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Where the action is: the double-action-only pistol round-up.

There's a new kid on the market in the world of autopistols, and his name is DAO, which stands for double action only. Police want DAO pistols to eliminate the possibility of accidental shootings. The military wants DAO pistols because they have to arm heir personnel with an eye on the "lowest common denominator," which means they need a gun that goes "bang" every time the trigger is pulled. Civilians want DAO because the heavy trigger pull make the gun much safer should it fall into young hands and because the uniform trigger weight makes shooting much more accurate.

No matter who buys your pistols or why you sell them, there's no denying that DAO is the hot new trend in the market. This month, Shooting Industry offers an overview of the guns which are available for you to offer your DAO customers.


Arcadia Machine and Tool offers the On Duty pistol in both traditional DA/SA with decocker lever and a new DAO version. The On Duty comes chambered in a variety of calibers: the 9mm version has a 15 + 1 capacity, the .40 S&W version has a capacity for 11 + 1 rounds, and the .45 ACP On Duty holds 9 + 1 rounds.

The AMT DAO pistol comes with a trigger disconnect thumb safety -- an added feature for customers who want extra security -- and a white three-dot sighting system. The On Duty is available with an anodized black matte finish and carbon fiber grips.

Also available in the DAO category from AMT is the Backup, a 5-inch-long, stainless steel auto pistol chambered in .380 with a contoured, anti-snag profile.


The DAO version of Beretta's Model 92 is designated the 92D. Chambered in 9mm only, the Model 92D has an aluminum alloy, combat-style frame with a bobbed hammer and no external safety. The 92D has a 16-round capacity and offers optional three-dot sights.

The disassembly latch on the frame makes the gun easy to break down and clean. The open slide configuration minimizes the possibility of ejection-related malfunctions and provides easy chamber access for reloading.

The 92D is also available in a version with a slide-mounted safety for customers who prefer an extra degree of security.


While not truly a DAO pistol, Browning's entry in the double-action-only market is worth mentioning. With its slide-mounted conversion switch, the Browning BDM can operate in either traditional DA/SA mode or in DAO mode. Instead of a traditional safety, the BDM has a frame-mounted "combination lever" which serves a variety of functions. In the DA/SA mode, with the lever up, the slide will lock open after the last shot. Inserting a fresh magazine and pressing the lever down will release the slide, decock the hammer, and place the safety on. In the DAO mode the hammer is released after each shot, but can still be cocked back for a single-action first shot.

The Browning BDM is chambered for 9mm with a 15 + 1 magazine capacity. The gun comes with a carrying case, an extra magazine, and wrap-around polymer grips for extra comfort.


The premier American firearms manufacturers now offers one of the most innovative DAO pistols on the market, the All American 2000. The 2000 has no external hammer at all, instead operating with an internal striker and a roller-bearing-mounted trigger for smooth, straight pull with no overtravel. The rotary barrel action (much like that used on the AR 15) reduces felt recoil and promotes accuracy.

The All American 2000 is chambered in 9mm only, although there are rumors of a .40 S&W model in the future. The pistol comes with a three-dot sighting system, and Colt's offers a low-light tritium insert as an option.

The All American 2000 comes in two versions: a polymer-framed, all-black version, and an aluminum-framed version with wooden grips.


While the Glock pistol might more accurately be described as "single-and-a-half-action only," the Glock pistol was one of the first to use the DAO-style action with an internal striker rather than an exposed hammer. In operation, the Glock striker is half-cocked when the slide is racked, allowing the shooter to take advantage of a lighter but still uniform trigger pull. the Glock's trigger pull is approximately 5 to 8 pounds, as opposed to most DAO pistols with a 10- to 12-pound trigger pull.

Glock pistols are made with a black polymer frame and come chambered in 9mm standard (17 + 1) and compact (15 + 1) and .45 ACP (13 + 1). Glock also makes a competition version of the 9mm full-size pistol for sport shooting with an extended barrel, designated the 17L.


H&K offers the P7 in 9mm and the P7M10 in .40 S&W. While not truly a DAO pistol, the P7 was one of the first handguns to feature the uniform trigger pull concept.

Unlike other DAO guns, the P7 is made ready-to-fire by the "squeeze cocker" mechanism, which raises the striker when the front strap is gripped and lowers it safely when the frontstrap is released. By utilizing this feature, the shooter does not have to change grip on the pistol to release the safety, yet if the trigger is pressed without the squeeze cocker being activated first, the P7 will not fire. This also makes the pistol completely ambidextrous.

The P7 also features a fluted chamber which will extract and eject an empty shell even if the extractor is missing; the extractor (which doubles as a loaded chamber indicator) only aids in making extraction smooth.


Sig guns, known for their quality and reliability, are favorites of law enforcement personnel and shooters across the country. Sig offers DAO versions of the P226, the full-size, 15 + 1 capacity, 9mm pistol, the P228, a compact 9mm which holds 13 + 1 rounds and features an aluminum alloy frame, and the P229, the full-size, .40 S&W pistol which holds 12 + 1 rounds and features an aluminum alloy frame. All Sig slides are made of stainless steel and are available with blue, nickel, or K-Kote finishes.


It's only logical that the largest manufacturer of handguns in the U.S. should offer the widest selection of DAO pistols, and so it is with Smith & Wesson. As customers have come to expect, all of S&W's DAO pistols are well-built and ergonomically designed.

What kind of DAO pistol did you want? Customers can take their pick with S&W's DAO feature is offered in compact pistols in the 3900, 6900, and 4000 series, and full-sized pistols in the 5900, 1000, 4000, and 4500 series. Finishes available are bright stainless, matte stainless, and blued steel. Grips come with straight and curved backstraps and recoil-absorbing Xenoy pads, barrel lengths range from 3 1/2-inch ultra-compact 9mm to the beefy 5-inch .45 ACP. All pistols come with Novak LoMount Carry sights with optional tritium night sights. Magazine capacity ranges from the 8 + 1-round compact 9mm to the 15-round, full-size 9mm, to the 9-round full-size 10mm and anywhere in between.


Imported by Sile Distributors, the Sphinx pistol, manufactured in Switzerland, is the newest entry in the DAO market. The DAO Sphinx comes in two calibers, 9mm and .40 S&W, and three sizes, a full-size pistol, a "half-sized" pistol, and a compact gun.

The Sphinx comes with a blued slide and a stainless steel frame with either black rubber or walnut grips. With the purchase of a conversion kit which consists of a replacement hammer and safety lever, the DAO Sphinx can easily be converted from standard DAO operation to DAO with a thumb safety -- a feature which gives the gun added customer appeal.


Ruger offers a DAO version of the popular P-series pistol in both 9mm (the KP89DAOC) and .40 S&W (the KP91DAOC). The KP89 has a capacity of 15 + 1 rounds and the KP91 has a capacity of 11 + 1 rounds.

Both of these guns have a stainless steel slide with a blue aluminum alloy frame, which makes them extremely light for full-sized handguns -- the overall empty weight is approximately 2 pounds. Each has white, three-dot sights for quick, accurate shooting.

The Ruger pistols are extremely simple to strip and clean; the operation can be done with no tools at all. The comfortable grip panels are made of high-impact Xenoy resin and, with minor gunsmithing, the magazine release can be converted from right-hand to left-hand operation.
COPYRIGHT 1992 Publishers' Development Corporation
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Copyright 1992 Gale, Cengage Learning. All rights reserved.

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Author:Farrell, Scott
Publication:Shooting Industry
Date:Sep 1, 1992
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