Advantages of Striker-Fired Pistols

dao striker-fired

The difference in where the weight begins on the double action only (left) and the striker-fire action pistol(right). The trigger must also be moved to this position in order to fire another round. Photos: author

Being a defensive firearms training instructor who sees many students at their first formal training means I see many students who have made the mistake of purchasing a “defensive handgun” prior to having the knowledge needed to make an educated buying decision. Many of these students have chosen what a friend or the guy at the gun counter told them without knowing any of the details of what makes a good defensive handgun.

Many instructors recommend double-action-only revolvers, double-action-only semi-automatics, and striker-fired semi-automatics as I do. All these action types have the main characteristics desired in a defensive pistol. They can safely be carried without the need for a manually operated mechanical safety. This means that in the middle of a violent attack, you do not need to use any fine motor skills to manipulate the safety. They are all simple to operate. When you press the trigger, they fire and if you don’t press the trigger, they will not fire. Although all these action types offer this simplicity, I lean more toward striker-fired semi-automatics over the double-action-only variety for many beginning students for multiple reasons.

[Related PDN Video: Advantage of Striker-fired Pistols]

Striker-fired semi-automatics were made popular in the 1980s by Glock. Although the company was not well received in the beginning, it has become one of the most popular defensive pistol brands in the world. The striker firing mechanism uses a spring-loaded firing pin that works more like the launcher in a pinball machine than that of a traditional pistol with a hammer. This spring-loaded pin is partially cocked by the movement of the slide. The trigger then cocks the pin the remainder of the way and releases it to strike the primer and ignite the cartridge. Why does this make a difference to the beginning defensive shooting student?

smith wesson mp

Striker fire action from a Smith & Wesson M&P. The striker is partially cocked by the movement of the slide, then finished and released by pressing the trigger. Photo: author

Trigger Control

The term trigger control refers to the technique of activating the trigger while minimizing movement, which causes more deviation. During target shooting this is done by slowly and deliberately pressing the trigger rearward in a smooth motion. This should result in a “surprise break,” meaning that the shooter does not know precisely when the gun is going to fire.

In a defensive encounter, our goal is to end the situation as quickly as possible so we can get ourselves out of danger sooner. We do not have time for this slow, deliberate trigger squeeze. We also are “lucky” in that we do not usually need a target-shooting level of precision in the middle of a defensive situation. Accurate defensive shots are normally defined as approximately a 9-inch group or an 8.5 x 11-inch sheet of paper. This level of precision is much different than that of target shooting, where the goal is to fire all the shots through the same hole. Since we do not require that level of precision, we can speed up our rate of fire and maintain the precision we need.


Why does this affect the decision between these two action types? The amount of force or weight of the trigger pull in many of these firearms is very similar, in about the six- to seven-pound range. But the duration or length of that weight is far greater on the double action only. Imagine you need to move an 80-pound bag of concrete from point A to point B. If point A is five feet away from point B, it is going to be much easier than if point A is 20 feet away. Similarly, completing a rudimentary test of a Ruger LC9 (double action only) to determine where the weight begins on the trigger, it took moving the trigger approximately ½ inch to activate the trigger. By comparison, an M&P 9 (striker-fired) took approximately 1/8 inch, after the weight began, to activate the trigger. You need to utilize more trigger control on the double action only, since the length of the trigger pull tends to amplify the deviation caused by lack of trigger control.

For the basic student, this can result in deviation that causes shots to land outside the defensive accurate zone. I have even had students who claimed to be “experienced” miss the target completely until slowing to a near target shooting pace to get their hits. Some students with weaker hands or arthritis were unable to squeeze the trigger far enough to activate it at all.

defensive accuracy zone

These two targets were shot by a beginning student. Yellow ring indicates established accuracy zone. On the left is the target fired at with the double action only. The striker gun is on the right. Photo: author

Range Testing

I recently tested this with a few students in a defensive class. I had each student fire 10 rounds from both guns from approximately 10 feet in defensive-style drills. The testing fell right where I thought it would. The students had much better success staying in the defensive accurate zone with the striker-fired pistol than the double action only. The first student had never done a defensive drill prior to this. He hit in the “accurate” area five out of 10 with the double action only and seven out of 10 with the striker gun.

We also used a shot timer, and this same student fired two shot pairs in 1.173 seconds on average with the double action only compared to an average of .952 second with the striker-fired. He actually fired approximately 18.8% faster while still improving the amount of hits in the accurate area. This student is very representative of the average beginning defensive pistol student in my experience. I have had many students with double-action-only pistols and I’ve had them switch to a striker-fire action and seen an instant improvement in their results.


Another issue I have seen with beginning students with double-action-only pistols is failing to allow the gun to reset. Reset on a defensive pistol is a term commonly used to describe how far the trigger needs to go back toward its at-rest position after a shot has been fired to enable it to fire another shot.

Similar to the length the trigger must be pulled to fire the shot, this distance is much greater on double-action-only style pistols than on striker-fired. Again with our two test pistols completing a very rudimentary test (from the trigger pressed all the way back to reset), the LC9 came in at approximately 5/8 inch movement compared to the M&P at slightly less than ¼ inch.

ruger lc9

Hammer on back of Ruger LC9. Hammer is not exposed to be manually cocked and is not affected by the movement of the slide. Pressing the trigger does all the work. Photo: author

This lengthy reset in the double action only can result in what is known as “short stroking” the trigger. If the trigger finger does not allow the trigger to go all the way to reset when firing a string of shots, it causes the gun not to fire when the trigger is pressed for the next shot.

I have seen this happen to beginning students in the middle of a drill. They assume there is a malfunction, only to eject a live round. The worst-case scenario is the beginner not knowing this and having to learn it in the middle of an attack. Again this affects our balance of speed and precision in defensive shooting. More movement means more time needed to fire the shots accurately.

Striker-Fired Suggestions

Although both the double-action-only and striker-fired pistols are recommended action types for concealed handguns, the ease of firing the striker-fired cannot be matched by the double action only. It takes much more time to master the ability to fire the double-action-only pistol, and this should play a part in your selection process. There is no reason to make things more complicated, especially if you’re starting out.

Students who struggle tend to practice and train less when not seeing positive results. You should select every piece of equipment to give you every possible advantage. Training is meant to better your abilities. Improving those abilities should not be overshadowed by making up for the shortcomings of your equipment. In almost every basic class, a student who is having trouble with their gun says it will “take practice.” My suggestion is to purchase a different gun. Even if you take the extra time to become proficient with the double action only, you would most likely be even better with the striker-fired.

Here is a list of striker-fired pistols that you can consider as suitable options — but you should still dry fire the gun prior to purchasing to be sure it is right for you.

  • Glock: All models are striker fire action. Find one that fits your hand comfortably and is in the caliber you want.
  • Smith & Wesson M&P series: All semi-automatic models except Bodyguard. M&P Shield offers the striker-fire action in a very compact slim design. I suggest this if ease of concealment is an important consideration for you.
  • Ruger: SR9 and SR9c.
  • Springfield Armory: XD series.

Be careful when selecting a defensive firearm. Make sure it is something you are capable of firing with the level of precision needed. Striker-fired triggers vary greatly by make and model. As an educated consumer, you should check them prior to purchasing a defensive pistol. Buying the handgun that feels best to you will give you more incentive to train and practice with it. This will help you become proficient faster, making you better prepared for a defensive encounter.

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167 Responses to “Advantages of Striker-Fired Pistols”
  1. Jeremy

    I’d also recommend that beginners consider a PPQ. Same advantages, but a much better trigger. The downsides are the higher cost of magazines, availability of accessories such as sights and holsters and the higher bore axis.

    • Anon007C

      Having fired both, I can say that the new H&K VP9 is an even better option than the PPQ, as it has every advantage the PPQ does and its grip is better-designed from an ergonomic standpoint, making it much more comfortable to fire.

