Poll: Hammer or Striker – which do you prefer?

If I had a Hammer, words to a popular song in my generation when dinosaurs roamed the earth and we used muskets to shoot our dinners. Like all my age, I was raised on handguns that hand hammers, in fact, some of them had hammers that you had to cock in order to fire them as I first learned when I moved to Texas after returning home from Vietnam. My first introduction to a handgun, in fact any gun, was when I entered the Army. Although my dad carried a handgun as a Federal Agent, he showed it to me once and then locked it up in places unknown, never to be seen by me again. He was not a gun person which goes to show that those who carry guns for a living are not necessarily into guns no more than a craftsman is into screwdrivers.  When I was 18 I was handed a 1911 with no training in its use, along with an old flap covered holster to use when I did things that required I have at least one hand free and the other with a weapon, like guarding or escorting a prisoner.

I learned to use that 1911 but never really saw much need for it since I much preferred to carry my M16 or M79 when out in the field. 20 full automatic rifle rounds vs 7 semi auto handgun rounds is not much of a contest. Having lived my life in NYC, my arrival in Houston, Texas with my new bride a year after my Army discharge, was an eye opener as far as guns were concerned. Everywhere I went, guns were for sale from the local Woolworth to Sears, where America shops. Guns, guns, guns, everywhere I looked. I was like a kid in a candy store that was about to drain my bank account and continue to do so until this day. There were big guns, little guns, revolvers and semi automatics, but what they all had in common were hammers. Hammers that you could put your thumb on as you holstered your gun so that you knew if the trigger was being unintentionally pulled. There is a lot of comfort in knowing where your hammer is.

To give you some idea of where I am at I will tell you that I did not buy my first Glock which was my first striker fired pistol, until three years ago. Call me old fashioned. It is OK, I can take it.  Throughout those 39 previous years most of my guns were .357 magnum revolvers, the guns real men carried, or so I was told when I lived in Texas (now they are for wusses because I have a .454 Casull), or single action handguns like the Colt SAA, 1911 and Browning HiPower. I did go crazy one day when I went to pick up a Glock 19 I had ordered but came home with a DA/SA CZ 75BD, the one with the decocker, instead. That was a wild as I got back then despite competing in various shooting events against guys with Glocks. What did those young whippersnappers know. Well they actually new a lot because a few of them made national and world champions and one, who was on Top Shot, now teaches shooting to Homeland Security personnel.

After my first Glock, there were 6 more because I kept selling them and then feeling that I could get used to them and buying new ones only to sell them again. I tired to love them, I really did but they did not love me back.  After throwing my money away doing this I finally made peace with the fact that I like guns with hammers. To be more specific, I like guns made of all metal, with hammers. Right now I do not own any guns without a hammer and only one gun has a polymer frame, my HK P2000SK. I almost parted with the HK and more than likely will some day, but it is a well made gun with a solid feel that has a hammer and a DA trigger and for now, it stays.  A third of my guns are revolvers as will my next gun be. I bought well over 30 guns in the last 3 years trying to like striker fired guns. I bought lots of Glocks, XD’s, XDS’s, XDM’s and M&P’s. I probably forgot a few. I wanted to love them. However after many years of shooting a DA or SA trigger, I just could not get used to a striker fired trigger. The first time I shot a Glock I thought it had a hair trigger and ended up putting the 8 lb. NY trigger in every Glock I owned. I tried the M&P Pro and hated the feel of it. I could feel it scraping across a safety release of something like that before it broke. I sold it one week after I bought it. I must admit that I did like the trigger on my XDs though but hated the narrow grip. However, the springiness of a striker fired gun cannot compare to the feel of a hammer dropping on a firing pin for me.

Two weeks ago I made things right with the world and traded in all but my HK for another revolver and my third Sig. Moving forward I am going to stick with what I love rather than find another love. It will be another revolver this year and perhaps another Sig next year. I am done with striker fired pistols and gladly leave them to the current and future generations to enjoy. I cannot say anything bad about them because I had some that were just great shooters and very reliable. They just do not feel right and make me as comfortable as a gun with a hammer. Not to hammer my point across, pun intended, but a hammer allows you to put your thumb on it when you holster or un-holster your gun to prevent the kind of unexpected discharges you read about. Cannot blame any LEO because after chasing down some miscreant and having to hold him down with one hand while you grab your cuffs with the other, it is kind of hard to divert your eyes from him so that you can watch you gun carefully slide into your holster free from obstructions. Much nicer to have that hammer you can put your thumb on. Word!

Anyway, since this is a gun blog that caters mostly to senior citizens, I thought I would conduct another one of my polls to see if us old hammer loving guys are a thing of the past. People seem to like polls. Few leave comments but more will answer a poll. I guess it is because you do not have to explain yourself in a pole. It is a black and white statement with no justification needed that ends up being attacked by some young whipper snapper who thinks you should go away to make room for him and his Glock and ……. Sorry, just had a senior rant moment there. :-)  In any event, choose which type of gun you prefer below. Isn’t it interesting that military and high end guns tend to have hammers instead of strikers like Sig, HK, and all makes of 1911′s. Are strikers used because they are cheaper to make? Would like to have some comments also as to feelings about the two methods used to fire a gun.

