ANSWERS: 2
  • This question needs a little expansion to properly address the issue. First, handguns have three kinds of actions (methods for firing): single action (SA), Double Action (DA) and Double Action Only (DAO). Single action handguns are made ready to fire by cocking the hammer or striker manually. This action must be repeated for every shot. The cowboy guns of the Old West were single action. SA handguns tend to require much less force to pull the trigger. Double Action handguns can be made ready to fire either by manually cocking the hammer or by pulling the trigger if the hammer is down. DA handguns require much more force to pull the trigger if the hammer is down since the trigger is connected to the hammer in some way and must raise it before it will fire. Double Action Only refers to a handgun whose hammer or striker is cocked only when the trigger is pulled. There is no other way for the user to cock the weapon. Triggers are the same as a DA handgun when the hammer is down. DAO has become popular with firearm makers who want to avoid lawsuits from negligent discharges. Since it can take 10 pounds of pressure on the trigger to fire the weapon, the user would be hard pressed to say the "gun just went off when I barely touched the trigger". A decocker is a lever on the side of a semiautomatic pistol that allows the user to drop the hammer without firing the pistol. When the lever is moved, physical block is put between the hammer and the firing pin as the hammer is released. Not all pistols have a decocker. On many pistols, the lever is just a safety and prevents the hammer from falling if the trigger is pulled. A manual safety is a device that must be conciously engaged to prevent a weapon from firing. The lever on the side of a M1911A1 pistol that is just in front of the hammer is a manual safety. If it is not engaged, the pistol will fire if the hammer is pulled.
  • If you have never owned a gun before, I would strongly recommend that you go to a shooting range, preferably one that has a gun shop associated with it, and look into taking a basic class on guns, and shoot several different kinds of guns, before you make a choice. One of the problems that you have to address is wheel gun (revolver) versus automatic. Once you make that decision, you have to decide on the caliber and make some decisions on what you are going to do with the gun. I prefer automatics over revolvers, but that is a decision that must be made carefully. An automatic has more moving parts than a revolver, which means that it requires higher maintenance to keep it working properly. While I strongly support the right to keep and bear arms, I also recognize that many people who should not have access to guns have them, and many people who don't want to take the time to learn how to use them are a danger to themselves and others. If you are going to sink hundreds of dollars into a gun, spend $75 bucks on a class at the gun range, shoot several different guns and decide what best suits your needs, your abilities, and your dedication and committment to responsible gun ownership.

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