Something I oughta know, but don't: Were the .45 1911s single or double action?

Well, an honest question that as a “gun nut” I ought to know, but first a little background: I have had a couple of handguns over the past few years. Most were .40SW, which I like, because a lot of the compact frames that fit my short and stocky hands are chambered for that round. I’ve had a 9mm or two, and I still have a .380 Sig Sauer. But at my Pop’s urging last month, I just bought a Kimber .45, and am liking the feel of it. It’s got a shorter frame that what I remember a standard .45 feeling like (it’s been 5 years since I’ve shot a 1911).

But here’s the question: The Kimber I just bought is a single action, where I have to pull the hammer back first. Were the typical, WWII-Vietnam issued M1911s single action as well, or were they double action?

Is this just a Kimber feature, as they’re pretty hardnosed on the ‘match grade’ nature of their pistols out of the box? To be honest, I simply cannot remember whether my Pop’s Kimber is SA or DA. . .

I’m ashamed to admit it, but it’s one of those things I just didn’t realize I didn’t know until now. :smack:

1911 is single-action. What I mean is…with a round in the chamber and the hammer down (Condition Two) you have to cock the hammer to fire. Every shot cycles the action and cocks the weapon, so you only have to pull the trigger.

For those who don’t know, a double-action semiauto would cock and fire the weapon with a pull of the trigger.

No, I think it is called SA/DA, because it is both. A single action gun is one that the trigger only releases the hammer. A double action both cocks the hammer and releases it.

In all 1911-style pistols, the first shot (with the hammer down) is Double Action. All subsequent shots are Single Action, because the slide re-cocks the hammer.

That’s what it’s called, but my 1911 has to be cocked if the hammer is down and there is a round in the chamber. SA/DA means just that…you have to cock it for the first shot, and the rest are DA.

Well, Dog80 is correct in that a single action releases a cocked hammer, while a double action cocks and releases a hammer.

My question still stands, but silenus has a good point [sub]and I must say, Semper Fi[/sub]. But with the contradiction by Dog80, which is it? I’m still quite curious. . .

IMNO, the current issue M9 isn’t all I thought it would be.

*Semi-automatic pistols are manufactured in both single action and double action styles; however, this general classification of the action applies only to the first shot fired. On both single and double action pistols, the recoil of the slide automatically recocks the hammer for subsequent shots (Table I). Therefore, after the initial shot is fired, the trigger pull only releases the hammer. This is different from double action-only pistols, where the hammer is recocked each time the trigger is pulled, rather than by the recoil of the slide. Not all pistols have hammers. Hammerless pistols operate in a similar manner to those with hammers, except that the mainspring is connected directly to the firing pin.

To fire a single action semi-automatic pistol, one must first cock the hammer manually by pulling back the slide. Pulling the trigger then discharges the cartridge. This discharge generates kinetic energy, causing the slide to recoil backwards. *

It’s a single action. The trigger doesn’t ever cock it, it is either cocked when first chambering a round or cocked by the slide for subsequent rounds. When the first round is chambered, you either put the safety on and leave it that way, or de-cock it. If you de-cock it, you have to manually cock it for the first shot.

Three types, wherein lies the confusion:

*Autoloading - DA
If the handgun is not already cocked, during the trigger pull the mechanism cocks the hammer before firing. Unlike a DA revolver, which remains hammer down after firing, in an autoloading DA the hammer will be re-cocked during the loading of the next round. Sometimes these are called DA/SA to distinguish them from DAO pistols.

Autoloading - SA
The hammer must initially be manually cocked. The hammer will be re-cocked automatically during the loading of the next round.

Autoloading - DAO
The hammer can not be manually cocked, nor is it cocked by the loading mechanism. The trigger pull cocks the hammer each and every round. These pistols may have internal or external hammers. *

Tripler…Ooh-Rah! :smiley:

So which of these three types is a 1911 style weapon? :confused:

Autoloading - SA

Tell me about it. Did your weapons instructor field strip your weapon while it was in your hand? I asked my weapons instructor about the rumor that you could do that, and he told me to point the weapon at him. At first I refused, but he insisted, so after checking that it was unloaded with no round in the chamber I turned it towards him.

