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  1. #1
    mtc5's Avatar
    mtc5 is offline Junior Member
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    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.

    Michael

  2. #2
    TerryP Guest
    Just a point of curiosity what handguns in 9mm or any caliber are rated by the manufacturer as capable of firing ammo that is +P+?

  3. #3
    Snowman's Avatar
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    I feel completely incapable of answering the question you posed. However, my two main defense weapons are a S&W 1911 and a Walther P99 AS (DA/SA). I also carry my 1911 in condition one. Like you said, if you master the muscle memory part of flipping off the safety it shouldn't be an issue. Then again, it's already a non-issue with a DA/SA with no safety. So in this respect, the advantage is with the DA/SA, but there are many other things to consider as you know. My personal feeling is that a 9mm hollowpoint is perfectly adequate for self defense, and I don't really see the need for the +P+ stuff unless you're shooting through car doors or such.

  4. #4
    mtc5's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by TerryP View Post
    Just a point of curiosity what handguns in 9mm or any caliber are rated by the manufacturer as capable of firing ammo that is +P+?
    Was wondering the same thing myself. I've a S&W 38 +P Airlight so marked. Anyone know if the SIG's can handle these high-pressure loads?

    It's a hoot to read all the heated banter about caliber and effectiveness. Any conversation about arms is interesting.

    My Colt Officer's a perfect carry, but there's something about that P220. Just love it. I think the 1911 is a phenomenal handgun. The SIG's are just different. I like the fit & finish, ease of break-down, feel, and damn it - they're just cool.

    Regarding the question of caliber: Pachino carried the Officer's 1911 in Heat and DiNero the SIG 220 - both .45's! Guess that settles it, eh? Hollywood, our guiding light. . .

    Also have a P229 in .357 SIG with a M3 rail light for night time use at home. Got the .40 barrel as well - love 'em both. They each shoot differently. My .357 S&W 686 is a tack driver and kicks like a magnum (duh). The P226 9mm SCT rounds out the caliber farm for me.

    Which would I take with me? I'll probably be over-run as I stand there trying to decide.

    . . . hmmm, greater velocity, or mass of projectile. . . and what about capacity . . ?

  5. #5
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    I think I'm going to offer a standard reply to this question for the ages. I'm going to copy this to a MS Word file, store it on my desktop, and copy and paste every time this question is posed on this forum as my new standard response... Here goes:

    What should I carry, a small fast 9mm, or a big slow 45???

    Carry the biggest, baddest, most powerful defensive weapon that you can:
    1) Shoot frequently enough to be extremely proficient/accurate with because bullet placement is KING,
    2) Depend on with your life, because you may have to,
    and finally,
    3) Conceal in your normal day-to-day attire.

    Any 9mm is sufficient for PD if the bullet is placed well.
    Bullet placement being equal, make a bigger hole!

    Jeff

  6. #6
    Baldy's Avatar
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    Talking

    Quote Originally Posted by Snowman View Post
    I feel completely incapable of answering the question you posed. However, my two main defense weapons are a S&W 1911 and a Walther P99 AS (DA/SA). I also carry my 1911 in condition one. Like you said, if you master the muscle memory part of flipping off the safety it shouldn't be an issue. Then again, it's already a non-issue with a DA/SA with no safety. So in this respect, the advantage is with the DA/SA, but there are many other things to consider as you know. My personal feeling is that a 9mm hollowpoint is perfectly adequate for self defense, and I don't really see the need for the +P+ stuff unless you're shooting through car doors or such.
    I agree with Mr Snowman. The 1911 safty becomes natural after enough pratice. So far as all the hoopla about +p+ and all that it's more marketing hype than anything. Use a 9mm HP and it should take care of anything the average Joe will run into.

  7. #7
    Maximo's Avatar
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    Whatever operating system you choose to go with you have to become extremely familiar with it so drawing and firing becomes second nature. I have carried a S/A 1911, DAO/M&P and an XD , and various DA/SA guns. I have been to busy for the last 6 or 7 months to spend much time reading forums or magazines or spending much time discussing firearms. I have been missing it but it has given me the opportunity get away from any outside influences and allowed me to come to my own conclusions without prejudice.
    I have concluded, that for me, I prefer DA/SA either without a safety ie. Sig. or with the safety off. As for caliber, does not matter to me. 9mm has for the most part been my choice due to capacity and expense, but I just made the switch to a Sig p229 in 357sig. The only advantage I think this gives me over my 9mms is, for some unknown reason, I can put a bullet up a nats' ass with it. I shoot it better than anything else I have ever owned.
    The bigger is better theory is still the predominate thinking, but the way I see it, in a personal defense situation, if you don't hit the brain, heart, or the sever the spinal cord all a bigger hole does is cause the BG two extra days of healing time.

