What's the difference between striker-fired and hammer-fired firing mechanisms? Learn more about these two before you buy your gun!
Striker-Fired vs Hammer-Fired
As with many topics in life, you’ll meet people with differing opinions, and the type of gun to choose for concealed carry is no different. You will find yourself choosing between striker-fired and hammer-fired pistols, and ultimately your selection will come down to preferences.
These two terms refer to the firing mechanism of guns. Striker-fired guns have a light trigger pull. Hammer-fired pistols have a longer, harder trigger pull and a variety of control mechanisms.
While there is more to learn about hammer-fired guns, there are merits to each. You will want to learn about and try out both types before deciding which one is right for you.
Merits of Striker-Fired Pistols
There are tons of pistols that use this firing mechanism these days, and their trigger pull is only about 5 pounds of pressure. There is no hammer to cock, so you have a single-action pull.
Striker-fired pistols are extremely easy to use and reliable. Their polymer frame and metal slide are durable and inexpensive to manufacture. This means that they are loved by both the public and by firearms dealers, who can turn a healthy profit on them.
Merits: Easy to learn, use, and maintain; shoot accurately; comfortable to carry
Drawbacks: Not as comfortable in the hand and the trigger design is not preferred.
Merits of Hammer-Fired Pistols
Hammer-fired pistols require a hammer to be cocked prior to pulling the trigger, and the trigger pull is more like 8-10 pounds of pressure. The firing system is more complex, with variations occurring between semi-auto pistols and revolvers.
These guns are also heavier and larger than their striker-fired counterparts. The frame uses aluminum or steel material.
Many users find that they point more naturally, and the feel of them is more comfortable in their hand. The trigger designs on classic hammer-fired guns are universally preferred.
Compact and subcompact models are available, so don’t let the size of hammer-fired pistols deter you when selecting your carry gun.
Merits: More safety mechanisms helping to prevent accidental discharges and an overall better feel in the hand.
Drawbacks: More to learn to use comfortably, and some can be uncomfortable to carry.
How to Choose Between the Two
When selecting your carry pistol, you’ll want to consider which attributes are the most important to you. If you have a strong preference for either striker-fired or hammer-fired, you can surely find one that meets your needs with the diverse options on the market today.
- Size and weight matter most: You are more likely to find a striker-fired pistol that is slim and lightweight.
- Quick and easy use matter most: Striker-fired pistols eliminate the need to learn manual safeties. If the harder trigger pull of hammer-fired is a struggle for you, you will again be better off with a striker-fired gun.
- Comfortable carry inside the waistband matters most: Again, striker-fired jumps to the top of the list here. Some people report that the hammer pokes them.
- Safety matters most: The added control mechanisms of hammer-fired significantly decrease the chances of an accidental discharge. However, following good gun safety practices should eliminate a passive trigger safety from becoming snagged and discharging. If you are still concerned, stick with hammer-fired.
Hold and shoot both types of pistols before making your choice on which to carry. Your level of comfort with the weapon is the most important factor when choosing between striker-fired and hammer-fired.