Hammer VS Striker Fired Handguns

Hammer fired vs striker fired handguns. which one is best for you in the modern day? These two the two handgun firing mechanisms throughout the 19th century and they are still popular today. Both have significant pros and cons that affect conceal carry, ease of upgrade and maintenance, and trigger performance.

Striker Fired

Striker-fire pistols are guns with a hidden mechanism inside that helps them shoot. Some well-known examples are the GLOCK 17, FN 509 SIG Sauer P320, Springfield Echelon, and others.

These pistols are very popular today. They look simple outside and are easy to handle without a hammer sticking out. The design keeps dirt out and makes the gun sit low in the hand. Some people really like this low position, which helps the shooter to acquire the sight picture faster.

Some striker fired guns have high tang grip where the shooters can hand can be placed closer to the axis of the barrel. This improves firing speed and muzzle control.

Still, they have some downsides.

The trigger on these pistols works in a special way called double action. Glock triggers, for example, need a pull to get ready to fire. This pull isn't too long or short, it's in between.

To get these pistols ready, you often have to pull back the top part, called the slide. If you hide the gun under your clothes, you might need to do this every time you draw it. However, these guns have built-in safety features. If you want a safety button like the one on the 1911 gun, there are fewer choices.

Another thing is that striker-fire pistols can't be made safe easily after they're ready to shoot. Guns with hammers have a special lever for this. With striker-fired ones, you have to take out the bullet magazine, pull back the slide to get rid of a bullet, and then press the trigger safely.


Very streamlined slide design - No hammer sticking out to get caught on things

Polymer frame - Many striker fired handguns are lighter

No manual safety - Great for conceal carry. Fumble proof. (Some come with manual safety)

More aftermarket support - More aftermarket parts to choose from. Glock being the most popular one


No manual safety - While it can be great for a trained person, for a non trained person it can be a safety issue

Recoil slap - Recoil on a polymer gun can feel

Hammer Fired

Hammer-fired pistols use either an exposed or shrouded internal hammer to strike the firing pin, which then ignites the cartridge.

Renowned models like the M1911, Beretta M9, FN Herstal FNX, and various revolvers employ this mechanism. The 19th century witnessed the proliferation of this mechanism, which was considered technologically advanced and reliable.

While they tend to have more moving parts than their striker-fired counterparts, hammer-fired pistols were initially easier to manufacture. This ease of production made them the preferred choice during the era of early revolvers in the 1800s.

Modern hammer-fired pistols often come equipped with various safety mechanisms, including firing pin blocks and grip safeties. However, it's imperative to thoroughly research a specific model to ensure it has the requisite safety features for concealed carry.


Manual Operation: An external hammer allows users to manually cock the hammer, offering an alternative to racking the slide in semi-automatic pistols.

Double-Action Versatility: In double-action mode, the trigger pull both cocks and releases the hammer. In contrast, single-action mode requires the hammer to be manually cocked or primed by racking the slide before firing.

DA/SA Dynamics: Double-action/single-action pistols offer varied trigger pull experiences. The initial pull is long and heavy (double-action), but subsequent shots are lighter and shorter (single-action).

Re-strike Capability: Hammer-fired pistols can re-strike a cartridge if there's a light strike, enhancing the chances of ignition on subsequent attempts.


Snagging Concerns: External hammers, especially larger ones, may snag on clothing or holsters, making concealed carry a bit challenging.

Obstruction Issues: If the path between the hammer and firing pin is obstructed by debris or other external factors, the hammer may fail to strike the firing pin effectively.

Elemental Exposure: Unlike their striker-fired counterparts, hammer-fired pistols are more exposed to environmental elements like mud or dirt, which could impede their function.

Heavy Trigger Pull - Only on the double action mode

Key Takeaways

Not all striker-fired guns have lighter triggers than hammer-fired guns. Some striker-fired guns have safeties, but some hammer-fired guns don't.

Beginners might find striker-fired guns a bit easier, but they can still use hammer-fired guns to enjoy the smoothness of a single stage trigger.

For competitions, both types are good. Hammer-fired pistols like the CZ Shadow 2 and Staccato 2011 are made for competitions. They can be both single action and double action, which might help you in competitions. There are also striker-fired pistols made for competitions like the SIG Sauer P320 Legion and GLOCK 34. Again, the best one for you depends on what you like.

The most important thing is what you prefer. If possible, try different guns to see what you like best.

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