To Decock

Hey, the CZ-82 post got me thinking that I have a base of people to ask this question to.

The CZ-82, and the early models of CZ-75 are DA/SA guns that don’t have decocking safeties.

Now this has a good thing. The ’82/83 and ’75 have hammer-block safeties, meaning you can carry the gun condition 1 with the hammer back, a round in the chamber, and the safety on. (Like a 1911 is carried)

Or Condition 2, with the hammer down, with a round in the chamber. In this condition the safety is non-functional. Essentially this is similar to how you would carry a GLOCK, an, M&P, or a SIG Sauer, among many other guns that have a double-action type trigger and no manual safety.

Now this is GREAT because unlike the other guns mentioned, it gives you the CHOICE to carry in Single-action-only, OR DA/SA, vs. say 1911s and Hi-Powers where its Cocked-and-locked or Bust, or Guns like traditional SIGs, or the Walther P99, or some Modern CZ-75s, with no manual safety you REALLY need to hit that decocker before you holster.

Also guns like the Beretta 92, the Walther p99, or Makarov, among many others with decocking safeties you have the option to carried hammer down with the safety on, or off. But there’s always the chance that the safety might get bumped on, if you wish to carry decocked but with the safety off.

Further the in-betweens, like some H&Ks or FNH P-series, where up is “Safe” and down is decock, you have the risk of everything going odd…like the safety getting kicked on, or swiping the safety off with so much authority that the gun decocks.

So yeah I’m a fan of them in this sense…tho my preferred guns for carry are, in the following order: S&W1911Sc, Kahr PM45, and S&W 642. Yeah, I don’t need a choice that bad, I really prefer DAO or SAO.

OK that being said one thing I’m paranoid about carrying these types of guns is if you wand it to be DA/SA. This means to carry you need to load a live round, and with the safety off pull the trigger, and prevent the hammer from falling with force with your off-hand. Further once the gun is loaded to do a press-check you really need to cock the hammer, check the chamber then manually decock the gun again.

This is no big deal if everything goes right, and when I shoot my CZ-82 at the range, I often drop the hammer to shoot it DA, and I’ve done this dozens of time without incident.

But if something goes wrong, you’re going to have an ND.

Personally I’d get a bucket of sand or soil (only takes about 8″ of sand to stop most bullets) and point my gun at that bucket every time I manipulated the hammer.

What do you think?

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20 Responses to To Decock

  1. Joe in PNG says:

    Back when I had a CZ-75, I used to decock by putting my thumb between the hammer and the frame, pointing in a safe direction, squeezing the trigger- and letting off the trigger as soon as it broke-, and easing the hammer down by pulling my thumb up slowly.

    Worked great with a little practice.

    • Stefano Pavone says:

      What? No hammer bite marks on your thumbnail? I mean, the hammer’s not exactly a light touch if it has to ignite the bullet in the chamber. Surely it must have been slightly painful, or am I exaggerating things? Either way, I can’t believe someone else out there is a proponent of an alternative decocking method.

  2. freddyboomboom says:

    There’s a company that makes bulletproof pads for just this sort of thing.

    Looks like they’re redoing their website right now: link

    Also, an FYI, the Walther P99 is striker fired, no hammer on them. The DA/SA ones (know as AS in P99 model terms) do have a decocker. I believe the QA and DAO versions do not have a decocker, but mine is an AS so I’m not sure.

    • Weerd Beard says:

      Very cool, I’ll have to keep my eyes on that link for when their website is up.

      Yeah I know about the various examples and evolutions of the P99 series. I’m speaking more on a “Feels like” rather than the mechanical sense.

      Yeah I know my Kahr PM45 is a partially-charged striker action actuated by a trigger pull…but as far as feelings and operations go, its no different than a DAO revolver.

      I think you get my drift.

  3. Clint1911 says:

    For dry practice, I first drop the hammer with a the gun pointed at a copy paper box full of old phone books/newspapers.

    The box o’ truth guys tested bullets vs books and found 9 mm will go thru 7 inches of paper.

    But remember, the extra backing really helps stopping the bullet. A bullet that penetrates 7 inches of a 20 inch stack can go thru an 8 inch stack.

  4. Pingback: Easy home back stop « Ambivalent Skeptic

  5. treestump says:


    I carry a 75 every day, and pull the 82 out every once in a while. What I tried to train myself to do is keep it condition 1 all the time. I only decock when I am unloading the gun. At that point, dont need to worry about decocking. But just practice practice practice letting that hammer down on an empty chamber. Its scary at first, but it will become second nature in time!

    • Weerd Beard says:

      I wouldn’t even call it scary. Like I’ve said, I’ve done it dozens of times on a loaded gun at the range with no ill effects. I’ve also done it lots more with an empty gun just in my normal gun-geekery where I feel a whim and a gun comes out of the safe for examination and manipulation.

      That being said, in this case, Murphy can be a bitch, and I never want that to happen.

  6. USCitizen says:

    Dropping the hammer on a live chamber is always a time for extreme care. I try to aim the muzzle toward the least expensive thing in the area.

    • Weerd Beard says:

      That’s why I’d get a bucket of sand. Cheap, easy, doesn’t take up much space (you don’t even need to leave it open, so with a cover it can be used a small table) but the contents will stop a round so long as you point the gun directly at it (preferably straight down), and an ND would simply require a dust pan, and maybe a new bucket.

      Clint’s idea of the box of phone books is good too, tho personally I’d trust sand a bit more, but that’s personally.

      When I dry fire I aim at my concrete basement wall. Still with that there’s always a risk of a ricochet or round splatter. With dry fire I find that acceptable as I’m checking, and re-checking that my chamber is empty and that there is no ammo in or near my gun.

