Striker fire vs hammer fire

Discussion in 'Semi-Auto Handguns' started by IvanKaz, Mar 11, 2014.

  1. IvanKaz

    IvanKaz New Member

    160
    2
    0
    Since my experience with handguns is exclusively with striker fired pistols and I've only dry fired a couple hammer fired pistols, I'm curious what is the real difference between them. I've heard reviews from people who love and swear by striker fired pistols and other people who hate them. Do you prefer either one over the other and why?

    Sent from my SCH-I535 using Firearms Talk mobile app
     
  2. Tackleberry1

    Tackleberry1 New Member

    6,165
    0
    0
    The selling point for the striker fired hand gun was the notion that eliminating the hammer allowed the barrel to rest lower in the frame placing recoil lower, more in line with the shooters arm and reducing "muzzle flip" for faster follow up shots.

    The practical reality is that LEO hit ratios dropped from 1 in 6 to 1 in 16 back in the 80's when most departments turned in their wheel guns for GLOCKS.

    Personally, I own and shoot a decent collection of striker guns, DA/SA hammer guns and SA only hammer guns... And I've yet to find a striker trigger that will hold a candle to the clean break of any DA/SA "in SA mode" OR SA only gun.

    ...as for the "reduced" muzzle flip... I'm not an LEO and therefore am responsible for every round that leaves my gun, so emptying one, "under stress" as fast as I can pull the trigger, has never been a goal. ;)

    Good Luck

    Tack
     

  3. TekGreg

    TekGreg Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    2,000
    0
    0
    Tack,

    Having gone through that time in the 80's when Glocks replaced wheel guns, I remember one of the problems was the larger magazines. Many LEO trainers noticed the "spray & pray" mentality spreading amongst officers who believed they no longer had to worry about running out of ammo. Truth was that there were several reasons why police officer accuracy dropped and no one item could be blamed for most of it.

    You are dead right about the Single Action trigger break! Clean, crisp, short and just overall more pleasant than any striker-fired gun I've ever shot. With practice, either is acceptable, but when you want serious target shooting, it's nice to be able to concentrate on the sights and not even have to think about the trigger pull because it's so clean. My Browning Hi-Powers break as cleanly now as they did 30 years ago and never let me down.
     
  4. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

    12,356
    23
    38
    Most striker fire handguns rely on the trigger finger to "pre-load" the striker before the sear releases the striker.

    A good single action only needs the release of the sear.

    Being lazy, I prefer the single action (less work).
     
  5. JonM

    JonM Moderator

    20,110
    11
    38
    One of the downsides of hammer fired especially in revolvers that tend to have a large rotational mass is inertia and lock time. Lock time is the tim it takes from the sear releasing the hammer to when the the firing pin strikes the primer.

    The inertial mass of the hammer imparts forward momentum to a pistol and for new shooters who are doing things mostly right revolvers and some semi auto with large hammer mass tend to shoot a bit low.

    Learning to shoot a clunky revolver well makes you a much better shooter when your shooting semi autos. Especially true if your learning on something like a ruger single action or colt saa.

    Striker pistols have light mass little inertia firing pins with very fast lock times but most have long mushy triggers with no predictibility. Major reason i wont buy a glock or s&w m&p, the triggers are like dragging your finger through wet cement. The only striker pistol that has a decent usable trigger is the xdm, while not steller its predictable.

    Having a hammer or not is a nonfactor in pistol choice to me. Whats more important is combat reliability and ease of getting it back into action if something goes wrong. I only carry semiautos for self defense and like a variety some have strikers some have hammers.
     
  6. Mercator

    Mercator New Member

    11,337
    2
    0
    Practically, there is a difference without distinction. You tap it with a hammer, or you poke it with a crowbar, either way you hit and ignite. In choosing your better pistol, other things will matter more.

    Edit. Not an exact analogy, just an idea. Electric vs hydraulic steering. Very different in principle, but similar in the end result. Each could be found in a good car, or a crappy car. The endpoint, when it works well for you, you don't care what type it is.
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
  7. jjones45

    jjones45 New Member

    839
    0
    0
    While Dan and JonM are right on about most striker triggers there are a few exceptions. I have two strikers for sure that have good triggers and they are the ruger SR and walther PPQ. The ruger has no mushy feeling and basically no take up and the PPQ is what striker triggers should have been in the first place because the firing pin is fully cocked with this model unlike glock. While you can have a lower bore axis with strikers because there is no hammer to be placed above the grip this to me is a bit over sold. Gun companies with hammers have an answer to this complaint like CZ, by placing the slide inside the frame. There is another myth that striker guns can take more abuse and still be more reliable as well because no hammer and firing pin is exposed in most( not SR, XD/XDM) to get obstructions in. Then you have people who want the same trigger pull every time and don't like da/sa or a safety to disengage when it's go time. I will say you can't beat a good single action trigger with any other option. Basically through this long spill I'm trying to say it's gonna come down to personal preference of what you shoot best and prefer for whatever reason. I like both. Get yourself a 1911 and a PPQ and have the best of both worlds lol


    Never enough guns or ammo
     
    Last edited: Mar 11, 2014
  8. Tackleberry1

    Tackleberry1 New Member

    6,165
    0
    0
    Greg...