      • George

        Just bought an H&K VP40 and shot it first time last night. Amazed at how good it feels (low Kick and comes with 9 handle parts so you customize fit to your hand) and how accurate it is (5 rounds in 6 inch circle at 60′ 2 handed standing position). It also has a safety built into the trigger so you get a safety without having to take the time to turn it off before firing. 13 + 1 so you get more rounds off before having to reload. Heavier, larger gun for CC, but lighter than many double stack CC weapons and has a super trigger right out of the box, w/ no customization. Really new on the market so most haven’t heard of it yet, but I’m sure you will hear more soon. I’m very impressed w/ mine as my ‘large’ CC weapon.

        • Greg

          A Trigger Safety is no Safety at all. I know everyone seems to think that the Glock Style Trigger Safety is all you need, but I know of two well trained individuals who have both had AD’s that resulted in personal injury with a Glock that had its trigger manipulated by the holster it was secured in. IF you need a safety on your weapon, and I would encourage their use, then the grip safety of the Springfield Armory XD line is my preferred choice. It is easily defeated by an action that does not require fine motor skills, and would have prevented both the AD’s that I personally know about. A thumb safety is the obvious second choice but I’m not quite sure how I feel about those for defensive pistol use, considering the fine motor skills that may be needed to manipulate them.

          • Michael

            There are no accidental discharges, only negligent discharges… The Glock trigger safety is on part of the “safe action”.

          • Jerry Young

            Well said I carry a Springfield XD mod 2, I agree the trigger safety is not a safety at all when trigger contact is what causes most accidental discharges I know some argue that is not what they call them but who cares about being politically correct when it comes to firearms safety, I like a manual operated safety but at least the Springfield has the passive safety unlike glock that has no real safety at all

          • Kevin

            Totally Agree, every gun has a manual safety, It is our trigger figure and our brain, there is no such thing as a AD! Guns don’t go bang unless we press the trigger and we should never have our finger on the trigger without the full intention of pressing it to either stop a deadly threat or for training purposes!

          • Jack

            I have allows held the same opinion about the lack of an external safety and hammer. As for manipulating the safety in a hurry that problem can be handle by using your thumb to control the hammer when holstering. With a holster that covers the trigger and trigger guard the gun is safe until drawn from the holster. The fact is ALL guns have advantages and disadvantages; if you are going to CC managing the disadvantages should be the first order of business.

          • Scott

            I agree with you as well. I am aware of an officer in a situation that needed to draw his gun quickly and hand it catch of his holster and his hand slip from his grip and his ginger catch the trigger as he drew, leaving the gun hooked and his finger catch the trigger discharging the weapon.

          • Mike

            “Rodney” — NO. firearms without external safety do NOT have higher rates of accidental or negligent discharges.

      • Code of the West

        I agree, I was surprised that the HK VP9 and/or the HK VP9 SK wasn’t included. Great firarms!

  2. Todd

    In staying with Jeremy’s Walther suggestion, for a slim CCW design & striker fired, the Walther PPS is impressive and simply out performs the M&P Shield in my experience of having recently shot both and now planning on getting a PPS.

    • David

      I agree. I strongly considered getting a Glock 26 until I read reviews and watched videos of the Walther PPS. I’m glad I went with the Walther. I shot the Glock 26 about a year after buying the Walther and disliked the Glock 26.

  3. Christopher

    Kahr Arms also makes a number of slim striker fired pistols in all the popular calibers. Their pistols are known for their exceptionally smooth triggers.

    • Will W.

      I have several striker fired handguns and a couple of 1911’s. The trigger on my Kahr CW45 is smooth as silk and the reset is great. My Ruger Sr9c was the first striker fired gun that I bought after getting my CHL. Nice trigger, extremely accurate, adjustable back strap, rail and came with a 10 and 17 round mag. I also have the Ruger LC9s. Slim and holds 7 + 1. Nice trigger great for summer or when you want something really light weight. What can I say about shooting a 1911 that hasn’t been said over the last 100 years. Amazing trigger on both of my .45 and 9mm. Probably the poster child for gun safety.

      • Will W.

        I forgot to mention my SP101. Always nice to have a wheel gun. The DAO trigger smooths out after awhile and it will become an heirloom.

  4. Don S.

    The new striker fired Glock 42 in .380 cal. is a dream to shoot. The softest shooting .380 out on the market today.

      • Joe

        If you have a Glock 42 make sure the magazine has an 03 on the back. There have been problems with the magazines marked 01 and 02. I usually use American eagle or Anguilla ammo. No problems. Last week I fired 50 rounds of Mag Tech. I had jams, stove pipes, lack of lock back on last round in every magazine fired. With the latest generation of magazine and right ammo, I love my Glock 42.

  5. jd

    I second that about the Kahr. have a CM9 which has a very smooth trigger pull. Good size for concealment yet still plenty of power. I only wish the reset was a little shorter like my Glock 26. G26 just a little heavier and harder to carry.

    • Reynold

      I carry G23 gen4 in a Crossbreed iwb Supertuck. Loving it from morning till bed. Get one for yourself if
      Concealed carry is your thing.

      • LarryE

        That was my carry rig, but I’m a fat man on the gulf coast, so sweat went through the supertuck and mixed with lint on the gun, which had to be cleaned often. I switched to the “natesquared” IWB holster, which has a water barrier, and the problem was solved. Carry every day comfortably, and like it better than supertuck which is now a $60 paperweight.

        • Kenneth S Carter

          I have to agree Larry as to the Nate Squared holsters. In my opinion they are the best ever made. They solve the sweat problem and the pointy parts digging into my side problem and I’ve been shooting/carrying for 50+ years. I have no affiliation with this company but if you want the most comfortable holster there is go here:

    • ngz

      Third that on the Kahr.. exceptionally smooth trigger but long take up before it fires. It’s about the only improvement I could see in this pistol. Recoil is also mild for a 9mm in a compact. I have what was called a Ladysmith.. bit shorter than a K-9

  6. Aaron

    I noticed you did not consider the 1911 as a defensive weapon. For me, a 1911 is superior to double action and have an edge over Glocks. An officer size 1911 can be easily carried as a defensive gun and the trigger on a 1911 is short and crisp.

    • Wolf

      If I had to guess why he didn’t include officer’s model 1911 it would be weight and the need to manipulate a manual safety, unless you plan on carrying without one in the pipe.

      • Randall Knapp

        You can carry one in the pipe just fine with the hammer down if you do not mind loading the fireing pin rebound spring or you can carry like I do my 1945 Star with the hammer down on a piece of matchstick so the spring is not compressed. To shoot just draw thumb hammer back and the piece of matchstick falls from the action.

      • Randy

        One alternative to the 1911 situation, is the Para Ordinance LDA. It is a double action only 1911, with a double stack magazine and is in the officer size. It has the lightest pull of any double action made. When the trigger is pulled up so far, it goes into a single action mode with a crisp break. It has the grip and thumb safety as the 1911 and is a dream to shoot. After a couple rounds of shooting this firearm, you barely pay attention that it is a double action pistol.

      • Sig220Euro

        Or maybe because the title of the article is “ADVANTAGES OF STRIKER-FIRED PISTOLS”. Last I checked a 1911 has a hammer… come on people!!

    • Michael

      I carried a officer 1911 for over a year, and recently switched to a XDm 3.8 compact in 45. I love my 1911 but now it’s pretty much a safe queen. The XDm has the same grip length and girth, the things that print while IWB, while holding 9+1, instead of the 1911s 7+1. While I’ve never had issues with my 1911 jamming, I’ve had other people limp wrist it. But the XDm devours everything. And as a plus the XDm is out of the box ready for occasional 45 super. 1911s are great, but there are plenty of just as great carry guns that are cheaper with less safeties to potentially fumble.