  8. #8
    Mike Barham's Avatar
    Mike Barham is offline Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by mtc5 View Post
    Just finished reading Jeff Cooper's 'To Ride, Shoot Straight, and Speak the Truth'. Nice to see common sense in print.
    Good taste in books. That is one of five books I brought with me to Afghanistan to keep me company for a year.

    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?
    An extremely well-practiced shooter can do excellent work with a crunchenticker trigger system. Most people do not practice that much, and shoot much better with a gun using a consistent trigger action, whether it is SA, DAO, or one of the "safe action" types like the Glock.

    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 carried and shot a 1911 for twenty years, and this never happened to me. However, I was the beneficiary of very early training at fairly high levels, including with Mas Ayoob. I also shot a 1911 in practical competition for many years, so I probably had more trigger time than the average shooter.

    If you are missing the safety during the presentation, go back and review your steps. In count one, the thumb should be resting atop the safety. This allows a natural pressing down of the safety at count three, and should be almost impossible to miss with adequate practice.

    The 1911 is probably the easiest of all fighting pistols to shoot fast and accurately. This is no small thing in a defense gun.

    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.
    Don't be too quick to assume that is his favorite, though. Mas changes carry guns almost as often as he changes his underwear. He was carrying a P226 when I took his class, with a revolver as backup. He also carries Glocks, S&W 4506s, a slew of 1911s, sometimes revolvers, and often whatever gun he is "testing" for a gun rag.

    He does see utility in DA/SA guns, though I think a lot of that comes from being so involved in police training. Mas likes DA guns mainly because of the possibility of holding a perpetrator at gunpoint. His opinion is that the finger "will" migrate to the trigger - and in a poorly trained person, he is probably right - and the chances of an ND into the bad guy will escalate.

    Cooper placed more faith in a trained, cool-headed shooter, and he trained his students well at Gunsite. I am unaware of any Gunsite grad unintentionally shooting a bad guy at gunpoint, but I am aware of the very excellent performance of Gunsite grads in actual shootings. As far as I know, Cooper recommended the Low Ready (with finger off the trigger) for gunpoint situations, rather than actually having the gun pointed at the bad guy.

    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.
    See the training bit I wrote above. If the P220 works for you, use it. It's just a gun, and of relatively little importance compared to mindset, marksmanship, gunhandling ability, and tactics. But choose it because it's the best for for you, not because Mas Ayoob or Jeff Cooper said so.

    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.
    You could, but so what? Do we go around pounding our guns with mallets? I once watched Chuck Taylor skip a loaded, cocked and locked Series 70 LW Commander across a range, to make the point that 1911s are perfectly safe even if dropped. I could whack my Glock and my Commander with a mallet and neither would fire. I could drop them both with the same results. Ditto most any modern gun.

    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?
    Col. Cooper held a low opinion of the 9mm for various reasons, apparently including some war experiences where only hardball ammo was used. However, examination of results on the street combined with laboratory testing in ballistic gelatin shows modern 9mm loads causing damage rather similar to .40 and even .45ACP. Medical examiners generally cannot tell the difference in wound tracks caused by these three calibers, either.

    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.
    The chances of an armed citizen needing a reload are astronomical, though it happens to police with some regularity. I am unaware of any citizen losing a fight after running dry, even with a "low cap" gun like a 1911 or revolver. On the other hand, no one wishes for less ammo in a gunfight. But Joe Sixpack will likely run out of time in fight long before he runs out of ammo.

    I think the survivalist SHTF scenarios are mainly silly, and so won't address them.
    Last edited by Mike Barham; 12-30-2007 at 09:54 PM.
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  9. #9
    milquetoast is offline Member
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    Like Mike, I've never drawn a 1911 and forgotten or missed the safety, but then I learned from the beginning to think of the thing as a thumbrest.

    As devoted as I am to the 1911 for myself, I am a big fan of double-action only triggers for "the troops." Untrained fingers do migrate to triggers, and apparently, it takes an awful lot of training -- as evidenced by all the unintentional discharges we read about. DA/SA guns are not only harder to shoot accurately (especially under stress), but we have all seen stories about people firing their pistols unintentionally after the action is over. (Remember the video that made the rounds, of a copchick with a Beretta 92 putting a round next to the head of a guy who was handcuffed and on the ground?) There were shots fired, your hammer is back, your blood pressure is high, your finger is on the trigger.

