4 Reasons I Love DA/SA Guns

DA/SA guns can take some getting used to. But they can be great once you’re familiar.


I fell in love with the CZ 75 and Beretta 92 at a very young age in my shooting career. As such, I’ve long been a fan of these handguns and the Double action / single-action trigger system, aka the DA/SA. In recent years the old DA/SA has fallen out of favor in light of the rise of striker-fired pistols. I still cling to my DA/SA pistols, and I have several reasons why.

Why I love the DA/SA Trigger

I’ve concluded that the DA/SA trigger system is the best….for me. I don’t think it’s necessarily the only trigger worth considering. If a single action, a DAO, or striker-fired trigger works for you, then great. However, if you are a little new to guns, allow me to argue why I prefer the DA/SA trigger system, but first, let’s explain what that system is.

A DA/SA trigger utilizes two different trigger pulls. The first shot is a longer, heavier trigger pull that both cocks the hammer and then releases the hammer to fire the weapon. It does two actions, so it’s a double-action.

After that first shot is fired, the slide reciprocates and recocks the weapon. Now the weapon is in single-action mode. The trigger is now very light and short, and it only releases the hammer to fire the weapon. Here’s why I like this system.

DA/SA Restrike Capability

If I pull the trigger and hear a click because the round failed to fire, I have the opportunity to just pull the trigger again. The gun will revert to double action, and I can pull the trigger again to try to fire the round one more time. With a striker or single action only gun, I have to immediately go into corrective action to fix the malfunction.

A DA/SA trigger offers me an immediate chance to restrike and fire the potentially bad round one more time.

That Little Extra Safety

That longer initial trigger pull takes a real decisive action to initiate. It’s long and heavy and acts a bit like a safety in a few different situations. First, if a foreign object gets tangled in the trigger guard while I reholster, the trigger is heavy, and I’m likely to notice it before the weapon fires.

Second, in a stressful situation, that long trigger pull requires a very active trigger pull. I have a little extra time, even a fraction of a second, to change my mind if the situation changes.

Finally, I have full control over the gun by controlling the hammer. I can press the hammer downwards and completely disable the gun until I’m satisfied it’s safe to release it. If I’m in a close-range wrestling match with my gun, I know all I need to do to prevent a discharge is to pres downwards on that hammer. That little extra control is a huge benefit to a DA/SA gun, in my opinion.

That Follow-Up Shot

Sure, people say the first shot of a DA/SA option sucks, but they fail to mention how sweet the follow-up shots are. The single-action triggers are sweet. They are light, short, and provide a crisp reset. A good single-action trigger is smoother than 99% of striker-fired triggers. At any time, a shooter can manually cock their weapon to single action for those longer-range shots.

Master the DA/SA, and You Master Them All

Finally, if you master the DA/SA gun, you can very effectively use any other handgun. This includes revolvers with DA/SA designs or DAO designs. Masters of the DA/SA can easily move between all trigger types and effectively handle SAO, DAO, and striker-fired guns.

Starting Double, Staying Single

DA/SA guns take time and ammo to master, admittedly. However, for me, it was well worth the effort and time. The DA/SA trigger system has been good to me for well over a decade now. From the service pistol I wielded in the Marine Corps to my all-time favorite pistol, the CZ SP01, I cling to the DA/SA design. Do we have any other fans of the DA/SA trigger system?

Let me know in the comments if you love or hate DA/SA guns.

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Travis Pike is a former Marine Machine gunner who served with 2nd Bn 2nd Marines for 5 years. He deployed in 2009 to Afghanistan and again in 2011 with the 22nd MEU(SOC) during a record-setting 11 months at sea. Travis has trained with the Romanian Army, the Spanish Marines, the Emirate Marines, and the Afghan National Army.

He serves as an NRA-certified pistol instructor and pursues a variety of firearms-based hobbies.


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6 thoughts on “4 Reasons I Love DA/SA Guns”

  1. Christopher J Leete

    I carried a gen3 S&W auto for years, it was a brick of a gun, but way more accurate than it had a right to be. Or maybe I was just good with it after countless rounds of practice.
    That one’s long gone and I have a much, much, lighter Sig P229 SAS. And a P227 to keep it company.

    1. Two scenarios that helps explain what’s going on.

      1) When reholstering DA/SA, you can press down on the hammer with your shooting hand’s thumb and what that will do in case the trigger gets snagged on a piece of clothing or something, your thumb will stop the hammer from being pulled back, and thus this will prevent the gun from negligently going off into your lower extremities. Striker has no such safety feature.
      2) The other, hopefully, less likely scenario is if you’re in a struggle with a hostile, you’ll have to practice it, but you can use your thumb to keep the gun safe from firing until you’re confident and ready to use it

  2. The double action / single action trigger is one of the reasons that my nightstand gun is a Bul Armory Cherokee (think is really clone of the CZ 75 Compact). Of course, the fact that it is heavier than any of my other pistols factors in too. , God forbid, someone’s coming through my front door I invited, I won’t have to worry as much about recoil throwing off my hand. 🙂

  3. My first handgun was a Makarov. It’s a well made, reliable, and simple arm. A blowback with fixed barrel, it is very accurate with good ammo. I have been thinking about getting it out and dusting it off. I have used pistols with each of the action types and DA revolvers, but you need to practice with a new action before carrying it. I have never found that a DA/SA trigger was a handicap.

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