    • Jonathon Hood

      Thanks Aaron. Well said. While I do like several of the striker fired pistols, I remain a 1911, .45 acp guy. Very hard to improve on this time tested and true tool.

  7. Craig S. Andersen

    I carry Glocks in the winter and a Walther PPS in the warmer months. The Walther has a much better trigger than the Glocks both in therms of trigger break and reset. I am so impressed with the Walther that I am thinking seriously of trading in my Glock 27 on a Walther PPS in .40 S&W.

  8. Christian

    And if you’d given them a single action 1911 their groups would have been even smaller.

    There are three levels of accuracy:
    1. Dead bad guy (you hit what you aim at)
    2. Dead hostage (you almost hit what you aim at)
    3. Dead Samaritan (you miss completely and the bad guy shoots you)

  9. Dave

    Another striker-fired pistol manufacturer to consider is Steyr. Austrian made just like the Glock but I prefer them over the Glock. Available in 9mm and .40 cal.

    • Anttonius

      Woot! Woot! The Steyr ‘Trapezoid’ sights are fast to get on target. Love these Steyr Pistols.

      • Larry

        I just bought a Steyr C40 A1 (Compact .40). At 68 I have to use reading glasses for about everything, but the Steyr trapezoid sights allow me to get quick target acquisition even without my glasses on. I like ’em.

  10. Michael S

    Excellent explanation to a very complicated matter. I have recently acquired a couple of striker fire weapons and they are very easy to use, trigger control is extremely important for accuracy

  11. Tim Mueller

    Great piece. Very informative. I have both types and seem to do fine. But I started out shooting a revolver, so that may be why I have less of an issue with the double action autos.

  12. Daniel

    As much as I would like to agree with you, I have to disagree with you. Here are my reasons.
    Many women, and some men, cannot rack the slide on any semi-auto pistol. My wife cannot. You can’t practice like you ought to, if you cannot put one in the chamber.
    Some have the horrible habit of placing their finger on the trigger as soon as they pick up a gun. That can spell real disaster. I’ve seen full grown men pick a 1911 off of a gun counter and have seen that finger go straight to the trigger. I know a 1911 is NOT a striker fired pistol, but I’ve seen these same type do the same with whatever gun they handle.
    I’ve seen quite a few people grab a pistol too low on its grip. They may get that first round off, and Lord knows where that round will go, but this grip equates to a limp wrist and a resultant jam.
    I have been shooting pistols for about 38 years. I prefer striker fired pistols, although I am comfortable with DA/SA and DAO formats.
    There are other striker fired pistols besides these shown on the list, that would fit into some peoples finances, and some that require more money to buy.
    The Steyr M9-A1 is a great pistol, with a decent trigger and it is very accurate. The cost less these days, and high cap magazines, 15 and 17 rounds, can be bought at a very reasonable price.
    FN makes a striker fired pistol, but the mags are pricey. They can had with, or without manual safeties.
    Taurus makes the PT111 Millennium Pro Gen 2, which I have shot without any problems. They are under $400 for one with a stainless steel slide. Taurus also makes the PT709 Slim, but they cost about $100 more. Taurus also makes 40S&W models of these pistols. All of these have manual safeties. Some people need them.

  13. Dick Toler

    A good read. Explained a lot of the two differences I had no knowledge of before reading this article, very informative. I have a Sig P228, is it Striker or DA?


    • Leon

      check the owner’s manual or the company’s website …. or perhaps this will reveal your answer: field-strip it, and if there is a hammer showing as part of the frame, it is NOT striker-fired (thinking 1911, as I have both a 1911 and a Glock, both built from parts as 80% projects, which require intimate study of the designs and careful parts shopping to ensure compatibility)

    • Matt W.

      Your SIG P228 is a hammer-fired Double-Action semi-auto, one of the best. The Air Force issues them to pilots as the M11 and the other services issue them to CID investigators.

  14. Phil LaRock

    This is truly fantastic information!! I recently purchased a Springfield Armory MDs in .45 ACP. I bought because of feel, lightweight and compactness. After owning several Auto’s over my lifetime, mainly for target, my first trip to the range with it proved to be a real awakening. I must admit, with all my experience, I never heard about this Striker-Fired trigger. My first string of 5 rds. with the MDs told me that……there must be something really wrong with the trigger. I keep squeezing and squeezing wondering when in hell is this thing going to fire???? I talked to a couple of gunsmiths and they told me that it was just the gun and that “……I would just have to get used to it.”
    Your article here explains everything! I will now approach it’s trigger control with a much different outlook.
    Thanks so much for the explanation.

    Well written,


  15. Jim

    Good information and well presented. I purchased I purchased a DAO S&W 357 lite weight hamerless beautiful gun however using a two hand grip at 25 yds I could only put 1 out of five in a 12″ target. I took the gun back and traded for the exact same gun but with a hammer and at 25 yards could hit 5 ou of 5. In my case eliminating the long trigger pull made the difference. Granted you don’t need a concealed carry gun to preform at 75 feet however it is comforting to know what I aim at will be hit. It’s good your addressing the issue, had I read it first could have saved a lot of money.

    • Jim

      If you are pulling the hammer back for each shot in order to gain accuracy you are obviously not training for self-defense but for target competition. I think the article is geared toward defensive handgun use, not target shooting.

  16. Marion Jack Williams

    Thank you for this discussion; I have tried for years to find a clear and understandable definition of the anatomy and physiology of the striker, and was never comfortable with my knowledge.Since I have both types of handgun, I can now understand the difference in function which I noted but couldn’t explain when firing the guns.
    I’m an old guy(85!!)and the arthritis and weakness in my hands makes it almost impossible for me to fire my Chief’s special 38 revolver for the full five shots using the double action mode.On the other hand, it is very easy for me to empty my Model 86 Beretta without problem–and with much greater
    accuracy because it is striker-fired.

    I would strongly advise older people with arthritis in their hands and fingers to obtain striker-fired fguns for both self defense and target shooting. I plan to shoot often and long for the next 15 years;then I hope to be satisfied to sit in my rocking chair and complete reading all of the books in my library.
    Marion Jack Williams,M.D.

    • Mike Hanna

      Good letter, Doc. I’m 83 and have a problem with racking the slide on the M&P Shield (in 9mm) even with the “improved” spring. These ol’ hands are having a problem with several semi’s as well as trigger pull on DO wheel guns. A nice, old Win. M 92 carbine in .32-20 just seems comfortable!

  17. Jon

    The Taurus PT111 G2 (generation 2) has been made into a very good Glock clone. It has gotten lots of great reviews on youtube. The only fly in the ointment is Taurus customer service takes 40 minutes or more to get through to take advantage of the lifetime warranty every Taurus comes with, as I found out when I needed to send in a Taurus Judge for timing work.

  18. Bill Elliott

    You fail to mention reliability and longevity,
    I will take a Kimber over a Glock anyday.
    Also most strikers do not have safeties and that is a issue for beginners because there are many people out there that have shot them selves with strikers.

    • Wolf

      You can shoot yourself with any pistol if you put your boogerhook on the bangswitch before you intend to fire. That’s not the gun’s fault, it’s the operator’s. The purpose of a manual safety is to prevent the firing pin from dropping case the weapon is dropped or struck.

  19. Tom

    I have 4 of the Springfield XD’s – – I love them all and the only problem I’ve had with any of them was with the XD 45 ACP service model – – It will not work with simi wad cutter ammo – – But it does work fine with every thing else!!

    • Randall

      Good article, agreed. Tom, I have 4 myself, and i prefer them over a glock anyday. Great guns

    • John P

      Most semi-auto’s have a problem feeding the semi-wad cutter because of the bullet shape. The ridge on the slug will hang up on the load ramp, unless modified.

    • Dan Reed

      I thought the XD’s were great until I tried the new XDM’s, now I have XDM’s with Speedsights. ( You have to try them.

