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Are “Double Strike Capable” Pistols a Scam?

It seems that more and more I’m seeing concealed carry type pistols being marketed as “double strike capable”, or having the ability to strike the same cardridge a second time with just another pull of the trigger. My question is, is this whole double strike capable thing just a marketing gimmick for traditional double action pistols that have always had this capability, or is double strike capability something that is a viable option for a self defense pistol?

It seems that most trainers who are worth their salt train shooters to rack do some variation of the tap-rack-bang sequence when the pistol stops going bang. With this double strike capability, it would allow a shooter to just pull the trigger again in the event of a light primer strike to hopefully ignite the cartridge on the second try.

Light strikes are a pretty rare occurance in my experience (Shooting Glocks, XD’s, and M&P pistols, I’ve had only one or two in about 50,000 rounds fired shooting factory ammo). Of those rare light strikes, how many of them would go off with a second hit, and how many of them were just a bad primer?

So, lets say that a person is in a defensive situation, and their pistol stops going bang. They have a pistol that has this double strike capability, and they train to keep pulling the trigger when the pistol stops functioning. This person will find themself behind the eightball when the round doesn’t go off, and they then have to initiate remedial action to clear the round from the gun, and get back into the fight, where if they had just initially cleared the pistol, they would be back in the fight sooner, and have a better chance to escape the encounter with their life.

When you see a pistol marketed as “double strike capable” just know that it is a traditional double action pistol, and it’s just a marketing gimmick for uninformed buyers. When your pistol stops functioning, you need to clear it, and you need to practice the sequence of clearing it instead of just pulling the trigger again and hoping for the best.

About Lucas

Editor/Head Honcho at Triangle Tactical. Lucas is a life long shooter and outdoorsman, avid concealed carrier and competitive shooter, and a lover of pork fat.


  1. I don’t know why a semi auto with multiple strike capabilities is a ‘marketing gimmick’ for the uninformed. Sounds like an uninformed opinion to me. I own at least 20 semi auto pistols, some with second strike like Beretta and Taurus and many others without it. I’ll carry different guns during the year like Glock, Smith, Ruger, Kahr. I’ll also carry a compact Taurus as I own 4. I carried a Beretta for years as a duty pistol due to the fact that it goes to double action. I have to say, having a pistol that doesn’t need to have the slide manipulated to attempt to fire it for a 2nd time is a good thing. Kind of like the saying, better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it’. I honestly don’t know why more gun makers aren’t making their autos with this feature. And trust me, I’ve been around long enough and had enough training and experience to know how to operate my handguns. Do I think relying on pulling the trigger a few more times is a good idea if a gun doesn’t fire? NOPE. Not at all. Tap and rack. But see, that’s saying you have the wherewithal and the free hand to do it. Not too many people that like to talk about how to handle a firearm have actually been in combat or ANY type of REAL situations where their life may have been in danger. People forget their names in less stressful situations. I’ve seen people fall apart in fast training sessions, their motor skill deteriorate, they freeze, they want to call a time out. Obviously they need more training but at the same time, some people are not cut out for it. For me, the multi strike capability on a pistol is what I find to be an extra option. Might be your only option in a bad situation. And in my experience a 2nd strike usually fires the round if it didn’t fire the first time. I don’t practice this method for actual training but I will always try the round again while just target shooting and I can only remember a few rounds not firing on the 2nd hit (TulAmmo).
    Although a round should fire in a trusted gun your luck may run out some day and you’re fighting at close quarters with someone who means to do you serious harm. Maybe it’s a fist fight, maybe a knife or even a gun. Can’t exactly say, “hey man, let me get my other hand free so I can make sure my pistol mag is in correctly and then also let me rack the slide to chamber a fresh round. Sound good?” Your only option MAY BE to try multiple strikes and pull the trigger again and again. Your other arm/hand could very well be out of commission or in use saving yourself. You never know so why not have it?

  2. Not a gimmick: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3481507/Woman-leaves-attacker-bloody-wounded-shot-neck-tried-rob-knife-point.html
    Her attacker was on top of her in the front seat of her car, I doubt if she had both hands free to rack the slide, it took multiple trigger pulls to fire the cartridge.
    Granted, it was a small caliber handgun that she had perhaps never practiced with, but still. The fact is that a double-strike capability is not a gimmick. The natural reaction for someone without training is to pull the trigger again.
    Not everyone will get good training. That’s their choice.

  3. I agree with the “Not a gemmick” crowd. I have experienced the double strike capabilities first hand. Thankfully it wasn’t life or death, and was a mistake with reloads. (rifle primer vs. pistol primer) If that had been a marginally chambered round because of grit from a heavy firefight instead, the first strike can move the cartridge forward and the second detonates. Personally, I’m a pull the trigger twice, then rack kind of guy. I can pull the trigger the second time in far less time than I can rack, but not enough time is wasted in the second trigger pull to make that much difference. I’ll risk the 0.2 seconds on the second trigger pull.

  4. If Taurus can make all their semi auto pistols with repeat strike capability, why in the world don’t the rest of the gun makers do the same? Glock, Smith, Ruger, are all one and done if you have a dud. Better have a free hand and the time to rack the slide. Yes, you should train to do this but situations can be bad and that option may not be there. You basically just have a 30oz rock in your hand.

  5. Douglas L Dicketts

    Double strike is also useful for dry fire practice, with a Laser cartridge you don’t have to rack b4 each shot. You can walk the strike points to the target to get a feel for the correct angle, but only the first shot counts if you want to count as point shoot (no sight picture). Way cheaper than spending $$$ on ammo. But the range is a lot more fun.

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