Shooting Illustrated | DAO Self-Defense Weapons: Are They Still Related?
While current fashion relies on forward-fired pistols, I still carry a semi-automatic double-action pistol (DAO) as the primary carrying part and a hammerless J-frame revolver as a backup, which is also a DAO. My contemporaries call me old school and suggest that I come with the times. They keep telling me my carrying weapons are a thing of the past and suggesting that I buy something more that is in line with current trends, like their plastic fantasies fired by strikers. My answer is that it is not broken and does not need to be fixed. Can you add anything to that, or should I seriously consider changing my current armament?
I think I’m old school too because I couldn’t agree with you anymore. I wear a SIG Sauer P250 as my primary and a Kahr Arms PM9 as my secondary most of the time when I’m on the go. I sometimes crowd out those with a Ruger Security-Six and a Ruger LCR when I’m on my property. All are DAO and are close enough to shooting with similar ones Trigger pull weights and lengths to make my practice lessons easy but effective from one weapon to another.
All of these guns have smooth, even trigger triggers, which is all I need in a defensive personal protection pistol. While I shoot each of these handguns at a level I’m proud of, they’re not aiming pistols. You shouldn’t be either.
The additional weight and length of a DAO trigger have no consequences or disadvantages in a defensive or fighting confrontation with high stress. In fact, a lightweight, easy-to-pull trigger found on many modern forward-fired pistols may not be as beneficial in a fight as it is in long-range exercises that involve minimal stress. In dynamic situations, fingers accidentally find their way to triggers at the worst times. In fact, the added drag, and especially the length of stroke of the DAO trigger, could be the difference between firing a shot before the intended one and not when facing a high stress level. Many of my contemporaries think that guns with short, light trigger triggers are too easy to fire in some defense scenarios, when there are conditions that don’t always require shots to be fired, or when stress is high and motor skills are likely to be compromised. Having been in a sensory overload state once or twice, I can’t disagree
Another equally important consideration is re-upholstering the pistol when it is no longer needed. Adrenaline rushing into the blood stream with a racing mind about what just happened and what will happen next can cause a person to secure the gun, holster, or otherwise a little less cleanly than when they are on the stress-free range . It is likely that only one hand will be available to re-upholster or secure the weapon. This means that the masking clothing, seat belts, or other potential obstacle must be negotiated without touching the trigger while the weapon is being returned to the port. There have been numerous instances where cords on jackets, straps on holsters, and everyday clothing have come into contact with triggers while reupholstering in relatively relaxed environments, causing the gun to discharge when it was back in its place. This is compounded by high levels of stress and rushed circumstances, which increases the likelihood of a disaster. While this could happen with a DAO pistol, the weight and distance of the trigger is less likely to add some buffer, unlike the shorter, lighter trigger pulls of many of the carry pistols on the market today.
Another consideration is accuracy in placing shots at the target as opposed to split times, which is how many shots a person can get from the gun in a given time frame. Counting hits and misses can cause collateral damage, which can make defensive shooting more difficult. With a properly adapted weapon and a competent marksman, accuracy does not matter whether it is a DAO weapon or another. “You should only shoot as fast as you can hit” is a good rule to live by. Stick to what you know and are comfortable with as long as you can use these tools with confidence, acceptable efficiency, and combat accuracy.