

  21. avatar possum says:

    I just do not trust a striker fired sidearm for safety reasons. I carry my hammer fired( excepting Blackhawks) on the half cock, and am a bit tentative about that. Hammers can get a shirt sleeve or coat sleeve, something caught between the hammer and frame causing a misfire. Other then that the safety I perceive over the down side of hammers is worth it to me. On a plus for hammers is in a oh ShtjustHTF and it all went to hell, you can whack the hammer with a rock and get it to fire

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Plenty of striker fired guns are half cocked or less, though, until you pull the trigger and cock it the rest of the way before it releases. Plenty are full on double action only with a 0% cocked striker until you do it with the trigger. I don’t see anything inherently safer about a half-cocked or fully lowered hammer.

  22. avatar Ralph says:

    I own both striker-fired and hammer-fired guns. I like them both, but guns with hammers usually have much better triggers and I also like the visibility of the hammer. And yeah, I like revolvers and I’m confident enough in my abilities to know that I won’t need 33 rounds to take care of a BG.

    Then again, I’m not a cop, so I don’t believe that missing is de rigueur. I also prefer big bore handguns over the cute little 9mm, so I won’t have to fill up a BG with enough lead to sink the Titanic in order to stop him (or them) cold.

  23. avatar Billy Bob says:

    I didn’t even know it was possible to load a mag with the bullets in backwards. Do you think the guy who took the photo of that H&K mag was wondering how long it’d take for someone to notice ? I didnt.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      The photos here are all mine. Yes, I always wonder how many people will notice the backwards bullets in pics of my P7 and then how many of those people will know why they’re backwards.

    2. avatar Scoutino says:

      That’s running joke on HK ever since they published catalog with mag loaded that way. POTG have long memories.

  24. avatar Craig in IA says:

    The obvious advantage of striker-fired over pistols/revolvers in double-action mode is that the trigger stroke is always the same, first round to last. So much easier to train the person (including LEOs) who do not do a lot of practice to put the firearm on target and make hits. (OK- operating a revolver DA mode would be the same, cocking for the first round would be different…)

    I grew up shooting old, 5 screw S&W revolvers and a Colt Gold Cup and had fits when I first started shooting striker handguns. For precise work and hunting I’m still using my S&W revolvers and various 1911s. I’ve even headshot grouse in my trail in the fall with the Officer’s ACP I used to carry under the front seat. For man-sized stuff while on the street or driving around now, however, I’m happy with the Glock. Haven’t tried it on grouse and probably would miss.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      That misses the fact that having the same trigger pull every time is nothing inherent to either striker or hammer. There are DA/SA striker guns that have a longer, heavier first pull and shorter and lighter after that and there are DAO and SAO hammer guns that have the same pull every time. These modes of operation are a completely separate issue from whether a gun is hammer or striker fired. This is a common misconception and why I began the article above with the “First and foremost” paragraph addressing it.

      1. avatar Craig in IA says:

        I think I addressed that. Having same trigger stroke is probably the reason LE agencies sue striker over hammer guns in DA.
        “…having the same trigger pull every time is nothing inherent to either striker or hammer” It certainly is with the striker firearms in common useage today.

        The correct terms ala Col. Cooper and others is “trigger cocking”/activated for those DA-only pieces that were popular for about a year. Way long trigger stroke. Firearms like CZ 75 clones when fired from the hammer down position (trigger cocking) will have a very long initial stroke but the second round would be very easy to unleash for many expecting the long stroke again.

        Of course when the Glocks were first put in the hands of LEOs, there were a number of accidental (I have a tough time calling them negligent) discharges on perps when the excited cop would squeeze just a bit too far on a surrendering perp but training has made that much better. For my own carry, I’m happy with my Glock 43 although I’ll transition to a P365 soon- why not with the extra rounds in the same package size?

        I know there are many around here who hate the triggers on Glocks, Shields and the like but with some practice (which is the weak part for all of us), it’s nbd to hit torso-sized targets in the 7 yd distance. Do I like the Gold Cup or S&W hammer-cocked trigger better? As I said, for precise work and hunting, of course. But I believe a bit more pressure before tha bang with the striker-fired gun is better in most situations where one is often still trying to make up their mind in the milli-second as to whether to shoot or not. Taking a human life is a bit different than a deer.

  25. avatar Gman says:

    Striker is the only way to go since the only handguns worth having are revolvers.

  26. avatar GS650G says:

    When the hammer is down you’ve a good indicator it won’t go off when dropped.

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      There are plenty of hammer fired guns that will discharge if the hammer is down and gets struck from behind. There is no aspect of drop safety that is better with hammer or striker. Either can be equally safe.

  27. avatar Southerner says:

    Striker Fired vs. Hammer Fired: What’s the Difference, and is One Better?

    Better for what?

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:

      Better for a firearm.

  28. avatar Jackass Jim says:

    Jeremy – it is sad when a decent article is posted TTAG and the vast majority of replies are snarky blather.

    TTAG is going down the tubes faster than the Democrats are going insane.

  29. avatar A. Daniels says:

    “Double action means that pulling the trigger performs two actions: (1) it cocks or finishes cocking the spring responsible for denting the primer, and (2) it then releases the hammer or the striker.”

    With hammer-fired handguns, “double-action” also has a related meaning, namely that a person has two options when firing: (1) to manually cock the hammer before squeezing the trigger, or (2) when the hammer is down, squeezing the trigger thus allowing the mechanism to raise the hammer and then letting it fall. Hence, SA revolver (e.g. Remington 1875), DA revolver (e.g. Colt Python), SA pistol (e.g. Browning Hi-Power), and DA/SA pistol (e.g. S&W Model 39).

    1. avatar Jeremy S. says:


      What you’re describing with your (1) and (2) is the function of a DA/SA gun. You can either fire it in double action mode (your number 2 scenario) or you can fire it in single action mode (your number 1 scenario). We do not use “double action” as a way of referring to a gun that provides both double action and single action modes of fire, but instead as a DA/SA gun (double action/single action).

      And mainly that’s because there are plenty of hammer fired handguns (revolvers and semi-autos alike) that are double action only (DAO) that operate only in your number 2 scenario and the hammer cannot be cocked manually or kept in the cocked position by any means (other than pulling the trigger *almost* to where it breaks and holding it there). Operating in double action does not mean it can also operate in single action, which is why “double action” does not refer to a gun having two modes of operation but, rather, it refers to the operation itself (as defined in the post as a function of the trigger pull that both cocks and releases the hammer or striker).

  30. avatar SkorpionFan says:

    Speaking of striker-fired guns, any word on who submitted bids on the U.S. Customs and Border Protection solicitation for a “9MM Handgun” family of full-size, mid-size and compact striker-fired pistols? The solicitation closed September 9, 2018. The full and mid sized needed to be optics ready.

    Seems like the newly announced CZ P-10 family of U.S.-made P-10 F full-sized, P-10 C compact, and P-10 S subcompact would be a great fit.

  31. avatar Shwiggie says:

    I own and enjoy a number of hammer-fired and striker-fired firearms. Out of those my standard carry options consist of a hammer-fired CZ P-01, a striker-fired Sig P365, and a hammer-fired S&W 3″ Model 65. My truck and home defense rifles are hammer-fired AR 300BLK pistols, and my homestead rifle is a striker-fired vz58. So I don’t discriminate.

  32. Jeremy you are very lucky to get that P7 PSP for 600. I think I paid 800 from TOP GUN when they had them. good gun. but yours looks nice with those grips and that finish. I got the standard finish and grips on mine. but all the finish is there and no nicks , dings or whatever. good luck with it

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