      With decocking a carry gun, you have likely just press-checked and CONFIRMED there is a live pill in the pipe, so then I’d want a best-case scenario to happen if the worst case scenario did.

      • Chad says:

        I had never thought of the bucket of sand idea, I like it. I do feel compelled to point out though that, at least in my case, an ND would require a dust pan, possibly a new bucket, and for certain a new pair of shorts.

      • Jay G. says:


        I smell a test coming up at the sooper-seekrit range…

        Phone books, sand, etc.

        Call it the Box ‘o’ Truth Norte! 😀

  7. Greg Camp says:

    I don’t know the specifics of the mechanism, but on my partner’s CZ vz. 83 (same gun in .380), the hammer can’t touch the firing pin unless the trigger is pulled. She carries it in her purse sometimes, and I lower the hammer for her, instead of leaving it cocked and locked. I pull the trigger all the way back while holding the hammer, then ease the hammer and trigger forward. Along the way, something shifts inside, and I don’t think that the hammer could make the gun fire, once the trigger’s far enough into reset. Of course, point the gun at something safe while doing this.

    • Weerd Beard says:

      The mechanism is that the gun has a rebounding hammer with a hammer block that prevents the hammer from going forward of its “resting” position unless the trigger is fully to the rear. You can see it just under the firing pin retaining plate when the hammer is cocked, its a BIG steel block.

      But you are correct, when easing the trigger forward if you ease pressure off the trigger at the same time the gun will become “Safe” as the hammer lowers.

      Still this doesn’t help as much as you would think, as you still need to slip the hammer off the sear, and if your grip slips before you ease off the trigger that hammer will fall faster than your trigger finger can move.

      Its the same with lowering the hammer on a modern revolver (DA or SAO), as you ease the hammer forward the gun is ready to fire, but you can make it so the gun is safer.

      • Pyrotek85 says:

        Yeah I can do it as well, it just makes me nervous. It’s why I opted for the decocker model on the 75 I got recently, I was planning to carry DA anyway so why take the risk. If I ever get a standard 75, I’ll treat it like a SA action and carry it cocked and locked.

        • Weerd Beard says:

          Yeah those new decocking models are ideal for people like you and I who would prefer DA anyway. If I were to carry my 82 I would ONLY do it in DA/SA, the last thing you need is to be thinking “what condition is my gun in?” when you’re defending your life.

          Same reason why I’m generally carrying one or both of my preferred carry guns. Some people have 5-6 carry guns they rotate through depending on how they feel. They’re all various revolvers, that isn’t so much of an issue….but I don’t want to be pulling what I think is a SIG 229 out of my belt, only to realize that instead its a Browning Hi-Power, and I forgot to swipe the safety.

          Or run the mag on a Walther P99/PPS dry, and find my thumb hunting for the mag button, when my trigger finger should be swiping the lever on the trigger guard.

          Having lots of options isn’t always a good thing.

          • Pyrotek85 says:

            Yeah my other carry gun is a Glock, so I’d rather not try and get used to carrying with a safety when I’ve never used one. Some worry about transitioning from DA to SA, but I really don’t think the longer first pull would be that big of a deal with regards to accuracy, it’s not that bad.

            I can totally see 1911 people preferring cocked and locked though, so I like that they make both variants available.

  8. Joat says:

    I carry a CZ 75c most of the time it’s in condition 2. I don’t know that I’ve ever dropped the hammer down on a live round inside the house, I normally do it outside aimed at the ground. I don’t do press check, the gun is either on me or it’s in my bed side safe that I’m the only one who has access to. When I’ve loaded a round somewhere that I didn’t have a great backstop I just use the safety and holster it.

    Decockers make me nervous, I don’t trust that when the hammer goes down that the gun isn’t going to go bang. When I had a Sig with a decocker I made sure the backstop was just as good as I would for decocking my CZ, and my off hand held the hammer and let it down slowly.

    • Weerd Beard says:

      Yeah well the ground is just a bigger sand box!

      As for Press-checks, I see it as an advanced variation of Rule #1. Rule #1 is constantly debated, I like it as written when teaching new shooters, but for me personally it reads “Always verify the status of your gun”. Before I dry-fire, I verify the gun is empty and no ammo is in or near the gun. I’ll do this many times during the various exercises. Same goes for my carry gun. Whenever it leaves my possession, for however long, I check the chamber. Just like you don’t want to trust a gun to be unloaded, you shouldn’t trust a gun to be loaded. The one time its different might save your life. Yeah it can seem a bit silly. I once locked my gun in my safe so I could change into my workout clothes. I spent half-hour lifting weights, then hopped in the shower, then got dressed again and unlocked the safe. I would have been VERY upset had that round NOT been in the chamber when I checked it, and dropped all my plans until I figured out how the gun got unloaded. Still I don’t simply assume the gun in my holster is loaded, I make sure I physically look at that brass.

      As for decockers, rule #2 is always in effect, so yeah, point the gun in a safe direction when that hammer is dropped. Of course I’ve taken all my guns apart so I know how that hammer manages to fall without the gun going “bang”. Still I don’t trust the safety on my guns to prevent the trigger from working, I don’t trust my decockers to safely decock.

      As for SIGs tho, their decockers have a GREAT feature for that. The bottom position on the lever releases the hammer, while keeping the cross-block in place, but the lever continues to interact with the hammer for the entire length of travel. This means when decocking a SIG you push the lever all the way down hard, then EASE it back up. The hammer will SLOWLY come to rest on the cross block. That is a big advantage to most decockers where the hammer will always drop at full-speed unless you put your hand in the way.

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