Striker vs. Hammer

Yet, another great question regarding which is better, a hammer or striker fired gun. In most cases, we are talking about hand guns.

Hammer

Hammer fired guns can be either:

  • Single Action Only
  • Double Action Only
  • Double Action/Single Action

When discussing single and double action, with hammer fired guns, we are talking about the actions of cocking the hammer and releasing the hammer. In a single action, the hammer must be cocked first, then the trigger is used to release the hammer. A 1911 is a perfect example of a single action hand gun. In a double action, the trigger is used to cock the hammer and release the hammer all in one trigger pull. This means that a double action has a longer trigger pull and it usually requires more strength to pull the trigger. There are many guns that use a double action/single action (DA/SA)

Hammer

Pro

  • The hammer is a very reliable way to drive the firing pin into the bullet’s primer and ignite it. It is a time-proven method.
  • Usually have thumb safety devices that must be manually enabled and disabled. This makes them safer, in some minds, than other guns that do not have a manual safety device.
  • A single action gun will usually have a much lighter and shorter trigger pull.

Con

  • Single action hammer fired guns must be cocked before they can be fired, and to be effective as defensive guns, they must be carried in a cocked and locked position.
  • Usually have safety devices that must be manually enabled and disabled. The step of disabling the thumb safety can be challenging in a defensive situation when adrenaline is involved.
  • Double action guns usually have much heavier and longer trigger pulls.
  • DA/SA have two different trigger pulls, which requires the user to master two different trigger pulls if they want to be effective in its use.

Striker

Pro

  • Can include an external thumb safety.
  • Can include a grip safety.
  • Are available with trigger based safeties that do not require additional steps to use the gun in a defensive situation.
  • Triggers are are usually lighter and shorter than double action hammer fired guns.

Con

  • The triggers are usually heavier and longer than single action hammer fired guns.
  • The striker is not as reliable when it comes to igniting some bullets that have hard primers.
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