  20. Janet Allen

    Jarrod, thank you for this info. Wish I had read your article before purchasing and getting my Conceal and Carry license. I bought the S/W Bodyguard. I feel like you said – need some practice.

  21. Joe Maughan

    That’s a great article. Spot on. It’s what I’ve been trying to teach to my students for a very long g time. I’ve found it’s easier to show folks on the range rather than try to explain it. I plan on passing this on if that’s ok.

  22. Bob

    One thing of note that was not discussed.
    That is the method of breakdown with a
    striker fired weapon especially Glocks and similar types. And that is having to pull the trigger to release the slide in order to remove it. That is a primary flaw (to me) and the reason I do not
    like a Striker Fired weapon. I started with
    .357 Mag revolvers and pretty much have stuck with them. That said, it was a great article and the point was well made as to the possible advantages of
    a striker fired weapon.

    • Dan Reed

      The M&P Shield 2.0 is striker fired and you do not have to pull the trigger to remove the slide to field strip it.

  23. Hugh

    As correct as the author is with his points in the article, he spends an awful lot of time neglecting to mention that da/sa has all the safe carry benefits of the dao but lighter (follow up) trigger pulls than the striker fired.
    He also doesn’t mention holstering/unholstering which is the part where most accidental discharges happen, especially among the inexperienced shooters who this article is clearly written about. A da/sa can be decocked before holstering and that heavy double action trigger pull could be the difference between shooting yourself in the leg and not riding in an ambulance. Asides from the obvious defensive situation you’re using the gun to thwart, holstering is one of the most dangerous thing you can do with loaded handgun. People shoot themselves all the time.

    • Bob

      Recommending striker fired pistols for beginners on the premises noted here is akin to suggesting teens should drive Ferraris as their first cars.

      Safety first – always. Speed and accuracy need to come from practice, not a “faster” gun.

      I say DAO’s for anyone carrying with a chambered round unless they are highly trained. DAO should be the “learner’s permit” of handguns!

  24. merrill

    Is a Sig 226 with an 8 lb trigger pull safer than a M&P with a 7 lb trigger pull?
    If you are moving around after the first shot the M&P still has a 7 lb trigger. The DA/ SA
    will have a light trigger that you may pull by accident?
    Thanks for your article.

    • Papa Lione

      As Hugh correctly pointed out, the SA/DA P226 can be decocked after firing. AND SHOULD BEFORE HOLSTERING.
      But who (besides LEOs) carries a SIG P226? Although a fine fireaarm, it’ s huge and not very concealable.
      I like the M&P Shield but I carry the Springfield XDs 3.3″ 9mm because I like the grip safety.

  25. Bob

    This report is 100 percent, I am constantly practicing and learning,I recently purchased a m and p shield, the accuracy of the striker is unbelievable, my hammer fired semi autos have longer barrels, the shield is backup at 3.1 inches,there is just a slight recoil.

  26. bob

    Thanks for the opportunity to comment. I sold my Striker fired guns after giving them an honest try. I still read well written views like the one presented here to test my position. Then there’s the position taken by Massad Ayoob, who calls for frame mounted safeties and / or DAO triggers based on the many accidental shootings he’s helped people recover (legally) from. Safety also matters. I do want to be able to quickly engage if necessary, but I am willing to give up the first clean pull on my DA / SA Sigs in favor of being just a bit safer. I do carry with a round in the pipe, but never did with the my Glocks or the M&P. I felt like a miscue when holstering or drawing under stress, or any time, was just too possible. Then there’s time spent doing the Israeli draw, like my Glock buddy says he’ll do. I’m not fast enough and never will be. So Sigs and their post-action safeties are fine for me. Now, if I could just find an instructor who doesn’t put his or her nose in the air when they see my carry option.

    • Willie

      Well said, I agree 100% with you!! Some instructors need a piece of wood aside their head!!

  27. marc burns

    I’ll carry a 7.65 Mauser simi after my ccw arrives in a couple of weeks. It’s very similar to a ppk. Also will be getting a Ruger 22-45 mark 3…nice gun.
    Merry Christmas

  28. forrest

    Only two mentions of 1911s here? Where are all the fanboys at?

    I would consider a striker fired pistol over a DAO, but a SA 1911 wins hands down in my book.

    Sure, it’s got a manual safety, but it’s one that 3 minutes of training can teach you to overcome with ease as you draw or immediately before firing.

    The trigger is where a single action pistol shines. As the saying goes, “you can’t miss fast enough to win a gunfight,” and you dang near can’t miss with a decent 1911’s trigger.

    I carried a Springfield champion daily for a few years and can tell you that not once did I pull that trigger and expect it to go off when it did. A 1911’s trigger fires exactly twice as soon as you expect it to, every time.

  29. joe koehler

    this article made no sense whatsoever why do they always have to go into specifics just make it short cut and dry why get all technical about it not everyone is a pro shooter

  30. Don Bumgarner

    Does carrying a striker fired pistol with a round chambered weaken the striker spring over a period of time?

    • CST

      Hi, Don. This should not be an issue; however, each manufacturer has their own prescribed maintenance periods based on time and/or rounds fired, that should be followed. It is also a good practice to function test your defensive firearm yearly. Specifically, fire 200 rounds of training ammunition without any failures and then follow up by firing 50 rounds of the defensive ammunition you are carrying without any failures. This is a good time to shoot the defensive ammunition you were carrying during the year and replace it with factory new. If you are changing the brand or type of defensive ammunition you were carrying, you must adjust accordingly.

    • Reynold

      If your worried about weakening the spring on striker,
      Don’t chamber a round. Run around with an empty gun. What about your magazine Spring? Don’t run around with bullets in it. Better yet, get a wheel gun.

      • kerryd

        Unless you’re in the habit of cleaning loaded guns, what’s the issue? The striker advantages far outweigh this minor step. And the trigger pull is not required on all striker fired pistols. My XDM doesn’t whereas my XDS does…

  31. Joe Saccone

    The comments about accidental firing while holstering/unholstering are very valid but don’t make a strong case for DAO over striker-fired. Practicing with the holster of choice for that weapon using a chambered snap cap until you feel confident about your draw is a better solution. When people rotate using several different weapons as EDC, they increase the likelihood of having a firing accident because their muscle memory is for a different weapon. Learn one, carry the same one.
    I think the accuracy lost to trigger flinch is the biggest reason for missed shots. Know the weapon’s limits, and YOUR OWN, at different distances. Most of us won’t be SWAT-accurate in a SHTF situation.

    • Reynold

      The best bet is keep your burger hook off the trigger.
      It’s not an accident, it’s a negligent discharge. Finger
      Straight and high along the slide. Doesn’t matter what pistol you draw.

  32. Lee

    Just about to buy an H&K vp9. Wanted to see what striker fire was all about. I’m a revolver guy a heart but wanted a semi auto pistol just to broaden my understanding of some of these amazing weapons. Only thing that scares me is the lack of a mech. safety to de-cock the gun for whatever reason. People at gun shop claim that it is built into the trigger mechanism. True or false?

    • CST

      Hi, Lee. Your feelings about a pistols that don’t have an external safety and/or decocker is a very common concern of those new to modern striker fired (MSF) pistols. These MSF guns do have safeties but are defeated when getting a firing grip and putting your finger on the trigger. To answer your specific question, there is a safety tab built into the trigger that must be depressed to complete the trigger pull and fire the pistol. In addition, the VP9 has other safety features that are similar to the other striker fire models we recommend. Those are a striker safety which prevents a discharge if the gun is dropped or struck, disconnect safety prevents a discharge out of battery. You can check out more on the MSF firearm here: and You can check out the full list of features from HK here:

  33. River Walleye Guy

    Some replies recommend 1911s, but I get the idea from the author the single actions’ safeties are a hindrance for the average concealed carrier I’m moving away from SIG P938 myself for the same reason and heading in the direction of M&P full size or Bodyguard if the M&P’s size is in-concealable. Great article. My buying and selling of carry weapons attests to the author’s message.

