Regular Magnum readers will know that I am a proponent of handguns with a double-action-only (DAO) trigger mechanism for defensive purposes. My reasons are:
- Simplicity of operation. Under the stress of a life-threatening situation, I don’t want a handgun that requires me to rotate, flip, squeeze, or manipulate in some manner any combination of levers, buttons or grip safeties.
- The drill is easy: draw pistol – aim – fire.
- The long trigger stroke greatly reduces the chances of an accidental discharge.
- To make a DAO pistol “safe” you need only remove your finger from inside the trigger guard and make it straight.
I will be the first to admit that when it comes to precise bullet placement, a pistol with a single-action trigger has greater potential for accuracy. But studies have shown that defensive/police-type encounters generally occur within ten metres, so the type of trigger on your pistol is not going to make much difference.
Some of the most user-friendly DAO pistols on today’s market are made by the Kahr Arms Company. For a long time, one of my regular carry guns has been a Kahr PM9 pistol. It is compact, lightweight, easy to carry concealed and, to be perfectly honest (yes, we gun writers will do that on occasion!) I cannot recall it ever malfunctioning.
The DAO trigger stroke on Kahr pistols is smooth, light and stage free. This is accomplished by means of a system in which a trigger stroke of approximately 18mm rotates a cam which then unlocks the spring-loaded striker safety, withdraws and moves the striker to full cock position, and then releases it to fire the pistol. Like many of today’s striker-fired designs, Kahr pistols do not have “double strike” capability. This means that, in the event of a misfire, or when performing dry fire practice, the slide must be retracted slightly to reset the striker.
There are no external safety devices on Kahr pistols. In their place, a striker block immobilizes the partially cocked striker and it can be deactivated only by pulling the trigger through a complete stroke. This means Kahr pistols have a snag-free exterior – an ideal feature for a pistol meant to be carried and drawn from concealment.
Kahr pistols feature an offset barrel with the trigger mechanism beside it to produce a frame with a high grip close to the centerline of the bore which enhances recoil control. The extractor is a self-cleaning design which forces powder residue away from it so as to prevent fouling build up.
Breech locking is accomplished by the barrel hood bearing on the front edge of the ejection port to lock the barrel and slide together. When the pistol is fired, the slide moves rearward as a cam on the barrel lug pulls the barrel down, unlocking it from the slide which continues rearwards, extracting and ejecting the spent case. The recoil spring, which has a full-length metal guide rod, then pulls the slide forward, stripping the next round from the magazine and chambering it. As the slide goes into battery, the barrel hood moves up into the ejection port locking the two units together.
Read the full article in the December 2017 issue of Magnum.