    Likewise, I have little use for Glocks and their clones. The trigger is enough heavier and longer to make it harder to shoot than a nice, crisp 1911, but not heavier and longer enough to prevent unintentional shootings by people whose fingers migrate to the trigger. Google "Glock" and "accidental shooting." Yeah, yeah, I know; it's because there are so many of them out there. But, I don't remember hearing about so many unintentional shootings when the standard carry gun was a K-frame revolver.

    DA-only triggers are a bit of a hindrance to shooting, but not that much, if they are smooth, and consistent from shot to shot. Look at what the PPC and Bianchi Cup folks can do with their revolvers. I can't shoot a DA revolver as well as a SA auto (either slow or fast), but I can shoot a DA revolver better than a Glock (either slow or fast). The problem is, the only company making a really good DA-only auto is SIG, with the "DAK" trigger. That's my idea of the perfect service weapon. The problem is, the price is ridiculous. I have two Kel-Tecs with DAO triggers, a .32 and a .40, but neither of those is a full-size service weapon. Somebody needs to put a DAO auto on the market that can compete price-wise with Glock/XD/M&P, etc.

    The late Bruce Nelson, when he was teaching Officer Survival classes, used to say, "A large ammunition capacity is very useful -- if you miss a lot." Anybody remember the LA Sheriff's Dept. shooting a while back, where they gang-fired eleventy-jillion shots and with only one hit - on the suspect's ankle? (Another shot hit a police officer in the vest.) If you are going to blast away without watching your front sight, then be sure to get a 19-round pistol, and carry plenty of spares.

  10. #10
    bangbang is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by milquetoast View Post
    The trigger is enough heavier and longer to make it harder to shoot than a nice, crisp 1911, but not heavier and longer enough to prevent unintentional shootings by people whose fingers migrate to the trigger. Google "Glock" and "accidental shooting."

    <SNIP>

    The problem is, the only company making a really good DA-only auto is SIG, with the "DAK" trigger. That's my idea of the perfect service weapon. The problem is, the price is ridiculous.

    I find it interesting that you do not like the relative lightness of the Glock safety trigger, but praise the DAK trigger which is also a pretty light pull for a DA gun.

    The only main difference ist he second strike capability...or am I missing something?

    I am in the market for a Sig 239SAS right now...and I am looking hard at a DAK triggered gun.

  11. #11
    milquetoast is offline Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by bangbang View Post
    I find it interesting that you do not like the relative lightness of the Glock safety trigger, but praise the DAK trigger which is also a pretty light pull for a DA gun.

    The only main difference ist he second strike capability...or am I missing something?

    I am in the market for a Sig 239SAS right now...and I am looking hard at a DAK triggered gun.
    To me, the big difference between a DAK and a Glock of similar pull weight is length of trigger pull. The slightly longer pull of the DAK gives the duffer a little leeway, because you can feel the hammer moving, whereas with the Glock, the first clue that your finger has wandered to the trigger is a loud bang, and a sharp pain in the leg.

    I really like the 239, especially the SAS version, with the DAK trigger and excellent "melting" of edges and corners. The only reason I don't have one is the price. As a friend puts it, "Those folks at SIG seem awfully proud of their guns."

  12. #12
    Mike Barham's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by milquetoast View Post
    The only reason I don't have one is the price. As a friend puts it, "Those folks at SIG seem awfully proud of their guns."
    This from a guy with a stable full of custom 1911s.
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  13. #13
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    A lot of good advice in this thread. Sigs have a fine reputation for combat and LE carry. the 1911 has served out country well for many years.

    Is .45 more proven than 9MM? Not to Germans. Don;t forget the 9MM served THEM well during a world war.

    It just goes back to YOU. Shoot what YOU shoot best with.

    I don't do well with .45, but i do with .40 S&W, go figure. So which should I carry, the one that all the gun writers feel is best, or the one I shoot best?

    I'm not a fan of the 1911, but I am of the Sig. The Sig feels better in MY hand so which should I carry?

  14. #14
    mtc5's Avatar
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    Mike,

    So. . . , you're in the sandbox, eh? You doin' ok - all things considered? Appreciate your thoughts on my questions. You obviously took time and gave them some thought, which was precisely what I was looking for.

    I fully agree with you that the pistol is merely the tool, an extension of the arm; it's the mindset and will which presents power, not just the tools.

    Need anything? Send me a mail address and I'll send you another book, one which is part of my five books I'd take into hell. Perhaps you've read it, but won't know until you get it. Actually, I have a handful of similar-minded writings which help keep me aligned, if you have time to read.

    If you're over there, it's the least I can do to help you pass the time and keep your mind's edge sharp. I've done my time in another life with another group (though not for a year) in AK, ironically, at the other end of the environmental spectrum; a yin for the yang so to speak.

    Be careful over there.

    Michael

  15. #15
    GunByte is offline Junior Member
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    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.

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