Best DA/SA Pistols – 2021 Ultimate Buyer’s Guide

| Last Updated: April 7, 2022

The style of action in a pistol is an important factor to consider when it comes to choosing a handgun. Many people prefer single-action (SA) pistols due to the fact that the trigger pull is usually lower which can make shots easier to get off and more accurate.

However, double-action/single-action (DA/SA) pistols should be an option that more shooters consider. This is especially true for self-defense and home-defense scenarios. On a DA/SA pistol, the initial trigger pull both cocks the pistol and fires it. It then becomes a single-action pistol on subsequent shots.

Keep reading to learn more and to see the best DA/SA pistols on the market today!

Comparison of the Best DA/SA Pistols

IMAGEPRODUCT
  • Includes two magazines
  • Best overall DA/SA pistols
  • 15-round magazine capacity
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  • 12 + 1 round capacity
  • Best DA/SA Pistol for concealed carry
  • Barrel measured at 3.2 inches in length
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  • 8-round capacity
  • Chambered to fire .45 caliber rounds
  • Barrel measured at 4.4 inches
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  • 13 +1 capacity
  • 9mm caliber chambered
  • Best DA/SA pistol for the money
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What to Watch For When Buying a DA/SA Pistol

One of the biggest decisions to make when in the market for a new pistol is the style of action to choose. There is no single “right” choice for everyone. It depends on personal preference, the purpose the pistol will serve, and the type of shooting that the pistol will be used for.

It is important to really give some thought to those things before making a final decision. DA/SA pistols are an excellent option for some shooters. The tips and information below should help you gain a better understanding of what to look for and consider in a DA/SA pistol.

This Section Written By: Brian Belko

Expert Author

Brian Belko: Gunmann Author

Brian is an experienced freelance writer and technical writer who has previously written for publications such as Wide Open Spaces, Bigfoot Gun Belts, Alien Gear Holsters, and Kampgrounds of America. He brings both a passion for writing and a love of the outdoors to his published content.

Aside from writing and the outdoors, Brian enjoys gardening, being a co-host on The Nostalgia Blast Podcast, and learning to code.

Why Make It Harder?

That question might be running through your mind when you think about DA/SA pistols. Making the first trigger pull take more effort to complete seems almost counter intuitive. Wouldn’t you want the first shot to be easier to get off, especially in a defensive or high-pressure situation? Not necessarily. In a situation like that, it is easy to let adrenaline take over.

In that case, a lighter trigger pull could result in a premature shot or a shot taken without an accurate sight picture. Having that extra little bit of resistance can help you make sure you are on target and that the target is absolutely the correct one to fire at. With training and practice, a DA/SA pistol can be fired just as quickly as a single-action pistol while maintaining that extra benefit.

Beretta 92FS Inox Stainless

Plenty of Practice

Shooting practice is something that every responsible shooter should partake in regularly. It not only helps to improve shooting form and accuracy but also keeps those skills sharp and helps to make them feel like second nature in a high-stress situation. If you are used to shooting single-action pistols, more practice will be necessary to get used to using a DA/SA pistol. Keep that in mind if you are on the fence as it can be time-consuming to do properly. 

Specifically Useful

DA/SA pistols are in a bit of a niche category. They aren’t as popular as striker-fired pistols and single-action handguns, but they do fill an important role. That role can be a specific one, but if your needs fit that role then a DA/SA pistol is a great option. In addition to the other benefits mentioned above, DA/SA pistols can also be quickly refired if there is a misfire or no-fire. It is also important to keep in mind that they typically lack safety which can have an impact on safe storage.

Review of the Best DA/SA Pistols

The following is a list of the best DA/SA pistols on the market. As you read through each review, you should take note of the features and characteristics so you can select one that is close to your ideal match. Once you find one that is close enough, you’ll know for a fact that it’s a winning choice.

Let’s begin with our “best overall” DA/SA pistol: 

Best Overall

Beretta 92FS Inox Stainless

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What Recent Buyers Report

Most new users were looking for a pistol that was excellent in quality and had superior firing power compared to the competition. Sure enough, they weren’t disappointed with this pistol. They managed to carry this in most concealed carry holsters and managed to hit their targets accurately from ranges between 20 to 40 yards. One user even said that he was able to head to the range and land many shots on or close to the bullseye from various distances.

Why it Stands Out to Us 

One of the things that we saw as a standout feature of this weapon was the inclusion of two magazines. You have a formidable amount of shooting power at your disposal with this many magazines. Who says you can’t have too many rounds to work with? This pistol is the real deal if you are looking for a good pistol to have that will be excellent for casual target shooting or when danger seems to lurk somewhere in your vicinity and you must be prepared. Either way, you have a pistol that will kick a serious amount of… well, you get the idea. 

