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To the Right of Reagan
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How does a double-action revolver work if there isn't a hammer? (Model 5720 357 mag) I've been meaning to ask this for several days.

 

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There's a hammer in there, just like the LCR has a hammer. It's just shrouded so you're not seeing it. You don't want some big hammer spur sticking out that will snag on clothing when you have to draw this gun that's made for carry.
 

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To the Right of Reagan
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Discussion Starter #3
There's a hammer in there, just like the LCR has a hammer. It's just shrouded so you're not seeing it. You don't want some big hammer spur sticking out that will snag on clothing when you have to draw this gun that's made for carry.
Okay, but I don't quite understand yet. I dry fired some single-action revolvers at our PTC class. I just pulled the trigger and a flush hammer came back for just a split second. But isn't the "double action" part of a double-action revolver mean that you have to pull the hammer back before the trigger can do anything -- like on my Vaquero? I have to cock the hammer each time I shoot. The SP101 doesn't have anything to grab a hold of in regards to cocking the hammer.

Thanks for explaining this to me, KJS.
 

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With a hammerless double action revolver you can't cock a hammer because even though it has a hammer it is shrouded. You just pull the trigger for each shot fired. This is good for concealment but accuracy will suffer. With a single action you cock an excposed hammer each time you shoot.
 

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It has a hammer, similar to a conventional revolver, minus the "spur" The spur is the extension on the hammer that you can cock with your thumb. The spur is removed so its "snagless" The problem(well not problem, maybe the issue) is you lose the ability to fire the revolver in Single Action. There are a couple revolvers that address this issue, the S&W 638 is one. They have a shrouded hammer. The hammer has a cover that allows snag-free draw, but still has enough of a spur that you can get thumb purchase on it to cock for single action fire. The Best of Both Worlds... The first picture is my 638, the next is my SP101 DAO, and the last is my DAO KLCR, and LCR-22. They are all "snag-less", the SP101 and LCRs are Double Action Only, the 638 is Double Action.







Shrouded spur on Smith & Wesson 638

 

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A Single Action revolver is completely manual. You HAVE to pull the hammer back for every shot. A Double Action revolver can be fired either Single Action, or with a stroke of the trigger, in Double Action. A Double Action ONLY Revolver has to be fired with a stroke of the trigger, there is no option for Single Action fire. Single Action, Double Action and Double Action Only.
 

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To the Right of Reagan
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Discussion Starter #7
Okay, I'm all wrong with my understanding. I thought my Vaquero is a double-action revolver because I have to cock the hammer in order to fire. But really, my Vaquero is a single action. Is this right? A classmate at the PTC class kept handing me handguns to dry fire at our class. He kept telling me that the revolvers that have a shaved hammer are single action.

Double Action: no spur, can have a spur
Single Action: always has a spur
 

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To the Right of Reagan
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Discussion Starter #8
Nice looking heaters, weblance. I hope to have a collection like yours one day.

It has a hammer, similar to a conventional revolver, minus the "spur" The spur is the extension on the hammer that you can cock with your thumb. The spur is removed so its "snagless" The problem(well not problem, maybe the issue) is you lose the ability to fire the revolver in Single Action. There are a couple revolvers that address this issue, the S&W 638 is one. They have a shrouded hammer. The hammer has a cover that allows snag-free draw, but still has enough of a spur that you can get thumb purchase on it to cock for single action fire. The Best of Both Worlds... The first picture is my 638, the next is my SP101 DAO, and the last is my DAO KLCR, and LCR-22. They are all "snag-less", the SP101 and LCRs are Double Action Only, the 638 is Double Action.







Shrouded spur on Smith & Wesson 638

 

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You are correct: Your Vaquero is single action only -- the hammer must be manually cocked before you can fire it by pulling the trigger.

Your PTC classmate is incorrect: The revolvers with the "shaved" hammer, as you put it -- like the SP101 pictured above -- are Double Action Only (DAO) as Weblance pointed out above. With DAO the hammer is cocked and subsequently dropped with just a trigger pull.

A SA/DA revolver can be fired both ways: Single Action by manually cocking the hammer and then pulling the trigger, or Double Action, by simply pulling the trigger to cock and drop the hammer in one motion.

As stated above, DAO revolvers have a hammer; they are just shrouded as in Weblance's first picture or bobbed ("shaved") as in Weblance's second picture.
 

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Okay, I'm all wrong with my understanding. I thought my Vaquero is a double-action revolver because I have to cock the hammer in order to fire. But really, my Vaquero is a single action. Is this right? A classmate at the PTC class kept handing me handguns to dry fire at our class. He kept telling me that the revolvers that have a shaved hammer are single action.

Double Action: no spur, can have a spur
Single Action: always has a spur
Your Vaquero is Single Action. A Single Action will ALWAYS have a hammer spur.
A Double Action without a spur is Double Action Only. With a spur, its simply Double Action.

Thanks for the nice comment.
 

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Whether double action/single action or double action only in revolvers, a combat school of thought goes that you should only use the double action and forget you even have the single action.

I know I've generally shot my DA/SA revolvers DA only for 30 years to become proficient and also to be accurate. Single action might be OK only for a timed long distant shot.

If you look at an IDPA match the revolver guys use only the DA.

I'm still a fuddy-duddy but think of the famous Bill Jordan or now Jerry Miculek and Grant Cunningham.

Check out YouTubes of Miculek doing his double action magic. It's great to see on one video Miculek firing six shots at targets, reloading for six more, and firing, doing it all in just about two seconds.

You might be interested in Cunningham's "Book of the Revolver" or
Miculek's DVD "Ultimate Advanced Revolver."
 

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Dog Soldier
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Some great books at the library will give you a good understanding of firearms.
 

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Old Printer. Sounds like you are a bit confused.

Single action means you have to pull the hammer back then squeeze the trigger in order to fire it. Double action means you can pull the hammer back like the single action or just squeeze the trigger for it to fire. In other words double action you eliminate having to pull the hammer back. It's all done with the the pull of the trigger.
 

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In single-action, the trigger pull does one (single) thing - drop the hammer.

In a double-action, the trigger pull does two (double) things – cock the hammer and drop the hammer.

A DA/SA can do either.

A DA only revolver usually has an internal or shrouded hammer and is intended for pocket or purse carry so lint doesn’t get in the action or the gun doesn’t hang up on clothing when drawn.

Glocks are a good example of a double action only pistol.

A SA revolver has to be cocked by the shooter.

A SA pistol cocks itself with the gas from the previous round.

Always think of it from the triggers' view point. Is it doing one or two things.
 

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All my self defense revolvers have no single action notch or hammer spur as the NYPD and the Miami PD went to int eh late 70s. i own many semi autos in 9 40 and 45 and I still use a 357 fixed sight service six as my home defense gun.
 
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