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Double Strike Capability: Useful, or Marketing Nonsense?

Does your carry gun have double strike capability?

Lately, more and more handgun manufacturers are touting their pistols as having double strike capability, or the ability to make the firing pin hit the same primer more than once by pulling and re-pulling the trigger. The sales pitch usually goes something like this: “in case the gun doesn’t go bang, like if you have a hard primer or something, you can just pull the trigger and try again”.

Does this have any real world usefulness?

For me the answer is no. I think double strike capability is nothing more than marketing nonsense. If your gun doesn’t go bang in a fight, you aren’t going to be sitting there like a monkey with magnifying glass trying to run a diagnosis. Was it a double feed? Was it a stove pipe? Was it a hard primer?

Instead, you should properly clear the malfunction (often referred to as a tap, rack or tap, rack, bang drill) and get your pistol back on target.

So do any of my guns have double strike capability? Nope…that is, at least not when I’m running them! What do you think? Am I missing something? Let me know in the comments below.

Clearing a Pistol Malfunction

In the video below, the legendary Clint Smith of Thunder Ranch demonstrates the proper way to clear any pistol malfunction.

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8 Responses to Double Strike Capability: Useful, or Marketing Nonsense?

  1. Dr. L. February 16, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    Tap/rack/fire, FIRST, will save me time and effort clearing any misfeeds. (Walther PPK/S, I’m looking at you.)

    Much smarter than ejecting the magazine, and clearing the misfeed/whatever, racking and firing.

    • Brandon February 16, 2012 at 1:31 pm #

      That’s been my experience with the Walther PPK too unfortunately…misfeeds like crazy.

  2. Barry February 17, 2012 at 6:34 am #

    Something to think about….I just have to say that I didn’t see the point in double strike capability until I saw a video in the police academy about an ATF agent that chased after a drug dealer in a dark park. The dealer hid behind a vehicle and then knocked the agent to the ground. The dealer then mounted the agent and began beating the crap out of him. The dealer had pinned the agents one arm so he used his available hand to draw his Sig. When he brought it up to shoot the dealer, the dealer grabbed the gun and pushed the slide out of battery so that when he fired the pin did not contact the round. He had to yank the gun backward and then was able to pull the trigger again using one arm. I carry a Glock and I would not have been able to redirect without really charging the slide which is possible with one hand but probabl6 not in the middle of the fight

    • Brandon February 17, 2012 at 8:39 am #

      Interesting point…on a striker fired pistol, it seems like when the slide came back into battery that it would have been good to go. I have a Ruger SR9 sitting in front of me and just tried it. When the slide went out of battery, pulling the trigger did not release the striker. When the slide came back into battery it did.

      I’ll have to try some other striker fired pistols and see what happens.

    • Forrest June 18, 2014 at 8:27 pm #

      That isn’t so much a reason to own a double strike capable pistol as it is a reason to carry a good knife. I’ve been in a situation where I was fighting over a rifle with someone who was closer to me than the muzzle of my own gun. I don’t think the possibility of me pulling a secondary weapon ever crossed his mind.

      While the DS feature is cool, Tap and rack works better (if the round failed once, why won’t it fail again?), and even better than that is the ability to think fluidly under pressure and out think your attacker.

  3. DanjojoUSMC February 27, 2012 at 5:06 pm #

    I think the undeniable plus with double strike capability is that in real combat your adrenaline dump is causing you to send rounds at the bad guy/s quickly and you just grip and rip. You are not shooting slow, controlled fire unless you have a long distance and good cover. If you transition to your pistol and you are letting loose you will not notice that the round failed to ignite before double strike capability has already sent the bullet and the next one after that.

    • Markus October 14, 2012 at 10:19 am #

      In the situation you described double strike would be a benefit if you had a hard primer. If you had a dud, that double strike capability might cause you to pull the trigger over and over again with no effect. Not a good thing.

  4. Ben October 14, 2012 at 10:21 am #

    I have to agree with Brandon–double-strike capability should not be a selling point for a defensive handgun. I’m going to stick to my training: Bang switch doesn’t go bang = immediate action drill (tap, rack, bang). If that round in the chamber has failed me once, I’m not giving it a second chance to fail again. I’ve got 17 more of its buddies eager to take its place. Besides, I’m not a fan of double-action triggers on autos.