Shooters Forum banner

1 - 8 of 8 Posts

·
Banned
Joined
·
2 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hey
I've been doing allot of reading on handguns online, and like all things online, I've found conflicting information. My question regards racking the slide, and exactly what that does.

From what I understand, in order to fire a single action handgun. After you insert the magazine, you have to rack the side in order to put a round in the chamber. Is that correct?

So that would lead me to assume that if you were to insert a mag in a SA gun, and then pull the trigger, nothing would happen. Is that correct?

On the other hand, if you were to do the same with DA gun, it would fire without having to rack the slide. Is that correct?

Also, wouldn't having to rack the slide be a safety feature in itself? If you dropped it, it couldn't accidentally discharge. Would you need any safety feature besides this? Assuing you're not carrying it.

Thank you any insight.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
1,069 Posts
Essentially, single-action implies that you must cock the hammer each time to fire the weapon but in the case of a pistol (semi-automatic handgun) this is done for you after the first shot thru the cycle of the slide. Double-action implies that when you pull the trigger, with the hammer down, that action cocks the hammer and releases same to fire the first shot.

If the slide is at battery (forward and locked) and there is no round in the barrel you must insert a loaded magazine in any pistol and then manually cycle the slide to load a round, action type makes no difference. If the slide is locked open, you insert a loaded mag and release the slide which loads the 1st round and you are off to the races.:)

In a revolver, if you have a double action and the hammer falls on an empty chamber or bad round and does not fire, you simply pull the trigger again and the next chamber will come into play but pulling the trigger does not move the slide in any semi-auto that I am aware of. This must always be done by hand.

If you have an empty chamber in a semi-auto it can't fire under any condition. There are several mechanical safety devices available on handguns to improve ones risk factor but none are as safe as EMPTY. Many people train to draw weapons without a round loaded in the chamber and rack the slide, while coming up from the holster, to fully load and ready the weapon.

Hope this doesn't confuse you more.:confused:
 

·
Super Moderator
Joined
·
13,643 Posts
Welcome to the forum. Rules are to join in and have fun and play nicely with the rest of us kids.

"Racking" refers to pulling the slide back and letting it go. It has a spring that is compressed when you pull it back, and when you let go the spring will drive it forward. When it moves forward it will pick up a round of ammunition from the top of the magazine (this is called "stripping" a round from the magazine) and put it in the chamber, ready to fire.

At this point there are actually three kinds of semi-automatic pistol actions: single-action, double-action, and double-action-only, and more than one way to load them for carry. With the single-action, or double-action, you can load a magazine, but not rack the slide. With either one, you then have to rack the slide to prepare it to fire. When you do, the hammer will be cocked, so either type will then fire. When the gun fires, the recoil energy is used to cycle the slide back and put a new round in the chamber. This cocks the hammer so the gun can be fired again immediately. Double-action will work the same by this method. Where the difference lies is when, after racking the slide, you put your thumb on the hammer and depress the trigger and use your thumb to let the hammer down slowly and without firing. In this condition, the single-action will have to be cocked once with your thumb or by racking the slide again (ejecting and wasting a round of ammunition), where the double action has a longer and heavier trigger pull that cocks the hammer and releases it by pulling the trigger alone. No need to cock the hammer separately in the double-action.

When the first double-action shot is fired, the gun will operate itself and cock the hammer for you for the next shot. This means the trigger is easier to pull on follow-up shots since it isn't also having to cock the hammer again.

If you want to be able to use a single-action quickly, you usually cock the hammer and put the safety on. This is called "cocked and locked". You need to learn to flip the safety off as you bring the gun to bear on a target. The double-action may be carried with the hammer down, and you depend on being able to use that first, harder trigger pull to bring it quickly into action. This is supplemented by use of the safety.

The third type is double-action-only. This is favored by some police departments. In this type, the hammer never stays back in the cocked position. Instead, the shooter must use the harder and longer trigger pull to fire the gun every time. Its action will still cycle and it will still load the next round from the magazine automatically. The harder trigger pull is thought to discourage accidental discharges when a tense situation fills everyone with adrenaline. It also makes trigger operation consistent from round to round, instead of being harder on the first shot and lighter on the rest, as the double-action is. That problem may, however, be circumvented in all guns by following the practice of keeping your trigger finger outside the trigger guard (the steel loop surrounding the trigger) and laying alongside the frame of the gun until you have a definite target to shoot at. I believe this practice originated in the Marine Corps. It was promoted by Jeff Cooper, and now seems to be nearly ubiquitous.

As a point of marksmanship, most people find it more difficult to learn to use a double-action trigger as well as they can a single-action trigger. The single-action has the light trigger all the time. The double-action will, too, if you opt to keep it cocked and locked like a single action. It is only if you set the hammer down that it makes a difference. A double-action or a double-action-only gun will snap the hammer every time you pull the trigger on an empty magazine. This means they may be dry-fired (no ammo; a common way to practice seeing the sights on a target and learn to work the trigger without disturbing the sights) without cocking the hammer each time.
 

·
Banned
Joined
·
2,370 Posts
what you said occonor sun about wheel guns is why i only prefer that for ccw.slim smith 60 snubby is what ive learned..
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
750 Posts
Unclenick-
Instead of me writing another post, for continuity's sake, maybe you could work the striker fired variety into your post?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
541 Posts
Hey John, welcome here.

You picked a great forum to ask questions - these guys are always willing to help out, no matter the question. Join in, play nice, and you will learn lots of information. You would do well to listen to the advise you get here. These guys know their stuff! :)

Where are you located? I'm in Saskatoon - midwestern Canada. I'll see you around the forum.


Matt
 

·
The Hog Whisperer (Administrator)
Joined
·
37,121 Posts
Thread starter is a spammer from India, FYI.
 
1 - 8 of 8 Posts
Top