Good Double-Action Revolver Shooting
A recent internet discussion tried to establish a pat set of instructions for good DA revolver work. This got me to thinking (always a dangerous thing). While the objectives of good DA revolver work are widely known, there can be no ‘pat’ set of instructions that will work for all shooters. The foundation element of good DA revolver work is the grip, and you simply cannot tell someone how to do that. The variables of hand size, hand strength and handgun grips make it an individual journey, which can be made easier by a shooting coach that knows his stuff. Once that is accomplished, the objective is to send the shot away with as little disturbance as possible to the sight picture.
I learned DA shooting in an environment where they shoved you a rack-grade, fixed sight S&W and your need for a paycheck served as incentive to keep your scores above 70% for sixteen weeks. Some of us were shooters before we arrived and in short order we were getting at least some 9’s and X’s on a B27 from 50 yards. We didn’t bitch about the trigger; it wouldn’t have been well received. We simply paid attention to what the R/O said and applied ourselves to the task. By the third month, several of us were crowding a Distinguished pin. So don’t tell me it can’t be done and done very well, with stock revolvers.
A couple of years later, I learned some things from an old armorer and started doing DA action jobs- but not on cop guns. I soon learned what worked and what didn’t. Wheelguns were hot then and regular guys all wanted a PPC trigger for 40 bucks.
You can lose reliability real quick by over-lightening either the mainspring or the trigger return spring. You can in fact make the action so sluggish that a really fast shooter can ‘outrun’ it. Stick with stock mainsprings, resist the urge to back that screw out too much and never cut more than one coil off the stock S&W return spring. Leave the single-action sear alone. The rest is polishing the moving components that comprise the DA stroke and you can get a very nice, reliable trigger that will never cause a misfire or retard the trigger reset.
There’s defensive shooting, competition shooting and exhibition shooting.
There’s a time to shoot fast and a time to shoot slow. Some guys ‘stage’ a DA trigger for precise shooting and pull it straight through quick for close work. That works pretty well for me. All things being equal, a smooth, reliable action won’t make you shoot any worse. But no matter how good you make a DA trigger, it will never replace an ingrained application of the basics, a will to excel and a lot of practice with a single purpose of making every shot go exactly where you intend it to go. You get those things down and you’ll be shooting so well you won’t need a crutch.