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Best DA/SA Pistols Every Gun Owner Needs

DA/SA doesn't win popularity contests, but the solid design has earned plenty of fans. Which are our favorite DA/SA models? Come find out.

Some gun owners cling to 1911s (TWO WORLD WARS!!) but me…

I cling to DA/SA, otherwise known as double-action/single action. 

DA/SA handguns use a unique trigger system in which the first pull of the trigger both cocks and fires the weapon.

Subsequent shots revert the gun into single-action mode, meaning the trigger only has to release the hammer to fire the gun. In the case of a striker-fire gun, the trigger releases the striker causing a bang. 

But what are the advantages to this system? 

Open carrying a SIG P226 Legion.

If you’ve seen DA/SA floating around, but are still scratching your head in confusion, we’ve got you covered.

Let’s dive into why DA/SA might be a good option for you and which guns you should consider adding to your collection. 

Table of Contents


The Benefits of DA/SA Are Plenty

Though I carry a traditional striker-fired pistol daily, the bulk of my collection is primarily DA/SA pistols. But why do I hold a lot of affection for the system that Jeff Cooper said, “is a problem looking for a solution?” 

The double-action/single-action trigger system offers an awesome advantage that can benefit any gun owner.

That first trigger pull is very long and deliberate, but follow-up shots are short and light. 

While firearms safety, training, and knowledge are the most valuable safety protocols, a longer trigger helps reduce accidents.

Longer triggers are excellent in adrenaline-fueled, high stakes, high-stress situations. 

Brave Response Belly Band Holster
Practice safely drawing so this doesn’t happen, but a longer trigger pull could prevent an unnecessary accident.

The following single-action trigger pull is often very light — lighter than most striker-fired triggers. Having a 1911-like trigger works well if you need to make a longer second shot. 

Lastly, the double-action design ensures that you can squeeze the trigger again if the gun goes click instead of bang.

Everything Has a Downside

Training for two trigger pulls isn’t always easy. It takes time to master the long double-action trigger and to overcome its faults. 

DA/SA fans put in plenty of time to learn the trigger through both live and dry fire.

(Spoiler alert: more practice means more ammo.)

This level of practice and dedication isn’t for everyone. All that said, for those of us who’ve seen the light, it’s hard to go back to a traditional trigger system. 

The Best of the Best in DA/SA

Now that you know the DA/SA system both cocks the gun and fires it let’s look at some DA/SA options. 

Which DA/SA handguns are the best? I have some opinions on the matter.

Without further ado, here are my favorites.

1. CZ 75 Series

I’m a declared tactical hipster; therefore, I have to find a way to include a CZ on every list I write. On a DA/SA list, I couldn’t leave out the largest family of DA/SA guns ever. 

Glock and Smith & Wesson? No, thank you.

Until recently, CZ was all about DA/SA guns derivative of the original CZ 75.

Born in 1975 in Czechoslovakia, the CZ was created under a secret Soviet patent. The gun has radically changed since then. It’s evolved from humble beginnings to the basis for an extremely modern pistol line. 

I mean, CZ did make a striker-fired gun in the 90s, but we don’t talk about that

CZ 75 SP-01
The CZ 75 SP-01 goes for that all metal vibe.

The CZ 75 line has evolved into big bores like the CZ 97, modern metal platforms like the SP 01, and even competition pistols like the Shadow series. We can’t forget contemporary polymer frames like the P-09 and P-07. 

The CZ 75’s robust and incredibly reliable design spawned a legacy that spread into each of its derivatives. The ergonomics are simply unmatched. There’s a reason this is the most replicated handgun in the world! 

If you don’t own a CZ 75, or a derivative of it, you should fix that…like now. 

(Also, peep our hands-on review on the CZ-75 to dive further into the platform!)

Best for Production Competition
at Kygunco

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

2. Sig Sauer P226 

Though the P220 might have been the first example of a modern Sig pistol, the P226 stood out from the “P” pack. From elite forces like the Navy SEALs to countless police departments, the Sig P226 has been around the block a time or two. 

