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By: Rick Casner

When selecting a firearm, there are a few important items to consider before pulling the trigger on any specific make and model. A few of these items to consider would include, size/weight, caliber, striker or single action trigger pull, and fit/functionality. All too often customers will express to us that they do not enjoy shooting the gun they have purchased. This post is geared toward those choosing to carry a firearm for self-defense.

Take a few moments to consider these important items:


If you have not received proper training in handgun manipulations and choose a small firearm, it is extremely likely that you will regret your purchase. Small firearms are convenient to conceal, but because they weigh less the felt recoil will be more significant than the recoil a shooter will experience with a larger/heavier firearm. Every firearm recoils due to the pressures related to pushing the projectile downrange, but the smaller the firearm is the more a shooter will feel that recoil. A new shooter can be trained in proper recoil management to become more comfortable with small firearms, but they have to seek out quality instruction that will offer them a solid foundation.   


It is important to understand that any caliber has the potential of killing a person. Even BB guns, when used inappropriately, have killed people. When using a firearm for self-defense, the shooter must be comfortable with the amount of recoil that is produced by their caliber of choice or they will simply not be able to hit the “broad side of a barn.” I often hear of family members—more often than not it is a husband—pushing their loved ones into a caliber that is far too large for their skill level. This often results in that person learning to hate shooting, which is contrary to what we should be teaching. I often ask customers “would it be better to hit your target 10 times with a .22 LR or miss 10 times with a .45 ACP?”


I will first define what the terms double action and single action mean. All these terms refer to is the amount of “actions” a firearm will undergo for every pull of the trigger. In a single action, with every trigger pull there is only one action, meaning, the hammer is simply sent forward to ignite the cartridge and send the projectile downrange. With a single action, the hammer must be manually brought to the rear (cocked). In a double action or striker fire, the pull of the trigger will first “cock” the firing pin and then release it to allow a spring to send it forward and ignite the cartridge. This means that there are two “actions,” rearward movement and then forward movement. Granted, there are slight differences between a striker fire and double action trigger pull, but for simplicity sake they were not defined.

A single action trigger pull is shorter and can offer the shooter more accurate shots, but it also requires the shooter to become well trained in the use of external safeties. If you are not proficient in your quick use of an external safety, a single action may not be right for you. Because a double action offers a more deliberate trigger pull, they are inherently safer when carried without an external safety. This means that they require less fine motor skills to use during self-defense situations.       


Lastly, it is important to make sure that the firearm fits you comfortably and performs as you would like or you will not enjoy shooting it. The ergonomics of the firearm and your ability to manipulate it appropriately are of crucial importance.


If you would like to develop a more solid foundation in your firearms knowledge please take advantage of the courses that we offer at Independence Indoor Shooting. Please visit us at

To learn more about Rick Casner and our other instructors, visit

Thank you and we will see you soon!    

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