Cooper, Ayoob, and the DA/SA vs. SAO debate
Interested in other's perspectives here with my first contribution to the forum. Thanks for having me.
Just finished reading Jeff Cooper's 'To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth'. Nice to see common sense in print. I've asked my lovely bride and daughter to read it next. His writing is pragmatic, precise, and well-engineered, much like the 1911 he so openly advocates.
Herein lies my two requests to the group: Firing actions and caliber.
1. SIG DA/SA design vs. the Safety on the SAO Browning - is the safety on the 1911 really a hindrance, as intermittently recorded in the field and is the DA/SA design as problematic as Cooper wrote back in '98 when the book was published? Does anyone have any opinion on either firing systems or experience where they squeezed their 1911's trigger only to find it locked as they neglected to click the safety down?
I've read a couple of writings from Ayoob and although he admittedly favors the SIG P220 as his 'favorite handgun' his works present very objective and he sees utility in the DA/SA format. There have been a couple of times I've presented my 1911 Officer's from the holster at the range and neglected to free the safety. To me, that only means I've not mastered muscle memory to flick it off in Cooper's Step Three. I feel very comfortable carrying in Condition One as well as SIG's DA/SA Condition Two and am growing more comfortable with my new carry, a West German P220.
Someone wrote here that you could hit the SIG DA/SA hammer in Condition Two with a brick and it wouldn't fire; is that true? Not sure I could test that safely by hitting the hammer on my 220 with a plastic mallet. My luck the slide would come back, hit the mallet, which would then contact my head. Idiot down!
2. Is the 9mm really so ineffective, even in the higher +P+ defensive loads? Or, was this just conventional thinking in 1998 and there's been advancements since? Ayoob wrote support of the 'more is better' doctrine when faced with carrying limited ammo in a SHTF scenario. What to carry in a SHTF climate is philosophical conjecture, but interesting nonetheless.
Appreciate any comments. Been reading a bit here and you guys know what you're talking about. Nice to see.
Even trained fingers seek the comfort of the trigger
Mas Ayoob recently wrote an article about a study done of professionals who use guns in their work. Spec Ops, SWAT and similar. Upon playing back the video tape it was seen that many sought the comfort of their trigger but when asked swore that they did not touch their trigger. They were shown the video and were very suprised. I had read a previous study which demonstrated the same thing about trained professionals seeking the comfort of their trigger when under stress. Apparently some people cannot be trained to do otherwise.
Now many post saying that they have muscle memory and never forgot to flip off their safety. Could very well be but how many of them were under the stress of life or death. There is a huge difference between the stress of competition or training and that of being under fire or having to draw and fire before the other guy does. My personal experience is that I have seen nationally ranked competitors with 10 or more years of almost daily shooting under their belt forget to take off the safety now and then. I have also seen the same with hardened veterens in Nam. It does happen regardless of how much or how long you train. Training aside there are issues of being mentally confused, could be as simple as an old age senior moment, distraction, medication, a flash bang grenade, tear gas, etc.. Heck, once I was stuck in the middle of tear gas that went off near me in Nam and I put on my mask but forgot my rifle in my haste to get out of there. I am not embaressed to say that after 42 years of shooting I have forgotten to take my gun off safe a few times.
Muscle memory is all well and good and even sounds nice but first off it implies that someone will be re-inforcing it regularly which most gun owners do not. How many of you have forgotten to do something that you do daily without thinking? I once forgot how to knot my tie when getting dressed even though I have done so for 35 years daily. For this reason I prefer DA/SA pistols of DA actions. My carry guns are two snubbies and a Kahr PM9. My home guns are a Beretta 92FS and Sig P220, both DA/SA. My fun range guns are Glocks. I just love the way everyone says to just keep your finger off of the trigger as if that solves the problem that we are humans and are subject to mistakes. It is like thinking you can prevent things by telling people to drive safe, do not go in the water over your head, look both ways when crossing a street, etc.. Sound advice all of it but humans are not perfect people so we need air bags, life vests and traffic lights.
A DA/SA trigger is not the terrible beast to master as some make it out to be; most having never even tried to learn how or owned such a gun. I shot most of my matches with a DA/SA and won some prize money. It only matters when you get to a very high level that most people will never reach when fractions of a second can mean wining or losing in a competition. If you are a good shooter you can master the transition from DA to SA with just a little practice.
For me the DA/SA does a few things:
- It provides me a measure of safety without having to remember to move a mechanical one.
- I can always cock the hammer and be in single action mode if need be. I hear alot about not doing that because you can accidently shoot someone when startled, etc.. That is for LEO but I do not know about you but my gun is not going to be pointing at someone unless I plan on shooting. In fact, my gun will not be unholstered unless I am legally entitled to shoot. Let's not forget that we are not supposed to draw our weapons until our lives are in danger and therefore can shoot to protect them so if I shoot someone I can shoot it will not matter if I started from SA or DA. I love the internet lawyers who talk about the prosecutors making an issue of this. What happens if I start from DS but the bullet that kills the BG was from the subsequent SA shots. Get real here. If there is a burlar in your home in my state it is legally presumed to be a life threatening situation and therefore there is no problem for me to cock my gun when I grab it. I have no kids so don't start on that. :)
-Should I find myself in a position where I have to hold someone at gun point I can always decock my gun safely. It seems that a 1911 is safer being in SA mode than a DA/SA for some reason. A Glock trigger is also pretty short and light so to me it is much safer having a DA/SA gun since I can increase the trigger pull of my gun without flicking any safeties while everyone else cannot.
Just my two cents and to clear the air about all the often repeated statements made on gun forums by people who read them and repeat them.