This behemoth of a pistol helped kick off the wonder nine craze but also saw action in .40 S&W and .357 SIG.

Playing card drill, anyone? The SIG P226 Legion produced this beautiful ten-round playing card drill the first magazine through the gun.
Playing card drill, anyone?

Equipped with, arguably, one of the best de-cockers on the planet, the de-cocker is perfectly located for quick and easy access. It’s impossible to miss. 

With dozens of variants, a modern P226 with a rail and weapon light is one of the most robust and reliable weapons out there.

If you’re looking for a hammer-fired pistol and/or a double-action/single-action, check out the SIG P226 Legion. It’s an awesomely precise gun.
Upgrade to the P226 Legion…you won’t be disappointed.

The P226 is also a massive beast of all-metal construction that eats recoil like I eat tacos. 

Despite its size, ergonomically, it’s sound. The only downside for me is that ole slide lock. It’s small but also sits right where my thumb goes. That’s a bummer since it means the slide lock is often pinned down and ineffective. 

The P226 series still has a lot of life left to live, and it’s most certainly out there living its best life. 

at Guns.com

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

3. Walther P99 

Here is an oddball that is both underrated yet cloned numerous times. 

A DA/SA design but a striker-fired? This combo makes the Walther P99 a rarity in the gun world. It may be a weird one, but the trigger is absolutely unbeatable. 

The Walther P99 is a polymer-framed pistol with an ultra-modern vibe. While it served for a short period in the hands of James Bond, it never really caught on.

James Bond Walther P99
Nice sweep, bruh.

That said, Canik and Magnum Research have both cloned the gun. Smith & Wesson even teamed up with Walther to produce the SW99 for a short time. 

The Walther P99 incorporates a button de-cocker sitting at the top of the slide, which gives you a big chunkin’ noise when de-cocked.

At the rear of the gun rests a protruding striker tip, letting you know whether it is cocked.

Walther P99C
It’s so cute.

The trigger is superbly light with an ultra-short pull in single-action. The double-action is a long trigger pull but incredibly smooth and consistent.

I’d go as far as to say that the P99 has the best stock DA/SA trigger in a production gun. 

The grip is outstanding and easily one of the most ergonomic guns out there. Admittedly, the paddle-style magazine release can be divisive, but I love it. 

at Sportsman's Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

4. Beretta 92A3

I’m a big Beretta fan, carrying a Beretta M9 during my cool-guy days as a Marine. I developed a real affection for this pistol. 

Beretta’s 92A3 took everything I loved about the 92FS and effectively made it better.

Furthermore, the A3 tackled many of the concerns and issues Beretta fans had with the 92 series

Beretta 92fs
Beretta’s 92FS

A thinner Vertec style grip addressed the biggest complaint while a Picatinny rail, threaded barrel, removable front sight, and beveled magazine well for quicker reloads topped off the features. 

The 92A3 retains the reliability of the 92FS, as well as the soft-shooting nature of the gun. Shooting the 92A3 is an absolute dream.

Bruce Willis Beretta 92FS
Yippie-ki-yay, indeed.

A “G” configuration, if you choose, ditches the safety and sticks with the lever, which acts as a de-cocker only. 

This heavy metal gun is one of the last holdouts in the DA/SA realm that hasn’t gone full polymer.

While the Sig P320 may have technically won the MHS contest, I would’ve preferred to see the 92A3 as America’s service pistol. 

at Sportsman's Warehouse

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

5. HK USP 

The HK USP, especially the Compact 9mm model, is one of my favorite guns of all time. (Mostly because I have a major crush on Jack Bauer.) Celebrity crushes aside; the USP is an excellent gun. 

Jack Bauer
He’s so dreamy…

A happy little side effect of the Offensive Handgun Weapon System trials, the HK USP was designed with the American market in mind.

Leading the charge, the USP40 sprang to life when the .40 S&W became the cartridge of choice for law enforcement.

In fact, the USP was built around the .40 S&W cartridge –a different take than most companies who just adapted their 9mm guns to .40 S&W. 

