For the Love of a Single Action
Dr. John Woods 05.20.19
A number of audible sounds in the shooting world are undeniably associated with different kinds of guns. Those sounds, when heard, are immediately recognized by knowledgeable shooters. When a pump shotgun’s slide is racked, it gains everybody’s attention. The same can be said for the clam-shake slam of the action on a Garand M-1 Rifle. How about the closing slide on a 1911 pistol? A classic lever action rifle emits a sound known by any shooter.
Too, there is the distinctive sound of the slow drawing back of a single-action revolver’s hammer. As the hammer comes back, the cylinder turns and springs twitch. That classic three-step cocking action has a unique sound all its own. It means a badass handgun has just been readied for action.
If you have a single action revolver, take it out and make sure it’s unloaded. Close your eyes as you slowly (but with purpose) paw the hammer back to full cock. It’s music to the ears. Few other guns make such a sound.
That measured meticulous cocking of the hammer may exist by design. It allows the shooter to ready the gun for the next shot as the barrel and sights are aligned on the target. Then a singular moment lapses while the shooter pauses before gingerly squeezing the trigger to discharge the firearm. It is a stepped process intended to allow for precision shooting.
Now sure, if practiced and confident you can always speed-shoot a single action, or even fan the hammer aka. Kevin Costner as Charley Waite in Open Range. However, in truth and practice fanning a hammer is not recommended as will often cause damage to the action. The single action mechanism is intended for a concerted cock.
With the measured cocking of the single action comes the idea of aiming and shooting the weapon with purpose. Even when plinking, learning to shoot properly with a good hand grip and position on the gun, sight alignment and trigger control can all be learned better in the slow motion.
Thus, with practice and study a single action revolver can become a highly-effective handgun for prepping work, hunting, and even self-defense for short range encounters. Modern single actions are typically sturdy and reliable guns. They can take normal wear and tear in stride and provide years of service without being temperamental about ammunition.
Sixguns can make great prepper guns.