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double action pistols

The Death Of Double-Action Pistols Is Greatly Exaggerated

Yes, it's mostly a poly-striker world of handguns out there but there are plenty of double action pistols still in production that make dandy carry guns. They aren't the standard for semi-autos anymore, and haven't been for quite some time.

With that said, some people still prefer a double/single trigger system, hammer-fired or otherwise. And not only that, a good number of them actually make good carry guns as they are compact and light enough to be feasible for EDC.

To quickly define that: "about the size of a Glock 19." Yes, lots of people carry a smaller gun and blah blah blah. Everyone and their brother knows it's the standard for a concealed carry pistol in terms of dimensions.

Point being, for the person who prefers a double-action pistol, and can get a concealed carry holster to carry it with, here are 6 solid choices of carry gun. There are more out there, of course, but these are great starting points.

Beretta PX4 Storm Compact: The Double Action Pistol Of The 20th Century

px4 compact

The Beretta PX4 Storm Compact would be one of our top picks if you wanted a compact double-action pistol for concealed carry. It has none of the weaknesses of traditional DA guns, and modern features that even a Glock fanboy would appreciate.

The PX4 is a modernized Beretta 8000, with the same rotating barrel and a similar trigger system, but a polymer frame to reduce weight that includes a rail for mounting accessories. The frame-mounted ambi decocker/safety is retained, but with smaller levers that are a bit easier to reach with the shooting hand thumb compared to the 92. The trigger isn't perfect, but is incredibly smooth in DA operation. Unlike the 92, you can change the sights.

Overall dimensions in the Compact model, which has a 3.27-inch barrel, are around the same as the Glock 19, with the same capacity of 15+1 of 9mm or 12+1. It even costs about the same, with some shopping.

CZ P-01: Old-School Compact Double Action Pistol With New School Features

cz p01

While there are lots of CZ guns to love, the CZ P-01 is easily the double-action pistol that modern carriers and shooters have taken to the most.

The P-01 has a frame-mounted decocker, rather than the frame-mounted safety of the classic CZ-75. The frame is an aluminum alloy, rather than steel, bringing unloaded weight well under 30 oz, and has a full-length railed dust cover for mounting accessories.

The P-01 is widely praised for the ergonomics (excellent, like most CZs) a smooth double-action trigger, decent SA trigger, and for being very accurate and reliable. That's why it became the standard pistol for the Czech national police. The pistol is NATO certified for a combat handgun, so it's definitely a good gun to have in your arsenal.

Beretta 92X Compact: A Big Double Action Pistol Just Small Enough To Carry

92X compact

Okay, so the Beretta 92X Compact is a bit bigger than a Glock 19, so it's not the easiest double action pistol to carry, but it's easier to tote than a standard 92FS by a long shot. Additionally, the 92X series adds a bunch of upgrades to the 92 platform that make it an outstanding pistol.

Like all 92 compacts, the barrel is cut to 4.25 inches, and the frame to 5.25 inches. The factory magazine holds 13+1 of 9mm, but aftermarket magazines hold 15+1. The grip is changed to a straight drop and a slight bob at the bottom, and thin wraparound grips are added. Ergonomically, it's outstanding. The slide is Beretta's Vertec slide, which features sight cuts allowing the user to install fiber optic or night sights as desired at the front and rear. The magwell is beveled for faster magazine changes.

The selling point of the 92X Compact is the little improvements over the 92 Compact. The straight grip reduces the trigger reach, so it's easier for most folks to use the long DA trigger, which is butter smooth. It is slightly larger than your typical poly striker compact, but the 92X Compact is barely any more expensive than many of them, but is far more refined.

Walther P99AS: A Double-Action Pistol That's Striker-Fired?!

walther p99

For those who don't remember, the Walther P99AS is a double-action pistol that's striker-fired. It's been around for a while, but Walther still makes them, and they're still excellent pistols.