Who Will Use This Most

This will be mostly used in concealed carry or home defense situations. However, it can also be a great pistol for the sake of target practice. Either way, it’s your kind of pistol that will be excellent in quality and excellent in performance. Don’t be surprised if you are still using this years down the road. 

Bottom Line

The Beretta USA 92FS 9mm pistol will be a beneficial addition to your arsenal if you are looking for something with a solid amount of firepower to work with. On top of that, this will be a great pistol to stick with to ensure that you are prepared for any danger that may be threatening your life or property. 

Pros

Excellent accuracy

Insanely lightweight

Grip allows for excellent holding and control

Perfect for concealed carry and home defense

Reliable; customers report no jams to speak of

Cons

None

Best DA/SA Pistol for Concealed Carry

Beretta PX4 Storm

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What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of recent buyers were quite satisfied with this pistol. They said it was the perfect size to fit in most holsters. Plus, it didn’t create any unsightly bulges that would otherwise draw undue attention. One user said that this pistol was perfect to fit inside his IWB holster and was quite accurate when he managed to take it out for a spin at the range. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This pistol has the best measurements you can get when it comes to a compact, concealable pistol. Not only that, it’s chambered in 9mm shots so you have a caliber that will provide you with plenty of stopping power. It’s solid, stout, and ready to get the job done no matter what the application. If you want something that will be one of the most reliable concealed carry pistols available on the market, you’re looking at what might be your best possible choice.

Who Will Use This Most

This revolver will definitely be a favorite among concealed carry users, both new and seasoned. If you want something that has the right measurables and can be easy to take with you just about anywhere you go, this might be what you’ll want on hand. You never know when danger is going to strike. But it is always good to be prepared. 

Bottom Line

The Beretta USA Px4 Storm Compact Handgun has proven itself worthy of being one of the more reliable of many concealed handguns on the market. For a DA/SA pistol, it will definitely give you more opportunities to fire it. If time is not on your side, the least you can do is to not have to cock the hammer back and be able to pull the trigger anyway. 

Pros

Great durability

Accurate at various distances

Perfect for most CCW holsters

Provides excellent concealability without bulging

Perfect for concealed carry and self-defense use

Cons

Sights are not adjustable

May be a little difficult to load initially

Magazine may be a little difficult to remove at times

Editor’s Pick

Rex Zero 1CP

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What Recent Buyers Report

As expected, many users were quite satisfied with the overall performance and quality of the pistol. They said that accuracy was pretty good across most distances (ranging from 20 to 40 yards). One user even said that he was quite happy with the performance during a recent “run and gun” session at his local range. After shooting on a timed test, he is pretty confident in his abilities to use this in a defensive situation if push came to shove. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This pistol might be available in a finish you might like. But looks shouldn’t matter when it comes to choosing your DA/SA pistol, right? It’s the performance and quality that should be your biggest priorities. This is by far one of the most durable and reliable DA/SA pistols you can find for any given application. So if you are using it for CCW purposes or if you want to keep it around the house for home defense, this pistol isn’t so out of place in terms of what purpose you use it for. 

Who Will Use This Most

This would be ideal for those who are either concealed carry users or just using a DA/SA pistol for the fun of it (shooting targets). It’s built to last and will perform at its best so long as you take the best care of it. There is no other pistol that can be as long-lasting and won’t jam on you through many shots quite like the Rex Zero.

Bottom Line

The Rex Zero 1CP 9mm DA/SA is the pistol that you can use for just about any given purpose without having to worry about any jamming or malfunctions. This is what you call a “do it all” kind of DA/SA pistol. For a solid performance and quality that is hard to match, you might consider this pistol to be the best choice for you. 

Pros

Superior durability

Excellent reliability

Hammer is easy to cock back

Trigger pull is smooth and easy

Great for self-defense or target shooting

Cons

None

4. Sig Sauer P220 Legion

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What Recent Buyers Report

This pistol did not disappoint any new user in the slightest. They said that it was a great pistol that provided excellent accuracy while trying it out at the range. Most of the targets were situated from 20 to 30 yards, all hit near or on the bullseye. One user said that his shots were so accurate it gave him a boost of confidence in knowing how well the pistol would work in a situation where he had to use it in a self-defense situation. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This pistol is made by one of the handfuls of names that many concealed carry users trust. SIG Sauer is known for making some of the most reliable and accurate pistols in the business. And they are pretty tough as well in terms of construction, thus making them really durable and long-lasting. This SIG Sauer in particular is a pistol that you can absolutely depend on in terms of self-defense. It’s powerful enough to provide effective knockdown power, even if your shots are intended to incapacitate your target rather than kill. 