12 thoughts on “Poll: Hammer or Striker – which do you prefer?

  1. The main thing I have against Glocks is the grip angle: Whereas my natural point of aim with a 1911 or Hi-power is where I want it, the Glock grip holds low & right (I’m left handed).
    Give me steel & a hammer every time too – I’ve utterly fallen for the 6″ barreled Ruger GP100 in stainless steel & put several hundred pounds of both .38 & .357 through it on last month’s visit to the US.
    I guess at 55 I’m old enough not to care if I get accused of being “old fashioned” because it works for me.
    Probably why I prefer the L1A1/FAL over the AR15 too.:)

    • I do not keep guns that do not point naturally for me. I am a point shooter. I do not shoot groups. I shoot as quickly as I can to put all or most of my shots into COM. I shoot to stop bad people, not win competitions. For me, a gun that does not point well is a detriment to its defensive use. OK for fun shooting but not good for defense. I have bought guns online that I never held only to find that they do not point well for me and then sold them the next week. I just do not keep guns that do not fit me right no matter how desirable or trendy they may be. I should not have to get used to a grip. It should naturally point well for me with no adjustments on my part. Most revolvers point well for me except SA cowboy type guns with the plow grips. They just do not fit my hand well and I sold off my Colt SAA that to this day is the costliest gun I ever bought because I just did not like how it felt in my hand. Now give me a John M. Browning design and it fits me like a glove. When it hits the fan most will simply point and shoot despite the many hours they spend shooting at targets that are not trying to kill them. You have to make sure that your gun points where you do without thinking about it.

  2. I’ve sold all my semiautomatics and am 100% revolvers. About to enter my seventh decade, have made peace with my physical and mental limitations. DA revolver? Pull the trigger and it will go “bang”.

  3. Its not so much Striker vs Hammer as it is the trigger pull of Single action Vs DA …….There are very few things in the world as sweet as the trigger pull on a 1911 with a good trigger.

    Then again maybe its just a more elegant weapon from a more civilized time.

  4. steel wheels and double action hammersare the real deal! Since .22mag is your preference …. I have a Smith K .22 Masterpiece in.22 mag… you’d need to bob the barrel it’s 6 1/2 in.

    • I just sold my S&W 617 in 4″. I just do not find shooting a .22 fun. Sort of like using sparklers instead of firecrackers. :) I need the recoil as I am not into target shooting and no place for me to plink. Shooting .22′s at a paper target is no fun for me. Shooting it at reactive targets is but no place to do that here.

  5. For me, it has to have a hammer and a manual safety. The 1911 is pretty much the perfect handgun as far as I’m concerned. As for 22′s, I love my Ruger Single Six convertable, 22LR and 22 Mag. I’ve had mine for nearly 30 years and never get tired of shooting it. Just bought one of the Ruger LCR’s in 22 magnum and it’s my only plastic gun. Added a laser and I’m pretty happy with it so far. As you can tell, I’m kind of a 22 fan. I have the Ruger SP101 in 22. The trigger was crazy heavy. I installed one of the Wolff 10 lb. springs and it’s a pleasure to shoot now. Misfires about 5 times out of 100 but it’s not a self defense gun so I can live with that. I have two 22 autos; a Beretta S70 that’s probably 35 years old and one of the Browning 7/8 size 1911′s in 22. Both are fun guns to shoot and very reliable.

  6. I like the ease of my Ruger SR40C….I seem to have JONES for a Sig 224 or a Ruger revolver.

  7. I prefer hammers & all steel guns, but must admit that striker-fired are easier to train people with. I use a Ruger SR-9 as my training gun. But my revolvers far outnumber my semi-autos. Probably lots of disagreement with the above, but works for me.

  8. I am an old fashioned shooter myself. I had a revolver as my first handgun – a Ruger Security Six .357 magnum. I have dabbled in Smith, Colt, Ruger, even a Beretta once. To this day, my favorite was a Ruger Blackhawk in .44 mag with the 4 5/8 in barrel. Now, I still carry a police issued S&W 5906 with night sights from my younger days as a police officer. I also have a nifty little 6906 for concealed carry. Both are all stainless mean shooters that can share mags if I use the +2 adapter for the 6906. I too like all metal firearms. I own one tupperware gun in .22 — the Ruger SR22 and love to plink with it. Don’t get me wrong, I am sure that there are plenty of people who will tell me that plastic is the way to go but, for me, nothing feels as right as an all steel 1911, Smith Gen 3, etc. I like American made too.

    • I too like a 4 5/8″ barrel. I find that it just points and balances well for me. I like the .44 magnum also but sold it for a .454 Casull/45 LC Ruger Alaskan snub nose. My cousin has the SR22 and finds that it jams a lot on him. I personally have not had luck with any semi auto .22lr that I ever bought whether rifle or handgun. I prefer my .22′s in single action and .22 magnum. :)

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