The Walther P99 launched Walther's poly/striker pistols, and still has all the attributes that makes them excellent. Outstanding ergonomics, with swappable backstraps, great capacity at 15+1 of 9mm, outstanding accuracy, and a factory trigger second to none. The P99 can be decocked with a slide-top button, for DA carry, with a longer DA trigger pull for the first shot.

Dimensionally, it's on par with the G19, just a little taller. The P99 for a time was a very popular pistol for law enforcement, and for good reason. If you like the idea of a double/single action pistol, but don't want to deal with a hammer-fired gun, it's pretty much the only choice.

Rock Island Armory AL9.0: After All, The Original Double-Action Pistol Is A Revolver

Our next stop is a wheel gun, the Rock Island Armory AL9.0. After all, the original double-action pistols were revolvers. This one, which was announced in late 2019 and debuted at SHOT Show 2020, has a lot to like.

The AL9.0 is made by ALFA in the Czech Republic, and imported/exported by Rock Island Armory elsewhere. It's a 6-shot, compact medium-frame revolver with a round butt and 3-inch barrel with a full underlug ejector shroud. (It's more or less a copy of the S&W 586.) The party piece is that it chambers 9mm instead of .38 Special, and is made for use with moon clips. (Which are the best speed loader for revolvers. Ask Jerry Miculek.) The gun comes with three, but it's a good idea to buy a few more.

The features are a very decent set of rubber grips, a red insert on the front sight blade, and an adjustable rear sight. The AL9.0 and other compact revolvers like it are the ideal balance between concealability and shootability, so wheel gunners should take notice.

SAR B6C: The Budget Friendly Double Action Pistol

If you wanted to save a few bucks, a good double action pistol to look for is the SAR B6C. SAR's DA pistols are CZ-75-derived, so it's basically the same manual of arms. The B6 series (including the B6C's bigger brother) have a polymer lower frame to reduce weight.

SAR USA has established stateside operations, so getting parts and magazines and so on aren't an issue. The B6C has a very decent DA trigger pull, and a SA trigger pull rivaling that of pistols with double the MSRP. Sarsilmaz, the Turkish company that manufactures the pistols, is the oldest small arms maker in that country, and is a NATO-certified small arms manufacturer. These aren't Saturday Night Specials; SAR has serious guns that are made to run reliably and shoot accurately.

The B6P is ergonomically excellent, carries 13+1 of 9mm aboard, and can set you back less than $300. It's an excellent pistol that also happens to be quite budget-friendly. Definitely worth a look.

Some Honorable Mentions Of Other Double Action Pistols

double action pistols

Bear in mind that this list isn't supposed to be a comprehensive list of all double-action pistols that make good carry guns. There are some others that are definitely worth checking out too.

The CZ CZ 75 Compact, CZ 75D PCR and CZ P07 are all outstanding.

There are also some excellent CZ clones, such as those made by Canik and imported by TriStar Arms. The EAA Tanfoglio Witness compacts are also worth looking into; the Witness Compact Steel model is one of only two known-to-us compact pistols made in 10mm Auto.

The Sphinx SDP Compact is also a fantastic double-action pistol, with a lot of fantastic refinements, though it is rare and a bit pricey.

Smith and Wesson, Taurus, and Colt all make compact revolvers worth a look if you're into .38 snubbies. There are too many models to get into.

Speaking of the Jericho pistols, IWI still makes the Jericho and Magnum Research still makes the Baby Eagle, which has a frame-mounted safety/decocker (a la Beretta) instead of a frame-mounted safety. Both can be had with a polymer or steel frame.

The Sig Sauer P229 is also an excellent handgun, which has been in military and police use worldwide for more than 20 years. The only strike against it compared to the six guns in the main list is that most models are almost 35 oz in weight; the 6 guns we listed are all less than 30 oz unloaded, including the Beretta 92X Compact.

Any other double-action pistols - that are in current production - that you think should have been mentioned? Sound off in the comments!

About The Author

Writer sam hoober