Before it got to where it was pointed at him it was in pieces. See, what he did was he hit the slide release on the side of the weapon while simultaneously pulling forward on it. The slide came right off the frame. :eek:

As far as I am concerned the government took a bath on those weapons. They’re not nearly as good as the .45 or as powerful. The only advantage is that you get twice as many shots.

Give me a .45 anyday.

I don’t understand :confused: That’s how you are supposed to field strip most semi-auto pistols out there. Pull the slide about halfway backwards and remove the slide release pin. What did the instructor do different?

It wasn’t exactly halfway to pull the slide to a disassembly point. If you could grab the slide, push it back so far, and rotate the dissasembly pin with your thumb (or pinky), you could pull the slide, barrel, and spring assembly off with absolute ease.

I’ve only seen this done by a certified Jedi Knight, though. Even my CATM instructors admitted it could be done in theory but none of 'em ever could do it in practice.

But at least both of my questions are answered. Here I thought it was just a Kimber thing to make my .45 a single action.

For the record, I just picked up a BP Ten II.

And I forgot to add my comments to thisL

My brother, you have another voice in your choir. Even though it was before my time, I never understood why we went to a foreign government for our weapons. AFAIK, that was the first time, and it just opened the floodgates. True, the M-249 SAW, M9, and others are/were produced and are now licensed to US manufacturers, but it just struck me as really, really odd. . .

And the lethality and ‘knockdown’ issue is also a big thing for me. USAF folk aren’t taught ‘double-tap’ shooting (although I personally have). So please, give my troops a good solid hand cannon to knock 'em down with on the first try. Nowadays, they’re double-stacking rounds in some frames that you can get 15 in a single .45 magazine.

But, I digress. . . Thanks for the OP’s answer!

Tomorrow, I take my new .45 plinking!!

Had an HK 9 double action only ( 400 lb. trigger pull- it felt like) and it was usless except for scaring people. Never could hit anything with that DA stuff if it was smaller than a man and over 10 feet away unless I had lots of time. Not a real acurate gun especially in my hand.

Got a S&W 9 that does right nice though.

We have a Colt Combat Commander chambered for 9mm. I don’t like it as much as the .45, but it was a promotional deal from Colt at the time and dirt cheap. It’s a very nice gun. I’ve always preferred the M1911 variants to any other automatic, although my brother owned a Sig-Sauer P220S for a while that was very nice.

Another 1911 crumudgeon checking in :smiley: FTR and to further confuse the issue there are double action 1911 clones by Para Ordinance and some others but these are exceptions to the rule of 1911s being single action.

Oh, there is a fourth action type which is kind of hard to name but Glock’s “safe action” as well as the S&W Sigma and Springfield XD fall in that fish nor foul category. They behave mostly like a double action only auto in that the trigger squeeze is consistent shot to shot and requires more pull than a single action though a little less than double action. The difference is that most lack double strike capacility. For example if I can try to fire a shot with my Sig and if the round does not fire I can pull the trigger again for a second strike of the hammer, possibly firing the round. With a Glock a misfire can only be cleared by racking the slide to cock the internal striker. You cannot pull the trigger a second time on a dud round. This is a somewhat common movie flub where someone runs out of ammunition with a auto loading rifle or Glock and continues to pull the trigger only to hear “click click click.” This doesn’t happen, you only get the first click then nothing. With something like a Sig or Beretta, or any other DA or DAO pistol you can go “click click click” when you run dry… but only will if you are a complete dumbass.

The hammer is cocked when you rack the slide to load a round in the chamber and I am not aware of any SA auto where the hammer is ever supposed to be lowered on a live round. You should never have to manually cock the hammer.

So THAT’S what it’s called. Thought that was just something you did when you weren’t holding enough horsepower to get the job done with one. Two .45s in roughly the same hole would definately get the job done but can one do that with something with a kick? Wouldn’t it be more like one where you were pointing and one three feet above it?

Kind Sir, if you are challenging me to a duel on the range, I’ll school you six ways from Sunday. :smiley:

And I’ll put beer on this friendly little wager, too.