When considering carrying a firearm for personal safety, safety should indeed be the main concern. That includes safety from external threats, as much as safety from the very firearm you are to carry.
Just think, what is the time ratio when the gun is being pointed at someone else compared to your own body? Decocking a pistol is one of the safest ways to carry one. But what about a striker-fired pistol? How do you decock a striker-fired pistol?
When it comes to striker-fired pistols, decocking is slightly tough. For a short answer, you need to unload the gun, empty the chamber, and pull the trigger. This will cause it to dry fire, resulting in decocking.
A few specific striker-fired handgun models have a decocking button. Pressing the button will be enough to decock the firearm. On a hammer-fired pistol, the hammer is visible in most cases, and thus decocking is easy to understand and simple to perform.
However, on a striker-fired pistol, the striker, which is the part that actually causes the primer to ignite, is completely concealed. Thus, decocking may seem slightly tricky to do and even trickier to understand. Let me break it down.
Decoking A General Striker-Fired Pistol
As I mentioned before, only a handful of striker-fired pistol models come with a decocking button. The dominant portion does not. However, decocking them striker-action pistols is totally a thing.
But, instead of preparing the gun to fire, it helps in disassembly. In order to decock the handgun –
1. Point The Gun In A Safe Direction:
When working with a firearm, safety should always be the first concern. Therefore, before doing anything else, always be attentive about which direction the gun is facing. From the moment you pull it out from the holster until it is back into safety, be sure to face it in the safest direction you can.
2. Take Out The Magazine:
Every handgun has a magazine ejector button on the side behind the trigger. Most guns are designed for a right-handed user, so the ejection button should be on the left side of the gun. However, some guns may have the button on the other side or on either side. Pressing the button will release the magazine.
3. Empty The Chamber:
Once the magazine is ejected, rack the slide. Grab the slide with the off-hand and pull it backward fast. This will cause the chambered round to eject through the ejection port. Emptying the chamber will be necessary since we will need to be dry firing the gun soon.
Be sure to rack the slide at least twice. If only one round comes out through the ejector port, then everything is fine. In a very rare incident, you may have a second-round ejected. In this case, you forgot to take out the magazine. So, empty out the magazine first and rack the slide again.
Emptying out the chamber this way will make the ejected round fly out. If you are in a muddy/sandy outdoor environment or in a similar situation where this action will render the round useless, rotate the gun in a way so that the ejection port is facing downward. Hold a hand below the ejection port to catch the bullet.
And then, last but not least, look through the ejection port to see and make sure the chamber is empty.
4. Dry Fire The Gun:
Once you are absolutely sure that the magazine is out and the chamber is empty, hold the gun in a safe direction and pull the trigger. Pulling the trigger will effectively make the gun shoot. Since there is no more round to be pulled in, the gun will officially be in the decocked state.
That’s it. The gun is now in the decocked state. But wait, there is no ammunition in the gun. So, if you need to shoot, you will need to insert ammo in the gun. As soon as you insert ammo and rack the slide to insert a round in the chamber, the striker will automatically get back to the usual “half-cocked” state.
As I mentioned above, the decocking on a striker-fired gun is only useful for disassembling the gun.
Having a round in the chamber and having the gun decocked at the same time, there is no such thing as striker-fired guns unless you own some of the very rare models that do feature a decocking button, just as the hammer-fired pistols do.
Decocking The Special Striker-Fired Pistols
Models like the Walther P99, S&W SW99, and a few Taurus models do feature a decocking button. Depressing the button will release the striker tension and effectively “decock” the striker.
When Would You Decock A Pistol?
As mentioned above, safety is one of the factors that need to be put before everything else. You must know how to carry a gun? You see, when we carry a gun, for the majority of the day, when the gun is in the holster, it is actually pointing at our own body.
Whether it be in our waist holster, shoulder holster, or ankle carry holster, it is facing one part of our body or the other. Hence when the firearm is not pointed and primed for shooting, it needs to be extra safe. Decocking does exactly that.
It releases the striker tension. So, on the first shot, the trigger needs to be pulled with extra strength. Unfortunately, most striker-fired guns do not have this functionality. Instead, they settled down for something in between.
The striker is always in a half-cocked state, requiring more trigger pull than a single action and less than a double action. And the force is consistent throughout all the shots.
Is Your Handgun Safe For Dry Shots?
Some say that striker-fired pistols are not safe to dry shot. True. Not all striker-fired handguns are safe to dry-shot. There are two types of striker-fired handguns.
The first type is rimfire, and the second type is center fired. On the first type, the striker hits the bullet on the rim of the casing. And in the second category. The striker hits the center or the primer of the bullet.
The center-fired handguns are perfectly safe to dry fire. Since the striker hits the center, when there is no bullet in the chamber, the striker hits nothing. So, the process is completely harmless.
On the flip side, on a rimfire pistol, the striker hits the rim of the round. So, when there is no bullet, the striker will land the blow on the barrel. Dry firing once or twice is okay. But repeated dry fire will cause harm to the gun.
Read the manual first to see whether it is safe to dry shot or not.
It is kind of unfortunate that most striker-fired handguns do not come with the flexibility of decocking. They do not have the extra safety of the double-action mechanism that hammer-fired pistols have. The only real scenario where a true decocking is performed on a striker-fired pistol is when to disassemble it.
And when the chamber is completely empty. When you do need to decock the gun, always, I mean always make sure that the magazine is ejected, and the chamber is empty. Handle the handgun with respect as if it is always loaded and primed. Be careful, be safe.