  34. Jim

    The main point being missed is that no weapon will fire if you keep your finger off the trigger. Your finger should never get to the trigger until you are pointed down range and preparing to destroy something.

    • JP

      Point on trigger finger is true, but things other than fingers have caused NDs with some striker fired handguns (e.g., clothing while re-holstering, etc.)

  35. Mike Dunbar

    what are the differences in disassembly and assembly of the striker fired vs double action semi automatics. I find that the 1911 is a bear to assemble and would love a good instruction site.

    • cst

      The differences between disassembly between striker fired and DA/SA pistols are different between manufacturers. However, the disassembly of striker fired vs DA/SA from the same manufacturer are generally very similar. The best source I would suggest is visiting the websites of the manufacturer and looking up the user manual for the handgun (some even have a video available).

  36. Ron

    I’ve used hammer fired guns since the early 1950’s. Just ordered my first striker fired Ruger LC9s. The reason for the change is accuracy and shots per minute. I expect to improve both with the striker system. I’ll let you know my reaction and accomplishment in a few weeks.



    • James McKay

      I bought my first striker fired pistol, the Ruger LC9s a few months ago, One of the best shooting little pistols I’ve ever owned! Love to shoot it, and it’s my current concealed carry pistol. The only disadvantage it only holds 9 rounds with the extended magazines, but I carry two extra mags with me so…

  37. Janus

    the first real pistol i ever bought was a SA loaded 1911, and learned to shoot on single action for years, then i acquired a ruger p89 stainless, and fell in love with the DA/SA trigger and decocker, i then borrowed a friends glock 22 for a week and shot it, i liked it also reminded me of my 1911, and i also liked the striker concept, so i did some research and found the walther p99 a decockable striker pistol that has a DA/SA trigger, and i dont think i will ever buy another pistol again because i love my p99 so much, it literately combines everything i like in all the previous guns i mentioned in one package.

  38. Sam Evans

    Your article is excellent. I tried a Ruger LC9 double action and did not like it. What do you think of the striker fired Ruger LC9s? Thank you.

  39. TimRamus

    The LC9 now comes in a striker fired version so I traded in my older version. The difference is night and day. I am now an advocate of striker fired.

  40. Greg A

    Hello to all
    I’m not an expert by any means,and I’m looking for a new carry piece,currently carry a walther ppks for about 15 years or so. I was wondering why you would recommend a glockenspiel to a beginner ( just curious, no disrespect intended. I like the way a glock 43 feels but wrote it off my list because of that light trigger pull. And things I’ve been reading about ADs/NDs

  41. Aaron

    I just bought thr SIG P320, under 550, with factory night sights. I tested it vs the Glock 19. The Sig has a very smooth trigger. You can get it with a trigger lever if you want, but it’s not required like glocks.

  42. Erich

    Just an update since this article was written. The Sig Sauer 320 is a relatively new striker-fired pistol. The trigger is great and it is customizable to the shooter and their hand. It comes in several sizes and calibers. Check it out if your looking for another option. FYI, not affiliated with Sig, just a long time fan. I trust my life to their guns. I have carried the P220 (.45), P228 (9mm), and am now carrying a P229R (9mm) – my favorite. I love all the previous mentioned models but am seriously taking a look at the P320 (9mm) after shooting it. It is impressive. And yes, I have carried the Glock family of pistols, in varying calibers too. Nice but I prefer the Sig over the Glock. Obviously, the most important thing is to carry a gun you like, fits you, and your confident with. Cheers.

  43. George

    The “safe” action (in effect, half cocked) design featured by Glock and others is the most idiotic design ever! here is the problem, The striker spring works against the recoil spring. Why is this a problem? Take ANY of these designs, chamber a round, and then pull the slide back 1/8 inch and let go. The gun won’t go into battery because the force of the recoil spring, when working against the striker spring, is not enough to overcome the friction of the next round in the magazine pressing upwards against the slide! In addition, the trigger pull is not crisp, and too long. The best is a straight single action striker, like for. ex, the Canick. The “safe” action of Glock, et al, is a stupid, stupid design. Just my two cents, but I hate it!

  44. Woody

    I grew up in a gun shop and sold guns since the 1960’s . I have been training some people on firearms . All I have to say is I will never put a striker fired handgun in the hands of a beginner . And it bother me a lot knowing police officers that get put into stressful situations are carrying these guns . It’s not as simple as saying how the trigger is pulled . Officers that put on gloves , or are in the process of cuffing people are a danger to the public when their hands are under stress . I have some of these guns. And I was an officer . I consider these guns as the most dangerous guns for accidental discharge I have ever seen . Even the people I am teaching have told me they dislike the striker fired guns do to never knowing when they are going to go off . As many guns as I have shot in my lifetime . I am sorry people . But I am going back to being safe with my pocket pistol that has a real safety . These striker fired guns in your pocket are just waiting to blow off your manhood . Whomever put these guns out there did not study how the human body works . Your trigger finger changes size from day to day , your hand can cramp, and if you accidentally drop your striker fired gun into your pocket you will do what an old officer friend of mine did . He shot the elevator . I have known officers that have shot themselves , their Tvs , and we had an officer in the radio room shot himself in the hand . And you think I am going to teach or sell one of these striker fired guns to a beginner ? No way ! I hold a much better group with my older Walther , and my browning hi power. Again I grew up in a gun shop in the 60’s . And I look at these guns that are striker fired harder to stay on the target because you don’t know when they are going to go off and you end up jerking the gun . These guns are an accident waiting to happen and should not have the safety on the trigger . I can’t even imagine how many kids will end up dead due to these things . If people like them . Then they should come with an extra safety that can be engaged if the owner wants to as I don’t want to rain on anyone’s parade . So guys don’t end up shooting off their manhood if a key on their key chain hits the trigger when they sit down . Be very careful with these striker fired guns fellers . I can’t say I don’t own one . But I will not put one in the hands of a beginner until an extra safety is added . Even if it is one that can be kept off if someone so desires . And I see no reason why that can not be done .

    • Jim

      You must know some very stupid/ignorant people if they would carry ANY pistol that is not holstered in a manner that covers the trigger guard. Even with pocket carry, you use a holster. With any handgun. Anything else is an ND waiting to happen.

    • R Parker

      Don’t be stupid and put one in your pocket without a holster to protect the trigger. Sounds like operator headspace and timing issues to me.

  45. Corbin Douthitt

    I prefer hammer fired DA/SA pistols. Reliability and ease of use, and safety of carry styles available. 1911- no need to have the safety on. CZ 75. No safety- decocker instead, if you prefer. Unholster- pull trigger, then s/a trigger. Simple. Safe. Easy. No striker assy to have clean over and over. Only took me one striker fired pistol to have it go bang click bang click click click bang. Re cleaned it sold it.

  46. Steve O

    Get your logic regarding striker for less experienced shooters, but would not the same logic (advantages) apply to the more experienced as well?

  47. JungleCogs

    Interesting opinions from the writer and in the comments section. In my judgment, I would start a beginner with a DA/SA hammer pistol with a manual safety. I would also teach them to not carry ‘one in the chamber’ and learn the ‘Israeli draw’ method. Now, one may say, “Wow, all that is pretty complicated to teach a beginner!” It is, and that is why I would do it. Any monkey can pick-up a striker fired pistol and pull the trigger and make it go bang. If a beginner can master the steps I mentioned above, he can pick-up any style pistol and fire it. Further, he will be more confident in his ability to handle all types of hand firearms. After that training the person may buy any style preferred. Maybe it’s a hammer model or maybe a striker or maybe both. But those folks will have self-assurance about what they are doing.

  48. Jeremy

    I love my Sig Sauer p 320. It is a very versatile pistol with many variations for grip, caliber, size .