    I agree, LEO training had not caught up with the new hi caps, and in many jurisdiction is still lacking.

     
  9. R1D2

    R1D2 New Member

    114
    0
    0
    Good info. My Bersa is a da/sa. My Ruger lcp is da only. I think I typed that right, so I'm not used to strikers.. my old service pistol Beretta M9 was hammered as was most anything I've picked up or fired... and I wasn't sure what the difference was or even if they broke down the "same way".
     
  10. flybuddy

    flybuddy New Member

    184
    0
    0
    I say that the strikers should go back to work so they won't be at home all day getting hammered:)

    seriously, I've got a few of each variety and feel more comfy with the hammer fired.
     
    Last edited: Mar 12, 2014
  11. TekGreg

    TekGreg Lifetime Supporting Member Lifetime Supporter

    2,000
    0
    0
    This is akin to learning to drive a manual transmission (stick shift) when you first get your driving permit. I learned on a 2 1/2 ton truck with a rock crusher transmission when I was 15 1/2 years old. After that, I could drive ANYTHING! :D Others in my high school learned on a small car with an automatic transmission and actually got stranded when a rental car company didn't have any vehicles with auto trannys. If you learn to fire the old Colt SAA accurately, no pistol will control you because everything else feels like a milder variation. Strengthens the fingers, too! :cool:
     
  12. pioneer461

    pioneer461 New Member

    938
    0
    0
    Being old school, military and LEO, I was slow to pick up a striker fired pistol. I learned to shoot pistols with the 1911a1 in the Navy, eventually becoming the base RSO (Range Safety Officer). So with that experience and a lifetime of seeing cocked and un-cocked hammers on handguns in movies and TV, it seemed the natural way to go. Becoming a LEO I began my career with a S&W mod. 19 (.357) which I carried until the mid 80's when the department authorized auto-loaders for duty use. I then carried a S&W mod. 59 until upgrading to a 4006 in 1994.

    My whole experience was with external hammers until retirement, when I tried to get on the Glock bandwagon. It didn't work so well for me, because of the position of the trigger, I wore blisters on my finger during extensive shooting. I finally found a striker gun I liked a few years ago, the Springfield XD sc, .40 cal. It is an actual delight to shoot, and has the best out of the box trigger I've ever owned. It is my primary carry gun in retirement, but I also have a stable of hammer guns that I carry from time-to-time, including revolvers. In fact I normally shoot better scores with my revolvers than with any semi-auto, but all are well within the center mass zone.
     
  13. pat701

    pat701 New Member

    70
    0
    0
    JMHO, and i could be wrong. But for carry, i feel that a DA/SA pistol is safer. But i am a Sig man.:D
     
  14. danf_fl

    danf_fl Retired Supporter

    12,356
    23
    38
    For some people, the transition from DA to SA when shooting is hard to overcome.

    For some people, DA is difficult to master.

    For some people, the SA semi-automatic is natural.

    Find what works for you.
     
  15. JonM

    JonM Moderator

    20,110
    11
    38
    Only striker pistols i like for carry are the xdm series with the grip safety. With a good holster a 1911 doesnt need the thumb safety.
     
  16. SSGN_Doc

    SSGN_Doc Well-Known Member

    6,920
    41
    48
    And I'd argue the other way. A 1911 with a thumb safety doesn't need a grip safety. Browning actually designed the gun without it. The Army's Cavalry is who pushed for the grip safety in case the gun was dropped from a horse with the safety off.
     
  17. jjones45

    jjones45 New Member

    839
    0
    0

    +1


    Never enough guns or ammo
     
  18. bigjim

    bigjim New Member

    560
    0
    0
    Striker fired, never owned one, never will.

    Jim
     
  19. ScottA

    ScottA FAA licensed bugsmasher Lifetime Supporter

    7,141
    0
    0
    For me, it's really 6 of one, half-dozen of the other. Shoot what you like. I have both and like both for different reasons. But if you want a trigger that gives you goosebumps, I don't think you'll find one in a striker pistol.
     
  20. JimRau

    JimRau Well-Known Member Supporter

    5,027
    69
    48
    I have shot A LOT of all of them and the BEST striker fired pistol is my M&P, bar none. And this is not just my observation as I have had many others try it and ALL of them agree it is the best trigger they have ever used in a striker fired platform.:cool:
    I have to disagree with the comment about the 'best' training is shooting is a single action revolver. To me the 'best' training is shooting a double action in double action all the time. This is how I trained for 14+ years with a M19 S&W and it gave me the best foundation for ALL handguns you can get. When you learn to control the trigger for the full double action pull and shoot well you can handle any trigger.;)
    To answer the question. I prefer 'metal' guns with a 'hammer'. aka S&W 5903 or a 6906. There is nothing the 'plastic' striker fired pistol can do that my metal guns can't do as good if not better.:cool:
     
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2014