Who Will Use This Most

This will be used mostly for self-defense purposes (both at home or while you are out). If you decide to conceal carry, be sure to find a holster that you know will be supportive of your pistol and will keep it secure while giving you bulge-free concealability in the process. This is the pistol that you can’t leave home without even if you try.

Bottom Line

The SIG Sauer P22 Legion 45 ACP pistol will definitely be the one you can depend on in any given life or death situation. Considering that it is a DA/SA pistol, you can simply pull the trigger when timing is not your friend. If you want a pistol that will rise above the call of duty and save your life, this just might be the one you’ll want on hand. 

Pros

Excellent quality

Aesthetically sharp

Great for concealed carry

Shoots accurately with targets up to 30 yards

Easy to disassemble for the purpose of cleaning and maintenance

Cons

Recoil may be a bit sharp at times

Some say it might be a bit too loud

Magazine loading can be a bit difficult at times

5. Bersa TPR9C

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What Recent Buyers Report

A lot of new buyers were not disappointed in the slightest with this pistol. They said that it was accurate, durable, and can handle all kinds of applications. Most new users were concealed carry users while others were using this for the purpose of target shooting (casual and competitive). One user said that he is a competitive shooter who relies more on the single action feature since it gives him a bit more of a chance to get a quick shot off. 

Why it Stands Out to Us

This is a nice 9mm caliber pistol that has a good amount of firing power at your disposal for just about any kind of application you use this for. If you think about it, 13 +1 is plenty for the purpose of concealed carry or target shooting. But what makes this stand out even better is the ability to accommodate both left-handed and right-handed shooters. So, it doesn’t matter what your dominant shooting hand is, this pistol will be well handled by any shooter. 

Who Will Use This Most

This pistol will be the best fit for a lot of new users who are just starting out with concealed carry. You get a great amount of firing power plus accurate, reliable shooting in one complete package. This DA/SA pistol will give you a complete edge over your competition or an unfair (but needed) advantage over your attackers and assailants. Simply put, it’s a pistol that is reliable and affordable any way you slice it. 

Bottom Line

The Bersa TPR9C 9mm pistol is perhaps the go-to choice for you if you are looking for an affordable pistol for yourself. Whether you are just starting out or are a long time concealed carry practitioner, this pistol will not disappoint you in the slightest in any given application. Don’t be surprised that you are getting a great number of benefits at a price that you can afford. 

Pros

Super durable material

Affordable for most budgets

Excellent, accurate shooting ability

Great for both right-handed and left-handed shooters

Easy to disassemble and reassemble for cleaning and maintenance

Cons

None

What is a DA/SA Pistol?

DA/SA is an abbreviation for “double-action” (DA) and “single action” (SA). The difference is in regards to the trigger pull. Single action involves just pulling the trigger. Double action would entail pulling back the hammer and also pulling the trigger.

With DA/SA pistols, you can choose to pull the trigger without cocking back the hammer or you can cock back the hammer itself prior to shooting. Either way, these pistols can still shoot in any given situation. Whether the timing is on your side or not will depend on which “action” you’ll use. 

Photo credit: pewpewtactical.com

How Accurate is a DA/SA Pistol?

While there are some gun experts and enthusiasts that have their own take on how accurate they are, we say that it depends. Some DA/SA pistols may travel farther than others and therefore can be accurate at various distances. You can expect most to be effectively accurate about 15 to 20 yards out.

Some of them may go beyond that; some revolvers that are SA/DA can even go as far as 100 yards and hit targets with surprisingly precise accuracy. 

How Powerful is a DA/SA Pistol?

Once again, it would depend on the type of pistol that you are using. Keep in mind that each caliber is different in terms of shooting power. For example, a .45 caliber round will provide a lot more force compared to a 9mm round. So to give you the best answer, the strength of a DA/SA pistol will depend on the caliber that the pistol is chambered to fire. 

How to Choose a DA/SA Pistol? 

Finding a DA/SA pistol for your own personal use is important, and you’ll need to find out which characteristics and features will stand out the most in order to get you interested enough to finalize your purchase. Here are some things to look for in order to find the ideal option:

Price

Indeed, the price tag is going to be a factor. But you should not consider it to be the only reason why you choose your pistol. The quality and performance should always trump price. So, if you find the best quality and performance affordable, you’d be crazy not to get it; don’t be tempted to buy something that is cheaper in quality and price. Don’t set yourself up for disappointment. 

Beretta 92FS Inox Stainless

Caliber

Finding the right caliber could end up being a challenge, but you should consider your intents and purposes before making a choice on caliber. If you want a DA/SA pistol that will be ideal for concealed carry, almost any caliber will do. But if you really want to do the most damage, you’d be more wise to go with a 38 Special or .357 caliber

Concealed Carry or Leave It At Home?

