Pyrotechnics, Gun Training & External Hammers

By John Farnam

Beretta PX4 Storm
Beretta PX4 Storm
Defense Training International, Inc
Defense Training International, Inc

Ft Collins, CO –-( Pyrotechnics!

We ran a Live-Fire Scenario Class in WV recently, using a building mock-up, cars, and pyrotechnics. Targets, and non-targets, were dressed, foam mannequins with faces. Bombs and smoke everywhere!

We tested students’ heart-rate before and after each scenario. As expected, students responded excitedly, even to our artificial/manufactured stress!

We were at the wonderful Echo Valley Range Complex in Highview, WV, where we can shoot 360 degrees, and late into the evening.

The Course consists mostly of free-play scenarios, where students can engineer tactical challenges any way they want. We used both handguns and rifles.

We’ll be doing another in the same place on the weekend of 7-8 Nov 15 2015.

This Course is not for beginners.

When you want to join us, contact Pat Troy at [email protected]

A side note:

One of our students used a Beretta PX4 (rotary barrel) pistol in 40S&W. This pistol has a traditional, external hammer and a slide-mounted, two-stage decocking lever. It ran fine for the duration, but my student wanted to know if he would be permitted to manually cock the hammer immediately prior to shooting, when a difficult shot was necessary. I indicate that was okay, so long as the pistol was correctly decocked prior to holstering.

He did manually cock the pistol’s hammer several times for long shots. Other times, he stroked the trigger through in the conventional, trigger-cocking mode.

What he discovered, and is usually the case, manually cocking the hammer offers no speed, nor accuracy, advantage over firing in the trigger-cocking mode!

My advice with these pistols is to never touch the hammer. The gun is fired via the trigger, and decocked via the decocking lever. Everything the hammer needs to do, it will do by itself, without the operator ever touching it.

In my opinion, that is almost always the best way to run this gun. At the end of our Course, my student concurred!


About John Farnam & Defense Training International, Inc
As a defensive weapons and tactics instructor as well as published author, John Farnam will urge you, based on your own beliefs, to make up your mind in advance as to what you would do when faced with an imminent and unlawful lethal threat. You should, of course, also decide what preparations you should make in advance, if any. Defense Training International wants to make sure that their students fully understand the physical, legal, psychological, and societal consequences of their actions or inactions.

It is our duty to make you aware of certain unpleasant physical realities intrinsic to the Planet Earth. Mr Farnam is happy to be your counselor and advisor. Visit:

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    NoodleRandall2War Abn Vet Recent comment authors
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    I would agree with 2War Abn Vet. Both myself and my wife use exclusively DA/SA firearms. In fact, I have owned a few SA pistols and found they just are not safe for a normal person, and normal everyday carry. Everyday carry just requires to much gun handling during the course of the day to risk unintentional discharge from snagging a trigger.

    On the side, we a couple PX Storms they are very well built and hold up well for everyday carry. Though we both carry Walhter PK .380’s now: light, reliable and accurate.

    2War Abn Vet
    2War Abn Vet

    Single-action “offers no speed, nor accuracy, advantage over firing in the trigger-cocking mode”. My experience, as far as accuracy, has shown otherwise.


    Probably true for all you hale and hardy men in your prime. But what about us old, arthritic 70 year veterans of pistol shooting? Seldom do gun writers consider us, hardly ever do you give us information what force is needed to rack the slide and often only guesses about trigger pull. .. So, please: For us 2 lbs trigger difference is a lot as to a steady aim.