Monday, June 27, 2016

Striker Fired Versus Hammer Fired

Which do you prefer? Some people own a gun but are not sure about the firing mechanism in that gun. There are generally two types of semi-auto pistols, a striker fired action or a hammer fired action.
Striker fired mechanisms tend to have fewer parts than hammer fired mechanisms and are therefore simpler. However, they take up a bit more room. This is why firearms that don't have bolts, such as revolvers, use a hammer-fired action. Revolvers and many types of single-shot action firearms generally don't have the room to accommodate a striker mechanism.

Strikers are commonly found in many modern semi-automatic pistols, bolt action weapons and shotguns. In fact, the first striker fired weapon invented was a shotgun invented by Daniel LeFever in 1878. Striker fired pistols started becoming popular in the 1980s, when Glock started using them in their pistols. However, it must be noted that Glock weren't the first to use it on pistols: John Browing used it in the .25 caliber Model N pistol and the H&K P7 is striker fired as well. Nevertheless, once Glock started becoming popular, other manufacturers also started using the same idea on a larger scale and now you have several pistol models, such as Smith & Wesson M&P, Springfield XD, Ruger SR9, etc. There are some famous pistol models that use a hammer fired mechanism instead. Examples include the Colt M1911, Browning Hi-Power, Beretta M9 etc.

A striker fired mechanism doesn't have an exposed hammer, so it cannot get caught in clothing, shrubs etc. The fact that it has fewer parts means easier maintenance as well. Another positive is that it has a consistent trigger pull for every shot in contrast to double action/single action hammer fired mechanisms. These have a trigger pull force that is different depending on whether the firearm is working in single action mode or double action mode. Striker fired mechanisms generally have a consistent trigger reset as well.

On the other hand, if there is a malfunction on a striker fired weapon because the primer didn't detonate, the only option is to eject the cartridge and try the next one. With a hammer fired firearm, it may be possible to try again on the same cartridge (on models that provide this second-strike capability). Hammer fired guns also generally impact primers harder than strikers do, thereby giving a better chance to detonate them. It is for these reasons that many military forces prefer hammer fired weapons. For example, the US military's choices of weapons: Colt M1911 pistol, Beretta M9 pistol, M1 Garand, M14 rifle, M16 rifle, M4 carbine etc. are all hammer-fired.
• Residue can’t easily get between the hammer and firing pin
• Consistent Trigger Pull
• No hammer to snag on draw
• Simpler Operation
• Not as many parts
• Not easy to decock
• (In most cases) No re-strike capability
Exposed Hammer:
• (in most cases) Allows for the option of single or double action function
• (in DA or DA/SA designs) Allows for re-strike on a stubborn primer
• Easy visual confirmation of the state of the gun
• (in SAO designs) can be used hammer down as an improvised safety
• Can have better trigger feel than a striker fired gun
• DA/SA designs have a long, heavy pull followed by short light pulls, this is disconcerting to some
• Residue can get between the hammer and firing pin, preventing discharge
• One more thing to potentially snag on clothing or the environment during draw or regular carry
• Typically have a higher bore axis than striker fired, this can lead to more prominent muzzle flip
So, now that you have a better understanding of the two firing mechanisms which one is better? You will have to find out for yourself.
I have both kind in my collection. I’ve found that if it is a good gun, it doesn’t matter which mechanism it has, it still is a good gun. I have a friend who has both also. He says when he’s shooting bad with one type he switches to the other and his shooting improves. So he goes back and forth between the two. I like the concealability of no external hammer. But I don’t mind exposed hammers and revolvers for other things. I think I end up with striker fired guns for concealed carry and hammer for home defense. I’m not that particular but maybe I’m not a real fanatic about MOA. If I can shoot well enough to stop the threat, that works for me. Now, don’t think I think that 6 inch groups are ok, I just don’t worry so much if I have a 3 inch group.
Like most things gun, you must find out for yourself.
Semper Paratus
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