  49. TallTony

    What is your opinion of the CZ P-09? I purchased and carry the Ruger SR9 but after almost 2 years and thousands of practice rounds, I’m thinking of going with the P-09 which was the other handgun I was considering for my first carry weapon. I’ve rented the P-09 three times at my local range and I find myself shooting more accurately using the CZ than my Ruger. Of course, at the beginning, I liked how user-friendly the SR9 is and the cost was also appealing. Now, I look at the CZ P-09 and I’m thinking that I’m now willing to pay more for a gun that helps me shoot with more accuracy and can hold two additional rounds per magazine. Your thoughts?

    • Customer Service

      When choosing a handgun for personal defense the decision should be based on two criteria, Reliability and Efficiency. Since the CZ isn’t a widely used gun we haven’t been able to observe enough of them in classes to comment on reliability. That said, the Ruger handguns generally perform fairly well when students bring them to classes. One last one on reliability, anytime you change your personal defense gun take the time to run it through a “New Gun Test” (more info can be found here:
      So we can only judge based on the second criteria, efficiency. First, the Ruger is a Striker-Fired pistol and the CZ a typical DA/SA with an external hammer. Unfortunately they both have manual safeties but because the Ruger has the traditional trigger safety it is able to be carried (safely) in a holster with the lever deactivated. The Ruger also has a lower bore axis than the CZ.

      As for the CZ allowing you to shoot with more accuracy, keep in mind that in a defensive situation taking a shot that requires extreme precision is highly unlikely. At the most plausible distances of 7 – 15 feet on plausible sized targets (torso/chest/head) can you get defensive accurate hits using threat focus and your body’s natural alignment or utilizing the sights (when needed)? If you’re a Premium member check out this video covering some of the topics briefly mentioned here:

  50. George

    How about the new LC9 S. It is striker fired. I owned both. The first had about the worst trigger I ever pulled. If I had tried it before I bought it I would not have traded my Keltec for it (my fault for not dry firing first, DO try before you buy). The LC9 S being striker fired is one of the best triggers on the market. I still have the “S” along with a Kahr CW 40 (my ONLY complaint is getting the Assembly pin back in properly ), a CZ 75B with thinner custom grips ( The only dbl stack I have ), Walther P99 in .40, etc . I also have a .380 Bodyguard with a couple of 10 rd. extra mags that I can put in my pants pocket when I don’t carry the LC9s or CW40. I don’t like IWB carry because I don’t have enough waist to wear a belt usually. I usually carry one of the .40s if I am in the woods loaded with alternating fmj & jsp for 4 legged animals or hp for 2 the legged kind else where (OWB or Horizontal shoulder). Its just a matter of knowing where it is, & where I am. I do have both IWB & pocket holsters for the LC9s. Complicated, yes. & no.

  51. thomas boger

    I did quite a lot of research on the cannik TP9Se before purchasing it. I also have a Glock 21, both are striker fired and both shoot to point of aim very well. with that being said, the Cannik is my go to carry gun, both for the ease of firing and the 18 round mag, with two extra mags and one round in the chamber, that gives me 55 rds available.thats insane !!! after 24 yrs in Law Enforcement, carrying every thing from 6 rd revolvers to the Glock, and I feel the striker fired weapon is the best thing going.

  52. Roger Halstead

    I have had a number of handguns. My current favorite is the Springfield XP-s in 45 cal. 180 Gr HP gives a faster round and far less muzzle flash and blast from the 230 Gr. With a 3.3″ barrel it’s easy to control, rapid fire, but definitely not for long range. Dropping a spent clip for a full one can be done quickly. My only complaint is the XP-S is a bit bulky for concealed as I have a small frame. The 45 might be a bit intimidating for a new shooter. Ammo in bulk is not terribly expensive, but 9mm is far cheaper

  53. Randall Knapp

    I started reading you article but it is so full of errors that it is unreadable. First off striker fired pistols basically follow the Browning patient. Then you go on to talk about striker fired pistols with out establishing the difference between singler action and double action. You just need to start all over……I hope that you firearms classes are better for the sake of your students.

  54. JR

    I’m old school. If I can’t see a hammer I don’t like it. It’s an opinion and maybe I should revise it. But I got my first 1911 in !973 (still have it), shoot a Pachmayr-ised Gold Cup in 3-Gun and have had a number of Colt 1911s in the interim. I concede that the operation of the manual safety on a SA auto requires an additional process. But I think that after the first year or so this became instinctive (no thought and/or delay involved) rather than cognitive. So after 43 years of SA auto shooting I am relaxed with this approach. Having said that, I admit that that I have had a SIG226, a SIG228 (both in 9mmP) and one of my two current carry guns is a SIG230SL (9mmK), the other is a delightful Colt Cobra. But, at almost 68, if had to choose only one, it would be a 1911. We understand one another.

  55. Mike Enzor

    Great read, although my EDC is a Sig P938 (Hammer fired) I carry it cocked and locked, I practice every week and it’s now just second nature to drop the safety as its coming out the holster, I also carry (which was not mentioned, but IMO should’ve been) is a Bersa BP9 CC (striker fired) great gun, AWSOME trigger with a very short reset and will eat anything you put in it. I have several Sigs ( yes. I’m a Sig guy, the mini 1911′ the 225 and a few others, I know all these are single stack, which I’ll get some flack over, however, I’m a right are amputee and the smaller grip allows me a much better feel and end result. I also carry an extra mag on every gun I carry, I know many people with Glocks and I’m sure that they carry them because they are good, I just cannot find one that “feels right” for me and I think it’s due to the “what I call an awkward angle” of the firearm, not knocking them by any means. Had a Kahr, but the trigger pull is way to long for me.
    To be fair, there are to many good guns to list, so like the author said, pick one that feels good to you, that the recoil allows you to stay on target and practice, practice, practice. However, I’ll go with the little P938 everyday, all day long.
    Thanks for a great article.

  56. Dave

    I recently bought a FN fns9. It’s a great stryker fired pistol and it comes with 3 mags. It’s got a good trigger with a short reset. It also fits my wife’s small size hand. The price was pretty good as well.


    interesting article, i recently purchased an M&P pro series C,O.R.E. what is your opinion of this for PD, i am leary about carrying it with a round chambered as there is no double action. just a short pull on the trigger and the round is gone. i am worried about an accidental discharge.

  58. Bill Hyatt

    Very informative and helpful. I have been a gun owner for 70 years but pistols were never in my list of guns so gun safety is very similar, pistol knowledge suffers. Your mini seminars are appreciated. Thank you for the help;

  59. Mike

    I have only been carrying for eight months now and I carry a KAHR CM9 that is double action only. The only safety it has is a striker block that is disengaged by the trigger as you pull it back. The trigger is very smooth and I have no problem staying on target. I think it is very important to practice with your carry gun, what ever kind you choose. I have practiced with mine so I can be proficient.

    • JD

      I carry the CM9 also. Have had it for 2 years. 5-6 hundred rounds. No FTF or FTE, I worked the slide hundreds of times before I shot it the first time. I like pocket carry with an Uncle Mikes holster. I sometimes forget whether the gun is there or not and touch my pocket to verify. It is a decent powered pistol that is easy to carry all day. Every day. No looking in the mirror and asking if I want the large heavy weight today. It is only 14 oz unloaded and very slim. I carry a spare 7 shot mag in my other pocket for 14 total. it is a handy self defense pistol. Not meant for 50 yd shots but quite adequate and fast shooting at true self defense range. and i would be confident if I ever had to bring it out.