Some DA/SA pistols differ in size, so choosing one for the purpose of concealed carry will have its requirements. The same way will go for leaving it at home for the purpose of home defense. If you need a concealed carry DA/SA pistol, then obviously one of a smaller size will be sufficient. Larger sized pistols won’t be as concealed carry friendly (because of holster sizes), but they can be handy to have around the house if and when you need them.

Pros and Cons of a DA/SA Pistol

There are some notable advantages and disadvantages to DA/SA pistols.

Pros

DA/SA pistols have their share of advantages. You’ll get to enjoy these assuming you are able to purchase one for your own use. If these don’t impress you enough to get a pistol like a DA/SA pistol, then we don’t know what will.

Quicker Shooting

You don’t have to worry about cocking the hammer back if you feel like you don’t have the time. The hammer can move even with the pull of a trigger. If timing isn’t your friend, then just pull the trigger. This will come in handy if you are in a target shooting or self-defense situation.

Available in Different Sizes

Whether it’s for home defense or if you’re taking it with you as a concealed carry pistol, a DA/SA pistol comes in different sizes. It doesn’t matter if you are using it for concealed carry or not, you’ll get even sweeter advantages that you can get out of a DA/SA pistol. There is no specific measurement for a DA/SA pistol to be effective. 

Hammer Cocking is Pretty Easy With Most Pistols

If you have plenty of time to cock the hammer back, you’ll notice that most of the hammers will be smooth to pull back. Even if you use a double or single action feature of these pistols, you still get a good deal of advantages just by using such pistols like a DA/SA. 

Sig Sauer P220 Legion

Cons

Obviously, there will be minor drawbacks that you’ll need to deal with. It’s the nature of the business, but even the best pistols have their shortcomings. But don’t let that deter you from purchasing a DA/SA pistol.

Some Don’t Have Safeties

While there are some pistols that have safeties that won’t allow accidental firing, some of these DA/SA pistols don’t have safeties that can be used. This might be a concern for those who tend to store their pistols inside their homes. Be sure to store it out of the reach of children or unauthorized users when not in use. 

Pull Trigger May Be Heavy If Using Double Action

As strange as it seems, if you are using a double-action of a DA/SA pistol, you’ll probably notice that the trigger pull might be a bit heavier than compared to a single action. If you think double-action might be burdensome for you because of the trigger pull, thankfully you can be able to just pull the trigger and get the job done regardless. 

Cautious Considerations to Keep in Mind

There are considerations that you should not ignore. So it’s important to know what these are prior to purchasing a DA/SA pistol. Safety is paramount when it comes to firearms, but that should go double for these types of pistols. Here’s what you need to know:

Be Sure That It’s Unloaded When Not in Use

We understand that your pistol should be loaded in a situation where you’ll need to keep it loaded in case you are in danger. However, most of these DA/SA pistols don’t have safeties. When not in use, it should be unloaded at all times to prevent accidental shootings. Be sure you consider a DA/SA pistol that has an easy to release magazine.

Use an “Action” That is Comfortable For You

You have the option to cock the hammer back, or you can use it for single-action shooting. Either way, the pistol will work. But keep in mind that single action will have a lighter trigger pull and thus make it more likely to go off accidentally. So use your best judgment while firing a DA/SA pistol. 

Conclusion

The best DA/SA pistol for you is out there. Find the best one that you like in terms of performance and quality. Be sure to find one that will fit your needs and preferences and you’ll find one that will excel at your intended application. Whether you are keeping it at home or with you at all times as a concealed carry pistol, a good DA/SA is exactly what you’ll need if you want accuracy, reliability, and a top-quality performance with each shot. 

People Also Ask

The following is a list of the most frequently asked questions for DA/SA pistol buyers. As you go through the questions, note the answers below and use them as a guide for the purpose of making a well-informed decision. Here are the following questions:

What Does DA/SA Mean on a Gun?

DA/SA stands for Double Action/Single Action. The double-action allows you to pull the hammer back and pull the trigger. However, single-action will just allow you to simply pull the trigger. 

What is Better, a Single Action or Double Action Handgun?

It will depend on the situation. If you are in a home defense situation, a single action will be better since all you need to do is pull the trigger. Double action will allow you to cock the hammer back when you have plenty of time to make a calculated shot with less trigger pull. 

Why Use a Double Action?

A double-action will be better for you if you want a more accurate shot. This will work better for you if you are in a target shooting or competition situation. 

Why Use a Single Action?

A single action allows for quick and easy shooting. This will shave off a bit of time in some situations like self-defense. Time is not on your side in a life or death situation, so cocking the hammer will in all likelihood be out of the question. 

Josh Lewis the managing editor at Gun Mann and when he isn't writing about guns he is more than likely tinkering with them. He also enjoys hunting, fishing and spending time outdoors. As a lifelong gun owner he knows his stuff!