Popular Pistol Calibers

One of the most robust .40 S&W firearms, this came at a time when the .40 S&W was cracking polymer frames. 

The HK USP also used a built-in mechanical recoil reduction system that tamed recoil very efficiently. 

The result? 

HK45 USP with mounted light
HK45 USP with mounted light

This full-sized 9mm USP shoots like an absolute kitten. Even the compact .40 S&W model was a pleasant shooter with mild recoil

Like all HK guns, the USP is built to last. Even better, more affordable often LE trade-ins, .40 S&W variants continue to pop up at reasonable price points.

Trade-ins are usually still in excellent condition and will keep on keeping on, regardless of the decades of use they’ve seen. 

at Palmetto State Armory

Prices accurate at time of writing

Prices accurate at time of writing

Available Coupons

Is DA/SA Dead? 

Alas, even CZ has succumbed to the striker-fired madness that currently controls the handgun market.

However, I don’t believe the DA/SA life is over just yet. While strikers are a favorite of duty guns, the DA/SA continues to live on. 

Live Long and Prosper
Live on DA/SA…live on

Despite a downturn in the production of new DA/SA guns, we still have the old classics.

Many shooters prefer these for things like concealed carry, home defense, and even competition. I have no doubt, DA/SA guns will linger for a very long time. 


Though not as popular as the striker-fired crowd, the DA/SA design is a great addition to any gun safe. Thanks to its unique trigger system that both cocks and fires the weapon on the first pull, DA/SA guns ensure follow-up shots are a lot lighter and smoother.

While we prefer CZ 75, Beretta 92, Walther P99, HK USP, and Sig P226 for their reliability and solid performance, hopefully, we’ve given you a good starting point to begin your DA/SA adventure.

What are your favorite DA/SA guns? Sound off in the comments below. For even more pistols that skirt the polymer trend, check out our guide on the Best Not a Glock Pistols

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28 Leave a Reply

  • Commenter Avatar

    Sig P225-A1 , love the weight and feel of an all metal handgun. My daily carry.

    March 12, 2023 1:05 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Mark Gander

    Our Dept. likes us to carry Glocks 19,17,26. when on duty i guess its easier to hand off mags to your brother officer however I still carry my PX-4 storm, my 92 LTT, amd my Ruger sp-101 when off duty. I guess i will always be a DA/SA person. Nothing against striker fired like them to just my preference. However its good to try both if you are a new shooter. Stay safe yall and carry responsibly, and please don't leave your weapons in your vehicle

    February 18, 2023 8:33 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I shoot plastic striker guns but would never carry one. Heavy, metal da sa guns are my love. I have confidence in them, like an old revolver.

    January 9, 2023 3:47 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    ok but what gun has:
    da/sa hammer fired
    Alloy frame
    fixed barrel three safeties
    D Cocker.
    concealed carryable
    accepts Crimson trace grips
    lifetime warranty ??

    Bersa Thunder .380
    Why wasnt this frame made in 9mm ?

    October 4, 2022 11:59 am
    • Commenter Avatar
      Chuck Weatherall

      Bersa TPR9?

      November 30, 2022 7:45 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    The Grand Powers are fully ambidextrous and as a lefty I appreciate that. My favorite is my HK P30SK, with Grayguns trigger kit. But honestly while I prefer DA/SA these guns are just too large or heavy to carry concealed for me at least. If I could find one the size of a S&W Bodyguard in DA/SA with ambi safety, that would be perfection. As you might suspect my EDC is the Bodyguard.

    September 9, 2022 8:46 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    William Robert

    Ruger SR 22 and Bersa Thunder are 2 fine, low priced sa/da pistols i like.

    September 1, 2022 10:46 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      amen to Bersa
      da/sa hammer fired
      Alloy frame
      fixed barrel three safeties
      D Cocker.
      Crimson trace grips
      lifetime warranty

      that frame should have been adapted to 9mm

      October 4, 2022 12:01 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    The Beretta 92A3 is either a 92A1 or M9A3...

