double action pistols

Double-Action Pistols Still Make Great CCW Pistols

The TDA or traditional double action is enjoying a bit of a resurgence of late, as they are ever so slightly back in vogue. Appendix carriers and other folks are revisiting the old-school double-action pistols and finding they may have been given short shrift.

But it's also that a lot of TDA pistols are service pistols; they're a bit big for concealed carry, leaving many wondering if there was a Glock 19-sized option out there for easier daily carry.

There are, and here are 6 excellent examples worth looking at.

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

The 92X Compact is a little big and a little heavy compared to some of the other guns on this list, but it brings a lot to the table. The X series pistols are basically the Vertec guns going through their goth phase, but that's hardly a bad thing. 

The grip reduction also reduces trigger reach, addressing one of the most constant criticisms of the Beretta 92, with thin grip panels that likewise reduce the grip size. The sights are dovetailed, so you can add whatever irons you want. There is also an RDO model, if you wanted to add an optic. 

While a little larger than a Glock 19 - with the 4.25-inch barrel, the 92X Compact is the same size as a S&W M&P9 - it's still a slimmer, more shootable 92...which is a workhorse gun. 

Canik TP9DA

canik TP9

The TP9 pistols are a Walther P99 clone, but now that the P99 is discontinued...they're the only option on the market. It's a striker-fired pistol with a decocker, so you can carry with the striker decocked for a DA first shot. 

Because it is a Walther clone, it has great ergonomics, a very decent factory trigger (especially for a sub-$400 pistol) and good sights (a Warren Tactical set) with grip panels and an accessory rail. They're absolutely feature-packed and far better shooters than the price point might suggest. Canik guns are serious value for money. 

The only hitch is that they are NOT Glock 19 sized at all; they are Glock 19X sized (barrel length is 4 inches) and the compact models from Canik (such as the TP9 SF Elite) are not offered with the DA system. But you get a lot of bang for the bucks.

S&W Model 66 2.75-Inch

If you want a DA pistol...why not the original? And at that, why the Model 66 instead of a J-frame? 

For a few reasons. The compact medium frame (with a round butt and 2- to 3-inch barrel) was the gunfighter's revolver, holding six shots instead of five, with a bigger frame for easier shooting but still being easy to conceal. The Model 66 is nominally chambered in .357 Magnum, but the smart shooters carefully select a .38 Special load for K frames and L frames. If you have acceptable terminal ballistics, shooting .38 Special in a medium-frame gun is practically cheating. 

The 66 is the stainless version of the Model 19, with an adjustable rear sight and red ramp front, and rubber grips. Don't let the looks fool you; this was the Glock 19 of the mid-20th century and an awful lot of good work got done with them. 

HK P30

You're still poor and they still hate you, but HK makes some darn fine pistols. Their DA/SA offerings have a history of being excellent service guns, and one worth looking at is the P30. 

The P30 is a modern DA/SA pistol, with a railed polymer frame, but also a 17+1 capacity in 9mm and your choice of DA/SA with a decocker (with optional thumb safety) or their LEM trigger, a light DAO that a lot of people quietly insist is way better. 

The P30 is closer to a Glock 19X/Glock 45 in size (specifically grip length) but is far from untenable for concealed carry. There's also a subcompact model (the P30SK) that takes a 13-round magazine, which also can be ordered with the LEM trigger. 

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. Beretta still makes the standard 92FS Compact as well, though it has the fixed sights and grip of the standard model. 

As far as revolvers, snubbies are still being made. Examples include multiple Taurus models, the entire Smith and Wesson J-Frame line, and Ruger's LCR/LCRx and SP101 models.

The smart boy choices among Colt's current offerings would be the 3-inch and DAO King Cobra models, and the Night Cobra of the standard guns. 

The thinking man's concealed carry Ruger revolvers are the .327 Federal models of the SP101 and LCR, as they have a six-shot cylinder instead of five. If you then load the gun with .32 S&W instead of .327 Federal, there's barely any recoil and little loss of terminal performance with the right load selection. The LCR and LCRx are also offered in .22 LR and .22 WMR. 

There are also some excellent CZ clones, such as those made by Tanfoglio, as well as the IWI Jericho/Magnum Research Baby Eagle. 

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.

The Sig Sauer P229 is also an excellent handgun, which has been in military and police use worldwide for more than 20 years. 

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

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Writer sam hoober