  60. jeff

    I own a S&W M&P and do like the striker fired weapons. When I recommended a pistol for my wife I made the recommendation of a Ruger .38 for several reasons. My wife is not good with using the slide to charge the weapon. She is also not familiar with immediate action in case of a failure to fire. With a revolver you merely pull the trigger again. I also must admit that I myself carry a Ruger SP101 in .357. It is a weapon that I am fully familiar with and I know I have less of a chance of a NG discharge when holstering or drawing. My second carry gun is a 1911. I have much experience with this weapon in the military and the trigger pull is almost as good as a striker fired weapon.

  61. Dan Archuleta

    Great information. Fortunately I purchased a Springfield Armory XD2 9mm a few months ago and although initially I had a problem with “pull off” when on the range for the first time ( a few of my shots were left and high) I got into the proper strike zone after firing the gun a second time. Note: I am 79 years old and have a bit of an arthritis problem in my hands. I have learned to love the gun and feel very comfortable with it now.

  62. Jacob

    I agree that strikers are the best choice for most gun owners; however, anyone who is against a thumb safety is ignoring the facts: in rapid deployment under peak adrenaline load, it is very easy to pull the trigger at the wrong time. This is even true in realistic training sessions. My M&P40C (built to be legal in Connecticut) has a thumb safety that is very easy to engage with the thumb of the shooting hand. Furthermore, it is ambidextrous. There is NO downside to a good, smooth safety, and there is a distinct advantage.
    One more thing: if you carry in a purse or gun bag, to be safe you MUST either have a thumb safety OR leave the chamber empty.

  63. Deborah

    Great article! I recently wrote a post about how many new women shooters are often mis-directed to tiny “pocket rockets” that are double-action rather than focusing first on getting a (IMO) much easier to shoot striker fired pistol to learn the basics. I took this approach – my first pistol was a Sig P320 9mm that is a JOY to shoot. I only recently purchased a small Smith & Wesson Bodyguard 380 for carrying and I hate the double action trigger pull and reset. But … I learned the fundamentals on my Sig so feel confident I wouldn’t have any issues with operating the S&W should the need arise. (

  64. Charles Stapley

    Thank you for this Infomation..As an “export” shot in the USMC for 4 years…M16..& 45..I did not understand no realize the difference..
    Fortunately I own most of the guns you recommend..good article

  65. Roger

    Totally agree. Purchased lc9s pro, striker fired and have great results. I’m surprised writer did not mention new Rugers. Reset is a little longer than some but have many more quality shots.

  66. Dan

    I found a gun store that had all the defensive weapons I wanted to try. I tested five (5) very good weapons all in 9mm. I was comparing for fit, feel, comfort, ease of use, sight and target acquisition, slow fire accuracy, defensive accuracy, and snapshot accuracy. I believe if ever in a true defensive situation I may be too frightened to do much more that point and shoot form just out of the holster, at the ready or pressed out. The HK VP9 won hands down in my testing. A real side benefit from that process is the confidence I have in that pistol. Then I sought out advanced training. I pray never to be in a situation where I might need the gun to defend myself or anyone else but if I am I’ll have complete confidence in my side arm.

  67. R Parker

    I’m a fan of full size carry. A da/sa CZ 75 conceals well enough under an untucked shirt and can be carried at half-cocked if you wish to avoid the safety. CZ 2075 Rami lets me conceal a little more deeply and keep the same operating system. Personally, I just train to disengage the safety, although I see the authors point about striker fired pistols. The ones I’ve tried just don’t fit me as well not point as naturally for me as the CZs do.

  68. TominCA

    This is an Excellent! article – I’ve read most of your books and you always make sense! – Thanks

  69. Bob

    There’s a glaring omission, here: the double action/single (DA/SA) action pistol. Beretta’s Ps4 and it’s predecessor, the Cougar line (now made under the name of Stoeger, also owned by Beretta by way of Benelli) are fine sidearms. They are DA until you fire a shot, then subsequent shots are SA, giving you the nice, short trigger pull through the rest of the mag. I own a Stoeger in S&W 40 and absolutely love it. It’s a bit heavy at 2 pounds (empty), but hey — what difference do a few ounces in a gun make when you’ve filled it up with up with 15 – 19 rounds? Not much. Built like a tank with the precision of a Ferrari, it’s definitely one of the best bargains in metal-frames pistols (if not THE best bargain). Check it out.

    • Bob

      Wanted to edit my first comment, but can’t. That’s Px4, not Ps4. I fat-fingered it – good thing I wasn’t reaching for the safety instead of the “x” key! Speaking of safeties, both guns I mentioned come with manual safeties — which gives you neat options, since the guns are DA/SA. Carry safety on or off in DA mode — or cock it into SA and carry with the safety on — your choice. Best of both worlds, the way I see it. On the Cougar, I find the safety easy to reach and manipulate — and it’s ambidextrous for southpaws. I strongly encourage anyone still shopping or mulling things over to hunt these down and check them out. If you want lighter, look for the Px4 from the get-go. Otherwise, if you have an open mind about the weight or actually prefer a bit more heft (and the lower recoil it brings) the Cougar has that. Come to think of it, the Cougar also comes in a Compact model meant more for carrying. I have not handled a Compact, though, so I can’t speak one way or the other about it. Knowing how well the full-size model performs, I will definitely look into a Compact if I’m ever in the market for another carry weapon of that size. Food for thought…

  70. John G Westover

    I started out with a double single action Ruger P95 and thought I would have the safety of the double action on the first shot and ease of fire on subsequent shots but found that the difference of trigger pull made for inconsistent groups and have since switched to a Glock 19 striker fired and have much more consistent groups.

  71. JD

    I fully agree is it nice to handle, squeeze the trigger, and maybe even fire your gun before purchasing it. New York State in all it’s wisdom requires a prospective CCW applicant to put a deposit down on a handgun before getting their CCW license. So then of course applicants follow thru after their permit comes thru and purchase a weapon they have never fired. Also in some gun shops in NY I have been asked to produce a pistol license before I could even handle a pistol from the display case. This is some Catch 22 situation. You can look at it, talk about it, but not touch it to see what it feels like in your hand. Makes a lot of sense. NY state does not make sense with politicians and firearms.

  72. Rick

    I purchased a brand new Springfield XDS last year for the purpose of concealed carry. It was the first striker fired pistol I had ever used and I would highly recommend it to anyone, but I also agree with the author that you should dry fire the weapon before purchasing it.

  73. Mathew L

    I took my daughter to a local gun shop/range to test out four CCW handguns prior to her purchasing one for herself. She tried the Sig P938, M&P Shield 9, Glock and Springfield 9’s. Quickly, she eliminated the Glock and Springfield from consideration; just before our hour range time was up, the Range Safety Officer came over and spoke to her. He spent nearly 30 minutes working one-on-one with her on the differences between the Sig and the S&W. After putting her through some drills, and scenarios her decision was made; she was faster and more accurate with the Sig P938 in every drill/scenario the Range Office put her through. Like the article advised above…go try the handguns out before you buy!

  74. Brian Woods

    As a firearms instructor myself I see my student doing the exact same thing purchasing before they know what to purchase and they always get suckered into the laser crap. This article was excellent it’s nice to see a writer that actually knows what they’re talking about.

  75. Ron Shaver

    I have handguns with all three actions and agree that the striker fired action requires less effort than the double action. I am a leftie and was impressed by the controls of the FNX and like the feel of the striker. It is a little bulky because it is a double stack 9mm. My criticism is that I have small hands and even with the different backstraps, can’t really get a combination that fits my hand well. That said, after two branches of the military, 14 years in law enforcement and experience as an NRA certified instructor and RSO, I ahev carried and fired a 1911 for over 45 years and it is my preferred firearm because of what the exercise folks call muscle memory. If you perform a task over and over, your nervous system goes on a physiological version of autopilot and speed of action increases because your thought process is speeded up. I carried the 1911, as they say, cocked and locked, with a round in the chamber and the safety on and have never had a problem with the manual safety because releasing it becomes part of the process of drawing the pistol. I’m not a big guy so concealment is an acquired skill but the fluid drawing and firing even under pressure comes from firing over 100K rounds over time. I have a Colt and a Springfield. I am planning on trying the H & K. I’ve trained many people to use glocks but I have never been big on the grips because of my hands and am not a huge fan of the oxymoron “trigger safety”. The FNX is usually carried openly. On a last note, I also carry a .40 single action CZ75 concealed from time to time and that is also an awesome firearm with the classic slide safety.