    March 2, 2022 9:54 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    Springfield XDe. SA/DA, external hammer, decocker. I don't see or feel love for it. That was the last pistol I purchased. Love to carry it.

    January 10, 2022 8:05 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      And now it's discontinued. My current carry in 45acp.

      March 4, 2022 11:07 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      I am under the impression that the article only addresses guns still in production.
      The XDE is an excellent gun, and fulfills a very unique niche, singe stack DA/SA. There is a small market for both of those these day, but a fantastic firearm it is.

      July 11, 2022 11:12 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I have a Beretta PX4 Storm Compact in .40SW, I absolutely love this gun. I've added the competition trigger and night sights as well as the low profile decocker which makes it a little slimmer.

    December 3, 2021 6:07 am
    • Commenter Avatar

      I Ave one in 9mm and it has quickly become my favorite at the range

      January 23, 2022 6:25 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    That picture of the lady drawing with the gun pointed at her femoral artery with her finger on the trigger makes me sick to my stomach.

    November 12, 2021 10:40 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    FMF Doc

    Nice list! I do find the inclusion of the Walther P99 a bit of a stretch, as it is a striker-fired pistol. For me, at least, a true DA/SA pistol includes an external hammer. And stay off my lawn. :)

    September 29, 2021 10:00 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    "Upgrade to a P226 Legion" with a picture of a P320 Legion......

    May 20, 2021 2:45 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      Might want to take a closer look, that is definitely a 226 Legion. Note the decocker, the rounded magazine release, and the fact that it says "P226" on the slide.

      May 20, 2021 4:26 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Richard Millett

    The bersa tpr9c and the tpr9. Full ambi. Controls all metal gun. Nice trigger with a very very short reset. Had the bersa tpr9. Sold it and pick up the ruger American compact. now I'm going back to bersa. I love hammer fire.

    May 5, 2021 6:18 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    William G Ritchie

    I'm impressed and extremely happy with my Canik T9DA/SA (in Burnt Bronze). Have you checked it out? Polymer frame, striker fired.

    April 25, 2021 12:40 pm
  • Commenter Avatar
    Steve Gill

    Langdon Beretta Elite 92. The Beretta 92 series is a nice platform but after Langdon gets through with it, it becomes incredible

    April 3, 2021 9:39 pm
    • Commenter Avatar
      David, PPT Editor

      Grail gun on my list is a Langdon.

      April 4, 2021 8:45 am
  • Commenter Avatar
    A M Williams

    To leave out the FNH_FNP is a sad mistake !!! Best gun in the world I have fnp9 & fnp 45 they are great

    January 11, 2021 7:28 am
  • Commenter Avatar

    I currently own an FEG P9R (action tuned by an ooold Browning Hi-Power smith...so nice), and an Arcus 98Da. I'm used to it, works great for me. I also own a SIG P250, and a Walther PPX, both DAO and very nice. I shoot them enough so I don't loose the muscle memory of the transtion, or long DAO pull. Having shot revolvers since a kid, it was a short learning curve. Don't be leery of the long initial trigger pull- properly trained with it your accuracy will improve.

    December 29, 2020 7:11 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Owning CZ75 SP 01 Shadow Orange and CZ97 ... both great shooters and fun at the range.

    For carry, I'm thinking anout 2075 RAMI d, but until I decide, I'm happy with carrying 1911 3"Officer size from Kimber ... or Ruger LCR 357 ... depending on the mood and dress ;)

    November 30, 2020 12:45 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Had a p226 for a while, loved everything about it except the reach to the trigger. The reach in double action was too long, the single action reach was perfect. I installed a factory short trigger, now the double action trigger reach was perfect, the single action reach was too short. I hated to part with the gun but it never fit me correctly. Without a doubt one of the nicest shooting, most accurate handguns I've ever owned.

    November 25, 2020 5:15 pm
  • Commenter Avatar

    Beretta Px4 Storm

    November 25, 2020 2:37 pm
    • Commenter Avatar

      Yep ...another vote for the Px4 platform ...

      November 28, 2020 3:20 pm
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