  76. jcjacobs

    My stepmother always had an “old saying” on hand whenever she wish to sound like she knew what she was talking about. In this case her phrase would have been “There is no accounting for taste said the man as he kissed the Cow”.
    The idea is to find a smallish gun of some sort that you are comfortable carrying around with you most of the time and with which you can make the small metal bullets impact consistently in the vital areas of a man sized target. As this discussion points out very well the pistol that suits me probably doesn’t suit you. Short of a standoff gunfight there really isn’t any way to demonstrate that one pistol is superior to another. Internet arguments are infinitely less painful.

  77. Dominic

    Glock was not the first striker fired pistol, H&K was. And as far as recommendations, can’t leave out the new sig p320.

    • Paul

      Actually, striker fired guns have been around for much longer than Glocks. Ever see a hammer on a German luger?

  78. Rob

    I’m in agreement with several folks who have mentioned Kahr. I have a PM40 and have been very pleased with how well such a small firearm manages recoil with the 40 S&W. On the subject of Rugers, they also have an LC9s which is striker fired. My favorite of the Rugers is the Ruger American pistol. It comes in duty sized and compact in both 9mm and 45 ACP.

  79. Curtis St John

    I fit your profile to a T. Started with a double action Beretta PX4 Storm Type C 9 mm
    , which I took my CCW class with. I did well enough to pass the class, but I was not accurate with the firearm. I traded it in on a Glock 26, and became hooked on the striker fired gun. I now have all striker fired guns except for my S&W M&P .22 compact and S&W .380 EZ. Glock 19 and S&W Shield 9mm are my primary carry guns.

  80. Gd Boyd

    Well I happen to dislike Glocks because of the angle of the pistol grip. Can seem to get used to this. I also DISLIKE striker fired weapons. I prefer a nice crisp double action semi-auto. SIG does not have an external safety, only a decocker. I would gather up statistics on their safety record, but I rather imagine this is very close to a glock.

  81. James May

    The information obviously is well thought out and valid. I have a number of pistols. I only have one double action only and its an LCR 9mm which I got as a pocket gun in a heavy jacket. I never carry it. What you didn’t mention was the double action–single action of several guns, mine is a Sig P220 which for me is the best shooting gun I own. I don’t find the problem many describe because there are two different trigger pulls. First a long double action with all the following a short single action. Now I haven’t used any of my guns in an emergency situation but I don’t think I would have a problem with the P220. I don’t carry it that often because it’s relatively large and I am usually am in a short sleeve tucked in shirt and 511 or such pants these days.

    I mostly carry a Kimber Ultra CDP .45 (compact 1911) which is the only pistol I have with a safety. I carry it in a pocket holster and a couple of spare magazines and it is the gun I practice most with. I also usually carry a G26 in a belt bag with a spare magazine. I practice with it also. I don’t think I would have a problem with any of those 3 guns if I needed to deploy them.

    I hear a lot of worry about using different guns and that you should only ever use one gun carried in the same place. It is likely good advice but I don’t think if you practice it is necessary. I’m not going to do a fast draw but would expect to do an unexpected draw from my pocket. I think competition is good for stress and practice but have only participated in Cowboy Action Shooting which introduces a single action revolver that needs to be cocked each time before being able to shoot. When I was doing that I didn’t see that as a detriment to using the guns I carried under my CCW at the time.

    I think the key is to practice with what you carry. Dry fire with a laser and laser target for practice on the draw and first shot, range practice for control of the gun.

  82. malcomben

    PDN, I am a gold member when I try to access the video on striker fired pistols I am referred to log in which I do, then it takes me to the home page to join up all the time. I know I’m old and so I am computer illiterate, so could you help me to know what I’m doing wrong and rectify it.

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  83. Joe

    A striker fired pistol is indeed better that any dao pistol, but for ease of firing and accuracy most any traditional da/sa pistol is definitely your best bet.

  84. John Down

    Your list of striker fired pistols leaves off some very good defensive handguns. Among them the H&K VP9 and the Walther PPQ M2 have excellent triggers and tame the recoil well. Agree that striker fired semi-autos are easier to master than DA guns, semi-auto or revolver.

  85. Paul

    The choice of the Ruger LC9 as the hammer fired gun for this article may be confusing to newcomers. Yes, the LC9 is hammer fired and has a terrible trigger in my opinion. Ruger recognized this and came out with a striker fired version, the LC9s which has one of the best striker fired triggers available. Many newcomers might not realize that the same gun comes in both versions, and will be turned away from a really great pistol.

  86. Bill Selley

    As an instructor, I agree that a striker fired semi auto or DA only revolver are the best choices for beginners or those who realistically will not practice much. Also, I would recommend a calibre that does not intimidate the shooter. Most of the inexperienced are comfortable with a .380 or 9mm. That is they do not dread pulling the trigger. The .380 is most certainly not the number one choice but I dont know of anyone who would volunteer to stand in front of one. The old adage is true, a hit fro a .380 is better than a miss from a .44. Also, agree with no safety, surprise and stress can cause a fumble looking for or remembering a safety.

  87. Gary Johnson

    Don’t wish to date myself; already know I’m well past legal, so have had personal experience with “trigger-creep” with striker-fired weapons. So it is something that needs to be emphasized when dealing with all concerns of trigger activations. Yes, I do own and carry some, that said it does require extra consideration when I deploy my weapon for whatever reasons. You can’t call a round back and “Sorry” just don’t get it.
    You and You alone are responsible for your firearm safety.

  88. Cal

    I completely agree with your conclusions. I would add that you used the Ruger LC9 as your example but you should have included the LC9S in contrast. The trigger difference between those two firearms is the best example and proof of your statements. As soon as I picked up an d dry fired the striker fired version (LC9S)

  89. Bob

    Having read a majority of the responses to this article it strikes me as it does with my job(I am a pro photographer, and have been for 50 years) I am always asked what camera to buy. Well just like camera’s, guns are 1. a personal preference and 2. should be usage dictated. Having said that my EDC is a G19 gen 5 and I personally love it. If I had the money, and a second choice, would probably be the Sig 380, I do love the smoothness of a Sig.

  90. George

    Too many accidental discharges (and high potential) of accidents with striker fired handguns. It is safer to have the trigger resistance of a double action handgun for the first round, and an external manual safety.

  91. Ed Ruesink

    I would have preferred that the testing would have been done by comparing the Ruger LC9 DAO with a Ruger LC 9s striker-fired pistol. It seems to me that that would have been a more “apples to apples” test. having said that, I am sure the results would have been similar.

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  93. Strongarm

    Striker pistols nearly began with earliest autoloading pistols like; Borchardt, Luger, FN1900…Their popularity repeated after introducing Glock…

    Trigger mechanisms are different approches than firing mechanisms and can be made in any desired precision if it being the case…

    Some think that striker mechanisms are simple and lower costed than hammer kinds… Unfortunately not all strikers are equal… Some may be low cost… Simply watch to cheap Spanish pistols of early ages of last century… All hammer fired…

    The advantage of striker firing may be thought as being more protected from dirt and dust coming from the outside… But simply choose a hidden hammer and terms become equal…

    Why all plastic pistol manufacturers prefer striker firing… Becase Glock used the safest, simplest trigger mechanism ever made and patented as preventing others to do so… Then what could others do… They had to pretent to produce somewhat equal samples for rivality… What was the most important thing… Striker firing…Then they did the same in the lot… But no success up to that time.